The Aldrich Alert
Gary Aldrich

A Publication of the Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty

Political Courage

June 9, 2001

by Gary Aldrich - Volume 2, Issue 31

This article appeared on on Thursday, June 6, 2002.

It’s difficult to make a case that the FBI has not been politicized, but the degree of impact that politics has in the day of an average FBI special agent depends a lot on political courage.

Minneapolis Special Agent Coleen Rowley raised the issue of political correctness in her now famous memo to the FBI director when she suggested that the reason a warrant was not issued to search the computer hard drive of Moussaoui was because FBI Headquarters managers were worried about "racial profiling." In the crafting and distribution of her memo, Special Agent Rowley found the courage to say what a lot of others were already thinking.

We haven’t heard from the FBI managers who stand accused of serious inaction by Rowley, but does she make a valid claim? Has "PC" gripped the FBI so much that it constrains the normal law enforcement functions that might otherwise keep us safer?

I would contend that "PC" hampers the FBI no more or less than it hampers the average PTA president or the average minister or priest. In fact, if we look around and listen, we would have to conclude that many of us have become "PC" to one degree or another, and those who have refused to cave in to this dysfunctional "group think" mentality seem odd to us – curiously out of step.

The fact is, we have been "scolded" so much by the "PC" Police that we have nearly lost our precious rights of free speech. Think of all the things you are no longer "allowed" to say – the list is long. Think of all the immoral, immodest, crude conduct you are no longer "allowed" to object to, out of fear that you may offend somebody. Today it seems that just about anything goes, as long as it’s not illegal – and the Loony Left is working on that!

Some would contend that the Loony Left, finding itself unable to force changes through the courts, has turned to the media to get their wacky agenda forced through. In this morning’s newspaper – for example – a loony college professor contends that a monkey is as smart as his 4-year old child, and, therefore, the monkey should enjoy the same civil rights as his child. The question is, how smart is the newspaper editor who thought this "news" was news?

Nevertheless, today’s laughable news item has a good chance of becoming tomorrow’s "PC" rule against making fun of animal behavior or repeating monkey jokes. That’s because when we consider how all the other agenda items managed to become cemented into our cultural rule book we may also remember that we dismissed previous silly notions and stood silent as the Loony Left marched the agenda forward, right into the "PC" handbook. Nobody can claim innocence in this regard – unless they have the intellect of a monkey.

Another example in today’s newspaper hits closer to home. It involves the issue of screening airline passengers for signs of terrorist activity. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against several major airline carriers because in the days immediately following the deadly Sept. 11 attack against our country, four Middle Eastern young men were escorted off of scheduled airline flights because the other passengers refused to fly with them. All that the passengers wanted was the security of knowing that these young men were not part of another attack.

The ACLU objected to this, claiming that no matter what, there could not be racial profiling! We might conclude that no one in the ACLU’s leadership lost relatives in the World Trade Towers, or in the Pentagon bombing, or on the hijacked flights – or else we’d have to conclude they are simply crazy!

Nevertheless, the ACLU presses forward with their lawsuit because four young men were inconvenienced for a few hours and had their feelings hurt.

Is it any wonder that FBI special agents and other law enforcement officers are nervous about doing their work? They don’t want to get sued, and they have no confidence that their agency would back them up 100 percent if they stand accused, such as in a lawsuit of this kind. Lawsuits are messy and mean lost money and lost time. No federal agency wants to invite lawsuits, so they pile on the warnings about what their employees can and cannot do.

This overreaction to potential lawsuits creates an atmosphere of fear and, sooner or later, employees pull back instead of pushing ahead when their instincts and common sense tells them there is a major issue that should be investigated. Most federal agencies have become adverse to lawsuits to the degree that they are willing to overlook quite a bit just to avoid them.

This is where political courage comes in. The average FBI special agent needs to concentrate on the mission and not allow "PC" to distract him or her from what they are supposed to be doing. They must be reminded by the management that the mission of the average FBI agent is not to avoid lawsuits at all costs, but to address the mission – heading off more terrorist attacks against our nation.

And the White House and Congress can do their part by making it perfectly clear that they reject "PC" in all its forms and will fend off each and every frivolous lawsuit that the ACLU might throw at them. If they need to hire more lawyers to do this, then bring them on board!

Yes, lawsuits take up a lot of time and cost the U.S. government lots of money – but consider what another terrorist attack will do to this nation’s economy. Consider what the last one did to our federal budget! What costs more – the avoidance of lawsuits so as to adhere to the "PC" Police and the ACLU’s wishes, or dealing with the potential for lawsuits so we can avoid another terrorist attack?

To many, there is no choice – we must fight terrorism at the risk of offending some people. But the "PC" Police are very strong, and some claim they have a great deal of influence in the mainstream media. Again, this is when a little Political Courage – the other "PC" – can save the day.