National Security

Should Americans Have Faith in the Federal Justice System?

“These highly-placed people are not guilty of youthful indiscretions or occasional mistakes in judgment; for many years, these folks appear to be guilty of repeatedly disregarding policy, circumventing protocols, and probably breaking the law.”

I tend to limit my commentary to issues that directly impact local, i.e., municipal, county, state, etc., law enforcement because that’s what I know best. But I’m growing concerned with what appears to be a rise in the public’s lack of confidence in federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies due to its leaders’ fostering of a two-tiered justice system, which protects certain highly placed politicians and bureaucrats from investigation and prosecution. How can this diminishing respect not impact the public’s view of criminal justice in general?

How could incidents such as the ATF’s Fast & Furious scandal, the IRS’s Tea Party scandal, and now the FBI’s myriad intrigue, not have weakened federal law enforcement in the eyes of the American public? If people don’t see the justice system, federal and local, as addressing wrongdoing by political elites with the same resolve as it does with the general public, then we have to ask what happened to our having fought a revolution to separate ourselves from the arbitrary justice of a monarchy?

No democratic republic based on personal liberty and equal justice can thrive with a politically poisoned, two-tiered justice system.

For decades, we’ve watched as seemingly untouchable national politicians and federal bureaucrats have sidestepped responsibility for their unethical or illegal behavior. Often, they’ve done it with the apparent help of the very officials responsible for seeking out and prosecuting government corruption. How many times can ordinary Americans think if it were me, I’d be in handcuffs by now without wondering if the U.S. is looking more like a banana republic than a constitutional one.

There are far too many incidents that continue to chip away at Americans’ confidence to itemize the entire list of elitist scofflaws and their nefarious exploits, so I’ll just highlight a few.

The IRS’s Lois Learner had the audacity to use one of the most powerful federal agencies in the nation to conduct a political pogrom against conservative groups attempting to participate in American democracy. This shameless woman, who, so far, has gotten away with making a statement in her defense, after having invoked her Fifth Amendment rights, and seems to have skated away with no consequences for her despicable actions. After having evaded justice for doing something so seditious to the spirit of the Constitution, someday won’t someone else likely feel at liberty to do the same thing, perhaps worse? Why not? She was apparently un-prosecutable. Why should the next would-be violator be different?

And there’s President Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, whose full involvement in Fast and Furious we still don’t know (and people died), who flat-out refused to prosecute members of the New Black Panther Party for their thuggish voter intimidation (specifically because of their race), and who was later found in Contempt of Congress, for which the DOJ, of course, would not prosecute. And let’s not forget the outpouring of sympathy Holder had for Michael Brown’s (Ferguson) mother, compared with his callous disregard for the honorable police officer, Darren Wilson, whom her son attacked and whose career his DOJ helped ruin. Holder has never been held accountable for his dubious exploits during his tenure as head of the DOJ.

Another Obama attorney general, Loretta Lynch, had a suspicious meeting with Bill Clinton, the husband of a presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, who was under investigation by Lynch’s DOJ and FBI. AG Lynch then made statements that stagger credulity, claiming she just happened to bump into Bill Clinton, former president of the United States on an airport tarmac, and they just chatted about their grandchildren for 30 minutes? To be fair, she later said the meeting was “regrettable,” but still refused to recuse herself from the Clinton investigation. Incidentally, only days later the FBI director, James Comey, during a surreal press conference, would essentially indict and absolve her of wrong-doing in one deft maneuver.

And what about former FBI director James Comey? He arrogated to himself the authority to indict publicly Hillary Clinton, a sitting secretary of state, for a serpentine string of suspected crimes and protocol violations, somehow also found an additional authority to indemnify her from having to answer for those same alleged offenses? Comey also may have used the now infamous, fabricated “Christopher Steele Dossier” to initiate a real investigation into “Russian collusion” by the Trump campaign that is looking more and more each day like it should never have taken place.

And now there’s the special counsel, Robert Mueller, appointed to investigate “Russian collusion.” Mueller just happened to be serving as director of the FBI when an alleged cover-up of illegal activities by a Russian uranium company connected to the Russian government occurred. It appears the cover up happened so the parties could complete a deal that surrendered control of a significant portion of America’s uranium deposits to Russia.

Having been one of those parties, Mueller refuses to recuse himself from the Russian “collusion” investigation, which anyone with eyes, ears, and a brain agrees never happened. But now this investigation has veered into that earlier Russian uranium company caper of which he may have taken part. This conflict of interest is so glaring you practically need to wear a welder’s mask just to read about it.

And let’s not forget about a perennially scandal-riddled secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, whose been involved with the Benghazi catastrophe, (and people died) destroying evidence demanded by Congress, stealing her party’s nomination from former, fellow senator, Bernie Sanders, and may have attempted to subvert a national election by paying people to fabricate and then disseminate a report containing lies about her opponent, Donald Trump.

Also, as alluded to above, Mrs. Clinton apparently played a (or perhaps the) major role in allowing twenty percent of America’s uranium deposits to come under Russian control (yes, the same Russians with whom many prominent Democrats argue we are now at war), after which coincidentally flowed a fortune into her “charitable” organization. All this while evidently helping to hide from Congress and the American people, an investigation of many people associated with the Uranium One deal, for bribery, money laundering, spying, and other illegal activities. If this were a novel, editors would reject the plot as inconceivable in the United States.

Also, let’s not forget the general data-gathering from Americans and surveillance scandals involving the NSA and the dubious actions conducted by the CIA under Obama appointee director John Brennan. Could someone have been using federal law enforcement as his own high-tech Pretorian guard to protect not only himself, but also his political legacy?

The previous examples are nowhere near exhaustive—not even close. Think about this: these, and other incidents not mentioned herein but known, are just the things we are aware of. Can you imagine what we still don’t know about? These highly-placed people are not guilty of youthful indiscretions or occasional mistakes in judgment; for many years, these folks appear to be guilty of repeatedly disregarding policy, circumventing protocols, and probably breaking the law.

It is astonishing, and ironic, that all this apparent federal corruption was going on while the Obama administration, through AG Eric Holder’s DOJ, was emulating Sherman’s Civil War “March to the Sea,” after decimating Atlanta, but aimed at local law enforcement around the country.

With a scorched earth policy designed ostensibly to fight “rampant corruption” in local law enforcement, the Holder DOJ imposed federal consent decrees, thereby quasi-federalizing dozens of local police agencies across the nation. This federal hypocrisy has inflicted staggering damage on American policing, all while it was degrading its own moral authority to enforce any law.

Every bit as frustrating as for the vast majority of Americans who would be, and are, held to account for even a miniscule fraction of what these lofty scofflaws continue to get away with.

How can this apparent indifference to political officials’ lawbreaking, by our federal criminal justice system, not taint the public’s perception of all American law enforcement? And how about what it does to federal law enforcement professionals? How are the rank-and-file FBI, ATF, IRS/Treasury, etc., agents impacted by this corruption?

These dedicated patriots have had to sit by gritting their teeth, some having personally discovered and collected evidence in these wrongdoings, and many others aware of it, and watch while their leaders make their noble efforts to fight federal corruption vanish into the political ether. How frustrating must that be? Every bit as frustrating as for the vast majority of Americans who would be, and are, held to account for even a miniscule fraction of what these lofty scofflaws continue to get away with.

Some people have expressed frustration with the new U.S. attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for not addressing these issues. I admit, I have. But I recently heard the Florida state attorney general, Pam Bondi, say “A good federal investigation, we shouldn’t even know about [until the appropriate time].” I sure hope this is the case, because I admire Attorney General Jeff Sessions and want to have confidence in all our federal agencies and their law enforcers.

No democratic republic based on personal liberty and equal justice can thrive with a politically poisoned, two-tiered justice system.

Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens Contributor and retired Seattle police officer. He has served as a field training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and as a precinct mountain bike coordinator. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys riding his Harley and hiking and biking with his wife who is also an English major and a retired firefighter.

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