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Tag: Inspector General

Watchdog Group Confirms Trump’s Involvement in FBI Headquarters Project

Current FBI headquarters

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The GSA administrator who is overseeing the construction of a new FBI headquarters may have misled Congress about President Trump’s involvement in the debate over where to build a new campus, according to a government watchdog report released Monday.

The GSA inspector general report also claims officials understated the costs of building a new headquarters in downtown Washington D.C. by suggesting it would cost less than the original plan of erecting a new campus in the suburbs. 

The current headquarters sits near Trump’s Washington D.C. hotel.

The GSA last year scrapped a plan to build a new FBI headquarters in the suburbs in favor of building a smaller headquarters in downtown D.C., which would require some staff to relocate to Alabama, Idaho and West Virginia.

The inspector general’s report concluded that testimony by GSA Administrator Emily Murphy “was incomplete and may have left the misleading impression that she had no discussions with the President or senior White House officials about the project.”

During the hearing, Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., asked Murphy, “To your knowledge, was the president or anyone else at the White House involved in those discussions, either with your predecessors, people you’re working with now, or yourself?”

Murphy responded, “The direction that we got came from the FBI. It was the FBI that directed to GSA as to what its requirements would be. We obviously did coordinate, given that it is a substantial budget request, we coordinated that request with OMB to provide for funding but the requirements were generated by the FBI.”

The Post reports that Murphy had discussed the project with Trump, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and other White House officials

Some Congressional members accused Trump of intervening because his hotel is a stone’s throw from the FBI headquarters, and the president doesn’t want a competing hotel to replace the brutalist building.

Inspector General Report on FBI’s Handling of Hillary Clinton Probe Has Been Completed

Hillary Clinton

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Will the report be a bombshell?

Probably.

A draft of the Justice Department’s Inspector General report addressing a wide-ranging set of allegations that department protocols were flouted when the FBI investigated Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information, has been completed, CNN reports, citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz informed lawmakers on Capitol Hill Wednesday that his office has provided leadership at the Justice Department and FBI with a copy of the draft report and has requested that they review it for classified information.

“We will update you on the specific timing for the report’s release, and I will be prepared to provide a briefing and testify publicly about our findings and conclusions as soon as the report is released,” Horowitz wrote in a letter to members of various committees, CNN reports.

The report could give President Donald Trump, a regular basher of the FBI and Justice Department, some fodder.

Inspector General: Immigration Detention Centers Filthy, Inhumane

A overcrowded, cold detention facility in Tucson.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Several immigration detention centers are so riddled with problems that they “undermine the protection of detainees’ rights, their humane treatment, and the provision of a safe and healthy environment,” according to the Homeland Security inspector general.

Among the findings during unannounced visits were spoiled and moldy food, poor medical care and inadequate treatment of detainees, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports

Acting Inspector General John Kelly identified four detention centers with problems.

“Staff did not always treat detainees respectfully and professionally, and some facilities may have misused segregation,” the report found, adding that observers found “potentially unsafe and unhealthy detention conditions.”

Other Stories of Interest

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.

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