News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

The Bunkhouse Chronicle Shadow puppets

Reading the Durham Report, one can be forgiven for wondering whether to reach for a bottle of Advil or a tinfoil hat. I recommend both.

What the report details — I’ll spare you the 300 pages — is a politically motivated cabal of FBI Agents and 7th- floor executives who seem to have forgotten, if they ever actually knew, basic investigatory procedures, rules of evidence, and their sworn commitment to constitutional integrity in the service of justice.

Agents actively, and knowingly, skipped their own procedures, worked outside of their chain of command, cherry-picked evidence to include in their affidavits — thereby omitting exculpatory evidence — offered to pay a mercenary informant a million dollars despite having an open case on him for espionage, failed to vet the infamous and laughable Steele Dossier, and failed to follow basic investigatory leads that, in less corrupt hands, would have derailed the entire farce in its opening moments.

Competence, in the modern era, is always refreshing. But we didn’t get any of that in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. Instead, we got a cave full of shadow puppets which, if nothing else, should fairly remind us what our government — those people we install in positions of great and now seemingly unchecked power — actually think of us.

As carefully outlined in Durham’s report, the collusion narrative was manufactured and fraudulent from the beginning, funded by a political campaign, fanned by incompetent and corrupted federal investigators, and spread wildly by a compromised Fourth Estate. In the end, it seems that the only people not in on the Russian-collusion drama were the Russians, and Trump himself.

Supercharged leftists, of course, will never believe it, any more than members of the Trump cult can ever admit that he is a toxic landfill with feet. Some on the left, those who even bother to address it, have been quick to denounce the investigation as partisan and therefore flawed. But the denunciations have been carefully parsed, favoring a focus on procedural errors of the head, rather than clearly-evident failures of the heart — such as lying on affidavits — that were driving Crossfire Hurricane. They delight that Durham did not uncover “the crime of the century,” as Trump bombastically declared, but give no weight to the incompetence and absence of accountability that the investigation revealed, which are both bewildering in scope.

Particularly notable in their mealy-mouthed denunciations are Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell who, working together, would struggle to spark enough truth to start a warming fire.

We expect this kind of corruption from the Russian FSB, or the Pakistani ISI, or any arm of the Mexican government who are — if we are being honest — little more than agents of a narco-state. But here in the United States we still expect, and have a vested right to demand, that our own agents of government behave transparently and beyond reproach.

The functioning of the entire justice system rests on the integrity of those who compose it, and lying on affidavits — whether outright or by omission — or just being plain bad at your job, damages the credibility of every trustworthy agent and officer in law enforcement, at every level from inside the beltway to the streets of Central Oregon.

The hubris of federal agents involved in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation is stunning, and dangerous, and served not to discover the truth, but to pursue a partisan political agenda in ways that continue to destabilize the entire country.

What’s clear, post Durham, is that the agents of Crossfire Hurricane should wear much of that responsibility around their necks like a dead chicken, along with the vile politicos who dreamed up the scheme in the first place.

But they won’t. And we all know it.

No matter your political affiliation, which is usually written in bold ink and underscored in this Machiavellian age of “my candidate at any cost,” Durham’s report should bother us. Secret courts and secret affidavits, which underwrite much of the Crossfire integrity issues, should probably bother us too. When powerful agents of our government behave in ways that are not just ethically appalling, but in fact criminal, it rattles entire institutions, and makes the job of law enforcement, particularly those not shielded by layers of bureaucratic camouflage, even more difficult. As if it wasn’t hard enough already for those fine people who show up every day with honor and integrity to deal with our nation’s many problems, from petty theft to grisly homicides to counter-espionage.

That notion of integrity is even more important now that our institutions are daily drawn and quartered by the draft-horses of opposing, and equally extremist, political parties. When our most important institutions are being deconstructed by extremely powerful, and often devious media-politico alliances, nominally neutral agencies such as the FBI must serve as bulwarks of credibility, confidence, and integrity. They should never, under any circumstances, forget their oaths and be exposed as marionettes worked by the unseen hands of cynical politicians.

Maybe we can all agree that integrity still matters, that justice is better served by the unvarnished truth. I would propose that we can, but a larger part of me worries that it is no longer enough. There is evidence aplenty that we may have already, collectively, crossed an event horizon, where the institutions we must rely on for justice, and for what has been—by any historical standard—an exceptional civil-society, are now succumbed to the inescapable, and ultimately crushing gravity of corruption.

For more of Craig Rullman’s essays visit https://craigrullman.


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