FBI Forwaded Tip Line Complaints About Kavanaugh To White House Counsel Without Investigation

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FBI Director Christopher Wray appeared for a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on 08/04/22. One of the most interesting moments in the hearing, especially for Supreme Court enthusiasts like Yours Truly, came during the questioning by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse(D-RI). Senator Whitehouse’s questions focused on the supplemental background investigation (B.I.), the FBI conducted on then Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a topic that has been the subject of much speculation on social media.

Senator Whitehouse has been in a battle with FBI Director Wray since 2019, trying to get to the bottom of whether the FBI thoroughly investigated the numerous tips it received from the public regarding then Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

This intro by Senator Whitehouse is important for establishing the context for the ensuing questioning: “As you know, we are now entering the fourth year of a frustrating saga that began with an August 2019 letter from me and Senator Coons, regarding the Kavanaugh supplemental background investigation, and I’d like to try to get that matter wrapped up.”

Senator Whitehouse(video at 0:23): “First, is it true that after [Justice] Kavanaugh-related tips were separated from the regular tip line traffic, they were forwarded to White House counsel without investigation?”

Director Wray(0:47): “When it comes to the tip line, we wanted to make sure that the White House had all the information we have, so when the hundreds of calls started coming in, we gathered those up, reviewed them, and provided them to the White House.”

At that point Senator Whitehouse interjected, “Without investigation”, to which Director Wray responded, “We reviewed them and then provided them to the White House.”

Sen. Whitehouse:“You reviewed them for the purposes of separating them from the tip line traffic, but did not further investigate the ones that related to Kavanaugh, correct?”

Director Wray:“Correct.”

Senator Whitehouse: “Is it also true that in that supplemental B.I., the FBI took directions from the White House as to whom the FBI would question, and even what questions the FBI could ask?”

Director Wray:“It is true that consistent with the longstanding process that we have had going all the way back to at least the Bush administration, the Obama administration, the Trump administration, and continue to follow currently under the Biden administration, that in a limited supplemental B.I., we take direction from the requesting entity which in this case, was the White House, as to what follow up they want. That’s the direction we followed, that’s the direction we’ve consistently followed throughout the decades, frankly.”

Director Wray went on to add, “It is true as to the ‘who’, I’m not sure as I sit here, whether it’s also true as to the ‘what questions’, but it is true as to the ‘who’ we interviewed.” In other words Director Wray agreed that in a supplemental B.I., it is true that the White House tells the FBI who to question, he’s just not sure yet, whether the White House also tells the FBI what questions to ask the people they question.

Senator Whitehouse:“By the way, is it true that even today we have not been provided by the FBI, it’s written tip line procedures?”

Director Wray: “Senator, I know that we have provided a lot of information to the committee and to you. I would have to check on that specific item. I know there is some information that you have requested that is not our call to provide, that has to do with interaction, communication with the White House.”

There’s no other way to interpret Director Wray’s responses to Senator Whitehouse’s questions other than (I’ll be happy to stand corrected of course), during the highly contentious Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, the complaints the FBI received through its tip line regarding Kavanaugh, were not investigated by the FBI, but instead, forwarded to the White House Counsel. The White House Counsel then told the FBI who among the complainants, the FBI was to question, and possibly, even what questions to ask them.

Folks, no reasonable person presented with this information can ever conclude that the supplemental background investigation into Kavanaugh was “thorough”, as had been portrayed by Senate Republicans during his confirmation hearings. Director Wray argues that this is the same supplemental B.I. process the FBI has used for decades, but as we all know, none of Kavanaugh’s predecessors faced as many serious complaints about their character, requiring a thorough independent investigation. So, while Director Wray raises a valid point regarding consistent FBI practice, reasonable people will agree that Kavanaugh’s case was markedly different, and called for a thorough investigation by the FBI.

Bottom line folks, we’ll wait for Senator Whitehouse’s final report on this issue. As he indicated to Director Wray, he’ll give the FBI one more month to comply with his information requests, after which he will produce a final report on the Kavanaugh supplemental B.I. saga. One only hopes that if Senator Whitehouse’s investigation reveals that there were serious credible allegations against Kavanaugh that went uninvestigated, then an independent investigation will be launched into them immediately.

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Former Assistant AG Jeffrey Clark Discusses FBI Raid On His Home On Tucker Carlson Show

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Former Assistant U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Clark, who’s currently a Senior Fellow at the Center For Renewing America, appeared on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson show(06/23/22) to discuss the FBI’s predawn raid on his home, which presumably, is related to his role in the fake electors scheme that was meant to thwart the certification of President Biden’s electoral college win.

Clark did not directly address the fake elector scheme during his interview on Tucker Carlson show and instead, attacked the time and manner of the FBI raid, which he shockingly referred to as “Stasi-like”. Stasi is of course the term that was used to refer to Adolf Hitler’s ruthless Ministry of State Security. He also characterized the raid as part of a coordinated nationwide political attack on him and other backers of former President Trump.

Clark told host Tucker Carlson(video at 1:38):“Yeah, I think this is highly politicized and it’s also part, Tucker, if you didn’t know it, of a nationwide effort yesterday. There were multiple states where multiple people were roughly simultaneously raided for their electronic devices, and that obviously requires a high level of coordination, and look, with the hearing[January 6th Committee]that was pointed at me, and targeting me today, with the special audience member of Sean Penn–so you know this is Hollywood– the very next day, you know, it looks highly coincidental. I just don’t believe in coincidences.”

There’s no other way to interpret Clark’s rambling and rather incoherent response other than, he is framing this as some sort of made-for-television political attack against him(the Senn Penn reference). This displays a shocking level of tone-deafness on his part, given the volume of evidence adduced so far, regarding the fake elector scheme. Clark may not realize this, but many consider him very lucky to have gone this far without any criminal prosecution for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. He is the last person who should be surprised about a search warrant being executed at their home, given the volume of evidence already out there regarding the fake elector scheme.

It also bears pointing out that at his testimony before the January 6th Committee, Clark responded to virtually every question by pleading the 5th(right against self-incrimination), which every reasonable person would agree, demonstrates at the very least, some consciousness of guilt on his part.

Interestingly, he never mentioned the fake elector scheme during his interview on the Tucker Carlson show. Most innocent people would use such venues to reiterate the fact that they did nothing wrong. Clark appeared only bothered by the fact that the FBI showed up at his house very early in the morning, before he could put on his favorite pants, and that they showed up with “electronic sniffing dogs”, which he claimed he has “never seen before, or heard of.”

Bottom line folks, reasonable people will agree that the January 6th Committee has provided enough evidence so far regarding Clark’s role in the fake elector scheme, to justify his criminal prosecution. As I stated earlier, Clark should consider himself lucky that he has not been criminally charged yet, and should be the last person surprised, or upset, by an FBI raid on his home.

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House Intel Hearing On Russia-Ukraine Provides Rare Oversight Of Our Intel Agencies

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Intel Chiefs from Left to right–Chris Wray(FBI), General Nakasone(NSA), Gina Haspel(former CIA Director), William Burns(CIA Director) and Lt. Gen Scott Berrier(DIA)

A House Intelligence Committee hearing on the Russia-Ukraine war provided a rare opportunity for members of Congress to conduct a backhanded oversight of our intelligence agencies. The hearing, which assembled all the alphabet agency chiefs(FBI, NSA, CIA & DIA) in one room(a very rare occurrence), afforded members of Congress a unique opportunity to raise other domestic issues of public concern regarding our intel agencies. Oversight of our intelligence agencies, as you may know, is an issue Congress has dragged its feet on, ever since the terrorist attacks in September 2001, so this was a breath of fresh air.

Rep Chris Stewart(R-UT) questioned FBI Director Wray about the controversial NSO Spyware Pegasus , which several media reports indicated last year, was being used by dictators worldwide, to illegally track/spy on political dissidents and even journalists. Rep Stewart wanted to know whether Pegasus was being used on U.S. persons for investigative purposes. Director Wray assured Rep Stewart that the FBI purchased Pegasus in 2019 only for “testing and evaluation purposes“, adding that it has never been used on any U.S. person for investigative purposes.

Rep Stewart then asked why the FBI would test a spying software if it didn’t intend to use it? Director Wray, acknowledging that this was a good question, maintained that Pegasus has never been used for investigative purposes on U.S. persons, and that FBI routinely tests products out there, that could be dangerous in the wrong hands.

Rep Joaquin Castro(D-TX) followed up on Rep Stewart’s questioning re Pegasus software. He wanted to know whether foreign governments have used Pegasus to target U.S. persons. Director Wray indicated that such a question would be better answered in a classified setting, so we are left hanging on that issue. Yay!!

Another interesting line of questioning came from Rep Elise Stefanik(R-NY) who brought up a very troubling case of an FBI counterterrorism informant, who was not only known to have violated the law multiple times, but whose Limo company led to the deaths of some 20 innocent New Yorkers, ruining the lives of their surviving family members. The crux of Rep Stefanik’s question, an excellent one that quite frankly isn’t asked often enough, was whether informants used in counterterrorism cases, are vetted to make sure they are not criminals. Director Wray assured Rep Stefanik that there are strict rules in place regarding the conduct of FBI informants, even when it comes to counterterrorism cases. This was a very important question because there is a widely held belief out there that in counterterrorism cases, “anything goes”, including the use of criminals/criminal gangs to go after/harass terrorism suspects–people who often times, have not been convicted of anything. A sad state of affairs indeed.

Bottom line folks, the hearing today showed just how important it is to have proper oversight of our intelligence agencies, something Yours Truly has been screaming about. There is absolutely no reason why questions about Pegasus spyware and other intelligence-related questions cannot be aired in a public forum like it happened today. Simply put, not every intelligence-related hearing has to be in a private setting. There are enough topics of public interest that can be safely discussed in public. Hopefully when U.S. Senators get their go-around with these intelligence chiefs, somebody will pop the $1 million question–the plight of targeted individuals in the U.S., which maybe, just maybe, may solve the Havana Syndrome mystery.

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AG Barr, FBI’s Wray Sued Over Terrorist Watchlists

An interesting terrorist watch list lawsuit is currently playing out at the United States District Court for the District of Colorado (USDC-Colorado). The lawsuit, Coker v Barr (1:19-cv-02486, filed 08/30/19), names U.S. Attorney General William Barr, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Charles H. Kable, Director of the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) as defendants. The plaintiff James A. Coker, a military veteran and former law enforcement officer believes, as do many other innocent Americans, that he has been wrongfully placed on a terrorist watch list and is fighting to be accorded a court hearing where he can challenge the basis of his inclusion in the watch list(s). Below is a copy of the very well done complaint filed by the plaintiff’s attorney Patricia S. Bangert.

Terror Watch List Lawsuit by Emolclause on Scribd

According to the complaint, James Coker (plaintiff) who is a military veteran and decorated law enforcement officer(Georgia), began experiencing problems at airports on his air travels in 2016. He raised this issue with the Department of Homeland Security(DHS) using the procedure the department has set up for people who suspect they have been wrongfully placed on the no-fly list. DHS never took him off the no-fly list. In 2018 he applied for, and was offered a job by Veterans Affairs(VA) as a police officer. As a condition of the job, he was required to attend training at a VA police officers training center in Arkansas. Two weeks into his training, armed guards informed him that he was on a terrorist watch list and escorted him out of the training center–a totally humiliating experience. With this lawsuit, Coker seeks to find out among other things, how the hell he ended up on a terrorist watch list.

Coker’s lawsuit is very important in that it yet again reinforces one of the strongest arguments made against the terrorist watch list system and that is, it is very possible for innocent Americans to get caught up in these terrorist watch lists for reasons that have nothing to do with terrorism either through errors but also, quite commonly, through malice. In an unrelated terrorist watch list lawsuit for example, the plaintiff claimed that the FBI placed him in a watch list simply because he refused to be an informant against his fellow Muslim friends, a clear cut case of retaliation. This Just Security piece provides other examples of grave abuses of these terrorist watch lists but more importantly, the disastrous effects of the said abuses on the innocent targets’ lives.

The plaintiff in the instant case James Coker, doesn’t fit the profile of someone many Americans would expect to land on the terrorist watch list–a military veteran with a law enforcement background and zero criminal record. The fact that someone like James Coker can also get ensnared in the terrorist watch list dragnet should be reason enough for members of congress to finally crack down on this grotesquely unjust program.

Think about that folks. With all the hue and cry in the mainstream media about FISA surveillance abuses against Carter Page, it is shocking how since 2003, we have seemingly tolerated this grotesquely unjust terrorist watch list system where on any given day and for whatever reason, someone can arbitrarily decide that you pose a threat to national security, throw your name into some watch list turning your life upside down, without you ever getting a chance to challenge the basis of your inclusion in the said watch list. Anyone who claims to be concerned about surveillance abuses regarding Carter Page but is okay with this abuse-prone terrorist watch list system cannot be taken seriously. Simply put, any serious debate about surveillance reforms has to include these terrorist watch lists.

Why is Coker v Barr very important and potentially the ground zero for much anticipated push back against the surveillance state? The simple answer is timing. It is impossible to ignore the backdrop against which this lawsuit is playing out. A reasonable argument can be made that ever since the 9/11 terrorist attack in 2001, it is in 2020 that the anti-surveillance sentiment has finally reached fever pitch, and a lot of this has to do with the FISA surveillance abuses revealed in the Carter Page case. An investigation conducted by the Department of Justice Inspector General into 29 other FISA surveillance applications after the Carter Page revelations, found errors in all the 29 applications. Coker v Barr is therefore playing out at a time when there is tremendous appetite for surveillance reform and I suspect the USDC-Colorado district judge is fully aware of that.

It also bears pointing out that when a key surveillance law recently came up for reauthorization, it was “law and order” Republican Senators who temporarily held up its automatic renewal. Folks, if “law and order” Republican Senators holding up automatic renewal of a crucial surveillance law is not the ultimate signal that time has finally come for some serious surveillance reform, I don’t know what is.

Bottom line, Coker v Barr comes at a time when there is a great national appetite for a serious overhaul of the surveillance regime. There is a very good chance that USDC-Colorado may finally force the government (AG Barr and Co.) to explain how secretly throwing an individual in some list that upends their life and livelihood, without ever according them a chance to challenge such a placement does not on its face, grossly violate the 5th amendment’s due process requirements. Prior to the Carter Page and DOJ-IG findings of surveillance abuses, courts were reluctant to address the glaring due process concerns raised by the terrorist watch list program. I suspect with Coker v Barr, USDC-Colorado will be very eager to get an explanation from AG Barr and Co. as to how the secretive terrorist watch lists satisfy the 5th amendment’s due process requirements. Major kudos to attorney Patricia Bangert for this forceful legal challenge to the surveillance regime.

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