Streetwise Professor

April 11, 2019

Who Watches the Watchmen? William Barr, Evidently

Filed under: Politics — cpirrong @ 9:45 am

Attorney General William Barr triggered the greatest mass loosening of bowels in Washington, DC since the cholera outbreak of 1866 when he matter of factly stated that the government had indeed spied on the Trump campaign. According to Barr, the only unresolved issue is the propriety of the predicate for the spying. These comments caused the Democrats and the media to lose their ends-with-it, and the howls of pain are still being heard.

Barr only stated the obvious, and it is clearly welcome news that he plans to investigate, with the clear implication of holding the guilty accountable, not just to mete out their just punishment, but pour encourager les autres. The main difference is that the poor Admiral Byrd Byng who occasioned Voltaire’s quip did not deserve his grim fate, but Brennan, Clapper, Comey, McCabe, and most likely Lynch, Yates, Rice and perhaps others are justly deserving of a legal reckoning, on the merits and for the example. Alas, none will be dropping a handkerchief to signal his or her readiness to the firing squad, but hopefully they will be punished to the maximum extent allowable under the law.

Almost two millennia ago Juvenal posed the question: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? “Who watches the watchmen?” The CIA, FBI, and the Justice Department are all supposedly our watchmen, protecting us from the depredations of those foreign and domestic who mean us ill. But for decades it has been evident that these watchmen can succumb to the temptations of power. There is a colorable case, based just on the information available to the public, that this official misconduct reached an acme with the 2016 election, and the subsequent inauguration of Trump. These watchmen must be watched, and more than just watched: they must be punished severely when they overstep their bounds.

To the extreme discomfort (gastrointestinal and otherwise) of the denizens of the Beltway, Bill Barr has signaled that he is about to do just that. I sincerely hope that he has the intestinal fortitude to carry it through.

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  1. Not convinced Comey is a bad guy yet, it is possible one of McCabe’s plans was setting up Comey to be working with Trump and the Russians to rig the election and Trump fired Comey to isolate McCabe.

    We will see, one thing for sure, things are perking up and not just in Washington, but globally, see Sudan news today. Did you know in 2011 Hillary and Obama supported a split with South Sudan and Glencore quickly got the oil rights?

    Very interesting times.

    Comment by TomHend — April 11, 2019 @ 3:26 pm

  2. As a former Naval person, you should remember Admiral Byng or just blame it on auto-correct.

    Comment by The Pilot — April 11, 2019 @ 4:14 pm

  3. Apologies for an OT comment, Prof, but I recommend to you Mark Galeotti’s recent book on Putin, “We need to talk about Putin”. I just got hold of it and it’s the most rational – alongside yours – take on the guy and contemporary Russia I’ve read; a necessary critique to the prevailing hysteria.

    Comment by Fyodor — April 11, 2019 @ 5:05 pm

  4. “Colorable case”?! How about lead pipe cinch?!

    Comment by John Q Public — April 12, 2019 @ 12:02 pm

  5. Thanks “The Pilot”… I was wondering about what Admiral Byrd had to do with any of this… It probably was an Auto-Incorrect issue…

    Comment by JavelinaTex — April 12, 2019 @ 2:16 pm

  6. @Pilot and @JavelinaTex. I wish I could plead autospell as an excuse. It was just a brain cramp. Speed kills. Thanks for making me aware.

    Comment by cpirrong — April 15, 2019 @ 5:29 pm

  7. I’ve been reading the history of the FBI recently. There hasn’t been a decade without some serious malfeasance by someone in the FBI. Some of the horrors of their service caused death and destruction to completely innocent people. It’s really rather disgusting to research. J Edgar kept secret files on everyone. And, he wasn’t shy about using the power either. Rock Hudson, the KKK members, and plenty of plain old folk who just wanted to be left alone got the probe by the FBI. The rest of the agencies are no better. I’d like to see them all gutted and powers left turned over to the states. Leave federal law enforcement to the Marshals, and all they do is actual law enforcement. NO more spying. No more politics. No more favorites and enemies lists.

    Comment by doc — April 16, 2019 @ 3:34 pm

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