Theater Review. “Enter Laughing”

Robert Massimi.

“Enter Laughing” is the funny musical based on a semi- autobiographical life of Carl Reiner. Based on a star struck boy from the Bronx named David Kolowitz(Chris Dwan), the story takes him on his journey as a young, girl crazy high school boy. Much to the chagrin of his mother, he wants to, and dreams of being a big Hollywood star. In the tight, well choreographed opening song, “David Kolowitz, the actor”, we see David’s young, innocent wishes to be a star.

The year is 1938 and David has a job after school. He attends James Madison High. Working for Mr. Forman, a religious Jew, he balances his best friend, his job, his controlling mother and his girlfriend, Wanda (Allie Trimm). Stuck in a delivery job, not wanting to be a druggist, he takes a class at Mr. Marlowe’s acting school. Compared to the competition, David is a handsome standout by attrition, and Marlowe’s daughter has a crush on him.

Not knowing ques from first base, David tries his hardest to learn how to act. Marlowe thinks this boy has no clue of what acting is, his daughter, Angela (Farah Alvin), talks her father into believing that he will get his part down and will be good in the upcoming play. Director Stuart Ross gives the audience that little nervous tension at all times in the show. In great comedy, the audience needs that tension as to keep us on the tread mill going very fast and also to have that edgy feeling that all may go array at any moment. Ross does a fantastic job in keeping the comedic roller coaster going.

Costume Designer Tyler M. Holland does a fantastic job in “Enter Laughing”. The York Theatre company pulled out all the stops with this production and the costumes were no exception. Capturing the era and the little incidentals, Holland was deft with the costuming. A huge part of comedy is the slapstick outfits in many cases and this evening was chock full of them.

While the lighting was fine, nothing really worth noting, the direction and choreography was exceptional. From the comedic timing, to the up beat dance, “Enter Laughing” will go down as one of, if not the best off Broadway musicals this season. Songs like: “It’s Like”, “With My Eyes”, “The Man I can Love”, “Boy, Oh Boy”, “Being With You”, Hot Cha Cha” and the audience favorite; “The Butler’s Song”, were all sensational and well acted and performed.

While all the actors were very talented, two of the standouts were Marlowe (David Schramm) and Chris Dwan who played David. As Marlowe, Schramm was exceptional. He was funny, great singing and as the acting teacher he hit it out of the park! Chris Dwan as David Kolowitz was up tempo at all times, playing the awkward kid going threw the age of High School, Dwan commanded the stage. Allie Trimm was a standout in her singing. Her range, and the sound she put forth last evening at The York was outstanding.

“Enter Laughing” has everything you want in a musical comedy. The laughs keep coming as does the great songs accompanied by fantastic singing and dancing. From the actors to Direction of Stuart Ross and on to the Choreography by Jennifer Paulson-Lee , the show is a hit. On stage musicians also give this show a warm feeling throughout the performance. Talented musicians that help bang out this winner.

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We Cannot Afford Another War. Robert Massimi.

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ROBERT MASSIMI.
After currently watching the Vietnam documentary by Novak and Burns, I am convinced that another war would be horrific on all fronts. One, we cannot keep fighting wars,losing young men and ccx wonen. Financially it is a disaster as well as psychologically.
The middle east must fight their own battles. We cannot continue to be the world’s police force. Countries threatened must defend themselves. We cannot keep losing American lives over a place that has a history of hatred for one another.
If we get involved in this conflict, we will draw the ire of the middle east nations. Countries around the world must defend themselves. The United States cannot be made to get involved in every conflict in the world.
Like Vietnam, we need to pick our wars wisely or we will tear our country in two. Also like Vietnam, we fight while our allies watch. We do the heavy lifting,pay the cost and they have no skin in the game.
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Bolton beats war drums in US-Iran standoff

Date created : 14/05/2019 – 20:57

With his bushy mustache and beloved yellow legal pad, National Security Advisor John Bolton cuts a colorful figure at the White House, where he is the leading foreign policy hawk and a longtime advocate of regime change in Iran
With his bushy mustache and beloved yellow legal pad, National Security Advisor John Bolton cuts a colorful figure at the White House, where he is the leading foreign policy hawk and a longtime advocate of regime change in Iran AFP/File
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Washington (AFP)

War drums are beating louder in Washington’s long-festering standoff with Iran and National Security Advisor John Bolton, a veteran champion of regime change, is the bandmaster.

With his bushy mustache and beloved yellow legal pad, Bolton cuts a colorful figure at the White House.

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He’s also something of an oddity.

President Donald Trump ran on the promise to pull the United States out of unwinnable post-9/11 wars — from Afghanistan to Syria — that have consumed American lives and military budgets.

That retreat remains one of Trump’s strongest points in his pitch to be the outsider president.

But Bolton, in the most powerful government position he has ever held, is working in exactly the opposite direction. Iran is only the latest country in his crosshairs.

At 70 and with a resume listing federal jobs back to the Ronald Reagan era, Bolton could easily have sidestepped into academia by now or continued taking paychecks from any number of think tanks. He’s worked with a bunch of them.

Instead, he’s in the heart of government and looking like he’s having the time of his life.

In Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea, there’s no shortage of battlegrounds for Bolton’s crusade against leaders he sees as tyrannical enemies.

Communists and their ilk are one thing. But it’s the Middle East that really stirs Bolton’s geopolitical adrenaline.

– ‘Unrelenting force’ –

In the run-up to what is now widely acknowledged to have been the disastrous 2003 Iraq invasion, Bolton — then the under-secretary of state for arms control and international security affairs — was one of Washington’s most energetic pro-war cheerleaders.

Now, analysts say, he’s showing similar enthusiasm for action with respect to longtime US, Israeli and Saudi foe Iran.

The Pentagon’s dispatch to the region over the last few days of an aircraft carrier group and nuclear-capable B-52 bombers was not meant to be subtle.

Bolton warned of “unrelenting force” in response to any attack by Iran.

But sending planes and ships would pale in comparison to Bolton’s latest demand, reported by The New York Times — the possible deployment of 120,000 troops to the Middle East.

Whether Trump would accept that, ditching his mantra of no more “stupid wars,” is far from clear.

On Tuesday, Trump branded the Times’ report “fake news” — but went on to add that he wouldn’t rule out sending “a hell of a lot more” troops one day.

What’s certain is that Bolton, at a minimum, is getting heard.

“Bolton is in ascendancy at White House. He appears tough and strong — two things Trump values,” said Robert Guttman, at the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Advanced Governmental Studies.

– Slide to war? –

No one would appear more unlikely than Trump to target another Middle Eastern quagmire.

He’s talked repeatedly, in remarkably undiplomatic tones, about the tragedy of sending US forces to die in places that Americans could barely find on a map.

But when it comes to Iran, the White House seems to be bristling for conflict.

Trump pulled out of an international agreement regulating Iran’s nuclear activities, ramped up sanctions crippling the country’s economy, and now has added the threat of firepower to increase the pressure.

Having backed Iran into a corner, the Trump administration is warning of severe consequences should Tehran harm US interests.

On Sunday, mysterious attacks by unknown assailants against four ships, including two from Saudi Arabia, sent war talk up another notch.

Paul Fritz, a foreign policy expert at Hofstra University, said the outside world will be “extraordinarily skeptical” about the White House narrative on Iran as a growing menace.

After all, the US-led invasion of Iraq was based on false accusations — supported by Bolton — against Saddam Hussein.

“It does ring awfully similar to the Iraq war. There’s good reason to be skeptical,” Fritz said.

– Trump decides? –

Some fear that Bolton and his fellow hawks are out of control.

“Sixteen years after the US invasion of Iraq, we are again barreling toward another unnecessary conflict in the Middle East based on faulty and misleading logic,” senators Tom Udall and Dick Durbin, both Democrats, wrote Sunday in The Washington Post.

But the unpredictable president may never graduate from bluster to bombs, analysts say.

Trump himself said last week that he’s used to reining in Bolton’s “strong views.”

“I actually temper John,” Trump said.

Barbara Slavin, an Iran specialist at the Atlantic Council, said there have been discrepancies between Trump and Bolton on “numerous occasions.”

Even if Bolton “has been advocating bombing Iran for as long as I can remember,” she said Trump probably doesn’t want a new war.

“On the other hand, I don’t think the president minds this idea of looking tough and of putting more pressure on Iran,” she said.

? 2019 AFP

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The Old Rockers Still A Force.

Robert Massimi.
This summer the PNC will host yet again many artists who are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Bob Seager is the concert event of the year.Seager does not tour very much, never has, but he is in New Jersey this June.
On the headline is Yes, June 16th. Yes has had a great career snd this Scottish band will no doubt play to a sell out audience.
Alice Cooper returns again this year. I saw him last year with Edgar Winter and Deep Purple. Cooper is the ultimate showman. Alice Cooper’s concert are more like a show than a concert.
Jimmy Buffett returns after many years on August 6th. Buffets laid back style and plethora of great songs should make this worth seeing.
Another person who does not tour very much is Carlos Santana with the Doobie Brothers. I saw the Doobie Brothers two years ago at PNC and it was a upbeat, up tempo concert. The Doobies have many great songs and were able to rock non stop for an hour and a half. With Carlos Santana, this will be right up there with Seager as a sold out, top billing in Holmdel New Jersey.
Always a great venue, The PNC has great sight lines and super acoustics.
Charlie Daniels also retuns this year after a long absence from PNC.
It is great to see the old bands perform once more. Most are in their 70’s, so it could be the last time seeing many of these great bands;artists play. Rock and Roll has lost some great ones over the last two years, so it is important not too miss these talents musicians.
Bob Seager
Charlie Daniels
Yes
Doobie brothers
Alice Cooper
Edgar Winter
PNC
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Carlos Santana
Jimmy Buffett
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Rock and roll hall of fame.
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Theater Review. Around The World In 72 Days.

Robert Massimi.

In Scena! Is the Italian Theater Festival put on every year in New York City with KIT – Kairos Italy Theater, which is an internationally recognized Theater Company in NY. KIT’s mission is to spread Italian Culture and to create an Italian Culture Network in order to spread the knowledge of Italy in the United States.

In 2001 KIT ITALIA was created to promote Italian Theater in Italy and abroad . Usually in May, In Scena! Produces shows throughout the city. Twelve shows in all and three readings encompassed this May. KIT is known to produce high quality, educational shows that are vast and broad over many historical landscapes.

Last year I had the opportunity to see “We Are Not Alone”, at the Cherry Lane Theater. This is a play that deals with mental issues in Italy. Originally produced at La MaMa in the 80’s, it had lines around the corner. What was a riveting play and performance by it’s lead, this year was no different.

” Around The World ” is a story about Nellie Bly, who travelled around the world in 72 days back in 1889, beginning 1890. We see her travels on both a teleprompter and brilliantly acted by Diana Forlani. A solo show done in one hour, Forlani magically performs the adventures of Bly. She takes us from New York City, to London and onto India, Hong Kong and other parts of the world.

Along the way, we see Bly’s fears, joys, concerns and he quest to break the w ou rlds recird. As a woman we see her concerns about travelling alone in a great big world.the passion that Forlani puts forth is one of the best pieces of acting I have seen this year. Self assured and stylish, Forlani commands the stage. Her emotions and dedication to this role are breathtaking and robust.

Forlani brings us to different places in the world. With the help of the teleprompter we see exactly where she is and at what time in her travels. India is a place where she is most torn. To her the people are smelly, the country is dirty and backwards. She is appalled by China. She is witness to the tourtures of it’s people. She thinks Japan is classy and graceful.

Through Diana Forlani we see Nellue Bly’s passions and what moves her as a person. She wears one outfit throughout the voyage. Ships, trains and rickshaws guide her around the world in 72 dsys. It is only when she gets to Ssn Francisco that she realizes how much this meant to the world. As a woman whom accomplishes achievement, she is cheered on like no other women ever has before.

A simple stage with wonderful direction by Paola Sarcina, the action is machine gun fire paced. The music is as joyous as the play itself, simple but elegant. Like life itself, Bly sees the beauty and the pitfalls of this world. Humble and gracious, Bly captured the world with her determination. Unyielding in her quest to scurry the world in record time, Bly and Forlani did it with style.

In Scena! The Italian Theater Festival and Laura Caparrotti continue to put out great works. Deep issues and educational, the actors are always superb. Many of the shows are an hour or so, short, pithy and fun.

” Around The World In 72 Days” by Elizabeth Cochrane is a plethora of emotions. Sensational directing makes Bly’s challenges both fun and exciting for the audience. The show is in English subtitles which makes this whirlwind a ferris wheel of sight and sound.

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If Meghan Mc Cain And Ben Shapiro Can,’t Take The Questions, They Should Not Do Interviews.

Robert Massimi.
Ben Shapiro, the self proclaimed right wing influence, who did not vote for president Trump,by the way, can’t be questioned by fellow journalists, then he should not be interviewed.
The same holds true for Meghan Mc Cain, this woman is so thin skinned,so erratic, shes scary both on the View and in interviews. She holds her father up on a pedestal, and he just wasn’t that good as either a Serviceman, nor a Senator. She is an irrational human being and cannot be questioned or debated without blowing a gasket or crying.
To be in journalism means asking tough q uh estions and being asked difficult questions. For a jourbalist to be going off like these two is unprofessional.
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Please Enjoy Ben Shapiro Melting Down and Running Out of a BBC Interview

Jack Crosbie
Yesterday 11:47am
Filed to:BEN SHAPIRO
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Screenshot: BBC
Ben Shapiro, the right-wing “thinker,” baby Hitler-defender, and former toothbrush startup-endorser, rose to fame thanks to his combative, shrill interview style that promised TOTAL DESTRUCTION of any liberal talking point or talking head he encountered. Unfortunately, as the old saying goes, if you live by the SICK BURN you die by the SICK BURN, and today the wheel of online ownage turned for Ben.

Consider this interview today with BBC presenter Andrew Neil, purportedly about Shapiro’s new book. Neil and Shapiro started to clash when Neil read Shapiro some of his tweets and challenged him on some of the things that he has done and said. Shapiro started out relatively irate, which looked particularly silly in contrast to Neil’s dispassionate, vaguely bemused line of questioning. Shapiro’s general argumentative style is to talk louder and faster than anyone he’s speaking to, which didn’t really work when Neil refused to play on his level.

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The whole thing fell apart when Shapiro tried to nail down Neil for his “bias” during a pointed discussion over the concept of a six-week abortion ban. Shapiro didn’t have a lot to concretely defend his views, and really didn’t like the line of questioning (i.e…actual questions) that Neil was asking, so he tried to pivot to accusing Neil of being “on the left.”

Neil, for reference, was editor of Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times and currently is the chairman of the very conservative British magazine The Spectator. While he’s obviously an incisive, challenging interviewer, calling him “on the left” is, as Neil pointed out, insanely dumb.

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The full interview, which was 16 minutes long, led to Shapiro getting more and more flustered, particularly when Neil started reading out all the heinous shit Shapiro has tweeted before, building to this incredible finish:

As Shapiro huffed and puffed and took off his microphone, Neil, for lack of a better word, DESTROYED him one more time. “Thank you for your time, and for showing that anger is not part of American political discourse. Now Mr. Shapiro, we’ll say goodbye.”

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Watch the full interview below.

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Mueller Report Is A Run On and On.

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Robert Massimi.
Mueller hoping to keep in the spot light added an exorbitant amount of footnotes to hus report. Instead of just writing a report, he added many footnotes hoping to keep in the spotlight undoubtedly. The report starts out exonerating the president but he adds many, many footnotes so that Congress can debate this in perpetuity.
Instead of just giving a summation, he goes on and on with footnotes.
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Ken Starr Ramps Up Attacks on Mueller: His Report Has ‘Over 1,000 Footnotes. I Mean… Why?’
By Connor MannionMay 9th, 2019, 12:50 pm
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Former independent counsel Ken Starr attacked the length of special counsel Robert Mueller‘s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, telling Fox News that “there’s just too much detail.”

Speaking with Fox’s Bill Hemmer, Starr argued “the whole issue is, is there collusion?” and says the report did not prove that, but used too many footnotes.

“It starts out with there is no suggestion of collusion, whatever. At the end of that discussion, no suggestion of — and yet we read all of these detailed, elaborate footnotes.” Starr said.

Starr led the wide-ranging investigation into former President Bill Clinton that ultimately resulted in Clinton’s impeachment trial in the late 1990s.

“There are over 1,000 footnotes. I mean… why? The point of this report is simply to say why I prosecuted or why I didn’t prosecute. This is not a term paper,” he continued.

Starr’s attack on Mueller’s report comes just days after his appearance on Fox’s The Story, Monday night, during which he attacked Mueller’s letter to Attorney General Bill Barr that was leaked and made public on the eve of the AG’s congressional testimony.

Mueller stated, in his letter, that Barr had mischaracterized the full report in his summary of its findings.

“His letter, that was then leaked on the very eve of Bill Barr’s testimony, was essentially, I believe, an unfair, whiny complaint,” Starr previously told Fox’s Martha MacCallum.

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James Comey On The Hot Seat.

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TheHill

Robert Massimi.
James Comey is in a lot of trouble. His problems are starting to mount. From not indicating Hillary Clinton to covering up what the entire Obama administration did as far as spying on Trump and much more.
Comey recently wrote an op ed piece in the New York Times defending his role when he was the head of the FBI.
It is still not known why he re opened thr Clinton case, maybe ge was covering his own tracks. As it becomes more clear that Obama and others spied on Trump, Comey is starting to take a very strang approach to defending his actions. He looks both nervous and unusual in his mannerisms and behavior.
A good i investigation could implicate he, Clinton, Obama and many others in both a conspiracy abd a cover up. Obama has dropped out of sight lately, you dont hear from him. Clinton has the hubris to do a weak tour with her husband snd publically asked why Trump has not been impeached.
Read below:

OPINION | JUDICIARY
May 07, 2019 – 09:30 AM EDT
James Comey is in trouble and he knows it
BY KEVIN R. BROCK, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR 42,063
The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill
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James Comey’s planet is getting noticeably warmer. Attorney General William Barr’s emissions are the suspected cause.

Barr has made plain that he intends to examine carefully how and why Comey, as FBI director, decided that the bureau should investigate two presidential campaigns and if, in so doing, any rules or laws were broken.

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In light of this, the fired former FBI director apparently has decided that photos of him on Twitter standing amid tall trees and in the middle of empty country roads, acting all metaphysical, is no longer a sufficient strategy.

No, Comey has realized, probably too late, that he has to try to counter, more directly, the narrative being set by the unsparing attorney general whose words in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week landed in the Trump-opposition world like holy water on Linda Blair. Shrieking heads haven’t stopped spinning since.

And so we’ve seen Comey get real busy lately. First he penned a curious op-ed in The New York Times. Then a Times reporter, with whom Comey has cooperated in the past, wrote a news article exposing an early, controversial investigative technique against the Trump campaign in an attempt to get out front and excuse it. Next, Comey is scheduled to be encouraged on a friendly cable news “town hall.”

In the op-ed, Comey trotted out his now-familiar St. James schtick, freely pronouncing on the morality of others. He sees himself as a kind of Pontiff-of-the-Potomac working his beads, but comes across more like an unraveling Captain Queeg working his ball bearings.

Comey adjudged the president as “amoral.” He declared the attorney general to be “formidable” but “lacking inner strength” unlike — the inference is clear — Comey himself. A strategy of insulting the executioner right before he swings his ax is an odd one but, then, Comey has a long record of odd decisions and questionable judgment.

“Amoral leaders [referring to the president] have a way of revealing the character of those around them,” wrote Comey without a hint of irony or self-awareness. Those whom the former FBI director assembled around him probably rue the day they ever met the man. Most are now fired or disgraced for appalling behaviors that Comey found easy to manipulate to advance his decisions.

Then, just to make sure his op-ed was odd-salted to the max, Comey mused that the president “eats your soul in small bites.” OK, let’s step back for a moment: James Comey appears to be in trouble. His strange, desperate statements and behaviors betray his nervousness and apprehension. In a way, it’s hard to watch.

Comey will claim that everything he did in the FBI was by the book. But after the investigations by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz and U.S. Attorney John Huber, along with Barr’s promised examination, are completed, Comey’s mishandling of the FBI and legal processes likely will be fully exposed.

Ideally, Barr’s examination will aggregate information that addresses three primary streams.

The first will be whether the investigations into both presidential nominees and the Trump campaign were adequately, in Barr’s words, “predicated.” This means he will examine whether there was sufficient justification under existing guidelines for the FBI to have started an investigation in the first place.

The Mueller report’s conclusions make this a fair question for the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign. Comey’s own pronouncement, that the Clinton email case was unprosecutable, makes it a fair question for that investigation.

The second will be whether Comey’s team obeyed long-established investigative guidelines while conducting the investigations and, specifically, if there was sufficient, truthful justification to lawfully conduct electronic surveillance of an American citizen.

The third will be an examination of whether Comey was unduly influenced by political agendas emanating from the previous White House and its director of national intelligence, CIA director and attorney general. This, above all, is what’s causing the 360-degree head spins.

There are early indicators that troubling behaviors may have occurred in all three scenarios. Barr will want to zero in on a particular area of concern: the use by the FBI of confidential human sources, whether its own or those offered up by the then-CIA director.

Without diving into the weeds, it’s important to understand that FBI counterintelligence investigations generally proceed sequentially from what is called a preliminary investigation or inquiry (PI) to a full investigation (FI). To move from a PI to an FI requires substantial information — predication — indicating investigative targets acted as agents of a foreign power.

This is problematic for Comey in light of Mueller’s findings. There are strict guidelines governing when the FBI can task a confidential source or a government undercover operative to collect against a U.S. citizen. Normally this is restricted to a full investigation, and normally restricted to the United States, not overseas.

There is a sense that Comey’s team was not checking the boxes, did not have adequate predication, and may have tasked sources before an investigation was even officially opened. Barr should pull case files and dig in on this.

In addition, the cast of characters leveraged by the FBI against the Trump campaign all appear to have their genesis as CIA sources (“assets,” in agency vernacular) shared at times with the FBI. From Stefan Halper and possibly Joseph Mifsud, to Christopher Steele, to Carter Page himself, and now a mysterious “government investigator” posing as Halper’s assistant and cited in The New York Times article, legitimate questions arise as to whether Comey was manipulated into furthering a CIA political operation more than an FBI counterintelligence case.

Some in the media have suggested that the Times article was an attempt by the FBI to justify its early confidential source actions. But current FBI Director Christopher Wray has shown that he would like to excise the cancerous tumor that grew during Comey’s time and not just keep smoking. It’s hard to imagine current FBI executives trying to justify past malfeasance.

James Comey is right to be apprehensive. He himself ate away at the soul of the FBI, not in small bites but in dangerously large ones. It was a dinner for one, though: His actions are not indicative of the real FBI. The attorney general’s comprehensive examination is welcome and, if done honestly and dispassionately, it will protect future presidential candidates of both parties and redeem the valuable soul of the FBI.

Kevin R. Brock, former assistant director of intelligence for the FBI, was an FBI special agent for 24 years and principal deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). He is a founder and principal of NewStreet Global Solutions, which consults with private companies and public-safety agencies on strategic mission technologies.

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