Posts Tagged ‘FBI Director James B. Comey’

FBI investigating ties between Russia and Trump campaign

March 20, 2017

AFP and The Associated Press

© Nicholas Kamm, AFP | FBI Director James Comey (pictured left) and NSA Director Mike Rogers on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on March 20, 2017

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-03-20

FBI Director James Comey confirmed Monday that the bureau is investigating possible links and coordination between Russia and associates of President Donald Trump as part of a probe of Russian interference in last year’s presidential election.

The extraordinary revelation came at the outset of Comey’s opening statement in a congressional hearing examining Russian meddling and possible connections between Moscow and Trump‘s campaign. He acknowledged that the FBI does not ordinarily discuss ongoing investigations, but said he’d been authorized to do so given the extreme public interest in this case.

“This work is very complex, and there is no way for me to give you a timetable for when it will be done,” Comey told the House Intelligence Committee.

Earlier in the hearing, the chairman of the committee contradicted an assertion from Trump by saying that there had been no wiretap of Trump Tower. But Rep. Devin Nunes, a California Republican whose committee is one of several investigating, said that other forms of surveillance of Trump and his associates have not been ruled out.

Comey was testifying at Monday’s hearing along with National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers.

Trump, who recently accused President Barack Obama of wiretapping his New York skyscraper during the campaign, took to Twitter before the hearing began, accusing Democrats of making up allegations about his campaign associates’ contact with Russia during the election. He said Congress and the FBI should be going after media leaks and maybe even Hillary Clinton instead.

“The real story that Congress, the FBI and others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!” Trump tweeted early Monday as news coverage on the Russia allegations dominated the morning’s cable news.

Trump also suggested, without evidence, that Clinton’s campaign was in contact with Russia and had possibly thwarted a federal investigation. U.S. intelligence officials have not publicly raised the possibility of contacts between the Clintons and Moscow. Officials investigating the matter have said they believe Moscow had hacked into Democrats’ computers in a bid to help Trump’s election bid.

The real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!

Monday’s hearing, one of several by congressional panels probing allegations of Russian meddling, could allow for the greatest public accounting to date of investigations that have shadowed the Trump administration in its first two months.

The top two lawmakers on the committee said Sunday that documents the Justice Department and FBI delivered late last week offered no evidence that the Obama administration had wiretapped Trump Tower, the president’s New York City headquarters. But the panel’s ranking Democrat said the material offered circumstantial evidence that American citizens colluded with Russians in Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the presidential election.

“There was circumstantial evidence of collusion; there is direct evidence, I think, of deception,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” ”There’s certainly enough for us to conduct an investigation.”

The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!

Nunes said: “For the first time the American people, and all the political parties now, are paying attention to the threat that Russia poses.”

“We know that the Russians were trying to get involved in our campaign, like they have for many decades. They’re also trying to get involved in campaigns around the globe and over in Europe,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee has scheduled a similar hearing for later in the month.

It is not clear how much new information will emerge Monday, and the hearing’s open setting unquestionably puts Comey in a difficult situation if he’s asked to discuss an ongoing investigation tied to the campaign of the president.

At a hearing in January, Comey refused to confirm or deny the existence of any investigation exploring possible connections between Trump associates and Russia, consistent with the FBI’s longstanding policy of not publicly discussing its work. His appearances on Capitol Hill since then have occurred in classified settings, often with small groups of lawmakers, and he has made no public statements connected to the Trump campaign or Russia.

Any lack of detail from Comey on Monday would likely be contrasted with public comments he made last year when closing out an investigation into Clinton’s email practices and then, shortly before Election Day, announcing that the probe would be revived following the discovery of additional emails.

(AP)

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FBI Director Comey: Justice Dept. has no information that supports President Trump’s tweets alleging he was wiretapped by Obama

March 20, 2017

James Comey. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images (File Photo)

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The Washington Post
March 20 at 11:27 AM
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FBI Director James B. Comey acknowledged on Monday the existence of a counterintelligence investigation into the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, and said that probe extends to the nature of any links between Trump campaign associates and the Russian government.
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Testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, Comey said the investigation is also exploring whether there was any coordination between the campaign and the Kremlin, and “whether any crimes were committed.”
.The acknowledgment was an unusual move, given that the FBI’s practice is not to confirm the existence of ongoing investigations. “But in unusual circumstances, where it is in the public interest,” Comey said, “it may be appropriate to do so.”

Comey said he had been authorized by the Justice Department to confirm the wide-ranging probe’s existence.

He spoke at the first intelligence committee public hearing on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, along with National Security Agency head Michael S. Rogers.

Comey: No information to support Trump’s wiretapping tweets

FBI Director James B. Comey said at a House Intelligence Committee hearing that he has no information that Trump Tower was wiretapped by former president Barack Obama. (Reuters)

The hearing comes amid the controversy fired up by President Trump two weeks ago when he tweeted, without providing evidence, that President Barack Obama ordered his phones tapped at Trump Tower.

Comey says there is “no information’’ that supports Trump’s claims that his predecessor Barack Obama ordered surveillance of Trump Tower during the election campaign.

“I have no information that supports those tweets,’’ said Comey. “We have looked carefully inside the FBI,’’ and agents found nothing to support those claims, he said. He added the Justice Department had asked him to also tell the committee that that agency has no such information, either.

Under questioning from the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif,), Comey said no president could order such surveillance.

Committee chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said in his opening statement, “The fact that Russia hacked U.S. election-related databases comes as no shock to this committee. We have been closely monitoring Russia’s aggressions for years…However, while the indications of Russian measures targeting the U.S. presidential election are deeply troubling, one benefit is already clear – it has focused wide attention on the pressing threats posed by the Russian autocrat. In recent years, Committee members have issued repeated and forceful pleas for stronger action against Russian belligerence. But the Obama administration was committed to the notion, against all evidence, that we could ‘reset’ relations with Putin, and it routinely ignored our warnings.”

Nunes said he hoped the hearing would focus on several key questions, including what actions Russia undertook against the United States during the 2016 election and did anyone from a political campaign conspire in these activities? He also wants to know if the communications of any campaign officials or associates were subject to any improper surveillance.

“Let me be clear,” he said. “We know there was not a wiretap on Trump Tower. However, it’s still possible that other surveillance activities were used against President Trump and his associates.”

Finally, Nunes said he is focused on leaks of classified information to the media. “We aim to determine who has leaked or facilitated leaks of classified information so these individuals can be brought to justice,” he said.

In his opening statement, Schiff said, “We will never know whether the Russian intervention was determinative in such a close election. Indeed it is unknowable in a campaign in which so many small changes could have dictated a different result. More importantly, and for the purposes of our investigation, it simply does not matter. What does matter is this: the Russians successfully meddled in our democracy, and our intelligence agencies have concluded that they will do so again.”

He added: “Most important, we do not yet know whether the Russians had the help of U.S. citizens, including people associated with the Trump campaign. Many of Trump’s campaign personnel, including the president himself, have ties to Russia and Russian interests. This is, of course, no crime. On the other hand, if the Trump campaign, or anybody associated with it, aided or abetted the Russians, it would not only be a serious crime, it would also represent one of the most shocking betrayals of our democracy in history.”

Just hours before the start of the hearing, Trump posted a series of tweets claiming Democrats “made up” the allegations of Russian contacts in an attempt to discredit the GOP during the presidential campaign. Trump also urged federal investigators to shift their focus to probe disclosures of classified material.

“The real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information,” Trump wrote early Monday. “Must find leaker now!”

Republican members pressed hard on the subject of leaks to the media that resulted in news stories about contacts between Russian officials and the Trump campaign or administration officials. Nunes sought an admission from the officials that the leaks were illegal under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court act, the law that governs foreign intelligence-gathering on U.S. soil or of U.S. persons overseas.

“Yes,” Comey answered. “In addition to being a breach of our trust with the FISA court.”

One story in particular that apparently upset the Republicans was a Feb. 9 story by The Washington Post reporting that Trump’s national security advisor, Michael Flynn, discussed the subject of sanctions with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, in the month before Trump took office. The Post reported that the discussions were monitored under routine, court-approved monitoring of Kislyak’s calls.

Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) pressed Rogers to clarify under what circumstances it would be legitimate for Americans caught on tape speaking with people under surveillance to have their identities disclosed publicly, and whether leaking those identities would “hurt or help” intelligence collection.

“Hurt,” Rogers noted.

Rogers stressed that the identities of U.S. persons picked up through “incidental collection” – that being the way intelligence officials picked up on Flynn’s phone calls with Kislyak – are disclosed only on a “valid, need to know” basis, and usually only when there is a criminal activity or potential threat to the United States at play.

Rogers added that there are a total of 20 people in the NSA he has delegated to make decisions about when someone’s identity can be unmasked.

The FBI probe combines an investigation into hacking operations by Russian spy agencies with efforts to understand how the Kremlin sought to manipulate public opinion and influence the election’s outcome.

In January, the intelligence community released a report concluding that Russian President Vladi­mir Putin wanted to not only undermine the legitimacy of the election process but also harm the campaign of Hillary Clinton and boost Trump’s chances of winning.

Hackers working for Russian spy agencies penetrated the computers of the Democratic National Committee in 2015 and 2016 as well as the email accounts of Democratic officials, intelligence official said in the report. The material was relayed to WikiLeaks, the officials said, and the anti-secrecy group began a series of damaging email releases just before the Democratic National Convention that continued through the fall.

On Friday, the Justice Department delivered documents to the committee in response to a request for copies of intelligence and criminal wiretap orders and applications. Nunes, speaking Sunday, said the material provided “no evidence of collusion” to sway the election toward Trump and repeated previous statements that there is no credible proof of any active coordination.

But Schiff, also speaking Sunday, said there was “circumstantial evidence of collusion” at the outset of the congressional investigations into purported Russian election meddling, as well as “direct evidence” that Trump campaign figures sought to deceive the public about their interactions with Russian figures.

The concerns about Moscow’s meddling are also being felt in Europe, where France and Germany hold elections this year. “Our allies,” Schiff said, “are facing the same Russian onslaught.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/fbi-director-to-testify-on-russian-interference-in-the-presidential-election/2017/03/20/cdea86ca-0ce2-11e7-9d5a-a83e627dc120_story.html?utm_term=.2b44421224ec

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The Associated Press

WASHINGTON – FBI Director James Comey confirmed Monday that the bureau is investigating possible links and coordination between Russia and associates of President Donald Trump as part of a broader probe of Russian interference in last year’s presidential election.

The extraordinary revelation came at the outset of Comey’s opening statement in a congressional hearing examining Russian meddling and possible connections between Moscow and Trump’s campaign. He acknowledged that the FBI does not ordinarily discuss ongoing investigations, but said he’d been authorized to do so given the extreme public interest in this case.

“This work is very complex, and there is no way for me to give you a timetable for when it will be done,” Comey told the House Intelligence Committee.

Earlier in the hearing, the chairman of the committee contradicted an assertion from Trump by saying that there had been no wiretap of Trump Tower. But Rep. Devin Nunes, a California Republican whose committee is one of several investigating, said that other forms of surveillance of Trump and his associates have not been ruled out.

Comey was testifying at Monday’s hearing along with National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers.

Trump, who recently accused President Barack Obama of wiretapping his New York skyscraper during the campaign, took to Twitter before the hearing began, accusing Democrats of making up allegations about his campaign associates’ contact with Russia during the election. He said Congress and the FBI should be going after media leaks and maybe even Hillary Clinton instead.

“The real story that Congress, the FBI and others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!” Trump tweeted early Monday as news coverage on the Russia allegations dominated the morning’s cable news.

Trump also suggested, without evidence, that Clinton’s campaign was in contact with Russia and had possibly thwarted a federal investigation. U.S. intelligence officials have not publicly raised the possibility of contacts between the Clintons and Moscow. Officials investigating the matter have said they believe Moscow had hacked into Democrats’ computers in a bid to help Trump’s election bid.

Monday’s hearing, one of several by congressional panels probing allegations of Russian meddling, could allow for the greatest public accounting to date of investigations that have shadowed the Trump administration in its first two months.

The top two lawmakers on the committee said Sunday that documents the Justice Department and FBI delivered late last week offered no evidence that the Obama administration had wiretapped Trump Tower, the president’s New York City headquarters. But the panel’s ranking Democrat said the material offered circumstantial evidence that American citizens colluded with Russians in Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the presidential election.

“There was circumstantial evidence of collusion; there is direct evidence, I think, of deception,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” `’There’s certainly enough for us to conduct an investigation.”

Nunes said: “For the first time the American people, and all the political parties now, are paying attention to the threat that Russia poses.”

“We know that the Russians were trying to get involved in our campaign, like they have for many decades. They’re also trying to get involved in campaigns around the globe and over in Europe,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee has scheduled a similar hearing for later in the month.

It is not clear how much new information will emerge Monday, and the hearing’s open setting unquestionably puts Comey in a difficult situation if he’s asked to discuss an ongoing investigation tied to the campaign of the president.

At a hearing in January, Comey refused to confirm or deny the existence of any investigation exploring possible connections between Trump associates and Russia, consistent with the FBI’s longstanding policy of not publicly discussing its work. His appearances on Capitol Hill since then have occurred in classified settings, often with small groups of lawmakers, and he has made no public statements connected to the Trump campaign or Russia.

Any lack of detail from Comey on Monday would likely be contrasted with public comments he made last year when closing out an investigation into Clinton’s email practices and then, shortly before Election Day, announcing that the probe would be revived following the discovery of additional emails.


PUBLISHED: MARCH 20, 2017, 8:01 A.M. 

“The Fix Is In” — Hillary Clinton’s email problems just came roaring back — FBI agent wrote down what he heard from State Department was “quid pro quo”

October 18, 2016


The Washinton Post
October 17 at 12:22 PM

For the past few months, Hillary Clinton’s decision to exclusively use a private email server while at the State Department has receded as a campaign issue as Donald Trump’s comments about women have come to dominate the daily chatter about the 2016 race.On Monday, however, the various issues associated with Clinton’s email setup came roaring back. 
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According to emails released by the FBI, Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy asked the FBI to ease up on classification decisions in exchange for allowing more FBI agents in countries where they were not permitted to go. The words “quid pro quo” were used to describe the proposed exchange by the FBI official. (The State Department insists it was no such thing; “This allegation is inaccurate and does not align with the facts,” said State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner in a statement. “To be clear: the State Department did upgrade the document at the request of the FBI when we released it back in May 2015.”)
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State Department’s Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy wanted at least one Hillary Clinton email, “Archived … in the basement of the department of state never to be seen again.” A State department staffer that spoke to Peace and Freedom called Mr. Kennedy a “Slippery Dick.” Whatever that means.

Dust up between State Department, FBI over classificationpic.twitter.com/AHnggvyMkE

Oh, boy. Quid pro quo allegation between State and FBI over classification. That is messy. pic.twitter.com/Kf5FcSFQjb

View image on Twitter

The FBI responded that the classification specialist with whom Kennedy made this request was not part of the investigation into Clinton’s emails and is now retired.

FBI on accusations there was a quid pro quo over classification w/ State Dept: email in question properly classified, “never a quid pro quo”

The Clinton campaign will, as it has done every time there is any news about whether she sent or received classified material on her private server, chalk this up to an interagency dispute over classification. Typical bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo, they will say. This sort of stuff happens all the time!

FBI Director James Comey testifies before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on July 7, 2016. Getty Images

Except, not really. First of all, we already know from FBI Director James B. Comey that Clinton sent and received emails and information that was classified at the time. (“110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received,”Comey said in his remarkable press conference on the FBI investigation.)  Clinton’s explanation has now evolved to this: She didn’t know documents marked with a “c” meant they were confidential (and therefore classified) and, therefore, she never knowingly sent or received classified material — with the emphasis on “knowingly.”

That’s a tough position to hold in light of Kennedy’s attempted quid pro quo, which suggests that at least some people at State were actively trying to fiddle with classification determinations made by the FBI.

It’s hard to square the idea of Kennedy offering a quid pro quo to the FBI regarding a classification decision and Clinton not even knowing that “c” on documents stands for “classified.” One suggests deep understanding of how the classification process works. The other, um, doesn’t.

Now, simply because Kennedy asked for a quid pro quo regarding classification doesn’t mean that Clinton asked him to do so. There’s no evidence of that. There’s also no evidence that Clinton had a conversation of any sort with Kennedy about his classification request. And it’s important to remember that Kennedy is a career officer at State, having worked in the same administrative job for Condoleezza Rice prior to Clinton, so he’s not exactly a partisan.

That said, this latest revelation adds more evidence to the “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” argument that Republicans have long made about Clinton’s email setup. The idea of setting up a quid pro quo when it comes to classifications of information will, for many people, confirm their suspicions that the government bureaucracy is simply protecting Clinton. If a State Department official is offering a quid pro quo in this one exchange, can you imagine what they are doing off the books?

Speaker Paul Ryan’s statement speaks directly to that suspicion. “A senior State Department official’s attempt to pressure the FBI to hide the extent of this mishandling bears all the signs of a cover-up,” Ryan said. “This is why our aggressive oversight work in the House is so important, and it will continue.”

Donald Trump was more succinct.

Although a Twitter account he retweeted laid it out in no uncertain terms.

CORRUPTION CONFIRMED: FBI confirms State Dept. offered ‘quid pro quo’ to cover up classified emailshttp://www.washingtonexaminer.com/fbi-confirms-state-dept.-offered-quid-pro-quo-to-cover-up-classified-emails/article/2604720#.WATtDJ1Kwyg.twitter 

FBI confirms State Dept. offered ‘quid pro quo’ to cover up classified emails

Newly released documents from the FBI’s year-long investigation of Hillary Clinton’s server indicate a senior State Department official offered the FBI a quid pro quo in exchange for covering up…

washingtonexaminer.com

If the fire burning in Republicans over Clinton’s email server was threatening to flicker out — or at least lose some of its heat — this new information is the equivalent of taking a can’s worth of lighter fluid and dousing the conflagration. It’s going to start burning a lot hotter very soon.

Hillary Clinton Perjury Charges

August 16, 2016
– The Washington Times – Updated: 9:04 a.m. on Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Two top House Republicans say Hillary Clinton appears to have lied to Congress, laying out a case Monday that they said could sustain perjury charges against the Democratic presidential nominee for failing to give an honest accounting of her use of a secret email server while she was secretary of state.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah said evidence the FBI collected during its investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s email practices contradicts what she herself told Congress in testimony last year.

The two chairmen have officially referred the matter to the Justice Department for prosecution — though Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and her top aides have gone to great lengths this year to protect Mrs. Clinton from legal jeopardy, including matters involving her email and questions about the mixing of Clinton Foundation and State Department business.

Mr. Goodlatte and Mr. Chaffetz said FBI Director James B. Comey’s depiction of what he called Mrs. Clinton’s “extremely careless” email practices pokes holes in a number of statements Mrs. Clinton gave to Congress during her 2015 testimony to the House committee investigating the Benghazi terrorist attack.

Mrs. Clinton testified at that time that she never sent or received information marked classified, but Mr. Comey toldCongress last month that three such documents were in fact marked at the time she handled them via email.

Mrs. Clinton also testified that when she belatedly agreed to comply with open-records laws and return her work-related emails to the government, she had her attorneys go “through every single email.” But Mr. Comey said Mrs. Clinton’s attorneys used only search terms and subject lines to decide which emails to return and did not read each one.

The FBI director said his investigators discovered thousands of work-related messages Mrs. Clinton failed to turn over to the State Department, raising questions about yet another statement in Mrs. Clinton’s testimony last year. Mr. Comey also said Mrs. Clinton had multiple servers during her time using the secret account.

“Although there may be other aspects of Secretary Clinton’s sworn testimony that are at odds with the FBI’s findings, her testimony in those four areas bears specific scrutiny in light of the facts and evidence FBI Director James Comeydescribed,” the chairmen said in a letter Monday referring the case to U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips, the chief federal prosecutor for the District of Columbia.

Mr. Phillips’ office referred questions to the Justice Department, which didn’t respond to a request for comment Monday afternoon.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. (Matt Rourke, AP)

The Justice Department has repeatedly protected Mrs. Clinton during her presidential campaign, refusing to pursue charges that she mishandled classified information and fighting an effort to force her to testify under oath in a court case about her emails.

The department also reportedly refused an FBI recommendation to investigate the Clinton Foundation — a decision that is also coming under scrutiny on Capitol Hill.

“At this point, the American people and Congress are owed answers,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican who has been investigating the tangled relationships between Mrs. Clinton and her aides at the State Department, and the Clinton Foundation and other Clinton-related organizations.

Members of Congress were expecting to get a look Monday at the FBI’s notes of its interview with Mrs. Clinton during the email investigation.

The notes could provide more insight into whether Mrs. Clinton was truthful in her 2015 testimony, though one key Democrat said releasing the documents set a bad precedent for the FBI.

“Witnesses will be less likely to cooperate if they feel private statements to investigators may become political fodder for Congress,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. “These interview statements also come very close to pre-decisional work-product, and their release will have an impact on the nature of internal deliberations for years to come.”

He also predicted that someone would leak the notes to the press.

FBI Director James Comey testifies before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on July 7, 2016. Getty Images

Another potential obstacle emerged Monday when the State Department said it wants to review the FBI’s notes and other materials on Mrs. Clinton’s emails before they are handed to Congress, The Associated Press reported.

State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters that the department has asked the FBI to allow it to see any documents provided to Congress that contain sensitive information.

“The State Department respects the FBI’s desire to accommodate the request of its committees of oversight inCongress, just as we do with our oversight committees,” Ms. Trudeau said. “We have cooperated, and we will continue to cooperate with the FBI every step of the way.”

After a year of investigation, Mr. Comey recommended against pursuing criminal charges against Mrs. Clinton.

The director said dozens of email chains involving Mrs. Clinton contained information that was classified at the time and that three of the messages had the classified marking — a “(C)” designation next to paragraphs indicating they contained secret information.

However, the FBI chief said that while anyone at that level of government should have known what those markings were, Mrs. Clinton was not “sophisticated” enough to understand what she was handling.

FBI Director James Comey

Mr. Comey said he recommended against prosecuting Mrs. Clinton because even though she was “negligent,” he couldn’t show she was aware of the risks she was taking with national security.

Former President Bill Clinton last week said Mr. Comey was making too big of a deal out of the classified markings in his wife’s case.

“They saw two little notes with a ‘C’ on it — this is the biggest load of bull I’ve ever heard — that were about telephone calls that she needed to make,” he said. “The State Department typically puts a little ‘C’ on it to discourage people from discussing it in public in the event the secretary of state, whoever it is, doesn’t make a telephone call. Does that sound threatening to the national security to you?”

Bill Clinton talking the issues on the campaign trail….

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/aug/15/house-gop-lays-out-perjury-case-hillary-clinton/

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Hillary Clinton has disqualified herself from the presidency

July 9, 2016

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass explains why he believes Hillary Clinton has disqualified herself from the presidency.

Hillary Clinton has disqualified herself from the presidency.

No matter what your tribal politics may be, after FBI Director James Comey‘s withering testimony before Congress on Thursday over her email scandal, there really is no way around it, is there?

She disqualified herself by her own hand.

Mrs. Clinton, former secretary of state, has already proved she can’t be trusted with national secrets. She put those secrets at risk by using a private email server kept in her basement, against security protocol.

That server was likely hacked by foreign intelligence. She failed, miserably, in protecting the secrets of her nation.

So for all this she should be rewarded and promoted and handed the near absolute power of an imperial presidency?

And, she lied to the American people. That much is clear. She lied about what she did and how and why. There are tapes of it floating all about on the internet, lies to reporters, lies in those rare public appearances where she actually takes questions.

Comey also confirmed that she allowed her lawyers — who didn’t have security clearance — to view and assess her vast store of incriminating emails.

Clinton did all this not in the national interest, but in the Hillary interest.

It was all done to keep her presidential candidacy viable. History will tell our children what we already know, that it was always all about Hillary.

And so, it follows, logically, that Mrs. Clinton cannot be president.

The Republicans didn’t do this to her. The mad barbarian Donald Trump, ranting and shouting and mugging like some vulgar late-night TV pitchman, didn’t do it. Thoughtful Democrats who put their country above their ambitions didn’t do it.

Years from now, she may wander the corridors of whatever palace she finds herself in, wringing her hands and muttering nonsense, her hair disheveled in the night, and it won’t change things.

She’s disqualified herself. If she continues to campaign, she may win the election, but she’ll only have power to leverage support, and that isn’t good.

The worst thing in all of this is that any defense of her actions only reinforces a dangerous belief that keeps growing in America, that there are two standards of justice:

One for the citizen suckers like us. And another for the lords and the elites, like the Clintons.

That is extremely risky, especially now, with the country in a volatile, anti-establishment mood, after years in which a sizable portion of the electorate has remained unemployed or underemployed, and marginalized and ridiculed by the servants of the ruling elites.

A nation that values a commonly held belief in the obligations of leadership couldn’t ever elect someone like this. Advocating for someone like this would be seen as shameful.

Only a corrupt nation could do so, a nation that values a Chicago-style political payoff more than it values a belief that leaders should be held to ethical standards.

Once a nation acknowledges publicly that it is corrupt (as in national elections), that its people care only for what they can put in their pocket or stuff into their mouths, something terrible can happen.

There is a weakening. A listlessness, a nihilism, where personal appetites and longings for celebrity outweigh what was once understood as common virtue. And what comes next, inevitably, is a fall, and the frightened citizens rally around a strong and brutal personality who offers them muscular leadership. And what they once had is gone.

If you read histories about great empires and how they lost their way — slowly, inexorably, the illness growing along the dull spine of what they once had been — then you already know what happens.

And if you don’t read history, it really doesn’t matter. Just watch some more TV or tweet something, have a drink and enjoy yourselves.

I’m certain that many will clench their fists and denounce me as a Clinton-Hater. But hate by definition is irrational, and so I reject the hater diagnosis.

Instead, I’m probably something of a Clinton-Loather. Hate is about the loss of control, like the barking of a dog or someone who shrieks into the wind or at a crowd. Loathing takes time and consideration. And I’ve had years of watching the Clintons lie and dissemble and tell partial truths and get away with it, and take advantage of the principles of honorable men such as James Comey.

Whether you’re a Clinton loather or hater or some simple Clinton meat puppet or Clinton lover and Hillaryista, consider:

If Mrs. Clinton were a junior foreign service officer, or a young special agent of the FBI, she’d have been fired. She’d have immediately lost any security clearance she had. She’d have been prohibited from ever securing government employment again.

Yet after failing miserably to keep our secrets, some want her elected president, where the protection of secrets is vital.

How can she possibly lead when those under her command know what she did?

If Hillary Clinton were anyone but a candidate for president, she would have been drummed out of government service for her reckless and unethical behavior. You don’t promote such people. You send them away.

You don’t elect them president.

A new episode of “The Chicago Way” — radio-free Chicago in podcast form with John Kass and Jeff Carlin. Guests: former Illinois GOP chairman Pat Brady and political guru Thom Serafin. Listen here at www.chicagotribune.com/kasspodcast.

jskass@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @John_Kass

U.S. FBI Steps Into Sochi Olympics Security — U.S. “Wants to help tighten security at the Winter Olympics”

January 10, 2014

US Navy Seals

The Washington Post

By 

FBI Director James B. Comey said Thursday that the bureau is dispatching several dozen agents to Russia to help tighten security at the Winter Olympics.

The FBI is working with Russian intelligence services, Comey said. About two dozen agents and other personnel are being sent to Moscow, while more than a dozen others will be assigned to Sochi, the host city of the Games.

“Securing any Olympics is an enormous task,” Comey said. “I think it’s particularly challenging in Sochi because of its proximity to areas of unrest and sources of a terrorist threat.”

The threat of violence at the Games has been a persistent concern of security officials. Russia has been engaged in a longtime struggle with extremists, many of whom have vowed to target the Olympics, which open Feb. 7.

Two bombings in the city of Volgograd killed 34 people and injured dozens late last month. On Wednesday, Russian security forces found six bodies in an area north of the Caucasus Mountains region, according to the Associated Press. Explosive devices had placed near some of them.

In a wide-ranging interview with reporters at FBI headquarters, Comey said the bureau remains concerned about security at large venues and events generally. Law enforcement officials across the United States, he said, are refocusing their efforts on securing shopping malls after gunmen attacked Nairobi’s Westgate mall in September, killing more than 70 people.

Kenyan soldiers take cover after heavy gunfire near Westgate mall in Nairobi on Sept. 23, 2013.

U.S. security experts say more needs to be done in Sochi to guard against a  Nairobi’s Westgate mall type terror attack which killed more than 70 people in September

U.S. intelligence indicates that home-grown terrorists continue to be interested in striking “soft targets,” Comey said.

“We are taking a lot of steps with the Department of Homeland Security, state and local law enforcement, and the retail industry to train, to anticipate, to drill,” Comey said. “It was going on before Westgate, and that effort was given renewed energy by the Westgate tragedy.”

During his first three months on the job, Comey has spent much of his time traveling to meet with FBI officials overseas. A growing concern they share is the threat that extremists who have joined the fight in Syria will return to their home countries, including the United States, to carry out terrorist attacks.

“It is one of my greatest worries in the counter­terrorism area,” Comey said. “The conflict in Syria has attracted so many people from so many places of so many motivations, including Americans, that it is an enormous challenge for all intelligence services, including the FBI, to identify the ones of bad intent, to figure out where they’re going, why they’re going and keep track of them.”

He added: “As long as people are flowing in, learning how to kill other people and meeting really bad people, it’s going to be a big worry.”

Comey defended the FBI’s controversial use of “national security letters,” a form of administrative subpoena that the bureau uses to obtain business records from companies and other institutions without a court warrant. The FBI issues more than 20,000 NSLs a year for phone subscriber information and telephone toll records, as well as banking and credit card records.

A White House panel recommended last month that Congress amend the law so that the letters can be issued only after a judge has found that the government has reasonable grounds for believing that the information is relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation.

Comey said he disagrees with that recommendation because the NSLs are a critical investigative tool for fighting terrorism. A change in procedures would “introduce a delay” in terrorism investigations and require agents to take weeks to do something that now takes hours or days, he said.

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Lynn Barry, Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) — Six men are dead in a series of unexplained killings involving booby-trapped bombs in southern Russia, further heightening security fears ahead of next month’s Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Investigators were scrambling Thursday to find those responsible for the six bodies found Wednesday in four abandoned cars just north of Russia’s volatile Caucasus Mountains region, where an Islamic insurgency is simmering.

Explosive devices had been placed near three of the cars, although only one of the bombs went off and no one was hurt. The victims had been shot, according to investigators.

Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for Russia’s main investigative agency, said in a statement that no motive had yet been found for the killings on the outskirts of Pyatigorsk, the center of a Russian administrative district created in 2010 to combat the insurgency. In late December, a car bomb exploded outside traffic police offices there, killing three people.

Pyatigorsk is less than 200 miles by air from Sochi, host site for the 2014 Olympics, although nearly twice as far by road.

In an indication of Russia’s unease over security ahead of the Olympics, Markin said Federal Security Service officers had joined the investigation and classified it as a counter-terrorist operation.

The shootings of local residents — at least a few of them taxi drivers — is more typical of criminal behavior, perhaps score-settling by organized gangs. But the use of explosives was suggestive of the kinds of terror attacks that take place nearly daily in the Caucasus.

Russia is still on edge following two suicide bombings in late December in Volgograd, also in southern Russia, which killed 34 people and wounded many more. No claim of responsibility has been made for those bombings, but they came several months after the leader of the Islamic insurgency called for attacks aimed at undermining the games, which run Feb. 7-23.

NTV television, a national channel loyal to the Kremlin, showed photographs of four suspects that it said had been distributed to police. The men were said to be from Kabardino-Balkaria, just south of Pyatigorsk and one of the predominantly Muslim republics in Russia’s Caucasus.

The NTV journalist on the scene said investigators believed the killings were of a criminal nature, but were not ruling out other motives.

Kommersant, a major Moscow-based newspaper, suggested the attacks were carried out by militants and the explosives were intended to harm police when they arrived to investigate. That tactic has been used before in Pyatigorsk, where a taxi driver was killed in 2010 and his car then used as a bomb, wounding more than 30 people.

Three of the men found Wednesday have been identified: Two were taxi drivers and the third assembled furniture but also worked as a freelance taxi driver, Russian state news agencies reported, citing law enforcement agencies. Their names have not been released.

The men drove inexpensive Soviet-model Lada cars. Homemade bombs were placed near two of their cars; one of them went off as police approached and the other was defused.

The three other victims were found in a fourth vehicle. An explosive device had been placed next to the car in a metal bucket, but was defused by investigators, Markin said. No information about their identities has been released.

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