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Archive for May, 2018

Oops! DEA Raids Wrong House in Tennessee

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The DEA has apologized after raiding the wrong home in Cleveland, Tenn.

The task force was looking for a murder suspect but barged into the wrong home instead.

Donald Trump’s Persistent Campaign Against Federal Law Enforcement and the Intelligence Agencies

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

President Donald Trump’s attacks on federal law enforcement and the intelligence agencies have been persistent and consistent since taking office.

Natasha Bertrand of The Atlantic writes:  

In the 22 months since the FBI launched its counterintelligence investigation into potential coordination between members of Trump’s campaign and Russia, Trump has attacked his own intelligence and law-enforcement communities far more often than he has condemned Moscow for its election interference. The president has chided the FBI, former FBI Director James Comey, Mueller, the Russia “witch hunt,” and the “deep state” in more than four dozen tweets since April alone. He used Twitter to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first and only time on April 8. On March 21, Trump tweeted: “Getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing.” On April 2, he called the FBI and Justice Department’s desire to withhold sensitive information related to the ongoing investigation “an embarrassment to our country.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan—a frequent Trump critic who saw early intelligence about Russian attempts to interfere in the 2016 Presidential election and has landed in the president’s crosshairs—told me that this administration’s posture toward the intelligence community stands in “stark contrast” to what he experienced while working under former Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama. “They looked upon me as representing the views and concerns of the intelligence community,” Brennan said of the former presidents. “I was frequently challenged, but it was always done respectfully. That stands in stark contrast to what I’ve seen of this administration from the outside, and during the campaign.”

Ex-FBI Director James Comey: ‘Facts Matter’ Regarding Informant

Ex-FBI Director James Comey

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey, who headed the agency at the time of the 2016 presidential campaign, defended the bureau against attacks by President Donald Trump and his allies.

Comey says the  attacks on the U.S. law enforcement agency “will do lasting damage to our country,” Politico reports.

“Facts matter. The FBI’s use of Confidential Human Sources (the actual term) is tightly regulated and essential to protecting the country,” the former bureau chief wrote on Twitter. “Attacks on the FBI and lying about its work will do lasting damage to our country.”

“Dangerous time when our country is led by those who will lie about anything, backed by those who will believe anything, based on information from media sources that will say anything. Americans must break out of that bubble and seek truth,” he added.

More Blurry Lines: John Kelly to Attend DOJ Briefings on Controversial Informant

President Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The lines continue to get blurred in the Trump era.

White House chief of staff John Kelly plans to attend two briefings at the Justice Department on Thursday about an FBI informant who interacted with the Trump campaign in the 2016 election.

Kelly’s presence comes despite previous White House assurances that no member of the president’s team would attend the Justice Department gathering, Politico notes.

It’s unclear if the briefings will include documents or details about the informant’s work for the FBI or whether they’ll cover the intelligence community’s reluctance to share the highly classified information with members of Congress, the publication writes.

 

FBI Seizes Control of Key Server in Kremlin’s Global Botnet

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI, through a court order, has seized control of a key server in the Kremlin’s global botnet of 500,000 hacked routers, The Daily Beast reports.

The move will allow the bureau to build a comprehensive list of victims of the attack, and short-circuits Moscow’s ability to reinfect its targets.

The FBI counter-operation goes after  “VPN Filter,” a piece of sophisticated malware linked to the same Russian hacking group, known as Fancy Bear, that breached the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign during the 2016 election, the Daily Beast explains. On Wednesday security researchers at Cisco and Symantec separately provided new details on the malware, which has turned up in 54 countries including the United States.

 

Paul Manafort To Ask Judge to Toss Evidence Seized in FBI Search

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is battling it out in federal court.

On Wednesday, he plans to ask a federal judge to suppress evidence seized by FBI agents working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, saying they violated the U.S. Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures, Reuters reports.

Manafort’s lawyers are expected to claim in court that FBI agents unlawfully conducted an initial warrantless search of a storage locker housing documents from his consulting company by improperly getting a low-level staffer to unlock it and let a special agent look around, Reuters writes.

James Clapper Says Spy Was Helping Look Into Russian Influence During Campaign

James Clapper

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, appearing Tuesday on “The View,”  said a spy during the 2016 campaign was there for Russian meddling purposes and President Donald Trump should be happy such a person existed, Real Clear Politics reports.

“With the informant business, well, the point here is the Russians,” Clapper said of the controversy over a spy infiltrating the Trump presidential campaign. “Not spying on the campaign but what are the Russians doing? And in a sense, unfortunately, what they were trying to do is protect our political system and protect the campaign.”

“But the FBI started to look into Trump’s ties to Russia in the summer of 2016. Trump tweeted that this spring — this spying, rather, this spying that he claims is spying, other people say it’s a whistleblower or informant. He says it’s spying, it’s bigger than Watergate. So I ask you, was the FBI spying on Trump’s campaign?” Co-host Joy Behar asked.

“No, they were not,” Clapper answered. “They were spying on, a term I don’t particularly like, but on what the Russians were doing. Trying to understand were the Russians infiltrating, trying to gain access, trying to gain leverage or influence which is what they do.”

“Well, why doesn’t like that? He should be happy,” Behar said.

“He should be,” Clapper responded.

FBI Admits It Overstated Number of Encrypted Cellphones Investigators Can’t Access

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Oops.

The FBI has long used the figure of 7,700 when talking about the number of encrypted cellphones that investigators are unable to access in 2017.

Now, USA Today reports that the number was inflated because of a flawed internal accounting system that relied on multiple databases.

The FBI issued a statement Tuesday saying it had recently became “aware of flaws with the methodology” used to gather statistics from three separate databases to measure the problem.

“The FBI’s initial assessment is that programming errors resulted in significant over-counting of mobile devices reported through (the FBI’s Operational Technology Division) databases,” according to the statement.

“The FBI is currently conducting an in-depth review of how this over-counting previously occurred, and how the methodology can be corrected to capture future data accurately.”