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Tag: Inspector General

DOJ Watchdog Is Investigating Handling of Roger Stone Sentencing Recommendation

GOP trickster and Trump ally Roger Stone.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department Inspector General’s Office is investigating the unusual intervention in the sentencing of Roger Stone, a dirty GOP trickster and longtime ally of President Trump, NBC News reports.

The review comes after a team of career prosecutors withdrew from the case in February after Attorney General William Barr and senior prosecutors for the Justice Department sought a shorter sentence for Stone, who had been convicted on seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.

High-ranking Justice Department officials overrode the career prosecutors’ recommendation of seven to nine years in prison, saying the sentence should be “far less.”

Trump, who commuted Stone’s 40-month sentence on July 10, congratulated Barr in February for “taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought” and suggested the prosecutors who recommended the stiffer sentence were “rouge.”

While testifying before the House Judicary Committee on July 28, Barr defended intervening in the case.

“I agree the president’s friends don’t deserve special breaks, but they also don’t deserve to be treated more harshly than other people,” Barr said.

Jonathan Kravis, one of the prosecutors who withdrew from the case, wrote in a Washington Post column that “the department undercut the work of career employees to protect an ally of the president, an abdication of the commitment to equal justice under the law.”

Ex-Special Agent in Charge of Albany Field Office Accused of Sexually Harassing Subordinates

James Hendricks, former special agent of the FBI’s Albany Field Office.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

James N. Hendricks, the former special agent in charge of the FBI’s Albany Field Office, is accused of sexually harassing eight subordinate employees and creating a hostile work environment for another employee, according to an Inspector General’s Office obtained by The Albany Times Union.

The IG says the harassment happened while Hendricks was serving as chief of the Countermeasures Operation Section in the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate at the bureau’s headquarters in Washington D.C.

Hendricks was tapped to lead the Albany Field Office in July 2018 and stopped working for the bureau earlier this year.

The FBI declined to discuss the allegations.

“We don’t have anything more to add, other than the FBI is committed to fostering a work environment where all of our employees are valued and respected,” an FBI spokesperson said. “We have a zero tolerance policy regarding sexual harassment.”

The Times Union couldn’t reach Hendricks, 50, for comment.

Head of FBI’s L.A. Office Quietly Reassigned After Ethics Violations at Dodgers Stadium

Dodger Stadium (deposit photo)

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s top official in Los Angeles has been quietly reassigned after an Inspector’s General’s report found he and other top bureau officials violated ethics requirements by holding a sensitive meeting at a 2018 Los Angels Dodgers playoff game.

Politoco reports that Paul Delacourt, who at the time was the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, was reassigned to FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. in recent weeks.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s office found that eight FBI officials discussed sensitive intelligence matters while “surrounded” by fans at other tables at the exclusive Stadium Club overseeing the baseball field. Seven of them also dined at the buffet without paying for the food in violation of the bureau’s gift policies. Using the exclusive club also violated the bureau’s gift policies, the IG found.

“The officials held an executive management meeting at the table, discussed sensitive law enforcement information during the executive management meeting, and ate food from a buffet in the club that had a market value of more than $60 per person,” the OIG said in July.

According to the bureau’s website, the chief of San Francisco office, John Bennett, is serving as the acting head of the L.A. office.

Government Watchdogs Investigating Use of Force by Federal Officers in Portland, Washington D.C.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The inspectors general of the Justice Department and Homeland Security have launched investigations into how federal agents have used force and detained protesters during demonstrations in Portland and Washington D.C.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is reviewing the use of force by U.S. Marshals in Portland and the FBI, DEA and ATF in Washington D.C., The Washington Post reports.

Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari is investigating allegations that CBP agents “improperly detained and transported protesters” in Portland, where protesters and federal officers have clashed over the past week.

In a joint statement, Democratic leaders in the U.S. House said the investigations are “critically important” as the Trump administration plans to deploy federal agents to additional cities, including Detroit, Chicago and Kansas City.

“Many of these federal agents are dressed as soldiers, driving unmarked vehicles and refusing to identify themselves or their agencies,” they wrote. “Nearly everywhere they have deployed, their presence has increased tensions and caused more confrontation between demonstrators and police.”

On Thursday night, a federal judge in Oregon issued a temporary restraining order barring federal agents in Portland from arresting or using force against journalists and legal observers.

Meanwhile, Homeland Security’s first secretary, Republican Tom Ridge, criticized the use of federal officers in cities without the consent of state and local officials.

“It would be a cold day in hell before I would consent or agree to the unsolicited, uninvited intervention in any of my cities,” Ridge told KDKA . “I certainly don’t favor that kind of action, and certainly don’t think DHS was designed for that purpose to start with.”

FBI Fires Analyst for Allegedly Possessing Child Pornography, But DOJ Declines to File Charges

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A supervisory intelligence analyst (SIA) for the FBI has been fired while an internal watchdog was investigating allegations that he had possessed and viewed child pornography, the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) announced Monday.

The OIG forensically examined the SIA’s personal and FBI-issued devices after he had revealed during “routine FBI security inquiry” that he had viewed and downloaded child pornography from the internet several years ago. During the examination, investigators discovered pornographic images, which were sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a routine step to determine whether photographs are child pornography.

No evidence of child pornography was found, but based on the analyst’s comments during the security review, the OIG concluded that the SIA had knowingly possessed child pornography.

The FBI fired the analyst while the investigation was ongoing.

The Justice Department declined to prosecute the analyst.

45 FBI-Issued Guns Were Lost Or Stolen Over three-Year Period, Inspector General Reports

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

At least 45 guns issued to FBI agents were lost or stolen over a three-year period, according to the Justice Department’s Inspector General.

Most of the firearms weren’t recovered, and one of the guns was even used in a robbery, according to the IG’s review of 15 FBI sites from September 2016 to July 2019, The Washington Times reports.

In many of the cases, the report blames FBI agents for carelessly leaving their guns in public places like bathrooms and hotel rooms.

The bureau suspended 38 of the agents for an average of three days.

Only one agent was fired after leaving a pistol in a hotel room.

The firearms ranged from Block pistols to submachine guns.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said the FBI has an insufficient system for tracking lost or stolen firearms. Despite a policy that requires the FBI to maintain records, including make, model and serial numbers, the bureau kept that information for only eight of the 45 missing guns.

“The fact that the FBI was unable to provide this information indicates the policy is not being properly followed,” Horowitz wrote.

DOJ Watchdog Criticizes FBI’s Handling of U.S.-Based Violent Extremists

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s inspector general criticized the FBI’s handling of U.S.-based extremists who successfully carried out attacks against Americans after the bureau investigated them.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report identified homegrown violent extremists (HVE) who continued to act violently after the FBI prematurely closed their cases.

“Since September 11, 2001, HVEs have carried out over 20 attacks in the United States, some of which occurred after the FBI closed a counterterrorism investigation or assessment on the individual,” the report said.

The report identified “at least six attacks committed in the United States by individuals who the FBI had previously assessed or investigated” between 2009 and 2017. They include the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the 2016 Orland Pulse Nightclub attack.

The report encourages the FBI to improve its handling of tips about potentially violent people and develop a more comprehensive plan to determine the risks of individuals with mental health problems.

FBI Director Wray Pledges to Fix Flaws Found in FISA Court Applications

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray pledged Wednesday to fix the flaws found in the bureau’s applications for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA).

Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, Wray addressed findings by Justice Department’s inspector general Michael Horowitz that the bureau bungled its surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Horowitz said that the FBI’s applications to FISA Court to monitor Page contained “significant inaccuracies and omissions” and that agents “failed to meet the basic obligation” to ensure the applications were “scrupulously accurate.”

Horowitz, however, dismissed some conservatives’ longstanding allegations about the investigation into the Trump campaign, including that top FBI officials were motivated by political bias and illegally spied on Trump advisers.

“The failures highlighted in that report are unacceptable. Period,” Wray said. “They don’t reflect who the FBI is as an institution.”

Wray told lawmakers that the bureau had changed policies and procedures to clean up the process. That includes more training for FBI officials who apply for the warrants.

Saying the warrants are important to the FBI’s mission, Wray asked lawmakers to renew the FISA authorities, which are set to expire in March.

“I can assure members of this committee we need those FISA authorities,” Wray said. “We need the agility to stay ahead of the threat or we’re all going to regret it.”