Author Margot Cleveland rightly pointed out that the most damning revelation in Special Counsel John Durham’s extensive report is not solely the FBI’s controversial investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign, known as Crossfire Hurricane, but instead, the disturbing abuse of power detailed in the report cannot be rectified unless there is a fundamental change in the mindset and values of law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
Cleveland emphasizes that while the FBI’s biased actions, disregard for exculpatory evidence, and deceptive tactics to obtain FISA warrants on Trump campaign associates were deeply concerning, the true cause for alarm lies in Durham’s warning of corrupted hearts and minds within these agencies. These individuals have strayed from their duty to serve the people and uphold the Constitution, which should deeply trouble the nation.
Durham rightly concludes that implementing new rules or policies within the FBI is not the answer, as no amount of reform can be effective if those in power continue to ignore and violate existing guidelines whenever it suits their purposes. He asserts that the solution lies in a renewed commitment to the agency’s core principles of “Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity.” Merely adding more rules and regulations, and conducting additional training sessions, would be futile if these principles were not ingrained in the hearts and minds of those entrusted with protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.
Both Durham and Cleveland correctly highlight the terrifying abuse of power in the report. It is alarming because it reveals an attempted coup by the FBI in 2016 and raises concerns about preventing similar abuses in the future. We witnessed similar abuses of power during the 2020 election when active and former CIA officials interfered by suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop story. Such abuses are likely to continue in future presidential elections, posing a grave threat to our democracy.
These abuses within our law enforcement and intelligence agencies constitute a mortal danger to the nation, and it is crucial to view the Durham report in this context. However, Durham’s damning indictment of the DOJ and FBI extends beyond these specific agencies and the federal government. This report reveals a great deal about the state of the nation when both former FBI Director James Comey, and former CIA Director John Brennan, along with numerous other wrongdoers described in the report, rose to positions of power but also misused that power by assuming the authority to decide who should serve as president, a right reserved exclusively for the American people.
This situation reveals that we have produced, and continue to produce, an entirely corrupt elite devoid of any sense of “Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity,” not to mention moral virtue or a commitment to the common good. Frankly, an elite of this nature renders self-government in a republic of free citizens impossible. Furthermore, this elite will strive to corrupt ordinary Americans, eroding their respect for the rule of law and their fidelity to the Constitution. The fate of the elites ultimately determines the fate of the entire country.
When seen from this perspective, Durham’s report should be viewed as a dire warning. As John Adams famously stated, the Constitution was designed for moral and religious people. It could not be used for the government of any other people. George Washington echoed this sentiment in his farewell address, proclaiming that “Virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.”
The founders understood something we seem to have forgotten. Without virtuous citizens and leaders who believe in objective moral truth and recognize their obligation to uphold it, we cannot sustain a free society or a republic. Laws alone, not to mention guidelines and policies, are insufficient to support and preserve self-government. We require citizens who will respect and uphold the law and leaders who genuinely embrace the principle of self-government—an ideal that our current leaders reject.
According to the founders, we will inevitably devolve into a society of individuals enslaved by an authoritarian regime without a morally virtuous citizenry. This is the true warning conveyed by the Durham report. The corruption within the FBI, CIA, and the entire federal intelligence community, which resulted in the Russia collusion hoax and nearly toppled Trump’s campaign and presidency, cannot be remedied by implementing new rules and policies alone. It represents a moral and ethical failure that can only be addressed through a spiritual reawakening in America—a return to, let’s be honest, a civic culture shaped and guided by Christian moral virtue.
Viewing the Durham report as merely exposing a handful of bad actors within the federal intelligence agencies may be tempting. This isn’t the whole story, however. Figures like Comey and Brennan and the multitude of corrupt agents and bureaucrats under their purview were products of an American society that has lost its moral compass. We have strayed from the principles that underpin our system of government and foster virtue within our citizenry.
Implementing new rules and regulations or defunding and dismantling the FBI will not suffice. We will gradually descend into tyranny unless we rediscover the moral virtue necessary for self-government. When we look back on the Durham report, we will recognize that it serves as an indictment not only of the FBI but of all of us—an omen signaling the demise of our republic.