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AG William Barr Contradicts Past Statements about FBI by Defending the Bureau

AG William Barr in Detroit, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr is sending mixed messages about the FBI.

After Barr blasted the bureau’s handling of the Russia and Trump campaign investigation, he fully endorsed the FBI at a news conference in Detroit.

“There is no finer law enforcement agency in the world than the FBI,” Barr said in Detroit, standing next to FBI Director Christopher Wray. “I am very grateful to the leadership being provided by Chris Wray.”

Barr’s comments about the bureau are in stark contrast to his and Trump’s recent rhetoric following the DOJ’s inspector general’s report that concluded the FBI acted appropriately in investigating Trump’s campaign.

Here’s what Barr said about the FBI last week: “I think there were gross abuses …and inexplicable behavior that is intolerable in the FBI,” Barr said. “I think that leaves open the possibility that there was bad faith.”

DEA Agent Never Gave Up After Losing his Eyesight from a Gunshot Wound in Afghanistan

Joseph Piersante’s FAST squad, via DEA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

When DEA Agent Joseph Piersante was shot in the head in Afghanistan in 2011, he lost his eyesight but not his mission to combat drugs.

At the time, Piersante was serving on the Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team (FAST), a commando-style squad that battled drug cartels and smugglers.

“I had a frontal lobe brain injury because the bullet went to the front of my brain,” he told WDIV in Detroit. “I had two ruptured eye globes and two detached retinas, in which resulted in the brain injury, resulting in the craniotomy.”

Piersante, who became the first-ever member of the DEA to receive the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom, didn’t let the injury stop him from fighting drugs.

“In life we can’t always determine what happens to us, but what we can do is we can make the best out of our situation as we can,” Piersante said.

Unable to do his past job, Piersante began educating people about the dangers of drugs and helping addicts with treatment strategies.

After more than 20 years with the DEA, Piersante is retiring this week.

In retirement, he hopes to write a screenplay or book.

Rick Gates Sentenced to 45 Days in Jail for Lying to FBI, Conspiring to Conceal Money

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates with Trump.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates was sentenced Tuesday to 45 days in jail and three years probation for lying to the FBI and conspiring to conceal tens of millions of dollars.

Gates, 47, had faced up to six years in prison, but a federal judge in Washington D.C. showed leniency because of Gates’ help providing information for the special counsel probe.

“He’s had to testify, be identified as a known cooperator in the glare of public attention at a time of deep political division in our society, when people are demonized for being on the other side, and he was seen as turning on his own side,” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said, The New York Times reports. “Gates’ information alone warranted, even demanded further investigation from the standpoint of national security, the integrity of our elections and enforcing criminal laws.”

Gates, who pleaded guilty in February 2018, will be able to serve his sentence on weekends, the judge said. Gates also was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine and perform 300 hours of community service.

“I greatly regret the mistakes that I have made, and I have worked hard to honor my commitment to make amends,” Gates said in a prepared statement.

In a sentencing recommendation, Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly Gaston complimented Gates for his assistance in the investigation.

“Under exceedingly difficult circumstances and under intense public scrutiny, Gates has worked earnestly to provide the government with everything it has asked of him and has fulfilled all obligations under his plea agreement,” Gaston wrote this month.

Gates’ attorney, Thomas Green, asked for probation and community service for his client.

Former Trump Campaign Aide Rick Gates May Dodge Prison Time Today

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates with Trump.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday morning in federal court in Washington D.C.

Gates, 47, who pleaded guilty in February 2018 to lying to the FBI and conspiring to conceal tens of millions of dollars, had faced possible jail time.

Gates had been facing up to six years in prison, but he may get no time behind bars because of what federal prosecutors said was his “extraordinary assistance” in the special counsel investigation, The Washington Post reports.

“Under exceedingly difficult circumstances and under intense public scrutiny, Gates has worked earnestly to provide the government with everything it has asked of him and has fulfilled all obligations under his plea agreement,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly Gaston wrote in a sentencing recommendation this month.

Gates’ attorney, Thomas Green, asked for probation and community service for his client.

“We submit that Richard Gates has accepted responsibility for his misconduct in every way possible,” Green wrote.

James Dennehy Named Special Agent in Charge of the Intelligence And Surveillance Division of NY Field Office

FBI’s New York Field Office, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

James E. Dennehy has been named special agent in charge of the Intelligence and Surveillance Division of the New York Field Office.

Dennehy, who most recently served as chief of staff in the National Security Branch at bureau headquarters in Washington D.C., spent most his FBI career in the New York Field Office.

In fact, when Dennehy joined the FBI as a special agent in 2002, he was assigned to the New York Field Office to work counterintelligence cases

Dennehy was promoted in 2013 to supervisory special agent of the counterintelligence and counter-proliferation squad in New York’s Hudson Valley and White Plains resident agencies.

In 2015, Mr. Dennehy began serving as unit chief in the Counterproliferation Center at FBI headquarters, and a year later, he was promoted to assistant section chief. In those jobs, Dennehy kept foreign adversaries away from “export-controlled, sensitive technologies related to weapons of mass destruction and missile, space, and conventional weapons systems,” the FBI said in a news release.

In 2017, Dennehy returned to the New York Field Office as the assistant special agent in charge of crisis management, firearms, operations command, recruiting, private sector engagement, community outreach, and several other programs.

In 2018, Dennehy was promoted to chief of staff to the executive assistant director of the National Security Branch at FBI headquarters. In addition, he served as the section chief of the NSB’s Executive Staff Section. (The NSB includes the Counterterrorism Division, the Counterintelligence Division, the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, the Terrorist Screening Center, and the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group.)

Before joining the bureau, Dennehy earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Villanova University. He then served for seven years as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and was deployed to Haiti, Liberia, and the Adriatic Sea.

During his career at the bureau, he received the FBI Director’s Award for Outstanding Counterintelligence Investigation, the Attorney General’s Award for Furthering the Interests of National Security, and numerous National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citations.

William Webster Defends FBI Against ‘Dangerous’ Attacks by Trump And Barr

William Webster (Wikimedia Commons)

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

William Webster has a unique perspective: He’s the only American to lead both the FBI and CIA.

In an op-ed in The New York Times, Webster defended the federal agencies against attacks by President Trump and Attorney General William Barr.

“Today, the integrity of the institutions that protect our civil order are, tragically, under assault from too many people whose job it should be to protect them,” wrote Webster, who was FBI director from 1978 to 1987 and CIA director from 1987 to 1991.

Webster said he was “deeply distributed” by Trump’s suggestion that the current FBI director, Christopher Wray, “cannot fix what the president calls a broken agency.”

“The president’s thinly veiled suggestion that the director, Christopher Wray, like his banished predecessor, James Comey, could be on the chopping block, disturbs me greatly,” Webster wrote. “The independence of both the F.B.I. and its director are critical and should be fiercely protected by each branch of government.”

Webster took aim at Barr’s assertion that the inspector general’s report was based on a “bogus narrative.”

The report found there was sufficient evidence to launch the Russia investigation, Webster pointed out.

“There were more than 100 contacts between members of the Trump campaign and Russian agents during the 2016 campaign, and Russian efforts to undermine our democracy continue to this day,” Webster wrote. “I’m glad the F.B.I. took the threat seriously.”

Webster said he has “complete confidence in Mr. Wray, and I know the FBI is not a broken institution.”

“It is a professional agency worthy of respect and support. The derision and aspersions are dangerous and unwarranted.”

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