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Tag: christopher wray

FBI Agents Association Issues Statement in Support of Director Christopher Wray

Christopher Wray (File photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI Agents Association issued a statement Thursday showing support for FBI Director Christopher Wray who has expressed concerns about Congress releasing a classified memo written by Republican staffers for Rep. Devin Nunes.

“The FBI Agents Association appreciates FBI Director Chris Wray standing shoulder to shoulder with the men and women of the FBI as we work together to protect our country from criminal and national security threats,” said the associations president, FBI agent Thomas O’Connor. “As Director Wray noted, FBI Special Agents have remained steadfast in their dedication to professionalism, and we remain focused on our important work to protect the country from terrorists and criminals—both domestic and international. Special Agents take a solemn oath to our country and to the Constitution, and the American public continues to be well-served by the world’s preeminent law enforcement agency.”

Senior White House officials and advisers say that President Trump wants the document published because he sees it as key to making changes at the Justice Department, particularly pushing out Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, the Washington Post reports.

 

FBI Clashes with Trump over ‘Grave Concerns’ about Secret GOP Memo

FBI Director Christopher Wray speaking at a congressional committee hearing.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In a rare move, the FBI on Wednesday released a public statement expressing “grave concerns” about the release of a secret, Republican-drafted memo that purports to show the Justice Department and FBI improperly surveilled the Trump campaign during the 2016 election campaign.

The sharply worded statement marks the first public clash between the president and his FBI director, Christopher Wray, as tensions flare over a much-disputed memo that Democrats say is a shameless ploy by Trump allies to undermine the special counsel investigation.

The “F.B.I. was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it,” the bureau said in the statement today. “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.

Trump supports the release of the memo because he believes it will undermine confidence in an investigation that ultimately could determine the fate of his presidency.

The Justice Department previously warned it would be “extraordinarily reckless” for the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee to approve the release of the document because it draws from highly sensitive material.

The committee ignored the warnings Monday, voting along party lines to publicly release the four-page document, which claims the Justice Department and FBI – the two agencies overseeing the special counsel probe – abused their authority by extending surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser and suspected Russian agent Carter Page. Trump, who has indicated he wants to publicly release the memo, has three days to sign off on the document’s disclosure.

Some Republicans want to use the document to suggest the special counsel investigation was tainted from the start by an anti-Trump bias.

Democrats dismissed the memo as propaganda in the escalating campaign by the president and his allies to undermine the two agencies tasked with overseeing the ongoing investigation of the president, his campaign and Russia. The probe has produced indictments of four former Trump aides so far, and Mueller plans to soon interview the president to determine whether he obstructed justice by trying to tamper with the investigation.

Thousands of Russian-linked social media accounts have cropped up in the past month to spread support for releasing the document. Many of them have joined a viral hashtag campaign on Twitter – #ReleaseTheMemo – to press for the public disclosure of the memo.

Former FBI Director Comey Sends Message of Support to McCabe And Other FBI Officials

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey, whose firing by President Trump has triggered an obstruction of justice investigation, sent a heartfelt message of support to Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe following his earlier-than-expected resignation on Monday

“Special Agent Andrew McCabe stood tall over the last 8 months, when small people were trying to tear down an institution we all depend on,” Comey said in a tweet. “He served with distinction for two decades. I wish Andy well.”

Comey added: “I also wish continued strength for the rest of the FBI. America needs you.”

McCabe’s abrupt resignation follows recent conversations with FBI Director Christopher Wray, who warned about a forthcoming inspector general report on the bureau’s handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation.

Trump and other Republicans have accused McCabe of political bias in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email use as secretary of state. Trump even claimed McCabe played an influential role in the bureau’s decision not to seek charges against Clinton.

The accusations began when his wife, Jill McCabe, was a Democratic candidate for state Senate in Virginia and received nearly $500,000 in donations from the political organization of Terry McAuliffe, a longtime friend of the Clintons. 

The FBI determined there was no conflict because McCabe did not oversee the investigation while his wife was still running.

Still, McCabe has been the primary target of a campaign by Trump and other Republicans to undermine confidence in the top ranks of the FBI amid the Russia investigation.

It was revealed last week that Trump urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to pressure the new FBI director, Chris Wray, to fire McCabe. Wray refused and threatened to resign if he was asked to do it again. 

The New York Times reports that Wray suggested McCabe take a demotion. Instead, he stepped down and will take a leave of absence until the is eligible for retirement in a few weeks. 

FBI Director Wray Once Again Talks About His Grave Concerns About Encryption

FBI Director Christopher Wray (File photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Back in October, FBI Director Christopher Wray spoke at the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Philadelphia and talked about his grave concern he had about getting access to thousands of cell phones in criminal cases due to encryption and privacy issues.

“In the first 11 months of this fiscal year alone, we were unable to access the content of more than 6,900, that six-thousand-nine-hundred, mobile devices using appropriate and available technical tools even though we had the legal authority to do so,” he told the law enforcement group.

“Each one of those 6,900 mobile devices is tied to a specific subject, a specific defendant, a specific victim, a specific investigation. That’s more than half …..of all the mobile devices that we attempted to access in that time frame. And that’s just the FBI.”

On Tuesday, he once again emphasized his concern at New York at Fordham University’s International Conference on Cyber Security, according to a report in the Washington Post by Ellen Nakashima.

“Being unable to access nearly 7,800 devices in a single year is a major public safety issue,” he said, echoing concerns of  his predecessor, James B. Comey.

“We’re not interested in the millions of devices of everyday citizens,” he said. “We’re interested in those devices that have been used to plan or execute terrorist or criminal activities.”

New FBI Director Wray to Reassign Bureau’s Top Lawyer

Top FBI attorney James Baker

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s top lawyer, James Baker, is being reassigned as the bureau’s new director, Christopher Wray, begins making changes at the senior levels of the agency.

Baker, whom the Washington Post describes as “one of the most trusted, longest-serving national security officials in the government,” informed his colleagues that he expects Wray to appoint a new head of the FBI’s Office of General Counsel. 

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Wray has chosen Baker’s replacement yet.

Baker told colleagues that his reassignment may not take effect immediately and that the move was not unusual when a new director takes over.

Trump to Visit FBI Academy Following Sharp Criticism of Bureau

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump, who boasted that the FBI is “in tatters” and “the worst in history,” will visit the bureau’s National Academy in Quantico, Va., today to speak with what could be a skeptical audience.

Trump will take part in the FBI’s graduation ceremony at a time of strained relations between the president and the bureau’s leadership.

The criticism prompted Trump’s FBI Director Christopher Wray to defend the bureau against heightening rhetoric as the special counsel investigation into Russia and the president’s aides continues to heat up.

Trump planned to visit FBI headquarters in May, but it was canceled following his firing of then-Director James come.

LA Times: Congressional Republicans Ignore Facts to Protect Trump

U.S. Capitol

By Editorial Board
Los Angeles Times

Following President Trump’s questionable lead, some congressional Republicans are trying to sow doubt about the integrity and impartiality of the FBI and the investigation led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. That investigation already has resulted in an indictment of Trump’s former campaign chairman and a guilty plea by his first national security advisor, and it shows no sign of concluding.

On Thursday, four days after Trump tweeted that the FBI’s reputation was “in tatters,” Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte (R-Va.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told FBI Director Christopher A. Wray: “We cannot afford for the FBI — which has traditionally been dubbed the premier law enforcement agency in the world — to become tainted by politicization or the perception of a lack of even-handedness.”

True enough, but the question is whether such a perception is fair or the result of politically motivated exaggeration by the president and his supporters. So far the evidence points strongly in the latter direction. That comes as no surprise — the attacks on the FBI fit a clear pattern of misdirection and deflection by the Trump administration and its GOP allies on the issue of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

To read more click here.

FBI Director: Trump’s Blistering Criticism of Bureau Is Offbase

Christopher Wray testifies during his confirmation hearing to become the next FBI directoru

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray vigorously defended his bureau and employees against President Trump’s histrionic rant about the bureau’s reputation.

Wray, who was nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate just four months ago, told the House Judiciary Committee that the FBI is “respected and appreciated” by its partners in foreign and domestic law enforcement. 

“The FBI I see is reflected in folks like the new class of agents I swore in in Quantico two days ago,” Wray said during his first testimony on Capitol Hill. “Hard-charging, high integrity people. People like the hostage rescue team and SWAT teams that we send out into all sorts of danger with almost no notice.”

Some Republicans grilled Comey about what they characterized as a politically driven special counsel investigation into the cozy relationship between Trump’s campaign and Russia. As an example, Republicans cited recent revelations that a top FBI official, Peter Strzok, was removed from the special counsel team for sending text messages critical of Trump.

“If you kicked everybody off of Mueller’s team who was anti-Trump, I don’t think there’d be anybody left,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. 

The hearing came just four days after Trump slammed the FBI and special counsel investigation, resorting to overwrought rhetoric. In one tweet, for example, Trump insisted the special counsel probe is the “greatest witch hunt in political history.”

Wray told the committee “there is no finer institution” than the FBI.

“We are determined to be the very best at protecting the American people and upholding the rule of law,” Wray said.

Wray, a former Justice Department official, is by no means a liberal. According to the Federal Election Commission, Wray has been an unwavering supporter of
Republican candidates, donating more than $35,000 to their campaigns.

 

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