Uh Oh: FBI Serves Search Warrant On Senator Richard Burr, Seizes His Phone

from the how-do-you-feel-about-surveillance-now? dept

I’m wondering how Senator Richard Burr feels about phone encryption right about now? As you may recall, the notoriously pro-surveillance Senator has whined about phone encryption at great length and even introduced legislation that would effectively end encryption on phones.

And yet, the FBI just served a search warrant on him and seized his phone as part of its investigation into claims that he engaged in insider trading:

Federal agents seized a cellphone belonging to Sen. Richard Burr on Wednesday night as part of a Justice Department probe into stock transactions he made ahead of the sharp market downturn sparked by concerns over the coronavirus, a law enforcement official told the Los Angeles Times.

The North Carolina Republican turned over his phone after agents served a search warrant at his home in the Washington area, the official told the newspaper.

This likely means that there’s even more going on than has been made public so far, and it’s unlikely to be good for Senator Burr. As former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti explains, to get that search warrant, it means that a judge was convinced that Burr likely engaged in insider trading and that there was evidence to that effect on his phone:

And as others have noted, the FBI — for whatever faults it might have (and they are many) — does not just show up at a Senator’s home with a warrant on a hunch.

Of course, the bigger issue was that while he was selling all those stocks (including a bunch of hotel stocks), he was claiming publicly that everything was fine and that the US had COVID-19 under control. Frankly, that part should be the bigger scandal, but unfortunately it won’t be.

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Comments on “Uh Oh: FBI Serves Search Warrant On Senator Richard Burr, Seizes His Phone”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Insider Trading?

In February 2012, the STOCK Act passed in the Senate by a 96–3 vote; the only no votes were senators Jeff Bingaman, Richard Burr, and Tom Coburn. Later the House of Representatives passed it by a 417–2 vote.

Oh it’s even better, as pointed out in the wikipedia page he was not just one of those that voted against a bill aimed at cracking down on insider trading, he was one of five. In a bill with overwhelming support(in both the senate and house), him and four others total were the only ones to vote against, and given current circumstances it’s not hard to suspect why.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

While the Senate and the Congress make up "Congress" (a full 3rd of the U.S. leadership triad), saying that a U.S. Senator is a "congressman" or that he represents a "district" is incorrect. Senator Burr (along with one additional U.S Senator from North Carolina) represent all of the state in their chamber of Congress (known as the Senate).

TFG says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Let me fix the original reply before this goes further off the rails:

"He’s a Senator, not a Representative." [Where Representative refers to a member of the House of Representatives.]

The point is well-made that Senator Burr represents (or represented) the whole state of North Carolina, not just a single district.

Which means Mr. Stone can be even more personal in the "Get fucked, Dick" sentiment.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Senator = Congressman
Representative = Congressmen

Senator =/= Representative

Senate + House of Representatives = Congress

Yes, Burr is a senator and is not specific to any congressional district.

Stephen T. Stone made a simple mistake in terms of Burr having a district since senators are not district specific as are the representatives in the house.

US Government 101 people: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Congress

David says:

Oh come on.

Of course, the bigger issue was that while he was selling all those stocks (including a bunch of hotel stocks), he was claiming publicly that everything was fine and that the US had COVID-19 under control. Frankly, that part should be the bigger scandal, but unfortunately it won’t be.

Look, delaying that sort of information that he was privy of in pursuance of his job catering for the common good cannot have caused more than a few thousand deaths while saving himself millions.

DB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Annnnnnd, he's gone!

Reports indicate that it was Mitch McConnell that announced Burr would be stepping down from the committee.

"Senator Burr contacted me this morning to inform me of his decision to step aside as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee during the pendency of the investigation," McConnell said in a written statement. "We agreed that this decision would be in the best interests of the committee and will be effective at the end of the day tomorrow."

That suggests that McConnell told Burr that he was off of the committee, and Burr didn’t go along with the plan enough to announce it himself. A resignation doesn’t seem likely at this point.

Koby (profile) says:

Re: Annnnnnd, he's gone!

He has resigned. That suggests he is guilty. To hell with him!

Be careful, Senator Stevens from Alaska went through a similar thing in 2008. He was even convicted and lost his Senate seat before evidence of FBI corruption was uncovered and the verdict overturned. All I’m saying is: never trust an FBI agent.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Annnnnnd, he's gone!

Sorry to be that guy, but the case against Stevens went tits up because the guy who allegedly filed invoices for payment by Stevens with an understanding that they were just a cover story got caught lying to the FBI and the prosecutor didn’t disclose it to the defense and actively covered up for years. It wasn’t just a "procedural error".

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

It was good for the public, so it's good for him right?

As someone is vehemently anti-encryption I’m sure he either didn’t encrypt his phone, or will be happy to provide the password so as to ensure a quick and speedy investigation of course.

Doing otherwise would reveal him to be a raging hypocrite after all, not to mention utterly destroy any ‘encryption is only for criminals, only the guilty have things to hide’ arguments he might make, and I’m sure he’d never do something like that…

ryuugami says:

Re: It was good for the public, so it's good for him right?

Doing otherwise would reveal him to be a raging hypocrite after all, not to mention utterly destroy any ‘encryption is only for criminals, only the guilty have things to hide’ arguments he might make

That’s only hypocritical if he’s not guilty.

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