Once upon a time, the United States was in the midst of a series of violent crime waves. Cities were being hit with robberies, government corruption and countless other criminal challenges. Something had to be done to battle the infestation of criminal activity and the challenge fell into the hands of President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt knew that he could not rely on the Secret Service alone to deal with the growing criminal element hitting hundreds of major American cities.
Recognizing the need for a strong government organization, Roosevelt created the Department of Investigation in 1908. He needed a tough straight shooter for the monumental job of fighting crime and corruption. He reached out to a well-known and vigilant anti-crime voice and chose Charles Bonaparte, the grandnephew of the French emperor. Bonaparte built the department man-by-man until he had the nucleus of a small army whose job was to take on crime.
The Department of Investigation eventually grew into what we now know is the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI started out as an agency dedicated to wipe out domestic crime. As observers of the America scene, many of us will remember such names as Al Capone, John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and the notorious Bonnie and Clyde. All of them were the targets of the FBI and without that organization; those criminals would have been long time success stories. Do you recall agent Elliot Ness? I do.
In time, the FBI turned its efforts towards domestic terrorism and then international criminals. To combat the rise in international terrorism, the Congress passed the Espionage Act and the role of the FBI grew by leaps and bounds. Today’s FBI has over 35,000 agents who quietly and efficiently protect the nation’s 350 million people around the clock. The purpose of this mini-history lesson is to bluntly state that former President Donald Trump owes this agency a public apology.
Mr. Trump bitterly resents the fact that after 18 months of stonewalling the Department of Justice over his possession of hundreds of documents market “highly classified” and “classified,” the FBI, at the request of the DOJ, entered Mr. Trump’s Florida property and seized those papers, which by law are not his property. Once upon a time Mr. Trump showered the FBI with praise for their “fine work.”
Now that he is a private citizen, just like all of us, he calls the FBI a “criminal enterprise,” “corrupt,” “sleazy” and “abusive.” He has promoted violence against FBI agents and has revealed names of agents who are now the target of the right wing conspiracy promoters. Donald Trump owes America and the FBI a humble apology, not crude attacks on one of the world’s greatest law enforcement agencies.
Former State Assemblyman Jerry Kremer is a columnist for Anton Media Group and partner at Ruskin Moscou Faltischek in Uniondale. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher or Anton Media Group.