Liberal media is trying to protect the FBI from hard questions about illegal surveillance


Besides addressing the crisis at the southern border, there is no more urgent matter for the new Republican House majority to direct its attention to than the conversion of the federal government into a progressive cudgel against civil rights. And there is nothing less surprising than the media-Democrat complex’s determination to strangle the probe in its cradle.

In the left’s playbook, everything is either about race or Donald Trump — if not both. So as night follows day, with House Republicans poised to establish a much needed Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, Democrats and their press accomplices are framing the panel as an adjunct of the 2024 Trump presidential campaign.

They can’t be allowed to get away with that.

To make sure they don’t, Republicans must take pains not to help. That means going about it carefully, methodically and in a way that makes clear the weaponization’s victims are the American people, not a sinking pol who is unpopular with a solid majority of the American people.

In autumn 2016, before there ever was a Trump presidency, before we knew a thing about “Russiagate” or the FBI’s scandalous deception of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the court’s chief judge scalded the bureau for its institutional “lack of candor.”

This had nothing to do with Trump; the tribunal had just been advised, and not for the first time, that US spy agencies had been illegally monitoring the communications of Americans for years — Americans who had utterly no connection to espionage or terrorist activity.

Donald Trump
Democrats and the media are framing the potential committee as an adjunct of the 2024 Trump presidential campaign.
AP/Rebecca Blackwell

As we have learned is typical in the ensuing six years, abuses of intelligence authorities are commonplace. Typically, top intelligence officials are well aware of illegalities and deceptive practices but withhold the information from the courts and Congress.

The media-Democrat complex would like you to believe the corruption of the government’s law-enforcement and intelligence apparatus is just Trump propaganda.

But it’s not: When federal agencies put their thumb on the scale against critics of government, they are bound to be doing it for the benefit of Democrats and the preservation of the progressive Beltway status quo, in which bureaucrats are lavishly rewarded with power and bottomless budgets.

President Trump was a loud sometime critic of the status quo, but he did nothing meaningful to rein it in. He did not use the powers at his disposal to force disclosures about executive agency abuses, much less propose to slash their funding — which, short of holding abusive officials accountable, is the only way to achieve course correction.

That is what has to be done. It has to be done, moreover, for the sake of the American people and the vindication of our constitutional rights.

This is what has to be made clear. Progressives do not believe we should have free speech. Like religious fundamentalists, they believe they have all the answers — in their case, about what “good government” requires and what “science” dictates. They meet any attempt to push back against their pieties with an authoritarian iron fist, not constitutionally mandated accommodation.

For progressives, furthermore, government is not the servant of “we the people.” It is the means by which progressives coerce compliance with their policy preferences. Consequently, Democrats inveigh that congressional inquiries into law-enforcement and intelligence operations will compromise national security and criminal investigations. Or at least that’s what they say when those inquiries are led by Republicans — when they’re led by Democrats, such as the norms-busting, unabashedly partisan, media-adulated Jan. 6 committee, no stone may go unturned, and those who decline to cooperate are prosecuted for contempt.

These are not problems that need addressing for the benefit of Trump. They need addressing for the survival of our constitutional order.

Right now, thanks to disclosures by Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk and discovery in free-speech litigation brought by two states (among other plaintiffs) against the Biden administration, an incontestable record is unfolding. It shows the FBI, other intelligence agencies, and the Biden White House bludgeoned social-media companies into suppressing speech of which the government did not approve regarding COVID vaccines and political issues. The revelations have exploded the government’s implausible claims that it was merely helping Big Tech make “voluntary” censorship decisions.

This is a blatant violation of the First Amendment. To be sure, private actors are not bound by free-speech principles, but if they are acting at government’s urging, they shed their private character and become arms — weapons — of the state. That cannot be tolerated.

The media-Democrat complex has strained for more than two years to bleach away news about millions of dollars that poured into the Biden family coffers from shady characters tied to corrupt and anti-American foreign regimes — the monetizing of Joe Biden’s political influence, with Joe Biden’s knowledge and participation.

Hunter Biden
Hunter Biden’s laptop scandal drew a lot of attention towards the Biden family.
AFP via Getty Images/ Nicholas Kamm

Democrats and their notetakers would have you believe congressional inquiries regarding this scandal are a mere “interference” in the criminal investigation of the president’s troubled son Hunter. That’s nonsense, for reasons having nothing to do with Trump.

Nothing more alarmed the Framers of our Constitution than the specter of a president, with all the awesome powers of the executive branch, being bought by foreign governments. The Biden investigation — not Hunter Biden, but the Biden family, very much including the president — is a national-security imperative. And you know as sure as you’re reading this that if a Republican’s family had cashed in like Joe Biden’s family has done, the hearings would already be underway. It would be the only news story in the country.

Of course Republicans must go about this in the right way. This should not be Jan. 6 committee-style theater. These should be real bipartisan probes, with cross-examination and robust debate. But the weaponization panel is essential, and Republicans must not be cowed by those who want to stifle an investigation and our rights along with it.

Andrew C. McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor.


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