It would be easy for a person to attribute Comey and McCabe’s attitude to some special kind of malevolence. That person would be right and wrong. The rationale and reason for continuing such a program is not necessarily tied to evil intent. The end result, allowing a failed program to continue, is cynical, self serving, obstructive and counter productive. Their inaction is the perfect illustration of bureaucracy in action.
There is no such thing as a “good” bureaucracy, all one can hope for is one that is relatively benign. The original intent in creating a bureaucratic tentacle, is to support a particular mission. The bureaucrat is supposed to ensure that the assets (people, equipment and resources) are mission specific, focused and adequate for the purpose.
Therein lies the first problem. What if the resources allocated are not appropriate because the problem was imperfectly identified? Those residing outside a bureaucracy are thinking yeah, so what? Things change.
Things do change, but they change in different ways. Herbert Hoover said, build me a dam. He gave the engineers a fixed amount of money and a deadline. The engineers gave him a dam, under budget and prior to the deadline.
LBJ created a bureaucracy for a “Great Society.” Fifty-five years and billions of dollars later there is no tangible result.
Which program is the failure?
The goal lines moved between the time of dam building and the “Great Society.” Success in Hoover’s time was simple to measure. Is there a dam or not?
The folks that signed on to LBJ’s debacle couldn’t point to a tangible result. Father’s abandoning children, illegitimacy and rampant crime in the black community is not an achievement, even by liberal standards.
So liberal bureaucrats created procedures and focused on the process. Now bureaucrats could point to a checklist to demonstrate how they scrupulously followed procedures. It doesn’t matter that the set procedure didn’t achieve the desired result.
From a bureaucratic standpoint the “Great Society” is an astounding success. A starry eyed sociology major who signed on to the Great Society fantasy got a paycheck for twenty-plus years. Long retired that sociology major is anticipating the retirement of their children from the same program. Grand children are carrying on the family tradition. Three generations that never achieved a single tangible success. Bureaucracy at its best.
The FBI created a program. The goal was out of focus. It didn’t work as anticipated. The program didn’t produce the advertised results. However it created a fiefdom for an upper level bureaucrat. It increased the budget and manpower and kept a whole bunch of bureaucrats employed. The size of the project demonstrated the FBI commitment. This is the ultimate goal of a bureaucracy, entrench, expand, and exist.
Twenty-five years ago, bureaucrats in the Texas Narcotics Control Program (TNCP) decided that they didn’t like the reporting matrix used by the the task forces for reporting enforcement activity. These bureaucrats were national guard soldiers, and politicians posing as cops. Neither was familiar with how the criminal justice system worked. These rocket surgeons decided that tracking criminal indictments was the way to go.
They had the great unveiling at a commanders meeting. The creator of this new methodology had a Power Point presentation and multi-color handouts. The commanders were less than impressed and made that fact known during the question answer period that followed.
The commanders pointed out, via the questions that: defendants could waive indictment and request an examining trial. In the Federal system, a defendant could arrange a plea prior to indictment and gain consideration for acceptance and cooperation. The consideration would result in less time at sentencing. Federal Prosecutors had a tendency to go for multiple indictments, accept a plea on one and dismiss the remaining. State Prosecutors would do just the opposite indict on one charge and hold back on the others. All of these routine actions would skew the statistics the pogues were trying to gather. None of these actions fell within the control of the Task Force officers.
The developer of the indictment matrix deserves some credit for awareness. When confronted by these questions, he got a deer in the headlights look. He gulped and in a squeaky voice responded, “They can do that?” The great indictment matrix died right then and there.
Comey and his minions were faced with a choice. They could listen to the guy who ran the program. To do so would entail a critical look at the operation. Embarrassing questions might arise. Sweeping changes could result. All of that meant that Comey and McCabe might have to accept responsibility. Certainly they would have to make decisions and actually work. The other alternative would be to do nothing, no recriminations and no bad publicity.
Sometimes a conspiracy is a collection of individuals with bad intent. Sometimes a collection of individuals find one another and through stupidity, ineptitude, and stupidity achieve accidentally what would normally defy a plan. Without more information it is hard to tell which way this will fall.