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Tag: Inspector General

FBI Did Not Spy on Trump’s Campaign, DOJ Inspector General Found

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump has repeatedly claimed that the FBI turned rogue and spied on his campaign in 2016 in what he said was “perhaps the biggest scandal in the history of our country.”

The Justice Department’s inspector general found no evidence that the FBI infiltrated Trump’s campaign or launched a politically motivated investigation to undermine his candidacy, according to The New York Times and NBC News.

The findings are in a draft copy of an inspector general report that is due out on Dec. 9 as part of a larger examination of the Russia investigation.

The inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, also undercuts claims that the FBI’s pursuit of a secret wiretap on a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, was politically motivated.

In April, Attorney General William Barr told a Senate committee that he suspected “spying did occur.” A few days later, Trump insisted, “There was absolutely spying into my campaign.”

But in May, FBI Director Christopher Wray took issue with the characterization that the bureau was “spying” on Trump’s campaign, saying, “I don’t think I personally have any evidence of that sort.”

Trump’s CBP Head Violated Ethics Rules While Working for the FBI

CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan, via White House.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump appointed Mark Morgan to head Customs and Border Protection in an effort to clean up the agency.

But it turns out, Morgan violated federal ethics roles while working for the FBI as deputy assistant director of the training division in 2015.

Morgan solicited sponsors to purchase booze and upscale food for FBI happy hours, even though he had been warned it violated federal rules to ask outside entities to pay for social events, the Justice Department’s inspector general found.

Morgan was the acting ICE director in June when Trump appointed him to replace John Sanders as acting head of CBP. Morgan had previously served as chief of Border Patrol before taking over as head of ICE in May.

Morgan became the first person to lead CBP without having served at Border Patrol.

His appointment was intended to bring fresh eyes into an agency that needed cleaned up.

Former FBI Lawyer Accused of Altering Document Related to 2016 Russia Probe

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former FBI lawyer is accused of altering a document related to the 2016 Russia investigation.

The accusations are part of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on the FBI’s actions during the Russia investigation. The report is expected to be released Dec. 9.

The former low-level FBI lawyer is accused of doctoring a document associated with the court-ordered surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, The Washington Post reports.

The allegations are contained in a draft of the report, which says the lawyer altered an email to support his erroneous claim that the FBI had factual basis for the surveillance application.

The altered report, however, did not change Horowitz’s position that there was proper legal and factual basis in the application.

Homeland Security Department Struggles Under Trump, Inspector General Warns

Homeland Security helicopter, via Homeland Security.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Department of Homeland Security under President Trump is struggling to execute its mission to keep the nation safe because it lacks a permanent leader, a cohesive plan and sufficient staffing, the agency’s inspector general warned in a new report.

Last week, Chad Wolf became the fifth leader of the federal government’s third-largest agency. It’s not a permanent job because he’s been named as acting secretary.

In fact, nearly one-third of the senior leadership positions are filled by “acting” officials, according to the report, which was released Monday.

“Unfortunately, many of these senior leadership positions continue to suffer from a lack of permanent, presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed officials,” Inspector General Joseph Cuffari wrote.

The agency also has a work environment “marked by high attrition, changing mandates and difficulties implementing permanent plans, procedures and programs,” the report states.

The agency’s failure to hire an adequate amount of employees has been “exacerbated” since Trump became president.

“Since its inception, DHS has had difficulties ensuring it can expeditiously hire and retain highly qualified workers,” the report states. “This situation is exacerbated by changes and vacancies in senior leadership, which are often beyond DHS’ control.”

Trump has struggled to retain rank-and-file employees and leadership because of his intense focus on immigration. Homeland Security was created, in large part, to combat terrorism after 9/11.

Andrew McCabe Failed to Convince DOJ Officials Not to Charge Him

Fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe faces the possibility of being charged for allegedly make false or misleading statements to internal investigators.

A top official in Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen’s office notified McCabe Thursday that his lawyers had failed to persuade Justice Department officials to drop the case, The Washington Post reports.

“The Department rejected your appeal of the United States Attorney’s Office’s decision in this matter,” the official wrote, according to one person familiar with the case. “Any further inquiries should be directed to the United States Attorney’s Office.”

It’s not clear yet whether McCabe, a 21-year FBI veteran and a target of President Trump’s ire, would be charged.

An inspector general’s report alleges McCabe lied on at least four occasions – three of which were under oath. After the IG’s report was issued, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe in March 2018, just before his retirement benefits would have kicked in.

McCabe took issue with the report, saying he never intended to mislead investigators.

Internal Watchdog Discovers DOJ Official Viewed Porn on Government Computers

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A deputy assistant attorney general was looking at “sexually explicit” material on two Justice Department computers and later lied about it, according to a report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

The unnamed DOJ official was interviewed twice by the watchdog’s office and then resigned before the investigation was complete.

Horowitz report stated that a “forensic examination of two DOJ computers issued to the DAAG determined that the computers contained data regarding numerous sexually explicit website searches, visits to websites hosting sexually explicit videos, sexually explicit search engine terms, and sexually explicit images.”

During the investigation, Horowitz concluded the official “made false statements under oath.”

In second interview after the internal investigation uncovered forensic evidence, the official “ultimately admitted” that he or she “may have” accessed pornorgraphy on government computers.

IG Report on Comey Reveals How Often Trump And His Supporters Lied

Former FBI Director James Comey.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

By now you’ve heard that former FBI Director James Comey violated bureau policies over his handling of memos he kept on President Trump.

Those memos suggested the president tried to interfere in the FBI’s investigation of Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential election.

What also was revealed Thursday was that the inspector general found “no evidence” that Comey’s leaked memos were classified.

Trump and his apologists have repeatedly claimed, with no evidence, that Comey had leaked classified information.

Congressmen Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., were among those making the false allegations.

“We know that Jim Corey has leaked classified information,” Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told the Fox Business Network, repeating that claim on Fox News this month.

Same goes with Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett, who said in April 2018 that Comey “leaked these classified documents to three people who he’s hired as his counsel so he can hide behind the attorney-client privilege on these communications.”

Others who have made the false claims include Fox News host Tucker Carlson and former White House aide Sebastian Gorka.

The mantra even continued after the inspector general report was released. On Thursday, Rep. Scott DesJarlais claimed on Twitter that Comey “leaked classified info.”

To be clear, here’s what the inspector general reports says: “We found no evidence that Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the Memos to members of the media.”

“I don’t need a public apology from those who defamed me, but a quick message with a ‘sorry we lied about you’ would be nice,” Comey tweeted.

Internal Watchdog Investigates Trump Administration’s Secret Database of Journalists, Activists, Lawyers

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security’s internal watchdog is investigating the federal government’s secret surveillance of journalists and activists along the U.S. and Mexico border.

NBC 7 in San Diego revealed the database after receiving leaked documents that showed a list of surveillance targets that included 10 journalists, three attorneys and 46 immigration advocates.

Homeland Security’s acting Inspector General Jennifer Costello confirmed in a letter that “criminal investigators, program analysts, and attorneys” are investigating the secret database, which was part of the Department of Defense’s so-called “Operation Security Line.”

“We plan to review the leaked…document in order to determine why it was created, what it is used for, and what happened to the people named in it,” Costello wrote in the letter. “We also anticipate reviewing other specific allegations of targeting and/or harassment of lawyers, journalists, and advocates and evaluate whether [Customs and Border Protection’s] actions complied with law and policy.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Ct., had harsh words for Trump.

“Putting journalists, attorneys, and activists on a secret government watch list may be a favorite move of one of President Trump’s autocratic friends, but it is not a tactic we should tolerate in our democracy,” Blumenthal said.