- Events over the past few years have cast public doubt on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) commitment to the impartial administration of justice.
- Restoring America’s historic commitment to freedom and equality under the law requires reform measures to increase transparency and accountability within the FBI.
- Congress must exercise its oversight authorities to ensure that adequate reform measures are pursued.
The recently released Report on Matters Related to Intelligence Activities and Investigations Arising Out of the 2016 Presidential Campaigns—colloquially known as the Durham Report—provided perhaps the starkest evidence yet of the need for a substantial overhaul within the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), an overhaul designed to restore accountability, humility, and integrity within the institution itself.
Specifically, the Durham Report examined the consistency in the FBI’s application of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in how it handled intelligence reports related to the possibility of foreign adversaries’ attempts to influence political campaigns and how the FBI handled other “highly significant intelligence” concerning a “Clinton campaign plan ‘to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security services,’” among other considerations. The results of the Durham Reports’ findings were “sobering” (Durham Report, 2023).
Among other conclusions, the Durham Report found that, “The speed and manner in which the FBI opened and investigated Crossfire Hurricane [the name of the internal FBI investigation related to possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia] during the presidential election season based on raw, unanalyzed, and uncorroborated intelligence also reflected a noticeable departure from how it approached prior matters involving possible attempted foreign election interference plans aimed at the Clinton campaign” (Durham Report, 2023), confirming many of the concerns expressed by elected leaders and pundits over the apparent politicization of the investigative process (Singman & Laco, 2022).