Is The OIG and Michael Horowitz Our Best Hope?

Department of Justice Inspector General, Michael HorowitzOur constitutional republic is predicated upon the rule of law.  We stand to lose the republic and our freedoms when those who have been entrusted with power utilize that power, not for the public good, but rather for personal political gain.  As we learn from the Declaration of Independence,  “Governments are instituted among Men” to secure our inalienable rights to  “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”.
There are huge issues regarding protections of our basic freedoms that confront us today.  We have continued to allow both the growth of power and intrusions on our liberties in the name of security.  The belief that such power will always be employed benignly is naive.  The Founding Fathers understood this in creating “checks and balances” with one center of power to offset another.  Fortunately, as government has grown, there have been those who also understood that there needed to be additional checks on growing power that has been granted.
Existing institutions seem to have misused power we have granted to maintain our security.  The ideas of a “secret” court that issues warrants out of public scrutiny, the monitoring of private citizens and “unmasking” them for political gain, the use of political research to unleash the power of government to crush someone’s life, liberty and pursuit of happiness at one time would have been unimaginable.  Yet these have become part of American life.  We are at a dangerous moment in history if such abuse of power is not rooted out, the perpetrators brought to justice and such future conduct is deterred.
Huge segments of the American public do not trust the traditional actors for this task. The question arises:  does such an actor exist?  As little trust exists for those who are well known, the public should take time to seek out others that may hold a key.
Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice
At this moment in time, the future of the Republic seems to be in the hands of the Department of Justice Inspector General, Michael Horowitz.   It was the work of Mr. Horowitz’ office that lead to the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for lying to investigators under oath.  You can access and read the entire report here.  Mr. Horowitz’ office has sent the report on McCabe to Department of Justice prosecutors for consideration of criminal charges.
In light of the recent release of former FBI Director James Comey’s memos regarding his interactions with President Trump, Inspector General Horowitz has commenced an investigation into Mr. Comey as well for possible violations relating to the release of classified material. You can access and read the memos here.
The Inspector General investigates many issues at the Department of Justice.  Of greatest public interest is the soon expected report on the conduct of the FBI and Department of Justice related to the 2016 presidential election.  The OIG website outlines the scope of that investigation as follows:
Review of Allegations Regarding Various Actions by the Department of Justice and the FBI in Advance of the 2016 Election
The OIG, in response to Congressional and other requests, is reviewing allegations regarding various actions by the Department and the FBI in advance of the 2016 election. The review will examine whether the Department and the FBI followed policies or procedures in connection with, or in actions leading up to or related to, the FBI Director’s public announcement on July 5, 2016, and the Director’s letters to Congress on October 28 and November 6, 2016, and whether certain underlying investigative decisions were based on improper considerations. The review also will examine allegations that the FBI Deputy Director should have been recused from participating in certain investigative matters, that the Department’s Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs improperly disclosed non-public information and/or should have been recused from participating in certain matters, that other Department and FBI employees improperly disclosed non-public information, and that decisions regarding the timing of the FBI’s release of certain Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents on October 30 and November 1, 2016, and the use of a Twitter account to publicize this release, were influenced by improper considerations. The review will not substitute the OIG’s judgment for the judgments made by the FBI or the Department regarding the substantive merits of investigative or prosecutive decisions. If circumstances warrant, the OIG will consider including other issues that may arise during the course of the review.
By all accounts, Inspector General Horowitz is an honorable man who takes his duty seriously.  The Office of Inspector General is expected to issue a  report on this investigation soon.
Let us hope the report is complete, thorough and with substantial evidence for its conclusions to renew the confidence of the American people that there are mechanisms in place to protect both our freedoms and our security.


For Further Reading