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Archive for December 16th, 2019

William Webster Defends FBI Against ‘Dangerous’ Attacks by Trump And Barr

William Webster (Wikimedia Commons)

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

William Webster has a unique perspective: He’s the only American to lead both the FBI and CIA.

In an op-ed in The New York Times, Webster defended the federal agencies against attacks by President Trump and Attorney General William Barr.

“Today, the integrity of the institutions that protect our civil order are, tragically, under assault from too many people whose job it should be to protect them,” wrote Webster, who was FBI director from 1978 to 1987 and CIA director from 1987 to 1991.

Webster said he was “deeply distributed” by Trump’s suggestion that the current FBI director, Christopher Wray, “cannot fix what the president calls a broken agency.”

“The president’s thinly veiled suggestion that the director, Christopher Wray, like his banished predecessor, James Comey, could be on the chopping block, disturbs me greatly,” Webster wrote. “The independence of both the F.B.I. and its director are critical and should be fiercely protected by each branch of government.”

Webster took aim at Barr’s assertion that the inspector general’s report was based on a “bogus narrative.”

The report found there was sufficient evidence to launch the Russia investigation, Webster pointed out.

“There were more than 100 contacts between members of the Trump campaign and Russian agents during the 2016 campaign, and Russian efforts to undermine our democracy continue to this day,” Webster wrote. “I’m glad the F.B.I. took the threat seriously.”

Webster said he has “complete confidence in Mr. Wray, and I know the FBI is not a broken institution.”

“It is a professional agency worthy of respect and support. The derision and aspersions are dangerous and unwarranted.”

Comey Says FBI Vindicated, But Admits Was ‘Wrong’ Defending FISA Process

James Comey via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey admitted Sunday that he was wrong to defend the bureau’s process of obtaining a warrant to monitor Carter Page, an adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign.

But Comey said the inspector general report vindicated himself and the FBI because it concluded the bureau didn’t improperly open its investigation into the Trump campaign, nor did it act with bias.

“I was wrong,” Mr. Comey said on “Fox News Sunday,” referring to the bureau’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor Page. “I was overconfident, as director, in our procedures. And it’s important that a leader be accountable and transparent. If I were still director, I’d be saying the same thing that [FBI Director Christopher Wray] is saying, which is that we are going to get to the bottom of this, because the most important question is, is it systemic? Are there problems in other cases?”

According to the report, the FBI made “17 significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the applications to surveil Page.

Trump seized on Comey’s admission that mistakes were made in the FISA process.

“So now Comey’s admitting he was wrong,” the president tweeted Sunday. “Wow, but he’s only doing so because he got caught red handed. He was actually caught a long time ago. So what are the consequences for his unlawful conduct. Could it be years in jail? Where are the apologies to me and others, Jim?”

The report, however, contradicted Trump’s larger conspiracy theories that the bureau acted with political bias as part of a “deep state” conspiracy.”

“The inspector general did not find misconduct by F.B.I. personnel, did not find political bias, did not find illegal conduct,” Comey said.