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Archive for October 19th, 2018

Weekend Series on Law Enforcement History: Nixon and Johnson Talk About J. Edgar Hoover

Ex-FBI Agent Gets 4 Years in Prison for Leaking Classified Info To a Reporter

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI agent Terry J. Albury, 39, was sentenced in federal court Thursday in St. Paul, Minn., to four years in prison for leaking classified national defense information to a reporter who works for The Intercept.

“We are conducting perhaps the most aggressive campaign against leaks in Department history,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a statement. “Crimes like the one committed by the defendant in this case will not be tolerated.”

Authorities alleged that Albury, who worked as an FBI agent in the Minneapolis field office,  disclosed from 2016 to 2017 national defense information, classified at the Secret level.

In a press release, authorities alleged:

Albury employed methods to avoid detection, including printing documents that he created by cutting and pasting portions of an original document into a new document so as to avoid leaving a record of having printed the original, classified document. Albury also accessed documents on a classified computer and took pictures of the computer screen in order to photograph certain classified documents. Those additional classified documents were recovered on an electronic storage device found during a search of his home.

The New York Times provided some context for the case:

By the time Terry J. Albury arrived in Minneapolis in 2012, about 11 years after he went to work for the F.B.I., he had grown increasingly convinced that agents were abusing their powers and discriminating against racial and religious minorities as they hunted for potential terrorists.

The son of an Ethiopian political refugee, Mr. Albury was the only African-American field agent assigned to a counterterrorism squad that scrutinized Minnesota’s Somali-American community. There, according to his lawyer, he became disillusioned about “widespread racist and xenophobic sentiments” in the bureau and “discriminatory practices and policies he observed and implemented.”

In 2016, Mr. Albury began photographing secret documents that described F.B.I. powers to recruit potential informants and identify potential extremists. On Thursday, he was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty last year to unauthorized disclosures of national security secrets for sending several of the documents to The Intercept, which published the files with a series titled “The F.B.I.’s Secret Rules.”

Russian Woman Charged With Interfering With 2018 Elections

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In the first case of its kind involving the upcoming election, the Justice Department Friday announced that a Russian national has been charged with conspiracy to interfere in the U.S. political system, including the 2018 midterm election.

“Today’s charges allege that Russian national Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova conspired with others who were part of a Russian influence campaign to interfere with U.S. democracy,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers in a statement. “Our nation is built upon a hard-fought and unwavering commitment to democracy. Americans disagree in good faith on all manner of issues, and we will protect their right to do so. Unlawful foreign interference with these debates debases their democratic integrity, and we will make every effort to disrupt it and hold those involved accountable.”

In a criminal complaint, authorities alleged that Khusyaynova, 44, of St. Petersburg, Russia, served as the chief accountant of “Project Lakhta,” a Russian umbrella effort funded by Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin and two companies he controls, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, and Concord Catering.

Authorities alleged that Khusyaynova managed the financing of Project Lakhta operations, including foreign influence activities directed at the United States.

The financial documents she controlled include detailed expenses for activities in the United States, such as expenditures for activists, advertisements on social media platforms, registration of domain names, the purchase of proxy servers and “promoting news postings on social networks,” the Justice Department alleged in a press release.

Between January 2016 and June 2018, Project Lakhta’s proposed operating budget totaled more than $35 million, although only a portion of these funds were directed at the United States, the Justice Department said. Between January and June 2018 alone, Project Lakhta’s proposed operating budget totaled more than $10 million.

Those involved, the Justice Department alleged,  “took extraordinary” steps to make it appear as if they were ordinary American political activists. This included the use of virtual private networks and other means to disguise their activities and to obfuscate their Russian origin.