Amid Comey chaos, lessons from the history of America’s secret police

Hundreds of people lined up in the marble hallways of a Senate office building hoping to get one of the 88 public seats in Room 216, where James Comey, the FBI director who President Donald Trump fired over the Russia investigation, was scheduled to testify at 10 am.

That was at 8:30 am. Then more came. Some of the people waiting in the winding line said they arrived at 4 am. Nearby bars opened early and, for once, it seemed like reporters and senators were the only people in Washington not day-drinking. But it was serious shit.

Comey said that Trump asked him for loyalty. It freaked the then-director out—because if the FBI is not independent of political factions, it becomes a secret police force abetting tyranny or totalitarian control.

Read the column in DigBoston, Little Village, Washington City Paper, Baltimore City Paper, Planet Jackson Hole, Forth Worth Weekly, Charleston City Paper, Flagpole, Colorado Springs Independent, and more.

By | 2017-07-06T19:09:34+00:00 June 21st, 2017|

About the Author:

Baynard Woods
Baynard Woods founded Democracy in Crisis. He is editor at large at the Baltimore City Paper. His work has also appeared in the Guardian, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Vox, Salon, McSweeney’s, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. He is the author of the book “Coffin Point: The Strange Cases of Ed McTeer, Witchdoctor Sheriff,” about a white sheriff who used hoodoo to govern a largely black county for 37 years. He earned a Ph.D. in philosophy, focusing on ethics and tyranny and became a reporter in an attempt to live like Socrates. He wrote the libretto for Rhymes with Opera’s climate-change opera film “Adam’s Run.”