Newly released internal FBI emails showed the agency’s highest-ranking officials scrambling to answer to Hillary Clinton’s lawyer in the days prior the 2016 presidential election, on the same day then-FBI Director James Comey sent a bombshell letter to Congress announcing a new review of hundreds of thousands of potentially classified emails found on former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s laptop.
The trove of documents turned over by the FBI, in response to a lawsuit by the transparency group Judicial Watch, also included discussions by former FBI lawyer Lisa Page concerning a potential quid-pro-quo between the State Department and the FBI — in which the FBI would agree to downgrade the classification level of a Clinton email in exchange for more legal attache positions that would benefit the agency abroad.
There was no indication such a quid-pro-quo ever took place.
The FBI is piloting Amazon’s facial matching software—Amazon Rekognition—as a means to sift through mountains of video surveillance footage the agency routinely collects during investigations.
The pilot kicked off in early 2018 following a string of high-profile counterterrorism investigations that tested the limits of the FBI’s technological capabilities, according to FBI officials.
For example, in the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas carried out by Stephen Paddock, the law enforcement agency collected a petabyte worth of data, much of it video from cellphones and surveillance cameras.
“We had agents and analysts, eight per shift, working 24/7 for three weeks going through the video footage of everywhere Stephen Paddock was the month leading up to him coming and doing the shooting,” said FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Christine Halvorsen.
Halvorsen made those remarks in November at the Amazon Web Services re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, where she described how the FBI is using Amazon’s cloud platforms to carry out counterterrorism investigations. She said Amazon Rekognition could have gone through the same trove of data from the Las Vegas shooting “in 24 hours”—or three weeks faster than it took human FBI agents to find every instance of Paddock’s face in the mountain of video.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has written to FBI Director Christopher Wray and the Justice Department’s internal watchdog to request information about a raid on the home of a former FBI contractor who gave the watchdog documents related to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to a Russian firm’s subsidiary.
According to The Daily Caller, 16 FBI agents raided the Maryland home of Dennis Nathan Cain on Nov. 19. Cain’s lawyer, Michael Socarras, told the website that the agent who led the raid accused his client of possessing stolen federal property.
In response, Cain reportedly claimed that he was a protected whistleblower under federal law and had been recognized as such by the DOJ watchdog, Michael Horowitz.
FBI agents raided the home of a recognized Department of Justice whistleblower who privately delivered documents pertaining to the Clinton Foundation and Uranium One to a government watchdog, according to the whistleblower’s attorney.
The Justice Department’s inspector general was informed that the documents show that federal officials failed to investigate potential criminal activity regarding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation and Rosatom, the Russian company that purchased Uranium One, a document reviewed by The Daily Caller News Foundation alleges.
The delivered documents also show that then-FBI Director Robert Mueller failed to investigate allegations of criminal misconduct pertaining to Rosatom and to other Russian government entities attached toUranium One, the document reviewed by TheDCNF alleges.Muelleris now the special counsel investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.
“The bureau raided my client to seize what he legally gave Congress about the Clinton Foundation and Uranium One,” the whistleblower’s lawyer, Michael Socarras, told TheDCNF, noting that he considered the FBI’s raid to be an “outrageous disregard” of whistleblower protections.
The FBI now classifies the far-right Proud Boys as an “extremist group with ties to white nationalism”, according to a document produced byWashington statelaw enforcement.
The FBI’s 2018 designation of the self-confessed “western chauvinist group” as extremist has not been previously made public.
The Proud Boys was founded by the Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes. McInnes has insisted that his group is not white nationalist or “alt-right” but the Proud Boys have a history ofmisogynyandglorifying violence. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)liststhem as a hate group.
Thedocumentalso says: “The FBI has warned local law enforcement agencies that the Proud Boys are actively recruiting in the Pacific north-west”, and: “Proud Boys members have contributed to the recent escalation of violence at political rallies held on college campuses, and in cities like Charlottesville, Virginia, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington.”
The report, and the FBI’s warning to south-west Washington police agencies about the Proud Boys’ role in escalating violence at these events came in August, two months before the group was involved in aninfamous weekendof street violence in New York City and Portland, and not long after they participated instreet violencein downtown Portland on 30 June.
President Donald Trump has demanded the “immediate declassification” of sensitive materials about the Russia investigation, but the agencies responsible are expected to propose redactions that would keep some information secret, according to three people familiar with the matter.
The Justice Department, FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence are going through a methodical review and can’t offer a timeline for finishing, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the sensitive matter.
The White House issued a statement on Monday listing material that Trump wants declassified immediately, echoing demands of Republican lawmakers who share his contention that the continuing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election was tainted by anti-Trump bias well before Robert Mueller was named special counsel to run it.
FBI agents tried to turn Russia’s once-richest man into a US mole, according to an explosive NYT report. It claims that Oleg Deripaska was one of six oligarchs targeted for information in a Russiagate-related intelligence flop.
According to reports by the New York Times, the US government pushed oligarchs with perceived links to President Vladimir Putin for information. Deripaska was allegedly nudged to give up information on Russian organized crime and “possible Russian aid to President Trump’s 2016 campaign.”
Determined to get something on the Kremlin’s unproven involvement in the 2016 election, FBI agents reportedly turned up unannounced at Deripaska’s New York home to quiz him about his ex-business partner Paul Manafort – who went on to lead Trump’s election campaign – and Manafort’s links to Russia.
Despite the US government’s repeated attempts to gather intelligence from him, Deripaska told the US Department of Justice that he had no information to provide. Sources told the NYT that Deripaska disagreed with the agents’ opinion that Russia had colluded with the US in Trump’s election campaign. He also slammed theories about Manafort’s alleged role as “preposterous,” even though the two men were involved in a “bitter business dispute.” He is also said to have notified the Kremlin about the US government’s failed efforts to recruit him.
It is understood that Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and former British spy Christopher Steele – who was responsible for the infamous Trump-Russia ‘dirty dossier’ – were involved in the attempt to turn Russian oligarchs into US informants. The report said that the US government tried to entice Deripaska with promises to relieve him of previous visa issues stemming from past legal problems, but their attempts to win over the aluminum magnate and other Russian oligarchs appear to have failed.
In April, Deripaska and his company were hit by sweeping US sanctions, with Washington accusing him of links to crime, various abuses and even of ordering a murder.
The report comes as Trump took to Twitter to accuse the Department of Justice and FBI of “corruption” over the “Russia hoax.” The president also accused the DOJ and FBI of being “completely out to lunch” in a series of tweets, in which he insisted that “no information was ever given by the Trump Team to Russia.”
Donald Trump met for about an hour Monday with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats. The meeting came a day after the Justice Department asked its inspector general to investigate Trump’s claim that his campaign may have been infiltrated by the FBI source for political purposes, and amid continued demands from GOP lawmakers that the department produce materials on the person.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that, at the meeting, it was “agreed that White House Chief of Staff Kelly will immediately set up a meeting with the FBI, DOJ, and DNI together with congressional leaders to review highly classified and other information they have requested.”
The significance of that was not immediately clear. Justice Department leaders have fought vigorously against revealing to Congress materials on the source. It was not clear whether they had backed down from their position and would now allow GOP leaders to look at the documents, or whether there would simply be a follow-up meeting for more discussion.
A Justice Department spokeswoman had no immediate comment.
Trump personally called for the Monday meeting, two people familiar with the request said, and Sanders said it was put on the books last week. The president was expected to question the officials on their refusal to turn over documents to Congress about the early stages of the investigation into whether his campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 election, the people familiar with the request said.
He was also expected to inquire about the Justice Department’s announcement Sunday that it had asked its inspector general to investigate his claim of campaign infiltration, one person familiar with the matter said. Sanders noted that the department had “asked the inspector general to expand its current investigation to include any irregularities with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s or the Department of Justice’s tactics concerning the Trump campaign.”
The Department of Justice lost its latest battle with Congress Thursday when it allowed House Intelligence Committee members to view classified documents about a top-secret intelligence source that was part of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. Even without official confirmation of that source’s name, the news so far holds some stunning implications.