Has the FBI become a threat to democracy? - via washingtonexaminer.com. My answer: Yes, most definitely it did. FBI=KGB! Reform the FBI! Fire the nincompoops!
FBI reviewing Trump-Russia collusion investigator over role in Papadopoulos FISA case https://t.co/QGowfPdbll— Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) June 22, 2022
Last month, in the District of Columbia , a jury could not bring itself to find Michael Sussmann guilty of lying to the FBI . Nonetheless, we learned a lot during that trial. An FBI agent testified that he is under investigation for withholding exculpatory material during the investigation of the Trump campaign. Other revelations in that courtroom highlighted the eagerness of FBI brass, “the 7th floor,” to proceed with the investigation of that presidential campaign. Withholding exculpatory information about someone is a threat to that individual’s civil rights; withholding exculpatory material about a presidential campaign is a threat to democracy.
When explaining the FBI in the past, I and others would often stress how blessed the United States was to have as our domestic security service a law enforcement agency, an organization that works within the guidelines of the law, to protect our democracy.
Doubts about this blessed situation first surfaced after the 2016 election with the exposure of the FBI role in the orchestrated Russian collusion hoax. The current FBI director’s response, repeated like the reggae tune “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” is simply, “Those responsible are no longer with us.” Developments are multiplying that call into question that happy assumption.
The federal case concerning an alleged plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan ended with zero convictions. The defense of entrapment was discussed for the first time in years with credibility. In the aftermath of the bureau’s famous ABSCAM cases of the early '80s, guidelines were put in place and strictly followed that eliminated entrapment as a viable defense. Basically, there is no entrapment if the government can show the defendant was predisposed toward the crime. Agents were cautioned and trained not to entice someone, who was “not otherwise disposed,” into committing a crime. Disclosures in the Michigan case likely convinced jurors that informants and undercover agents helped shape the conspiracy.
In the government-recorded conversations in that case, many passages show the Michigan defendants expressing unease with the idea of kidnapping and confusion about what was planned. One agent, in a text to his informant, just before he led a surveillance of the governor’s residence, is quoted: “Mission is to kill the governor specifically.” In the aftermath of ABSCAM, we believed entrapment had become a nonissue. Maybe not.
Only four defendants went to trial in the kidnapping plot. But there were as many as 12 FBI informants and two undercover agents among the plotters. Reminds me of the joke, or the criticism in some quarters, about the FBI and the Communist Party during the 1950s and '60s. The bureau had so many informants in the party, they were most of the members at the party meetings. The not-so-funny joke was that only the dues of the government-paid informants kept the party going.
What is also not so funny is the alleged kidnapping plot was weaponized by Democrats in the 2020 presidential election. Nor is it funny in our democracy that a couple of ultimately acquitted defendants endured 18 months of imprisonment.
Earlier, in November 2021, the FBI in New York conducted pre-dawn raids at the homes of Project Veritas journalists. This was part of an investigation into the “possible theft” of a diary, belonging to President Joe Biden’s daughter. Why use an intrusive search for a mere diary, particularly if Project Veritas had, as claimed, tried to return the diary to law enforcement and Biden's lawyers. Even left-wing media groups have expressed concern about the violation of a media organization’s First Amendment rights. If the diary belonged to anyone else’s daughter, it is hard to imagine the FBI involved at all. Certainly it is a waste of resources. But to violate a journalist's rights in the process is a threat to democracy.
On March 11, a redacted internal audit from 2019 became public that showed FBI investigations failed to comply with the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide at least 747 times in “sensitive investigative matter” cases. These involve politicians, candidates, religious groups, or the news media. The review identified over two “compliance errors” per case. Errors included failure to get approval for opening a case, failure to document a legal review before opening a case, and failure to keep prosecutors informed. The subjects of the cases are those that brush right up against specific constitutional rights.
Rather than being blessed to have a law enforcement agency as its domestic security agency, is the United States now cursed to have a domestic intelligence organization with police powers? Has a once-great agency now become a threat to our democracy?
Thomas J. Baker, a former FBI agent, is the author of The Fall of the FBI being released later this year by Bombardier Books.
Ukrainian soldiers in the Kherson region this month.Credit...Tyler Hicks/The New York Times
A top Ukrainian government official has made an urgent plea for hundreds of thousands of people living in Russian-occupied parts of southern Ukraine to evacuate in advance of a potential Ukrainian counteroffensive, working to prepare the public for a bloody struggle on another front even as Russia makes steady gains in fierce and costly battles in the east.
In trying to take back territory in the south, Ukrainian officials are facing deep challenges. Russia has been dug in for months in parts of the region, complicating evacuation routes for civilians and forcing Kyiv to decide how much damage it is willing to inflict on towns and cities that — even if an eventual counteroffensive is successful — it would have to rebuild.
“Please, go, because our Army will definitely de-occupy these lands,” said Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister. In one sign of the dilemmas facing Ukraine, she indicated that civilians might first have to flee to Crimea, which was seized by Russia in 2014 and has been a key staging ground for Moscow’s invasion.
Russian forces have intensified searches at checkpoints in the region and are preventing civilians from traveling to Ukrainian-controlled areas. The safest escape route for many of the 500,000 people still estimated to be living in the Kherson region may be to head south to Crimea, she said.
“We know that today it is almost the only humanitarian corridor available, if it can be called that, that can be used to leave,” Ms. Vereshchuk said at a news conference on Monday. “So, if possible, get out of there, especially if you have children.”
From Crimea, she urged people to make their way to another country where they can reach out to the local Ukrainian consulate. She did not elaborate on how Ukrainians would be able to leave from Crimea.
While it is not clear when or if Ukraine will launch a broad offensive, it has been staging limited counterattacks that have put the Russians on the defensive. Ukrainians are now battling Russian forces trying to hold defensive lines less than 12 miles from the city of Kherson — the only regional capital to fall to Russian forces since the Feb. 24 invasion.
The Russians have used indiscriminate, heavy bombardments to level whole towns and villages before infantry troops move in to claim the ruins. But like other towns and cities that fell quickly in the first days of the war, Kherson was spared the kind of widespread destruction that has defined the Russian advance.
Now the Ukrainians are wrestling with complicated calculations in the fight to reclaim lost lands.
Ukrainian officials have stressed how important it is to keep the local population on their side — a task that may be complicated after months of Russian occupation and propaganda. The Russian Ministry of Defense said on Tuesday that it had repaired the last of seven television towers in the Kherson region to broadcast Russian channels.
The Ukrainian military also hopes to use local residents behind enemy lines as a force multiplier by staging sabotage operations, scouting enemy targets and generally creating a hostile environment for occupation forces.A picture taken during a media tour organized by the Russian Army shows a Russian servicemen standing guard near the Dnipro River in Kherson last month. Russian forces have been in control of the city since the early days of the war. Credit...Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA, via Shutterstock
That could include attacks like one over the weekend on three Russian soldiers as they sat at a waterfront cafe in Kherson. Two were killed and a third had to be transported to a hospital in Crimea for treatment after they came under attack by an unidentified gunman, according to the Ukrainian military southern command.
Ukraine would also need to assess how much damage it is willing to inflict in any effort to retake Kherson, since, if it succeeds, it would fall on Kyiv to rebuild. “If the city is demolished, then why liberate it?” asked Oleksandr Samoilenko, a Kherson official.
But the Russians have had months to fortify their positions.
“It will be very, very difficult to open a humanitarian corridor when there are children there,” Ms. Vereshchuk said. “It was difficult in Mariupol, and in the Kherson region it will be even harder.”
Military analysts have cautioned that it could most likely be several weeks before the Ukrainians get more powerful weapons and ammunition needed to wage a wide offensive in the south. But Ukrainian forces continued to set the stage for a broad assault.
The Ukrainian military’s southern command said on Tuesday that Russia was being forced to “resort to desperate means” to hold onto its outer defensive ring, including launching a “massive missile strike.”
There were no reported casualties and the region’s air defense systems limited the damage, according to the military.
The 2018 killing and dismemberment of the Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in Istanbul drove a deep wedge between the two countries.
Lenta.ru : Новости
The House 1/6 committee outlined on Tuesday Donald Trump’s relentless pressure to overturn the 2020 presidential election, aiming to show it led to widespread personal threats on the stewards of American democracy — election workers and local officials — who fended off the defeated (president’s efforts.
The panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the U.S. Capitol resumed with a focus on Trump’s efforts to undo Joe Biden’s victory in the most local way — by leaning on officials in key battleground states to reject ballots outright or to submit alternative electors for the final tally in Congress. The pressure was fueled by the defeated president’s false claims of voter fraud which, the panel says, led directly to the riot at the Capitol.
Full story: https://www.newsnationnow.com/us-news/dc-riots/jan-6-panel-to-hear-from-raffensperger-others-pressured-by-trump/
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