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Archive for October 13th, 2016

Lengel: Why FBI Director Comey Was Right Not to Recommend Charges Against Hillary Clinton

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Fox News reported on Thursday that FBI agents and federal prosecutors are upset that FBI Director James Comey recommended no criminal charges against presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton  for the mishandling of classified information– and that Attorney General Loretta Lynch ultimately concurred.

“It is safe to say the vast majority felt she should be prosecuted,” the senior FBI official told Fox News.

I’ve spoken to agents, current and retired, in the past several weeks who have expressed disappointment, and in some cases, embarrassment that the bureau didn’t pull the trigger.

Granted, charges could have been filed. No question. Comey, a former federal prosecutor himself, said as much.

“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” Comey said in July in his statement.  “Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before bringing charges. There are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent. Responsible decisions also consider the context of a person’s actions, and how similar situations have been handled in the past.”

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

It’s not unusual for agents and prosecutors to push for charges, and it would certainly be understandable in this case.  But this is a special case.  In this instance,  it was best to err on the side of caution. An air tight case is one thing. A case that might crumble, is another, particularly under these extraordinary circumstances.

Imagine if you will, that the Justice Department, at the recommendation of the FBI, decided to indict. Unquestionably, the Democratic Party would have pressured Clinton to step aside in the middle of the campaign.

Then let’s just say, after the November election, after Trump or Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden got elected, Clinton went to trial and was acquitted.

Would the FBI and the Justice Department have really wanted to be credited with derailing a presidential candidate, who would later declare that her prosecution was politically motivated, and that she was wrongfully charged?

I think the answer is No.

Some folks will strongly disagree.

But I think ultimately, it’s best for the American people to decide this one.

 

FBI Senior Official On Hillary Clinton: ‘It Is Safe To Say The Vast Majority Felt She Should Be Prosecuted’

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Here’s a little more fuel for the political fire.

An unnamed person closely involved in the probe into Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information,  tells Fox News that career agents and attorneys on the case unanimously believed the Democratic presidential nominee should have been charged. A second official says it may not have been unanimous but indicated the vast majority felt that way.

The first source tells FoxNews.com that FBI Director James Comey’s July 5 announcement that he would not recommend charges left members of  the investigative team dismayed and disgusted.

“No trial level attorney agreed, no agent working the case agreed, with the decision not to prosecute — it was a top-down decision,” said the source, whose identity and role in the case has been verified by FoxNews.com.

The second, source, a high-ranking FBI official, told Fox News that it might not have been a unanimous decision, but “it was unanimous that we all wanted her [Clinton’s] security clearance yanked.”

“It is safe to say the vast majority felt she should be prosecuted,” the senior FBI official told Fox News. “We were floored while listening to the FBI briefing because Comey laid it all out, and then said ‘but we are doing nothing,’ which made no sense to us.”

 

Congressional Leaders Suggest FBI Director Comey Lied Under Oath about Clinton Probe

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Congressional leaders are raising questions about whether FBI Director James Comey misled lawmakers or even perjured himself over the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails.

New letters show the FBI made immunity deals and side agreements with several witnesses in the case, the New York Post reports. 

One of those agreements prevented investigators from reviewing e-mails from Clinton’s Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills to Paul Combetta, who was Clinton’ server administrator. Yet the FBI “knew of conference call between Secretary Clinton’s attorneys and Mr. Combetta, his use of BleachBit, and the resulting deletions, further casting doubt on why the FBI would enter into such a limited evidentiary scope of review.”

That raises serious questions: Did Comey really investigate Clinton and her aides for obstruction of justice, as he told Congress after clearing Clinton of wrong doing?

While speaking under oath, Comey told Congress that he reviewed all of the evidence and concluded no one was trying to hide information.

“We did not find evidence to indicate that they did the erasure to conceal things of any sort,” he swore. “We didn’t find evidence of evil intent to obstruct justice there.”

FBI Suspects Russia Hacked Emails of Clinton Campaign Chairman

hacker-istock-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI suspects what Democrats have been saying for weeks: Russian intelligence agencies hacked the emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman and a contractor handling Florida voter data, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

And now top Russian officials are no longer denying the country was involved in a separate attack of the Democratic National Convention. President Vladimir Putin, for example, said it’s irrelevant who hacked the computer records.

“Everyone is saying, ‘Who did it?’” Mr. Putin said at an investor forum in Moscow. “But does it matter that much? It’s what’s inside the information that matters.”

Just weeks before the election, the FBI has uncovered numerous political targets for hackers.

Clinton’ campaign chairman, John Pedesta, also suggested Russian intelligence agencies are behind the hacks of his emails.

“This level of meddling by a foreign power can only be aimed at boosting Donald Trump and should send chills down the spine of all Americans, regardless of political party,’’ accusing Trump of “continuing to side with the Russians.”

Investigators Say Small Plane Crash in Connecticut Appears to Be ‘Intentional Act’

East Hartford, Conn.

East Hartford, Conn.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Investigators are coming to a chilling conclusion about the small plane crash in East Hartford, Conn.: It appears to be “the result of an intentional act,” the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday.

The NTSB plans to hand over the case to the FBI, ABC News reports. 

Earlier Wednesday, the agency said, “If there is reason for us to believe that a criminal event has occurred, then we will take formal steps to transfer the investigation to the FBI.”

The crash killed a student pilot and seriously injured the instructor when the plane hit a utility pole and caught fire.

Investigators are looking into information that the student pilot was a Jordanian national.

“We are in touch with the relevant U.S. authorities on this matter as they undergo their investigation,” the Embassy of Jordan in Washington D.C. wrote in a statement.

The FBI has been interviewing the surviving flight instructor, Arian Prevalla, 43, who was upgraded to fair condition from critical condition Wednesday.

The family of Prevalla said they don’t have much information.

“We are all, of course, glad he survived. As of now, we have not been able to speak to him because the FBI was still questioning him.”

FBI Investigating Bomb Found in Backpack Outside Colorado Police Station

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating the discovery of an explosive device in a backpack outside a police department in a small Colorado town.

The bag was found by a Nederland place detective and discovered “suspicious articles” that were later deemed to be an improvised explosive device, police Marshal Paul Carrill said, the Associated Press reports. 

The backpack was searched by two robots, and the device was found to be active but failed to detonate.

“It’s difficult to interpret why someone would do this,” said Carrill, who declined to disclose if police have identified the backpack’s owner. “It is my hope and intent, for the health and safety of the community to get to the bottom of why.”

Carroll is asking the public to come forward with information because “the individual or individuals who may have assembled this could be a risk to their neighbors.”

Justice Department Finds Implicit Bias Against People of Color in New Report

ca_-_san_francisco_policeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A six-month Justice Department investigation of the San Francisco Police Department revealed numerous problems, including an institutional bias against people of color.

The report said, “The deficiencies identified range from outdated use of force policies to inadequate data collection and lack of accountability measures. The assessment team identified disparities in traffic stops, post-stop searches, and use of deadly force against African-Americans. In addition, there are numerous indicators of implicit and institutionalized bias against minority groups,” according to CNN. 

The Justice Department recommended more than 27 change in the police department following an investigation sparked by several officer-involved fatal shootings.

Most of the cases of deadly use of force involved people of color.

“The truth hurts,” said Ronald Davis, director of the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. ”To be selectively ignorant and pretend nothing is going on around you is ultimately going to be fatal to your organization.”

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee pledged to pledged to respond to the findings.

“The SFPD will accept and implement every single recommendation. We must restore trust, ” Lee said. “We have worked hard to put reforms in place. We did not wait for the DOJ report to become final.”

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