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Tag: Justice Department

WikiLeaks: DOJ Official Tipped Off Clinton Campaign about Email Filing

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A top Justice Department official tipped off Hillary Clinton’s campaign about new developments in the investigation over her email use as a secretary of state, according to hacked emails by WikiLeaks.

Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik provided a “heads up” in an email to Clinton campaign chairman John Pedesta, Politico reports.

The email came from Kadzik’s personal account, which was titled “Heads up.”

“There is a [House Judiciary Committee] oversight hearing today where the head of our Civil Division will testify. Likely to get questions on State Department emails. Another filing in the FOIA case went in last night or will go in this am that indicates it will be awhile (2016) before the State Department posts the emails.”

Pedestal passed on the emails to top Clinton aides, saying, “Additional chances for mischief.”

Other Stories of Interest

Federal Authorities with Connections to Lobbyists Failed to Combat Painkiller Abuse

pain medsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Nearly 19,000 people died of overdoses from prescription painkillers in 2014, and another 10,574 died from heroin.

The Washington Post investigated the interaction between the DEA and pharmaceutical distributors and found a troubling connection.

DEA officials said high-level Justice Department officials who were being heavily lobbied by wholesalers eased aggressive civil enforcement against wholesalers.

Civil case filings against wholesalers fell from 131 in fiscal 2011 to 40 in fiscal 2014.

The Post wrote:

Collectively, 13 companies identified by The Washington Post knew or should have known that hundreds of millions of pills were ending up on the black market, according to court records, DEA documents and legal settlements in administrative ­cases, many of which are being reported here for the first time. Even when they were alerted to suspicious pain clinics or pharmacies by the DEA and their own employees, some distributors ignored the warnings and continued to send drugs.

“Through the whole supply chain, I would venture to say no one was doing their job,” said Joseph T. Rannazzisi, former head of the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control, who led the effort against distributors from 2005 until shortly before his retirement in 2015. “And because no one was doing their job, it just perpetuated the problem. Corporate America let their profits get in the way of public health.”

A review of the DEA’s campaign against distributors reveals the extent of the companies’ role in the diversion of opioids. It shows how drugs intended for millions of legitimate pain patients ended up feeding illegal users’ appetites for prescription narcotics. And it helps explain why there has been little progress in the U.S. opioid epidemic, despite the efforts of public-health and enforcement agencies to stop it.

Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., asked Attorney General Loretta Lynch in a letter to respond to the Post’s findings.

Justice Department Opposed FBI’s Decision to Notify Congress of Clinton Emails

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department did not want FBI Director James Comey to notify Congress about the discovery of new emails that could be linked to the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server.

But Comey reasoned that it would be best let Congress to know before the election.

“In the end, we decided it was better to keep Congress informed,” an FBI official involved in the process told CNBC.

While the Justice Department didn’t prohibit the FBI from sending the letter, it strongly opposed it, officials familiar with the discussions said.

CNBC wrote:

They cited long-standing policies against disclosing details of investigations that are underway or taking actions that could affect an election, especially in the period leading up to one.

That was especially so, they said, given that FBI agents have not yet analyzed the newly discovered e-mails to see if they contain classified information, the central issue in the investigation of the Clinton private e-mail server.

Comey’s letter said the FBI learned “of the existence of e-mails that appear to be pertinent” to the Clinton investigation, though he added that the FBI “cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant.”

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Former AG Eric Holder Says FBI Director ‘Negatively Affected Public Trust’

Eric Holder, U.S. attorney general from 2009 to 2015.

Eric Holder, U.S. attorney general from 2009 to 2015.

By Eric Holder
For Washington Post

I began my career in the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section 40 years ago, investigating cases of official corruption. In the years since, I have seen America’s justice system firsthand from nearly every angle — as a prosecutor, judge, attorney in private practice, and attorney general of the United States. I understand the gravity of the work our Justice Department performs every day to defend the security of our nation, protect the American people, uphold the rule of law and be fair.

That is why I am deeply concerned about FBI Director James B. Comey’s decision to write a vague letter to Congress about emails potentially connected to a matter of public, and political, interest. That decision was incorrect. It violated long-standing Justice Department policies and tradition. And it ran counter to guidance that I put in place four years ago laying out the proper way to conduct investigations during an election season. That guidance, which reinforced established policy, is still in effect and applies to the entire Justice Department — including the FBI.

The department has a practice of not commenting on ongoing investigations. Indeed, except in exceptional circumstances, the department will not even acknowledge the existence of an investigation. The department also has a policy of not taking unnecessary action close in time to Election Day that might influence an election’s outcome. These rules have been followed during Republican and Democratic administrations. They aren’t designed to help any particular individual or to serve any political interest. Instead, they are intended to ensure that every investigation proceeds fairly and judiciously; to maintain the public trust in the department’s ability to do its job free of political influence; and to prevent investigations from unfairly or unintentionally casting public suspicion on public officials who have done nothing wrong.

Director Comey broke with these fundamental principles. I fear he has unintentionally and negatively affected public trust in both the Justice Department and the FBI. And he has allowed — again without improper motive — misinformation to be spread by partisans with less pure intentions. Already, we have learned that the importance of the discovery itself may have been overblown. According to the director himself, there is no indication yet that the “newly discovered” emails bear any significance at all. And yet, because of his decision to comment on this development before sufficient facts were known, the public has faced a torrent of conspiracy theories and misrepresentations.

This controversy has its roots in the director’s July decision to hold a news conference announcing his recommendation that the Justice Department bring no charges against Hillary Clinton. Instead of making a private recommendation to the attorney general — consistent with Justice Department policy — he chose to publicly share his professional recommendation, as well as his personal opinions, about the case. That was a stunning breach of protocol. It may set a dangerous precedent for future investigations. It was wrong.

 To read more click here. 

News-Journal: Justice Department Finally Collects More Data on Police Shootings

police lightsBy Editorial Board
Daytona Beach News-Journal

Missing from the national debate on police officer-involved shootings, such as when deadly force is justified and how often race plays a role, is one key component: actual data.

It’s been one of the most confounding revelations since civil unrest over a police shooting erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, in summer 2014: No one knows exactly how many people are shot by law enforcement each year, and what the circumstances are in each instance. The federal government doesn’t have the numbers, and neither do most states — including Florida, a deficiency exposed by the Daytona Beach News-Journal last year in “Shots Fired,” its special investigation of civilians being shot by state and local law-enforcement officers.

Since Ferguson, and since “Shots Fired,” more highly publicized officer-involved shootings around the nation have sparked organized protests to draw attention to the issue. What’s needed in the emotional discussion are some cold, hard facts.

Thankfully, the Justice Department recently announced it would start collecting nationwide data early next year on police shootings and other violent encounters with the public. It’s a long-overdue move to establish what should have been a fundamental responsibility of law enforcement from the outset.

Indeed, the Washington Post got the jump on the government last year by compiling its own national database of police shootings, a gap that FBI Director James Comey said was “embarrassing.”

“We can’t have an informed discussion because we don’t have data,” Comey told the House Judiciary Committee last October.

To read more click here. 

ICE Urges Justice Department to Reopen Privatized Facilities for Illegal Immigrants

ice sealBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement is urging the Justice Department to reopen at least two privatized facilities to help house an influx of illegal immigrants.

ICE says it needs up to 5,000 beds to house a record number of immigrants being detained and deported by the Obama administration, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Among consideration are at least three privately owned detention centers, including troubled facilities in Youngstown, Ohio, and Cibola County, New Mexico.

The Justice Department has sought to curtail its use of private prison because of an inspector general’s report that found higher rates of safety and security incidents.

“They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security,” Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates wrote in a memo to federal officials. “This is the first step in the process of reducing – and ultimately ending – our use of privately operated prisons.”

ICE spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea declined to comment on negotiations with the Justice Department.

“ICE remains committed to providing a safe and humane environment for all those in its custody,” Elzea says. “ICE’s civil detention system reduces transfers, maximizes access to counsel and visitation, promotes recreation, improves conditions of confinement and ensures quality medical, mental health and dental care.”

Justice Department Shakeup Seeks to Jumpstart Probe into Eric Garner’s Death

Eric Garner with his children, via National Action Network

Eric Garner with his children, via National Action Network

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In an unusual shakeup, the Justice Department has dumped a New York team of agents and lawyers investigating the death of Eric Garner, who was killed when a police officer placed him in a chokehold over selling untaxed cigarettes.

The Justice Department is replacing the agents and lawyers after the case has been stymied over a dispute between federal prosecutors and FBI officials about whether to file charges, the New York Times reports.

Prosecutors with the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department have been in favor of filing charges, saying there is sufficient evidence in the case.

Recently FBI agents were replaced with agents outside of New York. Federal prosecutors were taken off the case.

It’s not yet clear whether the civil rights prosecutors will work solo to present evidence to a grand jury.

The Justice Department and FBI declined to comment.

The shakeup was criticized for the attorney of Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who placed Garner, 43, in a chokehold.

“If it is true that the Justice Department is rejecting the recommendations of seasoned F.B.I. agents and assistant United States attorneys, this is a gross miscarriage of justice,” the attorney, Stuart London, said. “In our system of justice, politics should never take the place of the rule of law.”

DEA Agent Accused of Having Sexual Relationship with Paid Informant

dea-badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A DEA supervisor denied allegations that he had sex with a paid informant.

There’s no salacious activity going on,” former DEA Atlanta office supervisor Keith Cromer said in U.S. Magistrate Judge Shirley Padmore Mensah’s St. Louis federal court on Friday, the Daily Caller reports. 

Cromer said he developed a person relationship with a paid informant, but it never became sexual.

Cromer invoked the Fifth Amendment twice during the court hearing.

The Justice Department has opened up a criminal investigation.

Cromer admitted he had gone on vacation with the informant twice, but said they stayed in separate bedrooms.

The informant received $212,000 for information that helped the DEA with several cases.

Other Stories of Interest