Category Archives: FBI

The FBI’s Dubious Briefing

It stretches credulity to think that the FBI keeps getting into these “messes” because of ‘careless mistakes’. mrossol

WSJ  5/4/2021

Did the FBI set up two Members of Congress for political attack under the guise of a “defensive briefing”? It’s possible, and Senators Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley are rightly demanding answers.

On Monday the Republicans sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines asking how the Washington Post came to know about an FBI briefing to both Senators on Aug. 6, 2020. A Post story last week used the info to smear Mr. Johnson and his report on Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings, suggesting that he’d ignored FBI warnings and thus may have been manipulated by the Kremlin. The newspaper cited only anonymous “current and former U.S. officials.”

In their letter the Senators note that the briefing came after “pressure from Democratic Leadership.” In July 2020, the Democratic Members of the Gang of Eight—senior Members with access to intelligence secrets—had sent a letter and classified addendum to Mr. Wray specifically citing the Johnson-Grassley probe into Hunter Biden as reason for an urgent briefing for Congress about foreign “disinformation.” That news was then leaked, in what was an obvious attempt to tar the work of the two Republicans.

 

The two Senators became more concerned when the ensuing briefing by the FBI turned out to be what they described as “not specific” as well as “unconnected to our investigation.” (Their report was based on U.S. government documents.) They specifically expressed to the FBI during the briefing their concerns that it would be “subject to a leak” for partisan gain. Which is exactly what happened last week, despite the FBI’s promise to the Senators of confidentiality.

After the August briefing, Messrs. Johnson and Grassley sent a letter demanding that Mr. Wray and the intelligence community disclose the reason for it. They never received the answer. In light of last week’s leak, they are renewing their demand to know who recommended the briefing, and the intelligence that supposedly supported it.

Whether the FBI was pressured, duped, or actively political, the bureau has again landed in the center of a partisan fight. Mr. Wray might ask how that keeps happening.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-fbis-dubious-briefing-11620168038?page=1

Share

Opinion: Abolish the FBI

The Epoch Times.   Updated: May 4, 2021.  By Dinesh D’Souza

Commentary

For a long time, the FBI has stood as the admirable symbol of a police agency of government, implacably going after the bad guys and neutrally enforcing the laws. This is the FBI of the movie “The Untouchables,” in which special agent Eliot Ness leads his devoted crew of armed agents in a heroic battle against the forces of organized crime.

Well, forget about the Untouchables. Today’s FBI has quite obviously been corrupted from the top. This is a process that seems to have begun under President Barack Obama, endured during the President Donald Trump years, and has now reached its unfortunate nadir under President Joe Biden. It’s time for conservatives and Republicans to start thinking about getting rid of the FBI.

I want to highlight two sets of contrasting episodes that give us a window into how biased and partisan this once-respected agency has now become. Contrast the treatment the FBI has given to Jan. 6 activists with that it has afforded to Antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters.

The FBI has unrelentingly hunted down Jan. 6 protesters, in many cases confronting Trump supporters who were merely in Washington at the time, or at the mall rally but not involved in entering the Capitol.

Those who have been arrested have been treated like domestic terrorists, captured in raids involving drawn weapons, even though the charges against most of them amount to little more than trespassing or entering a government facility without proper permission.

Nonviolent offenders have been given the same brutal treatment as violent ones. And to this day, the FBI promulgates images—a grandma here, a teenager there—asking the public to help them track down still-at-large individuals who had something, anything, to do with the events of Jan. 6.

Contrast this concentrated effort with the lackadaisical, even disinterested, approach of the FBI to the Antifa and Black Lives Matter activists. Over a period of many months, those activists have proven far more violent. They have killed a number of people, in contrast to the Trump activists who killed nobody. (The only person killed on Jan. 6 was Ashli Babbitt, a Trump supporter shot in the neck by a Capitol police officer.)

They have looted businesses, burned churches, assaulted police officers, attacked and harassed ordinary citizens eating in restaurants or going about their normal lives—and all with impunity. No FBI raids, no systematic arrests, no dissemination of “Wanted” images on social media.

Now, I turn to my second contrast: the recent FBI raid on Rudy Giuliani’s home and office, while there has been no raid on the home or office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Start with Giuliani: The ostensible justification for the raid was to look for evidence Giuliani violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Giuliani pointed out in a statement released by his lawyer, however, that he had offered to sit down with the FBI and the Biden Department of Justice (DOJ) and show them to their satisfaction that there had been no violation of law.

Moreover, Giuliani had for several months been offering the FBI clear evidence, corroborated by texts and emails, that Hunter Biden not only allegedly failed to register as a foreign agent, but also that he was allegedly involved in child pornography, money laundering, and an elaborate Biden family scheme to sell their political access in exchange for millions of dollars in personal gain.

Both the FBI and the DOJ showed no interest in any of that. Consequently, Giuliani seems warranted in concluding that the agency’s conduct is a “clear example of a corrupt double standard”: “One for high-level Democrats whose blatant crimes are ignored, such as Hillary Clinton, Hunter Biden, and Joe Biden” and quite another for “Republicans who are prominent supporters and defender of President Trump.”

Giuliani further revealed that the FBI and DOJ had, in late 2019, obtained access to his email database without notifying him. This means that while Giuliani was advising his client Donald Trump during the impeachment process—a relationship fully protected by attorney–client privilege—the FBI violated the law while supposedly investigating Giuliani and Trump’s possible violations of law.

Here, again, the FBI’s extreme diligence in going after Giuliani can be contrasted with the FBI’s failure to act in the case of Cuomo. Cuomo is currently involved in two separate scandals, one involving multiple women who have accused him of sexual harassment, and another involving his direct involvement in a cover-up scheme to hide the magnitude of nursing home deaths caused by his own policies.

According to The New York Times, the Cuomo administration was far more culpable than previously known in deliberately undercounting nursing home deaths over a period of five months. Let’s recall that these deaths need not have occurred. At the direction of the Trump administration, the U.S. Navy dispatched the hospital ship Comfort to New York to accept non-coronavirus patients and thus lessen the burden on New York hospitals.

Cuomo, however, turned the ship away to spite the Trump administration and instead ordered New York nursing homes to accept the overflow of COVID-19 patients, helping the virus to spread among vulnerable nursing home populations and thus causing thousands of unnecessary deaths.

Then, when the Trump administration inquired about the nursing home data in New York, Cuomo instructed his state health officials, including health Commissioner Howard Zucker, not to release the true death toll to the federal government, state officials, or the general public. Cuomo also suppressed a research paper that revealed the data and blocked two letters by Zucker’s department from being sent to state legislators.

While Giuliani’s offense remains unclear, Cuomo is guilty of obvious abuses of power—actions that have not only put people in their graves but also amounted, in a statistical sense, to “hiding the bodies.” Again, the FBI is nowhere to be found, and the reason for its absence appears to be that Cuomo is a Democratic governor who seemingly enjoys immunity as far as today’s FBI and Biden’s DOJ are concerned.

Enough is enough! When justice no longer involves the neutral or equal application of the laws, it ceases to be justice. I realize, of course, that there will be no FBI reform under Biden. Therefore, I strongly urge the Republican Party to make the abolition of the FBI—shutting down the agency and then reconstructing it from the ground up—key provisions of its campaigns both in 2022 and 2024.

Dinesh D’Souza is an author, filmmaker, and daily host of the Dinesh D’Souza podcast.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/

Share

FBI Spied on Giuliani, Trump ICloud Communications During Impeachment Push

The Epoch Times.  Updated: May 2, 2021

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said that the FBI surveilled his and former President Donald Trump’s iCloud chats during impeachment hearings in 2019.

In an interview over the weekend, Giuliani, whose home was searched by federal agents last week, said that his lawyer, Robert Costello, was told by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan that the alleged wiretapping took place.

“He asked [the prosecutor] to repeat it because he couldn’t believe it was true,” he told WABC radio in New York. “To me they just trashed the president of the United States.”

When House Democrats launched their impeachment inquiry against Trump over his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Giuliani, who had been Trump’s personal attorney, said he was communicating with the president.

“Meanwhile, the Justice Department, while I’m defending him on that with others, invaded my iCloud,” Giuliani said. “I can’t fathom that would be done to an ordinary citizen,” he said. “The president doesn’t have any more rights than anybody else, but he doesn’t have any less. To me, they just trashed the president of the United States like he has no constitutional rights.”

Epoch Times Photo
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks during a news conference held by U.S. President Donald Trump in the Briefing Room of the White House in Washington on Sept. 27, 2020. (Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

Elaborating, Giuliani said he carried out a number of conversations with the president that could ostensibly be retrieved from the Apple-based system that backs up emails, text messages, photos, documents, and much more.

“Unless these people have no ethics or any sense of what it means to be a lawyer, what you do when you do that, people who listen to this now say how can I trust talking to my lawyer,” he said. “The government may come in and start listening to it or might try to see text of memoranda.”

The Epoch Times has contacted the Department of Justice (DOJ) for comment.

Last week, after agents searched his home and confiscated several electronic devices, the former mayor disputed allegations that he represented a foreign national.

“I never represented a Ukrainian national or official before the United States government. I’ve declined it several times. I’ve had contracts in countries like Ukraine. In the contract is a clause that says I will not engage in lobbying or foreign representation. I don’t do it because I felt it would be too compromising,” Giuliani told Tucker Carlson on Fox News on April 29.

DOJ officials didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment following the raid.

In late 2019, amid the first House impeachment inquiry against Trump about a conversation he had with Ukraine’s president in July of that year, prosecutors charged two alleged former associates to Giuliani, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, with unrelated crimes regarding alleged campaign finance violations. Giuliani had legally represented Parnas.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/mkt_breakingnews/fbi-spied-on-giuliani-trump-icloud-communications-during-impeachment-push-giuliani_3799121.html?utm_source=News&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breaking-2021-05-02-2&mktids=92c6d32bc6fd9ec6bb200baaf1a0243b&est=MQEVO5oRC3bP4YI1MXVq/43p2NBaIb3UbQD6RVEidvW6WkPGvcGWXhPgi75gvQ==

Share

FISA vs. Liberty

This is a crime against freedom-loving Americans. mrossol

WSJ 1/30/2021.  By James Freeman

The government employees of the “resistance” who never accepted Donald Trump as our president have finally performed a useful public service. Together with the judges of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, they have demonstrated for all Americans how easy it is to turn the spying tools of the federal government against domestic political opponents.

Even after the Obama-appointed inspector general of the Department of Justice found “at least 17 significant errors or omissions” in a series of approved surveillance warrant applications to spy on Trump associate Carter Page —and even after a criminal conviction of an FBI attorney for doctoring an email to make it appear that the patriotic Mr. Page had never assisted U.S. intelligence—the FISA judges are still refusing to apply any significant punishment to the government officials who misled them.

Matt Zapotosky of the Washington Post reports:

The former FBI lawyer who admitted to doctoring an email that other officials relied upon to justify secret surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser was sentenced Friday to 12 months of probation, with no time behind bars.
Prosecutors had asked that Kevin Clinesmith, 38, spend several months in prison for his crime, while Clinesmith’s attorneys said probation would be more appropriate. Clinesmith pleaded guilty last summer to altering an email that one of his colleagues used in preparing an application to surreptitiously monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page…
U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg said that Clinesmith’s conduct had undermined the integrity of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which approved the FBI’s flawed applications to surveil Page. “Courts all over the country rely on representations from the government, and expect them to be correct,” Boasberg said.

But if the representations about a Trump associate are not correct, don’t expect Judge Boasberg to actually do anything about it. This is the kind of appalling Beltway abuse of power that inspired voters to elect Mr. Trump in the first place.

 
U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia James Boasberg on Friday during Clinesmith’s sentencing hearing said Clinesmith had suffered by losing his job and standing in the eye of a media hurricane.

Is Judge Boasberg joking when he suggests the convict has suffered from some kind of media circus? Readers wondering how often Clinesmith has been trailed by a pack of press photographers will note that the rare stories about him are generally illustrated with a years-old official photograph. In the months after his offenses were detailed by the Justice inspector general, there was an almost complete blackout of the story in major media outlets.

The Journal’s Byron Tau offers additional reporting on the judge’s decision to be lenient:

“Mr. Clinesmith has lost his job in government service—what has given his life much of its meaning,” said Judge Boasberg.

The judge responsible for punishing an attorney who helped the FBI abuse its powers to target a political campaign and then a presidency with a collusion hoax that poisoned our politics for years is concerned about the criminal’s personal search for meaning? Instead of community service, perhaps Judge Boasberg should have just ordered Clinesmith to live, laugh and love.

On the other hand, if the judge wanted at least to pretend to be concerned about a crime that went straight to the heart of our democratic process, he might have spent a moment exploring the meaning of Clinesmith’s texts about “the crazies” who supported Mr. Trump and “la resistance” within the government.

As for the victim in this case, Carter Page really did face a media hurricane. Pete Williams of NBC News notes:

Page himself addressed the judge before the sentence was imposed, saying the disclosures that he was being investigated had resulted in death threats.
“This manufactured scandal and associated lies caused me to adopt the lifestyle of an international fugitive for years,” Page told the hearing, conducted by video conference because of the pandemic. “I often have felt as if I had been left with no life at all. Each member of my family was severely impacted.”
 
Federal District Court Judge James Boasberg said that while Clinesmith’s actions were serious, the warrant application probably would have been approved anyway without his misstatement. Boasberg also serves as the presiding judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The judge is wrong, which suggests that Mr. Boasberg couldn’t even be bothered to read the inspector general’s report. There was a reason Clinesmith doctored the infamous email and it was only after his fabrication that another official signed off on the final renewal of the surveillance warrant.

Three years ago this column asked:

Can it possibly be true that the evidentiary standards for obtaining a federal warrant allowing the government to spy on the party out of power are significantly lower than in a professional newsroom?… it appears either that the Obama administration engaged in historic abuse or that the FISA court cannot be trusted to protect our liberties, or perhaps both.

We now know that the answer is both. Until the abolition of the FISA court, no American’s liberty will be safe.

Mr. Freeman is the co-author of “The Cost: Trump, China and American Revival.”

Follow James Freeman on Twitter and Parler.

Subscribe to the Best of the Web email.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/fisa-vs-liberty-11611953179?mod=opinion_lead_pos10

Share