Monday, December 12, 2016

Partisanship at the FBI and the CIA

We have now learned that while the CIA is pretty much completely satisfied that Russia was actively trying to elect Trump, the FBI didn't want to go that far in their assessments as they were actively trying to elect Trump.  Let's also remember that, prior to the election, Comey didn't want to admit publicly that Russia was even involved in the DNC hacks for fear of influencing the election.  On the other hand, he did want to make that announcement about the Abedin computer, cuz' that was important to announce 12 days before the election in violation of DoJ policy...

This tells us something interesting.  The FBI and the CIA have never really gotten along.  Prior to 9/11, one of the storylines was that if only they had shared information, maybe it would have been stopped.  Woulda, coulda, shoulda...  Part of the inter-agency tension is a basic turf-war.  The FBI's mission is to operate on US soil, and the CIA operates abroad.  Problems ensue when things cross borders, as things, people and information are wont to do.

The 2016 election, though, laid bare the partisan leanings of the FBI, which has a fascinating history anyway.  Never before have we seen the FBI take such an active, public role attempting to sway the election.  CIA agents, though, are not typically a bunch of Democrats.  So, what's going on?  Some thoughts.

1)  It's not party-- it is the Clintons.  The FBI just hates the Clintons specifically, and the CIA just acted normally.

2)  The CIA thinks internationally, and the FBI thinks domestically.  Thus, the CIA cares more about Russian involvement in US elections and opposing that involvement.  The FBI allows domestic partisan and political concerns to override that, paradoxically putting them on the same side as Russia.  How the hell am I typing this?  Let me check this-- yes, the CIA says Russia was working to elect Trump, and Comey broke DoJ rules to "reopen" a bullshit investigation 12 days before an election over something that was obviously nothing, but would hurt Clinton.  Yup.  The FBI and Russia were working towards the same goal (but not together).  Holy shit.  No, pizzagate isn't real, though.  Fuck, this is the world we live in...

3)  Perhaps the CIA really does have a bias towards conclusiveness.  With a lot of the data being classified, we have a hard time knowing if they really did jump to conclusions...

4)  Did the CIA actually share all of their information with the FBI?  They don't tend to do that...

Weird stuff.


  1. 5) Related to 2, the CIA, thinking internationally, doesn't try to influence our own elections. The FBI, mostly in the business of moralizing domestically, does because they "know what's right for us." Call it professionalism, if you will.

    1. Yet, couldn't one imagine the CIA thinking that the presidential election matters for international security and acting accordingly? And wouldn't we expect them to lean GOP? Or, are we now thinking that the CIA is a bunch of goody-two-shoes?