Wil Wheaton has an audience and a platform far beyond the little niche corner of the internet reserved for unmentionable types like me. He’s got Star Trek cred, Big Bang Theory fans, and even his own show for board games. When he writes, he usually does so on Medium, the Twitter owned “platisher.” Usually I can forgive his navel gazing, but with a recent post called “FBI Agents Are Attempting to Sway a Presidential Election. That’s Horrifying,” I’ve no recourse but to call him out.
I will begin by saying Wil Wheaton is a smart guy. He’s articulate enough to get to speak at MENSA. He knows a lot about several different subjects, and passionate enough to pass as a “geek” for those who care for labels. One thing he is not, however, is a law “geek.” Wheaton isn’t a lawyer, nor does he have a law degree. He does have an audience passionate enough to take his words seriously, and with a post on a platform called “Bullshitlist,” Wheaton commits the sin of making people dumber on the Internet.
Citing to a Spencer Ackerman story listing “unnamed sources” within the FBI who were either unwilling or uncleared to speak on the record, Wheaton paints a picture of the FBI as “Trumpland,” an organization where “deep antipathy” exists for the Democratic Presidential Candidate. Proceeding on to discuss how the FBI is to serve “all Americans,” Wheaton whips up a climate of fear by asking what the average American can expect if this can happen to Hillary Clinton.
None of this would surprise me. Wheaton has no obligation to his readers to cite credible sources, dig deeper, ask questions, or do anything actual journalists do. He just gets to bullshit on a site called Bullshitlist, and spread, well, bullshit. The moment he starts talking law is when his bullshit becomes absolutely intolerable, and people like me call him out on it.
James Comey has either lost control of his bureau, or he’s implicitly approving these politically motivated leaks that are likely violations of the Hatch Act. In either case, he is unfit for his position, and should resign immediately.
If there is any hope of restoring faith and confidence in the FBI, an independent investigation must happen as soon as possible. Every agent at the FBI who was involved in this effort to influence our election should be fired, and perhaps prosecuted for violations of the Hatch Act.
Wil? Allow me to introduce you to a real prosecutor. One who wasn’t afraid to call bullshit on a Senator, and damned sure isn’t afraid to call bullshit on you. His name is Andrew King, and he’s the type of person who actually prosecutes people for crimes. This is what he recently said about the “Hatch Act” nonsense being tossed about.
And just stop it with the Hatch Act nonsense—looking at you Senator Reid. When political people commit crimes, it’s going to be political. Ignoring these crimes would simply encourage more corruption and wrongdoing. Under this theory, mafia dons should get a get-out-of-jail-free card by seeking political office. The same people that worry about Russia influencing the election are often the same ones advocating the Russian way of governance. But as long as their preferred candidate wins, what difference does it make?
Which leads us to the present day. Wil has yet to step forward and laud Director Comey for his tireless work in service of our republic, since Secretary Clinton has been cleared of wrongdoing once again by the good Director. Maybe he’s busy getting ready for a new season of Tabletop. Or maybe Wil’s finally realized despite playing the really smart kid or guy on a television series doesn’t give him a single iota of credibility when it comes to speaking about the law. Hopefully, someone on his team finally told him he fucked up the First Rule Of Being A Geek, and he actually behaved more the fool than the scholar on this occasion.
Or maybe there’s another motive to it. Maybe because he went from BernieBro to “With Her,” now it’s time to just sweep the entire legal misstatement under the rug.
Wil, your gaffe is forgiven. Just leave the lawyering to those of us who do this on a regular basis. You want to find out where the best, unbiased legal analysis is on the web, I’m happy to point you in that direction. And the best part is you’ll have your mind exposed to all sorts of new, uncomfortable opinions that will make you think.
That’s what us lawyers who don’t believe in confirmation bias do. You’re welcome.