It might sound a little vindictive to celebrate the firing of a career civil servant merely days before his pension rights kick in but there’s nothing vindictive at all about celebrating the firing of Andrew McCabe from the FBI. This is of course entirely and wholly political but in a good way. For there’s a very good argument that this is exactly what should happen to those members of the permanent government, that Deep State, who defy either the law or the orders of the elected government which sits above them.
Yes, this is true even if their defiance is in a good cause. The cause being just what makes their risks taken worth it of course.
Donald Trump has expressed his delight at the sacking of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, calling it a “great day for democracy”.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he sacked Mr McCabe two days before his scheduled retirement date on the recommendation of FBI disciplinary officials.
But the career FBI official said his dismissal was part of the Trump administration’s “ongoing war on the FBI” and Mueller investigation.
OK, maybe ongoing war, political infighting and so on. But what, actually, was the accusation?
Mr Sessions said in a statement that investigators “concluded that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorised disclosure to the news media and lacked candor – including under oath – on multiple occasions.”
Lacking candour under oath? What, edging right up close to perjury? We’d like to fire a law enforcement official who does that, right? Especially if they are taking part in a political war – while supposedly neutral civil servants – as they do so.
“The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and accountability,” Sessions said.
“As the OPR proposal stated, ‘all FBI employees know that lacking candor under oath results in dismissal and that our integrity is our brand’”.
It’s even in their employment contract. But there’s more to this. As Craig Pirrong points out:
“Les autres” in the FBI and the rest of the US intelligence and security apparatus have to know that they are accountable. Alas, the execrable, loathsome, abominable James Clapper has escaped accountability for his clear criminal conduct. Since he has escaped, all the more reason to let McCabe swing–for encouragement to others in the security state. To let those who operate in the shadows know that they are at risk if they cross the line. This is important, because there is every indication in the conduct of many of them that they believe that they can act with impunity, at no personal risk.
And thus the very Ecksian solution of firing him just before pension rights kick in – ensuring no Federal pension. The FBI running a system whereby being fired does mean that loss.
This could be, as it will, taken to be about which political cause was being supported and all that. But it’s really about who governs? And when those who don’t decide they do then, really, perhaps they should be punished? Thus the joy with which we greet McCabe having to shop for his meat in the cat food aisle in retirement. Pour encourager les autres.