Let Us Begin Again

It’s a new year, and I hope it’s going well for everyone. 

If you read my first blog from November 15th, the general outline is to be a chronicling of my journey post-FBI. With that in mind, I’m digressing in this blog in order to let my readers know my overall impression so far regarding my media contacts. Specifically, I want to underscore the media’s unrelenting appetite for speculative thinking and commentary, in contrast to the focus of my book.

My initial motivation to pen “It Never Happened” was to inform the public of the dysfunctional culture of the FBI and how I chose to respond to the pressures to conform. Since publication, I’ve repeatedly heard—from people ranging from Jovelyn Richards, who first interviewed me on her radio show “The Space Between Us,” to casual acquaintances—that my memoir has served as a sort of mirror into which they’ve looked in order to assess their own ethical thinking and behavior. I had not expected this reaction, yet I am very grateful for it. Because the crux of the matter with the FBI back in the 80s was a failure of character and its contingent compromise of ethics—the very crisis that now is playing out in the political circus we’re all privy to on a daily basis.

And what has been our “public” response to this circus in the news media? Talk. Endless talk: speculation and commentary, resulting in confusion, anger, and further misunderstanding. But very little thinking, reflection, and comprehension. 

Can we change the conversation? Yes. It starts with the inner conversation that each person needs to have. What then springs forth is a growing appreciation for each and every person whom we encounter. Change is lived.


On January 30th, I will continue with the description of my early travels to the former Soviet Union, circa 1991 through 1994. Make no mistake about it, what I saw in the early 90s in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Odessa, Belarus, and other places, educated me to the consequences of abandoning personal integrity and the ripple effect that has on our families, communities, and, ultimately, the nation at large.

Barbara Van Driel