Look for the bad apples

Some in federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies blame President Donald Trump for raising questions in the public’s mind about whether they can be trusted. Instead, conscientious public servants in agencies such as the FBI and CIA should be blaming the bad apples in their own ranks.

There are precious few such men and women, to be sure. But such is their power that even a few are too many.

This week, Trump said he will demand the Justice Department investigate whether the FBI infiltrated and/or surveilled his campaign personnel when he was running for election in 2016. Specifically, the president wants to know whether some in the nation’s top law enforcement organization had political purposes for monitoring his campaign.

That is a serious charge, of course — but Trump has excellent reasons for wondering if it is true. Communications among some in the FBI have made it clear they did not want him to become president.

What, if anything, did they do to prevent Trump from being elected? Again, there are reasons to think some efforts may have been made. For example, it is known the FBI had links to Christopher Steele, the ex-British intelligence agent who compiled the infamous “Trump dossier” claiming — without any independent proof — that Trump had engaged in questionable behavior during a trip to Moscow.

Trump is right to insist on an investigation. If rogue officials in federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies sought actively to keep him out of office, Americans need to know the details — and they need assurances the bad apples are being kicked out and punished.