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Opinion: A good day for the FBI and America

Michael Knigge Washington
October 27, 2018

It appears that the FBI did an excellent job finding and arresting the man alleged to have sent more than a dozen explosives to top Democrats, CNN and others. What may sound banal in normal times is anything but now.

FBI Director Christopher Wray
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/A. Brandon

No, the man suspected to be the serial bomber does not seem to be the most sophisticated terrorist to have ever been apprehended by US law enforcement officials. He was apparently identified by a fingerprint that he had left on one of the explosive devices.

But the mental and criminal capabilities of the person accused of terrorizing the nation is not the issue here. The issue is that the FBI, one of the most important — and most beleaguered — government agencies in the US, carried out its duty swiftly and soundly amid a highly charged political climate.

Charges of partisanship

That it did so is no small feat. The FBI has been accused of partisanship by Democrats and Republicans ever since former director James Comey's controversial handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails and the Trump campaign's connections to Russia.

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Michael Knigge is DW's US correspondent

President Trump has repeatedly charged the FBI with holding a bias against him. His disdain for the organization and the head of the Department of Justice, Jeff Sessions, who oversees it, has not stopped, but decreased since Trump's choice to lead the FBI, Christopher Wray, replaced the president's nemesis, James Comey.

In this atmosphere, the FBI successfully conducted an investigation into what appears to be a staunch Trump supporter targeting the president's top Democratic critics and CNN less than two weeks before highly charged midterm elections. It is an accomplishment that makes for the type of positive news that seldom comes out of Washington these days.

Professional conduct in highly charged political case   

To be sure, not everyone will agree and accept the outcome of the investigation. But that was always par for the course and is obviously much more to be expected right now. More importantly, however, is the fact that a politically embattled but crucial institution of the US government apprehended what appears to be a domestic terrorist in a high-stakes political case in a calm and professional manner. That may sound trite, but such an outcome is simply not a given anymore. So on this day, let's just recognize that fact and be thankful for it.

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