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Opinion | Trump targets one of the most conservative agencies in the US government

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Among all the strange and historically inconsistent moments and news stories of the Donald Trump era, the former president and his allies demonized the FBI as some kind of rogue “awakening” the Democratic Deep State mob Few people look weirder than watching you do.This has been happening for several years, but since the FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, the agency has drawn particularly wilting criticism of the alleged left-wing persecution of Trump. and Republicans are even beginning to call for “pay back” corrupt FBI

Historically, however, the FBI has been arguably the most culturally conservative and traditionally white Christian institution in the entire U.S. government. It’s such a culturally conservative institution, even by law enforcement standards, that a Democratic president doesn’t feel comfortable or politically bold enough to nominate a Democrat as Director. I have never been

That’s right. All of the FBI’s directors were not bastions of progressive thinking, but Republican officials dating back to its creation. History like this suggests that the problem here is Trump, not institutional bias.

Christopher Wray, the current director who oversaw the agents who conducted last week’s search for Mar-a-Lago, was nominated by Trump himself and took the job with the highest Republican credential: he was George W. Bush’s Justice Department, clerk of conservative Federalist Society member and Republican judicial icon J. Michael Rattig.

Wray replaced FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired. Comey was nominated by Barack Obama and was the former Deputy Attorney General of the Justice Department in the George W. Bush administration. His predecessor, Robert Mueller, served in the Justice Department for both Presidents Bush and was nominated by George W. Bush.

From Louis Freeh (Judge George H.W. Bush) to FBI founder J. Edgar Hoover, all senior FBI officials were Republican-leaning officials.

That political conservatism in the Bureau’s ranks goes back to the culture Hoover has cultivated for half a century. At that time, the Bureau saw its role as policing and protecting a uniquely conservative (and Christian) view of the United States.

The irony of Donald Trump and Republicans demonizing the FBI is that over the course of its century-plus existence, the FBI actually stood as one of America’s cultural bulwarks. States beyond traditional white, male, and Christian power structures. Hoover seemed to have fought a lifetime to preserve the distinctive “mom, baseball, apple pie” nostalgia that crystallized around the 1950s “Leave it to Beaver” idyll.

Hoover, who joined the Justice Department in 1919 as head of the “anti-extremist” division, has spent decades treating black writers and artists as subversive. The bureau compiled his 1,884-page report on James Baldwin. That “Cointelpro” program, under Hoover and his FBI Director of Domestic Intelligence William Sullivan, was founded by Martin Luther King Jr.

The FBI worried about John Lennon and the Beatles and tried to arrest Lennon on drug charges. And Hoover turned down a desired meeting with Elvis Presley just days after Richard Nixon took a bizarre photo with the rock legend at the White House. “

Given the FBI’s troubled history regarding race and ethnicity, it’s perhaps not surprising that nearly three-quarters of the FBI’s agent force remains white (and overwhelmingly male). Trump supporters tried to tar the bureau by pointing to critical anti-Trump text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and attorney Lisa Page, but the former president appears to have benefited from conservative agent ranks: Comey and agency executives pressured to release news that new emails linked to Hillary Clinton were uncovered in October 2016. said the information was leaked by an anti-Clinton agent in its New York field office. The Guardian on the day before the election.

Given this history, the president should be blamed for the fact that he and his supporters are in a bitter confrontation with the FBI over an attack at the FBI’s Cincinnati office earlier this month. It seems that there is no other. Trump supporters, Trump supporters who also attended the attack on the Capitol on January 6, are also protesting outside the FBI field office in Phoenix. These were his people – and he’s the one whose questionable behavior continues to attract the attention of the Bureau.

As for the bureau itself, the three most recent directors pushed unsuccessfully to hire a more diverse workforce that better reflects the countries the bureau serves. (In fact, Comey was attending a minority recruitment event in Los Angeles in 2017 when he learned from TV reports that Trump had fired him. Biased police following the murder of George Floyd McMillion, a 20-plus year veteran of the Bureau who was the only black investigator to attend his training class at the Quantico Academy in 1997, said the Bureau’s black investigator ranks exceeded 6%. It has long fought racism and sexism lawsuits.

By at least one measure, the agency remains the most “awake” force among federal agents. It is currently the only last of the top 12 federal law enforcement agencies, including Immigration, Customs Enforcement, Border Protection and Narcotics Enforcement. Enforcement management, Secret Service, park police — never had a woman or a person of color head an agency.