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Commentary

FBI Knew About Nassar, Too Busy Framing Trump to Save Dozens of Girls

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The past year has not been good for the FBI. First, the bureau was embroiled in a scandal after its agents were caught with clear political bias, and a scathing memo revealed that the Justice Department may have knowingly used falsified evidence to spy on Americans.

Now, the FBI is being accused of dragging its feet during the investigation of convicted pedophile Larry Nassar… and its complacency may have let the sexual pervert harm more young girls as the bureau twiddled its thumbs.

According to The New York Times, federal investigators were looking into allegations against Nassar — a former doctor with U.S. Olympic gymnastics team — for over a year. Instead of making focused progress on the case, however, the FBI kept assigning it to different agents, which dramatically slowed down the investigation.

While the FBI, as led by James Comey, moved slowly, 40 or more additional girls were abused by the now-convicted doctor.

“[A]s the inquiry moved with little evident urgency, a cost was being paid. The New York Times has identified at least 40 girls and women who say that Dr. Nassar molested them between July 2015, when he first fell under FBI scrutiny, and September 2016,” reported the newspaper.

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“The silence at times drove the victims and their families to distraction, including Gina Nichols […] who was not contacted by the FBI for nearly 11 months after the information she provided sparked the federal inquiry,” The Times continued.

People who report even small crimes at the local level are usually able to get updates on the investigation from police. During the Nassar investigation, however, the FBI seemed to leave victims and their families in the dark for extended stretches of time.

During an 11-month period, “I never got a phone call from the police or the FBI,” said Nichols, the mother of one of the abused girls. “Not one person. Not one. Not one. Not one.”

Now that Nassar is headed to prison, people who were impacted by the crimes are realizing that the FBI’s slow actions and apparent urging for victims to not talk about their concerns put more young girls at risk.

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“The agency left unaddressed the oft-repeated claim by USA Gymnastics officials that after initially presenting the sexual assault allegations to the FBI in July 2015, they came away with the impression that federal agents had advised them not to discuss the case with anyone,” reported the New York Times.

“The ensuing silence had dire consequences, as the many girls and young women still seeing Dr. Nassar received no warning.”

W. Jay Abbott, a now-retired FBI agent who was initially involved in the Nassar case, used the word “tricky” when asked why more people weren’t warned that a monster may have been using his medical credentials to molest young girls.

“Asked why federal law enforcement officials did not notify people — other gymnasts, parents, coaches — that a potential child molester was in their midst, Mr. Abbott said, ‘That’s where things can get tricky,'” The Times reported.

“There is a duty to warn those who might be harmed in the future,” he told the newspaper. “But everyone is still trying to ascertain whether a crime has been committed. And everybody has rights here.”

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There is no longer any question about whether a crime was committed. After the list of girls abused by Larry Nassar reached the hundreds, he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.

We have now seen two reports in just as many weeks showing the FBI under Comey as borderline incompetent and negligent in its duties. There may not be a direct connection between the Trump dossier-FISA memo scandal and the Nassar case, but it seems clear that there is a broad link: The FBI’s culture is broken.

The Department of Justice’s priorities appear to be in complete chaos. When vast resources are used to play favorites with a political candidate but a case involving widespread abuse of young girls barely moves forward in a year, something is wrong.

When “secret societies” seem more important to the FBI than protecting children, the agency is broken.

It may be time to ask some serious questions about the FBI and its competency. The girls who will never be the same after Nassar deserve better.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.




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