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Archive for December, 2019

Comey Says FBI Vindicated, But Admits Was ‘Wrong’ Defending FISA Process

James Comey via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey admitted Sunday that he was wrong to defend the bureau’s process of obtaining a warrant to monitor Carter Page, an adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign.

But Comey said the inspector general report vindicated himself and the FBI because it concluded the bureau didn’t improperly open its investigation into the Trump campaign, nor did it act with bias.

“I was wrong,” Mr. Comey said on “Fox News Sunday,” referring to the bureau’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor Page. “I was overconfident, as director, in our procedures. And it’s important that a leader be accountable and transparent. If I were still director, I’d be saying the same thing that [FBI Director Christopher Wray] is saying, which is that we are going to get to the bottom of this, because the most important question is, is it systemic? Are there problems in other cases?”

According to the report, the FBI made “17 significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the applications to surveil Page.

Trump seized on Comey’s admission that mistakes were made in the FISA process.

“So now Comey’s admitting he was wrong,” the president tweeted Sunday. “Wow, but he’s only doing so because he got caught red handed. He was actually caught a long time ago. So what are the consequences for his unlawful conduct. Could it be years in jail? Where are the apologies to me and others, Jim?”

The report, however, contradicted Trump’s larger conspiracy theories that the bureau acted with political bias as part of a “deep state” conspiracy.”

“The inspector general did not find misconduct by F.B.I. personnel, did not find political bias, did not find illegal conduct,” Comey said.

Weekend Series on Crime History: Attorney General John Mitchell

Former AG Eric Holder Blasts William Barr As ‘Unfit to Lead the Justice Department’

Former AG Eric Holder, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former Attorney General Eric Holder blasted current Attorney General William Barr’s rhetoric “as deeply inappropriate,” saying he was “unfit to lead the Justice Department.”

Holder, who served as President Obama’s attorney general from 2009 to 2015, wrote a Washington Post op-ed criticizing Barr’s comments disputing the investigation of his own department’s inspector general. The report contradicted Trump’s repeated claims that the FBI illegally spied on Trump’s campaign.

Holder said he was “reluctant to publicly criticize my successors” but “Barr has made a series of public statements and taken actions that are so plainly ideological, so nakedly partisan and so deeply inappropriate for America’s chief law enforcement official that they demand a response from someone who held the same office.”

Holder also responded to Barr’s “extraordinary” claim, which was made “without offering any evidence,” that the FBI had acted in “bad faith” when it launched the Russia investigation.

“As someone who spent six years in the office Barr now occupies, it was infuriating to watch him publicly undermine an independent inspector general report — based on an exhaustive review of the FBI’s conduct — using partisan talking points bearing no resemblance to the facts his own department has uncovered,” Holder wrote.

Jacqueline Maquire becomes special agent in charge of New York Field Office’s Criminal Division

In 2004, Jacqueline Maguire testified about the 9/11 terror attacks.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Jacqueline Maguire has been named special agent in charge of the Criminal Division of the New York Field Office, where she began her career 19 years ago.

Maguire, who most recently served as deputy assistant director of the Office of Public Affairs at FBI headquarters, joined the FBI as a special agent in 2000 and was assigned to the New York Field Office as a member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. A year later, Maguire was the lead agent investigating the five people who hijacked American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon.

In 2006, Maguire began working at the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters, serving as the supervisory special agent and then unit chief.

In 2011, Maguire moved to the Washington Field Office, serving as a supervisory special agent. Then in 2014, she became special assistant to the executive assistant director of the Human Resources Branch at FBI headquarters.

In 2016, Maguire became assistant special agent in charge of the Birmingham Field Office in Alabama, overseeing criminal and administrative issues. A year later, she was promoted to section chief in the Office of Public Affairs in 2017. A year later, she was promoted to deputy assistant director of the office.

Maguire was twice awarded for service, receiving the Attorney General’s “Award for Excellence in Furthering the Interests of U.S. National Security” in 2006 and the Attorney General’s “Award for Distinguished Service” in 2009.

Before coming to the FBI, Maguire worked at the Office of the Medical Examiner in Suffolk County, NY.

Maguire attended Villanova University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in comprehensive science. At Long Island University, she earned a master’s degree in criminal justice. And at the Naval Postgraduate School, she earned a master’s degree in homeland defense and security.

ICE Deports Just a Tiny Fraction of the ‘Millions’ Trump Pledged in June

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s pledge to deport “millions” of undocumented immigrants fell far short, it turns out.

New numbers released by immigration officials show the U.S. deported about 12,000 family members and unaccompanied minors in the last fiscal year, The Washington Post reports.

In June, Trump threatened large-scale arrests.

Here’s what actually happened: ICE removed more than 6,300 family members between Oct. 1, 2018, and Sept. 30, 2019, which is more than double the previous year.

ICE deported another 6,351 border-crossers who were unaccompanied minors, which is 14% higher than the previous year.

At a news conference Wednesday in Dallas, Acting ICE Director Matthew T. Albence said the operation to arrest families was “just the beginning.”

“We’ve removed more than double the family units,” Albence said. “And I suspect those numbers will go up this year as well as we continue to work these cases.”

FBI Employees Also Exchanged Pro-Trump Text Messages During Campaign

Inspector General Michael Horowitz testifying before Senate Judiciary Committee.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump has long seized on anti-Trump text messages between two FBI employees to push his unfounded conspiracy theories that the bureau tried to undermine his candidacy.

Turns out, some FBI employees were found to have tweeted politically charged text messages in favor of Trump.

Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz revealed that he also found pro-Trump text messages between FBI employees.

“So FBI employees held personal political views that were both favorable & unfavorable toward the candidate at that time?” Sen.Dianne Feistein D-Calif., asked.

“Correct,” Horowitz responded without elaborating.

Here’s Why Chuckie O’Brien Deserves A Clearance Letter in Hoffa Murder

Featured_chuckie_o_brien_10_39380
Chuckie O’Brien in Florida in 2018. (Family photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s time for the feds to give Chuckie O’Brien a letter of clearance that says he’s no longer a suspect in Jimmy Hoffa’s murder.

Why? Because the evidence is overwhelming.

For nearly 45 years, a cloud has hung over O’Brien, Hoffa’s confidante, “surrogate son,” driver, gofer and conduit to the mob. O’Brien, now 85 and in declining health, lives in Boca Raton, Fla.

Shortly after Hoffa’s disappearance July 30, 1975, O’Brien was named as a suspect by the FBI, something he’s had to live with ever since. For decades, the feds theorized that O’Brien picked Hoffa up outside the Machus Red Fox restaurant on Telegraph Road and drove him to his death. Hoffa was supposed to meet Detroit mobster Anthony Giacalone, who never showed for lunch.

Now his stepson, Jack Goldsmith, a former Justice Department official who teaches law at Harvard, has written “In Hoffa’s Shadow,” a book that lays out a pretty convincing case – including a timeline of his whereabouts that day – that O’Brien couldn’t have been involved.

Of course, O’Brien was no Boy Scout and was described by the FBI in 1976 as a pathological liar. Still, the facts strongly favor him.

The 368-page book, released in fall, has interviews with ex-FBI agents and a current federal prosecutor who believe O’Brien had nothing to do with the murder. Some, including current Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric M. Straus, had hoped to give O’Brien the letter officially clearing him of the crime.

But in 2014, after several years of trying, Goldsmith writes that then-U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade nixed the idea. She declined to comment for Deadline Detroit, as did the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Hoffa, 62 when he disappeared, had been released from prison in 1971 and was bent on reclaiming his throne as Teamster president. And he was willing to do almost anything, including expose the mob’s ties to the union and its pension fund, which organized crime essentially used as its private bank for loans. Some predicted Hoffa would get killed crossing the mob, which was happy with the leadership of Frank Fitzsimmons. They were right.

On the day he vanished, Hoffa was supposed to meet Anthony Giacalone for lunch at the Machus Red Fox. Giacalone not only stood him up, he made sure everyone saw him hanging out at the Southfield Athletic Club.

O’Brien surfaced as a suspect quickly.

New Agent on the Case

FBI agent Andrew Sluss, now retired, picked up the case in 2003.

He entered the investigation with the institutional belief that O’Brien was the likely wheelman for Hoffa’s last ride. But “within a year,” Goldsmith writes, “Sluss had concluded that this belief was erroneous and that Chuckie was not at the Machus Red Fox parking lot that afternoon. …Sluss also apparently studied the timeline of Chuckie’s activities during the afternoon of July 30 more carefully than the original investigators, and concluded that it was practically impossible for Chuckie to have picked up Hoffa…based on his known whereabouts that afternoon.”

As for Goldsmith’s account of the Hoffa investigation, Sluss tells Deadline Detroit: “I think it’s 100 percent accurate.” And he says with “no hesitation” that O’Brien is entitled to be formally exonerated with a letter.

Read more »

Lengel: Time to Clear Chuckie O’Brien in Jimmy Hoffa Murder

Featured_chuckie_o_brien_10_39380
Chuckie O’Brien in Florida in 2018. (Family photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — It’s time for the feds to give Chuckie O’Brien a letter of clearance that says he’s no longer a suspect in Jimmy Hoffa’s murder.

Why? Because the evidence is overwhelming.

For nearly 45 years, a cloud has hung over O’Brien, Hoffa’s confidante, “surrogate son,” driver, gofer and conduit to the mob. O’Brien, now 85 and in declining health, lives in Boca Raton, Fla.

Shortly after Hoffa’s disappearance July 30, 1975, O’Brien was named as a suspect by the FBI, something he’s had to live with ever since. For decades, the feds theorized that O’Brien picked Hoffa up outside the Machus Red Fox restaurant on Telegraph Road and drove him to his death. Hoffa was supposed to meet Detroit mobster Anthony Giacalone, who never showed for lunch.

Now his stepson, Jack Goldsmith, a former Justice Department official who teaches law at Harvard, has written “In Hoffa’s Shadow,” a book that lays out a pretty convincing case – including a timeline of his whereabouts that day – that O’Brien couldn’t have been involved.

Of course, O’Brien was no Boy Scout and was described by the FBI in 1976 as a pathological liar. Still, the facts strongly favor him.

The 368-page book, released in fall, has interviews with ex-FBI agents and a current federal prosecutor who believe O’Brien had nothing to do with the murder. Some, including current Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric M. Straus, had hoped to give O’Brien the letter officially clearing him of the crime.

But in 2014, after several years of trying, Goldsmith writes that then-U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade nixed the idea. She declined to comment for Deadline Detroit, as did the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Hoffa, 62 when he disappeared, had been released from prison in 1971 and was bent on reclaiming his throne as Teamster president. And he was willing to do almost anything, including expose the mob’s ties to the union and its pension fund, which organized crime essentially used as its private bank for loans. Some predicted Hoffa would get killed crossing the mob, which was happy with the leadership of Frank Fitzsimmons. They were right.

On the day he vanished, Hoffa was supposed to meet Anthony Giacalone for lunch at the Machus Red Fox. Giacalone not only stood him up, he made sure everyone saw him hanging out at the Southfield Athletic Club.

O’Brien surfaced as a suspect quickly.

New Agent on the Case

FBI agent Andrew Sluss, now retired, picked up the case in 2003.

He entered the investigation with the institutional belief that O’Brien was the likely wheelman for Hoffa’s last ride. But “within a year,” Goldsmith writes, “Sluss had concluded that this belief was erroneous and that Chuckie was not at the Machus Red Fox parking lot that afternoon. …Sluss also apparently studied the timeline of Chuckie’s activities during the afternoon of July 30 more carefully than the original investigators, and concluded that it was practically impossible for Chuckie to have picked up Hoffa…based on his known whereabouts that afternoon.”

As for Goldsmith’s account of the Hoffa investigation, Sluss tells Deadline Detroit: “I think it’s 100 percent accurate.” And he says with “no hesitation” that O’Brien is entitled to be formally exonerated with a letter.

Read more »