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Archive for April 30th, 2021

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Drug Trade Adapts to Covid-19

FBI Knew of Russian Influence Operation to Harm Biden, But Didn’t tell Giuliani He Was One of the Targets of the Campaign

By Allan Lengel

The Washington Post issued this Correction: An earlier version of this story, published Thursday, incorrectly reported that One America News was warned by the FBI that it was the target of a Russian influence operation. That version also said the FBI had provided a similar warning to Rudolph W. Giuliani, which he has since disputed. This version has been corrected to remove assertions that OAN and Giuliani received the warnings.

The report now says the FBI knew of OAN and Giuliani were targets, but did not warn them.


Earlier Version

We continue to hear the backstory of the 2020 election.

Rudy Giuliani

The FBI warned Rudolph W. Giuliani in late 2019 that he was the target of a Russian influence operation designed to circulate false information to to harm Joe Biden’s chance of winning the presidency, the Washington Post reports.

Post reports Ellen Nakashima, Shane Harris and Tom Hamburger report:

The warning was part of an extensive effort by the bureau to alert members of Congress and at least one conservative media outlet, One America News, that they faced a risk of being used to further Russia’s attempt to influence the election’s outcome, said several current and former U.S. officials. All spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter remains highly sensitive.

Not everyone took the warning seriously, including Sen. Ron Johnson, who told the Post:

“Regarding reports that I received an FBI briefing warning me that I was a target of Russian disinformation, I can confirm I received such a briefing in August of 2020,” Johnson said in a statement to The Washington Post. “I asked the briefers what specific evidence they had regarding this warning, and they could not provide me anything other than the generalized warning. Without specific information, I felt the briefing was completely useless and unnecessary (since I was fully aware of the dangers of Russian disinformation).

“Because there was no substance to the briefing, and because it followed the production and leaking of a false intelligence product by Democrat leaders, I suspected that the briefing was being given to be used at some future date for the purpose that it is now being used: to offer the biased media an opportunity to falsely accuse me of being a tool of Russia despite warnings.”

Libyan-Born Comedian Awarded $35,000 in Lawsuit over Interaction with Border Patrol

Comedian Mohanad Elshieky. Photo: Twitter

By Steve Neavling

A Libyan-born comedian who says he was racially profiled and illegally detained by Border Patrol agents after a stand-up show in 2019 was awarded a $35,000 settlement from the federal government.

Mohanad Elshieky, who was granted asylum in 2018, filed suit after agents pulled him off a Greyhound bus in Spokane, Wash., and falsely accused him of being in the country illegally. His tweets about the ordeal went viral.

“I explained to them that I was granted Asylum here in the United States,” Elshieky tweeted, “and that the work permit they currently hold and the license are impossible to get unless your presence here is legal. They told me that I was lying and these could pretty much be falsified.”

In a settlement with the federal government, Elshieky will receive $35,000, according to the Northwest Immigration Rights Project.

“To have the same government that is supposed to protect me accuse me of lying and being here illegally really shook me and undermined my hard-fought sense of safety,” Elshieky said in a statement. “I’ll never forget the harassment and humiliation by the officers when it was clear I belonged in the United States and on that bus. I hope my experience can at least be a wake-up call for others, and a lesson for CBP and its agents to treat everyone with dignity and respect, and to honor their rights.”