FBI Opens Internal Investigation Into One Of Its Own Twitter Accounts Because Good Lord This Year Is So Stupid
from the great-year-for-comas dept
There's nothing the FBI loves more than an investigation. It's right in the name. The on-again, off-again inspection of Hillary Clinton's emails have given director James Comey a chance to really strut his stuff. It's embarrassing stuff -- stuff his underlings wish he'd stop strutting, but there it is. The White House itself actually weighed in on Comey's latest blurt (which was followed shortly thereafter by tons of controlled leaking) and basically called him a loudmouth.
Because this election season couldn't get any weirder, a long-dormant FBI Twitter bot suddenly came to life and began spewing links to FBI documents about tangentially-related investigations -- like FBI files on the Clinton Foundation. This only raised more questions about the FBI's political leanings. Sure, the FBI has won over parties in both camps thanks to its investigation of Hillary Clinton, but it has infuriatingly chosen to periodically invert the narrative, leaving both parties unsure of how to feel about their new partner in electioneering.
The unexpected burst of activity suggested the FBI was again meddling with the electoral process. Not actually news, of course. The documents had been there all along, but the Twitterbot had failed to inform the public in a timely fashion. It was suppposed to send out a tweet any time the agency dumped something into its FOIA "reading room," but had failed to do so for months.
It was enough to suggest nefarious intent. Because the FBI is nothing if not well-funded, it will be taking a much closer look at its malfunctioning Twitter account. (via Slashdot)
Candice Will, Assistant Director for the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, said she was referring the matter to the FBI’s Inspection Division for an “investigation.” Upon completion of the investigation, the findings will be referred back to the the Office of Professional Responsibility for “adjudication.”
There's a reason for this investigation -- one that will likely find nothing more damning than coding hiccups.
Federal law and FBI policy prohibit employees from using the power of the department to attempt to influence elections.
Odd. It would appear James Comey is unfamiliar with these laws and policies. The social media bot only does what it's told to do. And no one, apparently, is able to tell Comey what to do. Or not to do. But it's the pile of code that will be facing greater scrutiny than James "Rogue One" Comey.
A statement and a preliminary conclusion have already made their appearance. The statement issued by the FBI says that the Twitterbot, like everything else the FBI does (including unlawful deployment of malware), was totally lawful in its spectacularly-timed tweetstorm.
"Per the standard procedure for FOIA, these materials became available for release and were posted automatically and electronically to the FBI’s public reading room in accordance with the law and established procedures,” the FBI said in a statement.
An FBI official told Motherboard that the FBI Records Vault Twitter account had been dormant for more than a year because of a bug in the FBI.gov content management system (CMS) that links the website where the documents are posted and the social media account. On Sunday, according to the official, the FBI’s IT team pushed a patch to the CMS and fixed the bug, causing the flood of tweets, which had been scheduled over the last few months, to go out on October 30.
Whatever the explanation is, the FBI is pretty much a walking catastrophe at this point -- at least as far as maintaining distance from the electoral process is concerned.