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OpinionColumnistsMike Vogel

Though battered, FBI is still keeping us safe

The bureau, while not perfect, has worked diligently for years to protect America.

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before a House

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before a House Judiciary Committee in late June. Photo Credit: AP / Andrew Harnik

On Wednesday, the people of Cleveland got to watch their Fourth of July parade and fireworks in safety, thanks to the FBI.

FBI officials said Demetrius Pitts, an American citizen also known as Abdur Raheem Rafeeq who has expressed support for al-Qaida, was allegedly scouting locations to launch a bomb attack, including Cleveland’s Fourth of July parade.

Pitts also allegedly talked to an undercover FBI agent about giving remote-control cars packed with explosives to children of those in the U.S. military. He was arrested on Monday.

But that’s the work the FBI has been quietly and mostly effectively doing since 9/11. Last Christmas, the agency said it thwarted an attack by Everitt Aaron Johnson, an Islamic State-inspired tow-truck driver and ex-Marine who allegedly plotted to blow up a crowded San Francisco pier. Johnson had hailed the Oct. 31, 2017, attack in New York City in which an ISIS sympathizer plowed a pickup truck into a bike path, killing eight people.

The FBI, while not perfect, has worked diligently for years to protect us in this way. So why is the president of the United States constantly bashing the FBI and other U.S. intelligence agencies trying to protect us? Because U.S. intelligence discovered that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election, and may have colluded with the Trump campaign to do so. The president recently called the investigation of such collusion “a political hit job” and talked darkly of a “deep state” conspiracy against him.

Constantly bashing and denigrating U.S. intelligence agencies while praising Russian President Vladimir Putin (“He said he didn’t meddle”) and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un (“He’s got a great personality”) undermines the morale and effectiveness of the agencies.

“The FBI is in tatters?” former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates tweeted. “No. The only thing in tatters is the President’s respect for the rule of law. The dedicated men and women of the FBI deserve better.”

So while you might not hear this much lately, thank God for the FBI, and other U.S. intelligence agents working daily to keep us safe from enemies foreign and domestic.

BTW, what was the response from our president to the FBI preventing a disaster this week?

Crickets.

Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at newyorkgritty.net.

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