Appearing before his Senate confirmation hearing for FBI Director, Christopher Wray fielded questions about hate crimes, whistleblowers, and waterboarding, and his answers were largely mainstream and non-controversial, like vanilla pudding. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times that “mainstream and non-controversial” is now seen as a breath of fresh air for American politics. Wray affirmed that the Russia investigation was not a witch-hunt and vowed to keep the FBI independent. That part of his hearing was covered.  What received much less attention was Wray’s potential role in Bush-era torture guidance and his record on some key civil liberties issues. Specifically, his extreme comfort with the highly problematic use of material support prosecutions was largely glazed over, though he gave one telling response, stating, “we'd far rather catch a terrorist with his hands on a check than his hands on a bomb.” While that makes for a good soundbite, it does not address the many problems of some of the government's cases in this area. His broader response to domestic terrorism simply continued the Washington trend of securitizing the relationship between law enforcement and American Muslims. But these are the sorts of concerns that fly under the radar when sexier scandals are constantly in the headlines. In the age of Trump, vanilla pudding is the best option on the menu. Christopher Wray will surely be confirmed as the next Director of the FBI, a 10-year term.
 
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