The video had all the markings of a pre-dawn “knock and announce” arrest warrant on a meth lab somewhere in the United States. There were some two dozen federal agents donning tactical body armor and toting long guns. Surely, they were going in with overwhelming force to take down armed and violent criminals. Yet, what was CNN doing there and why were they being allowed to film in such a dangerous environment?
In the light of day, the situation began to make itself clear. This raid was not a message by law enforcement to one of the Mexican cartels or MS13, it was not intended for ISIS or “the mob.” In fact, it was a visceral message, as former federal prosecutor Paul Butler so aptly put it, sent by Mueller to Roger Stone, former Trump campaign strategist, and his deaf wife, “This is personal.”
To witness the bureau being hijacked by Mueller’s office and forced to flex its muscles in an inordinate show of force against another harmless and purportedly white-collar criminal was perplexing. The manner, timing, resources and manpower used to effect Stone’s arrest bordered on the surreal. And while Mueller and his minions may have been within their right to execute an arrest warrant in such a manner, their indifference to the optics of this “reality show arrest” is baffling. (RELATED: Why Did Christopher Wray Allow Mueller’s Thugs To Use 29 FBI Agents On Roger Stone?)
Former FBI agents will tell you that when they arrested these types of individuals, it wasn’t done this way. In their FBI, in my FBI, the prosecutor would have requested that Stone self-surrender at an appointed time and date. Back then, the FBI displayed professionalism and common sense while refraining from malice. What changed?
In speaking with current and former FBI agents about the Friday morning incident, three questions have been raised and need to be answered by FBI Director Christopher Wray: 1) Why the tactical presence for such a puny threat? 2) How did CNN manage to film the arrest? 3) Has the bureau lost its way?
The embarrassing jackbooted tactics almost certainly were sanctioned by FBI Director Wray who, having replaced James Comey, was initially seen by the rank and file as his “own man” but now seems to be Mueller’s errand boy. Wray has been quick to vent his displeasure to the president yet remains strangely quiet when it comes to Bob Mueller. (RELATED: Roger Stone’s Indictment Shows Mueller Isn’t Looking For Justice)
A former FBI agent colleague wryly pointed out, “Looks like Roger Stone was a real threat. Fortunately, he didn’t attack the CNN reporters who were at his house an hour before the FBI got there.”
Other former FBI agents feel that the hard-earned reputation and their sacrifices over the years continues to diminish before their very eyes.
Regrettably, the FBI finds itself being hijacked for political purposes. The men and women of the FBI who day in and day out come to work to protect the citizens of this country, did not sign up for this type of work. Because of the overt manipulation of the FBI and its recent political weaponization, the American public is losing respect for what was once considered the premiere law enforcement agency in the world.
Kenneth Strange served on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Newark, New Jersey and as Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General in Los Angeles. He is now the vice president of business development for an international investigative services company.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.