4:57 PM 12/2/2017 – The Defense Intelligence Agency is refusing to release a wide array of documents related to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn

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Citing probes, military agency bars access to Flynn records

Washington PostNov 28, 2017
WASHINGTON — The Defense Intelligence Agency is refusing to release a wide array of documents related to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, saying that turning them over could interfere with ongoing congressional and federal investigations. Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general …

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Key players in the Michael Flynn investigation

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A retired U.S. Army lt. general and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration, Flynn served for less than a month as President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser. He was fired in mid-February by Trump after officials said that he had misled Vice President …
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Vice President Pence visits DIA Headquarters

DVIDS (press release)Nov 8, 2017
DIA Director Army LtGenRobert Ashley hosted the visit, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats accompanied the vice president. “DIA officers play a crucial role in our intelligence apparatus,” Pence said in a statement. “We are grateful for their work and sacrifice.” The vice president received …

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Homeland Preparedness NewsAug 24, 2017
LtGenRobert P. Ashley, Jr., U.S. Army, was recently confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the 21st Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Currently serving as deputy chief of staff, G-2, for the U.S. Army, Ashley is scheduled to begin his duties as DIA director in October, where he takes over for Lt.

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Department of DefenseOct 4, 2017
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Voice of AmericaOct 3, 2017
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Vice President Pence visits DIA HQ
 

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Vice President Mike Pence visited the Defense Intelligence Agency Headquarters at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Nov. 6, to receive classified intelligence briefings and meet with DIA officers.

Flynn Flipped. Whos Next?
 

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Michael Flynns guilty plea raises obvious questions: What did President Trump know? And when did he know it?

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The special counsel had a top agent removed from his inquiry after the Justice Departments inspector general began examining whether the agent sent texts expressing political views.

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Michael Flynn’s guilty plea Friday and all of the criminal cases thus far have not resolved the fundamental question special counsel Robert Mueller is seeking to answer: Did Trump’s campaign collude with Russia to win the election?

US agent who got prostitutes, cash from Colombian drug lord headed to prison
 

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The bribes federal agent Christopher Ciccione accepted from a wanted Colombian drug lord $18,000 in cash, prostitutes, restaurant meals and a hotel room have cost him his career. Yet, “Chris is a good man who served his country for more than 20 years both in the military and as a federal agent,” his defense attorney said.

Inside the secretive nerve center of the Mueller investigation – The Washington Post
 

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Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has already interviewed two dozen current and former Trump aides, according to people familiar with the investigation. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

A white sedan whisked a man into the loading dock of a glass and concrete building in a drab office district in Southwest Washington. Security guards quickly waved the vehicle inside, then pushed a button that closed the garage door and shielded the guest’s arrival from public view.

With his stealth morning arrival Thursday, White House Counsel Donald F. McGahn II became the latest in a string of high-level witnesses to enter the secretive nerve center of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Twenty hours later, Mueller and his team emerged into public view to rattle Washington with the dramatic announcement that former national security adviser Michael Flynn would plead guilty to lying to the FBI.

The ensnaring of Flynn, the second former aide to President Trump to cooperate with the inquiry, serves as the latest indication that Mueller’s operation is rapidly pursuing an expansive mission, drilling deeper into Trump’s inner circle.

In the past two months, Mueller and his deputies have received private debriefs from two dozen current and former Trump advisers, each of whom has made the trek to the special counsel’s secure office suite.

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The Washington Post’s Amber Phillips discusses what likely caused Michael Flynn to flip on his old boss.

The Washington Post’s Amber Phillips talks about what likely caused President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, to flip on his old boss and cooperate with the Mueller investigation. (Jason Aldag, Amber Phillips/The Washington Post)

Once inside, most witnesses are seated in a windowless conference room where two- and three-person teams of FBI agents and prosecutors rotate in and out, pressing them for answers.

Among the topics that have been of keen interest to investigators: how foreign government officials and their emissaries contacted Trump officials, as well as the actions and interplay of Flynn and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law.

Often listening in is the special counsel himself, a sphinx-like presence who sits quietly along the wall for portions of key interviews.

This picture of Mueller’s operation — drawn from descriptions of witnesses, lawyers and others briefed on the interviews — provides a rare look inside the high-stakes investigation that could implicate Trump’s circle and determine the future of his presidency.

The locked-down nature of the probe has left both the witnesses and the public scrutinizing every move of the special counsel for meaning, without any certainty about the full scope of his investigation.

Trump and his lawyers have expressed confidence that Mueller will swiftly conclude his examination of the White House, perhaps even by the year’s end. Trump’s Democratic opponents hope the investigation will uncover more crimes and ultimately force the president’s removal from office.

Meanwhile, some witnesses who have been interviewed came away with the impression that the probe is unfolding and far from over.

“When they were questioning me, it seemed like they were still trying to get a feel of the basic landscape of the place,” said one witness who was questioned in late October for several hours and, like others, requested anonymity to describe the confidential sessions. “I didn’t get the sense they had anything incriminating on the president. Nor were they anywhere close to done.”

A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment, citing the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation.

White House lawyer Ty Cobb said he believes the probe’s focus on Trump’s White House is wrapping up, noting that all White House staffer interviews will be completed by the end of next week.

“At the end of the interviews, it would be reasonable to expect that it would not take long to bring this to conclusion,” Cobb said. “I commend the Office of Special Counsel for their acknowledged hard work on behalf of the country, to undertake this serious responsibility, and to perform it in an expedited but deliberate, thorough way.”

At least two dozen people who traveled in Trump’s orbit in 2016 and 2017 — on the campaign trail, in his transition operation and then in the White House — have been questioned in the past 10 weeks, according to people familiar with the interviews.

The most high profile is Kushner, who met with Mueller’s team in November, as well as former chief of staff Reince Priebus and former press secretary Sean Spicer. Former foreign policy adviser J.D. Gordon has also been interviewed.

White House communications director Hope Hicks was scheduled to sit down with Mueller’s team a few days before Thanksgiving. Mueller’s team has also indicated plans to interview senior associate White House counsel James Burnham and policy adviser Stephen Miller.

McGahn, who was interviewed by Mueller’s prosecutors for a full day Thursday, was scheduled to return Friday to complete his interview. However, the special counsel postponed the session as a courtesy to allow McGahn to help the White House manage the response to Flynn’s plea, a person familiar with the interview said.

Cobb declined to say which White House aides remain to be interviewed.

Several people who worked shoulder to shoulder with Flynn have also been interviewed by Mueller’s operation. That includes retired Gen. Keith Kellogg, the chief of staff to the National Security Council, as well as several people who worked with Flynn Intel Group, a now-shuttered private consulting firm.

Mueller’s group has also inquired whether Flynn recommended specific foreign meetings to senior aides, including Kushner. Investigators were particularly interested in how certain foreign officials got on Kushner’s calendar and the discussions that Flynn and Kushner had about those encounters, according to people familiar with the questions.

During the transition, Kushner and Flynn met with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. At the early December meeting, Kushner suggested establishing a secure communications line between Trump officials and the Kremlin at a Russian diplomatic facility, according to U.S. officials who reviewed intelligence reports describing Kislyak’s account.

Kushner has said that Kislyak sought the secure line as a way for Russian generals to communicate to the incoming administration about U.S. policy on Syria.

Trump’s son-in-law has also been identified by people familiar with his role as the “very senior member” of the transition team who directed Flynn in December to reach out to Kislyak and lobby him about a U.N. resolution on Israeli settlements, according to new court filings.

The volume of questions about Kushner in their interviews surprised some witnesses.

“I remember specifically being asked about Jared a number of times,” said one witness.

Another witness said agents and prosecutors repeatedly asked him about Trump’s decision-making during the May weekend he decided to fire FBI Director James B. Comey. Prosecutors inquired whether Kushner had pushed the president to jettison Comey, according to two people familiar with the interview.

Kushner attorney Abbe Lowell declined to comment on what the president’s son-in-law discussed at his November session with Mueller. “Mr. Kushner has voluntarily cooperated with all relevant inquiries and will continue to do so,” he said.

Two administration officials said that it would be natural for investigators to ask a lot of questions about Kushner, whom Trump put in charge of communicating with foreign officials, adding that such inquiries do not indicate he is a target.

The special counsel has continued to make ongoing requests for records from associates of the Trump campaign, according to two people familiar with the requests. The campaign associates aren’t expected to finish producing these documents by the end of the year. Mueller’s team is also newly scrutinizing an Alexandria-based office and advisers who worked there on foreign policy for the campaign.

In the past several weeks, Mueller’s operation has reached out to new witnesses in Trump’s circle, telling them they may be asked to come in for an interview. One person who was recently contacted said it is hard to find a lawyer available for advice on how to interact with the special counsel because so many Trump aides have already hired attorneys.

“It was kind of a pain,” the person said. “It’s hard to find a lawyer who wasn’t already conflicted out.”

People who have gone before Mueller’s team describe polite but detailed and intense grillings that at times have lasted all day and involved more than a dozen investigators. Spicer, for example, was in the office from about 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. for his fall session. Mueller’s team has recommended nearby lunch spots, but many witnesses have food brought in for fear of being spotted if they go outside.

Mueller has attended some interviews, introducing himself to witnesses when he enters and then sitting along the wall. Sometimes he is joined by his deputy, longtime friend and law partner James Quarles, a former Watergate prosecutor who is the main point of contact for the White House.

Investigators bring large binders filled with emails and documents into the interview room. One witness described the ricochet of questions that followed each time an agent passed them a copy of an email they had been copied on: “Do you remember this email? How does the White House work? How does the transition work? Who was taking the lead on foreign contacts? How did that work? Who was involved in this decision? Who was there that weekend?”

Some witnesses were introduced to so many federal agents and lawyers that they later lamented that they had largely forgotten many of their names by the time one team left the room and a new team entered.

“They say, ‘Hey, we’re not trying to be rude, but people are going to come in and out a lot,’ ” one witness explained about the teams. “They kind of cycle in and out of the room.”

One contingent of investigators is focused on whether Trump tried to obstruct justice and head off the investigation into Russian meddling by firing Comey in May. Prosecutors Brandon Van Grack and Jeannie Rhee have been involved in matters related to Flynn.

Yet another team is led by the former head of the Justice Department’s fraud prosecutions, Andrew Weissman, and foreign bribery expert Greg Andres. Those investigators queried lobbyists from some of the most powerful lobby shops in town about their interactions with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and campaign adviser Rick Gates.

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Mueller’s team charged Manafort and Gates last month with engaging in a conspiracy to hide millions of dollars in hidden foreign accounts and secretly creating an elaborate cover story to conceal their lobbying work for a former Ukrainian president and his pro-Russia political party. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Lawyers familiar with prosecutors’ questions about Manafort said they expect several more charges to come from this portion of the case.

People familiar with the Mueller team said they convey a sense of calm that is unsettling.

“These guys are confident, impressive, pretty friendly — joking a little, even,” one lawyer said. When prosecutors strike that kind of tone, he said, defense lawyers tend to think: “Uh oh, my guy is in a heap of trouble.”

Rosalind S. Helderman contributed to this report.

Inside the secretive nerve center of the Mueller investigation – Washington Post
 

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Inside the secretive nerve center of the Mueller investigation
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Trump Says ‘Absolutely No Collusion’ With Russia After Michael Flynn Pleads Guilty
 

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The former national security adviser may testify that a senior member of Trump’s transition team told him to contact Russia about an upcoming United Nations vote.

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Mueller Removed Top FBI Agent Over Possible Anti-Trump Texts
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He helped lead the investigation into whether Hillary Clinton mishandled classified information on her private email account, and then played a major role in the investigation into links between President Trump’s campaign and Russia. But Mr. Strzok was 
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Top FBI official assigned to Mueller’s Russia probe said to have been removed after sending anti-Trump texts
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FBI removed agent from Russia probe for anti-Trump messages
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FBI removed agent from Russia probe for anti-Trump messages. In this file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill in Washington. As Congress returns from its and more »

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Top FBI official assigned to Mueller’s Russia probe said to have …

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Peter Strzok, as deputy head of counterintelligence at the FBI, was a key player in the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server to do … During the Clinton investigation, Strzok was involved in a romantic relationship with FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who worked for Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, …

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Special counsel attorney departs for FBI

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Lisa Page, an attorney who was part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, has left, the special … Peter Strzok, who was chief of the FBI counterespionage unit that was involved in overseeing the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private …
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Top FBI official assigned to Mueller’s Russia probe said to have …

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Peter Strzok, as deputy head of counterintelligence at the FBI, was a key player in the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server to do government work as secretary of state, as well as the probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election.
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Mueller dismisses top FBI agent in Russia probe over possible anti …

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“Immediately upon learning of the allegations, the Special Counsel’s Office removed Peter Strzok from the investigation,” Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, confirmed to Fox News. Strzok also worked on the FBI investigation last year into whether then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton …

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According to the Washington Post, Peter Strzok, who was a key participant into the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server was asked to step aside, according to sources. Strzok was involved in a romantic relationship with FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who worked for Deputy Director Andrew …
Top FBI official assigned to Muellers Russia probe said to have been removed after sending anti-Trump texts – The Washington Post
 

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The former top FBI official assigned to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election was taken off that job this past summer after his bosses discovered he and another member of Mueller’s team had exchanged politically charged texts disparaging President Trump and supportive of Hillary Clinton, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.

Peter Strzok, as deputy head of counterintelligence at the FBI, was a key player in the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server to do government work as secretary of state, as well as the probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election.

During the Clinton investigation, Strzok was involved in a romantic relationship with FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who worked for Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, according to the people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The extramarital affair was problematic, these people said, but of greater concern among senior law enforcement officials were text messages the two exchanged during the Clinton investigation and campaign season, in which they expressed anti-Trump sentiments and other comments that appeared to favor Clinton.

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President Trump drew criticism for his apparent acceptance of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials of election meddling. 

President Trump drew criticism for his apparent acceptance of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials of election meddling. (Patrick Martin/The Washington post)

The people discussing the matter did not further describe the political messages between Strzok and Page, except to say the two would sometime react to campaign news of the moment.

The Justice Department inspector general’s office said in a statement Saturday that its investigators are “reviewing allegations involving communications between certain individuals, and will report its findings regarding those allegations promptly upon completion of the review of them.’’

A spokesman for Mueller’s office said Strzok was removed “immediately upon learning of the allegations,’’ and added that Page left the Mueller team two weeks before they became aware of the allegations.

The FBI declined to comment.

The Post has repeatedly sought comment from Strzok and Page, but got no response.

Defenders of Page and Strzok insisted the issue is “overblown’’ and that there was no misconduct between the two.

A friend of Page said there was no professional misconduct at issue in the matter, and she said Page left the Mueller team in July before any of the issues came to light.

When the issue arose, Strzok was taken off the Mueller team in August and he was given a job in the human resources division of the FBI — widely viewed as a demotion internally, according to people familiar with the matter. Page no longer works much with McCabe, these people said.

At the time they left Mueller’s group, no one publicly linked the two departures. For months, officials have refused to explain why Strzok was reassigned, but people familiar with the matter said it was ultimately Mueller’s decision.

Among federal law enforcement officials, there is great concern that exposure of the texts they exchanged may be used by the president and his defenders to attack the credibility of the Mueller probe, and the FBI more broadly, according to the people familiar with the matter.

Defenders of Strzok and Page inside the FBI said that because there was no direct supervisory role between Page and Strzok in the workplace, there wasn’t anything professionally wrong about having an affair, but added they understood why Mueller would not want anyone engaged in such conduct on his team. For one thing, if a foreign intelligence agency learned of such an affair, they could try to use it as a means of blackmail, though there’s no evidence anyone outside the FBI was aware of the relationship.

The president’s most vociferous defenders in Congress have called for a special counsel to investigate how the FBI handled the Clinton probe, and other Clinton-connected matters. Word of the texts could give new fuel to those demands.

The Clinton investigation formally ended in July 2016, when then-FBI Director James B. Comey announced he would recommend Clinton face no charges for her use of a private email server as secretary of state. But the issue was resurrected in late October, when Comey informed congressional leaders that the FBI had discovered new Clinton emails on a laptop belonging to former congressman Anthony Weiner, then the subject of a separate FBI investigation. Days later, Comey announced the emails on the laptop did not change the FBI’s view of the case.

Clinton and her supporters say Comey’s moves in October cost her the 2016 election, and Trump and his Republican allies have used it to justify Comey’s firing — the event that ultimately led to Mueller being appointed as special counsel.

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Mueller has so far charged four people in his investigation of possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, most recently former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Of the four, two have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI — Flynn and a former Trump campaign adviser.

During the Clinton email investigation, Page was a regular participant when Comey would hold “skinny group’’ meetings on the case — a small collection of advisers that gathered to address sensitive cases, according to people familiar with the case.

Current and former FBI officials say the Strzok matter points to a larger, unresolved issue facing the agency as it tries to investigate the president and make a fresh start with a new director, Christopher A. Wray. Much of the agency’s senior leadership jobs are currently filled by people who were put in those positions by Comey and Wray has yet to make many significant changes at the top. But a major housecleaning by the new director is widely anticipated inside the bureau.

McCabe, the deputy director, has faced repeated questions from the White House and Republican lawmakers about whether he should have been involved in the Clinton case at all — given the hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations made to his wife, a candidate for political office in Virginia, by a key Clinton ally in 2015.

Top FBI official assigned to Mueller’s Russia probe said to have been removed after sending anti-Trump texts – Washington Post
 

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Washington Post
Top FBI official assigned to Mueller’s Russia probe said to have been removed after sending anti-Trump texts
Washington Post
The former top FBI official assigned to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election was taken off that job this past summer after his bosses discovered he and another member of Mueller’s team had exchanged 
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Russian hacking: FBI failed to tell US officials their email was targeted – The Guardian
 

mikenova shared this story from fbi criticism – Google News.


The Guardian
Russian hacking: FBI failed to tell US officials their email was targeted
The Guardian
The FBI failed to notify scores of US officials that Russian hackers were trying to break into their personal Gmail accounts despite having evidence for at least a year, an investigation found. The Associated Press dedicated two months and a small team and more »

James Comey ‘Emperor with No Clothes,’ Says Former FBI Assistant Director After Gloating Bible Verse Post
 

mikenova shared this story from Breitbart News.

“‘But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream,’ Amos 5:24,” Comey posted Friday on Instagram below the picture of gently cascading water.

“Anyone with a brain knows what he meant,” James Kallstrom told Breitbart News. “He thinks he was unjustly brought down, and now justice is going to prevail and show him as some sort of a martyr. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

The post from the man fired by President Donald Trump earlier this year came within minutes after news hit that Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI and that Trump’s former national security advisor planned to cooperate with Robert Mueller’s probe of possible collusion between the Republican nominee’s campaign and the Russian government.

“My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel’s Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country,” Flynn explained in a statement. “I accept full responsibility for my actions.”

And shortly after the guilty plea and an acknowledgement of cooperation with Mueller became public, Comey posted the Bible verse on Instagram.

“He’s a guy who either knows the Bible or thought it would be cool to give that response back, when he is the emperor with no clothes,” Kallstrom explained. “He carried water for the Clinton Foundation and Obama administration, and demoralized the FBI, making a fool of himself in my view—he conducted himself in a way that was not in keeping with the rule of law—and here he is quoting the Bible. Hopefully, justice will roll down on him and his sycophants who threw the bureau under the bus.”

Kallstrom noted Comey’s lack of effective action on investigations involving Benghazi, Operation Fast and Furious, and Hillary Clinton’s email scandal as examples of the former director’s failures in office that led to concerns that the director played favorites.

The 27-year veteran of the FBI believes that Comey’s social-media post buttresses criticism that he politicized the FBI when he served as director.

“He just showed himself as the hypocrite that he is,” Kallstrom offered. “He lacks the common sense to realize he’s digging his hole deeper.”

Review of FBI’s action during election coming next year
 

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Washington (CNN)A watchdog review of how the FBI handled its investigation into then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is on track for release next March or April, Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz said Wednesday.

The inspector general gave no clues in Wednesday’s appearance before the House oversight committee hinting at what the report would conclude. But he said the review is “moving along quite expeditiously.”

Horowitz

opened the probe

 in mid-January — prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration — when James Comey was still FBI director and when questions were still fresh about Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.

Horowitz indicated at the time it would be a wide-ranging look at multiple ways the Justice Department and FBI may have impacted the election, including potentially improper disclosures of information and the bureau’s decision, days before the election, to release documents on a controversial pardon issued nearly 16 years earlier by Clinton’s husband, President Bill Clinton.

But no doubt central to the probe will be Comey’s multiple announcements about Clinton’s emails. In July 2016, he announced he would not recommend charges against Clinton. In late October — less than two weeks before the election — he notified Congress that the FBI obtained emails it previously did not have and would re-open the investigation.

close dialog

Two days before the election, he said the FBI had reviewed the emails and would not recommend charges.

Then-candidate Trump made the private server a key criticism of his campaign, and Clinton struggled to put the issue behind her.

Horowitz said Wednesday his office has “interviewed dozens of people” and reviewed 1.2 million records.

The report has taken time because some former Justice Department and FBI employees and their attorneys needed to have security clearances authorized, he added.

Horowitz noted the report could be delayed “because, as we’ve seen, events can arise, issues can arise that requires us to do additional interviews or get additional records.”

FBI foreign influence task force – Google Search
 

mikenova shared this story from FBI foreign influence task force – Google News.

Story image for FBI foreign influence task force from TPM

FBI Sets Up ‘Foreign Influence‘ Task Force To Protect Election System

TPMNov 30, 2017
FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress Thursday that the FBI has a “foreign influence” task force to deal with election interference by outside actors. “I take any effort to interfere with out election system by Russia or any other nation state or non-nation state seriously, because it strikes right at the heart …
FBI Warns of Mounting Collaboration Between Nations, Criminals to …
Highly CitedWashington Free BeaconDec 1, 2017

Media image for FBI foreign influence task force from The Hill

The Hill

Media image for FBI foreign influence task force from Washington Free Beacon

Washington Free Beacon

Media image for FBI foreign influence task force from Newsmax

Newsmax
FBI Warns of Mounting Collaboration Between Nations, Criminals to Launch Cyberattacks
 

mikenova shared this story from Washington Free Beacon.

FBI Director Christopher WrayFBI Director Christopher Wray / Getty Images

BY: Natalie Johnson

FBI Director Christopher Wray warned Thursday that adversarial governments are more often collaborating with criminals to carryout cyber attacks against the United States.

Wray said the indictment of a Canadian national who pleaded guilty on Tuesday to helping Russian spies hack into Yahoo email accounts reflect “one of the more dangerous, emerging threats” facing the United States today, known in the intelligence community as a “blended threat.”

“We are seeing an emergence of that kind of collaboration,” Wray testified before the House Homeland Security Committee, noting that until recently governments and criminals worked separately. “Now there’s this collusion, if you will, that’s occurring on a number of instances … like mercenaries being used to commit cyber attacks.”

The Justice Department announced charges in March against Karim Baratov, a 22-year-old Canadian citizen, and three other men, including two officers of Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, for their involvement in the 2014 hack into Yahoo that affected 500 million accounts.

U.S. law enforcement officials said Baratov, who they dubbed a “hacker-for-hire,” acknowledged breaking into email accounts and selling the passwords to an agent of the FSB, a Russian intelligence agency.

The individuals targeted included Russian officials, a European diplomat, a former economic minister from a neighboring country, and a prominent banker.

The case confirmed longstanding suspicions that Russia’s government hires non-government hackers and uses its spy services to facilitate criminal activity in addition to conducting espionage.

Wray, who President Donald Trump handpicked to replace ousted FBI Director James Comey in June, said Russia is attempting to assert its dominance in the world by relying on asymmetric warfare to “damage and weaken” the United States

To combat the threat, Wray said he has set up a “foreign influence task force” within the bureau made up of different divisions, including counterintelligence, cyber, and criminal investigation. He said the agency would also coordinate closely with the Department of Homeland Security, which is charged with overseeing critical election infrastructure, to prevent against cyberattacks.

FBI Warns of Mounting Collaboration Between Nations, Criminals to … – Washington Free Beacon
 

mikenova shared this story from Christopher Wray – Google News.


Washington Free Beacon
Robert Mueller just penetrated the White House gates with Michael Flynn’s guilty plea – Washington Post
 

mikenova shared this story from mueller – Google News.


Washington Post
Robert Mueller just penetrated the White House gates with Michael Flynn’s guilty plea
Washington Post
Mueller’s decision to actually charge Flynn, then, is clearly a significant escalation of an investigation that has already led to charges against Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, and a similar guilty plea for making false statements by 
Charging Flynn With Lying Shows That Mueller Is Still Only Getting StartedNew York Magazine
What Michael Flynn’s Guilty Plea Means in Mueller’s Russia InquiryNew York Times
Michael Flynn’s Guilty Plea Shows That Robert Mueller Is Closing InWIRED
The Hill –Fox News
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