DOJ Inspector General Says FBI Actively Preventing Him From Doing His Job

from the no-accountability dept

Rogue agency? The FBI seems to fit the description:

The Justice Department's inspector general said Tuesday that his staff is routinely blocked from getting access to documents it needs for audits and reviews of the department and its law enforcement agencies…

In the last few years, the FBI has denied access to records that should be provided under federal law, including grand jury materials, an organizational chart and electronic surveillance information, [Inspector General Michael] Horowitz testified.
Yeah. Not even an organizational chart. The FBI, which can't seem to decide whether it likes law enforcement or counterterrorism better, won't even hand over that info. It's incredibly hard to investigate an agency that stonewalls its superiors with as much fervor as it does FOIA requesters.

As it stands now, the FBI routes the Inspector General through its legal counsel. Then a whole lot of nothing happens until the Attorney General's office gets involved and demands the release of information. This stonewalling goes on for years.
He said the refusal to grant routine requests stalls investigations, including a recent one on FBI material witnesses, such that officials who are under review have sometimes retired or left the agencies before the report is complete.
It's another one-way street of information by a government agency. FOIA requesters and the DOJ's Inspector General get nothing. The FBI gets everything it demands, via subpoenas, FISA court orders and National Security Letters. In addition, the FBI actively interjects itself into state-level FOI requests, ordering local law enforcement agencies to withhold information on cell tower spoofers and other "sensitive" equipment -- even going so far as to help them with parallel construction.

There's nothing defensible here. The Inspector General should be able to see whatever it asks for. Anything deemed sensitive can be redacted from the eventual report. But handling requests for information the way the FBI does insulates it from accountability -- an essential element of its "bargain" with the public. Everything it has -- from its power to its budget -- derives from the people. And in return, the people are getting nothing back, even those at the supposed top of the accountability chain.

The Attorney General needs to rein the agency in, rather than intercede only when asked to by the OIG. There's obviously a problem here but it appears those with the actual power to fix it are simply letting the agency slide. The FBI -- especially in its new counterterrorism capacity -- has too much power to be allowed this much leeway.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2014 @ 4:15am

    Put them all in Gitmo for being terrorists.

    #problemsolved
    #missionaccomplished

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2014 @ 4:23am

    J. Edgar Hoover would be proud of his grandchildren

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2014 @ 4:25am

    Power without oversight is the fastest route out of democracy

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Howard (profile), 12 Sep 2014 @ 4:32am

      Re:

      Your government is long time out of democracy. Ppl just haven't realized it yet.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2014 @ 4:53am

        Re: Re:

        The US never was a democracy. Not sure why so many are confused by this, perhaps it is the political bullshit they swill at cocktail parties.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2014 @ 5:17am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The US has tended towards the quasi-democratic dictatorship. IT's only since 9/11 that these things have become much more overt.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 15 Sep 2014 @ 10:36am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Not even close to being a dictatorship, as there isn't any single person who has anything like dictatorial powers. It's really closer to an oligarchy.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          R.H. (profile), 12 Sep 2014 @ 6:56pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          This is quite true. The United States, at the national level, is a federal presidential constitutional republic. Our states are members of a 'federation' (the United States) rather than simply being administrative divisions of a unitary state. We have a President who is both head of state and head of the executive branch who is elected by the people separately from the legislature. Finally, we, according to our constitution, have a government where the power resides in and derives from the people which makes us a republic. Most, if not all, of our states have functionality where the public can directly vote on certain laws or amendments to state constitutions which makes them much closer to democracies than our federal government but, as the AC I'm replying to noted, the United States of America has never been an actual democracy.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 13 Sep 2014 @ 9:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            the United States of America has never been an actual democracy.

            That depends on what definition you use. For example: "Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens are meant to participate equally – either directly or, through elected representatives, indirectly – in the proposal, development and establishment of the laws by which their society is run." The US qualifies under that definition.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2014 @ 4:59am

        Re: Re:

        Remember, slavery was encoded into the Constitution

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2014 @ 6:22am

          Re: Re: Re:

          where dumb-ass?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            R.H. (profile), 12 Sep 2014 @ 6:42pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The word 'slave' isn't present anywhere however one good example is the (since repealed of course) last paragraph of Article IV, Section 2 which reads:
            No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

            That section effectively forced non-slave states to respect the property rights of slaveholders from slave states as well as respecting contracts of indentured servitude written up in states where such things were legal.

            A more recognised section would be from Article I, Section 2, Paragraph 3 which reads, in yet another repealed part:
            Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

            The "three fifths of all other Persons" in that quote are slaves. Once again, no mention by name but the intent was there.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Argle, 12 Sep 2014 @ 5:07am

    Sinking ship

    This has reputedly been going on for years. So why hasn't the IG done something about it for years?

    This is just another example of Rattus rattus domesticus fleeing the sinking ship of state. "While I tried, but my hands were tied."

    How many government criminals are going to run, claiming it was all the other guys fault, before someone actually gets held accountable for their actions?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Chris-Mouse (profile), 12 Sep 2014 @ 5:15am

    But...but...but.. If we release all this information to the terrorits in the administration, we might actually face punishment!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Rocco Maglio (profile), 12 Sep 2014 @ 5:21am

    Attorney General Holder does not believe in oversight

    Holder has made three statements to congress that were not true. There was a statement on the new black panthers, fast and the furious, and in regard to criminally investigating journalist. He did this because he does not believe he should have any oversight. He is a political hack and uses his office to further political ends. If you expect anything for the AG office you have not been paying attention.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Richard (profile), 12 Sep 2014 @ 5:21am

    Inspector

    This seems to indicate that he is not a REAL inspector - just a fig leaf. How embarassing that they forgot to get him "in" on this fact.

    If he was a real inspector then he would have put the fear of God up them and they would never have responded like this.

    A real inspector would have the power to sack their senoir management - bring in an outside consultant to run them - or even just shut them down.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    art guerrilla (profile), 12 Sep 2014 @ 5:41am

    i will repeat this truism until my dying day...

    ANY and ALL secret institutions WILL be corrupted; it is not a matter of 'IF', it is a matter of 'when'...

    even our 'public' institutions are more secret than open...

    because, um, MOTHERFUCKIN' EAGLES, bitchez...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Vidiot (profile), 12 Sep 2014 @ 5:55am

    Mistake number one...

    ... don't attempt access via the FBI's legal department.

    Bring 30 or 40 well-equipped friends from the Ferguson, MO police department... the "git 'r' done" squad!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 12 Sep 2014 @ 8:27am

      Re: Mistake number one...

      Bring 30 or 40 well-equipped friends from the Ferguson, MO police department... the "git 'r' done" squad!

      It would be interesting if the OIG had an armed force of its own, and the FBI knew that they had the authority to come into FBI headquarters and take what they needed, and arrest anyone who didn't cooperate. I think they would get a very different response.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 12 Sep 2014 @ 5:59am

    Why choose?

    The FBI, which can't seem to decide whether it likes law enforcement or counterterrorism better

    Why choose when you can perfectly well counterterrorize the public with judicious law enforcement?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2014 @ 6:02am

    This lawlessness on the part of the "justice system" is getting extremely unsettling.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2014 @ 6:47am

    at least he now knows how everyone else feels. NONE of the security forces take the slightest bit of notice of what any ordinary person says!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2014 @ 7:13am

    If they won't let him do his job, Investigate them on corruption instead, stop whining about they won't let you do this , When it's within your power to launch a full on Investigation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 12 Sep 2014 @ 7:55am

      Re:

      Maybe he's not willing to task the risk, to find out what happens when even then they they refuse to cooperate.

      It's one thing for them to stonewall, but a flat out statement that his 'authority' is useless, and they'll do whatever they please, that is quite another thing altogether, and much harder for the government to ignore, like it currently 'ignores' how multiple government agencies believe themselves above all the laws, and act accordingly.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        GEMont (profile), 15 Sep 2014 @ 3:20am

        Re: Re:

        On the other hand, if, during the period directly following 9/11, the powers that be decided to secretly enact War Measure Laws, then and only then, would ALL government agencies actually BE above all the laws, and be able to act in any manner whatsoever, without any fear of any legal repercussions.

        In fact, if War Measures Laws were in force, their actions would not even elicit a reprimand from the White House....

        .....oh yeah, that's right.

        None of the actions of Any Government Agency since 9/11 has elicited even a reprimand from the White House.

        Go figger eh.

        ---

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 15 Sep 2014 @ 5:31am

          Re: Re: Re:

          In fact, if War Measures Laws were in force, their actions would not even elicit a reprimand from the White House....

          .....oh yeah, that's right.

          None of the actions of Any Government Agency since 9/11 has elicited even a reprimand from the White House.


          If p then q does not imply that if q then p. Just sayin.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            GEMont (profile), 15 Sep 2014 @ 9:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "If p then q does not imply that if q then p. Just sayin."

            True. No argument offered. It was merely an observation.

            However, when only one explanation fits all the observed events, it is wiser to give that explanation at least a cursory examination, than to dismiss it out of hand, simply because it is not the explanation expected.

            In my opinion only of course. :)

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 15 Sep 2014 @ 10:00am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              However, when only one explanation fits all the observed events, it is wiser to give that explanation at least a cursory examination, than to dismiss it out of hand, simply because it is not the explanation expected.

              Yes, but of course this is not one of those times.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                GEMont (profile), 16 Sep 2014 @ 3:50pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Not impressed.

                Your response is True, only if you ignore the first half of the comment which discusses the secret initiation of War Measures, which is of course, what I was referring to when I wrote: "However, when only one explanation fits all the observed events..."

                If however, you ignore that and respond only to the part (not being reprimanded by the White House), as being what I meant by one explanation, then your response: (Yes, but of course this is not one of those times.), is quite accurate.

                Slightly underhanded and misleading, but correct nonetheless. :)

                You might want to leave that sort of thing to Whatever. He actually gets paid for it.

                Note:

                Apologies for all the brackets, but quotation marks and html are suddenly not working in the editor.

                Quotes give me È, and html brackets give me ' and ".

                Since Shift+Period (closing html bracket) gives me a quote character, I cut and pasted it above in the text, and used round brackets instead of using italics.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  nasch (profile), 16 Sep 2014 @ 4:39pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I don't see how the previous paragraph changes anything. It's just a more detailed statement that if war powers were secretly enacted (p) the executive could act with impunity (q).

                  Slightly underhanded and misleading, but correct nonetheless.

                  It's a bit arrogant and dickish to assume that someone challenging you is being dishonest about it. If you want a potentially productive conversation, assume good faith and think about what the other person's perspective might be that leads them to their conclusion. And if you don't understand it, ask questions rather than slinging accusations.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    GEMont (profile), 17 Sep 2014 @ 12:08pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    I had assumed good faith, which is why I was Not Impressed.

                    If you were also referring to the first part of the post, then all you're saying is:

                    That (if p then q) just because secretly enacted War Measures Laws would explain why the USG appears to be acting outside the law with impunity, it does not necessarily mean (if q then p) that the USG acting outside the law with impunity necessitates the secret enactment of War Measure laws.

                    Translated: "Might be. Might not be."

                    Hardly what I would call material for "a potentially productive conversation".

                    I did not state that this was written in stone.
                    I thought I'd made it quite clear that I offer conjecture based on extrapolation of current facts; not biblical revelations, and that I don't bother including the "may be" and "could be" phrases that apologize for propaganda and misinformation.

                    p equals q better than anything else I've seen offered.

                    That q does not absolutely prove p is a given, simply due to the secret nature of the entire subject matter.

                    I'm not at all sure what you mean by productive conversation, especially when the follow up negates the entire idea out of hand without even a hint as to rationale behind the claim.

                    "Yes, but of course this is not one of those times."

                    Translated: "Can't happen here. (Tongue in cheek)"

                    Perhaps we should simply agree to disagree, as this appears to be your sole basis for response to date.

                    I am more than willing to forgo any future discussions of this sort, and, I suspect, you are as well, since, unless you're gathering brownie points from some fan-group, it accomplishes nothing.

                    ---

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 12 Sep 2014 @ 8:29am

      Re:

      When it's within your power to launch a full on Investigation.

      What do you think they've been doing up to now? This is what happens when OIG investigates the FBI. You think it would be different if they started another investigation to investigate the first investigation?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 13 Sep 2014 @ 6:05pm

    SOP

    I dunno.... it sounds like standard operational procedures for any fascist run public incrimination and incarceration program designed to infiltrate all levels of public life and root out dissenters before they can threaten the powers that be.

    I'm certain similar conditions were put into place during the reigns of every other dictatorial fascist government throughout human history, where fear of public uprising existed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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