J. Edgar Hoover: Devil With the Blue Dress

     If the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1924 to 1972 thought much about his legacy, he probably hoped to be remembered as the man who professionalized criminal investigation, and elevated the image of t…

     If the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1924 to 1972 thought much about his legacy, he probably hoped to be remembered as the man who professionalized criminal investigation, and elevated the image of the FBI agent. As the man responsible for the FBI fingerprint bureau, crime laboratory, National Police Academy, and the "FBI Bulletin," one could argue that Mr. Hoover played a positive role in the history of 20th Century American law enforcement.

    Hoover's critics, and there were many of them, portrayed him as a power-hungry phony who, over four decades, abused his power. Although a dozen or so books have been published about J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI under his directorship, he probably would not be remembered at all by the general public had there not been a book published in 1993 by the Irish journalist (some would say tabloid journalist) Anthony Summers.

     In "Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover," Summers, relying on information from the embittered wife of a Hoover crony, paints Hoover as a cross-dressing homosexual. Ronald Kessler, a former FBI agent and author of "The Secrets of the FBI," considers the cross-dressing story a fabrication by a vengeful woman who later served time for perjury. While most FBI historians agree with Mr. Kessler on this, the image of Hoover wearing a dress and high-heels has stuck. This is how he is remembered, or at least referred to, by people influenced by supermarket celebrity rags, and late-night TV.

     Clint Eastwood's 2011 movie, "J. Edgar," had it not focused so much on the Lindbergh kidnapping case and Hoover's strange relationship with his mother and his right-hand man, Clyde Tolson, may have triggered a public debate over Hoover's place in the history of American law enforcement. Instead, the discussion mainly featured the film itself.

     Agents who worked under Hoover, many of whom belong to the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI, were outraged by the film. As an agent who worked in Hoover's FBI and is not a member of the organization, I remember being surprised that agents who complained bitterly about working conditions under the director suddenly became Hoover fans after they retired and joined the group.

     On the other side of the debate, critics of the film accuse Clint Eastwood of glossing over Hoover's abuse of power and the corrupting influence he had on the agency. It seemed that in making this film, Eastwood managed to offend everyone, including regular moviegoers who thought the flick was too long, and worse, boring and off-putting.

     As for J. Edgar Hoover and the memory of him, it looks like he was not getting out of that dress any time soon.   

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

Categories: FBI

FBI Agent Gets Four-Year Term for Leaking

Terry Albury, 39, of Minneapolis, admitted leaking national defense material because he was unhappy about the FBI’s treatment of minorities. He is the second to be sentenced in a Trump administration crackdown on leaks.

Confronted with what he saw as the FBI’s mistreatment of minorities, former Minneapolis special agent Terry Albury felt the need to act. What he did led to a four-year prison sentence, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Albury, 39, who joined the bureau in 2000 and was most recently assigned as an airport liaison, was sentenced Thursday. He had pleaded guilty to making an unauthorized disclosure of national defense information and unlawful retention of national defense information. Prosecutors say Albury shared documents — some considered classified — on evaluating potential informants, along with a document “relating to threats posed by certain individuals from a particular Middle Eastern country.”

He is the second person sentenced as part of the Trump administration’s crackdown on government employee leaks to the media. The other, Reality Winner, a former National Security Agency contractor, got a five-year prison term for disclosing a top-secret report on how Russian operatives gained access to U.S. election databases. In delivering Albury’s sentence, U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright said that while his motivations may have been pure, he didn’t have the right to break the law. “You put the United States at risk,” she said. “In your mind, a noble cause and a just action; in the minds of those who understand national security, a fool’s errand.” Albury admitted last spring to leaking the documents to an unnamed reporter. While never identified in court filings, it’s widely believed that the information ended up in the hands of The Intercept, which used them in its “FBI’s Secret Rules” series on how the bureau assesses potential informants. The case has worried press freedom advocates, who see it as fulfillment of Attorney General Jeff  Sessions’ pledge to crack down on government leakers.

from https://thecrimereport.org

FBI Agent Gets Four-Year Term for Leaking

Terry Albury, 39, of Minneapolis, admitted leaking national defense material because he was unhappy about the FBI’s treatment of minorities. He is the second to be sentenced in a Trump administration crackdown on leaks.

Confronted with what he saw as the FBI’s mistreatment of minorities, former Minneapolis special agent Terry Albury felt the need to act. What he did led to a four-year prison sentence, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Albury, 39, who joined the bureau in 2000 and was most recently assigned as an airport liaison, was sentenced Thursday. He had pleaded guilty to making an unauthorized disclosure of national defense information and unlawful retention of national defense information. Prosecutors say Albury shared documents — some considered classified — on evaluating potential informants, along with a document “relating to threats posed by certain individuals from a particular Middle Eastern country.”

He is the second person sentenced as part of the Trump administration’s crackdown on government employee leaks to the media. The other, Reality Winner, a former National Security Agency contractor, got a five-year prison term for disclosing a top-secret report on how Russian operatives gained access to U.S. election databases. In delivering Albury’s sentence, U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright said that while his motivations may have been pure, he didn’t have the right to break the law. “You put the United States at risk,” she said. “In your mind, a noble cause and a just action; in the minds of those who understand national security, a fool’s errand.” Albury admitted last spring to leaking the documents to an unnamed reporter. While never identified in court filings, it’s widely believed that the information ended up in the hands of The Intercept, which used them in its “FBI’s Secret Rules” series on how the bureau assesses potential informants. The case has worried press freedom advocates, who see it as fulfillment of Attorney General Jeff  Sessions’ pledge to crack down on government leakers.

from https://thecrimereport.org

FBI Employees Recalled From Asia Over Prostitution Issues

FBI employees have been recalled from cities across Asia while the agency investigates allegations related to parties and interactions with prostitutes. The Justice Department’s inspector general is examining the allegations, which involve FBI personnel in six cities.

FBI employees stationed in cities across Asia have been recalled to Washington while the agency investigates allegations related to parties and interactions with prostitutes, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Justice Department’s inspector general is examining the allegations, which involve FBI personnel in six cities. The FBI said, “Upon learning of these allegations of misconduct, action was taken to reassign certain personnel to non-operational roles while the allegations are reviewed.” The allegations are a potential black eye for an agency that has become a magnet for criticism. The bureau had to reopen a background investigation into now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh after allegations of sexual assault, which he denied. The FBI has been at the center of an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, including links to the Trump campaign.

The personal conduct of FBI agents came under scrutiny after the disclosure of anti-Trump text messages between two then-FBI employees who had been involved in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. The latest allegations involve FBI legal attaché offices, or “legats,” based at U.S. embassies in dozens of cities around the world, where agents work with foreign counterparts on terrorism and other crimes. The posts tend to last several years, and often involve cultivating relationships with local officials over late-night drinks. Issues involving prostitution, which is legal or tolerated in some countries, have been a particular concern for FBI officials, who worry about foreign intelligence services trying to compromise agents. Agents going overseas receive extensive briefings on potential avenues foreign officers may seek to compromise them. The exact nature of the allegations against the FBI employees couldn’t be determined. Other law enforcement agencies, including the Secret Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration, have dealt with similar scandals in recent years.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Wray Confirms White House Limited FBI’s Kavanaugh Check

FBI Director Christopher Wray told senators that the White House put limits on the re-opened investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but he insisted that the process used was a typical one. The inquiry was “very specific in scope,” Wray said.

FBI Director Christopher Wray told senators on Wednesday that the White House put limits on the re-opened investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but he insisted that the process used was a typical one, reports Politico. “Our supplemental update to the previous background investigation was limited in scope and that … is consistent with the standard process for such investigations going back a long ways,” Wray said under questioning by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) at a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing. “I’ve spoken with our background investigation specialists and they have assured me this was handled in a way consistent with their experience and the standard process,” the FBI director said, adding that the inquiry was “very specific in scope—limited in scope.”

Wray confirmed that background investigations are handled differently from other FBI probes and that the scope of inquiries into judicial nominees is dictated by the White House. Democratic senators have complained that the FBI probe was unduly limited, failed to interview relevant witnesses and failed to re-interview Kavanaugh and one of his primary accusers, Christine Blasey Ford. Republican senators who insisted on the renewed inquiry before voting on Kavanaugh have said they considered the effort sufficient. During the hearing, the FBI chief tried to avoid being drawn out on other politically-heated issues surrounding the bureau. He largely succeeded. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) cited President Trump’s frequent attacks on the FBI, including his description last year of “several rotten apples” among the bureau’s top leaders. “Senator, I can only tell you about the FBI I see, which is people of great courage, integrity and professionalism,” Wray responded. “They are extraordinary people that this committee and all Americans should be proud of.”

from https://thecrimereport.org

FBI Director to Cops: Don’t Listen to ‘Armchair Critics’

Speaking at a convention of police chiefs in Orlando, Christopher Wray cited the opiate crisis, mass violence, terrorism and cyber threats as law enforcement priorities. And the leader of an agency that has faced oppressive attacks from Donald Trump pointedly said that law enforcers must “tune out the noise” emanating from critics.

Improved communication and collaboration among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies is essential to confront the “unprecedented” threats to public safety that the United States faces, FBI Director Christopher Wray said Sunday.

Speaking at the annual conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Orlando, Wray also cited the background noise that law enforcers face in dealing with “armchair critics.” Wray did not mention Donald Trump in his speech, but the president has made a habit of attacking the FBI as “corrupt” on Twitter.

Wray listed these law enforcement “significant challenges”:

  • The opiate crisis. More than 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017, “and by all accounts, the problem is getting worse,” Wray said. He urged a renewed effort to reduce the narcotics supply from China and Mexico. “This has become a national security issue that plays itself out on our streets every day,” he said.
  • Mass violence. “In 2017 alone, there were 30 separate active shootings in the United States—the biggest number ever recorded by the FBI during a one-year period,” Wray said.
  • International and domestic terrorism. “The homegrown violent extremist threat is the new normal,” Wray said. “These folks are largely radicalized online, and they’re inspired by the global jihadist movement.” He said the bureau has terrorist investigations in all 50 states, and arrests have been made “all over the map, in cities big and small.”
  • Cyber security. “The cyber threat continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and the more we shift to the Internet as the conduit and the repository for everything we use and share and manage, the more danger we’re in,” he said.

“We need to rely on each other for information, for experience and best practices, for new ideas and new ways of looking at old problems,” Wray told the police chiefs, according to a transcript provided by the FBI. Among other things, he cited an effort by big-city chiefs and county sheriffs “to develop a comprehensive threat assessment to help law enforcement leaders better identify, analyze, and prioritize the major threats facing their communities.”

Wray, 51, was appointed by Trump in August 2017 following his controversial dismissal of James Comey. Wray, just the eighth man to lead the agency, has been buffeted by Trump’s Twitter criticisms of the FBI and the Department of Justice–and their leaders, including Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Among numerous other examples, Trump tweeted on Sept. 1, “You’ve got corruption at the DOJ & FBI. The leadership of the DOJ & FBI are completely out to lunch in terms of exposing and holding those accountable who are responsible for that corruption.”

While failing to mention Trump, Wray closed with a riff on the wearying strain that detractors bring to an already taxing occupation.

“Our jobs seem to be getting more daunting each day,” Wray said. “And there are lots of days when you think there’s got to be an easier way to make a living.”

He offered this piece of advice: “Tune out the noise, the chatter, and the armchair critics. Focus on the work, and the people we do the work for. Heads up, eyes forward, shoulder-to-shoulder. We’ll forge ahead—together.”

from https://thecrimereport.org

Prosecutors Take McCabe Evidence to Grand Jury

Federal prosecutors are using a grand jury to investigate former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, an indication the probe into whether he misled officials exploring his role in a controversial media disclosure has intensified. McCabe’s attorney charges that a leak about the case “is a sad and poorly veiled attempt to try to distract the American public.”

Federal prosecutors are using a grand jury to investigate former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, an indication the probe into whether he misled officials exploring his role in a controversial media disclosure has intensified, the Washington Post reports. The presence of the grand jury shows prosecutors are treating the matter seriously, locking in the accounts of witnesses who might later have to testify at a trial. Such panels are sometimes used only as investigative tools, and it remains unclear if McCabe will ultimately be charged.

Michael Bromwich, a lawyer for McCabe, said he was confident McCabe would not be charged, absent “inappropriate pressure from high levels of the Administration.” Bromwich added, “Unfortunately, such pressure has continued, with the President targeting Mr. McCabe in numerous additional tweets.” The lawyer raised questions about the timing of the news report on the grand jury. The “leak about a procedural step taken more than a month ago — occurring in the midst of a disastrous week for the President — is a sad and poorly veiled attempt to try to distract the American public,” Bromwich said. “We remain confident that a thorough review of the facts and circumstances related to this matter will demonstrate that there is no basis on which criminal charges should be brought.” In such a politically charged case, a decision to prosecute McCabe or not will draw significant criticism either way.

from https://thecrimereport.org

DOJ Investigating FBI Handling of Nassar Sex Case

The Justice Department’s Inspector General is probing how the FBI handed sexual-abuse allegations by gymnasts against national team doc tor Larry Nassar in 2015. Gymnasts’ complaints languished for at least nine months before an FBI office opened a formal investigation.

The Justice Department is investigating how the FBI handled sexual-abuse allegations against former U.S. gymnastics national-team doctor Larry Nassar, amid claims agents failed to respond to complaints from gymnasts in 2015, reports the Wall Street Journal. The move by the department’s Inspector General follows an internal Federal Bureau of Investigation review into the bureau’s handling of the Nassar allegations. The gymnasts’ complaints languished for at least nine months before an FBI office opened a formal investigation. Nassar pleaded guilty last year to federal child-pornography charges and state sexual-abuse charges in Michigan, none of which stemmed from national-team gymnasts’ 2015 allegations. In January, he was sentenced to a 60-year sentence in federal prison.

The Justice Department investigation comes as USA Gymnastics continues to reel from the Nassar scandal and from what critics have called its sluggish response to sexual-abuse allegations. The chief executive of the embattled organization, Kerry Perry, resigned on Tuesday after just nine months on the job. The FBI’s role in the Nassar scandal is also under scrutiny by Congress, including the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees, which in July wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray seeking information and materials related to the FBI’s handling of the matter. Investigators are interested in the Indianapolis FBI office’s 2015 dealings with the gymnasts. Around September 2015, an agent in the field office spoke with former Olympian McKayla Maroney over the phone to discuss her allegations of abuse by Nassar. That conversation didn’t lead to an investigation.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Official Didn’t Disclose Trump Role in FBI Building Change

The inspector general of the General Services Administration says the agency’s administrator didn’t say at a congressional hearing that she had met with President Trump about the decision to scrap a longstanding plan for a new FBI headquarters in the Washington, D.C., suburbs.

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) may have misled Congress about the White House’s role in canceling a decade-long search for a new FBI headquarters campus in the Washington suburbs last year, says the GSA’s inspector general. GSA officials also misrepresented the costs of their replacement plan — to build a new downtown headquarters — making it seem as though it would cost less than the original plan when it would actually cost more, said the IG, the Washington Post reports. GSA administrtor Emily Murphy met with President Trump, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and budget director Mick Mulvaney on Jan. 24. In a hearing three months later, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Il.) asked Murphy, “To your knowledge, was the president or anyone else at the White House involved in those discussions, either with your predecessors, people you’re working with now, or yourself?”

Murphy responded, “The direction that we got came from the FBI. It was the FBI that directed to GSA as to what its requirements would be.” The GSA says Murphy was referring to where the FBI would be located, not the larger discussions about the project. The agency disputed the findings of GSA Inspector General Carol Ochoa. The report offers a look at the internal machinations behind a decision to dump a decade of work toward building a $3-billion-plus secure campus in the Washington suburbs. Murphy told the investigators that the downtown location was not her agency’s “preferred site and that a lot of work had gone into the campus concept.” Still, FBI Director Christopher Wray persisted to support a downtown Washington, D.C., location, and in the GSA’s telling, by the time two White House meetings took place it had been all but decided that the FBI would remain downtown.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Wray Seeks ‘Normalcy’ in an FBI Under Fire

At the end of his first year in office, FBI director Christopher Wray says he is “trying to bring calm [and] stability” to an agency under fire from the president.

In his first year as FBI director, Christopher Wray has focused his agents on the nitty-gritty of their jobs and avoided the distractions from controversies buffeting the agency. “My big point of emphasis has been that even though we live in tumultuous, turbulent times, I’m trying to bring calm, stability—dare I say it—normalcy, in an environment where I think there’s an appetite for that,” Wray tells the Wall Street Journal. Wray’s leadership style is a sharp departure from how his predecessor, James Comey, ran the 37,000-employee FBI. Some agents say Wray’s style is so low-key that employees aren’t always sure of his expectations.

Of his relationship with the president, Wray said, “It’s professional,” and declined to address Trump’s tweets savaging special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe and the Justice Department. “Social media commentary has its place, but that’s not what drives our work,” said Wray, who expressed support for Mueller and has declared  the special counsel investigation isn’t a witch hunt. Wray, 51, begins his day with a briefing on threats, such as Russian interference in U.S. elections, and Chinese efforts to steal government and business secrets. FBI agents are tracking thousands of potential terrorists. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), a frequent FBI critic, applauded Wray for working to change the bureau culture, calling him part of the “cleanup squad” rather than the “coverup squad.” Some agents pointed to a survey of bureau employees last year finding that morale remained high but confidence in the vision and ideas of Wray and his leadership team were lower than recorded a year earlier under Comey. Wray said the survey painted an incomplete picture, citing employees’ “commitment to the mission, success in the mission, desire to work here.” He pointed to an attrition rate of 0.6%.

from https://thecrimereport.org