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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 11/27/19

The Press Should Not Be Shielding FBI Malfeasance

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From Consortium News

T he Washington Post and other media outlets last week reported that a former FBI attorney allegedly altered a document related to the FBI's 2016 surveillance of Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser. FBI Inspector General Michael Horowitz apparently concluded that the conduct "did not affect the overall validity of the surveillance application," which was made with the secret FISA court.

The Post article, as well as articles in The New York Times, at CNN, and in other outlets, downplayed the behavior as having had "no effect" on the FBI's surveillance of Page, ignoring the fact that tampering with a federal document is a felony. That's consistent with the Justice Department's own policy of protecting their own while wrecking the lives of those who have the guts to stand up to them.

Publishing Excuses

Look at The Washington Post's original account of the inspector general's findings. The FBI attorney was just a "low-level employee" who has already "been forced out of the Bureau." The altered document "did not affect the overall validity of the surveillance application." The employee "erroneously indicated he had documentation to back up a claim he had made in discussions with the Justice Department about the factual basis for the application. He then altered an email to back up that erroneous claim."

Let's straighten a few things out.

First, the employee was not "low-level." Attorneys enter the FBI at the GS-11 level. That's a starting salary of $69,581. On Day One of his career, the attorney would actually be a mid-level employee. Furthermore, "low-level employees" are not assigned to sensitive operations involving counterintelligence against a major-party presidential campaign. Hand-picked senior employees get that honor.

Second, even if the altered document didn't affect the FISA warrant application, the statement is irrelevant. The attorney committed a felony, plain and simple.

Third, the media says that the attorney "erroneously indicated" that he could back up the document. But that, too, was a felony. It's called "making a false statement" and it's punishable by up to five years in prison.

To make matters worse, there is no indication from the Justice Department that this attorney will be prosecuted. "He's already resigned," The Washington Post tells us, as if that's supposed to make everything OK. Why is the mainstream media shielding FBI malfeasance? For FBI crimes? Because the victim is the Trump campaign, and we're not supposed to like the Trump campaign. It's all about Russia, Russia, Russia, remember? If the evidence doesn't show that, you just change the evidence.

Letter from Terry Albury

We shouldn't be surprised about this kind of behavior from the FBI or from the Justice Department writ large. I received a letter this week from FBI whistleblower Terry Albury. He's the courageous former FBI agent who blew the whistle on systemic racism in the bureau. And he received four years in prison for his trouble. Terry wrote to tell me about an experience that he's having identical to my own, when I was in prison after blowing the whistle on the CIA's torture program.

Terry has less than a year left on his sentence. He has watched over the past year as dozens of prisoners around him have been sent from their low-security prison to a minimum-security work camp. These are prisoners who have committed violent crimes; prisoners who have attempted escape in the past; and prisoners who are incarcerated because they are recidivists. Here's what Terry wrote:

"On 11/13/2018, I self-surrendered to FCI Englewood in Littleton, CO. In assigning me to a Low Security Prison (LSP), the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) placed a Management Variable (MGTV) on my case to counteract my extremely high security score of zero. Of the variables at their disposal, I was deemed to be a 'Greater Security Threat.'

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John Kiriakou spent 14 years at the CIA and two years in a federal prison for blowing the whistle on the agency's use of torture. He served on John Kerry's Senate Foreign Relations Committee for two years as senior investigator into the Middle (more...)
 

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