NEW YORK — The FBI would like us to think it is incompetent — that documents it should have turned over to the defense teams of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols just got lost in the shuffle.
Do you buy it? I don’t.
It is particularly hard to accept given the latest revelations by an intrepid TV reporter from Oklahoma City, Jayna Davis, who says she tried to turn over evidence of a wider conspiracy in the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people April 19, 1995, but was rebuffed.
The FBI’s rationale for turning Davis away? According to what federal officials told producers of Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” they didn’t want to accept the uncorroborated leads because they would have to disclose them to the defense teams.
In other words, the FBI didn’t want to investigate any leads that didn’t fit in with its preconceived notion that McVeigh and Nichols acted alone.
Now, keep in mind the FBI has simultaneously been boasting that the investigation of the Oklahoma City bombing was the largest and most sweeping probe in the agency’s history — involving 2,000 agents and 20,000 witness interviews. The bombing was the worst terrorism incident in the history of the United States. Yet, the FBI admits it turned a blind eye to potential evidence in the criminal case.
Does this make sense?
There’s more here than meets the eye. It seems the FBI has, through what it claims is a procedural malfunction, set the stage for mistrials in the convictions of McVeigh and Nichols. Not only did the FBI admittedly withhold documents required under disclosure rules, it also limited the scope of its investigation so as not to jeopardize the convictions of two men who clearly had a role in the bombing.
I once had enormous respect for the FBI. Maybe I was wrong. But that respect is gone, shattered. It is now more evident to me than ever that the founders were right all along about the limits on the power of the federal government — particularly police powers.
I’ve got to believe now that it is time to think what for most Americans is still probably the unthinkable — that it’s time for the FBI to be disbanded.
The FBI has lost any vestige of trust and integrity. The McVeigh case is simply the last straw. The FBI brought us the Waco disaster. The FBI gave us the Wen Ho Lee debacle. The FBI brought us Robert Philip Hanssen. And now the FBI has jeopardized the cause of justice in the Oklahoma City bombing.
Whether through incompetence (as hard as that may be to believe) or negligence, it’s time for the American people to start debating the future of the FBI and, frankly, whether it does the nation more harm than good. That is how serious these breaches of the public trust are.
After all, the FBI has proved itself incapable in recent years of getting to the bottom of some of the biggest criminal investigations. So what’s the point?
Some of you might say: “Well, Farah, we need the FBI to keep tabs on threats to our national security.”
I used to think like that. Yet, in the 1990s we watched in amazement as the FBI showed it was not up to the task of keeping illegal foreign money from buying American political races. And when those “investigations” were over and the books were closed, the FBI refused even to allow the American people to learn what the agency had found in tracking illegal foreign political contributions.
I no longer believe our government. And I especially am suspect of anything we hear from federal police agencies. It’s not only time to retire the FBI, it’s past time to demobilize the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the armed Internal Revenue Service agents, the armed enviro-cops, the housing Gestapo and the sum total of perhaps 80,000 armed federales who have crept into our system of justice in this country and turned it into a system of injustice.
Maybe this is where gun-control efforts ought to be waged — controlling the number of guns the government is pointing at the citizens of a supposedly free country.
Will the American people awaken to the fact that they have lost all accountability with government police agencies? If the Oklahoma City bombing case doesn’t provide the wakeup call, what will it take?