Josh Campbell, a veteran FBI agent who has worked at the law enforcement agency for over a decade, is quitting in protest of the Donald Trump-led Republican smear campaign against the bureau.
In a New York Times op-ed, Campbell, a supervisory special agent in the Los Angeles Field office, makes it clear why he is leaving: “So I can join the growing chorus of people who believe that the relentless attacks on the bureau undermine not just Americas premier law enforcement agency but also the nations security.”
Campbell describes his decision as “painful,” but notes that “the alternative of remaining quiet while the bureau is tarnished for political gain is impossible.”
He goes on to say that “scorched-earth attacks from politicians with partisan goals” threaten public support of the FBI because they raise “corrosive doubts about the integrity of the F.B.I. that could last for generations.”
Noting that Trump’s attacks are an attempt to negate the ongoing investigation into his presidential campaign, Campbell warns, “these kinds of attacks by powerful people go beyond mere criticism they could destroy the institution.”
Campbell has been part of the FBI since 2005 and has served as a special agent working on counterterrorism in Los Angeles, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. He has also served as a special assistant to the FBI director.
The resignation comes less than 24 hours after Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) crackpot memo attacking the agency as part of a campaign to distract from the ongoing Russia investigation was authorized for release by Trump.
Far from being the smoking gun exonerating Trump that the right has been claiming including on Fox News where it was portrayed as “bigger than Watergate” the memo was a dud. It became clear almost immediately that the document was the work of a political hack with an ax to grind, rather than the serious work of a member of Congress with access to classified intelligence.
The Trump-Nunes smear was so dishonest that it forced FBI director Christopher Wray to release a special video message to agents in the field. He explained, “Youve all been through a lot in these past nine months and I know its often been unsettling, to say the least.”
He added, “Talk is cheap. The work you do is what will endure.”
The Republican Party has made the choice to engage in open warfare against America’s premier law enforcement agency, simply to defend the actions of its leader, Donald Trump.
It is a sign that the convictions and indictments are rattling the right. Two officials with the Trump campaign have already been convicted of crimes. Two others including his campaign chairman have been indicted.
There are multiple reports that these officials have flipped and are providing special counsel Robert Mueller with more information about alleged connections between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives.
With each passing day, these connections reach closer to the top tier of the Trump presidential campaign, including Donald Trump himself. In retaliation, he has chosen to undermine the FBI.
But the men and women of law enforcement aren’t buckling under the pressure being exerted by the Republican Party. They are fighting back.