During FBI Director Christopher Wray’s recent testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Republicans expressed deep concerns about various issues within the agency. These concerns included illegal FISA searches, aggressive arrest tactics, investigations of parents at school board meetings, labeling traditional Catholics as extremists, and potential misuses of undercover agents during the January 6, 2021 Capitol incident. Wray repeatedly denied having knowledge of the information Republicans sought, citing FBI policy on ongoing investigations.
The hearing highlighted the urgent need for reform within the agency. Republicans are now faced with questions about funding a new FBI headquarters, countering politically motivated investigations of conservatives, FISA renewal, and addressing Wray’s resistance to the legislative branch’s oversight authority. Moreover, there are growing calls from the electorate to defund the FBI, which some Republican representatives fear could result in them being labeled as supporting the “defund the police” movement by the media.
A conservative perspective suggests an alternative option that might appease both factions: disarming the FBI and requiring it to partner with local law enforcement agencies for investigative and enforcement activities. This would involve merging the positions of armed criminal investigators (series 1811) and unarmed investigators (series 1810) within the FBI. Through budget appropriations, Republicans could defund all armed criminal investigators, effectively disarming the agency and preventing it from making arrests.
In place of the armed investigators, Republicans can direct the creation of a new series 1812 “unarmed criminal investigator” position. This new role would include all necessary duties to investigate criminal violations of federal laws but without carrying firearms. Current FBI special agents could transition to these unarmed investigators. Additionally, the 1812 unarmed criminal investigators would not be eligible for the availability pay enhancement offered to law enforcement personnel, resulting in a 25 percent reduction in investigator salaries.
To ensure oversight and accountability, Republicans could use budget appropriations to prohibit the FBI from investigating alleged criminal violators without the expressed approval of state, local, or tribal law enforcement agencies within the relevant jurisdiction. These agencies would also need to have federally deputized “Task Force Officers” participating in all FBI investigations. By partnering with local law enforcement, the FBI would be more accountable and less prone to overreach.
Regarding arrests, Republicans could mandate that only federally deputized task force officers from the partnering local agencies are responsible for effecting an armed arrest of an FBI subject. These officers would be qualified and approved to carry firearms while conducting arrests, ensuring the FBI has local approval before proceeding with any arrest.
In cases where the FBI investigates corruption within local government or law enforcement, cooperation between federal and local agents can continue. Independent investigations could be conducted by task force officers from neutral state-level bureaus of investigation to avoid conflicts of interest.
Ultimately, disarming the FBI and enhancing its partnership with state and local authorities could help restore traditional republican government principles and ensure accountability and fairness in investigations. This approach would prevent the FBI from inflicting harm upon citizens, regardless of which political party holds federal power.