A good number of FBI staff had sympathy for the protesters who stormed the US Capitol on January 6, a secretive email sent to the top brass in the bureau has said.
As expected, most of the headlines say it is a shocking revelation. Some others call it 'chilling'. But is that actually shocking? Or should it be shocking?
The email was sent by someone in the know of things underway in the inner circles of the FBI, and the leaks have hidden the name of the sender. The email was sent to Paul Abbate, who is the second highest official at the FBI.
The FBI agents, who had second thoughts about the official policy on the insurrectionists, believed that the riot at the US Capitol was "no different than the BLM protests."
The mail was sent off a week after the January 6 Capitol riot, and the sender wanted to 'warn' the FBI top officials that "sizable percentage of the employee population .....felt sympathetic to the group that stormed the Capitol. "
Acts of Sympathy Not Isolated Events
The letter presents evidence to support that these 'acts of sympathy' were not isolated events. "These are not one-off events â they are representative of a larger group within the organization," the writer said.
The letter adopts a highly lenient view of the riots by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters while calling the January 6 rioters 'domestic terrorists.' "I literally had to explain to an agent from a 'blue state' office the difference between opportunists burning and looting during protests that stemmed legitimate grievance to police brutality vs. an insurgent mob whose purpose was to prevent the execution of democratic processes at the behest of a sitting president ....One is a smattering of criminals, the other is an organized group of domestic terrorists," the email reads.
Why the Mail Isn't Shocking
The leak appeared on a day when the House select committee that probes the riots subpoenaed former President Donald Trump for his testimony. Less than a month before November 8 midterm elections, the panel has brought all the focus back to Trump, accusing him of actively fomenting the riots.
That's the position held at the top echelons of the FBI, the Justice Department and the Democrat-controlled Congress. These same institutions, however, do not hold the view that the BLM riots and the devastation they caused in many US cities are crimes that need to be prosecuted.
If a section of the FBI officers thought the same way about the January 6 rioters, how does that become the 'shocking' and 'chilling' news it is projected as?
Trump had 74 million voters and it's true that he lost the election to Joe Biden. The Trump supporters believed that there were flaws in the electoral procedures that gave an undue advantage to the Democrats. The key election reforms carried out in various states in the last two years bear testimony to the fact that everyone agrees there were questionable grey areas in regard to mail in ballot and letting people to vote without having to establish identities.
The January 6 protest obviously breached the limits, so did the BLM riots.
Just the last day it was widely reported that the FBI offered British intelligence agent Christopher Steele as much as $1 million to provide evidence to corroborate the contents of a dossier against Trump, which he made for the Democratic National Committee.
The file, which came to be known as the 'Steele Dossier', contains allegations against Trump over his Russia ties, and sought to falsely accuse him of colluding with the Russians. The dossier was allegedly financed by the DNC and was meant to tarnish Trump and thereby further the chances of Hillary Clinton's victory.
Why then did the FBI go out of its way to offer a million bucks to Steel to corroborate the charges? It is pertinent to note that despite the lucrative offer, Steel was not able to come up with evidence to support his wild claims.
Suppressing Probe Into Hunter Biden
When the reality is that the FBI has gone too political, there are bound to be voices of dissent. Headlines that scream that the alleged sympathy that some FBI employees had for the turn of events on January 6 was 'shocking' do not just capture the reality. These articles are no better than plainly one-sided political hit pieces.
These are merely attempts to gaslight people into believing that legitimate differences of opinion are crimes that carry guilt and shame.
On a more substantive level, they merely assume that the FBI is a monolith and a saintly and infallible organization that makes no mistakes. Another startling political job of the FBI was the not to inscrutable decision to suppress the probe into Hunter Biden's scandalous and highly suspicious dealings. The FBI did so clearly to make sure Joe Biden's electoral prospects are not affected.
If that's how politicized the FBI is in reality, who has the right to expect that all FBI staffers should unquestioningly toe that line? And, above all, is there evidence to prove that this alleged sympathy for some employees resulted in the failure of FBI actions against the rioters?
There isn't a body of evidence to show that sympathies came in the way of effectively prosecuting the people who acted in a criminal way. Hundreds of people were investigated by the FBI, prosecuted and sent to jail for their role in the riots.
[The author is Managing Editor at International Business Times. Opinions expressed in the article are personal]