The F.B.I. – America’s Last or Lost Hope: An Analysis 4 of 4

When something so unprecedented in American history happens you have to ask what is behind it. When you look you see nothing. Really, there is nothing behind the attack on the FBI except the Big Lie. There are thousands of FBI agents and not one incident has arisen to support the attacks on it.

So what is the purpose? It is to bring tear down the reputation of these agents so that when the Special Prosecutor produces evidence of the president’s involvement with Russia it can be deflected by suggesting it is all part of an illegal coup. It’s an old criminal defense counsel ploy, when your client has no defense attack the investigators. We saw it in the Whitey Bulger case. Whitey with all the blood on his hands wasn’t the bad guy it was the Government.

What is so stunning about the recent attacks is there have been times in the past when the FBI could have been severely criticized not only in its partnering with top-level criminals but with its many illegalities shown in the Church investigation in 1975 and its findings that in hundreds of shooting by FBI agents not one was wrongful. No organization is perfect but despite its flaws the FBI is not a group of people who one should worry about. And, those comparing it with the KGB are just plainly ignorant rabble rousers.

The worry though is that these attacks will have an effect on the FBI. I have spoken how the agents are hardworking dedicated people but they are dependent on their jobs for their livelihood. They know they are doing their investigation and following the investigative leads as they come along. But now, in the back of their minds, do they worry that doing their jobs the right way may jeopardize them. Will they start getting the idea that there are some areas that they better stay away from if they want to continue their employment. Will they worry that Russia has to be given a pass since the people in power want to protect their relationship with that country? Will they shy away from investigating criminal activity by the president and his associates? Will they shy away from anything controversial?

When the president, the majority party in Congress, and some of the media start calling for your head what is the chance of doing your job right. As I earlier noted the guys and gals at the street level will plow on but it’s the guys who have risen to the higher positions who are most willing to please. Don’t you think they are going to change course – as the attackers intend – and worry about their jobs? Will their directions to the street agents be to lay off the Russians and the Trumps. Let’s stick with bank robberies.

These are dangerous times in America. The FBI was best when it appeared to be totally independent from political influence although J. Edgar Hoover was always ready to cater to the whims of presidents he liked. But Hoover had a red line and he was able to keep the FBI mostly independent. So has it gone on through the years since 1972 when Hoover died. Under Mueller’s 12 year directorship it had no problems in fact doing exquisite work after the 9/11 attack. Comey’s latter days were problematic. Ironically he was acting more in the interest of Trump by telling of the investigation into Hillary although now we are supposed to forget that.

We need the FBI. It would be better if it was not so afraid of embarrassing itself and recognizing it was a human institution. What is most ironic is that it has suffered the greatest attacks on its reputation even though it has done nothing wrong. It didn’t embarrass itself but stands embarrassed. Hopefully it learns that being embarrassed if being human.

The FBI has two choices at this point. It can try to continue on as it has always done or it can become the president’s investigators. Trump has said in the past he wished he had control over it. He is attempting to gain it. Whether he will or not depends on the leadership which has shown itself in the past to very protective of themselves. Will they put their jobs on the line by insisting on their independence or will they take orders from the president?

Director Christopher Wray handpicked by Trump is an unknown. His appearance before Congress did not inspire nor cause great concern. Time will tell on him. Will he like Tillerson clean house at the upper levels?

The John Connolly case shows a great betrayal by the FBI of a fellow agent. Remember Connolly’s sentence amounted to a death sentence and the FBI still does nothing to right its wrong there. The  FBI having wrongfully abandoned Connolly causes concern that it will also abandon what it treasured so highly which is its independence.  It hasn’t been anything like the KGB but just as America changed drastically with the president will the president change the FBI so that it does become like the KGB?

 

 

 

26 thoughts on “The F.B.I. – America’s Last or Lost Hope: An Analysis 4 of 4

  1. With the John Connolly case the greatest corruption was with the DOJ attorneys, Stern, Durham, and especially Wyshak: overly zealous, fanatically zealous they relied on serial murderers and known (known to Stern, Wyshak et al) known serial perjurers, child molesters (Flemmi) a rapist of his own veritable step-daughter, a terrorist, he and Salemme blew up attorney Fitzpatrick’s car, fugitives (Flemmi and Salemme) and Weeks who watched while women were butchered then helped bury them . . . a gravedigger and lifelong brute bully boy and one admittedly corrupt FBI cop Morris who admitted takiing cash from Bulger/FLemmi but also from other bookies in town and admitted leaking names so people would be killed and admitted he was still withholding vital info 2 weeks before John C’s First Trial. What honest prosecutor would use such scummy lowlifes to go after the lowest rung on the ladded.

    But we know they were going after Bill Bulger. Wyshak gave it away in Miami, when asked where did John go wrong, Wyshak said, “Connolly got too close to the Bulgers and South Boston.” Bulgers (plural, meaning the Senate Pres); and too close to the town he was born and raised in and lived most of his life in, the town of Cardinal Cushing, War Heroes, House Speakers, Congressmen, doctors, nurses, honest workers and family men and women of every stripe. What Wyshak’s spontaneous excited utterance, his gargantuan Freudian slip said was this: Wyshak was inadvertently confessing his target all along was Bill Bulger and like Cromwell said to Thomas Moore in Bolt’s a Man for All Seasons, to get his devil (his and Dershowitz’s devil), they’d both cut down every law in England to do so. And both cut down all bounds of decency persecuting John Connolly for nearly 20 years now.

    Matt you write correctly that most cops, firemen, emts, doctors, nurses are honest folks self-sacrificing doing heroic work for their towns and the American people, so are most FBI agents. So are the thousands of FBI agents who support John Connolly.

    But there are some bad, evil or just plain dumb, stubborn and wrongheaded folks working in the FBI and State Police.
    McCabe’s wife accepts $750,000 . . . he’s pictured in park with her political T-shirt on . . . he’s at rallies for her . . .his job: he’s in charge of sending out all D.C. area FBI agents to investigate Hillary and her private email server. Was he compromised with the $750,000 from DNC and Hillary’s BIGGEST SUPPORTER IN VIRGINIA? Who wouldn’t be

    Then there’s Stzork’s (or whatever) and the Asian guy whose wife works for the firm the DNC hired to produce the Dossier which was used (most likely) to get FISA warrants ax Trump’s team.

    Then there’s Comey white-washing Hillary’s violations of multiple federal laws . . . and writing a report in May exonerating her before the investigation got half-way underway;

    Then there’s Bob from Boston, a Marine, who’se supposed to be investigating Russian Collusion in the investigation, but who’s apparently ignoring the DNC, GPS FuSION, and Hillary collusion (Rem: Donna Brazille said Hillary controlled the DNC) and Big Bob Mueller (is that his name) former Marine, former law partner in firm with 99% support of Hillary, stops investigating Russian meddling in election and starts issuing indictments for 1992 tax evasion or something remote like that . . . . . I could go on . . . .

    And did you see the Not Guilty in Ruby Ridge and remember WACO . . . .

    And knowing all this better than most . . . and knowing there are bad cops even in Boston . . . though 99% are the best guys I’ve grown up with . . . one time half the homicide detectives in Boston were from Savin Hill and you couldn’t get a better a crew . . . not just good guys . . . the best . . . Bobby Faherty, Brian Flynn, Bo Mulane (his two daughters are cops; beautiful young women), Adrian McKinnon and even guys who might have had a few missteps were salt of the earth and some of the finest men I’ve known in my life Al Frost, the McDonoughs, . . . Salt of the Earth
    And yes I’ve run into a few sadists and crooks . . . a very, very few
    But you write about recent events in D.C. with the FBI: “There are thousands of FBI agents and not one incident has arisen to support the attacks on it.” that’s false.

    Finally, I must confess many family members and many more friends are and were police officers and firemen. i even used to work out daily with a T. V. repairman, a completely honest man, if ever there was one, who had two foul shots left to win the tech tourney, but all the nuns were praying against him . . . he was on Boston English, they were a Catholic Team . . . and my friend missed both shots . . .he also played a little pro-base ball, with Pittsburgh minor league, as I recall . . . his daughter became a Veterinarian . . .DVM . . . .AN HONEST T. V. REPAIRMEN . . .SALT OF THE EARTH . . . ONE IN A MILLION . . .

    And there are dishonest FBI agents,, too; and in Boston, from @1995-today, we’ve had a host of thoroughly unscrupulous, dishonest, overly zealous, bigoted, biased, prejudicial Justice Department prosecutors with political axes to grind, who wielded them carelessly at times and unmercifully at other times.

    ,

  2. IPSE DIXIT : Your ” Thesis ” ducked its head in incredulity coming out of your first paragraph :

    ” There are thousands of FBI agents and not one incident has arisen to support the attacks against it . ”

    Amazin’ !

  3. Happy days are here again in America. Trump is keeping his promises. The economy is growing at 3%. The stock market is up almost 40%. ISIS is defeated in Syria and Iraq. A huge tax cut for the American people has been enacted. Energy independence has been obtained. Useless regulations are eliminated. Our military is strengthened. Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. God is great. Merry Christmas. 2. On the death of Cardinal Law the Globe headline was Disgraced Cardinal dies. It won’t be too long before one reads on the internet a headline Disgraced Boston Globe expires. Where was the spotlight team? For decades they couldn’t find sexual misconduct in Hollywood, the newspapers or other media or the public schools. Massive cover up to aid Weinstein and his ilk. 3. Can the FBI maintain it’s independence? What a ludicrous question. With Strozk, his girlfriend, McCabe, Ohr, his wife, Comey and Mueller’s entire team of partisans conspiring to defeat Trump and committing the biggest political crime in American history that question is asked. Why not ask if America can maintain it’s neutrality in the Middle East? Remember the FBI needed an insurance policy to defeat Trump. They couldn’t afford the risk of a GOP triumph. They are not on the level. Drain the swamp.

  4. Lots of hatred and paranoia spilling over here. I love the idea that the Boston Globe, a regional newspaper, somehow covered up Harvey Weinstein’s behavior in Holllywood. Happy days are here only for the right-wing fringe that fantasizes about Trump and spins out endless conspiracy theories. For the rest of us, Trump’s approval rating remains at 32 percent. I’d love to here the names of 10 FBI agents who are plotting against Trump. Names you’ve heard on right-wing radio don’t count. With a conspiracy this widespread, a few new names are in order.

    1. The Boston Globe, ” a regional” rag as you say, also covered up the American Victory in the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War and persistently lied about the war. Seems I’ve seen them spout off about the Vatican and North Korea and Brazil, but you are correct, Hollywood in this day and age is way too far away.

      To a “liberal leftist” “hate” is defined as an expression that offends their sensibilities or any truths or facts they disagree with.

      Bark up another tree, Dan. Or write a letter to the Globe . . . they might agree . . .

      Trump’s approval ratings are higher than Hillary’s and Congress’s combined and far higher than that leftist rag you read. In case you haven’t noticed, Trump won the election last year . . . his ratings are still higher than the late great Harry Truman . . . you know who manipulates most ratings? the same leftists who predicted Hillary’s win last Fall . . . before the Fall.

      I gave you McCabe, Comey, Stodz, Stodz’ babe, Ohr . . . and these are just the head honchos . . . I tell you what, come up with the names of their fifteen closest allies in the FBI and you’ll have the names of 20. Why’d you pick 10? It’s O.K. we got 5 top cops in the FBI who are corruptly sunk in the swamp?

      Give me the names of 10 men Mueller has indicted for colluding with Russia during the campaign . . . he’s had a year (10 months) and came up with ZERO . . .,

      Now next time before posting something of dubious validity, read something other than leftist propaganda.

      I suppose you think like Nancy that the new Tax Law means “Armageddon.”

      Why waste our breaths . . . you know, Dan, you typify a leftist . . . full of pompous name calling, bereft of facts.

      But keep on posting: I was once a liberal, too, in my teens and early twenties, when I thought I knew it all and all the old people were . . . . old.

      What did Churchill say, If you’re not a liberal when you’re young you haven’t got a heart; if you still are when you’re over forty, you haven’t got a brain . . .

      There are some exceptions, like Christopher Hitchens, Jimmy Carter has a heart and is very smart and dedicated (wasn’t the best president) Hubert Humphrey was a good liberal and there are others . . . not many . . . .but don’t let me discourage you, Dan, keep trying . . .at least your getting up to bat . . .

      1. “Why waste our breaths . . . you know, Dan, you typify a leftist . . . full of pompous name calling, bereft of facts.”

        There’s facts?

      2. Bill: The TET offensive was not a US victory. Tet proved the US had no military or political will to win the VN War. The US military was soundly defeated by the VN communist forces. Bill, you don’t know squat about VN the War. You should leave it out of your comments, unless, you enjoying playing the fool.

  5. There doesn’t seem to be an attack on the FBI but on the permanent upper level management. I haven’t seen anyone attack the thousand of men and women who serves as agents. What the Russian Collusion investigation and the FBI investigation have in common is that nearly all we know is from newspaper stories based on anonymous leaks and material forced out by Congressional investigators, some of which has been revealed by committee members and some of which is also leaked.

    The “Collusion” investigation seems to be based on the willingness of the Trump campaign to get dirt on Mrs. Clinton and have the Russians release Clinton emails that were hacked. This is no secret. To great outrage Trump publicly called on the Russians to release any emails in their possession. Why not? Who were they being kept secret from? The Russians already had them! Why shouldn’t voters?

    The FBI investigation, much of which has been leaked, not in right wing radio but in the WaPo, suggest that the famous and discredited “Trump Dossier” was opposition research paid for by the Clinton campaign and DNC obtaining unsupported claims from paid Russian sources. When the campaign couldn’t get even usually compliant news organizations to use the material, it somehow got it accepted by Clinton allies in the Justice Department and the top of the FBI. It may have been used to obtain the FISA warrants used to conduct surveillance on Trump campaign officials. We do know the unreliable Dossier was attached to a National Security briefing given to President-Elect Trump and with that “imprimatur” of reliability was then leaked.

    There is too much secrecy in these investigations. The focus should not be on a criminal investigation where matters are kept secret until indictments of informations are obtained. There should be public hearings on both the Collusion and FBI investigations. It seems that any potential crimes are political ones in which it is is more important that the information be revealed to the public than anyone be prosecuted. The FBI has blatantly stalled giving information to proper Congressional authorities. Who do these people think is in charge? The Congress? Or the Permanent Government?

  6. Well said Brian. N.B. Trump’s call for the Russians to release Hillary’s acid bleached 33,000 emails was a joke. And you’re right some folks went apoplectic, going so far as to straight-faced report the joke as an example of collusion with the Russians.

    The good thing about being retired and on a blog is if we say something wrong we can’t be held in contempt, or summoned before some official board or bar. Kinda freewheelin, around here. But I always appreciate the learned expert’s opinion and the wisdom of those who’ve had a lot of experiences and made a lot of decisions in life.

    After thinking this over for about 20 years, since John was first indicted, I’ve come to the conclusion that the corrupt parties are (1) the killers and mobsters themselves, including Morris; and (2) the federal prosecutors: Sterns, Durham, Wyshak et al. I think they started in1998 fooling Judge Wolfe, and continued . . . well I won’t repeat myself . . . . for 20 years the federal prosecutors in the boston office have acted corruptly, especially in John Connolly’s case, but in many others’ too. I think the Courts are slowly coming to realize and accept this.

    Have a good night! and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    1. Discussing the FBI portion of the current investigations, our knowledge of which is still largely limited to press reports of anonymous leaks, I forgot to mention top FBI officials involvement in Comey’s legal exoneration from criminal liability in July of 2016. Comey’s initial statement described Hillary’s handling of classified information on her private email server as “grossly negligent.” That language is a definition of the standard for a criminal violation. FBI Counterespionage Section Chief Strzok, recently documented as a Clinton supporter and virulent Trump hater, amended the statement by deleting that phrase and substituting “extremely careless,” language with the same meaning but not included in the criminal standard for mishandling classified material.

      I am not interested in criminal prosecution of Ohr, Strzok or McCabe any more than I am General Flynn or Paul Manaforte. Potential prosecutions or the FBI Inspector General investigation should not be permitted to delay a prompt and full Congressional investigation of all these matters.

  7. Mueller?

    ugh!

    https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2017/dec/20/bcci-fbi-cia/

    December 20, 2017
    FBI cites pending proceedings in 25-year old BCCI bank fraud case
    CIA will neither confirm nor deny their public (and false) accusations that a Saudi money launderer was Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law
    Written by Emma Best
    Edited by JPat Brown
    Decades after the fact, both the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation remain highly secretive about parts of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International money laundering and embezzling investigation and the story of Khalid bin Mahfouz. While the FBI released some documents on bin Mahfouz and BCCI, with portions remaining redacted under citations of a pending law enforcement proceedings, the CIA flatly refuses to confirm or deny any information on bin Mahfouz, despite a former CIA Director having publicly (and falsely) accused him of being Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law.

    Following the Agency’s initial Glomar response to the FOIA request for records on bin Mahfouz, an appeal was filed noting that former CIA Director Jim Woolsey had previously disclosed the Agency’s interest in bin Mahfouz in Woolsey’s Congressional testimony. It was in this testimony that in 1998, Woolsey reportedly incorrectly accused bin Mahfouz of being the brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden. Woolsey later denied that he had meant to refer to bin Mahfouz, though the L.A. Times notes that “comments Woolsey made during his testimony strongly suggest that he was referring to bin Mahfouz.” In response to the appeal, the Agency upheld their original decision.

    As the Agency’s appeal response noted, the appeal was filed in response to “the action(s) of the office of the Information and Privacy Coordinator” – Michael Lavergne. The decision was upheld by the Executive Secretary of the Agency Release Panel – Michael Lavergne.

    It’s not just this quirk in CIA’s FOIA bureaucracy that truly casts doubt on the Agency’s declaration that they can neither confirm nor deny any information on him (the infamous Glomar response). What truly undermines the blanket Glomar claim is the fact that the CIA had declassified information on bin Mahfouz eight years before, and had already placed the information on the CIA’s declassified database: a CIA research paper from 1982 on Arab Banking.

    The CIA study noted bin Mahfouz’s bank, the National Commercial Bank, named in the FOIA request, was the largest bank in Saudi Arabia, noting that it was “owned by two of the wealthiest Saudi families.”

    Several pages later, the declassified study explicitly identifies the families as the bin Mahfouz and the Kaki families. bin Mahfouz’s personal involvement with the bank had begun seven years earlier, leaving little doubt that he was included in the CIA study.

    A similar request filed with the FBI produced a few documents, most already public or heavily redacted. The redactions themselves are curious, however, as they repeatedly claim b(7)a in relation to bin Mahfouz himself and the investigation of BCCI.

    One heavily redacted 302 form, memorializing an FBI interview, describes some of bin Mahfouz’s business dealings. The FD-302 repeatedly cites b(7)a in the exemptions, meaning that their production “could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”

    The interview makes a number of statements about bin Mahfouz, which are almost entirely redacted. Only small glimpses remain unredacted. In one section, bin Mahfouz is accused of having “sabotaged the SSSP.”

    Another section briefly describes bin Mahfouz’s heart attack and an attempt to sue bin Mahfouz over the SSSP.

    Several portions of the file contain open source materials, such as newspaper clippings. Part of the cover sheet for one of these contains b(7)a redactions. The cover sheet describes part of the BCCI case, with the article itself briefly mentioning bin Mahfouz.

    Both the marginalia and cover sheet for a newspaper article describing “the players” in the BCCI case, mentioning bin Mahfouz, remain redacted under b(7)A.

    http://www.blacklistednews.com/?news_id=4304

    FBI DIRECTOR MUELLER WAS AT CENTER OF ALLEGED BCCI COVERUP IN 1991
    Published: May 26, 2009

    Source: RawStory

    As the foiled Newburgh “terrorist plot” is increasingly revealed to be little more than a sham, it raises questions about why the FBI would have spent a year furnishing fake weapons and explosives to a bunch of small-time crooks in order to create an ersatz incident. It seems as though the real objective may, at the very least, have had more to do with public relations than with public safety.

    The arrests came on the same day as FBI Director Robert Mueller testified before the House Judiciary Committee that bringing Guantanamo detainees to the United States could prove risky even if they were placed in supermax prisons. The risks he cited included such unlikely possibilities as radicalizing other prisoners or continuing to run criminal operations from behind bars.

    Because Mueller’s testimony has been so widely described as undermining the Obama administration’s announced policy of closing Guantanamo, it seems fair to ask whether the FBI director may be following an agenda of his own in ramping up fears of terrorism just as 9/11 hysteria appears to be coming to an end.

    As it happens, Mueller has been accused of politicized decision-making in the past. A week before his July 2001 nomination by former President Bush to head the FBI, an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal raised serious questions about both Mueller and the other leading candidate, George Terwilliger.

    Last week … we watched trial balloons floating over Washington with the names of Robert S. Mueller and George Terwilliger as Mr. Freeh’s possible successor. These names set us to perusing the books on one of our long-lasting preoccupations, the Bank of Credit & Commerce International. The BCCI scandal was the most important corruption story of the 20th century. Crooked international bankers cast a world-wide web of influence. They bought and sold politicians around the globe, ripped off depositors for some $10 billion, laundered drug money, worked with assorted spooks and trafficked with terrorists. …

    Both Mr. Terwilliger and Mr. Mueller were senior Justice Department officials when BCCI got away. Mr. Terwilliger was Deputy Attorney General; and Mr. Mueller ran the Criminal Division at Main Justice from 1990 to 1993. When it came to making decisions about investigations and prosecutions in the BCCI affair they were the men at the switches. …

    When Mr. Mueller took over the Criminal Division, critics in Congress and the media were already raising questions about Justice and BCCI. He stepped into this breach, telling the Washington Post in July 1991 that maybe indeed there was an “appearance of, one, foot-dragging; two, perhaps a coverup.” He denied the coverup claims, specifically rejecting a Time magazine report that the U.S. government was seeking to obscure its role in the scandal partly because the CIA may have collaborated with the bank’s operatives.

    Still, the problems with Justice persisted. And the timing of some of Mr. Mueller’s moves raised eyebrows. In September 1991, Justice indicted six BCCI figures and a reputed Colombian drug lord on racketeering charges. The indictment was unveiled just minutes after then-Congressman Charles Schumer issued a report sharply critical of Justice Department handling of the case. … Mr. Mueller also engaged in a running series of battles with the Manhattan District Attorney, Robert Morgenthau. According to news reports over the years, Justice prosecutors were instructed not to cooperate with Mr. Morgenthau’s office, documents were withheld, and attempts were made to block other federal agencies from cooperating.
    The December 1991 settlement of criminal charges against BCCI, which Terwilliger described as “a fair arrangement,” uncovered “only $1.5 billion in the coffers of a bank that once held $22 billion in deposits.” This missing money has never been traced.

    Although the Journal op-ed concluded by suggesting that “on the evidence we can see, Mr. Mueller would be a peculiar choice indeed,” he was Bush’s final selection — Terwilliger having been passed over because his work as lead lawyer on the 2000 Florida recount had left him with too blatant an appearance of political partisanship.

    Mueller is now almost eight years into his ten-year term as FBI director, but the questions raised by such respected sources as Time and the Journal as to whether he might have been involved in a cover-up of the BCCI scandal on behalf of the George H.W. Bush administration and the CIA have never been addressed.

    As a result, doubts remain even today as to where his true allegiances lie.

  8. in other newes!

    http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2017/12/gravestone_the_secretive_fbi_video_surveillance_program_you_haven_t_heard.html

    FROM SLATE, NEW AMERICA, AND ASU
    What’s Under the Gravestone?
    The secretive FBI video-surveillance initiative you haven’t heard of yet.

    By April Glaser
    Photo illustration by Slate. Images by mrkevvzime/Thinkstock and Thinkstock.
    Photo illustration by Natalie Matthews-Ramo. Images by mrkevvzime/Thinkstock and Thinkstock.

    When you’re using the internet or your cellphone or basically any electronic device that depends on wireless or internet-based connections to communicate with other machines, there’s a chance the U.S. government is collecting that data.

    Thanks to whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and Mark Klein, we know that the National Security Agency and the FBI run a variety of massive surveillance programs that are designed to suck up most—even, by some estimates, all—communications that travel across major U.S. fiber-optic networks. And the U.S. surveillance dragnet doesn’t just vacuum up your digital communications. They can also track the location of your car, which is detected through the ever-expanding use of license-plate readers across the country. The FBI also has a massive database, including more than 411 million photos, made up of people swept up in various programs that contain images of faces, tattoos, and other unique identifiers.

    These spying initiatives have all kinds of shady code names. There’s “Bullrun,” which is one of the NSA’s programs aimed at defeating internet encryption protocols. And then there’s “Egotisticalgiraffe,” a program to unmask users of the online anonymity network Tor, as well as “EvilOlive,” “Blazing Saddles,” and “TwistedPath,” to name a few. Not to mention PRISM, the secret spy program Snowden famously revealed that uncovered partnerships between the NSA and major American tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft.

    And now, thanks to a lawsuit about a neglected Freedom of Information Act request filed today by Ryan Shapiro of the transparency group Property of the People, we know about one more federal surveillance initiative with a dodgy code name: Gravestone. But beyond the code name, we know almost nothing.

    Get Future Tense in your inbox.

    Sharpiro’s team came across Gravestone on the federal open-data website Data.gov. There, according to the lawsuit, the group found metadata about Gravestone that showed its association with the FBI. Metadata is essentially just top-line information without much detail. When President Obama’s White House said that the NSA’s phone-record collection was just “metadata,” that meant that the agency may have information about the time you called and who you called, but not the recording of the call itself. On the Data.gov website, Gravestone’s name was listed along with a very brief description of the program.

    “Gravestone is a system consisting of an IP based camera, routers, firewalls, and a workstation to review surveillance video,” the Department of Justice website read. “The system provides Video Surveillance data to FBI Field Offices and is used by case agents.” An IP-based camera is the technical term for a surveillance camera that’s connected to a network. The routers and firewalls may help provide a secure way to deliver information from the cameras to whatever workstation the FBI has set up to review the footage.

    Information about Gravestone is no longer available online, but Property of the People took screenshots before its removal.

    But even if it’s a secret program and the description was published by mistake, it may still be covered by FOIA. “It doesn’t help to resolve any concern about a program if a two-sentence, cryptic reference to it is subsequently removed from a government website,” says Hugh Handeyside, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project. “If a reference on a government website suggests the existence of a surveillance program potentially affecting the public, that certainly seems worthy of a FOIA request.”

    So the only information we have to go on is the creepy code name and those two sentences. What’s actually going on here? “It’s really hard to tell given the lack of information,” says Ahmed Ghappour, a law professor who specializes in privacy and technology at Boston University. “The key here is whether or not Gravestone, or surveillance conducted using the Gravestone system, was done using a lawful warrant.” Ghappour also notes that if Gravestone is used in conjunction with a warrant and helps to make the transport of warranted surveillance video more secure, that could actually be a good thing. “If the FBI has a set of protocols for the use of IP-based cameras to conduct surveillance, then there’s obviously a legit public interest for more information.”

    Shapiro and his team first filed five related FOIA requests to the FBI in March. Those requests asked for information about policy and training programs on Gravestone; any privacy assessment done by the FBI on the program; records on any security incidents, like hacking attempts; purchase and maintained records; and any additional information pertaining to Gravestone. In the development or procurement of new technologies, federal government agencies with the DOJ are required to produce a privacy impact assessment in order to understand the privacy risks and ensure proper privacy protections of any operation where personally identifiable information is obtained or disseminated. Since Gravestone is literally described as a “video surveillance” initiative that uses IP cameras, it would likely be required to have an accompanying report.

    The FBI is supposed to respond to FOIA requests within 20 days of receipt, but according to the lawsuit filed Thursday, “Plaintiffs have not received a response from FBI with a final determination as to whether FBI will release the requested records.” Property of the People hopes that with the lawsuit, the FBI will be forced to respond to the FOIA request. But the team expects pushback.

    “The FBI does nearly everything within its power to avoid compliance with FOIA,” says Shapiro. So he’s not surprised this had to go to court. “While FOIA with some agencies can be akin to a protracted business meeting or an attempt to get customer support from a telecom over a holiday weekend, FOIA with the FBI is a street fight.”

    Still, even if the group’s entire request isn’t fulfilled, it may get some pieces, which could provide a germ to iterate new FOIA requests. And at this point, with so little known about Gravestone, basically any additional information could go a long way.

    “The problem with IP cameras is that they are incredibly vulnerable,” Ghappour says, noting that the government often relies on technologies from private companies. And internet-connected cameras in particular have had serious security problems recently, like in 2016, when a botnet comprised hundreds of thousands of internet-connected devices, mostly cameras, that were then hijacked to send junk traffic to Dyn, a major domain name provider, to shut down major websites across the web including Spotify, Netflix, Twitter, and various news outlets

  9. Jeffrey Toobin: Donald Trump should be “worshiping the ground that James Comey walked on” because he, more than anyone, made him POTUS

    https://twitter.com/AC360/status/944015180232474624

    Jeffrey Ross Toobin is an American lawyer, blogger, author and pundit, and legal analyst for CNN and The New Yorker. During the Iran-Contra affair, he served as an associate counsel in the Department of Justice, and moved from law into writing during the 1990s. He has written several books.

    1. He’s a legal scholar of the leftist boob type: little he says rings true, most rings leftist politicized drivel. That’s my opinion for hearing him come down totally wrong on multiple issues. Listen to the George Washington Scholar Turley . . .much more prudent, balanced . . . plus anyone still listening to CNN must enjoy being brainwashed

  10. Thanks for posting this KJ

    After the Trump election I created two threads
    one saying the exact same thing

    see
    https://www.ldsfreedomforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=44130

    In other Newes!

    http://archive.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/02/18/retired_fbi_agent_guilty_of_sex_abuse/

    Retired FBI agent guilty of sex abuse
    Was bureau’s chief of internal affairs

    WASHINGTON — The former chief internal watchdog at the FBI has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl and has admitted he had a history of molesting other children before he joined the bureau for what became a two-decade career.

    John H. Conditt Jr., 53, who retired in 2001, was sentenced last week in Tarrant County Court in Fort Worth to 12 years in prison after he admitted he molested the daughter of two FBI agents after he retired. He acknowledged molesting at least two other girls before he began his law enforcement career, his lawyer said.

    Conditt headed the internal affairs unit, which investigates agent wrongdoing, for the Office of Professional Responsibility at FBI headquarters in Washington from 1999 until June 2001, the FBI said.

  11. The second thread was titled:

    ” a partial list of US Presidents elected by FBI Directors”

    FBI Director J Edgar Hoover removes President Kennedy from office
    for US Military Industrial complex after planning removal for several years.

    Big Oil funds assassination and FBI Director Hoover uses
    FBI Tool Kit tool called:

    when you are the law enforcement agency investigating the
    crime you just committed

    JFK replaced by FBI Police State candidate Lyndon the sociopath
    Johnson who helped plan assassination.

    see

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FMBhTIB7z1U

    How LBJ Killed JFK: Money, Attorneys, and the Kennedy Assassination
    How LBJ Killed JFK: Money, Attorneys, and the Kennedy Assassination Conspiracy Theory (2003) Oliver Barr McClellan, entrepreneur, counsel and author, born in 1939 in Cuero (aka Rawhide), Texas, became widely known by his 2003 book Blood, Money Power Oliver Barr McClellan, entrepreneur, counsel and author, born in 1939 in Cuero (aka Rawhide), Texas, became widely known by his 2003 book Blood, Money & Powe Lyndon Johnson Killed JFK? He didn’t pull the trigger, but he was in the thick of the conspiracy, according to a Scottsdale attorney who has written two book The controversal 2003 History Channel documentary accusing Lyndon Johnson of being behind the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kenendy. ———– Garrison was notable for being among the first to assert that there were two conspiracies: The How LBJ Killed JFK: Money, Attorneys, and the Kennedy Assassination Conspiracy Theory (2003) How LBJ Killed JFK: Money, Attorneys, and the Kennedy Assassination Conspiracy Theory (2003)

    see

    http://www.lasthurrahbookshop.com/

  12. Bill C.

    What if it came out Strozk loved Trump? Would you take issue with him voicing his political preferences in a text message? Would you question the integrity of the investigation? Trump is a loathsome buffoon to the point that he has to tout a 45% approval rating on his Twitter page as something to brag about. More than half the country hates him. There are other parts of the FBI, like the NY office, who were leaking info to Guiliani and company…they called that office Trumpland.

    The bottom line is you have dozens of Trump associates communicating with Russians during and after the campaign…even to the point where the President’s son and his cohorts receive an email from someone saying this based on the “help of the Russian government.” It is staring us all in the face and everyone is forced to turn a blind eye because of the media’s paranoia about seeming biased simply because they report incontrovertible facts that make POTUS look bad.

    I can’t wait till it comes out Kushner and Cambridge Analytica worked with Russian hackers to disseminate the “fake news” to the specific swing districts via social media.

    This False Equivalency BS is nauseating and I blame the media for being too scared to stand by the actual facts that are in existence, and not this double speak Orwellian reality we now live in.

    1. FBI agents, like other cops, prosecutors and judges all have political opinions. They are supposed to keep them private and not let them affect their work. I wouldn’t consider a text to a girlfriend to be violate that rule. Why they have all been reviewed I don’t know. Perhaps they were on FBI phones. At least one is suggestive of more. It refers to a meeting in “Andy’s office” (Andrew McCabe? Deputy Director whose wife received $750,000 in.political funding from a PAC controlled by Clinton ally, Terry McAuliffe) where plans to use the FBI to undo Trump were discussed. Strzok reported made the change in Comey’s statement substituting “extremely careless” for “grossly negligent.” And somebody in Justice got the infamaous Trump Dossier into circulation, perhaps used to get FISA warrants to surveil the Trump campaign and certainly got it attached to a national security brief for President-Elect Trump, then leaked to the press. This isn’t a campaign of private citizens trying to get dirt on an opponent. It’s one of the most sensitive agencies of our government.

  13. Matt,

    Care to cite some or the “exquisite” work done by Mueller after the 9/11 attacks? You’ve made some statements over the years that I have taken issue with, but this one really made my skin crawl. After everything you have written/read here, I find it hard to believe that you really feel his work was exquisite. Feels like you are letting your hatred for the prez cloud your views on what is really going on at The Bureau. Do you really feel like a series of ginned up “terrorist takedowns” constitute exquisite work? You need look no further than the laughable case of the Newburgh mental deficients that Mueller describes as a “terror Cell”. He should have been fired and or indicted for that case alone.

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