Rep. Cicilline, Agent Strzok, and FBI Misconduct [OPINION]
Rep. David Cicilline's father was once a victim of FBI misconduct. He was a lawyer and they illegally wiretapped his office because the FBI agents wanted to win.
In 1981, a federal judge ruled that the bugging of John "Jack" Cicilline's law office was a violation of the right to legal counsel, as protected by the Constitution of the United States of America.
This illegal action by the FBI against Congressman Cicilline's father was an extraordinary revelation for the public. Famed civil rights and left wing activist attorney William H. Kunstler declared, "this is the first time I know of that a lawyer's office has been bugged in the United States," and he filed a $100,000,000 lawsuit against the government. The federal court required the FBI to notify at least 30 people that their private conversations with their attorney had been illegally recorded by the government.
I always enjoy watching Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline in hearings and on television. I don't agree with him on much (except that everyone is entitled to a qualified attorney when the government is prosecuting them, and that all are innocent until proven guilty), but I respect his wit and his combativeness. He is also one of the few Democrats who has the stones and the intelligence to go on Fox News and battle it out with his opponents.
I say the "intelligence to go on," because he knows it is the best way to reach a huge audience of likely voters.
Cicilline, the former Mayor of Providence, is an Ivy League-educated attorney that comes from a family of highly successful, if a bit infamous, attorneys. The Cicilline family has spent years battling the FBI and other law enforcement agencies as criminal defense attorneys in New England. One of the most shameful chapters in the history of the FBI is the conduct of their New England agents in their war on Italian-American criminals.
Cicilline's father and his brother, in their capacity as defense attorneys, were directly involved with the FBI's misconduct, and he certainly knows more than most members of Congress about the ability of individual agents to break the law and manipulate investigations. FBI agents who worked against the Mafia in New England participated in murders, framed innocent men, lied to judges to get warrants, used illegal wiretaps, took bribes, assisted fugitives to avoid capture, and kept violent gangsters out of jail. He also saw how leaks to the media were used by individuals in the federal government to influence others actions.
Congressman Cicilline knows the FBI took sides in the battle between the Mafia and other organized crime gangs, mostly Irish, and illegally used their government power to assist the side they wanted to see win the competition. They inserted informants, and those informants helped to set up the persons the FBI was targeting. They used false information or concealed relevant information to trick federal judges into issuing warrants for intrusive electronic surveillance on the criminals in the faction they were opposing. The FBI repeatedly lied to other government agencies to conceal their conspiracy to destroy the criminals they opposed while assisting the criminals they supported. The House of Representatives documented the FBI's misconduct for the public in 2004 hearings.
Congressman Cicilline literally applauded FBI agent Peter Strzok during the hearing into his official actions, and if he used his government power to influence investigations of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Representative Cicilline has publicly registered his protest of the GOP investigation of the FBI. We are in a hyper-partisan environment at the moment as we closing in on the midterm elections, and politicians of all stripes are positioning for maximum results.
However, Congressman Cicilline knows about FBI misconduct from conversations around his kitchen table. He knows that his visits to his father's law office were illegally recorded by the federal government. Imagine knowing some federal agents were listening to your father giving you a hard time because you want to borrow his car to go to Rocky Point, and asking him to "borrow" $20, too?
After the elections, I believe the Rhode Island Democrat will be uniquely qualified to lead a bipartisan review of the FBI and the way it treats the American citizens who have lent the federal government power.
The FBI is a great American institution, and the vast majority of the men and women who are the FBI are heroes and patriots of the highest order.
The corruption is the exception, but it must be dug out.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.