Why Would The Attorney General, Who Sets
The Tone For Law Enforcement, Do This?
FRONTPAGE MAGAZINE — On Tuesday, June 29, 2015 ABC News-15 based in Arizona reported, “US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Bill Clinton meet privately in Phoenix before Benghazi report.”
According to the report the meeting was not a chance encounter but was apparently an arranged meeting between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch on board her government airplane.
The appearance this meeting creates, in and of itself, calls into question the judgment of the Attorney General of the United States – America’s “Top Cop” who sets the tone for law enforcement for the entire federal government and, as a consequence, for law enforcement agencies at all levels from coast to coast and border to border.
And make no mistake – appearances can be critical. This was a message that was repeatedly hammered home by my bosses when I served as a Special Agent for the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service).
Let me describe two such instances in order to properly set the stage and provide a bit of context to the meeting between the former president of the United States and the Attorney General.
When I began my career as a special agent back in the 1970’s one of my bosses, a gentleman by the name of Frank Johnson who was the section chief for the Frauds Unit where I was assigned, would hold what were known as “Payday Meetings” because every other Thursday we would stand on line and be issued out paychecks- this was long before direct deposit was implemented. These meeting provided management with an opportunity to inform the agents about any changes in priorities and to provide us with whatever information they deemed was essential to enable us to to our jobs effectively and safely. These meetings also provided agents to inform each other about any information that they might need as they pursued their assigned investigations.
At the conclusion of each of those meetings, Frank Johnson would accentuate each syllable by jabbing his ever-present cigarette in the air as he looked around the room and said, “As federal agents, it was not enough that we never engaged in wrong doing- but that we must never give the illusion of doing wrong!”
We knew that Frank was not just spouting a slogan- because he held himself to a higher standard than he held those of us who worked under him- this is what true leadership is all about.
As for the second incident – I had become an agent just months earlier and was eating lunch at a local restaurant located across the street from our offices in lower Manhattan, when an attorney I had met when I was assigned as an Adjudications Officer or Examiner as those who adjudicated various applications for immigration benefits were known. The attorney had represented several aliens I had interviewed in that earlier assignment and conducted those marriage interviews you likely have seen in various movies about aliens who marry citizens to acquire lawful immigrant status.
I had just order desert at the end of my meal when the attorney who, like myself, was sitting at the counter of the restaurant move next to me to engage in innocuous banter. Suddenly one of my supervisors noticed me as he was walking by the restaurant and quickly entered the restaurant. He walked up to me and whispered in my ear, “Mr. Cutler, when you are finished with your lunch you are to report directly to my office.” He quickly left the restaurant and I quickly headed back to my office and went to his office- with quite a bit of consternation. Clearly he was not happy.
He sat me down in his office and told me that by sitting next to that lawyer in that restaurant, I created the illusion that I would be less than totally objective in investigating the cases that the attorney was involved with. This, he sternly told me, creates the impression of corruption and must never, ever happen again.
I explained that the lawyer had approached me and that I paid for my food and he had paid for his food and that the conversation was brief and had nothing to do about work.
His response was quick and to the point – he told me that simply creating an appearance of impropriety could create enough of a problem to call my ethics into question and in so doing, destroy my career!