Yes, he should have been fired with no pension - Public Domain

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.

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Bloke in North Dorset
Member

I was thinking about this loss of pension in a different context and derringer if it doesn’t fall foul of natural justice in some way? If someone commits the crime in the first year of employment the loss of pension is negligible but in their 30th year its massive, so the two punishments aren’t equal for the same crime. In this case he was quite senior so should have been aware of the punishment so I its probably OK, but if he’d just been another plodding bureaucrat who hadn’t risen to such exalted ranks would it be different? Not that… Read more »

napsjam
Member
napsjam

“Lacking candor under oath” is a very curious phrase. As is “edging right up close to perjury” – it’s like tax evasion – it is or it isn’t. Especially when a lawyer and career law enforcement officer is questioned under oath by another lawyer. So careful here – this still smells like personal vindictiveness rather than a principled, impartial application of the rules.

James in NZ
Guest
James in NZ

Remember it wasn’t Trump that sacked him; it was the Attorney General, under the recommendation of the, fiercely independent, Office of Professional Responsibility. The OPR thought that McCabe’s conduct had met the threshold to be dismissed without pension rights, and so he was dismissed. Not to do so would have been political; sacking him is upholding the independence of the OPR.

However, you won’t hear about that in the anti-Trump mainstream media.

NiV
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NiV

I think “lacking candor” is the FBI terminology for lying. The FBI’s ethical standards demand candor – not just telling the truth, but also not misleading by omission, making statements that are technically true but give the wrong impression, or making weaselly evasions. Saying “lacking candor” doesn’t necessarily mean he didn’t tell an actual untruth, it just means the FBI rules he’s been fired under demand firing for other types of dishonesty, too. The career FBI investigators phrased it this way in their report and recommended firing. If it had been some low-ranking nobody, there’d have been no question. He’d… Read more »

napsjam
Member
napsjam

Like dumb insolence in the British Army? If so, I take it back. Senior guy gets done for playing silly buggers: good.

Tim Newman
Member

Of course, the narrative quickly being established by the media is that losing is pension is punishment enough and no criminal charges should be brought to bear.

Kevin B
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Kevin B

General Flynn was sacked from the administration and eventually pled guilty to perjury for lying to the FBI. He’s just sold his house to pay his legal fees. The circumstances of his offense and the way it was prosecuted are pretty murky and appear to involve our old friend Strzok, his girlfriend and the judge who accepted his guilty plea, (and who also granted the FISA warrant to spy on the WH), getting together for a dinner party to discuss the case. Strzok is the agent who turned up to a meeting with Flynn without telling him it was a… Read more »

Dongguan John
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Dongguan John

He was planning on retiring on his 50th birthday. Alright for some, isn’t it?

Gamecock
Guest
Gamecock

‘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.’

Do we know that for a fact? Everywhere I worked you became vested at a certain age, but you were always partially vested. Had I been fired 2 days before becoming fully vested, I would have received 99% of my pension, anyway.

I assume this is the American way. Yes, the FBI could be different, but it would be different.

Spike
Member

The Washington Post reported that he would lose “some” of his pension, and could sue to get that back. On the other hand, he is still at risk of being charged with a crime. (Cue the lawyers wailing that he has been “punished enough.”)

Tommydog
Guest
Tommydog

Yeah, that seems to make sense. The firing will cost him, but probably not everything.

9239benaud
Member
9239benaud

He loses his 70% law enforcement loading and delay’s eligibility from 50 to 57.

McCabe also loses health benefits. So its a massive but not total decrease in the pension value.

bloke in spain
Member
bloke in spain

“If someone commits the crime in the first year of employment the loss of pension is negligible but in their 30th year its massive, so the two punishments aren’t equal for the same crime”

But isn’t this rather how one would want it to work? The higher up the ladder one gets the more the stake one has in sticking to the rules. Skin in the game.
It’s one of the problems the UK bureaucracy has. The further up the ladder the greater the immunity.

Spike
Member

Yes, someone who perjures himself before Congress in his 30th year of service (most but not all in the FBI) has a greater penalty for not knowing better. In this posturing, namby-pamby government, where everyone is against funding for Planned Parenthood, Public Broadcasting, the ethanol boondoggle, and the Export-Import Bank of Boeing, but they all live on, I am delighted to learn that someone, especially Jeff “Nice Guy” Sessions, has made a decision that will actually cost someone serious money. McCabe may have been the ringleader of the FBI gang that conspired to deceive a judge at the Peru-style secret… Read more »

Spike
Member

PS – I was listening to the Pension Death Watch on conservative talk radio in Boston and New York, where the hosts and callers decided long ago that Sessions is a go-along-to-get-along Good Ole Boy. The decision came down at the same time WABC turned to its usual Friday evening fare, pre-recorded interviews with authors of history books. Again, a pleasant surprise this morning.

Tommydog
Guest
Tommydog

Oh jeez. McCabe is 49, turning 50 tomorrow when he was going to retire. Ridiculous.

jgh
Member
jgh

Can he appeal against his firing? He only needs to submit the appeal, and by the time the appeal is heard the required two days will have passed.

Mohave Greenie
Member
Mohave Greenie

Unfortunately that may be true. He can appeal his dismissal to the Merit Systems Protection Board. The record of this Board is that it usually finds for the fired civil servant; staffed as it is by career civil servants.

So we will end up with the big news that he was fired. A couple of years from now there will be a small announcement that McCabe was wrongly dismissed and he will get back pay with interest from the time of the firing until the date of the Board decision.

So Much For Subtlety
Guest
So Much For Subtlety

Flynn was charged and ruined for a possibly inadvertent lie to the FBI. Scooter Libby was jailed for no real lie at all.

I want to see McCabe charged. I want to see him prosecuted. I want to see him sell his house to pay for his lawyers. And I dare say I would not be unhappy if he was put in Gen Seg with a bunch of gang banging Homies.

He fought the President illegally and the President won. Jail time beckons.