The powerful protect each other. Once again that's the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.

450 weapons issued to FBI agents are missing, including some submachine guns, according to an audit of the agency.  And nearly 200 laptop computers are gone as well some containing classified information.

This on the heels of the massive evidence screw up in the Timothy McVeigh case.

And that followed the arrest of FBI agent Robert Hanssen, who has admitted spying for the Russians for 15 years. The information he passed to Moscow got some operatives killed.

The Hanssen case came right after the bungled Wen Ho Lee investigation.  We still don't know how much vital information the Chinese got in that case.  Lee was convicted of one felony ... the judge apologized to him for the FBI's conduct.

And then there was Richard Jewel and the Olympic bombing and the TWA investigation which is still murky.

All of these things happened on the watch of FBI Director Louis Freeh.  Yet when Freeh quit he was lauded by the powerful in Washington. "What a fine job the director did...what a guy he is."

If you or I had performed in our jobs like Freeh performed in his, we would have been out the door!

The FBI is the most powerful law enforcement agency in the world. It knows things about some of our elected officials that could hurt them badly.  J. Edgar Hoover turned political spying into an art form.  He kept his job for decades by subtly blackmailing people like Presidents Kennedy and Johnson.

Now I'm not saying that Louis Freeh did anything like that. I'm saying that he did a bad job and the FBI is in turmoil.

That is not good for America and Attorney General John Ashcroft says he is very concerned.  I'm feeling better already.

There is something very wrong within the FBI and Congress has to get involved.  Where is the Marc Rich pardon investigation?   What exactly happened in the Wen Ho Lee case?  How about the campaign money the Chinese Army sent to the Democrats what really happened there?

These are things every American has a right to know and Louis Freeh should be hauled in front of Congress to tell us.

But that will not happen because the powerful want to keep the secrets. That's part of the power equation.

I feel sorry for the individual FBI agents most of whom are patriots.  But at the top, the Bureau has let all Americans down. It is time to find out why.

And that's the memo. 

Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for the Most Ridiculous Item of the Day.  Reporters inquiring about Gary Condit's brother at the Modesto Bee Newspaper are apparently being stonewalled.

Fox News.com reporter Roger Friedman was trying to find out some information on Burl and Darrell Condit, the Congressman's brothers.

The Bee would not help Friedman.

For the record, that's ridiculous.  And also for the record .. Burl Condit is a cop in Modesto and Darrell Condit is a fugitive with an apparent drug problem. 

--You can watch Bill O'Reilly's Talking Points weeknights at 8 & 11p.m. ET.  And send your comments to: oreilly@foxnews.com