Destroying, Suppressing Evidence Is FBI Standard Procedure

Authored by James Bovard , op-ed via TheHill.com,

Congressional investigators were rocked this weekend when the FBI notified them that five months of text messages from a top FBI investigator into the Trump campaign’s Russian connections had mysteriously vanished.

 

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/20180122_fbi.jpg

The FBI-issued cell phone of Peter Strzok, whose previous texts to his mistress (also an FBI employee) showed fierce hostility to Trump, suddenly had problems due to “software upgrades” and other issues — and voila — all the messages between the two from Dec. 14, 2016, to May 17, 2017 vanished. Strzok, who oversaw the Trump investigation from its start in July 2016, was removed from Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation last summer after the Justice Department Inspector General discovered his anti-Trump texts.

Stephen Boyd, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, notified a Senate committee that “data that should have been automatically collected and retained for long-term storage and retrieval was not collected.” The missing texts could have obliterated the remnants of credibility of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign.

Conservatives are caterwauling about the vanished evidence but this type of tactic has long been standard procedure for the FBI. Acting FBI chief Patrick Gray was forced to resign in 1973 after it was revealed that he had burned incriminating evidence from the White House in his fireplace shortly after the Watergate break-in by Nixon White House “plumbers.” Gray claimed he was resigning to preserve the “reputation and integrity” of the FBI — but that hasn’t worked out so well.

The FBI has a long history of “losing” evidence that would tarnish its halo. And for most of the agency’s history, judges and Congress have let the FBI sweep its dirt under the rug.

In the Ruby Ridge case, when an FBI sniper gunned down an Idaho mother holding her baby in 1992, the chief of the FBI’s Violence Crimes division was sent to prison for destroying evidence. When a Senate committee held hearings three years later, four FBI agents took the Fifth Amendment rather than tell the incriminating truth about their activities on the Ruby Ridge case. A subsequent Senate report concluded that the five successive FBI reports of internal investigations of the episode "are variously contradictory, inaccurate, and biased. They demonstrate a reluctance on the part of the FBI initially to take the incidents at Ruby Ridge seriously.” Sen. Herbert Kohl (D-Wis.) complained, "I would be asked by the FBI to believe (Ruby Ridge) was almost a model of (good) conduct. The conclusion, is drawn, from ... all the people we've heard, that no one did anything wrong of significance or consequence."

The FBI suppressed mounds of evidence regarding its final assault on the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, on April 19, 1993. The FBI had always vehemently denied that it had any blame for a fire that killed nearly 80 people; six years after the attack, investigators found pyrotechnic rounds the FBI fired into the building before the conflagration erupted. Attorney General Janet Reno lashed out at the FBI for destroying her credibility.

Newsweek reported that, according to a senior FBI official, “as many as 100 FBI agents and officials may have known about” the military-style explosive devices used by the FBI at Waco, despite Reno’s and the FBI’s repeated denials that such devices were used. The FBI deceived Congress and a federal judge by withholding information that it had six closed-circuit television cameras monitoring the Davidians’ home throughout the siege. The resulting films could have the key information that could resolve the major issues of Waco but the FBI withheld the tapes for years, until they were impounded by U.S. marshals.

FBI evidence shenanigans destroyed the prosecution of Cliven Bundy, the Nevadan rancher who was involved in a high-profile standoff with federal agents in 2014. The feds charged the Bundy family with conspiracy in large part because the ranchers summoned militia to defend them after they claimed that FBI snipers had surrounded their ranch. Justice Department lawyers scoffed at this claim in prior trials involving the standoff but newly-released documents confirm that snipers were in place prior to the Bundy’s call for help. Federal judge Gloria Navarro slammed the FBI last month for withholding key evidence in the case.

Evidence disposal is no problem for politically-favored targets of FBI investigation.

A month before the 2016 election, Americans learned that the FBI agreed to destroy the laptops of top Hillary Clinton aides after a limited examination of their contents (including a promise not to examine any emails or content after January 31, 2015) in its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Four Republican congressional committee chairmen complained to Attorney General Lynch that the FBI agreement was " simply astonishing given the likelihood that evidence on the laptops would be of interest to congressional investigators.” The FBI shrugged off the Clinton team’s subsequent use of bleachbit software to erase thousands of her emails. Jeff Sessions, who was then a U.S. senator and is now Attorney General, condemned the FBI’s behavior as “breathtaking:”

“I really don’t see how Congress can issue a subpoena for records and they then destroy those records. I am telling you that every business knows that if they get a subpoena for business records, and they destroy those records, they are subject to criminal prosecution and will be prosecuted.”

Will the FBI face any consequences for its latest lost evidence debacle? In our high-tech era, it is no longer necessary to toss damning evidence into a fireplace. “Software upgrades” sounds so innocuous that only conspiracy theorists could wonder about missing smoking guns. But the FBI is no closer to being compelled to operate openly than when Patrick Gray ignited those White House files.

Comments

NoDebt ???ö? Mon, 01/22/2018 - 20:54 Permalink

Just in case anyone was paying attention, the fire at the Clinton residence a few weeks ago was to have a plausible excuse later that "it was destroyed in the fire" should any of these investigations ever reach that high.  Of course, if we get to that point (unlikely) you should know that whatever "it" is WASN'T destroyed in the fire.  The Clintons keep EVERYTHING.  

Just throwing down my marker on this one.  I suspect this isn't the last we'll hear about that fire.

 

In reply to by ???ö?

Chupacabra-322 nmewn Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:08 Permalink

@ nmewn,

 

  • Six U.S. agencies created a stealth task force, spearhead by CIA’s Brennan, to run domestic surveillance on Trump associates and possibly Trump himself.
  • To feign ignorance and to seemingly operate within U.S. laws, the agencies freelanced the wiretapping of Trump associates to the British spy agency GCHQ.
  • The decision to insert GCHQ as a back door to eavesdrop was sparked by the denial of two FISA Court warrant applications filed by the FBI to seek wiretaps of Trump associates.
  • GCHQ did not work from London or the UK. In fact the spy agency worked from NSA’s headquarters in Fort Meade, MD with direct NSA supervision and guidance to conduct sweeping surveillance on Trump associates.
  • The illegal wiretaps were initiated months before the controversial Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.
  • The Justice Department and FBI set up the meeting at Trump Tower between Trump Jr., Manafort and Kushner with controversial Russian officials to make Trump’s associates appear compromised.
  • Following the Trump Tower sit down, GCHQ began digitally wiretapping Manafort, Trump Jr., and Kushner.
  • After the concocted meeting by the Deep State, the British spy agency could officially justify wiretapping Trump associates as an intelligence front for NSA because the Russian lawyer at the meeting Natalia Veselnitskaya was considered an international security risk and prior to the June sit down was not even allowed entry into the United States or the UK, federal sources said.
  • By using GCHQ, the NSA and its intelligence partners had carved out a loophole to wiretap Trump without a warrant. While it is illegal for U.S. agencies to monitor phones and emails of U.S. citizens inside the United States absent a warrant, it is not illegal for British intelligence to do so. Even if the GCHQ was tapping Trump on U.S. soil at Fort Meade.
  • The wiretaps, secured through illicit scheming, have been used by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 election, even though the evidence is considered “poisoned fruit.”

In reply to by nmewn

slobbermut nmewn Mon, 01/22/2018 - 22:08 Permalink

Highly unlikely that anyone 'goes down for this one'....love to be wrong but this is just another theater circus act for the masses - especially as long as that pathetic obstructionist A.G. Sessions is in place.

Ask yourself WHY isn't Trump DEMANDING A.G. Sessions appoint a S.Prosecutor?  Why does Trump insist on keeping Sessions in his job???  WTF is Wrong with this Picture???

In reply to by nmewn

Chupacabra-322 anarchitect Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:09 Permalink

@ anarchitect,

 

The National Security Elimination Act of 2018

 

The United States survived quite nicely for 130+ years with neither a Criminal FBI, CIA, IRS nor the Federal Reserve. Let's return to those better days ASAP.

 

Would precisely achieve that objective & more by recentrailizing the “Intelligence” Agencies. By Elimination of rouge Criminal Agencies such as the Pure Evil War Criminal Treasonous Seditious Psychopaths at & in the CIA.

So what Criminals at large Obama, Clapper & Lynch have done 17 days prior to former CEO Criminal Obama leaving office was to Decentralize & weaken the NSA. As a result, Raw Intel gathering was then regulated to the other 16 Intel Agencies.

 

Thus, taking Centuries Old Intelligence based on a vey stringent Centralized British Model, De Centralized it, filling the remaining 16 Intel Agenices with potential Spies and a Shadow Deep State Mirror Government.

 

And, If Obama, Lynch & Clapper all agreed 17 days out to change the surveillance structure of the NSA. What date exectly did the changes occur in relation to the first FISA request for the Trump Wire Taps? (We now know that the Criminal FISA requests occurred in October 2016.)

 

Elimination of the Pure Evil War Criminal Treasonous Seditious Psychopaths in the Deep State & CIA.

 

As easily as The National Security Act was signed in 1947 it can & must be Eliminated.

In reply to by anarchitect

verumcuibono Chupacabra-322 Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:19 Permalink

We are seeing all of this erupt leading up to/during/after election because Hillary, face of DS didn't win.

The collusion in D.C is nearing 100%. Wall Street and Hollywood reached saturation decades ago. It has been facilitated by total infiltration and surveillance by DS of EVERYONE for decades. Nearly everyone has a leverage point either because they or someone they know/love is blackmailable.

You also must resolve the $21+TRILLION hole in the bottom of the boat. To comprehend the vastness of this, one must understand what is being funded by it.

In reply to by Chupacabra-322

LetThemEatRand gatorengineer Mon, 01/22/2018 - 20:58 Permalink

It's pretty amazing to watch them pump out the Hope Porn now, to keep the natives satisfied while nothing actually happens and the game clock keeps ticking down until the next election.  I'm guessing Trump et al can't wait for November and a Blue Team landslide so they can start blaming the Blue Team for preventing the Red Team from doing a fucking thing.

In reply to by gatorengineer

Arrowflinger Mon, 01/22/2018 - 20:38 Permalink

In Augusta , Georgia this is old stuff.

There is a name for it. It's called a Sleeper hold.

Wrestler Rick Flair used it but not nearly so effectively  as Georgia politicians.

TheBigCluB insanelysane Mon, 01/22/2018 - 21:17 Permalink

on ruby ridge they killed the dog and a 10 year old boy in the back first..then they murdered vicky..

took a hard left and fried up some men, women and children in waco..

then when bill's reelection numbers slipped they set off ok city..

tax dollars hard at work..

i did leave out the shooting down of twa 800 for what seems to me to be their shits and giggles reasoning..

and to think.. people voted for this..

jokes on you suckerz..

In reply to by insanelysane

Consuelo Mon, 01/22/2018 - 20:43 Permalink

 

 

I want a Rand Paul, Chuck Grassley or Trey Gowdy - somebody, to get on the House floor and proclaim yea verily , that the rule of law is officially DEAD in America.   Because in reality, it is.