The FBI and CIA have been much in the news lately. Yet, most people see nothing but similarities between the agencies. They are not. And it’s the less-secret FBI that bears watching, as evidenced by the public debacle created by firing Director James Comey.
No one is likely to find out much from the CIA anyway. It’s a hyper-secret arm of government that, despite orders from their boss, the president of the USA, or committees in the Congress, the agency has to be private to be effective.
CIA’S twin brother, the FBI, is different. They chase criminals and prosecute cases, including on behalf of the CIA, who are not sanctioned to arrest. This arrangement is amenable to the CIA. They rarely risk bringing cases to trial in open court lest secret ops be divulged.
This creates confusion in an already confusing milieu. The CIA is like the Tar Baby who “don’t say nothing.” The FBI is a politically charged Elliott Ness government bureau that is forced, sooner or later, to divulge the people, places, and background behind criminality and political shenanigans.
This is what happened in the case of Robert Hanssen, the mole who did more damage to the U.S. than any traitor in history, including causing the death of 12 undercover CIA operatives.
Brian Kelley, a high-ranking counter-intelligence CIA officer, was sitting at his desk at Langley when a FBI/CIA team swooped Kelley out of the building and accused him of being a Soviet/Russian spy within the CIA. He was ordered to leave work and remain in Washington, D.C., until further notice.
The two spy agencies tried to lure Kelley into traps that would show him as the CIA spy they were looking for. Not only were his family, friends, and colleagues told he was a Russian spy, even his elderly mother living in a rest home was informed her son had betrayed his country.
Eighteen months after his ordeal began, the FBI agreed to pay $10 million to a former Russian intelligence officer who claimed he had evidence that would prove Kelley’s guilt.
The agency paid up and received a cardboard box containing maps, notes, and various items that would nail Kelley, including an audio tape featuring Kelley talking to his Russian handlers. The FBI executives played the tape with high expectations.
As the tape played, someone commented this was not Brian Kelley’s voice. Then one of the FBI team made things worse by saying the voice was not another CIA mole. It was high-ranking FBI executive Robert Hanssen, working in an office down the hall.
Kelley was a free man and Hanssen was prosecuted in open court, the method used when the spy captured deserves maximum punishment.
Kelley maintained his allegiance to the agencies, even keeping his mouth closed about his ordeal. But he wanted one thing: an apology from the FBI. That simple act was beyond the FBI’s ethical reach. Finally, a bureaucratic form letter arrived two years later.
Kelley was featured on CBS' "60 Minutes" telling his story. Included was a segment by FBI investigator David Szady, who displayed no remorse on the part of the FBI. Instead, Szady shrouded the humiliating reality of attempting to ruin a respected CIA officer. Szady claimed the FBI had every reason to ruin Kelley’s life, as if the FBI still thought Kelley was guilty.
Szady’s arrogant attitude, disregard for others, and refusal to admit he was wrong is the moral mindset of FBI executives — for example Deep Throat, who turned out to be assistant director of the FBI.
Give me a secret CIA I can trust over a politically driven immoral FBI any day, especially now. While the CIA is working to gather data on Russia, North Korea, Iran, Syria, the FBI is focused on washing its petty dirty laundry in public.
Kelley never struck back. He was assigned to teach classes to FBI agents, the craft required to track spies, a practice the bureau needed. He was the major factor in the yearly Raleigh Spy Conference. Right before he died unexpectedly, I attended a ceremony at CIA headquarters to see Brian receive another in a series of medals.
Bernie Reeves founded five regional publications and the Raleigh Spy Conference. His writing has appeared in National Review and American Thinker. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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