This comes out of the Oregon Bundy siege. A FBI agent is being charged with lying in the shooting of a man who was part of the Bundy crew. The shooting was questionable, as it lends to the abuse of power that the history of the FBI over the decades. But even if it was a good shoot, why did the agent lie? That’s just dumb. And it insulted the local Sheriff to boot.
The FBI agent charged Wednesday with lying about firing his gun during a deadly confrontation during the 2016 Oregon-Bundy standoff may be only the tip of the iceberg.
Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson had harsh criticism Wednesday for multiple members of the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, saying that their actions during the 41-day siege with supporters of the anti-federal Bundy family had “damaged the integrity of the entire law enforcement profession, which makes me both disappointed and angry.”
His comments came during a press conference after FBI agent W. Joseph Astarita pleaded not guilty to three counts of making false statements and two counts of obstruction of justice in federal court in Portland.
But the sheriff didn’t stop with Mr. Astarita.
He said that he told Justice Department and FBI officials, including now-acting Director Andrew McCabe, over a year ago about “possible criminal conduct by some involved FBI HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) agents.”
“I was disappointed when I recently heard FBI HRT agents associated with this case were not placed on administrative leave after the briefing by our investigators to FBI administration,” said Sheriff Nelson. “Today’s indictment will ensure that the defendant and hopefully any other culpable FBI HRT members will be held accountable through the justice process.”
George Orwell wrote a book years ago called “Animal Farm”. It was a satire of the USSR. In the book the pigs, representing the authorities inside the USSR, had a rule they followed. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
The feds say the charges of lying to impede an investigation do not invalidate the conclusion that shooting the Bundy friend was not justified. However, it does taint the issue. How do we know we are getting the straight scoop about anything any more?
The charges “do not in any way call into question the findings of the major incident team’s investigation of OSP’s use of deadly force,” said Mr. Williams. “OSP’s actions were justified and necessary in protecting officer safety.”
Outside the courthouse, Finicum family friend Kelli Stewart said the agent should have been charged with more serious offenses, including conspiracy and attempted murder.
“He and the other FBI agents literally conspired to impede a federal investigation,” said Ms. Stewart in a Facebook video. “They hid the fact that shots were fired, and here we waited 17 months just for a simple indictment to come down. So while we’re happy that something is happening, it feels a little like the people are being simply pacified.”
She noted that Mr. Astarita was released after the arraignment instead of being held in custody.
“If I fired a weapon at somebody else and lied about it and hid the evidence as he did, just even as a civilian, I’d be facing a lot of charges, and I’d be in handcuffs,” said Ms. Stewart, adding that “justice has not been served today.”
Sheriff Nelson thanked U.S. Inspector General Michael Horowitz and his team for “tirelessly searching for the facts in this case.”
“His office will also conduct thorough administrative review to identify any areas of improvement that will help eliminate any mistakes made by the FBI in the future and increase transparency for federal law enforcement,” said Sheriff Nelson.
The woman has a point. In the end, the big government “we do no wrong” approach to this and other critical events- like lying about a President being under investigation or having Rice’s unmasking paperwork suddenly get transferred to Obama’s presidential library – will undermine the trust to the point where the people will not comply, and that’s the real loss here.
How does a government function when the people are convinced their leaders are lying corrupt scumbags, and the media along with them?
The answer is- it does not. That’s scary.