Both supporters and opponents of President Trump should welcome the firing of disgraced FBI Agent Peter Strzok, announced Monday. He and fired FBI Director James Comey and fired Deputy Director Andrew McCabe have done more damage to America’s premier law enforcement agency than anyone in its storied 110-year history.
Because President Trump has frequently tweeted denunciations of this trio, it’s understandable that many people view their firings as unjustified political vendettas by the president against his critics.
But while their clearly is no love lost between the president, Strzok, Comey and McCabe, there is no doubt that by any objective standard, all three deserved to be fired for misconduct. I say this as someone who spent 24 years proudly serving as an FBI special agent and who retired as an assistant director in charge of all FBI criminal investigations.
All three of these rogue FBI officials put themselves on pedestals and cast themselves as noble heroes willing to sacrifice their own careers for the cause of truth and justice. That’s great PR spin, and much of the media has fallen for it. But it’s simply not true.
FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich was fully justified in ordering Strzok’s firing. The action was a decisive step in the right direction in correcting the wrongs committed by what has been described as Comey's "skinny inner circle."
Strzok left no doubt in many text message exchanges with FBI lawyer Lisa Page – his partner in an extramarital affair – that he was strongly opposed to Donald Trump’s election as president, had only contempt for Trump, and desperately wanted Democrat Hillary Clinton to defeat Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
But the reasons for Strzok’s firing, other than the texts, are still not public. It is clear to me that his effectiveness as an FBI agent was thoroughly compromised and his conduct was in direct contradiction to the FBI's core values.
In other words, Strzok was not fired for simply expressing his opinion privately. According to the Department of Justice inspector general, Strzok also used his private email to send and receive classified information – exactly the misconduct by Hillary Clinton he was supposed to be investigating.
The actions by Strzok, Comey and McCabe disgusted me and many of the dedicated, loyal, patriotic and courageous men and women who have served in the FBI – often willingly risking their lives in defense of our country.
I consistently hear from many current and former FBI employees who bitterly resent how Strzok, Comey and McCabe broke rules that all FBI employees are required to follow – from the lowest level up to the director.
The disgraced trio leaked to reporters for self-serving reasons. They put their thumbs on the scale of justice repeatedly to protect Hillary Clinton when investigating her improper handling of classified emails and the shady activities of the Clinton Foundation.
At the same time, the trio aggressively pursued every spurious lead and rumor that mentioned Donald Trump, who they clearly did not want to see become president.
On joining the FBI, every employee is told that politics have no place at this great law enforcement agency.
Instead, the work of the men and women of the FBI should be governed by steadfast professionalism and respect for the procedures and safeguards established by our Founding Fathers.
FBI employees are required to treat every investigation equally without making judgments and regardless of the identity and position of each person being investigated. Moral judgments are the bailiwick of judges and juries – not FBI agents.
This is not to say that the investigation concerning Russian espionage targeting our democratic institutions should be dropped. President Vladimir Putin’s Russia and his enablers are our adversaries.
Every American should want to know the full scope and extent of Russian actions designed to destabilize our democracy by interfering in our 2016 election, so that such interference never happens again.
However, all investigations should be treated with the same integrity, thoroughness and objectivity that the FBI has been known for. Politics aside, it is now clear to any rational observer that the actions of “the skinny inner circle” were motivated by ego and animus and strayed far from the values that should anchor every FBI action.
FBI Deputy Director Bowdich, who ordered Strzok’s firing, is a consummate professional and undoubtedly took no joy in firing Strozk, who is an Army veteran and served in the FBI for over 20 years.
It is refreshing that Bowdich showed considerable courage and integrity in overruling his own highly bureaucratic Office of Professional Responsibility, which recommended a mere 60-day suspension and demotion for Strzok. That punishment was simply inadequate for Strzok’s level of wrongdoing.
Bowdich’s courageous action represents the best of the FBI because he made this decision despite the fact that radical anti-Trumpers have rushed to support Strozk financially in, among other things, a lawsuit against the FBI and Bowdich personally.
After Deputy Director McCabe was fired, anti-Trump elements rushed to set up a fund for him to draw upon.
A “Friends of Special Agent Peter Strzok” GoFundMe page had already amassed over $315,000 by Tuesday afternoon in just in a single day, and donations were pouring in.
All it takes for FBI executives to earn such golden parachutes is to violate their oaths of office and throw the agency into the vortex of politics and partisanship.
We certainly have not heard the last of this firing because Strzok, as a military veteran, has certain appeal rights. And, of course, he has the gratitude and support of the anti-Trump media.
The newly fired FBI agent, Comey and McCabe were clearly motivated by self-serving hubris and blind hatred of Donald Trump rather than rules and principals that are built into our criminal justice system to protect all Americans from the formidable powers invested in our federal investigative agencies.
Strzok, Comey and McCabe should stand in shame and dishonor for their failure to live up to the core FBI values of fidelity, bravery and integrity. America is better off with the firings of these three from an outstanding law enforcement agency.