The FBI Should Go Back to the Basics

Time for the bureau to focus on protecting state secrets rather than fighting petty political battles 

(L-R) Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray, National Security Agency (NSA) Director Gen. Paul Nakasone, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director William Burns, and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Director Lt. General Scott Berrier testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on March 10, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. Any reader of the Stephen Covey bestseller The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People knows that, but the lesson appears to have been lost on our Federal Bureau of Investigation.

It would be bad enough if the U.S. government couldn’t protect some of its most sensitive assessments of Russia’s military, Egypt’s diplomacy, and South Korean politics from public disclosure.

But it is particularly troubling that the same government that can’t keep American state secrets off of social media is devoting itself to far less pressing endeavors.

Just this week we learned that the FBI, responsible for enforcing the laws against the unauthorized disclosure of classified information, is monitoring the threat of "Involuntary Celibate Violent Extremism." They’ve even created a word cloud! The FBI associates incels with the use online of run-of-the-mill conservative terms like "red-pilled" and "based." And we know thanks to Elon Musk’s release of the Twitter files how closely the FBI worked with the country’s largest social media companies to keep so-called disinformation offline.

Do we really need FBI agents monitoring online edge-lords when someone is picking the Pentagon’s pockets like this? We wish we could say that the only thing needed is a shift in focus.

Unfortunately, the bureau’s recent investigative priorities reflect a broader trend of law enforcement being weaponized against some citizens, while favored classes are treated with kid gloves. How else does one explain why the home of a first time offending pro-life activist (who was later acquitted) was raided by armed G-men before dawn in September. And yet there have been no flashy raids of suspects behind the wave of attacks on pregnancy crisis centers since last year’s Dobbs decision.

There are many reasons for this, but a big one is that we aren’t exactly sending our best and brightest to the FBI. Just look at the parade of partisans, from former officials like Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Andrew McCabe, who have recently been drummed out and who are demonstrating in their new roles as cable news analysts that we trusted our national security to power hungry zealots who are also not very smart.

This latest leak should be a wake-up call to go back to the basics. That includes hiring the best and brightest people passionate about safeguarding the country’s most sensitive material and hunting down those who expose it unlawfully.