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Is Reckless Comey Seeking Revenge On Critics Via FBI Twitter Account?

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Is Reckless Comey Seeking Revenge On Critics Via FBI Twitter Account?

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Reprinted with permission from AlterNet. 

Something very dangerous is happening in the Federal Bureau of Investigation: The nation’s foremost law enforcement agency appears to be at war both within itself and with the Department of Justice, to which it belongs. The disagreements all involve our national politics and the FBI’s appropriate role in them, leaving the American people with yet another major institution on their do-not-trust list. The government is coming ever more undone, so much so that a recent Twitter post from an FBI account is raising questions about who’s behind it—the director of the FBI, or agents seemingly beyond his control.

The chaos burst into public view on Friday, October 28, 11 days before the 2016 presidential election is scheduled to take place. That’s when FBI director James Comey issued—against the wishes of DOJ officials and counter to department guidelines—his infamous letter informing the chairmen of eight congressional committees that agents investigating a possible sex crime by former congressman Anthony Weiner had found correspondence on his computer, involving his estranged wife Huma Abedin, that may be pertinent to the bureau’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. (Abedin is a longtime Clinton aide.) Comey hadn’t seen the emails, he said, and didn’t know what was in them, leaving a lot of people scratching their heads and wondering if he just wasn’t trying to sway the election.

In the meantime, as noted in a letter to Comey from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, the FBI was investigating links between Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and the government of Russia. There again, it may well be that the FBI hasn’t uncovered any actionable information, but its director has not seen fit to write a letter to Congress in order to inform committee chairs that it has discovered a server used by the Trump Organization, possibly to conduct traffic between itself and the Alfa Bank of Russia.

According to news reports, the Bureau has also investigated the Trump Organization’s use of the server, but doesn’t know what’s been transmitted on it. Kind of like Anthony Weiner’s laptop, except that it involves a foreign government that is also believed by leaders of U.S. intelligence agencies to be behind the hacks of the emails of the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the chairman of the Hillary Clinton for President campaign. (The Intercept published an article Tuesday claiming to debunk the theory of the “Trump server” communicating with Alfa Bank.)

So it seems that from a law enforcement perspective, the FBI behaved properly in not sending word to Congress about the server, or any as-of-yet unproven links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. But that same standard was not applied in the case of the Weiner laptop.

It’s been reported that Comey was feeling pressure, not just from Republicans who are furious with him for not indicting Clinton for her use of her private server for the conduct of government business, but from his own agents. And it would seem that Comey feels stung by the criticism he’s taking from Democrats regarding the letter he sent to Congress on Friday.

Now comes word, via Devlin Barrett of the Wall Street Journal, that agents who were investigating allegations of influence-peddling involving the Clinton Foundation were incensed when higher-ups at the Justice Department urged them to tread carefully so as to adhere to department guidelines against taking action that could influence an election, and that members of the Department’s anti-corruption unit didn’t think the FBI had a strong case.

It seems as if whoever controls a Bureau Twitter account called @FBIRecordsVault has struck back against all those Clinton surrogates who are calling foul on Comey. The account, whose purpose is the posting of documents released through Freedom of Information Act requests, appears to have been dead for a year—no postings since Oct. 7, 2015. Suddenly, on Tuesday, it sprang to life with a handful of posts, one a nothing-burger on Fred Trump, father of the Republican standard-bearer; and another on an old investigation of the Clinton Foundation and President Bill Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich, then a fugitive hedge-fund manager whose wife had donated to the DNC and the Clinton Foundation. It was Comey who brought the criminal case against Rich, Bloomberg News reports, and is said to have been “stunned” by Clinton’s pardon of the financier. The documents linked in the tweet don’t say much of anything (they’re heavily redacted), but the tweet itself does reinforce in the public mind the controversies advanced by Clinton’s enemies about the foundation. It’s not the fact of the tweet that’s at issue—the material was released via FOIA—but the timing of it from an account that was only reactivated Sunday.

Over the years, leaders and members of the FBI have given the American people many reasons to draw the conclusion that, in matters involving the American political landscape and the people who inhabit it, the Bureau cannot be trusted. Among them are the FBI’s attempts to undermine Rev. Martin Luther King at the height of the civil rights movement, and the bureau’s infiltration of civil rights and anti-war groups in the 1960s through its COINTELPRO operation and a similar operation that targeted the American Indian Movement.

In subsequent years, the Bureau was seen as more or less chastened and rehabilitated, thanks to the 1976 Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities of the United States Senate, popularly known as the Church Committee (named for its chairman, Sen. Frank Church of Idaho).

Now we have entered a new era, in which the director of the FBI, with his letter to Congress, is acting so recklessly as to harm the very process of democracy. It seems that he’s either signed off on an election-week records dump, via Twitter, from an old investigation of the Clinton Foundation, or has lost control of the agents who staff the FBI’s Twitter account. Either way, he’s made a choice to let chaos reign in the closing days of a presidential campaign.

Adele M. Stan is AlterNet’s senior Washington editor, and a weekly columnist for The American Prospect. Follow her on Twitter @addiestan.

IMAGE: FBI Director James Comey walks during a break in testimony during a House Judiciary hearing on “The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans’ Security and Privacy” on Capitol Hill in Washington March 1, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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20 Comments

  1. Thoughtopsy November 2, 2016

    It’s the Clinton Rules all over again.

    Excuse anything the Republicans do… from starting a war on a lie… to missing the foreshadowing of 9/11… to “losing” 22 million emails… To nominating Trump, the human sewer.

    But if Hillary does anything even remotely wrong, then it has to be investigated relentlessly for 18 months… by everyone.

    Evidence? Just look at:
    – Embassy Deaths during Bush Administration: 74. Any investigations? No.
    – Benghazi happens while HIllary is StateSec killing 4 people: 8 Full Governmental Investigations.

    – Bush/Cheney “lose” 22 MILLION emails all from critical periods around the Iraq invasion. Any investigations? No. Previous StateSecs use same or similar practices. Any investigations? No.
    – Hillary hands over all her work related emails, her IT guy takes it on himself to delete the personal emails… And it’s investigated ad nauseum by every Media outlet and Republican shill from… oddly enough… 5 weeks before she declares her run for President all the way through her campaign to Election Day…

    It works for others too…
    – Obama salutes a soldier with a coffee cup in his hand and the GOP Pols and the Republican Media Hyperventilating Scream machine all completely LOSE THEIR SH!T over “disrespect for our military”.
    – Trump viciously attacks a Gold Star family whose son died defending the country effectively calling them terrorists and traitors… and the Right collectively is all like… “Meh, so what.”

    It’s sad how hypocritical and full of sh!t the right is.
    Hillary is just the current sterling example.

    Reply
    1. Jinmichigan November 3, 2016

      If not for 25 years of fake scandals Clinton would be up 20 points in the election. republicans have absolutely nothing to run on, whether it’s trump or any of the other 16.

      Reply
    2. cthetruth November 3, 2016

      Thank you Thoughtopsy. There are many more instances than the ones you mention, including within the Nixon, Reagan, Bush one and Bush two administrations. Where are the costly and time consuming investigations into their lawlessness? This is a witchhunt and makes me wonder, what are the Republicans so afraid of, to go to this length to bring Clinton down. Maybe they are afraid of a balanced budget again, as was the case during Bill Clinton’s administration. Makes the Republicans look like the incompetent ,obstructionists that they truly are.

      Reply
      1. A. D. Reed November 3, 2016

        I’m so glad you mentioned a balanced budget. Such a thing is anathema to Wall Street investors, who profit immensely by lending money to the federal government at profit margins that, while seemingly small, create vast sums for them. Deficits also increase pressure from, and on, their Republican minions to privatize all the most efficient programs the government runs, from Medicare to Social Security to CHIP to FHA to the FAA, and allows us — we the people — to have a government that invests in public infrastructure, such as highways and water and sewer systems and clean, efficient energy — all of which Wall Street and Republicans want to privatize for their own profit.

        To say nothing of public education, which is gradually being destroyed by the charter schools movement and the privatizing of public universities through Koch-endowed, Ayn-Randian economics departments around the country.

        Reply
    3. CrankyToo November 3, 2016

      What’s that you say? Republicans are scum???? Who knew?

      Reply
    4. itsfun November 3, 2016

      I think you would find that both sides of the aisle are full of corruption and illegal doings.

      Reply
  2. Mama Bear November 3, 2016

    Headline November 9: Obama fires Comey and cleans house in the ranks.

    Reply
    1. itsfun November 3, 2016

      Headline news after President Trump is sworn into office: Trump hires Comey as head of the FBI.

      Reply
      1. The lucky one November 3, 2016

        That could only happen if Comey had agreed not to seek prosecution of Trump for his many crimes both past and current.

        Reply
        1. itsfun November 3, 2016

          It can only happen if Obama fires Comey. I don’t believe he will. Doing that would bring so many demonstrations it would work to destroy our system. Maybe that would give Obama the idea to declare marshall law and he would try to stay in office.

          Reply
          1. The lucky one November 3, 2016

            That could only happen in the event of catastrophic events beyond the kind of a fart in a windstorm type of unrest that may be evoked when Trump is beaten and declares he was robbed as rich boy spoiled whiners sometimes do when thy don’t get their way. I do think we will see the bigots who have felt empowered by Trump’s rhetoric becoming more of a problem after their hero is deflated but not to the point where marshal law would even be a thought.

            Reply
          2. plc97477 November 4, 2016

            Most of the dumps bigots are very cowardly. You can tell because they think the dump is going to be a big strong guy and save them from the boogie man. I would be a lot more worried about the russian mob than his minions.

            Reply
          3. The lucky one November 5, 2016

            I agree but I think we may see an increase in the kind of cowardly acts like the big guy who attacked the 150 lb. autistic black kid who was running with his high school team. It’s amazing to me that so many people idolize an arrogant bullying blowhard.

            Reply
          4. jmprint November 3, 2016

            Are you working on a new conspiracy?

            Reply
          5. itsfun November 3, 2016

            nope

            Reply
  3. CrankyToo November 3, 2016

    Note to Comey: You’re a POS, G-Man.

    Reply
  4. Jon November 3, 2016

    The FBI may as well decorate its offices with TRUMP-PUTIN posters, sell MAGA caps, and pass out pro-Trump propaganda. These are the only things it hasn’t done yet.

    Reply
  5. loveofcountry November 3, 2016

    Calling Comey reckless is rich.
    How about putting that word where it belongs. Hillary Clinton put this on herself. She owns the term. I can think of quite a few more. She had that server in her bathroom, putting our national security at great risk in order to hide her emails from the Freedom of Information Act. She stated she only wanted to use one device. How stupid does she think we are? Ends up she used 13 and then destroyed them with hammers.
    Does this sound like someone who is honest with nothing to hide?

    Reply
  6. dpaano November 4, 2016

    As everyone has already said….it’s interesting that the FBI, etc., have found so many things to investigate Clinton for; however, they can’t seem to stir up ONE thing to investigate for Trump. The silliest thing of all is that Trump has far MORE things for them to investigate than Hillary does. For example, let’s look at the Trump Foundation….a truly illegal “checkbook” for the Trump family. The ONLY charitable thing they’ve donated to was their own family! They have done NOTHING for anyone other than themselves, but where’s the FBI to investigate that? I could list so much more, but I’m sure everyone on this site already knows all the Trump foibles that should have been investigated but were, interestingly enough, forgotten!!! What a bunch of hypocrites!!! It’s sad what our government agencies have turned into, much of which was allowed during previous Republican administrations and allowed to continue. Hopefully, when Hillary gets to the White House, she’ll suggest a few investigations of her own!!! First one….the FBI agency and Comey!!!

    Reply
  7. Aaron_of_Portsmouth November 10, 2016

    Comey and the FBI have become parasitic agents intent on mortally wounding the DOJ and trashing the very notion of Justice. Any association with the GOP seems to result anyone inclined to be unscrupulous to make a beeline for corrupt and moribund behavior, and Comey is in a steady downward decline, having already tainted the electoral process to the point of allowing an accident to be elected.

    Reply

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