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Tag: FBI

FBI Director Christopher Wray Writes: ‘IG’s Report Makes Clear That We Have Some Work To Do’

Christopher Wray has been the director of the FBI since August 2017.

Christopher Wray (File photo)

By Christopher Wray
For USA Today

There has been no shortage of commentary and debate about the FBI lately, and the new report from the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General is a welcome contribution from an independent voice on events of the 2016 election season. The Bureau is entrusted with a lot of authority to carry out our mission, and with that power comes close scrutiny. That’s as it should be. Fair and independent oversight makes the FBI a stronger organization — and that, in turn, makes our country safer.

While the Inspector General didn’t find any evidence of political bias or improper consideration impacting the investigation under review, all of us at the FBI take this report seriously, and we accept its findings and recommendations. We’ve already taken steps to address many of the concerns it raises. We’ll change what we need to change and improve what can be made better and stronger, and we’ll move forward with renewed focus and determination. Because that is the essence of the FBI — we learn from the past, we get better at what we need to do, and we continually strive to be the very best we can be.

The IG’s report makes clear that we have some work to do, but I also want our fellow citizens to realize something important about the scope of this report. It’s focused on a specific set of events in 2016, and on a narrow set of employees connected to those events. Nothing in the IG’s report impugns the integrity of our workforce as a whole, or the FBI as an institution.

Read full column

Sessions Says There Could Be More Firings in Wake of IG Report on FBI

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions hints that there could be more firings after the release of a Justice Department inspector general report on missteps during ex-FBI Director James Comey’s era, The Hill reports.

Sessions told The Hill’s new morning show “Rising” that the IG report will better help the agency improve from past mistakes that led to Comey’s firing last year.

“If anyone else shows up in this report to have done something that requires termination we will do so,” he said.

 

Former DOJ Press Spokesman: Trump Administration Doesn’t Respect Press’s Need to Do Job

Matthew Miller

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Matthew Miller, the former director of public affairs for the Department of Justice under the Obama administration, takes a swipe at the Trump Administration, telling the New York Times:

“I don’t think people in this administration respect the press’s need to do its job at all. And they couldn’t care less about bad press coverage. So both of the checks on what is otherwise their unfettered ability to use the law to obtain journalist records are kind of gone right now.”

Miller is quoted in an article in the Times which talks about the Justice Department seizing years of phone and email records from Ali Watkins, a New York Times journalist, raising concerns that the Trump administration is adopting a highly aggressive approach, continuing a crackdown that ramped up in the Obama years.

To be fair, the Obama administration obtained private records from reporters at Fox News and The Associated Press, triggering strong objections from the media.

Imprisoned Gangster Says He and Whitey Bulger Paid Off 7 FBI Agents, Killed Informants

Steve Flemmi/dateline nbc file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

For decades, the story of James “Whitey” Bulger was one of the bigger ones to come out of Boston.

Now, his name is back in the news.

Former gangster Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi testified Monday that he and Bulger paid off seven FBI agents, killed several informants after they were exposed by a corrupt agent, and lied to implicate others in murders they committed, reports Shelley Murphy of the Boston Globe.

“There was always some sort of story concocted . . . to keep the heat away from us,” Flemmi said under cross-examination at the murder trial of former New England Mafia boss Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme.

Murphy writes:

The sordid details of the gangsters’ corrupt relationship with the FBI have emerged in previous trials related to the Bulger saga over the past two decades, but they were new to the jury in the murder case unfolding in federal court in Boston against Salemme, 84, and his codefendant, Paul Weadick, a 62-year-old plumber from Burlington.

Majority of Cyber Experts Surveyed Oppose FBI Need for Built-in Way to Access Encrypted Data

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has says its inability to crack encrypted cellphones during investigations makes the country less safe. But 72 percent of 100 cybersecurity leaders from government, academia and the private sector surveyed by the Washington Post’s  “Cybersecurity 202” disagree.

The survey showed a broad opposition to the FBI’s demand that device and software-makers give law enforcement a built-in way to access encrypted data with a warrant.

“Strong encryption is absolutely critical for keeping our data safe from criminals. This is especially important for mobile devices such as cellphones, which are easily lost or stolen,”  Matt Blaze, a cryptographer and computer science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, tells the Post. “Weakening encryption might make the FBI’s job easier in some cases … but that would be a very shortsighted policy that would create far more crime than it would solve.”

FBI Agent: Terrorists Working to Take Down America’s 911 Emergency Response System

Aristedes Mahairas (FBI photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

There’s an infinite number of scary scenarios involving terrorists.

Here’s one: The FBI is warning that terrorists are working to acquire the cyber skills to carry out catastrophic attacks that could involve taking down America’s 911 emergency response system, Business Insider reports.

Aristedes Mahairas, a special agent in charge of the New York FBI’s Special Operations/Cyber Division, tells Business Insider terror groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda are plotting attacks that could wipe out online networks to maximize casualties.

“The concern is that the cyber terrorists will one day be able to simultaneously execute an attack in the virtual world and in the physical world,” Mahairas tells the publication.

Ex-Senate Intelligence Committee Aide Arrested for Lying to FBI About Providing Info to Reporters

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An ex-Senate Intelligence Committee aide was arrested on Thursday in an investigation of classified information leaks to reporters, the New York Times reports.

James A. Wolfe, 57, is charged with lying repeatedly to investigators about his contacts with three reporters. According to the authorities, Mr. Wolfe made false statements to the F.B.I. about providing two of them with sensitive information related to the committee’s work.

As part of the probe, prosecutors secretly seized years’ worth of a New York Times reporter’s phone and email records, the Times reports, adding:

Mr. Wolfe’s case led to the first known instance of the Justice Department going after a reporter’s data under President Trump. The seizure was disclosed in a letter to the Times reporter, Ali Watkins, who had been in a three-year relationship with Mr. Wolfe. The seizure suggested that prosecutors under the Trump administration will continue the aggressive tactics employed under President Barack Obama.

Fired Deputy Director Andrew McCabe Might Take the Fifth if Called Before Senate Judiciary

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe could remain mum if he’s called before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week.

McCabe’s lawyer fired off a letter to the committee’s chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, saying McCabe “will have no choice but to invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege” if called before the committee, reports Politico.

Grassley wants McCabe to testify about a much-anticipated probe by the Justice Department inspector general into the FBI’s conduct during its investigation of Hillary Clinton ahead of the 2016 election.

McCabe’s lawyer Michael Bromwich told Grassley on Monday that immunity would be required before McCabe testified because he is under investigation after the Inspector General concluded he lied to investigators.

Read the complete letter.

 

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