Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Not Team Players

Almost all of the pundits in the land believe the country owes Coleen Rowley, FBI whistleblower, a debt of gratitude for bringing the country's attention to the inadequacies of the FBI's organization. In fact, what she did was dash off a totally ordinary and unoriginal screed of a memo, full of cheap shots at her superiors, that could have applied to any large governmental organization. She compounded the treachery of this memo with subreption, putting the blame for her problems on the FBI's hierarchy when the problem really was in the limitations forced on the FBI by politics and the law, particularly with respect to racial profiling, and in her own inablity to make a case for the warrent she wanted.

What got her ticked off was that she was fully in favor of tossing aside the civil rights of a subject of her investigation by getting a search warrent to examine his records simply because he was a Muslim. Her superiors were uncomfortable with that approach, and this is what "impeded her investigation."

The news media made her out to be some kind of heroine for facing up to her superiors. The irony of it is that if she had been successful, and the actions of her subject had been interdicted, then it would have been the news media trashing the FBI for racial bias as they did with the Wen Ho Lee investigation.

Rowley's revelations are of no real value beyond the leverage they give politicians and pundits who want to scapegoat the FBI. What she has done will only give the people in the FBI responsible for protecting the rest of us headaches. It will not increase our security or improve the function of the FBI. The hoopla over her revelations will die down and she will get what she deserves; she will sink in the obscurity and pointlessness of a career emptied of any real responsiblity.

Some women pundits have actually written that this sort of back stabbing is due to women's superior moral and ethical constitution. Anita Hill, of all people, was one of these. She wrote an article in the New York Times praising Rowley and other women who have shaken up organizations by turning on them. As more women get on the inside and high up in such organizations there will be more "revelations" in the future, Hill wrote. We'd hope they won't be revelations of the sort that Hill made in her fight with Clarence Thomas, fabricated and designed to damage and punish.