Tuesday, September 16, 2008

FBI = Fugacious Blindsiding Insult

The House Judiciary Committee held an FBI oversight hearing today, one they had prepared for by sending the FBI Director a set of specific questions. FBI Director Mueller appeared at the hearing - the sole witness - and blithely declined to answer those questions; instead, he provided this boilerplate written statement and then blew off the Committee's surprised responses.

Here's Salon.com's reaction to today's hearing:

But after just an hour of the hearing, it is painfully clear that -- as is true in virtually all of these hearings now before a pitifully powerless Congress -- Mueller won't provide the Committee with even a single answer of import, won't even pretend to, and the Committee has no intent to compel him to do so. Indeed, the hearing began with an angry statement from Chairman Conyers about the fact that the FBI, in general, simply ignores all inquiries for information and answers from the Committee for months and months and months and then shows up at these hearings unprepared to answer even the questions they are advised will be asked, knowing that each member only has five minutes and can't actually accomplish anything.

In response, Mueller, with palpable boredom at Conyer's angry outburst, dutifully recited a series of standard bureaucratic buzz-phrases about how the FBI endeavors to respond to the Committee's inquiries as promptly and fully as possible, how he is happy to meet with Committee members to address their concerns, how the need to carefully scrutinize the Bureau's responses makes delays inevitable, etc. etc. In response, Conyers literally pleaded with Mueller to be more forthcoming in the future, observed that the hearing was likely to be worthless -- it's certainly hard to argue with that -- and then assured Mueller that Conyers "wasn't trying to force you to give this information." Your impotent Congress in a nutshell. (The oversight joke)

It never ceases to amaze me how the FBI gets away with this sort of nonsense.

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