Here's a big long blog post about Benghazi. The theory goes that Qatar was arming ISIS with US/NATO weaponry, UAE and Saudi families put up the money, US managed the logistics, and it was run under NATO's authority to get around the DoD. Take it with all the grains of salt in the Morton packaging plant, but at least somebody's looking into it. This excerpt is interesting:

2002 through 2010 saw zero occurrences of SAMS, Stingers, or MANPADS in general. Within months after delivering weapons to the Benghazi and Darnah rebels (May, June and July 2011) we began facing MANPADS in Afghanistan.

Here's someone saying the "Innocence of Muslims" film was produced by John Brennan's Analysis Corporation. That's John Brennan as in head-of-the-CIA John Brennan. They also say the filmmaker was a meth dealer who had been recruited as a DoJ asset in 2010, and that the film was shown as "The Innocence of Bin Laden" and marketed to the local Arab community of Los Angeles in mid-2012. This reminds me of Walid Shoebat's claims, mentioned earlier.


Petraeus's mistress Paula Broadwell leaked that the CIA was holding prisoners at the Benghazi annex during the fight. In possibly related news, The DoJ is currently pressing felony charges against Petraeus.

A couple of retired FBI agents formed a short-lived group, the Foundation for Ethics in Public Service, to investigate allegations of corruption within the FBI. That organization's web site now redirects to the FBI.

That group was: membership list inside the cut )

So this organization was literally a couple of retired FBI agents and a bunch of businessmen with no apparent relationship to the FBI. That looks even more suspicious than their website redirecting to the FBI.

Interesting reading: The FBI OIG report on "The wall between intelligence and criminal terrorism investigations" that existed during the 1990s, and chapter 20 of the Final Report of the Attorney General's Review Team on the Handling of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Investigation which deals with the same subject. Here is a summary of key events.

US v. Truong

Before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was passed in 1978, US intelligence agencies engaged in warrantless surveillance under the presumption that the President could ignore the Constitution in the name of national defense. In the case of US v. Trong Dinh Hung, 629 F.2d 908, judge Harrison Winter of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals describes what appears to have been standard practice at the time:

No court authorization was ever sought or obtained for the installation and maintenance of the telephone tap or the bug ... the FBI sought and received approval for the surveillance from the President's delegate, the Attorney General ... The district court decided that the FBI investigation had become primarily a criminal investigation by July 20, 1977, and excluded all evidence secured through warrantless surveillance after that date.

In his decision, Winter found that "the Executive Branch need not always obtain a warrant for foreign intelligence surveillance" if the situation meets the Keith standard of 407 U.S. 297 (1972). That standard involves two questions:

  1. whether the needs of citizens for privacy and free expression may not be better protected by requiring a warrant before such surveillance is undertaken.
  2. whether a warrant would unduly frustrate the efforts of Government to protect itself from acts of subversion and overthrow directed against it.

What Keith Standard?

In that case, the US Supreme Court briefly raised those two questions before spending the next several paragraphs emphasizing the need to get a warrant, finding that "the constitutional basis of the President's domestic security role ... must be exercised in a manner compatible with the Fourth Amendment."

Also of relevance is an instruction to ignore this decision in cases involving investigations of foreign powers or their agents.

As stated at the outset, this case involves only the domestic aspects of national security. We have not addressed, and express no opinion as to, the issues which may be involved with respect to activities of foreign powers or their agents.

So this Keith standard appears not to be a standard at all, and it is not to be applied to cases like that of Truong which involve agents of foreign powers.

The Truong standard

In applying Keith to the Truong case, the Fourth Circuit took the very, very high bar raised by the Supreme Court and threw it on the ground.

the needs of the executive are so compelling in the area of foreign intelligence, unlike the area of domestic security, that a uniform warrant requirement would, following Keith, "unduly frustrate" the President in carrying out his foreign affairs responsibilities.

The Fourth Circuit also ruled that judges are incapable of processing warrants for cases involving foreign agents, in direct opposition to contravening language in Keith.

More importantly, the executive possesses unparalleled expertise to make the decision whether to conduct foreign intelligence surveillance, whereas the judiciary is largely inexperienced in making the delicate and complex decisions that lie behind foreign intelligence surveillance.

It is worth noting again that this decision was issued in 1980, two years after Congress passed FISA to require judicial approval for intelligence gathering. If read broadly, Winter implicitly overturns FISA as an infringement upon the President's war powers. In a concurring opinion, Kenneth Keller Hall references FISA to note that it allows the Attorney General to authorize warrantless wiretaps and therefore "does not contain a blanket warrant requirement".

Donald Russell "wholeheartedly" concurs with Winter's opinion while disagreeing on a triviality.

US v. Duggan

The 1984 case of US. v Andrew Duggan et al, 743 F.2d 59 involved evidence obtained under a FISA court order. The ruling by Amalya Kearse of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, with Wilfred Feinberg and Walter R. Mansfield concurring, relegates the Truong ruling to a discussion of the history of court rulings before FISA.

65 Prior to the enactment of FISA, virtually every court that had addressed the issue had concluded that the President had the inherent power to conduct warrantless electronic surveillance to collect foreign intelligence information, and that such surveillances constituted an exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment.

[...]

70. ... Congress passed FISA to settle what it believed to be the unresolved question of the applicability of the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement to electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes, and to "remove any doubt as to the lawfulness of such surveillance."

Kearse here states the "primary objective" rule that a criminal investigation cannot be the primary objective of a FISA investigation.

94. Defendants contend that the surveillance of Megahey's telephone was not authorized by FISA because the information was sought as part of a criminal investigation. We see no grounds for concluding that the requirements of FISA were not met.

95. ... The requirement that foreign intelligence information be the primary objective of the surveillance is plain not only from the language of Sec. 1802(b) but also from the requirements in Sec. 1804 as to what the application must contain. The application must contain a certification by a designated official of the executive branch that the purpose of the surveillance is to acquire foreign intelligence information, and the certification must set forth the basis for the certifying official's belief that the information sought is the type of foreign intelligence information described. Id. Sec. 1804(a)(7).

FBI procedures in the 1980s

According to the OIG report (page 24), the FBI reacted to the "primary purpose" rule by enacting procedures to separate intelligence investigations from prosecutors.

  1. "requiring prosecutors not to have control in intelligence investigations in which information was being collected pursuant to FISA"
  2. requiring intelligence investigators report evidence of criminal activity to prosecutors in the FBI's Criminal Division, rather than to the US Attorney's Office.

To quote from the report,

The Criminal Division and FBI Headquarters made the policy decision about when to involve the USAO in the investigation, since consulting with the USAO was viewed as a bright line signifying the transition from an intelligence investigation to a criminal investigation.

To my mind this raises the question of why the FBI prosecutors were not already being used if the FBI has prosecutors. If the people gathering the intelligence are not allowed to go anywhere else to seek a prosecution. this also makes it easier for a criminal organization or intelligence agency to exempt itself from the law by controlling the prosecutors.

The Scruggs memorandum

In 1994, Richard Scruggs of the FBI's Office of Intelligence Policy and Review tried to get all communications between intelligence and criminal divisions to go through OIPR first.

To address these concerns about coordination between the Criminal Division and the FBI in intelligence investigations, in 1994 Scruggs proposed amending the Attorney General’s FCI Guidelines to require that any questions in intelligence investigations relating to criminal conduct or prosecutions had to be raised first with OIPR, and that OIPR would decide whether and to what extent to involve the Criminal Division and the USAO in the intelligence investigation. Scruggs’ proposal also prohibited the FBI from contacting the Criminal Division or a USAO without permission from OIPR.

If anything came of that effort, then the wall between intelligence and criminal investigators would a name: the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review.

Needless to say, centralizing these requests would make it far easier for a criminal organization or intelligence agency to disrupt the FBI.

The Gorelick memo

The FBI's wall has so often been blamed on Jamie Gorelick that it is often called the "Gorelick Wall". A reading of the notorious Gorelick memo of 1995 does not bear that out. The Gorelick memo explicitly requires the intelligence unit and the OIPR to each independently contact the FBI criminal division and the US Attorney's Office.

If, in the case of the FCI investigation, facts or circumstances are developed that reasonably indicate that a significant federal crime has been, is being, or may be committed, the FBI and OIPR are each independently responsible for notifying the USAO and the Criminal Division. Notice shall include the facts and circumstances developed ...

This is less of a wall than there was during the 1980s. If this is the Gorelick memo that defined the FBI's "wall" policy for the rest of the 1990s. then somebody in a position of authority was applying their own different rules and blaming it on Gorelick.

The memo does require that criminal investigators seeking "pro-active efforts or technical coverage" first get the approval of the OIPR and the intelligence unit.

OIPR interfence

According to the Los Alamos report, the OIPR indeed applied their own different rules in contravention of the Gorelick memo.

By September 1997, according to Daniel S. Seikaly, Director of the Executive Office for National Security (“EONS”), the Director of the FBI had complained to the Attorney General that, despite the July 1995 memorandum, OIPR was preventing the FBI from contacting the Criminal Division. [962] (Seikaly 4/4/00)

A working group to address the issue, formed by Eric Holder and headed by Daniel S. Seikaly, "disbanded without any written recommendation and no significant action was taken."

The OIPR certainly had an alternative interpretation.

[OIPR Deputy Counsel Alan] Kornblum, on the other hand, believes that the foreign counterintelligence goals of the investigation should be completed, or very nearly so, before the Criminal Division is notified. (Kornblum 7/15/99)

In other words, the Criminal Division will be notified when hell freezes over.

There were also threats:

As noted above, according to Richard, FBI agents have been told that it is a "career stopper if you're wrong" about contacting the Criminal Division. (Richard 8/12/99) Dion believes that a perception has been fostered that any contact with the Criminal Division during an FCI investigation will risk the FBI's ability to seek a FISA in the future or, if one is already in place, that such contact will result in it being shut down. (Dion 8/5/99)

And it was all blamed on Scruggs.

According to SC Bereznay, when Scruggs assumed office [in 1993], he "clamped down" on contacts between the FBI and the Criminal Division, and, since then, the FBI has not fought these restrictions.

2002 ruling

At some point the FISA court imposed even more restrictions on the FBI that led to the government filing suit against itself to get the restrictions lifted. The case is 310 F.3d 717, "In Re: Sealed Case", with a per curiam decision by Ralph Guy, Laurence Silberman, and Edward Leavy. The judges stated:

it is quite puzzling that the Justice Department, at some point during the 1980s, began to read the statute as limiting the Department's ability to obtain FISA orders if it intended to prosecute the targeted agents ... it is virtually impossible to read the 1978 FISA to exclude from its purpose the prosecution of foreign intelligence crimes...

On the topic of the Gorelick memo:

The procedures state that "the FBI and Criminal Division should ensure that advice intended to preserve the option of a criminal prosecution does not inadvertently result in either the fact or the appearance of the Criminal Division's directing or controlling the FI or FCI investigation toward law enforcement objectives." ... Although these procedures provided for significant information sharing and coordination between criminal and FI or FCI investigations, based at least in part on the "directing or controlling" language, they eventually came to be narrowly interpreted within the Department of Justice, and most particularly by OIPR, as requiring OIPR to act as a "wall" to prevent the FBI intelligence officials from communicating with the Criminal Division regarding ongoing FI or FCI investigations.

Overall, this ruling cuts a path through the confusion of different interpretations and the recent passage of the PATRIOT act. Notably, the ruling also raises the question of whether a FISA warrant meets the constitutional requirements for a search warrant but chooses not to answer the question.


Here, have a conspiracy theory. Allegedly from Al Martin's book "The Conspirators":

Lee Radek has been a chief of the Public Integrity Section for a long time. His confederates within the DoJ were Dave Margolis and Mark Richards. These three men, operating under George Terwilliger, essentially managed the Iran-Contra coverup for the Department of Justice. Below the three, there was a control mechanism that filtered down to the local US Attorney's offices. The control man in the Miami US Attorney's office during Iran-Contra was William Richard Scruggs who reported directly to Margolis. There is actually an official title, Cover-Up Operations Field Manager. You will see in the "pink cable" traffic - restricted cable traffic between the US Attorneys offices and the Department in Washington. Scruggs was one of the 1100 Reagan-Bush holdovers brought into the Clinton administration specifically for that reason. The control conspiracies and ensuing coverups remain from administration to administration. Scruggs rose to the rank of National Security Advisor for Janet Reno, while at the same time still being under indictment for kidnapping in Costa Rica. (Al Martin - The Conspirators, pgs 346, 349-350)

Some lightweight research suggests that this William Richard Scruggs is the same person.


This is interesting: Allan Kornblum co-authored the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The name is spelled slightly differently, but he was the same person. So it was a FISA co-author interpreting FISA to require a strict separation of the criminal and intelligence divisions.

FOIA Off

Apr. 14th, 2014 10:58 pm

Good news: You can now send FOIA requests over email.

Bad news: You need a password.

Your request for a copy of fax sent into the FBI on 12/30/2000 is not searchable in our indices. For your information, the FBI Central Records System is not arranged in a manner that allows for the retrieval of information in the form for which you have requested. Items are indexed according to individual investigatory interests.

I gave them the date, a time range, the FBI recipient city, two names used by the sender, the name of the sender's employer, and the name of the subject of the report. That was not enough.

[EDIT Apr 15] correcting my account of how much information I gave them. I did not have the fax number.

The FBI has declared that law enforcement is no longer its primary function. To be more specific, where the FBI used to say that law enforcement was its primary function, the FBI now says instead that its primary function is "national security". The replacement of one with the other means that the FBI will now place its own interpretation of "national security" above law enforcement. The problems with this are almost too numerous to mention.

As a practical matter, the FBI's record of involvement in national security is horrible. During the 1990s, the FBI was involved in "intelligence" in a way that was recognized as detrimental to both intelligence and law enforcement. The solution, the wall of separation that is generally blamed on Jamie Gorelick but for which the implementing bureaucrats certainly also deserve some criticism, was even more detrimental. "Intelligence" and law enforcement operations were segmented and forbidden from sharing information with each other. This directly hampered the investigation into September 11 hijacker Khalid al-Mindhar who was a high-priority target of the FBI's law enforcement branch due to his involvement in the USS Cole bombing, yet the FBI's intelligence branch refused to share its information on him with the rest of the FBI. After 2001, the FBI's solution to this problem was for the FBI to stop following the rules of evidence. As told by Ali Soufan in his book The Black Banners, FBI lawyer Spike Bowman was sent to deliver the message to outraged FBI agents who knew that the evidence they gathered would be inadmissable in court. By 2006-2008, the last of the criminal investigations into the September 11 attack were shut down due to the lack of evidence. The lesson of recent history is that the net effect of mixing law enforcement with "national security" is to let the bad guys get away. Al-Qaeda could not do better if they had a deep-cover operative at the top of the FBI guiding the creation of these policies.

There are also signs that criminal and foreign intelligence organizations have embedded themselves into the national security apparatus and mask their criminal activities as military or intelligence operations. Stories have gone around about the Colombo and Bulger crime networks in New York and Boston, the "octopus" that Danny Casolaro was looking into, the Mena operation, Wally Hilliard's flight school, and the infamous Cocaine Importing Agency. If the FBI has an official policy of deferring to "national security", then these crime networks will be in a far stronger position. FBI officials who do not know any better will accept the line of military or intelligence involvement as grounds to end an investigation of criminal activity inside the military or intelligence community. The FBI already has a curious record of retaliating against its own investigators, some examples being Robert Wright, Sibel Edmonds, and John M. Cole. With the new policy, the situation will become worse.

The philosophical problems with this change are just as serious. What seems to go unrecognized by whoever ordered this change is that is that there is no national security without uniform enforcement of the law. Secondly, national security is everybody's responsibility so an interest in national security should go without saying. Thirdly, a dedicated internal security organization already exists in the DHS. These elements of basic civics are known to the guys on the ground. What can we say about the people at the top of the FBI?

August 23, 2001:

The "very important subject" discussed for almost six hours by Bush with his core national security team would likely have been the CIA's action the day before placing four wanted Al-Qaeda terrorists on the "watchlist" of persons to be detained if located in the US. On August 23 the Agency sent "cables to the State Department, the FBI, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, requesting that 'four bin Laden related individuals' including Almidhar and Alhazmi, be placed on the watchlist." (Washington Post, A8, September 21, 2002) Two of those - Khalid Almidhar and Nawaf Alhazmi - subsequently led the hijacking of American Airlines Flight 77 that slammed into the Pentagon.

August 29, 2001:

According to author Lawrence Wright, on this day there is a conference call between FBI field agent Steve Bongardt, FBI headquarters agent Dina Corsi, and a CIA supervisor at Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, who tells Bongardt to stand down in the search for future 9/11 hijacker Khalid Almihdhar.
Either somebody is lying or this is grounds for an investigation into a LIHOP scenario involving an AQ mole in the CIA blocking the transfer of information. With this involving the FBI and CIA, I side with "somebody is lying".

FBI bomb squad technician Donald Sachtleben is getting 43 months in prison for leaking information to the press. Other news sources are reporting this as a 12-year sentence, but that's because they're adding on the separate time for child porn. Regardless, that is quite a punitive sentence and it makes me wonder what's up. This seems to be the AP leak case that's been in the news regarding intelligence on AQ operations in Yemen.

A timeline says they got him four days after the AP story was published by coincidentally nabbing someone in Sachtleben's child porn network at that time, then going after him and coincidentally finding that his electronics could be identified as those that leaked the information to the AP. I wonder if this is one of the cases where the NSA collected intelligence for the police and left it to them to build a separate legal chain of evidence for the court case.

Yasin Qadi has been meeting with Turkey's intelligence chief Hakan Fidan since last year, and his presence in Turkey became known because he was involved in a car accident in February. My conspiracy-theory senses are tingling; did Western or Israeli intelligence cause the accident to create a record of Qadi's presence? Getting back to reality, we don't know who the other party in the traffic accident was. It could have been a tree. Of the other passengers, I could not dig up anything on Usame Kutub (Osama Qutb, Usama Qutb, a common name) and the third person in the car was one of the Prime Minister's guards.

Background: Read History Commons on Qadi. From what I've read elsewhere, Qadi was a close associate of National Commercial Bank CEO Khalid bin Mahfouz and was one of al-Qaeda's top fundraisers. It was an investigation into Qadi and his network al-Qaeda that the FBI in Washington impeded and finally shut down in 1998-1999.

So now we have a key al-Qaeda figure coordinating with the head of Turkish intelligence and the Prime Minister's office, likely about the logistics for al-Qaeda forces in the war against Syria. And the US is providing the supplies.

A few years ago there was a kerfuffle about FBI training materials being bigoted against Islam. Examples were given of training materials that were in fact bigoted against Islam, and the one person responsible for those specific materials was fired while a few people on the right claimed without evidence that the Obama administration was censoring rational discussion about the motives of Islamic terrorists.

Now we have this quote from Steven Emerson:

"Numerous experts on Islamic terrorism like myself -- and I had given 143 lectures at the FBI, CIA -- were banned from speaking to any U.S. government counterterrorism conferences," Mr. Emerson told The Washington Times. "Instead, these agencies were ordered to invite Muslim Brotherhood front groups." [punctuation added to make the quote easier to read]

Emerson was one of the first journalists to report on al-Qaeda operating in the United States, back in 1994 before anybody knew there was a wider organization with a name. He approaches the subject from a journalist's perspective, gathering evidence and reporting plainly what the facts are. If they've blacklisted Steven Emerson and his work -- which is mostly the collection, publication, and analysis of primary source documents -- then the Obama administration has in fact banned the unbiased rational study of plain facts about Islamic terrorist organizations.

I am reminded of the saying that the American military in Vietnam did not have ten years of experience fighting the Communists, but one year of experience repeated ten times over. Now our people are forbidden from acquiring that one year of experience.


Potentially related: Ex-CIA officer Clare Lopez reports that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the US government at key points to control the flow of information about Islamic terrorism. Her conclusions are questionable, but she cites her sources.

FBI officers who have been accused of obstructing the pre-9/11 investigations:

Ali Soufan's The Black Banners does not mention most of these people (according to Google Books search). It mentions Bowman in one passage:

The first new directive forbade the reading of the Miranda warning to detainees. Henceforth any confessions we got couldn't be used as evidence in any court, military or civilian. (The Uniform Code of Military Justice also requires that subjects be advised of their rights.) After many protested, especially the operatives assigned to various JTTFs who were reassigned to Gitmo, the bureau sent down a senior official, Spike Bowman, to tell us that Washington viewed Guantanamo at this stage as just an intelligence collection operation, and that we shouldn't worry about eventual prosecutions.

Richard Clarke's Against All Enemies does not mention any of the four.

Word on the web is that those accused of the improprieties were promoted by Director Robert Mueller, while the whistleblowers (Robert Wright, Coleen Rowley, Sibel Edmonds) were expelled from government service. At least Harry Samit seems to still have a job.

Ali Soufan blames the CIA for blocking his pre-9/11 investigations, and he also is no longer with the FBI.

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