The House Intelligence Memo shows that the FBI needs greater scrutiny, but so do FISA courts.
Stewart Baker, who often writes as if he never met a bureaucrat or government program he did not trust, is at it again.
He notes that a Peter Strzok text has been the object of alarmed concern on the right. The text stated:
I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office [Andy McCabe is the FBI deputy director and married to a Democratic Virginiia State Senate candidate] for that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40….
Baker says that this text is innocent. It is merely reacting with horror at the possibility that Trump could win. As Baker says,
Strzok is reacting to the argument that there’s no point getting worked up because Trump is bound to lose. To which he says that the odds may be against a Trump victory but that’s no reason to be complacent. Then he gives an example: The odds are very much against you dying before the age of 40, but you probably bought insurance at that age because dying with a young family would be such a disaster. It’s a reasonable concern even if the event is unlikely. For the same reason, in Strzok’s view, horror at the prospect of a Trump presidency is reasonable even though the prospect is remote.
I agree with Baker that it could have the innocent meaning that he gives to it. But surely it does not have to have that meaning. It could also mean that Strzok is in favor of taking action against Trump – the insurance policy – in case he should be elected. And when combined with Strzok’s central role in many recent politically charged investigations, including his possibly partisan behavior in various questionable actions (e.g. Flynn is interviewed and charged with lying to a government official; Abedin and Mills are interviewed, apparently lied, but do not get charged), there is reason to be concerned.
So what justifies Baker in apparently claiming to know for sure that Strzok’s text is innocent? I don’t know. Perhaps Baker can explain. Otherwise, I am forced to chalk it up to his characteristic bias in favor of government officials.