FBI agents group endorses Mike Rogers for FBI director

Politico reports: The FBI Agents Association on Saturday backed former lawmaker and FBI agent Mike Rogers to replace ousted FBI director James Comey.

FBIAA President Thomas F. O’Connor said in a statement that Rogers, who was formerly chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, “exemplifies the principles that should be possessed by the next FBI Director.”

“It is essential that the next FBI Director understand the details of how Agents do their important work,” O’Connor said. “Mike Rogers’ background as a Special Agent, veteran of the armed forces and former member of Congress sets him apart as someone capable of confronting the wide array of challenges facing our help ensure that the Bureau remains the world’s premiere law enforcement agency.”

O’Connor added that during his time in Congress, Rogers “showed a commitment to confronting threats to our country in a nonpartisan and collaborative manner.” [Continue reading…]

Garrett M. Graff writes: During the Obama administration’s search for an FBI director, there was not a single former or current elected official seriously considered. By and large, Comey’s background—as well as the backgrounds of others who were floated in 2013 as Barack Obama considered that appointment, like Ken Wainstein, Patrick Fitzgerald and Lisa Monaco—was typical of bureau leaders past: Comey was a career federal prosecutor, former U.S. attorney and one-time No. 2 in the Justice Department.

The man he replaced, Robert Mueller, had precisely the same résumé—a career federal prosecutor, former U.S. attorney and one-time No. 2 in the Justice Department. Mueller was so driven by the Justice Department’s mission that, after a stint heading its criminal division under George H.W. Bush, he stayed only a brief period in private practice before starting over again at the bottom of the department’s hierarchy as a line criminal prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, D.C. During that 2001 search by George W. Bush, perhaps the closest any candidate came to having political ties was George Terwilliger, a former U.S. attorney and deputy attorney general who, while in private practice, had helped with Bush’s legal strategy during the Florida recount. (It’s worth noting that Terwilliger, though, didn’t ultimately get the job.)

The three men who headed the FBI before Mueller were all longtime federal prosecutors-turned-federal judges: Louis Freeh, William Sessions and William Webster. Meanwhile, the first director of the FBI post-Hoover, Clarence Kelly, was a respected police chief and former FBI agent.

These leaders have by no means been without their own faults. Sessions was fired by President Bill Clinton in 1993 after a George H.W. Bush administration investigation found that Sessions had abused expenses and travel privileges. And Clinton’s relationship with Sessions’ successor, Freeh, grew so poisonous amid the scandals of the 1990s that the two men stopped speaking. Freeh also gave up his White House visitor badge, even as the threat of Al Qaeda rose across the globe—a sign that FBI directors can actually become too independent.

Even so, that independence is a fundamental bulwark of our impartial justice system, the idea that no individual in the country is above the law. The Trump administration appears to be considering undoing that long-standing tradition for no apparent reason—and without any real protest from official Washington. [Continue reading…]

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