The Meaning of Firing Andrew McCabe
It is often the case that what a person does not say is more important than what he says. That is certainly the case when it comes to my colleague's latest attack against President Donald Trump. Nowhere in his piece does Alex mention that the dismissal of Andrew McCabe was recommended by FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility -- the internal body charged for reviewing the conduct of FBI employees for possible disciplinary action. The review by the Office of Professional Responsibility was triggered by another investigation into McCabe's conduct by the Inspector General. The IG has not yet released its final report but it is expected to criticize McCabe "for allowing two high-ranking bureau officials to sit down with the Wall Street Journal as the news outlet prepared a report in 2016 on an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s family foundation, then misleading the inspector general’s team about his actions."
Under such circumstances even our cowardly Attorney General Jeff Sessions had no choice but to fire McCabe. The only way to avoid a dismissal would be to overrule the Office of Professional Responsibility -- and it's difficult to see on what grounds. I do agree that the timing of the firing -- just hours away from being eligible for his full pension -- seems petty, but unless Alex can provide proof that Trump delayed the recommendation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, then it is just another baseless attack on the president. So why didn't the proverbial dog bark? Because if Alex had mentioned the two internal investigations he would have to admit that -- gasp -- McCabe earned his dismissal. He may even have to applaud Trump for introducing the concept of accountability to Washington - double gasp!
Judging from the swift and vociferous reaction from the likes of former FBI Director James Comey and ex-CIA boss John Brennan -- affectionately known as the Deep State -- to the McCabe firing, it is clear that Washington will fight to keep their privileged position of being above accountability. For decades, gross negligence, if not outright malfeasance, has gone unpunished. The FBI has repeatedly dropped the ball on preventing mass shootings and terrorist attacks -= Boston, Orlando, and more recently Parkland. Thousands of American lives were lost and bodies maimed in the pursuit of Iraq's WMDs and no one was ever held accountable for such a catastrophic intelligence failure. Worse. George Tenet, who reportedly said WMDs in Iraq were a "slum dunk", received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work. To be sure, there have been numerous congressional oversight hearings, but they are mostly an opportunity for politicians to raise their profile and/or fundraise. They are not serious efforts at exacting accountability. When was the last time a Congressional hearing resulted in anyone losing their benefits or persecution? I honestly cannot recall.
it is too early to know whether McCabe facing consequences for his actions is an aberration or the beginning of a new era of accountability. Attorney General Sessions is currently mulling whether to appoint a second Special Counsel to look into abuses by the Justice Department and the FBI. If a second Special Counsel is appointed, we can look back and say that the day McCabe was fired was the end of business as usual in Washington.