There are codes of honor even among thieves.
As strange as this thought is, such things exist. For example, among criminals who do not “rat” on each other. While we can debate use of the word “honor” to describe such behavior, we cannot deny that it occurs. Recent events surrounding the matter of United States of America v. Michael T. Flynn bring such codes to mind, as well as my own experience.
While attending Widener University’s Delaware Law School, a professor filed a grievance against me for “conduct unbecoming a student.” The sole charge was that I had called him by his first name in a classroom setting. In fact, this professor had a pattern of selecting one student per semester, threatening a misconduct grievance against them, then offering to withdraw the grievance if the student agreed to shovel the snow or cut the grass at his home, depending on the season. He had chosen me that semester because I had rebuffed his personal advances. Once I refused to comply with his proposed resolution a hearing was scheduled to adjudicate the charge against me.
I hired a local Constitutional Law attorney and proceeded to hearing. Prior to the hearing date, several professors privately contacted me. Each encouraged me to proceed and stand my ground, telling me that the professor who had charged me had built up a political power base at the school that was untenable to many less connected faculty members who were, sadly, afraid to take him on.
After all testimony and evidence had been submitted, the judicial panel ruled that “although it has been determined that you did nothing improper, if you make a public apology to the professor in front of the class, you will be able to finish out the semester’s mandatory course for full credit.” If I refused, I would be dropped from the course and need to retake it, thereby delaying my graduation date.
My response was to refuse to offer an apology for, as the panel itself concluded, having done nothing improper. Further, I made it known that I was going to contact a local newspaper to relate the fact that an institution teaching law would so conduct itself.
Just days after the hearing concluded, I was called into the office of a professor Emeritus who taught a course at the school. He was a nationally known figure as he had helped draft the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), federal law that governs all commercial transactions in the United States. He offered me an opportunity to make up the credits I was now lacking for that semester by doing an independent research paper for him. I was shocked, and at first grateful, until I was about to leave his office. It was then that he said, “You know, you are seeking to enter a profession. We don’t tell on our own.”
I was being offered an exchange. The problem was that the exchange was three credits for my silence about wrongdoing. The choice was an easy one for me. I thanked him for his time, his offer, and I declined to accept it.
There it was. Honor among thieves.
James Clapper, James Comey, Susan Rice, John Brennan, Sally Yates, Joe Biden and Barack Obama all attended a meeting in the Oval Office on January 5, 2017 just a day after the FBI had concluded that the Flynn investigation should be terminated because of a lack of evidence to proceed. Yet, following that meeting, during which Barack Obama pressed for continuation of the investigation, all those in that room as well as countless others in the Administration pursued and persecuted General Flynn.
At every level, bad actors proceeded with what they knew to be improper, at best, and illegal, at worst. Yet continue they did. Later during press interviews and impeachment testimony, these same bad actors repeatedly lied to cover-up their wrongdoings. Most recently, Barack Obama has had the audacity to go public with a concern for the “rule of law” should the presiding judge, Emmet Sullivan, grant the government’s Motion to Dismiss the charges against Michael Flynn
Nearly inconceivable irony coupled with honor among thieves.
To survive as a nation grounded in principles of individual liberty and yes, the rule of law, there must be equal application of the law to all, regardless of financial or political status.
Michael Flynn was entrapped by a corrupt administration. Individuals now named were complicit in wrongdoings that rise to criminal behavior. Charges must be brought, and prosecutions vigorously pursued in the name of justice.
“Honor Among Thieves” cannot be the U.S. motto that replaces “In God We Trust.”