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Archive for January 29th, 2021

Update: Ex-FBI Attorney Clinesmith Sentenced to Probation for Altering Email in Carter Page Surveillance Case

Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith.

By Steve Neavling

Updated: 7:44 p.m. Sunday-– Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in D.C. to probation for altering an email used to obtain continued surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The prosecutor in the case had asked for prison time.

________________________________

From Friday

The former FBI lawyer who pleaded guilty in August to altering an email used to seek the continued surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page is scheduled to be sentenced today.

The Justice Department is seeking a prison sentence of between two to six months for Kevin Clinesmith, who admitted he doctored the email, which was submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA). 

Attorneys with special counsel John Durham previously said in a court filing that the case “filed public disgust of the FBI and entire” FISA program.

“An attorney — particularly an attorney in the FBI’s Office of General Counsel — is the last person that FBI agents or this Court should expect to create a false document,” prosecutors Anthony Scarpelli and Neeraj N. Patel wrote. “This Court’s sentence should be designed, in part, to send a powerful message to the community that this type of conduct — falsifying information to hide facts from a court — will not be tolerated.”

Clinestmith faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, but the sentencing guidelines call for zero to six months behind bars. 

Clinestmith’s attorneys are requesting probation and community service. 

“By altering a colleague’s email, he cut a corner in a job that required far better of him. He failed to live up to the FBI’s and his own high standards of conduct,” lead Clinesmith defense attorney Justin V. Shur wrote in a sentencing request.

Clinestmith’s guilty plea stems from the investigation into how the Obama administration investigated Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The email suggested that Page was not a source for the CIA, even though he had a relationship with the agency.

Clinesmith admitted he was guilty but said he believed at the time that his statement about Page was true.

Longtime D.B. Cooper Suspect Died As Skyjacking Case Remains Unsolved

FBI sketches of D.B. Cooper.

By Steve Neavling

Sheridan Peterson, once considered the chief suspect in the D.B. Cooper skyjacking case, has died at the age of 94. 

He died in California on Jan. 8, according to his obituary on Legacy.com, as first reported by The Oregonian on Thursday.

Peterson was a former Boeing employee, experienced skydiver and World War II Marine Corps vet. 

The FBI never determined the identify of D.B. Cooper, making the case the only unsolved skyjacking in U.S. history. But Peterson was long a suspect and one of the few people whom the FBI tested for DNA in 2004. The FBI never publicly cleared Peterson.

A man who went by Dan Cooper boarded Northwest Orient Flight 305 in Portland, Ore., on Nov. 24 and claimed to have a bomb. He forced the plane to fly to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where he got $200,000 in ransom money. He subsequently parachuted from the plane and was never found.

The FBI said it had ended its investigation in 2016, saying the suspect may have died during the treacherous jump. But a year later, the bureau said it may resume the search after a team of private investigators coordinated by a filmmaker found “an odd piece of buried foam” that they believed may be material from Cooper’s parachute backpack.

On the 56th anniversary of the hijacking in 2017, the FBI publicized a letter that someone claiming to be the suspect sent to newspapers.

Ralph Himmelsbach, the lead FBI agent in the case, died in October 2019.

After his retirement, Himmelsbach wrote the book “Norjak: The Investigation of D.B. Cooper” and “The Secrets of the FBI.”