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Tag: Inspector General

Justice Department Watchdog to Determine by Spring Comey’s Statements on Clinton Before Election

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies about President Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee in early June.

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies about President Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee in early June.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department inspector general revealed on Wednesday that he hopes to finish his review by early spring to determine whether FBI Director James Comey improperly made public statements about the Hillary Clinton investigation ahead of the 2016 election. 

“We have interviewed dozens of people. We are not at the 100 level yet, but we’re in the dozens range. We’ve reviewed about 1.2 million records in the course of the investigation,” Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said, in testimony before a U.S. House of Representatives panel, Reuters reports.

“We are aiming to release the report in late winter/early spring, so hopefully in that March-April time period.”

Earlier this year, Horowitz’s office announced a review of Comey’s decision to release information about the status of the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.

It’s unusual for the FBI to release information early about an ongoing investigation.

Justice Department Reveals ‘Systemic’ Misconduct Often Ignored at FBI

Photo via FBI

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s Inspector General revealed the FBI was not reporting “high-risk security concerns” about some agents, concluding that “systemic” misconduct issues were not properly addressed.

The examination found “seriously allegations of misconducts” that were never reported or properly addressed, Newsweek reports

“Despite these requirements, we identified several instances in which the FBI could not demonstrate that allegations of employee misconduct were referred either to the INSD or the OIG,” Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote in a memo to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

In one case, an FBI agent who used bureau computers to download pornography was never disciplined.

Horowitz warned that the failure to properly address the misconduct is a national security issue.

“Allegations against employees with access to [sensitive information] are particularly important given the potential risk to U.S. national security,” the memo states.

Manafort Calls on Justice Department to Investigate Leak of FBI Wiretaps

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is urging the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate who leaked to the media information about the FBI conducting several wiretap probes of him, Bloomberg reports.  

Manafort also is asking the Justice Department to release “any intercepts involving him and any non-Americans so interested parties can come to the same conclusion as the DOJ — there is nothing there,” Manafort’s spokesman Jason Maloni said in a statement Tuesday.

Using leaked information, CNN reported Monday that two FISA court orders were obtained by the FBI to authorize wiretapping of Manafort before and after the presidential election.

Of the fact that no charges ever emerged,” Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said in a statement on Tuesday. The Justice Department’s inspector general “should immediately conduct an investigation into these leaks and to examine the motivations behind a previous administration’s effort to surveil a political opponent.” 

Report Suggests Justice Department Mishandled Sexual Misconduct Cases

justice-dept-photo-with-woman-and-court1By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has mishandled sexual harassment and misconduct cases because of sloppy management, according to the department’s Office of Inspector General.

“We identified significant weaknesses in the Civil Division’s tracking, reporting, and investigating of the 11 sexual harassment and misconduct allegations that we reviewed” during fiscal 2011-2016, the report said, “as well as inconsistencies among penalties imposed for substantiated allegations.”

The report, revealed by the Washington Post, suggests that the Justice Department acted like the Catholic Church did when a suspected pedophile priest was reassigned to a new parish: The offenders were “flushed” to other offices.

In another case, a male attorney accused of spying on two female lawyers who were pumping breast milk was absolved by his male supervisor.

“The investigation into the allegation consisted of the male attorney’s supervisor speaking with him,” according to the report. “Thereafter, his supervisor accepted the male attorney’s explanation of the incident as an honest mistake and imposed on him an informal disciplinary action of oral counseling.”

The treatment of attorneys suspected of sexual misconduct left many women with the impression that the accused were lightly punished or even rewarded.

“What is alarming about the Civil Division and what rings true for the entire labor force is the lack of accountability for individuals committing acts of sexual misconduct due to the absence of punitive procedures,” said Wanda Killingsworth, president of Federally Employed Women. “Without any internal system to protect employees from sexual harassment the fight to effectively combat workplace sexual harassment is directly inhibited and the current report on the Department of Justice just proves that lack of awareness is a breeding ground for abuse.” The division’s cases, she added, “are not unique to any single agency, but nonetheless present in many sectors of the workforce.”

Inspector General: DEA Seizes Money without Ties to Criminal Investigations

Drugs and cash seized in Portland.

Drugs and cash seized in Portland.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA is seizing massive amounts of cash from people who are not connected to a criminal investigation, according to a scathing report by the Justice Department’s inspector general.

In the 74-page report released Wednesday, the inspector general cautioned that the DEA may be violating the civil liberties of people whose is seized, the Washington Post reports.

The inspector general concluded the DEA was unable to demonstrate how asset forfeiture practices benefit criminal investigations.

The Post cites one example:

The DEA took more than $70,000 from a piece of checked luggage without doing any more investigation or attempting to question the owner at the airport — instead simply putting a receipt in the bag and sending it on to its final destination.

“Even accepting that the circumstances surrounding the discovery of this large volume of concealed currency justified law enforcement suspicion and seizure, we find it troubling that the DEA would make an administrative forfeiture without attempting to advance an investigation, especially considering that the DEA had opportunities to contact the potential owners of the currency instead of simply providing written notice of the seizure,” the inspector general wrote.

Homeland Security Warned of ‘Alarming Security Concerns’ with Processing Immigrants

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The public watchdog for Homeland Security issued an “urgent” alert Monday, saying there are “alarming security concerns” with the long-troubled electronic system that processes immigrants’ applications for citizenship, according to the U.S. News & World Report. 

Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General warned of widespread security flaws, prompting the Electronic Immigration System, or ELIS, to be discontinued.

Among the findings was that the system granted 20,000 green and and 175 applications for citizenship to people with incomplete or inaccurate security and background checks.

“Without sufficient vetting, immigrants could potentially be granted U.S. citizenship although they are ineligible or pose national security threats,” Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth wrote in a Friday memo to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

U.S. News & World Report wrote:

The system entered development in 2009 as a way to ease benefits applications for immigrants, and it was scheduled to be completed in 2013. By the time the program launched in 2012, however, it offered just two of the dozens of the services it was supposed to provide, and U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services estimated it would need another three years and $1 billion to complete the program. Subsequent audits made public March, November and January uncovered a raft of security concerns.

However, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General apparently learned that, despite the issues, U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services planned to reinstate the program as soon as this month, stoking alarm that the agency had not properly addressed the issues identified in the inspector general’s audit, the full results of which still have not yet been released.

Other Stories of Interest

Things Just Keep Getting More Interesting: Inspector General to Investigate FBI’s Dealings With Hillary Clinton Emails

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

These days, Washington is anything but dull. President elect-Donald Trump just had his first press conference  since the election. The Senate is conducting confirmation hearings for Trump appointees. And now this.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced Thursday, as a result of requests from politicians and organizations,  that his office will examine the way the FBI handled the Hillary Clinton email scandal.

Specifically, his office will look into:

  • Allegations that Department or FBI policies or procedures were not followed in connection
  • Allegations that Department or FBI policies or procedures were not followed in connection
    with, or in actions leading up to or related to, the FBI Director’s public announcement on
    July 5, 2016, and the Director’s letters to Congress on October 28 and November 6, 2016,
    and that certain underlying investigative decisions were based on improper considerations
  • Allegations that the FBI Deputy Director should have been recused from participating in
    certain investigative matters;
  • Allegations that the Department’s Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs
    improperly disclosed non-public information to the Clinton campaign and/or should have
    been recused from participating in certain matters;
  •  Allegations that Department and FBI employees improperly disclosed non-public
    information; and
  •  Allegations that decisions regarding the timing of the FBI’s release of certain Freedom of
    Information Act (FOIA) documents on October 30 and November 1, 2016, and the use of a
    Twitter account to publicize same, were influenced by improper considerations.

Thousands of Green Cards Mishandled Over Past 3 Years, Inspector General Reports

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The federal government mishandled thousands of green cards over the past three years, according to a new Department of Homeland Security inspector general report. 

Among the problems were electronic system errors that led to at least 19,000 cards being issued with correct information or as duplicates.

The inspector general also found that some green card applicants received a card valid for 10 years, instead of the intended two years.

But the head of U.S. Customs and Immigration Services said some of the report’s conclusions were exaggerated, ABC News reports. 

The USCIS director said none of the green cards were sent to people who were ineligible to receive them.