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Tag: media

FBI Begins Restricting Media Access to the Bureau Following News Leaks

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI rolled out a new media policy that restricts contacts between the news media and bureau employees following controversies over recent leaks.

The policy was announced this week at a Washington conference attended by FBI agents in charge of 56 field offices, CNN reports. 

Under FBI Director James Comey, the bureau has improved media access to the bureau. But the new policy endangers that transparency.

The new restrictions follow leaked information for news stories about contacts between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian operatives.

Under the new policy, only leaders of the field offices and PR employees are allowed to talk with the media. There are exemptions when proper authorization is given to bureau employees,

The FBI declined to comment.

Love Lost? Trump Administration Prepares to Charge Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange

Julian Assange on Fox News

Julian Assange on Fox News

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump praised the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks while he was running for president.

Now, his administration is preparing charges against the group’s founder, Julian Assange, according to CNN

The charges may include conspiracy, violating the Espionage Act and the theft of government property.

The decision to charge Assange, who revealed troves of damaging e-mails from the Hillary Clinton campaign, belongs to the Justice Department.

U.S. authorities are responding to WikiLeaks releasing 8,000 documents last week revealing secrets about the CIA’s spying capabilities.

Attorney General on Thursday called Assange’s arrest a “priority.”

“We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks,” he said. “This is a matter that’s gone beyond anything I’m aware of. We have professionals that have been in the security business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number of leaks and some of them are quite serious. So yes, it is a priority. We’ve already begun to step up our efforts and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail.”

Assange’s lawyer responded.

“We’ve had no communication with the Department of Justice and they have not indicated to me that they have brought any charges against Mr. Assange,” Barry Pollack said. “They’ve been unwilling to have any discussion at all, despite our repeated requests, that they let us know what Mr. Assange’s status is in any pending investigations. There’s no reason why WikiLeaks should be treated differently from any other publisher.”

Trump Slams FBI for Being Unable to Contain Leaks about His Administration

donald trump rallyBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump once again blasted the intelligence community, this time slamming the FBI for failing to prevent leaks inside the bureau.

“The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security “leakers that have permeated our government for a long time,” Trump tweeted Friday morning. “They can’t even find the leakers within the FBI itself. Classified information is given to media that could have a devastating effect on U.S. FIND NOW.”

Trump fired off the tweets a day after it was discovered that his administration tried to get the FBI to undermine evidence of ties between his campaign team and Russia during the presidential election.

This is just the latest round of attacks aimed at the intelligence community.

FBI Doubles Reward in Case of Chicago Journalist Killed in Belize

Anne Swaney, 39

Anne Swaney, 39

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has doubled its reward for information in helping solve the 2016 murder of a Chicago journalist in Belize.

The FBI upped its reward to $20,000 in hopes of tracking down the killer of Anne Swaney, a 39-year-old Chicago resident who was murdered in western Belize on Jan. 14.

Swaney, executive producer of online operations for ABC7, was staying at a remote resort when she was strangled and sustained blunt force trauma to the neck and head.

Swan’s body was found in a river.

AG Candidate Jeff Sessions Won’t Commit to Protecting Journalists’ Sources

Jeff Sessions at the confirmation hearing.

Jeff Sessions at the confirmation hearing.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Sen. Jeff Sessions, who is Donald Trump’s choice for the next attorney general, said Tuesday at his confirmation hearing that he would not commit to keeping journalists from going to jail for refusing to leak information from anonymous sources.

By contrast, Attorney General Eric Holder said in 2015 that he would not jail reporters for doing their jobs, Huffington Post reports

“If confirmed, will you commit to following the standards already in place at the Justice Department and will you make that commitment not to put reporters in jail for doing their jobs?” asked Sen. Amy Klobuchar, R-Minn.

“I’m not sure,” Sessions responded. “I have not studied those regulations.”

Sessions said that information from journalists could serve as a “mechanism through which unlawful intelligence is obtained.”

FBI Agent’s Leaks to Media May Have Upended Case Against Las Vegas Gambler

Las Vegas gambler William Walters on 60 Minutes.

Las Vegas gambler William Walters on 60 Minutes.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s case against Las Vegas gambler William Walters may be derailed after a federal agent admitted leaking confidential information to reporters.

A judge on Wednesday criticized the agent and indicated that Walters’ lawyers would file a motion to dismiss the major insider trading case, the New York Times reports. 

“To say I was shocked would be an accurate statement,” Judge P. Kevin Castel of Federal District Court in Manhattan said of the leaks.

Walters is accused of raking in $40 million by using illegal stock tips.

An FBI agent admitted to prosecutors that he was a “significant source of confidential information” for reporters writing about the investigation.

CNN Political Commentator Says She Was Subjected to ‘Vaginal Pat Down’ at Detroit Airport

Detroit Metro Airport, via Wikipedia

Detroit Metro Airport, via Wikipedia

CNN political commentator Angela Rye said she was subjected to an invasive “vaginal pat down” at Detroit Metro Airport.

Rye, who wrote about the experience in an op-ed on CNN’s website, said she was told she was randomly chosen for additional screening, despite having a TSA Precheck status and is a CLEAR traveler. 

After being told that a female TSA agent would do “a backhanded pat around the upper thigh,” the search went beyond that, she wrote:

The pat-down began and was uneventful until she went down my leg, up my dress, and her hand sideways hits me right in the crack of my labia. Startled, I jump and feel a lump in my throat trying to hold back tears. What happened to the back handed pat-down?

She comes around to the front; I grow nervous and pull back a bit, afraid of the same thing happening ― and her sideways hand hits in the middle of my genitals again. I can no longer hold back the tears. 

Rye said she was told she would be escorted from the airport if she didn’t agree to the pat-down.

“Of course, we want America to be safe and protected,” Rye wrote. “But we should not violate the emotional and physical safety of our nation’s citizens at the same time.”

Vice News Files FOIA Suit Against FBI for Information about Clintons, Trump, Breitbart

foiaBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Vice News filed a FOIA lawsuit against the FBI, demanding records that may shed light on the bureau’s disclosures, actions and apparent leaks just days before the presidential election.

Vice News hopes to get a better understanding of the timing of the disclosures and apparent leaks that many observers believe helped Donald Trump win the election. 

The FOIA lawsuit demands the release of records about:

  • ŸŸAllegations of the FBI violating the Hatch Act by allegedly using its authority to influence the course of the 2016 U.S. presidential election
  • ŸŸInternal discontent at the FBI regarding the bureau’s Hillary Clinton investigations
  • ŸŸAll leaks of information by the FBI to the media and political operatives about FBI investigations of Clinton
  • All FBI communications with Breitbart News; Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon, who Trump named his chief strategist and White House counselor after Bannon served as his campaign CEO; former Trump campaign manager Corey R. Lewandowski, Fox News, and Fox News hosts Bret Baier and Sean Hannity; former New York City mayor and Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani; and Republican strategist and Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone
  • ŸŸWhite nationalist Richard Spencer, his National Policy Institute, and the “alt-right.”

The lawsuit “seeks public disclosure of specified government records to make sense of the pivotal role of the FBI, as well as of other agencies, in perhaps the most controversial presidential election in modern U.S. history,” says Vice’s complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by FOIA attorney Jeffrey Light.

“Despite subsequent disclosures of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, since its inception, the FBI staunchly maintained it was a purely apolitical entity,” the complaint notes. “However, numerous leading political and news media figures from across the political spectrum explicitly assert the FBI repeatedly and with significant impact affected the outcome of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.”