Posts Tagged ‘Comey’

The FBI’s FISA Faults

July 24, 2018

The documents show the bureau relied heavily on the Steele dossier.

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The FBI over the weekend finally released its Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications for warrants against former Trump aide Carter Page, and now we know why the bureau resisted disclosure. Even in heavily redacted form, the applications confirm that the FBI relied on dubious partisan evidence to justify its warrant and withheld relevant information from the court.

The applications also vindicate the criticism of the FBI’s surveillance requests that were laid out in February by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes. The committee’s findings were based on a review of the FISA applications, which were still classified at the time. The main Nunes claim was that the FBI made the Steele dossier—which was commissioned by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee—“an essential” part of its initial application. The FISA documents confirm this.

More than half of the first FISA application’s 66 pages are devoted to technical matters and a history of Russian electoral interference. Of the roughly 25 pages that focus on Mr. Page, much of it reports his dealings with Russians, his response to the news that he was under investigation, and a largely redacted conclusion.

The guts of the application is titled “Page’s Coordination With Russian Government Officials on 2016 U.S. Presidential Election Influence Activities.” This is the FBI’s evidence section, and, though heavily redacted, it looks to be almost entirely dossier-related.

Its opening paragraph says that the “FBI has learned that Page met with at least two Russian officials” on a trip to Russia in 2016 and that it got this information from an “FBI confidential human source (Source #1),” who is dossier author Christopher Steele. Most of what is unredacted that follows details the dossier’s claims about these Russian meetings, with further reference to “Source #1.”

This is important given that FBI assistant director Bill Priestap told Congressional investigators in October 2017 that the FBI’s efforts to corroborate the dossier were still in their “infancy” at the time of the first application. Months later former FBI Director Jim Comey referred to the dossier as “salacious and unverified.” To date no investigator has offered public proof of the dossier’s most damaging claims. Yet on the basis of an uncorroborated document commissioned by a rival presidential campaign, the FBI accused a U.S. citizen of being an “agent of a foreign power” who should be wiretapped.

Mr. Nunes also reported that the FBI did not inform the FISA court that the dossier and trusted “source” (Christopher Steele) were paid by the Clinton campaign. And sure enough, nowhere do the FISA applications mention the words Clinton, Democratic National Committee, Fusion GPS (the Clinton-financed oppo research firm that hired Mr. Steele), or Fusion co-founder Glenn Simpson.

Several convoluted footnotes refer to “Source #1” (Mr. Steele) and a “U.S.-based law firm” (Clinton firm Perkins Coie), as well as an “identified U.S. person” (Mr. Simpson) who was “likely” interested in discrediting Mr. Trump. These obscure references are quickly followed by another footnote in which the FBI says that, despite that motivation, it is confident that “Source #1” is “credible.” So the FBI was vouching for this partisan source.

It’s true that the first application doesn’t mention any names. But it does refer to “Candidate #1” (who is clearly Donald Trump ), “Candidate #2” ( Hillary Clinton ) and “Political Party #1” (Republicans). The FBI had an obligation to tell the court that the dossier and its “credible” source had been retained and paid for by “Candidate #2” and “Political Party #2” (Democrats), but it didn’t. By the way, Mr. Comey signed three of these applications, yet he claimed on his recent book tour that he “still” didn’t know who paid for the dossier.

The FISA documents also confirm that the FBI cited a Sept. 23, 2016 story in Yahoo News to buttress its Steele dossier information with the court—even though Mr. Steele was also the source for the Yahoo News story.

Democrats insist that the FBI used the Yahoo story only to describe Mr. Page’s response to the investigation, not for corroboration. The applications show otherwise. The FBI cites the Yahoo News story after its dossier-evidence section, noting that the story said that “intelligence reports” and a “well-placed Western intelligence source” had also made claims like those in the dossier. But the “reports” were the dossier, and the “Western intelligence source” was Mr. Steele.

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Our media friends are dismissing all this as no big deal because they say Mr. Page’s history of personal Russian dealings justified his surveillance in any case. Yet so far no one has produced evidence that Mr. Page was anything but an innocent abroad who liked to boast about his contacts. He certainly was a minor figure in the Trump campaign.

And that still doesn’t justify the FBI’s use of uncorroborated partisan smears as part of its application. At best the FBI appears to have played fast and loose with the facts to stretch the ethical boundaries of the FISA statute. At worst the FBI dissembled to target a man because they wanted to unleash a counterintelligence campaign against a presidential campaign. Either one tarnishes the FBI’s reputation.

Democrats and their media allies won’t admit any of this because they are invested in the narrative that Russian meddling elected Donald Trump. But two years of investigation later we’re still waiting to see evidence of that. What the FISA applications show is that the FBI did abuse its surveillance powers. There’s still more to learn, and Mr. Trump should declassify and release everything that can be safely disclosed.

Appeared in the July 24, 2018, print edition.

Trump aide’s ‘Russia ties’ alleged in secret US documents

July 22, 2018

The FBI believed that a former Trump campaign advisor had ties to Russia as it sought to influence the 2016 US presidential election, top secret documents released to US news organizations revealed on Saturday.

The October, 2016 application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court named Carter Page, a former foreign policy advisor to the campaign of Donald Trump, according to the documents which The New York Times published.

The newspaper, along with USA Today and others, filed Freedom of Information Act lawsuits to obtain the material, which the Justice Department released but with many details redacted.

© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File | Carter Page has not been charged with a crime but the FBI said he had ties with Russian intelligence officials

“The FBI believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government,” the initial FBI application says before it is blacked out and continues: “undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election in violation of US criminal law.”

Release of the documents comes just over one week after Special Counsel Robert Mueller, probing possible collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia, indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers, accusing them of hacking Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton’s campaign to steal documents, which were then publicly released.

The surveillance of Page became in February the subject of intense rivalry between Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

The former, from Trump’s party, released a memo claiming that Democratic-funded research prompted the FBI to spy on Page.

Trump defied his own FBI director and the Justice Department to declassify the four-page Republican document, which was based on the much larger secret court application record which has now been released.

The White House initially blocked release of a counter-memo from the Democrats, which argued the surveillance warrant request “was based on compelling evidence and probable cause.”

In the documents released Saturday, the FBI cited a source which, it said, had a history of providing reliable information regardless of the source’s reasons for conducting research into Trump’s ties to Russia.

Trump is not named in the document but identified only as “Candidate #1.”

A judge approved the initial wiretapping application, which was renewed three times by other judges, The New York Times said.

The FBI, in its initial application the month before Trump won the election, said it “believes that the Russian Government’s efforts are being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with Candidate #1’s campaign.”

It added that “Page has established relationships with Russian Government officials, including Russian intelligence officers.”

Page has not been charged. On Twitter Saturday he said the documents reflect “shocking” civil rights abuses and “complete ignorance” regarding Russia.

AFP

FBI Believed Trump Campaign Aide Carter Page Was ‘Collaborating’ With Russia

July 22, 2018
The agency’s wiretap applications reveal startling suspicions about the onetime Trump campaign adviser.
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In the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election, the FBI believed that Carter Page, a campaign adviser to Donald Trump, was “conspiring and collaborating with the Russian government,” according to startling wiretap warrant applications released Saturday by the Justice Department.

The 412 pages of documents, including an initial wiretap warrant application and three follow-up renewals, were heavily redacted. But they included damning passages concerning Page, who served for a time as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign.

“The FBI believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government… to undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in violation of U.S. criminal law,” the documents say.

The FBI also believed that “Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government,” the document says, adding that “there is probable cause that such activities involve or are about to involve violations of the criminal statutes of the United States.”

Other sections noted that Page “has established relationships with Russian government officials, including Russian intelligence officers,” and that the FBI believed “the Russian government’s efforts are being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with” Trump’s campaign.

The formerly classified Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant applications were released after advocacy groups and news organizations, including The New York Times and USA Today, sued for disclosure. The FBI obtained its first wiretap warrant for Page in 2016.

Republicans have denounced the FISA documents as evidence of abuse by the FBI and Justice Department targeting the Trump campaign. Critics of special counsel Robert Mueller claim the FISA warrant was spurred solely by the dossier gathered by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele that was paid for by Democrats as part of Trump opposition research.

Democrats have argued that the FBI had its own concerning information about Page’s possible campaign collusion with the Russians. Page boasted in a letter three years before the Steele dossier that he was a “Kremlin adviser.”

The FBI told the FISA court it was aware that the person who hired Steele wanted to discredit Trump, but said Steele had in the past “provided reliable information.” Few details about other sources of intelligence on Page were available in the unredacted portions of text.

Page, who has previously denied colluding with Russia, could not immediately be reached for comment. He tweeted on Saturday about “civil rights abuses” that he claimed were revealed in the documents, and said he plans to appear on CNN Sunday to discuss them.

Carter Page, Ph.D.@carterwpage

Even more shocking than the civil rights abuses inherent in today’s initial FISA abuse documents and its testament to @Comey & Co’s very poor “legal” judgment is the complete ignorance it shows regarding Russia. Will discuss with @jaketapper on @CNNSotu: https://twitter.com/jaketapper/status/1020807585182683137 

Jake Tapper

@jaketapper

Carter Page will be our exclusive guest tomorrow morning on @CNNSotu — join us! https://twitter.com/jaketapper/status/1020807454093955072 

Is President Trump Illegitimate?

July 21, 2018

Russia hurt him, Comey helped him, but the Constitution put him in office.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a meeting in Helsinki, July 16.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a meeting in Helsinki, July 16. PHOTO: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

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Donald Trump never expected to be president. And, we might reasonably surmise, perhaps didn’t really want to be. Think about that as President Trump seeks to remake America’s relationship with the world as dramatically as any president in 70 years.

The Greek witch-goddess Circe gave her son a magic weapon to protect him on his search for his father, Odysseus. When father and son finally met, Odysseus was accidentally killed by the magic weapon. Oops.

Then-FBI Director James Comey received a magic weapon that, in his own mind, justified his usurping of the Justice Department’s decision whether to prosecute Hillary Clinton or her aides in the email case. Without Mr. Comey’s initial intervention, there never would have been his second intervention, reopening the Hillary case shortly before Election Day. Oops.

If veteran political analyst Ronald Brownstein is right, blue-collar white women in the upper Midwest elected Mr. Trump. What better antidote for the “Access Hollywood” scandal, then tanking the Trump campaign, than the revelation that the Hillary case was not only back but entangled with the underage sexting adventures of former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner.

If any Russian involvement helped Mr. Trump, this was it. As we know from credible reporting and from Mr. Comey’s own elliptical memoir, he was in possession of a captured Kremlin intelligence document that cited an alleged agreement between the Obama Justice Department and the Clinton campaign to bury the email case. This was Mr. Comey’s magic weapon.

Amanda Renteria, the Clinton campaign aide named in the Russian intelligence, has stated plainly that the information was “made up by the Russians.” The Justice Department’s inspector general said the info was viewed inside the FBI as “not credible” and “objectively false.” According to CNN and the Washington Post, some considered it a deliberate Kremlin plant.

Yet Mr. Comey, in a recent interview with PBS’s Judy Woodruff, described the information as “legitimate” and expressed agnosticism over whether it was “accurate.”

He told NBC’s Chuck Todd, “I’m just not, by my silence, agreeing with your predicate that it was false documents.”

What the heck is going on here?

This episode represents the only possible way Russia affected the election outcome. Other claims about its decisive effect are implausible.

Former Obama intelligence chief James Clapper flatly opines, based on his decades of experience, that Russia elected Mr. Trump, which might be more persuasive if his decades of experience were in U.S. electoral politics, not spywork and disinformation.

The Economist magazine, in honor of last week’s U.S. indictment of Russia’s GRU hackers, says the Kremlin only had to shift 0.03% of the total vote and therefore Mr. Trump may be illegitimate.

What these analysts ignore is net effect. Bernie voters and Catholics had reason to be offended by leaked Democratic emails, but these were one-day stories early in the race. The overall impact of Russia hacking and social media trolling not only was small on its own terms; it was swamped by the blowback on conventional media, which daily amplified accusations of Hillary supporters and Never Trump Republicans that Mr. Trump was in Vladimir Putin’s pocket.

Replay the election in your head, in fact, and it’s hard come to any conclusion other than Mr. Trump would have been much better off if Russia wasn’t a subject. Voters don’t vote on foreign policy. They do vote on character. There can’t be 75 people in America who cared that Mr. Trump promised better relations with Russia. There must have been hundreds of thousands or millions who followed half the GOP pundit and foreign-policy establishment in opposing Mr. Trump on character grounds, including his alleged footsie with the Kremlin.

I’ll say it again: It is overwhelmingly likely that Russian efforts, aside from their presumably unforeseen and accidental impact on Mr. Comey, cost Mr. Trump more votes than they got him.

As early as February 2016, this column described Mr. Trump as a “democratic accident” waiting to happen: “What began as a scheme to become more famous is in danger of running away with the country.”

It was entirely possible for Mr. Trump to be the last man standing in a crowded GOP primary field full of candidates who might have bested him one on one. He clearly lucked out with Hillary as his Democratic opponent. Of course, the totality of effects decides even a close election. But if you’re looking for a single, conscious, deliberate action by any human being that influenced the outcome, you’re left with Mr. Comey and his Russia-supplied magic weapon.

By the way, this doesn’t make Mr. Trump an illegitimate president. He’s a natural-born U.S. citizen of the requisite age and won a majority of the Electoral College.

Appeared in the July 21, 2018, print edition.

Clapper: “Badge Of Honor” When Trump Attacks Me, John Brennan, Hayden, Comey — Is something fishy in U.S. intelligence?

July 20, 2018

President Trump ripped former CIA director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, General Hayden, James Comey, and Andrew McCabe as well as Peter Strzok and “his lover” Lisa Page and said that he never had confidence in them in an interview that aired on CBS Evening News.

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Trump specifically called out Brennan and Clapper in the interview with Jeff Glor of CBS News that aired Wednesday night. He called Brennan a “total low-life” and that Clapper had gone “haywire.”

“In the past, no, I have no confidence in a guy like Brennan. I think he’s a total low-life. I have no confidence in Clapper,” Trump told CBS News.

Trump’s comments inspired Clapper to go on CNN late Wednesday evening to respond to the attack.

TRUMP: Well, certainly in the past, it’s been terrible. You look at Brennan, you look at Clapper, you look at Hayden, you look at Comey, you look at McCabe, you look at Strzok and his lover, Lisa Page. You look at other people in the F.B.I. that have been fired, are no longer there.

Certainly I can’t have any confidence in the past. But I can have a lot of confidence in the present and the future, because it’s getting to be now where we’re putting our people in. But in the past, no, I have no confidence in a guy like Brennan. I think he’s a total low-life. I have no confidence in Clapper. You know, Clapper wrote me a beautiful letter when I first went to office, and it was really nice.

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CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. FILE photo

And then, all of a sudden, he’s gone haywire because they got to him and they probably got him to say things that maybe he doesn’t even mean. But no, I certainly don’t have confidence in past people. You look at what’s happened. Take a look at all of the shenanigans that have gone on. Very hard to have confidence in that group.

“It’s reached the point, and I think I’m speaking for my case and John Brennan’s. It’s almost a badge of honor when the president sees fit to go after individual private citizens. And I think I can speak, as well, for all of us to say — and I include Jim Comey in this,” Clapper told CNN.

Clapper responded on Wednesday’s The Situation Room, calling the attacks a “badge of honor” for himself and John Brennan.

JAMES CLAPPER, FMR. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLEGENCE: It’s reached the point, and I think I’m speaking for my case and John Brennan’s. It’s almost a badge of honor when the president sees fit to go after individual private citizens. And I think I can speak, as well, for all of us to say — and I include Jim Comey in this. The only reason we’ve spoken out about all of this is our genuine concerns about this president and this presidency and who is assaulting values and institutions and standards of this country, which collectively we’ve spent decades defending.

As for the beautiful letter that I wrote to then President-elect Trump, it was a note that accompanied the first presidential daily briefing he received after he became president-elect. One of the things that I made a point of in that letter was to join him or ask him to abide by, support and protect the principle of truth to power, Which Dan Coats, to his great credit, is doing. And so, anyway, I’ll stop there if you have more questions.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN: I do. General Clapper, he’s basically accusing and John Brennan and General Hayden and others of plotting against him during the campaign, while he was running for president, trying to undermine him. I mean, this is the president of the United States making an accusation like that.

CLAPPER: This is an absurd allegation and there’s no basis in facts or evidence for that.

Our concern — and now I’m speaking specifically for Jim Comey and John Brennan and Mike Rogers as well. What’s is it that the Russians were doing to interfere in our political processes?

As I said before, I’ve seen a lot of bad stuff in my 60+ years in intelligence but nothing that disturbs me as much as this. So it was about the Russians and there was no intent to undermine President-elect and later President Trump. It’s an absurd allegation.

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/07/19/clapper_badge_of_honor_when_trump_attacks_me_john_brennan_hayden_and_comey.html

Brennan and the 2016 Spy Scandal — Brennan-Clinton collusion?

July 20, 2018

Obama’s CIA director acknowledges egging on the FBI’s probe of Trump and Russia.

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The Trump-Russia sleuthers have been back in the news, again giving Americans cause to doubt their claims of nonpartisanship. Last week it was Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Peter Strzok testifying to Congress that he harbored no bias against a president he still describes as “horrible” and “disgusting.” This week it was former FBI Director Jim Comey tweet-lecturing Americans on their duty to vote Democratic in November.

But the man who deserves a belated bit of scrutiny is former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan. He’s accused President Trump of “venality, moral turpitude and political corruption,” and berated GOP investigations of the FBI. This week he claimed on Twitter that Mr. Trump’s press conference in Helsinki was “nothing short of treasonous.” This is rough stuff, even for an Obama partisan.

That’s what Mr. Brennan is—a partisan—and it is why his role in the 2016 scandal is in some ways more concerning than the FBI’s. Mr. Comey stands accused of flouting the rules, breaking the chain of command, abusing investigatory powers. Yet it seems far likelier that the FBI’s Trump investigation was a function of arrogance and overconfidence than some partisan plot. No such case can be made for Mr. Brennan. Before his nomination as CIA director, he served as a close Obama adviser. And the record shows he went on to use his position—as head of the most powerful spy agency in the world—to assist Hillary Clinton’s campaign (and keep his job).

Mr. Brennan has taken credit for launching the Trump investigation. At a House Intelligence Committee hearing in May 2017, he explained that he became “aware of intelligence and information about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons.” The CIA can’t investigate U.S. citizens, but he made sure that “every information and bit of intelligence” was “shared with the bureau,” meaning the FBI. This information, he said, “served as the basis for the FBI investigation.” My sources suggest Mr. Brennan was overstating his initial role, but either way, by his own testimony, he as an Obama-Clinton partisan was pushing information to the FBI and pressuring it to act.

More notable, Mr. Brennan then took the lead on shaping the narrative that Russia was interfering in the election specifically to help Mr. Trump—which quickly evolved into the Trump-collusion narrative. Team Clinton was eager to make the claim, especially in light of the Democratic National Committee server hack. Numerous reports show Mr. Brennan aggressively pushing the same line internally. Their problem was that as of July 2016 even then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper didn’t buy it. He publicly refused to say who was responsible for the hack, or ascribe motivation. Mr. Brennan also couldn’t get the FBI to sign on to the view; the bureau continued to believe Russian cyberattacks were aimed at disrupting the U.S. political system generally, not aiding Mr. Trump.

The CIA director couldn’t himself go public with his Clinton spin—he lacked the support of the intelligence community and had to be careful not to be seen interfering in U.S. politics. So what to do? He called Harry Reid. In a late August briefing, he told the Senate minority leader that Russia was trying to help Mr. Trump win the election, and that Trump advisers might be colluding with Russia. (Two years later, no public evidence has emerged to support such a claim.)

But the truth was irrelevant. On cue, within a few days of the briefing, Mr. Reid wrote a letter to Mr. Comey, which of course immediately became public. “The evidence of a direct connection between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign continues to mount,” wrote Mr. Reid, going on to float Team Clinton’s Russians-are-helping-Trump theory. Mr. Reid publicly divulged at least one of the allegations contained in the infamous Steele dossier, insisting that the FBI use “every resource available to investigate this matter.”

The Reid letter marked the first official blast of the Brennan-Clinton collusion narrative into the open. Clinton opposition-research firm Fusion GPS followed up by briefing its media allies about the dossier it had dropped off at the FBI. On Sept. 23, Yahoo News’s Michael Isikoff ran the headline: “U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin.” Voilà. Not only was the collusion narrative out there, but so was evidence that the FBI was investigating.

In their recent book “Russian Roulette,” Mr. Isikoff and David Corn say even Mr. Reid believed Mr. Brennan had an “ulterior motive” with the briefing, and “concluded the CIA chief believed the public needed to know about the Russia operation, including the information about the possible links to the Trump campaign.” (Brennan allies have denied his aim was to leak damaging information.)

Clinton supporters have a plausible case that Mr. Comey’s late-October announcement that the FBI had reopened its investigation into the candidate affected the election. But Trump supporters have a claim that the public outing of the collusion narrative and FBI investigation took a toll on their candidate. Politics was at the center of that outing, and Mr. Brennan was a ringmaster. Remember that when reading his next “treason” tweet.

Write to kim@wsj.com.

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Three Top FBI Cybersecurity Officials to Retire

July 20, 2018

Departures come as U.S. faces threat of cyberattacks

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Christopher Wray at the Aspen Security Forum
Three top cybersecurity officials are retiring from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Three of the top cybersecurity officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation are retiring from government service, according to people familiar with the matter—departures that come as cyberattacks are a major concern for the country’s security agencies.

Senior U.S. intelligence officials warn that the country is at a “critical point” facing unprecedented cyberthreats, including Russia’s ongoing attacks on the American political system. The retirements also come as the FBI is facing regular criticism from President Donald Trump and his supporters, and is working to attract and retain top cyber talent.

Scott Smith, the assistant FBI director who runs the Bureau’s cyber division, is leaving this month. His deputy, Howard Marshall, also left in recent weeks. Mr. Marshall has accepted a job at Accenture , a consulting firm that is expanding its cybersecurity portfolio. Mr. Smith is also expected to move to the private sector.

David Resch, executive assistant director of the FBI’s criminal, cyber, response and services branch, is departing the bureau as well. Mr. Resch, who was named to his senior post by FBI Director Christopher Wray in April, supervised Mr. Smith and Mr. Marshall.

Additionally, Carl Ghattas, executive assistant director of the FBI’s national security branch, has decided to leave for the private sector. And Jeffrey Tricoli, a senior FBI cyber agent who oversaw a Bureau task force addressing Russian attempts to meddle in U.S. elections, left last month for a senior vice president position at Charles Schwab Corp. , the Journal reported last week.

The FBI confirmed the departures. One U.S. official said more people are expected to leave soon, declining to provide additional names.

Several people familiar with the moves said that while it was abnormal to see so many senior-level people leave at the same time, it wasn’t uncommon for agents to depart after becoming eligible for retirement benefits at age 50. However, Mr. Marshall’s exit was seen as “highly unusual,” according to one person, because he is stepping away before retirement age.

“As I retire after 28 years of government service to transition into the private sector, I have full confidence that under Director Wray’s steadfast leadership, the Bureau will remain the FBI the American people have depended on for 110 years,” Mr. Resch said in a statement provided by the Bureau.

An FBI spokeswoman said the agency had a surge of special-agent hires about 20 years ago, so many senior officials are now hitting the age where they qualify for pensions. The FBI expected a higher level of retirements to continue for the next couple of years, the spokeswoman said.

Some former FBI officials and others close to the Bureau said morale has been damaged by attacks from Mr. Trump and some congressional Republicans, who have criticized the agency for its handling of investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and Hillary Clinton’s emails.

“One-and-one-half branches of our government appear to be committed to attacking the Bureau, its workforce and its mission on a near-daily basis,” said Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The White House declined to comment.

Mr. Wray on Wednesday disputed any suggestion of flagging morale. The FBI had a special-agent attrition rate of 0.6% this past year, he said, and it receives so many applications annually that it is more selective than Harvard or Yale Universities.

“Would they (FBI agents) prefer not to get criticized? Of course,” Mr. Wray said during an interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. “But at the end of the day, the criticism we care about is the people who know our work.”

An internal FBI survey, obtained and published last week by the Lawfare blog, confirmed that morale overall remained high. But confidence in the vision and ideas of Mr. Wray and his leadership team fell from a year ago, when former Director James Comey was at the helm.

Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey in May 2017. Mr. Wray on Wednesday noted the survey was taken shortly after he arrived last year.

Some former FBI officials said the pull of leaving was especially strong within the cyber division, which must compete with lucrative salaries and flexible lifestyles offered by technology firms in Silicon Valley and elsewhere.

Others cited bureaucratic frustrations. “There’s an internal tension in terms of how to staff cyber properly,” said a former official. “We constantly have new people in leadership reinventing the cyber program.”

Several cyber and law-enforcement experts said they were confident the work of the FBI’s cyber division would remain high but that turnover takes a toll.

“What is harmful is the churn,” said Leo Taddeo, former special agent in charge of the FBI’s New York cyber division and chief information security officer at Cyxtera Technologies. “Bringing on talent, training talent and then having that talent leave—it creates a gap.”

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Don’t Swallow Democrats’ Manure: ICE is not incompetent but the FBI MAY HAVE TRIED to change the outcome of the 2016 election

July 2, 2018

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin hurled insults towards the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency during an immigration rally in Illinois Sunday morning.

Durbin said “ICE is incompetent.”

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Almost nobody in the law enforcement community agrees with Senator Durbin. Most who have worked with ICE applaud the professionalism of ICE officers.

What seems to be disturbing the Democrats is the separation of families at the border — a practice President Trump ordered reversed by Executive Order.

Besides, ICE is almost never involved in the separation of families, law enforcement officers tell us — unless they are dragging a criminal away to jail.

The Border Patrol gets more of the blame for separating families. But the head of the Border Patrol has said there is no policy to separate families.

So it looks like Dick Durbin and other Democrats might be the real incompetents here — unless they just wanted to rile up an angry mob of Americans.

Is this Trump derangement syndrome?

Or are the Democrats changing the narrative to the border after the last shot of news really damaging to Democrats: That the FBI was biased against Donald Trump and for Hillary Clinton before, during and after the 2016 election.

That’s a serious charge worthy of further investigation and discussion. Perhaps even a criminal referral.

If the FBI, the nation’s premier law enforcement agency, thought it could and should swing the election of the President of the United States, isn’t that treason like America has never before seen?

Or, if it isn’t treason, is it merely a conspiracy to commit treason by wayward FBI agents. That’s still a jaw dropping possibility.

Happy Independence Day!

John Francis Carey
Commentary
Peace and Freedom

Related:

Border Patrol: No policy to separate families

https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2018/06/17/border-patrol-says-no-policy-for-separating-families-sot.cnn

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Dick Durbin Calls Ice ‘A Group of incompetents’

http://dailycaller.com/2018/07/01/sen-durbin-ice-incompetent/

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‘Abolish ICE’ Becomes New Rallying Call for 2020 Democrats

https://bcnn1wp.wordpress.com/2018/06/29/abolish-ice-becomes-new-rallying-call-for-2020-democrats/

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Liberal law professor Alan Dershowitz gives Rod Rosenstein an “F” in legal ethics — Conflict of interest means he should be fired

July 1, 2018

Liberal law professor Alan Dershowitz on Saturday criticized Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s continued supervision of the Robert Mueller investigation, citing “conflict of interest” as a reason he should be replaced.

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“There is no surprise that this one is taking a long time,” Dershowitz said on “Fox & Friends” on the length of the investigation so far. “What is surprising is that Rod Rosenstein is still supervising it. More and more information is coming out about his conflict of interest. We have now seen stories in the New York Times about how he may have regretted writing a letter and he felt he was used writing a letter.”

“He is a central witness in this entire obstruction of justice if it involves the firing of Comey,” said Dershowitz. “How can he still stay on the case? I wish they would focus much more on that because he is recused. He is disqualified. He ought to be replaced. That will, however, slow the process down even more probably.”

Responding to a question from Ed Henry about ways to deal with the situation, Dershowitz cited several, including a lawsuit or an “ethics charge.” (RELATED: Congressman: Rosenstein Is Spying On Me)

Image result for Rod Rosenstein, smiling, photos

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Getty Images file photo

“As somebody who has taught legal ethics for over 25 years at law school, the first thing you learn you can’t be both a prosecutor and a witness,” he said. “So much influences your role as a prosecutor to know that if the case goes a certain way, then you are a witness. If it goes another way maybe you are not a witness. You will look terrible this way. You will look better the other way. He has real self-interest. People talk about the president not pardoning himself or the president not pardoning people who are involved. Here you have the person who is leading the investigation who has an obvious interest in the way in which the investigation is going to go involving his own participation. That just shouldn’t be allowed.”

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http://dailycaller.com/2018/06/30/dershowitz-rosenstein-conflict-of-interest/

TAGS : ABBY HUNTSMAN ALAN DERSHOWITZ DONALD TRUMP FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION FBI ROD ROSENSTEIN

Related:

Rosenstein Consulted With Ethics Advisor Over Recusing Himself From Mueller Probe

https://peoplestrusttoronto.wordpress.com/2018/04/13/rosenstein-consulted-with-ethics-advisor-over-recusing-himself-from-mueller-probe/

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