With the establishment of a Church-style committee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, Congress now has a vital opportunity to hold America’s national security and law enforcement apparatus to account for its corrupt and lawless targeting of perceived political foes.
The House Judiciary subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, will be fully empowered to investigate the deep state’s depredations across the entirety of the executive branch, covering the full panoply of assaults on our civil liberties, and to take steps to prevent it from ever inflicting such damage on our republic again.
Given the massive scope of the already-known security state scandals, the stakes involved in putting said security state on trial, and the counterassault against the committee already underway, it is imperative that the panel operate in a highly strategic fashion to seize the critical opportunity at hand.
To that end, its planners should give considerable thought to the following questions upfront.
How Will the Committee Define Success?
How the new weaponization committee defines success should drive every aspect of its planning. In my view, if the panel were to do the following things, it would constitute a rousing victory for the American people.
First, the committee must expose the most egregious and wide-ranging assaults on our civil liberties by the national security and law enforcement apparatus. It must then hold to account the most culpable actors through, at minimum, publicly revealing the full extent of their wrongdoing, demanding their respective agencies take commensurate disciplinary and other corrective action using any tools of compulsion if needed, and, where merited, making criminal referrals — notwithstanding the Biden Justice Department will be unlikely to move on them, in and of itself validating the committee’s work.
Upon doing this, the committee must elicit and, where possible, publicize testimony from witnesses and victims — including whistleblowers and targets of deep-state abuse. This will at least provide victims some form of catharsis as they may never see justice and, relatedly, doing so will demonstrate to the American people the very real costs of deep-state corruption. These steps would help build the political case for what should be the committee’s ultimate objective: to propose and pass laws necessary to prohibit and punish the hyper-politicization and weaponization of the national security and law enforcement apparatus going forward, including, if needed, radically restructuring the apparatus.
What Areas Should the Committee Investigate?
Given the unfortunately target-rich environment said national security and law enforcement apparatus has created in abusing its powers, the finite time and resources with which the committee will be operating, and the stonewalling, subversion, and subterfuge it is likely to face, what are the most critical areas for the committee to investigate?
Since Donald Trump descended the escalator in his eponymous tower, we have seen the deep state target an ever-increasing number of Americans on ever-widening grounds. The escalation in domestic targeting began with the “narrower” pursuit of “Trump world” on the grounds of purported collusion with a foreign adversary — of being treasonous. It then widened to encompass the targeting of not just conservatives but anyone who would dare engage in “wrongthink” on a slew of issues — from the Chinese coronavirus to critical race theory to radical gender ideology — as dangerous if not terroristic.
Wrongthink has, in effect, become a procedural capital offense, politically in the Jan. 6 Committee’s punishment-by-process of those who dared to question the integrity of the 2020 election and in the Justice Department and federal judges’ like-minded pursuit and adjudication of the cases of Jan. 6 defendants in which their political beliefs in many instances were literally put on trial, and for which they were punished. The Biden administration codified the domestic war on wrongthink with its National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism and has been proceeding accordingly.
All of which is to say, from Russiagate to Jan. 6 to the conspiracies like those between the government and the private sector to silence dissent and violate the First Amendment (as highlighted in “The Twitter Files”) and far beyond, there is more than fertile ground for investigation. This is to say nothing of the weaponization of the security state going on right now that must be unearthed and stopped dead in its tracks — something clearly acknowledged in the committee’s founding resolution, which grants it authority to look into pending criminal cases.
The committee, therefore, should diligently prioritize its areas of inquiry, determine the most efficacious ways to pursue them, discern which agencies and individuals absolutely must be compelled to provide relevant documents and/or testify, anticipate the myriad roadblocks it is certain to face, and plan its response to them.
Who Should Staff the Committee?
Who should staff the committee, and how will it overcome the onslaught of opposition it will face? Personnel is policy, and it is the personnel, of course, who will be determining the scope of the committee’s inquiries, which leads to pursue, and how best to pursue them. If the wrong personnel are in place, the committee will fail.
These personnel will face merciless resistance and pressure, if not outright intimidation, aimed at thwarting their work. They will be up against the national security apparatus, the Democrat Party, many Republicans, and the corporate media. Members of the deep state and Democrats such as House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jerrold Nadler have already come out with claims that the committee is McCarthyite, hyper-partisan, provocative, and dangerous — before a single hearing has even been held.
Expect a massive information operation to be run by the deep state and Democrats in conjunction with their corporate media mouthpieces to undermine the committee’s work, replete with a deluge of leaks and lies.
Republicans tapped for this committee must be equipped to deal with these and other constraints. The committee will also be up against the clock, operating with finite resources and dealing in areas that, by their nature, are secret and sensitive. This will make pursuing evidence difficult and exposing it publicly even harder.
Republican members tapped to the panel and the staffers they select, therefore, must be equipped to handle these challenges and constraints. They must be courageous, disciplined, and shrewd in how they go about their work. If the committee is to make hay, both members and staff must be eminently familiar with the tactics of the agencies and individuals likely to resist them — from their stonewalling and game-playing with redactions to other dirty tricks — familiar with agency pressure points and where and how they are likely to bury bodies, and steeled against the reprisals professional and personal that might be threatened against them. It would behoove the committee to consult extensively with former members of the national security and law enforcement apparatus supportive of the committee’s efforts, whistleblowers from relevant agencies, and former targets of the deep state as it prepares for the probe.
If members are attacked like former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes was in pursuing Russigaters, and staffers are targeted for surveillance like his former Russiagate investigator Kash Patel was by the very Justice Department he was pursuing, you will know the committee is doing its job properly.
The Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government should be as zealous and thorough in its pursuit of the tyranny of the deep state as the Jan. 6 Committee was about railroading wrongthinkers.
It must think and act as seriously, strategically, and relentlessly as the malefactors whose efforts it seeks to expose and remedy. The republic hangs in the balance.
Ben Weingarten is deputy editor for RealClearInvestigations. He is a senior contributor to The Federalist, columnist at Newsweek, and a contributor to the New York Post and Epoch Times, among other publications. Subscribe to his newsletter at weingarten.substack.com, and follow him on Twitter: @bhweingarten.
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