Tag Archives: FBI

The FBI: The Silent Terror of the Fourth Reich, by John W. Whitehead

The US government has not gone 100 percent down the path trod by Nazi Germany, but it has gone far enough—if one acknowledges all the things it does that are not generally acknowledged—that it should make us quite uncomfortable. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“After five years of Hitler’s dictatorship, the Nazi police had won the FBI’s seal of approval.”— Historian Robert Gellately

Lately, there’s been a lot of rhetoric comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. The concern is that a Nazi-type regime may be rising in America.

That process, however, began a long time ago.

In fact, as historian Robert Gellately recounts, following the second World War, the U.S. government recruited Hitler’s employees, adopted his protocols, embraced his mindset about law and order, implemented his tactics in incremental steps, and began to lay the foundations for the rise of the Fourth Reich.

Sounds far-fetched? Read on. It’s all documented.

With every passing day, the United States government borrows yet another leaf from Nazi Germany’s playbook: Secret police. Secret courts. Secret government agencies. Surveillance. Censorship. Intimidation. Harassment. Torture. Brutality. Widespread corruption. Entrapment. Indoctrination. Indefinite detention.

These are not tactics used by constitutional republics, where the rule of law and the rights of the citizenry reign supreme. Rather, they are the hallmarks of authoritarian regimes, where the only law that counts comes in the form of heavy-handed, unilateral dictates from a supreme ruler who uses a secret police to control the populace.

That danger is now posed by the FBI, whose laundry list of crimes against the American people includes surveillance, disinformation, blackmail, entrapment, intimidation tactics, harassment and indoctrination, governmental overreach, abuse, misconduct, trespassing, enabling criminal activity, and damaging private property, and that’s just based on what we know.

Consider the FBI’s far-reaching powers to surveil, detain, interrogate, investigate, prosecute, punish, police and generally act as a law unto themselves—much like their Nazi cousins, the Gestapo—and then try to convince yourself that the United States is still a constitutional republic.

Just like the Gestapo, the FBI has vast resources, vast investigatory powers, and vast discretion to determine who is an enemy of the state.

To continue reading: The FBI: The Silent Terror of the Fourth Reich

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Today, the FBI becomes the enemy of every computer user and every IT security professional worldwide, by Rick Falkvinge

Here’s another article about the massive expansion of the government’s surveillance powers snuck in as a minor procedural change (see “Starting Tomorrow, Feds Can Hack Millions of Devices with One Warrant,” SLL). From Rick Falkvinge at privateinternetaccess.com:

Today December 1, the United States FBI is granted new powers to intrude into any computer anywhere on the globe, instantly changing the FBI from a random law enforcement agency to a global adversary. Law enforcement agencies are expected to be met with open arms and treated as good guys. There’s not going to be any good guy treatment of the FBI here, and for good reason.

The U.S. FBI has been sort of a random law enforcement agency somewhere on the planet doing physical law enforcement work, kind of like the Bundespolizei in Germany would appear to an American, or the way the Policía Federal Argentina would appear to a European. Today, the FBI becomes a global adversary and enemy to every security-conscious computer user and to every IT security professional, similar to how the mass surveillance agencies are treated. The FBI has requested, and been granted, the lawful power (in the US) to intrude into any computer in the entire world. In 95% of the world, this makes the FBI no different from a Russian or Chinese criminal intruder, and it will be treated in the same way by people defending their systems; defending their homes.

This has happened under the boring legislative name of “changes to Rule 41”, and is (as always!) presented as nothing of particular interest. This is an old trick: when you want sweeping broad new powers without accountability, don’t call it “sweeping broad new power without accountability”, but cloud it in a name so boring it will interest absolutely nobody. (This lawmaker trick was skillfully observed by John Oliver, who said we shouldn’t call the peer-to-peerness of the Internet a boring term like “net neutrality”, but the more to-the-point “preventing cable company fuckery”.)

These “changes to Rule 41” put a lot of people in the FBI’s crosshairs. As usual, most people think new powers for law enforcement can only target criminals – as in actual, violent criminals. This would be the reasonable course of action, but not so in this case, not so at all. Techdirt points out that anybody using encryption, or anybody trying to hide their identity or location, can be presumed to be engaged in crime (having a “guilty mind”, or mens rea in Legalese Latin) and therefore be a valid target.

To continue reading: Today, the FBI becomes the enemy of every computer user and every IT security professional worldwide

FBI and NSA Poised to Gain New Surveillance Powers Under Trump, by Chris Strohm

Two trends in government that Donald Trump appears set to embrace rather than oppose: the ongoing shrinkage of Americans’ civil liberties and the continuing expansion of the surveillance state. From Christ Strohm at bloomberg.com:

The FBI, National Security Agency and CIA are likely to gain expanded surveillance powers under President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress, a prospect that has privacy advocates and some lawmakers trying to mobilize opposition.

Trump’s first two choices to head law enforcement and intelligence agencies — Republican Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Republican Representative Mike Pompeo for director of the Central Intelligence Agency — are leading advocates for domestic government spying at levels not seen since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The fights expected to play out in the coming months — in Senate confirmation hearings and through executive action, legislation and litigation — also will set up an early test of Trump’s relationship with Silicon Valley giants including Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. Trump signaled as much during his presidential campaign, when he urged a consumer boycott of Apple for refusing to help the FBI hack into a terrorist’s encrypted iPhone.

An “already over-powerful surveillance state” is about to “be let loose on the American people,” said Daniel Schuman, policy director for Demand Progress, an internet and privacy advocacy organization.

New Hacking Rule

In a reversal of curbs imposed after Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 about mass data-gathering by the NSA, Trump and Congress may move to reinstate the collection of bulk telephone records, renew powers to collect the content of e-mails and other internet activity, ease restrictions on hacking into computers and let the FBI keep preliminary investigations open longer.

To continue reading: FBI and NSA Poised to Gain New Surveillance Powers Under Trump

The Federal Bureau of Political Investigation, by Andrew P. Napolitano

The FBI’s so-called investigation of Hillary Clinton was riddled with procedural errors, some of which may have been illegal. From Andrew Napolitano at antiwar.com:

When Hillary Clinton delivered a campaign post-mortem to her major supporters in a telephone conference call late last week, she blamed her loss in the presidential election on FBI Director James Comey. She should have blamed the loss on herself. Her refusal to safeguard state secrets while she was secretary of state and her failure to grasp the nationwide resentment toward government by the forgotten folks in the middle class were far likelier the cause of her defeat than was Comey.

Yet it is obvious that law enforcement-based decisions in the past four months were made with an eye on Election Day, and the officials who made them evaded the rule of law.

Here is the back story.

The statutory obligation of the FBI is to gather evidence to aid in the prosecution or prevention of federal crimes or breaches of national security. The process of complying with this obligation necessarily involves making some legal judgments about the relevance, probity and even lawfulness of the gathered evidence. These judgments are sometimes made on the streets in an emergency and sometimes made after consultation and consensus. But the whole purpose of this evidence-gathering and decision-making is to present a package to the Department of Justice, for which the FBI works, for its determination about whether or not to seek a prosecution.

In cases in which subpoenas are needed, the FBI must work in tandem with the DOJ because subpoenas in criminal cases can be issued only by grand juries and only DOJ lawyers can ask grand juries to issue them. Usually, the FBI and the DOJ work together to present what they have to a grand jury in order to build a case for indictment or to induce a grand jury to issue subpoenas and help them gather more evidence.

Federal judges become involved when search warrants or arrest warrants are needed. These are often emergent situations, as the evidence to be seized or the person to be arrested might be gone if not pursued in short order. They require the presentation of evidence to a judge quickly and in secret. It is the judge’s role to decide whether the DOJ/FBI team has met the constitutional threshold of probable cause. Probable cause is met when the prosecutorial team shows the judge that the evidence the team seeks from the execution of the warrant more likely than not will implicate someone in criminal behavior.

Having issued many search and arrest warrants myself, I know that judges need to be curious and skeptical. After all, only one side is appearing before the judge, and the whole appearance is often quick, unorthodox and in secret. A healthy curiosity and skepticism will cause a prudent jurist to ask whether the grand jury really needs what the search warrant seeks. If the reply is that there is no grand jury, most judges will terminate the application and conclude that it is a fishing expedition – or going “sideways,” as law enforcement says – not a serious criminal investigation worthy of judicial involvement.

All of this is commanded by law to be kept secret so as to preserve evidence, avoid tipping off a potential defendant capable of flight and preserve the reputation of a person not indicted.

That is at least the way these things are supposed to work. Yet none of this happened in the recently reopened and re-terminated investigation of the misuse of emails containing state secrets by Clinton.

To continue reading: The Federal Bureau of Political Investigation

 

FBI Said To Move To “Likely Indictment” Of Clinton Foundation, Fox News Reports, by Tyler Durden

If even half of this report is true, it appears Hillary is toast. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Roughly at the same time that the WSJ reported of what is now a clear “civil war” between (and within) the FBI and the DOJ, Fox News anchor Bret Baier reported that the FBI’s investigation into the Clinton Foundation that has been going on for more than a year has now taken a “very high priority.” He added that FBI agents have interviewed and re-interviewed multiple people on the foundation case, which is looking into possible pay for play interaction between then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation.

The FBI’s White Collar Crime Division is handling the investigation, which will continue, as “there is a lot of evidence. And barring some obstruction in some way, they believe they will continue to likely an indictment.”

Bret Baier ✔@BretBaier
I said sources described an “avalanche of evidence” in case & barring obstruction they’d likely continue 2 push to try for an indictment” https://twitter.com/lynnies2/status/793958830895988736
4:59 PM – 2 Nov 2016
2,157 2,157 Retweets 2,137 2,137 likes

The news was cited by various traders as the catalyst that pressured the USD when it come out late on Wednesday.

“There is an avalanche of new information coming in every day,” one source told Fox News, who added some of the new information is coming from the WikiLeaks documents and new emails.

He added that FBI agents are “actively and aggressively pursuing this case,” and will be going back and interviewing the same people again, some for the third time, sources said. Agents are also going through what Clinton and top aides have said in previous interviews and the FBI 302, documents agents use to report interviews they conduct, to make sure notes line up, according to sources.

Here are the key highlights from his report, as summarized by Real Clear Politics:

The Clinton Foundation investigation is far more expansive than anybody has reported so far and has been going on for more than a year.
The laptops of Clinton aides Cherryl Mills and Heather Samuelson have not been destroyed, and agents are currently combing through them. The investigation has interviewed several people twice, and plans to interview some for a third time.
• Agents have found emails believed to have originated on Hillary Clinton’s secret server on Anthony Weiner’s laptop. They say the emails are not duplicates and could potentially be classified in nature.
Sources within the FBI have told him that an indictment is “likely” in the case of pay-for-play at the Clinton Foundation, “barring some obstruction in some way” from the Justice Department.
FBI sources say with 99% accuracy that Hillary Clinton’s server has been hacked by at least five foreign intelligence agencies, and that information had been taken from it.

To continue reading: FBI Said To Move To “Likely Indictment” Of Clinton Foundation, Fox News Reports

Hillary’s Watergate? by Patrick J. Buchanan

If Hillary wins, she may find herself out of office long before her first terms officially ends. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

After posting Friday’s column, “A Presidency from Hell,” about the investigations a President Hillary Clinton would face, by afternoon it was clear I had understated the gravity of the situation.

Networks exploded with news that FBI Director James Comey had informed Congress he was reopening the investigation into Clinton’s email scandal, which he had said in July had been concluded.

“Bombshell” declared Carl Bernstein. The stock market tumbled. “October surprise!” came the cry.

The only explanation, it seemed, was that the FBI had uncovered new information that could lead to a possible indictment of the former secretary of state, who by then could be the president of the United States.

By Sunday, we knew the source of the eruption.

Huma Abedin, Clinton’s top aide, sent thousands of emails to the private laptop she shared with husband Anthony Weiner, a.k.a. Carlos Danger, who is under FBI investigation for allegedly sexting with a 15-year-old girl.

The Weiner-Abedin laptop contains 650,000 emails.

The FBI has not yet reviewed Abedin’s emails, and they could turn out to be duplicates of those the FBI has already seen, benign, or not relevant to the investigation of Clinton.

But it does appear that Abedin misled the FBI when she told them all communications devices containing State Department work product were turned over to State when she departed in 2013.

Clinton, understandably, was stunned and outraged by Comey’s letter. For it casts a cloud of suspicion over her candidacy by raising the possibility that the FBI director could reverse his decision of July, and recommend her prosecution.

By Monday, Oct. 31, new problems had arisen, some potentially crippling or possibly lethal to a Clinton presidency.

Reporters have unearthed a near-mutiny inside the FBI over the decision to shut down the investigation of the Clinton email scandal and Comey’s recommendation of no prosecution.

Andrew McCabe, No. 2 at the FBI, has come under anonymous fire from inside the bureau as one of those most reluctant to pursue aggressively any investigations of the Clintons.

McCabe’s wife, in a 2015 state senate race in Virginia, received $475,000 in PAC contributions from Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime friend and major fundraiser for Bill and Hillary Clinton.

After the Senate race that McCabe’s wife lost, he was promoted from No. 3 at the FBI to No. 2, where he has far more influence over decisions to investigate and recommend prosecution.

Justice Department higher-ups under Attorney General Loretta Lynch apparently disagreed with Comey notifying Congress, and the nation, to new developments in the email scandal. Yet Comey had given his word to Congress that he would do so.

In the Southern District of New York, which has jurisdiction over the Weiner sexting investigation, FBI agents have reportedly been blocked from opening an investigation into charges of corruption in the Clinton Foundation.

This follows revelations that corporate chiefs and foreign rulers and regimes, hit up for contributions to the Clinton Foundation, were then urged by an ex-Clinton aide to provide six-figure speaking fees for Bill Clinton.

This follows reports the Clinton Foundation took contributions for victims of natural disasters, and awarded multimillion-dollar contracts to contributors to do the work.

Still unanswered is what Bill Clinton and Attorney General Lynch discussed during that 30-minute meeting on the Phoenix tarmac, prior to the FBI and Justice Department decision not to indict Hillary Clinton.

The stench of corruption is reaching Bhopal dimensions.

To continue reading: Hillary’s Watergate?

Hamlet at the Bureau, by The Zman

James Comey finds himself in a most uncomfortable position. From The Zman on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

Thinking about what comes next in this most bizarre of campaign seasons, it occurs to me that this is a good lesson in how nothing exists in isolation. Every decision has consequences. Those consequences may not be obvious and they may not show up until much later, but no action exists without a reaction. It’s the old gag about the time traveler going into the past, stepping on a spider, only to return to a world ruled by super intelligent insects. It is formally known as the Butterfly Effect.

In the early days of the Clinton administration, Team Clinton hoped to put a fellow crook in the job of attorney general. That way, they could make sure they had a member of the family blocking the inevitable criminal probes that follow the Clintons around like an odor.They tried Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood, but both failed to get confirmed. They settled on Janet Reno, a dull-witted bureaucrat just happy to have the work. They put her in the job for the same reason crooked southern politicians install their retarded brother in-law as sheriff. She was too dumb to get curious.

It mostly worked, but her stupidity also kept her from blocking cases that would prove to be embarrassing to the family. A real pro in the job would have headed off the intern problem, for example, before that got to Ken Starr. In fact, Kimba Wood is clever enough to have quashed the whole special prosecutor thing entirely. In other words, putting a stupid person in the job worked up until they needed a clever person in the job. You can be sure that Janet Reno does not get Solstice cards from the Clinton family.

Team Obama tabbed James Comey to the job of Director of the FBI primarily because he was harmless. Republicans had no problems with him and Democrats were not afraid of him. That’s not to say he is a crook. He’s just one of those careerists, who make a point of doing no more than the job requires. You run into thee guys all over government because they never get curious and ask too many questions. Politicians love these guys because they look like Boy Scouts, but they never cause any trouble.

For most of what the FBI does, having a straitlaced guy like Comey at the top works just fine. He’s an able administrator, who will be respected by his staff for being fair and sticking to the rules. His lack of political ambition means he can get along with the rank and file. So much of what the FBI does is just process, they need process guys to make sure the processes are followed. The Bureau has not been the swashbuckling crime fighters we see in TV for generations. It’s mostly bureaucrats processing paper.

To continue reading: Hamlet at the Bureau