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Tag: media

Right-Wing Suggests FBI Is Planning to Dethrone Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The campaign to discredit the special counsel investigation into potential ties between Donald Trump’s presidency and Russia has intensified as the probe reaches the president’s inner circle.

While some Republican lawmakers are questioning whether Mueller’s team has a bias against Trump, far-right pundits and Fox News are suggesting something far more sinister and violent.

On Tuesday, Fox News contributor Kevin Jackson suggested Trump may be assassinated by the FBI, pointing to text messages in which FBI agent Peter Stzrok complained about Trump and mentioned an “insurance policy” against his presidency.

A day earlier, right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones warned his listeners that he believes secret operatives tied to the Clintons, the FBI and other federal agencies plan to soon attempt to murder Trump.

Judge Rules Against FBI in Reporter-Impersonation Case

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI incensed news organizations after reporters discovered the bureau used special agents to impersonate a journalist to help capture a suspect in a string of anonymous bomb threats in 2007. 

Saying the impersonation “endangers the media’s credibility and creates the appearance that it is not independent of the government,” two media groups sued the FBI for records to show how often the bureau had masqueraded as news organizations. 

The FBI responded that it had no such records.

But last week, a D.C. Circuit Court ruled that the FBI failed to adequately search and locate documents related to the practice of using undercover agents to pose as journalists to go after suspects, Courthouse News reports

Courthouse News writes:

Two media groups brought the underlying challenge based on reports about how the FBI apprehended an individual who in 2007 made a series anonymous bomb threats to a Seattle high school, causing near-daily evacuations of students, teachers and administrators.

Believing the threats were the handiwork of a narcissist, the FBI agents investigating the matter devised a plan: They would flatter the culprit into clicking a link that appeared to be press coverage suggesting he’d outsmarted the authorities.

When he did, a specialized malware would be secretly delivered to his computer and it would reveal his location. The plan worked and the individual calling in the bomb threats was arrested.

A technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union spotted the FBI’s ruse several years later while reviewing documents from an earlier records request. News of the media-impersonation tactics quickly made national headlines. The New York Times even printed a letter in justification of the ruse from FBI Director James Comey Jr.

In the wake of the controversy, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and Associated Press filed three FOIA requests for documents on the FBI’s impersonation of journalists and creation of “fake news” in the course of investigations.

Judge: Details on How FBI Hacked into IPhone Are Public Information

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI does not have to publicly reveal how it hacked into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorists in an attack that killed 14 people, a federal judge has ruled.

On Saturday, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled against three media outlets that sued the FBI to reveal the mystery behind the hacking, Politico reports. 

Chutkan also ruled that the FBI does not have to reveal the cost or the company it hired to breaking into the phone.

At a news conference last year, then-FBI Director James Comey suggested that the cost to hire the company would exceed his salary for the remainder of his term – about $1.4 million.

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.” 

FBI’s Probe of Sputnik Unlikely to Affect American Media Outlets, Despite Concerns

typewriter-muckBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Some American journalists are worried about the potential slippery slope of the FBI investigating a state-run news agencies Sputnik and RT.

Free press advocates believe the bureau’s probe could open the door to government intrusion in U.S. media outlets. They also worry the federal government could label some legitimate news companies as “propaganda.”

But according Columbia Journalism Review, “requiring Russian state-owned media to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, is not as ‘Big Brother’ as it sounds.

FARA, for one, isn’t planning on prohibiting any of Sputnik and RT’s activities.

“There is no concern about slippery slopes,” James Kirchick, a journalist and writer who has covered Russia and the former Soviet Union, tells CJR in an email. “Never mind their content (which is not news gathering in the traditional sense but disinformation aimed at influencing American politics), their opaque management structures starkly differentiate them from reputable outlets like the BBC, France 24, and Deutsche Welle, which operate independent of government control.”

FBI Investigating Russian-Funded News Agency’s Role in Presidential Election

sputnik_logo-svgBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI its investigating whether Sputnik, a Russian-government-funded news agency, is operating in the U.S. as an undeclared propaganda arm of the Kremlin in possible violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Yahoo News reports that FBI agents have questioned a former White House correspondent for Sputnik. 

The FBI is reviewing thousands of internal Sputnik emails and documents to determine if the news agency played a role in the Russia’s campaign to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

Andrew Feinberg, the news agency’s former White House correspondent, turned over the emails to the FBI and was questioned by agents for more than two hours.

Feinberg said the focus of the interview was of the agency’s “internal structure, editorial processes and funding.”

“They wanted to know where did my orders come from and if I ever got any direction from Moscow,” Feinberg told Yahoo News. “They were interested in examples of how I was steered towards covering certain issues.”

Other Stories of Interest

Fox News Corrects Story That Falsely Claim Comey Memos were ‘Highly Classified’

Former FBI Director James Comey.

Former FBI Director James Comey.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Fox News corrected a story that suggested former FBI Director James Comey leaked classified material involving his conversations with President Trump.

Trump, who often accused the media of “fake news,” retweeted the original story after it aired Monday.

The news agency wrongly suggested the Comey memos written by contained “top secret” information. The material actually had a lower-level security classification.

Comey has repeatedly said he did not release classified information.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether any of the reporters have been disciplined.

Trump Suggests Fired FBI Director Broke the Law by Releasing Memos

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As the pressure on Donald Trump intensifies over an evolving federal investigation of alleged collusion with Russia, the president is resorting to what he knows best: Attack his perceived enemy on an unrelated issue.

On Twitter Monday morning, Trump wrote, “James Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media. That is so illegal!”

The president also tweeted a video Monday morning from Fox & Friends in which former U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, suggested fired FBI Director James Comey broke the law by disseminating memos about his and Trump’s meetings.

“You can’t do that,” Chaffetz said. “It’s against the law.”

On Sunday evening, Chaffetz also tweeted, “Comey’s private memos on Trump conversations contained classified material. If true, this is bombshell news.”

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