At the Wisconsin Film Festival this year I saw Secrecy
. In my review, I mentioned how the movie argued that secrecy was used by government agencies to preserve and expand their power. And now we have a very recent real-life example of this.
Wired is reporting
that in 2005 the FBI delayed a terrorist investigation in order to avoid judicial oversight.Counterterrorism officials in FBI headquarters slowed an investigation into a possible conspirator in the 2005 London bombings by forcing a field agent to return documents acquired from a U.S. university. Why? Because the agent received the documents through a lawful subpoena, while headquarters wanted him to demand the records under the USA Patriot Act, using a power the FBI did not have, but desperately wanted.
The documents shed new light on how senior FBI officials' determination to gain independence from judicial oversight slowed its own investigation, and led the bureau's director to offer inaccurate testimony to Congress.
Will heads roll? Will conservatives denounce this power grab which delayed an investigation into terrorism? I suspect not. I also suspect we'll see it spun as an extraordinary measure taken in the name of national defense and blamed on Democrats.