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Tag: Los Angeles Times

L.A. Times: Mission of Justice Department Is Not ‘Lock Her Up’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

By Editorial Board
Los Angeles Times

We live in a country of laws and no one should be above them. That includes the president. And it also includes Hillary Clinton, the president’s former campaign opponent. Where there is reason to believe wrongdoing or self-dealing has occurred in violation of the laws there should be an investigation and if necessary a prosecution.

But the calls by some Republicans for a special counsel to investigate Clinton smack of something other than a desire for evenhanded enforcement of the law. Rather, they are part of a desperate effort by the president, his allies in Congress and the right-wing media to take the focus off the tangled investigations into the Trump campaign’s conduct, and particularly into any possible collusion with Russia.

Earlier this month Trump tweeted: “Everybody is asking why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn’t looking into all of the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary & the Dems.” Meanwhile, Republican members of Congress have offered up a grab bag of incidents and insinuations they claim justify the appointment of a special counsel.

This dubious bill of particulars includes Clinton’s (minimal) role as secretary of state in the approval of the purchase by a Russian company of a controlling stake in Uranium One, a uranium company whose major investor had contributed to the Clinton Foundation; the investigation of Clinton’s use of a private email server (yes, they’re still on about that); and the Democrats’ funding of the so-called “dossier” about Trump and Russia, which some Republicans theorize was the genesis of electronic surveillance of members of the Trump campaign.

On Tuesday Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee that any decision to name another special counsel would be guided by law, not politics. But his comments were only partly reassuring.

To read more click here.

Los Angeles Times: Border Patrol Appears to Be Using Stalling Tactics with Body Cameras

Border Patrol agents reads the Miranda rights to a Mexican national arrested for transporting drugs.By Editorial Board
Los Angeles Times

To assure the public of their commitment to transparency and accountability, many law enforcement agencies across the country — including the Los Angeles Police Department — have embraced body-worn cameras with admirable rapidity. However, the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, the U.S. Border Patrol, is moving so slowly to adopt this new technology that it appears not to be moving at all.

In August, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection working group completed a yearlong feasibility study of body cameras at the request of Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. The group did an adequate job of outlining the pitfalls of having Border Patrol agents wear cameras (resistance by the officers, privacy concerns and cost, among other things) and the benefits (decreased use-of-force incidents, better record-keeping and improved safety of officers).

No surprises there. Police agencies, including the LAPD, made similar cost-benefit analyses as they prepared to roll out their programs. And while tricky, none of the policy challenges has proved insurmountable. Meanwhile, studies over the last year have found that when police wear body cameras and record video of interactions with suspects, it really does influence the behavior of officers and suspects alike, and dramatically reduces use-of-force incidents. Today, many police chiefs, civil rights groups and even the president are praising body cameras as an essential law enforcement tool that makes everyone safer.

This made Kerlikowske’s announcement last week that even more review of body cameras was still necessary all the more suspect. Was this just a stalling tactic by a department not committed to transparency?

To read more click here. 

LA Times: It’s a Shame That Border Patrol Pulled Out of Student Career Fair

Border Patrol agents reads the Miranda rights to a Mexican national arrested for transporting drugs.

By Editorial Board
Los Angeles Times

When UC Irvine holds its student career fair Thursday, the event will be missing one employer that had planned to be there: the U.S. Border Patrol. And though it probably won’t make much difference to the success of the affair, it’s another disappointing example of intolerance on campus and attempts by students — successfully in this case — to stifle opposing opinions.

According to several reports, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the parent agency of the Border Patrol, voluntarily pulled out after a petition drive gathered several hundred signatures and objections were raised by the president of the Associated Students of UC Irvine. Both asserted that the Border Patrol’s participation was insensitive to the school’s hundreds of undocumented students. “We cannot expect undocumented students to not be unhappy or frustrated, that’s only natural,” said Parshan Khosravi, head of the student group.

Yes, it’s quite understandable that students who are not in the country legally would feel uncomfortable with the agency’s presence. But where did students get the idea that no one on campus should ever have to be unhappy or frustrated? Or that the only ones whom it might be all right to frustrate are those who might be interested in a job with the Border Patrol, or with any other controversial employer?

The students involved won a petty, politically correct battle but sadly lost sight of the bigger issue: Universities play a vital role as bastions of unfettered speech. It is precisely the kind of place that should make room for widely disparate views, whether those come in the form of a speech by the Israeli ambassador to the United States, whose address in 2010 was systematically disrupted by a group of Muslim students, or a recruiting visit by a politically unpopular organization.

To read more click here. 

Journalist Convicted of Hacking, Accused FBI of Manipulating Evidence

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys

By Steve Neavling

A journalist convicted of hacking Wednesday claims the FBI provided misleading evidence in his case because he would not reveal a source, the Washington Post reports. 

Matthew Keys, a former Reuters social media editor, was accused of providing login credentials to a group of hackers who broke into the Los Angeles Times’ networks to alter an online story.

“The FBI agent admitted on the stand to editing chat logs,” Matthew Keys said in an interview Wednesday night. “They presented this case with edited and misleading evidence and facts that told a brilliant story that was total bulls––t.”

Keys, who was found guilty on three counts of hacking, faces up to 25 years in prison when sentenced.

The Justice Department denied any wrongdoing.

Column: The Truth About the FBI’s Clyde Tolson, Hoover’s Confidante


J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson/fbi photo

By Larry Wack
Retired FBI Agent

In a Jan. 5, 2012 Los Angeles Times article, reporter Amy Dawes asked Armie Hammer a series of questions regarding his role as the FBI’s Clyde Tolson in the movie “J. Edgar.”

In commenting on Tolson, Hammer is quoted by Ms. Dawes saying, in part:

“But he was also very smart and confident; he was a hotshot, and he could get away with things. Like putting on his FBI application that he had no interest in women — that was brazen, for back then.”

But Hammer didn’t just mention Tolson’s FBI application to the LA Times. He used the subject matter with others. For one example, in a November, 2011 interview with “New York Movies” reporter David Keeps quotes Hammer stating:

“Back then, to be publicly gay, you were done for. But even in his application to the FBI, Tolson said he had no interest in marrying or being with a woman,” Hammer says. “While not fully out, he knew who he was and almost embraced it.”

In reality, there wasn’t anything “brazen” about Tolson’s entry on his application as Hammer tells the LA Times. Furthermore, Tolson was not really embracing who he was as Hammer alleges.

That’s because Tolson didn’t write anything of the sort on his Bureau application. Tolson’s 1928 Bureau application which I have reviewed, and long available and on the internet since at least 2002, reveals there is no such wording as “no interest in women; no interest in marrying or being with a woman” as Hammer claims. In fact, there’s nothing even remotely close. In section nine of his application the only thing Tolson entered about his marital status at the time was that he was “Single.”

However, in the interest of “full disclosure,” although Tolson made no such statements, a further review of his background investigation does reveal an FBI interview with a “reference” listed by Tolson. That reference was one John Martyn, Executive Secretary for the Secretary Of War.  The FBI interview of Martyn in 1928 reveals him mentioning what Hammer says were Tolson’s words.  Martyn stated in part to Bureau agents:

“Mr. Martyn states it is his understanding that applicant is making his own way through school; that he has shown no particular interest in women; that his habits and associates have always been of the best.”

We know from reading the entire Martyn statement that Tolson’s drinking habits (of which he had none) are discussed within the same paragraph.  (Report of SA C. D. White, Washington Field Office, 2/7/28, Vol. 2, serial 15 of Tolson’s released file)

It is well known that early FBI applicant investigations (much like today) covered four areas of concern; Character, Ability, Reputation and Qualifications. Public FBI documents reveal these exact four words being utilized in “form letter” communications directed from FBI headquarters to the Field with regard to agent applicant investigations and are readily seen in Tolson’s file.

Now that we know the truth as to the origin of “no particular interest in women,” the totality of the content and the investigative areas being discussed with Martyn, the phrase takes on a far different meaning than the one we’re expected to accept from Hammer.

Clearly, Martyn is discussing with Special Agent White (above) Tolson’s habits, associates, his drinking and the investigative questioning no doubt involved what type of women Tolson entertained. No doubt SA White was attempting to determine if Tolson had any particular interests in “certain women.” This line of questioning regarding Tolson’s “habits and associates” would have been consistent with Hoover’s demands for men of high moral standards.

Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that Tolson was employed by the War Department when he submitted his FBI application in 1928. As Martyn mentions, “he (Tolson) was putting himself through [law] school.” No doubt working full time, Tolson didn’t have much time for dating. Tolson’s application reveals that at the time of submission, he was studying for his LL.M academic degree at Georgetown University. ( background summary 2/23/28)

We now know that Hammer’s claims about what Tolson said on his application are wrong, but what about the insinuation the claims entail? From the context of that time-period, it is clear that Martyn was not making any allusions to Tolson’s sexual preferences.  Had this been the case, it would have been immediately recognized by the interviewing agent and further questioning about Tolson’s sexuality issues would have been made for fear of him being a security risk inside the FBI.

Tolson’s file reflects there was no further questioning along those lines with Martyn or any of Tolson’s numerous personal references. Furthermore, it’s painfully obvious from Tolson’s file that those reviewing SA White’s report, including his Special Agent In-Charge and those at FBI headquarters, didn’t see Martyn’s comment as a reference to Tolson’s sexual preferences. If they had, it would have been a red flag to them and duly noted in the file.

Hammer’s claims about Tolson’s FBI application are without merit and a severe distortion of the historical record.

Copyright 2012, Larry E. Wack. Mr. Wack spent twenty eight years as a Special Agent with the FBI. Now retired, he researches the early Bureau and the “G-Men” of the 1930’s. Mr. Wack is not a spokesman for the FBI or the Society of Former Special Agents Of The FBI. The term “FBI” is utilized herein to maintain clarity although in 1928, its name was the “Bureau Of Investigation.”

Contact Info: Larry Wack can be contacted direct at:

A website on his research, above, is maintained at:


Hoover Had it Out for LA Times Reporter Jack Nelson: Feared He Would Report He was a Homosexual

J. Edgar Hoover/fbi photo

By Richard A. Serrano
Los Angeles Times

As this week’s release date of the movie “J. Edgar” approaches, more info seems to be surfacing about the legendary FBI director.

The latest: Richard Serrano of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hoover became obsessed in the early 1970s with a new reporter in Washington, Jack Nelson of the Los Angeles Times, and was concerned he was going to report that Hoover was a homosexual.

The Times reported that a top aide to President Nixon in 1970 told Hoover that Nelson was gunning for him.

“Keep an eye on these characters,” the FBI director wrote, referring to Nelson and two of his editors at the Los Angeles Times, according to the Times. “They are up to no good.”

He also eventually wrote in memos:”Nelson is a mental case” and “he is a rat” and “jackal” and “a lice-covered ferret.”

Serrano wrote: “For two years in the early 1970s, Hoover nursed an obsession with the new reporter in the nation’s capital. His agents pumped journalists for dirt on Nelson. He put Nelson on the bureau’s list of ‘untouchables,’ reporters who were to receive no cooperation.”

The Times reports that “Hoover was convinced — mistakenly — that Nelson planned to write that the FBI director was homosexual.”

To read more click here.


Reader Comments

Comment from Alan Stamm | [e]
Time November 7, 2011 at 9:37 am

Let’s pause now to imagine how the 1970 agent(s) felt when assigned the high-value, closely monitored mission of ferreting out dirt on a journalist through to pose a clear and present danger . . . to the director.

That may have felt like an unexpected, unwanted career turn. “Wonder if they’re hiring at ATF,” he well may have mused.

The Latest Shakeups in The Justice Department Reporter Ranks

Carrie Jonnson/facebook

Carrie Johnson/facebook

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The game of musical chairs continues for reporters covering the Justice Department in Washington.

The Washington Post’s Carrie Johnson is leaving  the paper Tuesday to cover the Justice Department for National Public Radio. She says she hasn’t done radio before.

“It will be a new adventure,” she told She replaces Ari Shapiro,  who has been assigned to  cover the White House for NPR. No replacement has been named for Johnson over at the Post.

In other changes of late, Josh Meyer, the Justice Department reporter for the Los Angeles Times, quit in January to take a job at Northwestern University. He is  co-director of  Medill School of Journalism’s education and outreach for the National Security Journalism Initiative in Washington.  The program is designed to improve education and training in national security reporting for students and professionals. Meyer has been replaced at the LA Times by Richard A. Serrano.


Josh Meyer/university photo

Josh Meyer/university photo

At the New York Times, seasoned reporters Neil Lewis and David Johnston, who covered Justice Department issues, recently took buyouts. And Eric Lichtblau, who had covered Justice Department issues, now covers the lobbying, money and influence beat. Charlie Savage is now the Times’ Justice reporter.