Friday, June 9, 2017

Independence Meme

Jim Malone: What I'm saying is, what are you prepared to do?
Eliot Ness: Anything within the law.
Jim Malone: And THEN what are you prepared to do?
--The Untouchables

In his commentary following yesterday's farcical congressional testimony of former FBI director James Comey, David Stockman discusses Comey's repeated invocations of the FBI's 'traditionally independent status in the executive branch.'

This is a false and dangerous view of any agency within the federal government--particularly one that possesses extraordinary police power. As these pages have recently observed, when federal bureaucrats are not directly accountable to voters, they are free to pursue their own agendas. They govern without 'consent of the governed.' 

Agencies such as the FBI must be politically accountable lest they become a policing arm of the deep state reminiscent of J. Edgar Hoover's feds.

As Stockman observes, however, Comey's behavior over the past year suggests that he doesn't believe the independence meme himself. He has subordinated his actions and those of the bureau to the political will of others. Indeed, it was his violation of protocol for the sake of politics that merited his dismissal by not one but two presidents.

Comey's behavior and his subsequent termination suggests that the state may not be as deep as some may presume.

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