The FBI’s Creepy Non-Answers

From the Tom Woods Letter:

I remember a time not too long ago — just a handful of years, in fact — when criticizing or calling for the abolition of the FBI would have seemed like the kind of thing only a lunatic would do.

Since then, things have changed.

Not on the left, I’m sorry to say: the establishment left, at least, adores the FBI and the rest of the alphabet agencies. These are the people whose slogan, if you can believe it, used to be “question authority.”

(Please do not write to tell me “there’s no such thing as left and right.” Oh, there most certainly is.)

Let’s review a couple of excerpts from congressional testimony from the past couple of days.

First, Senator Rand Paul asked the FBI’s Christopher Wray about illegal data harvesting by the agency, and received no straight answer. He was asking about the FBI “obtaining anonymous social media data and then using technical methods to pierce the anonymous nature of the data.”

This exchange ensued:

Wray: Anonymous social media data?

Paul: So you purchase data. People purchase data all the time, and we sort of tolerate it for advertising and things, because it’s anonymous data. Are you purchasing what is said to be anonymous data through the marketplace and then piercing the anonymous nature to attach individual names to that data?

Wray: Right. When you asked about anonymous data, I was thinking more in terms of —

Paul: No, I’m talking about data that is out there, and are you purchasing data and then piercing the anonymous nature of that data?

Wray: So the manner in which we use, we usually use the term commercial data, is probably longer than I could explain here. But again, let me have a —

Paul: So you will not answer the question of whether or not you’re attaching names to anonymous data?

Wray: I think it’s a more complicated answer than I can give here.

Paul: So so far we’re 0 for 2 with getting you to answer this, but you’re pledging you will actually answer the question. Because you have to realize the frustration: we’ll write you a letter and your team of lawyers will write back a 15-page letter that says nothing, and you won’t answer the question. These are very specific. This is whether you’re obeying the law or whether we can have confidence. I want to have confidence in the FBI.

Wray: We are obeying the law.

Paul: Well, you’re saying that, but you won’t tell us the answer.

Wray: I said, that’s not what I —

Paul: No, you aren’t telling me the answer. Are you collecting data not compelled by a warrant? That would not be in compliance with the law. But you won’t answer that you’re not collecting that data.

Wray: I said two things. One, we’re following the law, and second, that we would have somebody follow up with you with more detailed specifics.

Paul: Those are two specific questions. Are you getting data from them that’s not compelled? And then are you piercing the anonymous nature of that technically.

On Tuesday we had this exchange, between Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) and Director Wray:

Higgins: Did the FBI have confidential human sources embedded within the January 6th protesters and on January 6th of 2021?

Wray: Well, Congressman, as I’m sure you can appreciate, I have to be very careful about what I can say about when —

Higgins: Even now? Because that’s what you told us two years ago.

Wray: May I finish? About when we do and do not and where we have and have not used confidential human sources. But to the extent that there’s a suggestion, for example, that the FBI’s confidential human sources or FBI employees in some way instigated or orchestrated January 6th, that’s categorically false.

Higgins: Did you have confidential human sources dressed as Trump supporters inside the Capitol on January the 6th, prior to the doors being open?

Wray: Again, I have to be very careful.

Higgins: It should be a no. Can you not tell the American people no, we did not have confidential human sources dressed as Trump supporters positioned inside the Capitol?

Wray: You should not read anything into my decision not to share information about confidential human sources.

Senator Josh Hawley also had a contentious exchange with Wray.

Here’s the punchline, though: unless Republicans actually do something, as opposed to scolding the FBI director in hearings, life will continue as before, and the FBI will have confirmed what it already suspected: the GOP is a paper tiger.

Prove me wrong, GOP. Prove me wrong.

One thing we can be virtually sure the politicians won’t fix, either because they don’t understand it or they don’t have the strength to fight the source of the problem, is price inflation.

Last month my School of Life program got a special presentation on how to insure yourself against price inflation. It was given by the heroic Larry Lepard, who in 2008 spent $200,000 of his own money on newspaper ads in support of Ron Paul.

He is a brilliant guy, and has had an uncanny knack with money for as long as I’ve known him.

The topic is important to all of us, so I’ve taken it out from behind the paywall and I’m letting anyone watch it. You don’t have to enter an email address or anything. Just click the link below and watch (but also watch the Q&A period after the formal presentation, because there are lots of specifics in there):

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