Feeding The Beast
By: Paul A. Ibbetson
Itâ€™s time to feed the beast! The feeding of the beast scenario comes in many forms and we have all heard it in one variation or another. In general terms, the beast is that dark sinister creature that lurks in the dank nether regions, restrained only by the most meager of barriers, is always ready to strike, and yes, always hungry. One of my personal favorite renditions of the feeding of the beast story is in the 1985 Warner Brotherâ€™s movie The Goonies. Within the storyline of the movie, the loveable character â€œChunkâ€ attempts to â€œfeed the beastâ€ that has been kept chained in the dark, dank, basement of the banditâ€™s hideout. Unfortunately, unlike The Goonies version, the beast seldom is portrayed, as the misunderstood sweet anomaly with a heart of gold. No, the beast most often is a hungry killer, a creature that if not kept shackled and constrained will consume all within its reach. The feeding of the beast scenario is currently being spun within the media accounts of the FBI National Security Letter debacle. Those without fear please continue.
As many know, FBI Director Robert Mueller has come forth to admit that the usage of National Security Letters, whose authority has been expanded by the controversial Patriot Act, has been mishandled. These reports have brought to light the failure of the FBI to record approximately 8,500 official requests for information (Jordan, 2007). These transgressions were documented within a 126 page audit conducted by Inspector General Glen A. Fine. Fine would report that agents had collected information through the usage of National Security Letters, at times without official authority (Jordan, 2007). There is little question about the accuracy of the Fine report; in fact, FBI Director Muellerâ€™s acknowledgement of his own accountability in the procedural breakdown only further validates the findings. The question is, what are we really looking at? Is this a case of poor training and execution of policy or has the beast finally been exposed? The ACLU would tell you that it is the latter. The radical activist organization said that the justice department audit is proof positive that the Patriot Act must again go under the knife to be amended (Jordan, 2007). Anthony D. Romero, the ACLUâ€™s executive Director, said, â€œThe attorney general and the FBI are part of the problem, and they cannot be trusted to be part of the solutionâ€ (Jordan, 2007. 18). This is an all too familiar tune from the organization that has opposed the Patriot Act at every level since its creation. One can almost hear the ACLU preparations for battle with the beast in: the oiling of the torches, the sharpening of the pitchforks, the typing of Republican resignation request letters, and of course, the coordination e-mails with the Democrat party. A hunting we will go, a hunting we will goâ€¦
Oddly enough, not everyone sees â€œthe beastâ€ in this National Security Letter story. Michael C. Dorf, professor of law at Columbia University, while showing his concern for the need to have accountability within government activities, sees the FBI break down as an example of sloppiness from overwork and improper training (Dorf, 2007). The worst misuse as reported by Dorf came in the form of violations of FBI internal guidelines stated within contracts with three internet providers (Dorf, 2007). Dorf states, and I would agree, that there appears to be no evidence of deliberate abuse for political purpose or criminal conduct in this case. These findings would be consistent with Inspector General Glenn A. Fineâ€™s investigation (Jordan, 2007). However, I believe that the FBIâ€™s sloppiness and general bungling of department procedure is a shortcoming that cannot be accepted. Dorfâ€™s comparison of holding the government accountable to at least the standards of the business model of performance is completely valid. While FBI Director Robert S. Mueller has stated that he has not been requested to resign (Jordan, 2007), I would not be surprised if we do not see his exit sometime in the near future. It would seem logical that his ability to effectively administrate should be the yardstick by which his employment is evaluated. Regardless of the fate of Mueller, the ability of the FBI to expedite corrections to its procedures for issuing NSLâ€™s is paramount and will go far in restoring the FBIâ€™s credibility. There is certainly some hard work to be done but it is a far cry from â€œthe beastâ€ scenario in which the ACLU continually portrays the Patriot Act.
Ironically, I agree with the ACLU that an actual â€œbeastâ€ does exist in this country. You can forget the monster in the closet which is kids stuff compared to the beast that has been roaming the foundations of this country. This beast is always hungry and the dinning courses it demands come in the form of : our border security, Christian values, our American pride, and our national identity. Unfortunately, the beast has been fed very well for many years. I think that the ACLU would be most suited to track this vile beast down. I would simply tell them to collect their gear and begin their quest in front of a mirror, and with parting words of encouragement, I would say, â€œHappy Hunting!â€
Dorf, Michael A. (2007). The FBI’s Misuse of National Security Letters Reveals the Often-False Dichotomy Between Security and Privacy. Retrieved March 16, 2007 from
Jordan, Lara J. (2007). Gonzales, Mueller Admit FBI Broke Law. Retrieved on March 11, 2007 from
Paul A. Ibbetson is a published author and lecturer on the Patriot Act. He is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelorâ€™s and Masterâ€™s degree in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and is currently completing his PhD. in sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of the book â€œLiving Under The Patriot Act: Educating A Societyâ€ that is available for purchase at www.patriotactresearch.com as well as other major book outlets. Paul is a regular writer for the Conservative Crusader as well as several other online websites.
Paul A. Ibbetson is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and his Ph.D. in Sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of several books including the 2011 release “The Good Fight: Why Conservatives Must Take Back America.” Paul is also the radio host of the Kansas Broadcasting Association’s 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 award-winning radio program, Conscience of Kansas airing on KRMR The Patriot 105.7 FM, www.ibbetsonusa.com. For interviews or questions, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org