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Tag: Justice Department

DEA Investigates Ex-Agent Accused of Providing Intel to Colombian Drug Traffickers

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The DEA is investigating a former agent accused of providing intelligence to Colombian drug traffickers.

The former agent, Jose Irizarry, resigned abruptly after investigators began suspecting he passed information to Colombia drug traffickers, BuzzFeed News reports. 

Sources told BuzzFeed the scope of the investigation is unprecedented.

“It’s a major case,” one of the sources said. 

The DEA confirmed the investigation.

“We are looking into his activities in Colombia,” the spokesperson said, adding that “the scope is unclear.”

She said the case is being handled by the DEA’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

One source said the Justice Department and FBI also are investigating Irizarry, who was based in the Cartagena, Colombia, field office.

Other Stories of Interest

Ex-FBI Agent Pleads Guilt to Leaking Secrets to Media

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A former FBI agent has pleaded guilty to leaking confidential documents to a news organization, becoming the first federal employee convicted as part of the Justice Department’s crackdown on government leaks.

Terry James Albury, 39, who previously was a special agent in the Minneapolis division, faces up to 20 years in prison on two counts of retaining and disclosing defense information.

“As this prosecution demonstrates, we will not waiver in our commitment to pursue and hold accountable government officials who violate their obligations to protect our nation’s secrets,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said in a statement.

Albury has said he was exposing “systemic biases” within the bureau when he allegedly gave a national reporter documents relating to assessing confidential informants and “threats posed by certain individuals from a particular Middle Eastern country,” according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

An outline of the charges doesn’t mention the reporter or the news organization, but the timing of the alleged leaks coincide with an Intercept story published on Jan. 31, 2017, that accuses the FBI of aggressively investigating people deemed to have valuable sources. 

Federal prosecutors said they will continue to aggressively pursue government leakers.

“Terry Albury betrayed the trust bestowed upon him by the United States,” U.S. Attorney Doherty-McCormick said in a statement.  “Today’s guilty plea should serve as a reminder to those who are entrusted with classified information that the Justice Department will hold them accountable.”

400+ DOJ Officials Urge Congress to Respond ‘Swiftly’ If Trump Fires Mueller

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Hundreds of former Justice Department employees are calling on Congress to “swiftly and forcefully respond” if President Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the probe.

“It is up to the rest of us, and especially our elected representatives, to come to their defense and oppose any attempt by the President or others to improperly interfere in the Department’s work,” read a statement signed by more than 400 former officials who worked under current and previous administrations.

The statement adds, “We served out of a commitment to the founding American principles that our democratic republic depends upon the rule of law, that the law must be applied equally, and no one is above the law. … Those of us who served with these men know them to be dedicated public servants committed to these principles.”

Trump has stepped up his attack on the FBI and Justice Department, accusing top law enforcement officials of engaging in a politically driven “witch hunt.” He recently called the Justice Department “an embarassment to our country!” in a tweet.

Former and current Justice Department officials said in the statement that they are “deeply  disturbed by the attacks that have been levied against the good men and women of the Department.”

“Not only is it an insult to their public service, but any attempt to corrupt or undermine the evenhanded application of the rule of law threatens the foundation of our Republic,” the statement read.

Amid Impeachment Threat, DOJ Gives Nunes Access to Trump Probe Document

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, who threatened to hatch a plan to impeach senior Justice Department officials for failing to turn over a confidential report, said Wednesday he’s “finally” received the highly classified document that launched the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Nunes, a President Trump ally and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, had threatened to impeach FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein if they didn’t turn over the report.

Nunes and Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., went to the Justice Department to view the document, which is said to spell out the justification for launching the investigation n 2016 into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia, CNN reported

Nunes didn’t comment on the substance of the report, and because it’s classified, didn’t reveal details.

“After numerous unfulfilled requests for an Electronic Communication (EC) related to the opening of the FBI’s Russia counterintelligence probe, Chairman Trey Gowdy and I met this afternoon with Attorney General Rod Rosenstein,” Nunes said in a statement.

“During the meeting, we were finally given access to a version of the EC that contained the information necessary to advance the Committee’s ongoing investigation of the Department of Justice and FBI,” Nunes continued.

DOJ Taps Federal Prosecutor to Oversee Production of Clinton-Related Documents

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department, under intense pressure from Republicans and President Trump, said last week that its tapping a federal prosecutor in Chicago to produce documents related to the FBI’s handling of the Hillary email investigation.

The Justice Department missed a Thursday deadline to provide the House Judiciary Committee with documents related to the inquiry and a report about the department’s decision to fire former FBI Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

On Saturday, Trump criticized the DOJ missing the deadline.

“What does the Department of Justice and FBI have to hide? Why aren’t they giving the strongly requested documents (unredacted) to the HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE?,” Trump tweeted “Stalling, but for what reason? Not looking good!”

The documents were subpoenaed last month by committee chairman, Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va.

The missed deadline was also criticized by republicans.

“This is unacceptable — it’s time to stop the games,” Rep. Mark Meadows., R-N.C., tweeted.

John Lausch will oversee the production of the documents and will report directly to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the New York Times reports.

DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Sessions requested the appointment.

“By appointing Mr. Lausch to oversee this specific document production, our goal is to assure Congress, the president and the American people that the F.B.I. is going to produce the relevant documents and will do so completely and with integrity and professionalism,” Flores said in a statement.

Feds Shut Down Backpage.com, Charge the Owner Amid Human Trafficking

Michael Lacey, a founder of Backpage.com.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities on Friday shut down and seized Backpage.com, a classifieds website that has drawn intense scrutiny for its sex ads, some of which included teenagers.

Michael Lacey, a founder of the website, was charged Friday in a 93-count indictment. Details of the charges, however, were sealed, and an attorney for Lacey couldn’t provide any more specifics in an interview with the Arizona Republic Federal authorities also raided Lacey’s home in Sedona, Ariz.

Backpage.com provides a place for people to sell items, seek roommates, list upcoming events or advertise jobs openings.

But its most lucrative service is in sex, with listings for adult escorts and other sex services. 

DOJ Charges Minnesota FBI Agent with Leaking Records to Media

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

A former Minnesota FBI agent has been charged with leaking confidential documents to a news organization, becoming the first target of the Justice Department’s crackdown on federal government leaks.

Terry James Albury has said he was exposing “systemic biases” within the bureau when he allegedly gave a national reporter documents relating to assessing confidential informants and “threats posed by certain individuals from a particular Middle Eastern country,” according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The Justice Department filed two counts that allege Albury unlawfully disclosed and retained defense information. 

An outline of the charges doesn’t mention the reporter or the news organization, but the timing of the alleged leaks coincide with an Intercept story published on Jan. 31, 2017, that accuses the FBI of aggressively investigating people deemed to have valuable sources. 

In a statement to the Washington Post, Albury’s attorneys said: “Terry Albury served the U.S. with distinction both here at home and abroad in Iraq. He accepts full responsibility for the conduct set forth in the Information. We would like to add that as the only African-American FBI field agent in Minnesota, Mr. Albury’s actions were driven by a conscientious commitment to long-term national security and addressing the well-documented systemic biases within the FBI.”

Democratic Senators Urge DOJ to Protect Mueller from Being Fired

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Democratic senators, unable to gain enough support from Republicans to pass a bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired, are now reaching out to the Justice Department for help. 

Nine Democratic senators sent a letter to the Justice Department, urging top officials to publicly defend Mueller as President Trump escalates his smear campaign against Mueller and his investigation, Huffington Post reports.

“We have significant concerns that the president or his White House could order individuals at the Department of Justice with the authority to oversee Special Counsel Mueller’s probe to interfere with the probe or shut it down,” the letter, released Tuesday, reads. “You fall in the line of succession at the Department of Justice … We write to request that you provide a written and public commitment that you will not interfere.”

The senators are Richard Blumenthal, of Conn., Patrick Leahy, of Vermont, Dick Durbin, of Ill.,  Sheldon Whitehouse, of Rhode Island, Dianne Feinstein, of Calif., Chris Coons, of Del., Mazie Hirono, of Hawaii, Cory Booker, of N.J., and Kamala Harris, of Calif.

The senators point to Trump’s attacks against the Justice Department and FBI and reports that the president ordered the firing of Mueller last summer until his attorney pressed back.

“You have an oath to uphold the rule of law and protect the Constitution,” the senators wrote. “This includes refusing to take part in any effort to deny the American public access to the truth and refusing to participate in any attempt by the president to interfere with a legitimate and critical investigation of national importance.”

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