Former FBI Director Comey says agency cannot fight foreign propaganda

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – Former U.S. FBI Director James Comey said that social media companies needed to “worry” about foreign political propaganda on their networks, but he had few ideas on how to counter it. In an interview with Reuters, Comey also said …

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Waco

“Five thousand people to every one officer of the law. You know how we keep order with those odds?” asks one senior FBI agent in Paramount’s new TV miniseries Waco. “Because they believe we are more powerful than we are. We project strength and the people believe in that strength.”

The line is startling in its brutish cynicism, but it accurately sums up the lesson of Waco‘s six-episode dramatization of the infamous and deadly 1993 standoff between the federal government and the Branch Davidian religious sect.

Government agents are shown as almost uniformly incompetent, heartless, and oblivious to the consequences of their decisions. The Davidians are meanwhile depicted as mostly honest, sympathetic, and smart people taken in by charismatic messiah figure David Koresh. Bridging the gap is an FBI negotiator, Gary Noesner, who pushes his bosses to treat the Davidians as human while constantly fretting about the dangers of militarized cops.

At Waco‘s heart is a sharp critique of power and those who exercise it. This includes federal agents as well as the cult leader, whose own manipulative emotional hold over his followers eventually leads everyone to their doom. Though at times ignoring Koresh’s flaws and those of his acolytes, the show is a refreshing rehabilitation of a group of people unfairly derided for too long as murderous cultists up against brave, upright law enforcement.

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FINALLY: FBI’s Hillary Email Scandal Center of Upcoming Senate Hearing

Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) announced the date for a hearing on the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) report about Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials’ conduct ahead of the 2016 presidential election, including the Hillary Clinton email scandal. Originally scheduled for Tuesday, the hearing will now take place at 2 p.m. on June 11 and is open to the public.The hearing, titled “Examining the Inspector General’s First Report on Justice Department and FBI Actions in Advance of the 2016 Presidential Election,” will focus on the long-anticipated IG report. Fox News reported in May: Justice Department…

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FINALLY: FBI’s Hillary Email Scandal Center of Upcoming Senate Hearing

Senate Judiciary Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) announced the date for a hearing on the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) report about Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials’ conduct ahead of the 2016 presidential election, including the Hillary Clinton email scandal.

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Video: FBI agent accidentally shoots patron at a Denver bar while he was getting his groove on

Anyone who thinks disgraced former FBI Director James Comey is the only PR problem in the 109-year-old agency clearly hasn’t met this idiot yet:

This unnamed off-duty FBI agent and complete moron almost killed someone at a Denver nightclub Saturday night when, while performing a back handspring, his gun fell to the ground and went off, sending a bullet speeding into the leg of a patron. While it’s true the victim is reportedly OK, this doesn’t excuse the agent’s incompetence.

What’s even more astounding is that by Sunday morning the perpetrator had not yet been publicly identified. Nor did it appear he would be facing any consequences for his actions.

“Authorities have not identified the agent because he was not arrested, Denver police community resource officer Marika Putnam said,” CNN reported Sunday afternoon. “Denver police will continue investigating the incident, and the district attorney’s office will determine whether charges will be filed against the agent.”

Does anyone really believe the agent will be fired, let alone even suspended?

From failing to stop the Parkland shooter in February to refusing to pursue criminal charges against the Obama-era IRS goons who targeted conservative groups, the contemporary incarnation of the bureau is nothing like the FBI of J. Edgar Hoover.

Nothing better demonstrates this than the behavior of Comey, who successfully transformed the once revered agency into an international laughing stock.

Watch below as he describes to late night host Conan O’Brien about how he once sang a Beyoncé song during a briefing:

What an absolute joke of a man and FBI director. But in his limited defense, at least he never almost killed someone — or at least not that anybody is aware of.

And at least he never once got so drunk with an exotic dancer that he passed out, only to later wake up and discover he’d been robbed blind.

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…why wouldn’t the FBI or DOJ have told me that they were secretly investigating Manafort..(tr)

. As only one of two people left who could become President, why wouldn’t the FBI or Department of “Justice” have told me that they were secretly investigating Paul Manafort (on charges that were 10 years old and had been previously dropped) during my campaign? Should have told me! 9:25 AM · Jun 3, 2018

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Secret Courts Guarantee Abuse

Michael Ledeen is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

I testified against the Patriot Act because I feared the abuse of secret tribunals.  I’m usually far off in my predictions, but it was obvious from the get-go that the FISA courts would be abused by the Intelligence Community, and indeed those secret courts have almost always done what the FBI and CIA asked, even when—as in the case of General Michael Flynn—the IC had to ask several times, and even when the “evidence” consisted of an unverified “dossier” produced by a political campaign.

The Intelligence Community has long considered itself a state within the American state, dating from its creation just after World War II.  Most of the time, the IC has used its power to support presidential policies—the CIA snooped on the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2014, and on the McGovern campaign, and the FBI spied on the Goldwater campaign– but when a president acted against the IC’s convictions, the spooks advanced their own interests and beliefs.

No sooner had President Truman recognized the state of Israel, than the CIA swung into (illegal) action, secretly creating the American Friends of the Middle East, which brought Middle Easterners to America, published their views, and lobbied Congress, all against Israel.  In the words of Hudson’s Michael Doran, 

AFME was a remarkable instance of a CIA-confected front organization designed to counter official government policy, in this case by seeking to delegitimize Zionism in domestic American politics.

Truman quickly understood what was at stake.  “It’s become a government all of its own and all secret.  They don’t have to account to anybody.”.

It was, Truman recognized, part of a broader problem: bureaucrats who saw themselves, not mere elected officials, as the only legitimate policy makers.  “The civil servant, the general or admiral, the foreign service officer,” Truman insisted, “has no authority to make policy. They act only as servants of the government, and therefore they must remain in line with the government policy that is established by those who have been chosen by the people to set that policy.”

This enraged the president, who was also furious at the State Department’s opposition to his Middle East policies.  Yet bureaucratic action against presidential policies remained common.  As Truman discovered, the IC used “intelligence” to undermine presidential policies and advance its own.  This was demonstrated in the 1970s, when a private-sector group of analysts known as “Team B”—led by the recently-departed Professor Richard Pipes of Harvard–successfully challenged the CIA’s view of Soviet military strength, and the CIA’s conviction that we had very little to fear from the Kremlin.

Back in the Truman years, the president was able to appreciate Soviet intentions better than the IC, ironically thanks in no small part to his own intelligence operation in cahoots with Israel.  Ironically, Truman opened a secret back channel to Tel Aviv at the same time the CIA was sabotaging American cooperation with the Jewish state, via the legendary spook James Jesus Angleton, whose point of contact in Israel was Ben-Gurion’s personal secretary, Teddy Kolleck.  The two worked closely with Israel’s domestic security service, the Shin Bet, debriefing Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Empire.  Angleton, like most CIA officials, suspected the Israelis of collusion with the Soviet Union, but in time he realized this was not true.  Angleton subsequently received the text of Khrushchev’s speech about Stalin’s crimes…from the Israelis.  He was subsequently outed by CIA chief William Colby, with whom he had had many disagreements.

Bureaucratic arrogance is an ongoing problem, nowhere more than the Intelligence Community.  The problem is more grave today, with the advances in electronic snooping, the courts’ willingness to let the intelligence agencies pry into all manner of communications, and the zeal with which the media report improper leaks.  As Lee Smith recently tweeted:

They (the IC) ran a counterintelligence investigation of a former rival spy chief, Mike Flynn, a retired 3-star General. Abuse. Then they leaked intercept of his conversation with Russian ambassador. Crime. Now our 3d world press hires our 3d world spy chiefs.

Secret tribunals guarantee this sort of corruption.  Yes, there are cases where decisions on spying on Americans must be secret, but we pay a terrible price for them.  And as things stand, the snoopers have all the cards.  The game is totally rigged.

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