The Federal Bureau of Investigation has long been America’s most prestigious law enforcement agency. In his book “Painting Over Rust,” retired FBI Special Agent T.C. Fuller shares his twenty-year career with the Bureau.

I have known T.C. for many years. We first met at one of the shooting matches he writes about in the book. The narrative carries us from his years in the Army through his initial training at the FBI Academy, and beyond. Though his service years were concentrated heavily in the Northeastern United States, they also took him out of the country during the War On Terror.

We share his grim satisfaction in the capture, conviction and sentencing of CAC (Crimes Against Children) perpetrators, and chuckle along with him when a terrified bank robber breaks down in tears upon his arrest. We roll with him through the typical personality clashes which occur in any organization, particularly the more bureaucratic ones.

The only FBI personnel he actually names are the Directors he worked under, giving a candid assessment of each. I share his respect for Louis Freeh, who I personally think was the best Director of recent years. Everyone else in the book has an imaginative nickname.  I recognized a few of those folks, though I’m still not sure whether I knew “Chompers” or “Homer.” 

T.C. was a gun guy before he became a Special Agent, and naturally found himself becoming a firearms instructor for the Bureau, working all the way up to teaching at the headquarters FTU (Firearms Training Unit) at Quantico. He started with the Agency-issued SIG 9mm, was not unhappy when the Bureau switched to the Glock .40 in the late ‘90s, and carried with permission as an authorized POW (Personally Owned Weapon) a .45 caliber Glock 21.  He competed on his own in IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) competition all the way up to Master level and shooting well in National Championship events.

As to the title he chose for his book, let me offer a quote: “The partisan influence of politicians seems to be having an inordinate amount of influence on the FBI in recent years. This is a huge problem and must be curtailed. Fast. An organization like the FBI can never be allowed to be politicized. We should all look very hard at anything that smacks of the use of the FBI as a political weapon. It is the nature of our Republic that different political parties will be in charge at different times. To allow these parties to use the FBI as a political punishment tool would be exceedingly dangerous and must not be allowed to happen. Ever.”

“Painting Over Rust” is an excellent, informative read. Recommended! Available at Amazon.


  1. I don’t live all that far from the FBI Academy and have had good personal and working relationships with a number of agents. However, like virtually all large organizations, the FBI has a bureaucratic monster that needs to be fed. Regrettably, there are always a certain number of folks who choose to use “the system” as a way to acquire personal power and use it for their own ends.

  2. Mass,
    This is a little off the subject, but can’t remember if you mentioned a book I bought a couple of weeks ago titled “WALK THE BLUE LINE” by James Patterson and Matt Eversmann. Very good look into our law enforcement officers, and how great their sacrifice is.

  3. I read the book a couple of weeks ago. Mas is spot on in his review. Overall, an informative and enjoyable book.

  4. Under Hoover, the FBI went from chasing bank robbers & kidnappers to spying on American citizens and using the dirt to blackmail both politicians and their political opponents. Unfortunately, the FBI, CIA, DOJ & IRS appear to be transforming into secret police versus law enforcement agencies. It would be interesting to see what Robert Kennedy Jr. would do with them given his family’s history.

  5. I have never met TC in person, but feel like we know each other a little. He is an excellent frequent guest/co-host with Rich Brown on the American Warrior Society Podcast. We message and comment on each other’s Facebook posts from time to time. I’m thoroughly enjoying Painting Over Rust, and actually ended up with an extra copy I was going to give you (another story). I’m strongly encouraging TC to make it into an audiobook eventually, with him reading it. Definitely a great read for those who can appreciate humanity and humor on a topic that is also very serious.

  6. The FBI at this point needs a very DEEP HOUSE CLEANING IMHO. I’m not sure if it will get one anytime soon. Such a shame to see a once fairly honorable group evolve or should I say devolve into what it’s become today. I hope it gets the house cleaning it needs after the next election.

    • If robert Kennedy actually survives long enough to be seated as Chief Executive Officer he stands a slight chance of making some progress on the badly needed ground-up remodel on the eff Bee eye. That outfit is SO stinking corrupt it will take a long deep soak in strong acid to effect a suitable cleansing.

      I can’t envision anyone else seeking that top position that even MIGHT have a go at cleaning that house. Perhaps if the Potomac were paint instead of water there might be enough to do a half-decent job of painting the rust that the Bureau have become.

  7. Read it last month.
    Enjoyed it.
    And reference to certain characters (some of you may know or know of Barister Branch but my favorite was Blue Flamer).

  8. It feels very much to this outsider that the FBI and IRS and ATF all been weaponized against the citizens they are supposed to serve.

  9. Mas, I bleed for the agents, the field agents I worked with over the years. The ones still alive are devastated, and shocked at the top seven stories of their headquarters. Imagine this happening to the department you worked in, trained in, and trained. You would be heart broken. I loved the FBI, respected them, worked with them, learned from them. No longer do. Jack

  10. Unfortunately it appears the FBI has already been weaponized to be used for political reasons. I always had great respect for the organization but those days are now gone. They have lost a lot of credibility.

  11. “in recent years” ignores the entire history of the FBI, which was political and politicized from its inception.

    • Hoover was actually brought in to clean the place up. Worked for a while. He was the only DC figure of note to oppose the internment of Japanese Americans. But by the 60s, the pattern of FBI entrapment was well establishment. It was a joke among the anti-war activists that they always had to have a session on blowing up the Statue of Liberty so as to identify the FBI plants. Same practice with the KKK where many of the “members” were FBI. Then came the eco-warriors and the militias and the Islamists. Now it is the dissident parents and the Latin mass activists. While there were legitimate threats, at least in the early years, and intelligence operations were justified, many of the threats, at least where arrests were made, were generated by the FBI itself. At the same time, they completely missed 9-11, the Boston Marathon bombers, the Pulse shooter, the San Bernardino shooters, and the Marjorie Stoneman shooter even though they were warned in each case.

      And where are the Biden laptop, the Epstein client list, the Nashville manifesto and evidence about the motive of the Mandalay Bay shooter.

      I am not sure we will ever have an accounting of FBI activities regarding their opposition to President Trump.

      I have to question whether the organization is salvageable.

  12. Preservation from corruption is an unending battle. Clearly the FBI can’t be all bad. I have seen several outstanding officers myself. We do need to do our best to support the loyal whistleblower process in order to help prevent and prosecute any infamy coming from from inside and above. Unfortunately, career martyrdom is bound to be the result for some “snitches” who are willing to fall on their gladius to aid in the cause of keeping the Establishment disinterested (fair-minded) and honest. Fortunately, brave whistleblowers will often come along at good times. Let whatever is good in the system have every chance daily to rise up and overcome evil. More often than not God’s truth will out, and His (I make no excuses for the traditional masculine pronoun) justice and desserts for hacks and grifters are just a matter of time.

  13. At this point, the FBI, DOJ, CIA, NSA, ATF, etc. have all been politized into organizations that support and defend only one side of the political spectrum. The are “All In” with their support of the democrat Party and (more broadly) the Uni-party Deep State.

    Their actions to destroy a President (opposed by the Deep State – Republican Donald Trump) with leaks, lies, disinformation, and made-up scandals and investigations, show this to be true. When you add in their efforts to shield a Deep-State supported President (Biden) from scandal and by covering up all evidence of wrong-doing (by the Biden Family and other top democrats), then the picture becomes even clearer.

    It is said that only the top management of the FBI is compromised and corrupt. That the “Rank and File” still consists of good people. I question this idea. While a few whistleblowers have appeared, most “Rank and File” agents strike me as “Good Little Soldiers” who are willing to blindly follow whatever orders come down from the top.

    We have seen analogs to security organizations, in the past, that fit this model. The NAZI Schutzstaffel (SS) consisted of an utterly corrupt leadership with “Rank and File” members that were all “Good Little Soldiers” that followed their superior’s orders without question.

    Tell me, if the Biden administration declared the NRA to be a terrorist organization, what would the FBI do? Would the “Rank and File” question it? Strike and walk off the job? Or would they start rounding up NRA members and sending them to concentration camps?

    If ordered to then send the NRA members to the showers (in the camps) would the FBI “Rank and File” rebel? Or would they reach for the canisters of Zyklon B?

    I don’t know the answer. Maybe some will accuse me of hyperbole for even asking such a question. Admittedly, it is a hypothetical question at this point. However, given the “Good Little Soldier” mindset of the FBI, which comes across in Mr. Fuller’s book (big time), I am very much afraid that the FBI would lead the “round up” and then start passing out the Zyklon B to those Leftist members that would relish using it on these people who would be perceived as “Right-Wing Criminals” and who are seen as enemies of the Left-Wing Utopian State.

    • TN_MAN,

      About “Good Little Soldiers” just obeying orders.

      It seems the way to corrupt Americans is usually through money, and sometimes through women. China gets Americans to do what they want by giving them money. I suspect George Soros does the same thing.

      During the Cold War, Ruskies would try to turn American spies through the use of honeypots (seductresses). Recently, we had the Chinese Fang Fang.

      So, I assume many little soldiers in the FBI would follow orders, if, the price was right. (Follow the money.)

      • @ Roger Willco

        I worked for a Government Bureaucracy for 30 years before I retired. It was a State Government, not the Federal Government, but all bureaucracies are cut from the same bolt of cloth. Believe me, I understand the score. I was having flashbacks as I read Mr. Fuller’s book. Especially, when he was talking about dealing with the bureaucracy.

        The money is only part of the issue. Generally, it is only the people at the top that are compromised by gifts of money and power. Oh sure, maybe some small-time hood will try to bribe the local “Rank and File” guy to get out of a specific jam but the big boys (billionaires, global corporations, foreign governments, etc.) don’t bother to bribe the “small fry”. They save that for the power figures at the top of “Chain of Command”.

        No, the “Rank and File” are kept in-line by the “Chain of Command” and by their career. A FBI Agent can no more defy the “Chain of Command” than a Soldier can do it. That is why I used the term “Good Little Soldiers”.

        I am reading Mr. Fuller’s book, right now, and it is clear that he made huge efforts to further his FBI career.

        He went back to school on his own time to get advanced degrees. He did not do this just out of a love for learning. He did it because he knew these degrees would help advance his career within the FBI.

        He worked 50-hour weeks. He networked and plugged himself into the “Old Boy” system. He took unpopular jobs to show that he was a “Team Player”. His first marriage broke up while he was away from his family on a remote, 18-month assignment. He does not go into detail as to why his first marriage failed but, I suspect, that his first wife got the idea that he loved his FBI career more than he loved her.

        Now, is such a man going to throw it all away (literally, decades of work) in order to “Stand on Principle” and defy the “Chain of Command”? Is he going to resign in protest? Become a whistleblower? Or will he shut his mouth and follow orders no matter how distasteful? Maybe he will drag his feet and slow-walk work on orders that he thinks are wrong. But outright defiance of orders? Not likely.

        Quote of the Day:

        “Deckard: [getting up to leave] I was quit when I come in here, Bryant, I’m twice as quit now.
        Bryant: Stop right where you are! You know the score, pal. You’re not cop, you’re little people!
        [Deckard stops at the door]
        Deckard: No choice, huh?
        Bryant: [smiles] No choice, pal.”

        From the Movie ‘Blade Runner’

    • Mas – “Yes, hyperbole.”

      I hope that you are correct. However, I have doubts that I am filling the role of “Chicken Little”.

      We are in the midst of a Human Mass Insanity Event. These events happen all the time. As I have noted, they are a particular failing of our species (Homo Insanus).

      Most of these events are, thankfully, localized. Typically, they are confined to a particular country. Here are a few quick example of such events:

      1) Rewanda – 1994 – Genocide

      2) Cambodia – 1975 to 1979 – Genocide (The Killing Fields)

      3) China – 1966 to 1976 – The Cultural Revolution

      Unfortunately, global events can develop. The last, real global Mass Insanity Event occurred in Europe, during the late 1920’s and into the 1930’s (in conjunction with the Great Depression) and led to WW II.

      I very much fear that we are building to another global mass insanity event. The current madness extends not just to the United States but to Canada, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, etc.. Pretty much to the extent of the old British Empire. The current Mass Insanity Event has been slowly building, since the 1960’s but, with episodes like Covid-19, it has accelerated greatly over the last decade.

      I fear that it will end in another Global War and/or with a whole string of genocidal killings.

      Too many people have their heads in the sand and are in denial about what is going on. They think, well, I’ll just hold on and, maybe, next year, things will get back to normal. I fear that there will be no path back to “normal”. We are likely, over the next decade or two, to see things come to a head, to see blood flow like water, and to wake up to find that the World has changed and that we must adjust to a “New Normal”.

      So, I hope that I am just being alarmist but I fear that I am not. As for the scenario that I outlined above, again, I am not sure that it is hyperbole. The American Left already thinks of the NRA and NRA Members as “terrorists”. The American Left is criminalizing their political opposition. That is yet another sign of a Mass Insanity Event in the making.

      If one needs proof, read this news report:

  14. ‘I am not sure we will ever have an accounting of FBI activities regarding their opposition to President Trump.’

    That would be the FBi that announced it was investigating Hilarys emails and a week before the election pretended it had discovered something else on her.
    But kept quiet about investigating Trump being aided by the Russians.

    • “That would be the FBi that announced it was investigating Hilarys emails….”

      That one act of FBI Director Comey really bugs you, doesn’t it? This is not the first time that you have brought it up.

      Comey did all kinds of things to screw President Trump and/or to help the Democrat Party. Here are just a few:

      1) Comey was the one who cleared Hillary and got her off the hook regarding criminal charges related to her mishandling of classified information. It was not his job nor his call, but he cleared her anyway.

      2) He nurtured the “Cross-fire Hurricane” FBI sabotage operation against Candidate Trump.

      3) The FBI, under his watch, sought those improper FISA warrants to spy on the Trump Campaign.

      4) His FBI was one of the Intelligence Agencies that put out that December 2016 “Intelligence Estimate” that tried to make the Steele Dossier sound legitimate.

      5) Comey set the “Perjury Trap” that almost destroyed General Flynn and forced him out of Government and, almost, into prison.

      6) Comey leaked (directly and indirectly) harmful stories to the press in an effort to engineer the appointment of a “Special Prosecutor” to go after President Trump and his administration. A tactic that worked.

      In other words, Comey tried to stab President Trump in the back every way possible. Yet, because he “slipped up” just before the election and did a press conference that, maybe, hurt the Hillary Clinton campaign, you are ready to stamp him as a Trump partizan or, at least, say that this shows that the FBI was, somehow, evenhanded?

      Sorry, this one act (I am sure it was inadvertent) that, maybe, helped President Trump does not offset the thousand acts of Trump-Administration sabotage performed by Comey and his FBI operatives.

      If Comey was such an asset, why did President Trump fire him in the end? President Trump paid a high price to fire Comey because the democrats screamed bloody murder about it. Yet, President Trump finally realized that Comey was such a “Snake in the Grass” that just about any price was worth it to get him out of the FBI and out of Government.

      Sorry, I am having a hard time seeing your point (above – about the two-faced FBI) as being valid. The only FBI face that I see is the Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) one.

  15. “The Federal Bureau of Investigation has long been America’s most prestigious law enforcement agency.”

    “America’s” agency perhaps. Down here the Texas Rangers might take exception to that. 😉

  16. I don’t know a lot about the FBI, so I invite any readers to correct my ignorant statements.

    The FBI was formed because robbers in the 1920s would rob a bank, then get in a fast Ford car and drive into the next county. The police could not follow the robbers because they did not have jurisdiction outside their own county. I always thought that was silly. If a bad guy is a bad guy in one county, then he is a bad guy in another county. Why can’t the police work together, and help each other apprehend the bad guy? Any disagreements could be settled by allowing the in-county police to have the final say in any disputes they have with the out-of-county police. Don’t all policemen want to catch bad guys?


    In a similar vein, our homeland was attacked on September 11th, 2001. Well, we have police, and an Army, and a Navy, and a Marine Corps, an Air Force, a Coast Guard, and now we have a Space Force. So, can’t our military protect our homeland?


    The problem with this country is, STUPID VOTERS, who give power to corrupt politicians.

    • The FBI was stood up in 1908 (without the F) to counter the anarchists who had assassinated McKinley and were on a worldwide campaign of assassinations aimed at kings, presidents, prime ministers and other ministers.

      I know we aren’t supposed to do “taint of blood” but the AG who took the action was Charles Bonaparte. Yes, that Bonaparte.

      • Charles Bonaparte was the grandson of Emperor Napoleon’s brother Jerome, who lived for a while in the US and married a Baltimore heiress.

    • There was a fi for the tactic of criminals hotting it into the net county to evvade police persuit. Most states have since adopted “Unifirm Treaty on Hot Persuit”laws. Ifa cop in one state is hot on the tail of bad guy and bad guy crosses state lines the cop already “in hot persuit” will continue his persuit, often aided by officers of the newly entered state. Most states have also established state police forces thus pvercoming the limitation of fleeying from ne cunty into another. So yes t the time an outfit like FBI did have a place.. but they would have to be on site and involved to do anythong more than locall LE were able todo.
      I have been noticing of late that so many cases that would ormally be local are now involvong FBI to investigte and even ersue and prosecute. SO many “federal’ crimes and they are even getting dirty enough such that if the state/coiunty coppers and local prosecutors don’t whack the caught bad guys hard enough the Feds will bring a whole new set of charges and prosecute him again for the same offense,, although it will be sliced and diced soas to present as a “different crime”.

  17. Completely off subject.
    This mall shooting in texas shows hundreds fleeing the gunman.
    Is it just a myth that many americans, especialy texans, carry guns?
    I’d have expected him to be going down in a hail of fire immediately, from what we (in the UK) hear about american gun laws.
    Given that these nutters are increasingly wearing body armour and helmets, its probably for the best though. Good luck taking on one with a handgun that won’t penetrate their armour.
    Or even a long gun. The US army is trialling 6.8 x 51 to replace .556 as they are expecting peer foes armour to defeat .556.

    • Malls are typically gun-free zones. In TX, given proper signage, carrying a gun there even with a permit, is a criminal offense. As to the body armor, the media often reports that but it usually turns out to be a tactical vest with lots of pouches but no armor. A substantial number of mass shooters or would be mass shooters are in fact taken down by armed citizens. If the killer is taken out promptly, he doesn’t kill enough people to get classified as a mass shooter. Case in point was the incident in Charleston WV where a guy with a rifle attempted to shoot up a party and was killed by a woman bystander before he actually hit anyone.

    • nicholas kane,

      Your observation about Texans not shooting back is accurate, and interesting. I noticed that also with the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde County, Texas, on May 24th, 2022. Neither the LEOs nor the civilians fought back with guns.

      My guess is there are many people in Texas, some are from California, so not everyone will fit the stereotype. In NYC, you can find conservatives, because among 8 million people, there are all kinds. I remember there was a particularly liberal city in California, I think it was West Hollywood. It was known for homosexuals, yet there was a community of Orthodox Jews there, who walked to the synagogue on Saturdays.

      When I saw the video from the Uvalde school shooting, I saw faces of Texans who probably speak both Spanish and English. Do we call them Latinos? What do they call them in Texas? It may be that white, (WASP) English-only speaking Texans are the ones who are well-armed. Maybe the Latinos don’t carry guns as much as the gringos there, I don’t know.

      Can any Texans on this blog confirm or deny that both types of Texans are gun people? Thanks.

      • Schools in Texas, unless they specifically opt in, are gun free zones (Certified Defenseless Victim Zones). I clearly remember reading that the school in Uvalde had considereing going with armed staff but decided not to for reasons not entirely clear at the time. Had either of the two teachers in that killing room been armed it would have been one dead punk perp within seconds. And maybe one wounded teacher, but no dead kids and no headlines.

        Also see note above on mall CDVZ’z.
        My state ad the next one over allow such places to post no guns, but the two states also mandate a standardised sign and standardiused sign placement with respect to entrances, etc. Almost no businesses comply, thus the signs are suggestions and ot legally binding. WE who go about armed knw this and ignore all the npn0complaint ones. We figure those signs are there to satisfy their insurance carriers that they’ve “addressed” the issue of guns in private hands. We’re fine with that. The biggest joke is the ever-present two inch Glock shape with the red circle, in a line of similar sized ones about masks, helmets, etc, inside banks. They occupy a row at the bottom of the glass bank doors, maybe two inches above the bottom edge of the glass. I chuckle when I see them…….. maybe the creeps dumb enough to want to rob a bank see them and figure it really IS a gun free zone and they’d have open season on the patrons and the bank.

  18. I recall Louis Freeh as a fascist who didn’t know the difference between a revolver and a semiauto pistol.

  19. With due respect to TN Man, I think the Third Reich’s organization most similar to the FBI was the Gestapo. This was the acronym for Secret State Police, there was a long standing European tradition of police forces dedicated to political affairs. Not that local US police forces were all bastions of integrity in that respect. However, the Gestapo had no limits. (I’m not sure which chief directorate of the KGB would be their counterpart. Then there was the STASI -ministry of state security-of the DDR.)

    What’s worrisome to me is watching the concentration of educational, industrial, “news”-and other-media lining up to support platforms that increase government power and whatever they imagine the kolective good to be. History has shown us this has happened before and the results weren’t good.

    Homeland Security is largely the attempt to eliminate bureaucratic squabbles over jurisdiction between agencies with overlapping mandates. The idea was to put relevant missions under one roof so-hopefully-everyone knows what’s going on in that area. In some cases, get a grip on what’s needed to actually do the job.

    Examples: fifty odd years ago, 3 INS guys in Pittsburgh were supposed to keep track of something like 7000 persons in western Pennsylvania who were there on student visas. Possible? I think not. They certainly had no illusions. Ghu only knows what the numbers are now.

    In the wake of 9/11 we identified several individuals who appeared to be doing target evaluations. The FBI response to our reports were: “They’re Persons Of Interest”. The head shed was impressed until I suggested that meant that they were NOW considered POIs.

  20. Since the comments section turned into a bit of a can of worms, I’ll only add that although I too have heard good things about Freeh from some agents that have worked under him, I’m not too impressed with his post GS career. Se la vie…

Comments are closed.