The Institutional Failure that created Peter Strzok: We must name and face evil, even if it means destroying the FBI

I met Newt Gingrich at a Cincinnati rally for Donald Trump during the summer of 2016. I didn’t make much of it at the time because I typically keep discretion a priority. I don’t write about everything that happens in my life, let me just put it that way. People tell me things and sometimes I report them, and other times I keep a lid on it because I’m a trustworthy person like that. But meeting Newt, a guy I have watched from afar for a long time—decades, was an interesting experience. As a seasoned veteran I respected his intellect—after all, he is considered one of the best historical scholars of our time. Yet when I shook his hand I couldn’t help but feel that I was more aware of what was going on in the world than he was—and he had the future president’s ear as a unique and trusted advisor. So it came as a little bit of a confirmation when I heard him say on the Sean Hannity Show that it was at the moment that Peter Strzok’s released bias on the Hillary Clinton FBI investigation was reported that Newt realized just how in trouble we all have been. I’ve known it and written about it for a very long time—but all that effort was considered fringy just a few years ago. Now we are learning that I have always been right on target. That’s no surprise to the people who know me best, but to people who do have faith in their institutions—which Newt Gingrich does—they just weren’t ready to accept such a tragic consideration before the election of Donald Trump revealed it for all to see. Our FBI, and many other government institutions have been corrupt to the core and this requires action out of us all to rectify the situation.

People never live up to my expectations when I meet them in real life. Television and our media industry have a way of making people seem bigger than they really are—it’s the mystic of entertainment. In some regards politics is entertainment. I knew meeting Newt would lower my opinion of him not by any fault of his—its just what happens typically when I meet people. They fall short of my expectations—which I’ll admit are quite lofty. Even with that in mind it surprised me to learn with all the experience that Newt Gingrich had in government that he was so naïve to just really fathom how corrupt the FBI could be. I suppose it’s better late than never, but as a person at the front of the train, Newt should know better—and if he doesn’t—many people are far worse off.

Over the Holidays or in business engagements I avoid talking about these types of discussions—because many people just aren’t ready to admit it. Institutional trust is something that is a predicate to the human experience. I would argue that we are meant to eclipse that addiction, but as things stand in the early 21st Century, humans love their institutions—and they need to trust organizations like the FBI. They need to know that someone is watching over them and protecting them from hostilities so that they can go about their lives taking their kids to soccer practice and picking out a new watch at Dillard’s with a clean mind free of such worries. Maybe it was my early experience with the police that taught me otherwise. I learned very early in life that cops were doing their jobs and they were like anybody else—there were slackers, perverts, power-hungry misfits and incompetents who wore the badge and they were way too easily prone to corruption if it meant a few more dollars in their pocket for the strip joint down the road.

I lived next to a cop from Hamilton while I lived in Mason, Ohio who was one of the most corrupt and idiotic people I’ve ever met. His kids were little punks who grew up to be disasters. Their life path was obvious early and this guy thought he knew it all and was living a life beyond question because he wore the badge. I was the only guy in our neighborhood who didn’t fear that badge and he hated me for it—and we fought and fought and fought as long as we lived next to each other. I’ve known a lot of cops, and I’ve known FBI agents, and many others in law enforcement and like Newt Gingrich they never lived up to my expectations of what a representative of law and order should be. Admittingly I expect Superman with each person dedicated to law enforcement—so when they fall short, I’m very unforgiving—and that’s likely part of my problem with them. I live my life as much like Superman as I can, and I expect the same out of them. That is also why most people disappoint me when I meet them in person, because media has a way of creating the illusion that people are bigger and better than they are—and when I meet them I do expect them to be supermen, whether they are women or men. I expect them to be trying to be literal Titans on planet earth if they carry with them celebrity status. But to my experience, that is never true, people are often just people and they are disappointing in their ambitions.

My expectations free me to a large extent to see the FBI, the CIA and many other institutional organizations for what they really are—because I don’t feel compelled to live an illusion as to their value. I expect there to be losers like Peter Strzok working in the FBI who are every bit as corrupt and small-minded as that stupid cop who lived next to me in Mason, Ohio. Just because somebody gave them a badge doesn’t mean they are beyond criticism or expectation as to their personal behavior. The institution which employees them is not greater than their individual merits. To me it was always obvious that people like Peter Strzok and James Comey were working to free Clinton of her charges. It wasn’t always obvious that Comey was involved—he played a good game, but the evidence was abundant when Hillary turned in all those deleted hard drives and nothing happened. I’m not a lawyer—although I could be if I wanted to be—but at that moment a felony had occurred and Comey just let it pass. Experience said something was wrong—its just that people didn’t want to see it.

That dirty cop I mentioned had girlfriends, yet his wife didn’t want to confront him about it, because he was making a damn good living off the backs of tax payers. His kids would brag to my kids how his father would get blow jobs to get girls out of traffic tickets as if they thought that would impress them because they happened to be little girls at the time. They were a despicable family full of evil, but because he parked a cop car in the driveway the neighbors treated him like a member of the royal family—always going out of their way to massage his ego and make him feel important hoping to keep any suspicious eyes off their lives from the authority figure in the neighborhood. Everyone knew the guy was an evil bastard, but nobody wanted to say the words because the reality of that shook the faith they needed to have in their law enforcement institutions. As weak little humans, they needed to trust the man with the badge even if he was an asshole running with the devil.

That’s what this Peter Strzok forces us to do finally however, and it’s a positive thing. If Newt is just now realizing the seriousness of the situation, then that’s good, because others will now follow. But we must name this evil. We must face it. And we have to destroy the evil if we really want to have a good country again. I have written two novels dedicated to the topic of justice and in both corrupt public officials are part of the impediment toward a society of civility. The problem with police, the CIA, the FBI and other government institutions is that the people who staff those positions are fallible. Yet to appease our needs for institutional protection we tend to provide blanket value assessments giving them all a free pass of righteousness—when they deserve far less. There are a lot of Peter Strzoks working out there in the world—on every police force, within the FBI and the CIA—and all over the military. While the institutions of those protective agencies are supposed to represent valor, and protection—the positions are often filled with lazy, evil little people drunk on their own power. We don’t want to throw out the institutional value, but the only way we get the right people on those jobs is to smoke them out of hiding when we find out they are vile people. And with Strzok, we have no choice but to prosecute that son-of-a-bitch to the furthest extent of the law. What is left of the FBI after might be worth rebuilding—but only if the employees desire to be supermen themselves. Nothing less is acceptable.

Rich Hoffman

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