The latest allegation in the perpetually sordid deconstruction of this past election is that the FBI planted a mole inside Trump’s campaign. Concurrently, a preview of a pending report by the Inspector General is said to slam the FBI for foot-dragging its review of a trove of recovered Clinton emails prior to the election. Sadly, there’s no longer a sense of “outlier occurrence” here, no surprise, no feeling of outrage. When we constantly witness bureaucrats barely getting slaps on the wrist for misdeeds, we should be forgiven for lacking the energy to be outraged again. When Lois Lerner uses the frightening power of the IRS to tip the scales of political debate, and gets away with it, frustrated indifference is understandable. When James Comey makes a big mucky mess, flops from hero to villain to hero to villain to martyr, and embarks on a book tour instead of suffering any consequence beyond getting fired, we might be forgiven for becoming inured to further predations.

That’s dangerous. That’s real political dysfunction. When the parts of government that exist, or are at least supposed to exist, outside the pendulum of politics, instead become political weapons, and we accept it as the new normal, we are facing a possibly irreversible decline of social functioning itself.

Some have argued that all this “deep state” stuff is warranted by the uniquely frightening (in their eyes) election of Trump, that the cloud of stink surrounding his campaign and many who worked therein warrants extraordinary investigative efforts.


Politicians, being politicians (i.e. cheats and liars who steal babies’ lollipops), often fail to resist the temptation to use the tools at their disposal for personal or partisan gain. Our system of divided power, checks, and balances, is supposed to combat that eternal reality. Law enforcement agencies, especially, are obligated to a government of laws, not men, and a deference to the citizenry that, via the ballot box, is the ultimate granter of power and authority. And, when that authority is turned against a powerless individual (Candidate Trump had no authority to do anything until sworn in as President) and against a big chunk of the body politic, we should see red flags and hear screaming alarms.

Certainly, if law enforcement has probable cause to investigate someone – anyone, a political candidate included – for criminal activity, it should, without reservation. But, it should do so for strictly non-partisan and apolitical reasons, not with bias aforethought or a desire to see a particular outcome. And, vitally, it needs to follow the law, including the Fourth Amendment’s mandate for search warrants.

If the FBI sent someone into the Trump campaign without a warrant, that would be an egregious transgression. And, if the Obama White House directed a government agency, whether it be the FBI or one of the spy services, to infiltrate the Trump campaign, that would be an even more monstrous violation of the public trust. After all, Obama was President until well after the 2016 presidential campaign concluded. Respect for our system of government and for the people he and it serve absolutely demands that a sitting President respect the process for the election of his successor. As Wall Street Journal columnist James Freeman asks, Where in the World Was Barack Obama?

We should demand the answers to these questions.

We should also demand total accountability from our regulatory agencies, with heads on platters in those cases where officials violated the public trust by injecting partisanship into process.

If you are more worried about Russian meddling than your own government’s dirty and partisan deeds, you’re doing it wrong. Nations, when they rot, usually do so from within, and no external meddler can hold a candle to the damage that internal rot can cause.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.


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