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FBI

Executive Director of ACLU Says James Comey’s Nomination for FBI Director Needs to Be Scrutinized

Anthony Romero/ aclu photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In coming weeks we’re likely to hear comments — pro and con — for the nomination of James Comey for FBI director.

Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, issued a statement Friday saying that that anticipated nomination deserves some scrutiny.

 

‘Specifically, the publicly available evidence indicates Comey signed off on enhanced interrogation techniques that constitute torture, including waterboarding,” Romero said in a statement.

Here’s his complete statement:

“While the ACLU does not take official positions on nominations to appointed office, there are many questions regarding Comey’s record that deserve careful scrutiny from the Senate Judiciary Committee. As the second-highest ranked Justice Department official under John Ashcroft, Comey approved some of the worst abuses committed by the Bush administration. Specifically, the publicly available evidence indicates Comey signed off on enhanced interrogation techniques that constitute torture, including waterboarding. He also oversaw the indefinite detention without charge or trial of an American citizen picked up in the United States and then held for years in a military brig. Although Comey, despite tremendous pressure from the Bush White House, deserves credit for courageously stopping the reauthorization of a secret National Security Agency program, he reportedly approved programs that struck at the very core of who we all are as Americans.

“It’s critical that the Senate ensures that the men and women of the FBI know that they have a leader who will demand adherence to the rule of law and will hold those accountable who do not, wherever he or she may find them.”

 

FBI Is Investigating Ex-Mobster’s Claims That Agent Demanded Lavish Gifts, Cash

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating one of its agent on allegations of accepting lavish gifts and cash from an informant, ABC World News reports.

Russian ex-mobster Mani Chulpayev, who has been indicted in the murder of popular Atlanta rapper known as Lil Phat, was an FBI informant when he said an agent demanded gifts of cash, watches, jewelry, sports shoes, basketball tickets and hotel rooms.

“The agent obstructed a murder investigation,” his lawyer, George Plumides, told ABC News in an interview.

The FBI confirmed it’s investigating.

Father: Federal Authorities Killed My Son ‘Execution-Style’ in Florida While Investigating Ties to Boston Bombing

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A Florida man killed while being questioned by federal authorities about his ties to Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot several times, including once to the back of the head, the suspect’s father said, the USA Today reports.

The father of 27-year-old Ibragim Todashev, both of whom are Chechens, showed photos of his son’s body that he says proves that federal authorities killed his son “execution-style.”

“They tortured a man for eight hours with no attorney, no witnesses, nobody. We can only guess what was going on there, until there is an official investigation,” the father, Abdul-Baki Todashev, told reporters in Moscow.

The FBI has been mum about the shooting because it’s an ongoing investigation, but at least one report suggests the 27-year-old wielded a knife and admitted to playing a role in a triple murder.

Washington State Man Accused of Sending Ricin-Tainted Letters to President Obama, Federal Judge

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 37-year-old Washington state man accused of sending a ricin-laden letter and death threat to a federal judge also is suspected of recently sending the poison to President Obama, the Associated Press reports.

Matthew Ryan Buquet, who is being held without bond in a Spokane jail, has pleaded not guilty to sending a death threat and ricin to U.S. District Judge Freed Van Sickle.

On the same day he is accused of sending those out from Spokane, three poison-tainted letters addressed to President Obama were postmarked from the same location, according to the AP.

The president’s letter was intercepted May 22.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Sampling of What Publications Are Saying About James Comey for FBI Director

James Comey

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

President Obama’s reported pick of former Justice official James Comey for FBI director has triggered many reports in the media.  Here is a sampling of some of those.

The Christian Science Monitor:

With the reported pick of James Comey to be the next director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, President Obama appears to have hit a political sweet spot.

Mr. Comey is a Republican and aggressive prosecutor who served in senior Justice Department positions in the administration of George W. Bush. He donated to John McCain’s and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns. To read more click here.

Associated Press

Republicans said Thursday they see no major obstacles to Senate confirmation of James Comey, the former deputy attorney general in the Bush administration who is expected to be nominated by President Barack Obama as the next FBI director.

Comey, who would replace Robert Mueller as head of the national security organization, is certain to face tough questions about his work as a counsel for a major hedge fund and his ties to Wall Street as well as how he would handle current, high-profile FBI investigations.

But Republicans and Democrats said the former prosecutor’s strong credentials and sterling reputation suggest his path to confirmation should be relatively smooth.

To read more click here.

U.S. News & World Report:

President Barack Obama plans to nominate James Comey as director of the FBI, administration officials said Wednesday. Comey is a Republican and former deputy attorney general under George W. Bush.

The nomination is a signal of bipartisanship from Obama, who has had difficulty seeing his nominees confirmed, and is likely to garner support from both parties in the Senate. Comey, a former hedge fund manager and former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, would take over the position from Robert Mueller. Mueller’s term expires in September, and FBI officials hope Obama will formally make the nomination and leave ample time to confirm Comey before the post must be vacated.

Comey is most well-known for an incident in 2004, when he was standing in for Attorney General John Ashcroft, who was hospitalized with pancreatitis. As acting attorney general, Comey refused to reauthorize the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and White House counsel Alberto Gonazles attempted to sidestep Comey and appeal to Ashcroft while he was disoriented in the hospital. Comey beat them to Ashcroft’s hospital room and prevented the program from being approved, and was widely praised for adhering to the law.

Comey testified before Congress on the indicident in 2007, saying, “I was angry. I had just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man, who did not have the powers of the attorney general because they had been transferred to me. I thought he had conducted himself in a way that demonstrated a strength I had never seen before, but still I thought it was improper.”

To read more click here.

USA Today 

Nearly two years ago, when Obama administration officials were just beginning a search for a successor to FBI Director Robert Mueller, James Comey was on the short list.

His broad law enforcement experience — as the former U.S. attorney in Manhattan and later as the deputy attorney general in charge of the daily operations of the sprawling Justice Department — was a biography that all but spoke for itself.

But what some analysts say makes him the ideal choice now, just as the White House and Justice Department are entangled in a series of national security controversies, is an unusual brand of independence rooted in his role as a former appointee of the George W. Bush administration.

To read more click here.

 

Column: Was the Nation Not Ready for a Woman FBI Director?

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In the end, President Obama opted for a white guy — and a lawyer at that — to head the FBI.

It appears America is not quite ready for a woman, or a black person for that matter, to head what the White House and some others clearly see as the most important federal law enforcement agency in the country.

I was skeptical that the President would pick a woman to head the FBI, even though the DEA,  U.S. Secret Service,  U.S. Marshals Service and Homeland Security are headed up by women. It just seems like one last hurdle — be it psychological or chauvinistic — presidential administrations have not been willing to jump over.

The press is reporting that Obama will pick James Comey, a former Justice Department deputy attorney general under President George W. Bush. Lawyers seem to be a popular choice to head the FBI. Robert S. Mueller III is a former federal prosecutor. So was Louis Freeh, though Freeh was also a former FBI agent and federal judge. Though it’s not hard to find FBI agents who were critical of either Freeh or Mueller, or both.

There had been speculation that a woman might get the nod.

Lisa Monaco

Specifically, Lisa O. Monaco had been mentioned as a front runner.  She is a former federal prosecutor who currently serves as the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. Another woman’s name that had  popped up was Jana Monroe, the former FBI special agent in charge of the Phoenix division, who is now Director, Corporate Security & Business Continuity Management at Southern California Edison in the Los Angeles area.

Whether Monaco or Monroe were actually the best choice is another question. Who knows?

Mike Mason, an African American ex-FBI official, who was the choice of the FBI Agents Association two years ago, didn’t seem to be in the mix this time around. This year, the association pushed for U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, a former FBI agent.

If Comey is confirmed, and serves out his 10-ear term, that will take us to 2023.

Will the country be ready for a woman to head the FBI then?

We shall see.

Then again, if it were up to J. Edgar Hoover, the bureau still might not have women agents.

READER COMMENTS

Comment from stvnbrwn54

Who knows about the nation’s readiness for a woman director, whatever the hell that means. I do know the nation is “ready” for idiodic journalists obsessed about gender to get a life!

****

Comment from Joe Bravo

Another lost opportunity. Another disappointment. And this, after re-election.

****

Comment from  craigmonson

The nation elected a black president, “the DEA, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service and Homeland Security are headed up by women” and yet there is some “psychological” or “chauvanistic” hurdle against a woman to head the FBI? Given the facts quoted in the article, I find it extremely hard to accept the author’s conclusion.

Rather, I think the decision is based on a number of factors–qualifications, political correctness, ease of confirmation, public image, etc. etc. I doubt gender or race played any negative role at all in the decision….

*****

 Comment from jbeckman

Unbelievable obssession with gender and race. The dynamics of racism are quickly reversing. A “white guy” is now a dissapointment in any position. This reporter could learn something from this President who has not used race in his agenda. Perhaphs some day the country will be ready for less “white guy” journalists and more women and minorities. Weak attempt at journalism and reporting. I am glad I stumbled onto this one.

 

Rachel Maddow: James Comey’s FBI Confirmation Could Be a “Very Big Hairy Political Deal”

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

FBI Agent’s Stolen Car Is Found with Colt M-4 Rifle, Ammunition Still in Trunk

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The New York FBI has recovered an agent’s car that was stolen in Queens. They were relieved to know no one removed from the trunk a Colt M-4 rifle, four loaded 20-round magazines and a bulletproof vest, ABC 7 reports.

The 2011 Toyota Camry was stolen Tuesday, prompting fears that the high-powered rifle would be taken.

The trunk’s interior was locked with a padlock, ABC 7 News reported. The car was recovered in the  Forest Hills section of Queens.

No arrests were made as of Thursday morning.