The past few weeks have brought the real world colliding with my fiction one. I’ve been following the growing drama surrounding the FBI with dismay and at times, anger.
I’ll say right from the beginning that my fiction FBI is not perfect. It has its problems and corruption, but overall it is staffed by people of integrity who are dedicated to the people they serve. The real FBI has, to me, existed in a similar way – imperfect, but with genuine intent to serve well.
The building campaign over the past year or more to discredit the real FBI has interested, and then alarmed me. The questioning of investigations, sackings, negative comments, and blatant attempts to discredit the FBI has tainted my fictional organisation. The two no longer run side by side in their real/fictional states in harmony. One still is as I make it, the other is under attack. It’s a hard thing to reconcile.
The problem comes from my genuine attachment to the real FBI. When I wrote Roses I spent a lot of time researching the FBI from its structure, its mission, they way it operates, the roles within it, processes – you name it, I read about it. And I still do. Each time I write a White Rose book I revisit and learn new things about the FBI. I’m fond of them, I have a connection with them. I imagine most of you are well aware of this. My trip to the US last October had seeing the FBI headquarters as the highlight.
It’s was tough reading about the Nunes memo, and the vitriol of many subsequent comments directed at the FBI, really stung. And then I read the responses from some current and past FBI personnel, and was comforted. The dignity and determination to keep the work of the real FBI going, regardless of attack, confirmed my faith in them as an organisation. Still not perfect, but trying hard. The article I quote below resonated with me as I felt the actions of Josh Campbell was something one of my characters would do. At the very least it echoes their sentiments.
And it reconciled my two FBIs once more.
Excerpt from ‘Why I Am Leaving the FBI’, by Josh Campbell, 2/2/2018, New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/opinion/leaving-the-fbi.html
“After more than a decade of service, which included investigating terrorism, working to rescue kidnapping victims overseas and being special assistant to the director, I am reluctantly turning in my badge and leaving an organization I love. Why? So I can join the growing chorus of people who believe that the relentless attacks on the bureau undermine not just America’s premier law enforcement agency but also the nation’s security. My resignation is painful, but the alternative of remaining quiet while the bureau is tarnished for political gain is impossible.
A small number of my current and retired colleagues have said that we should simply keep our heads down until the storm passes. I say this with the greatest respect: They are wrong. If those who know the agency best remain silent, it will be defined by those with partisan agendas.”
I don’t know what the future holds in regards to the real FBI. I imagine there will be more times when reality impacts on fiction, but I will continue to have faith and find ways to find peace with my two FBIs.
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