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Tag: media

FBI Refuses to Release Comey’s Trump Memos to Media Because of Ongoing Probe

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 FBI has declined Freedom of Information Act requests from several media outlets asking for copies of the memos that fired FBI Director James Comey wrote following President Trump’s one-on-one meetings with the bureau boss before he was terminated.

Comey revealed the existence of the memos when he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8.

Those memos could be critical evidence to the special counsel team that is investigating whether Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey and allegedly directing him to drop an investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

In denying the FOIA request, the FBI responded that the records were exempt from disclosure because of “pending or prospective law enforcement proceeding relevant to those responsive records, and the release of the information in these responsive records could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”

Trump’s Attorney Contradicts Himself And President on Investigation

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s attorney repeatedly denied the president is under investigation before saying twice “he’s being investigated” and then denying he said it moments earlier during a contentious interview on “Fox News Sunday.” 

Confused?

So was host Chris Wallace, whose refusal to let the attorney, Jay Sekulow, get away with contradictory statements about the investigation led to a tense back-and-forth.

Sekulow, who set out Sunday to deny the president is under investigation, said Trump fired FBI Director James Comey last month “based on numerous events, including recommendations from his attorney general and the deputy attorney general’s office.”

“So, he’s being investigated for taking the action that the attorney general and deputy attorney general recommended him to take, by the agency who recommended the termination. So that’s the constitutional threshold question here,” Sekulow said.

When Wallace pointed out that Sekulow had just contradicted himself by acknowledging Trump was under investigation, the president’s attorney accused the host of “putting words in my mouth, when I’ve been crystal clear that the president is not and has not been undeyinvestigation.”

Wallace noted that the “tape will speak for itself.”

The contradictions really began Friday, when Trump tweeted, “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt!”

How FBI Easily Tracked Down Leaker of Top Secret Russia Document

Reality Leigh Winner, via Facebook.

Reality Leigh Winner, via Facebook.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators often struggle to uncover national security leakers, but not in the case of Reality Leigh Winner, a government contractor arrested for allegedly sending a top-secret document to a news outlet.

The Washington Post reports that Winner was easy to track down – it took just a few days – because the 25-year-old Georgia woman left behind plenty of clues. 

An unidentified news outlet, presumably The Intercept, called federal officials for a comment on one of the “most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light.” The news agency, seeking comment for a story, showed authorities a copy of the printed materials, according to an affidavit.

“The U.S. Government Agency examined the document shared by the News Outlet and determined the pages of the intelligence reporting appeared to be folded and/or creased,” the affidavit reads, “suggesting they had been printed and hand-carried out of a secured space.”

Authorities determined that six people had printed out the top-secret materials, and one of those was Winner, who worked for Pluribus International at a facility in Georgia.

A review of Winner’s work computer revealed that she had searched the agency’s classified system for the report and printed it on the same day. 

A reporter who received the documents said they were mailed in an envelope postmarked “Augusta, Georgia.”

“The Contractor informed the Reporter that he thought that the documents were fake,” the affidavit reads. “Nevertheless, the Contractor contacted the U.S. Government Agency on or about June 1, 2017, to inform the U.S. Government Agency of his interaction with the reporter.”

After Winner was arrested Saturday, the FBI said she admitted “removing the classified intelligence reporting from her office space, retaining it, and mailing it from Augusta, Georgia, to the news outlet,” court documents read.

Trump to Comey: Jail Journalists Who Refuse to Identify Anonymous Sources


typewriter-reporterBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump continued his attack on the free press by asking then-FBI Director James Comey to jail journalists who refuse to disclose the names of anonymous government sources responsible for leaking embarassing information about his administration.

It was the same Feb. 14 meeting in the Oval Office in which Trump is accused of asking Comey to drop the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Saying he was tired of news leaks detailing his private conversations with several leaders worldwide, Trump asked Comey to aggressively pursue the leakers.

When Comey advised the president that it would be difficult to identify the leaks without the cooperation of journalists, Trump told the FBI director to send reporters to jail if they refused to help provide information.

The unusual request was written in a memo by Comey, who kept meticulous notes on his meetings with Trump.

A press freedom advocacy group came to the defense of journalists, saying Trump’s comments “cross a dangerous line.”

“The comments attributed to President Trump cross a dangerous line. But no president gets to jail journalists,” Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said in a statement.

“Reporters are protected by judges and juries, by a congress that relies on them to stay informed, and by a Justice Department that for decades has honored the role of a free press by spurning prosecutions of journalists for publishing leaks of classified information.”

USA Today Urges FBI to Investigate Millions of Fake Facebook Accounts

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The USA Today has been swamped with so many fake users on Facebook that the newspaper is asking the FBI to investigate.

The newspaper, owned by Gannett Co., estimated that half of its Facebook follower are automated. Even after the social media giant removed more than a third of USA Today’s 15.2 million followers, millions more are fake as an average of 1,000 fake users “like” the page, the newspaper revealed

What remains unclear is why spam operators are targeting the USA Today.

“The continued presence of phony accounts hasn’t checked the social network’s user growth, but they can cause confusion and havoc for individual users and companies,” the USA Today wrote. “Fake profiles that masquerade as real people have also caused tragedy, such as the torture and killing of a university student in Pakistan after someone set up a fake Facebook account in his name that allegedly contained blasphemous content.”

“We don’t know why the scope of impact on USA Today’s Facebook Page appears greater than any other publisher,” said Shabnam Shaik, technical program manager on Facebook’s protect and care team.

In flings with the Securities and Exchange commission, Facebook estimated about 1% of its active users are “misclassified” accounts, which includes both fake accounts and those that violated its terms of service, such as pet accounts.

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.