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Tag: christopher wray

FBI Director Doesn’t Want New Barriers Placed On NSA Surveillance Program

Christopher Wray (File photo)

Christopher Wray (File photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The constant battle over privacy and the need to access information for national security is playing out in Washington.

Devlin Barrett of the Washington Post reports:

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray warned Friday that changing the rules of a soon-to-expire surveillance program could create new barriers to preventing terrorist attacks, similar to those that existed before 2001.

In defending his agency’s information-sharing program with the National Security Agency — which civil liberties groups have criticized as a threat to privacy — Wray said his agents get just a small piece of the NSA’s intelligence gathering.

“The FBI only receives collection for a very small percentage of what the NSA does. It’s about 4.3 percent of the targets under NSA collection. But that 4.3 percent is unbelievably valuable to our mission,’’ Wray said during an appearance at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington. He did not say how large that database is.

Russia Will Try Harder to Influence Next Prez Election, FBI Director Predicts

FBI Director Christopher Wray (File photo)

FBI Director Christopher Wray (File photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s no secret that Russia has tried to influence elections around the world for many years.

But 2016 appeared to be banner year for the Russians when it came to the U.S. election.

FBI Director Christopher Wray, addressing a crowd of about 150 people at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York, said he expects the U.S. to be better prepared to deal with threats in the 2018 and 2020 elections, Max Kutner of Newsweek reports.

That’s the good news.

The bad news: He says anticipates Russia will also be better prepared to go at it again.

“We know a lot more now than we did about all the different threats, whether it’s to our election systems or anything else,” the director said when asked about Russia. “I would expect that we would do better, but I also expect that our adversaries don’t just coast, right? They up their game, too.”

Christopher Wray Sworn in As Eighth FBI Director in Bureau’s History

Christopher Wray is sworn in as the new FBI director. Photo via FBI.

Christopher Wray is sworn in as the new FBI director. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Christopher Wray became the eighth director of the FBI following a swearing-in ceremony at the Justice Department in Washington on Wednesday.

“It is the honor of a lifetime to serve as Director,” Wray said in a statement Wednesday. “I long ago grew to know and admire the FBI from my earliest days as a line prosecutor to my years as assistant attorney general. I am excited, humbled, and grateful, therefore, to have this chance to work side-by-side again with these fine professionals for the good of the country and the cause of justice.”

The Senate confirmed President Trump’s nomination of Wray earlier this week, with five Democrats voting no.

“Chris has the experience and the strength of character that the American people want in an FBI Director,” said Attorney General Sessions, adding that he looked forward to working with Wray every day to keep the country safe.

Only 5 Senators Voted Against the Nominee for FBI Director Since 1973

Christopher Wray at confirmation hearing.

Christopher Wray at confirmation hearing.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Since the Senate began voting on nominees for FBI director in 1973, only one senator cast a no vote – until Tuesday.

That’s when five Democrats objected to the confirmation of Christopher Wray to replace fired FBI Dire tor James Comey.

The final vote was 92-5. Voting no were Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley, Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden.

The only other nominee for FBI director to receive a no vote was Comey in 2013, when Sen. Rand Paul objected, according to CNN

The bureau’s first director, J. Edgar Hoover, was not subjected to a Senate vote, and he held the position for nearly 48 years.

Democratic Groups Urge Delay on FBI Director Vote Until Trump Comes Clean on Mueller

Christopher Wray at confirmation hearing.

Christopher Wray at confirmation hearing.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A group of Democratic groups is urging the Senate to oppose the confirmation of Christopher Wray as FBI director until President Trump can assure lawmakers that he won’t fire special counsel Robert Mueller.

A letter addressed to key members of the Senate suggests President Trump “seems intent on thwarting special counsel’s investigation” into Russia’s interference with the 2016 presidential campaign.

“Before moving to confirm a new Trump-selected FBI Director, the Senate should be assured that President Trump and his White House will respect the independence of the FBI’s law enforcement function from White House interference,” according to the letter, signed by nine groups, including Citizens of Responsibility and Ethics, Common Cause and MoveOn.org.

It’s unclear whether the letter will have any impact. Wray has bi-partisan support after pledging independence during his confirmation hearing, and lawmakers are expected to approve the confirmation within a month.

Lengel: Trump’s Statements Are Indicators of Tough Times Ahead for Jeff Sessions and Christopher Wray

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Heading up a major law enforcement agency like the Justice Department or FBI is never easy. It’s a major headache. There’s always a crisis around the corner.

Keeping your job and doing it with integrity has only been more challenging under the Trump administration. Don’t count on Jeff Sessions sticking around as Attorney General for all too long, and expect Christopher Wray to face endless ethical dilemmas dealing with President Donald Trump after his confirmation as FBI director.

The president’s remarks to the New York Times give a pretty clear indication of tumultuous times ahead for the two.

Trump tells  the paper that he would never have hired Sessions had he known he was going to recuse himself in the probe into Russia.

“Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Trump said.

Everyone, perhaps except Trump, realizes Sessions had no choice considering he was in the the inner circle of the Trump campaign in 2016, and he met with Russian officials. It was a no-brainer for Sessions, and frankly, had he not, he would have been under great pressure on the Hill and from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to recuse himself.

Then there’s the comment about the FBI director.

“The FBI person really reports to the president of the United States,” Trump said in what clearly is an untrue statement. Sure, the FBI director can brief the president on a regular basis, but he doesn’t answer to the president, at least not in the way Trump thinks.

The FBI’s website states, “Within the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI is responsible to the attorney general, and it reports its findings to U.S. Attorneys across the country. The FBI’s intelligence activities are overseen by the Director of National Intelligence.”

Trump won’t have a very hard time pushing Sessions out. That seems to be a certainty.

But considering he’s already fired one FBI director, Trump will have a tough time firing a second one without catching hell from Congress and the American people.

These are challenging and complicated times for law enforcement.

What isn’t complicated is doing the right thing and not bending to pressures from the White House.

President Nixon tried undermining the justice system, and we know justice prevailed.

Trump Reinvents History by Saying FBI Director Should Report Directly to President

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Showing a disdain or ignorance of the FBI’s independence, President Trump suggested the bureau’s next director should report directly to him during a wide-ranging interview with the New York Times

Trump cited some alternative history by suggesting that the FBI director began reporting to the Justice Department while Richard Nixon was president.

“The FBI person really reports to the president of the United States,” Trump said in what clearly is an untrue statement.

The FBI’s website states, “Within the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI is responsible to the attorney general, and it reports its findings to U.S. Attorneys across the country. The FBI’s intelligence activities are overseen by the Director of National Intelligence.”

Trump suggested “there was nothing official, there was nothing from Congress” that requires the director to report to the Justice Department.

“There was nothing — anything. But the FBI person really reports directly to the president of the United States, which is interesting. You know, which is interesting. And I think we’re going to have a great new FBI director.”

Trump’s comments raise questions about his expectation of his nominee for FBI director, Christopher Wray.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Trump Chooses Well with FBI Director Nominee Wray

Christopher Wray

Christopher Wray

By Editorial Board
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

President Donald J. Trump seems to have chosen well in nominating former Justice Department criminal division head Christopher A. Wray as FBI director.

In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee  on July 12, Mr. Wray said Mr. Trump had not asked him for, nor had he offered, personal loyalty to the president. His only allegiance in the director’s post, if he is confirmed for it, would be to the Constitution and the rule of law. Mr. Wray said that if he were asked by the president to do something unlawful, he would first try to talk him out of it, and, if that didn’t work, he would resign.

In June 2016, Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya met with Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. The younger Mr. Trump hoped the meeting would yield damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Asked about that meeting, Mr. Wray advised senators that the FBI should be told about such overtures from foreign parties.

That was the correct statement for him to make, one that suggests he will act in the best interests of the American people. His term in office is theoretically 10 years, although Mr. Trump fired his predecessor, James B. Comey, after less than four years, after asking him to back off the scrutiny of Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser, in the midst of inquiries into links between Russia and the 2016 Trump election campaign. 

To read more click here.