I have the greatest respect for The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel. Back in September of 2018 I wrote a review of her book, The Intimidation Game, (http://www.readjamesonparker.com/?s=Kimberley+Strassel) praising it and recommending it highly. I usually agree with everything she has to say.
But in today’s (Friday, February 15, 2019) edition of the WSJ, her regular column includes a cautiously optimistic piece about William P. Barr, the once (under George H. W. Bush) and current Attorney General of the United States and his ability to clean up the Department of Justice and bring credibility and trust back to that institution and its embattled subsidiary, the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
I have my doubts. Mr. Barr may well clean up the mess by replacing the current top brass with new top brass, thereby restoring faith in the DOJ’s and the FBI’s willingness to adhere to their oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution. I hope he does. Unfortunately, Mr. Barr has in his past incarnation as Attorney General shown himself equally contemptuous of both the law and the Constitution.
Do you remember Randy Weaver and the incident at Ruby Ridge?
To recap briefly, Randy Weaver was a survivalist and possible white supremacist whose wife, son, and dog were all killed by FBI snipers. The son was shot in the back while retreating. I have read—I do not know personally—that Mr. Weaver was deliberately entrapped by an undercover FBI officer on a weapons violation because the FBI wanted to compel Mr. Weaver to become an undercover informant. I have read—I do not know personally—that the charge was bogus (it involved two sawed-off shotguns, and there is apparently some dispute about whether the guns were just at the legal length or shorter).
But beyond those two issues, there is no ambiguity. Do the research and read about the case. What you will find is a litany of abuses by the DOJ, FBI, ATF, and USMS, including deliberate violations of law, accidental violations of law that were allowed go uncorrected, bumbling ineptitude by a wide range of federal employees at various levels of the government, misinformation by the media which was then knowingly used by the government to justify use of force and the consequent deadly siege, false charges, incompetence, clerical errors that were allowed to go uncorrected, misinformation given to Mr. Weaver by his own attorney, violations of the FBI’s own rules of engagement… The list goes on. Even the FBI’s own Deputy Assistant Director wrote a memo while the siege was still under way, stating that the, “Charge against Weaver is Bull Shit [sic].”
I could go on but suffice it to say that the result of DOJ, FBI, ATF, and USMS incompetence, overreaching arrogance, bad judgement, violence, and just plain bad marksmanship, was that the surviving Weaver family members were awarded $3,100,000 in damages. The FBI snipers who did the actual killings of Weaver’s wife and son were charged with manslaughter, but the charges were dismissed by a Federal District judge who cited the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution (Article VI, Clause 2). That dismissal was reversed by the Ninth Circuit, but charges were eventually dropped.
I could make a very good argument that the Supremacy Clause (“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”) does not cover FBI agents murdering unarmed or fleeing civilians, but the point is that it was William P. Barr who used his position as Attorney General to organize legal support for the snipers and to “assist in the framing of legal arguments advanced in the district court” in order to hush up the scandal of what had occurred. Mr. Barr also claimed not to have been directly involved in the Ruby Ridge operation, but a subsequent investigation by the Washington Post revealed that of some twenty-plus phone calls in the twenty-four hours after the siege began and immediately preceding Vicki Weaver’s murder, two of those calls were made to William P. Barr.
Kimberley Strassel is optimistic; I fear it will just be a change from one kind of mess to another kind of mess.