11:02 AM 6/26/2018 – The FBI Crisis And The FBI Reform – News Review

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The FBI: political punching bag or in need of reform?
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The FBI: political punching bag or in need of reform?

mikenova shared this story from Wires | Mail Online.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is in the eye of a political firestorm, but does it need to clean up its image? Some experts say yes
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The Federal Bureau of Investigation is in the eye of a political firestorm, but does it need to clean up its image? Some experts say yes

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, accused of abusing its power in its probe of links between President Donald Trump’s election campaign and Russia, has become a political punching bag, experts in the US law enforcement community say.

But after two years of becoming deeply enmeshed in the swirl of American politics — at one point in 2016, it was investigating both Trump’s team and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton — the FBI also needs to clean up its image, they say.

“I think that there are troubling things that myself, many former agents, as well as current on-board employees, would like to see a full accounting of,” said retired special agent James Gagliano.

In the past few years, actions by the agency’s top management “have had a deleterious effect on the reputation of the FBI,” Gagliano, who is now an adjunct assistant professor at St John’s University in New York, told AFP.

The FBI was accused of both aiding Clinton’s campaign and causing her loss.

Since then, Trump and his Republican Party claim that the agency has tried to discredit his victory — and possibly help force him from office — by opening a special investigation into possible collusion with Moscow.

The FBI took another brutal hit Friday when Trump spearheaded a Republican effort to tar the agency as deeply politicized, with the release of a secret, controversial GOP memo.

But the agency’s director Christopher Wray — who was hand-picked by Trump six months ago, but whose future now seems unclear — has so far stood tall.

“Talk is cheap,” he told his 35,000-strong staff after the memo release, in an internal letter obtained by AFP.

– History of clashes –

Trump’s battle with the Justice Department and FBI is not new, and is just one in a long series of fights between presidents and their top law enforcement officials.

Legendary G-Man J. Edgar Hoover, the agency’s first director who served for nearly a half-century, turned the FBI into an institution feared by crooks and politicians alike.

Presidents from Harry Truman to Richard Nixon considered dismissing him, but Hoover was seen as too powerful — and dangerous.

The FBI director is appointed for a term of 10 years — a method seen as ensuring he or she remains apolitical. But some critics say that goal has not been met.

Actions taken by ousted FBI director James Comey -- seen here being sworn in at a Senate intelligence committee hearing on June 8, 2017  -- are at the root of Trump's battle with the agency
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Actions taken by ousted FBI director James Comey — seen here being sworn in at a Senate intelligence committee hearing on June 8, 2017 — are at the root of Trump’s battle with the agency

The root of the current battle is former director James Comey’s personal handling of the 2016 investigation into Clinton’s use of an unauthorized personal email server while she was secretary of state.

His attempts to keep that sensitive probe apolitical fell flat, reaping attacks from both parties even as he twice found the evidence lacking to charge her.

“The Clinton investigation put the FBI in the center of the political battle,” said Jeffrey Ringel, a veteran agent who is now director of the Soufan Group, a security consultancy.

“Either way, the FBI was going to come out bruised.”

– The Russia probe –

After becoming president, Trump took umbrage when Comey pursued allegations that Russia had meddled in the 2016 election to help the real estate mogul win.

Comey refused to back off and declare loyalty to Trump, who fired him, accusing him of being pro-Democrat.

Since then, Trump has built a campaign against the agency, alleging that Comey, his onetime deputy Andrew McCabe, agents who served on both the Clinton and Trump probes, and some Justice Department officials were biased against him.

Republicans say leaked text messages show that two investigators working both cases were deeply anti-Trump. They note that McCabe’s wife was supported by Clinton in a failed run for state office in Virginia.

Before Friday’s release of the memo, Trump said leaders of both the FBI and the Department of Justice had “politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans – something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago.”

– Impossible situation –

FBI agents say Comey made the best of an impossible situation — investigating two top candidates during an election.

But he also plunged the agency too much into the limelight, and blurred the lines of impartiality, they said.

FBI Director Christopher Wray -- who was hand-picked by Donald Trump just six months ago -- is now in the president's crosshairs
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FBI Director Christopher Wray — who was hand-picked by Donald Trump just six months ago — is now in the president’s crosshairs

Gagliano says while the agency’s current predicament is not unprecedented, “it is unsettling.”

He insisted that while agents have their political leanings, they rigorously put them aside on the job, and that only “a few people” had compromised that.

“Their impartiality, their lack of a political agenda has been compromised to some extent via a few people,” he noted.

Most analysts have dismissed the criticisms in the so-called “Nunes memo” released by the House Intelligence Committee on Friday as deeply distorted and unfair to the FBI.

But current and former agents say Wray needs to strongly defend the agency — while clearing the cloud of political bias hanging over the staff.

“Wray needs to stress among the rank and file that the FBI must be seen as apolitical and cannot let their personal opinions affect their investigative actions,” Ringel said.

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FBI Director Chris Wray knocks down the agency’s partisan critics

mikenova shared this story from Politics.


FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday said he “appreciates” and took “very seriously” a new report from the Justice Department’s watchdog that examines the conduct of several officials including James Comey, the former director.

The report found that Comey deviated from FBI and Justice Department norms while he was leading the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. The Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, released the 568-page report on Thursday.

Since shortly after President Donald Trump took office, he has railed against the FBI, Comey, and Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director, with the accusation that the bureau at large was enveloped in a conspiracy to undermine his presidency.

Many of Trump’s most vocal supporters have latched on to that narrative as the president has publicly decried the FBI’s leadership and made unsubstantiated claims that morale at the agency was low.

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On Thursday, Wray offered a low-key rebuttal to those claims, without mentioning Trump’s name. “The opinions to me that matter are the opinions of the people that are relevant to our work, day in and day out, all across this country,” Wray said during a press conference.

“Those people are having to make important decisions that protect lives,” Wray said. “The opinions of the people that they have to engage with on that work, those are the opinions that matter to me.”

Wray also offered several examples of the work the FBI had done recently:

  • In the past several months, the FBI disrupted terrorist attacks from places including Fisherman’s Wharfin San Francisco and a crowded shopping mall in Miami.
  • In March, the FBI charged what it said was an Iranian state-sponsored hacker ring with stealing terabytes of data from US companies, universities, and government agencies.
  • In Austin, Texas, the FBI deployed more than 600 people to assist in the package bombings that killed two people and terrorized locals.
  • So far, 1,305 children were rescued from child predators, some of them as young as 7 months old.
  • More than 4,600 suspected gang members were arrested in the past several months.
  • The FBI’s hostage-rescue team deployed about 27 times for missions.

“I see extraordinary people doing extraordinary work,” Wray said. “Again, and again, I hear remarkable stories, frankly, inspiring stories about the work the men and women of the FBI are doing to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution.”

Wray conceded that while the report highlighted some shortcomings at the FBI, changes in policy and practice were already underway.

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FBI Still Stonewalls Congress On Russia: More Deep State Obstruction?

mikenova shared this story .

Russia Investigation: After Congress threatened impeachment, the Department of Justice and FBI reluctantly handed over classified documents related to the Russia investigation. But they still haven’t fully complied with Congress’ request. Is this just more deep-state obstruction?

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Of course, that’s a loaded question. Sure, the bureaucrats at DOJ and the FBI have a responsibility to keep the nation’s secrets and to maintain the integrity of their own investigations. But they don’t have a right to hold back information legitimately requested by Congress for its investigation into the highly questionable behavior of both the DOJ and FBI during the Russia-Trump investigation.

“A spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan said Saturday that the department (of Justice) has partially complied with subpoenas from the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees after officials turned over more than a thousand new documents this week,” the Associated Press reported.

It’s that phrase “partially complied” that sticks in our throat. Imagine “partially complying” with a judge’s order to tell the whole and complete truth in a court case. Or “partially complying” with your requirement to file you taxes. Or “partially complying” with a police officer’s lawful order to stop.

“Partial” compliance isn’t enough. Congress has repeatedly requested documents for its investigation, but has been denied. And we need to be absolutely clear here: Congress has oversight authority over both the Justice Department and FBI. So saying “No” to Congress’ request, unless it’s grounded in serious national security concerns, is not acceptable. Period.

Try impeding an investigation by DOJ or the FBI and you’ll immediately be charged with obstruction or worse, with the possibility of going to prison for many years. Why should DOJ and the FBI be exempt from the law?

Some in Congress aren’t happy about all this. Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina is one of them.

“New reports of DOJ-FBI compliance with document requests are NOT accurate,” he tweeted. “While they have turned over additional documents, the new documents represent a small percentage of what they owe.”

“The notion that DOJ/FBI have been forthcoming with Congress is false,” he wrote.

The problem is, Congress needs to get to the bottom of what looks to be a massive conspiracy within the FBI and DOJ to boost Hillary Clinton’s election chances, while impeding Trump’s. If true, and certainly evidence amassed so far indicates it is, it would be the biggest government scandal in at least 100 years. Bigger, yes, than Watergate.

That’s why Congress has sought so much documentation from FBI Deputy Director Rod Rosenstein. They demand more than 1.4 million documents, a large amount to be sure, but have only received roughly 800,000 pages. Last week’s delivery amounted to just 1,400 pages or so. So you can see why some investigation-minded representatives, such as Meadows, aren’t satisfied.

The Justice Department and FBI had a Friday deadline to hand over the documents. They only partially complied. Yet the vow by Rep. Devin Nunes “there’s going to be hell to pay” if they didn’t comply seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

Russia Investigation: Unanswered Questions

The questions about the Russia investigation launched by the FBI and later picked up by Special Counsel Robert Mueller are many.

Congress, for instance, wants access to transcripts of conversations between “confidential human sources” — spies — and Trump campaign officials.

Congressional Republicans also seek to understand how former British spy Christopher Steele, who compiled the now-infamous Trump dossier, came to be paid by the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee and the FBI. Collusion, anyone?

And they also want to look into how the FBI and DOJ used the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to spy on the Trump campaign.

These are all legitimate issues. Stonewalling is an old strategy. Maybe the deep state is hoping for a Blue Wave in November to get Congress off its back.

Regardless, whether the U.S. remains a healthy, law-abiding republic or sinks to the level of other nations now ruled by corrupt elite bureaucracies is what’s at stake here. Who decides what gets handed over — a group of unelected bureaucrats, or the representatives of the American people?

Americans deserve answers. They should demand them.

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Foco federal sobre otro contratista de San Juan

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Las autoridades federales indagan sobre el contratista y productor Jeff Fontánez, propietario de la desaparecida empresa Buena Vibra y de la actual compañía Cosa Buena Corp., en relación al presunto esquema de corrupc…

Foco federal sobre otro contratista de San Juan

Las autoridades federales indagan sobre el contratista y productor Jeff Fontánez, propietario de la desaparecida empresa Buena Vibra y de la actual compañía Cosa Buena Corp., en relación al presunto esquema de corrupción en la división de compras del municipio de San Juan.

Fuentes de EL VOCERO indican que agentes del Negociado Federal de Investigaciones (FBI), averiguan sobre el empresario, sus contratos y lazos con el ayuntamiento.

De acuerdo a las fuentes, el nombre de Fontánez surgió como parte de la pesquisa que efectúa el FBI sobre supuestos actos ilegales en el municipio.

La investigación surgió tras la radicación de una demanda interpuesta contra el ayuntamiento por parte de la exdirectora de la división de compras Yadira Molina, por alegadas represalias y hostigamiento laboral luego de que la exfuncionaria denunció las presuntas prácticas ante el secretario municipal Magdiel Pérez y la Oficina del Contralor.

La pasada semana este diario informó que el propietario de BR Solutions, Corp., Leonel Pereira, está en la mirilla de las autoridades federales.

Según el recurso legal, en el municipio de San Juan se inició una práctica por parte de los supervisores de Molina de solicitar órdenes de compra en horas de la tarde para cotizaciones o la entrega de artículos para el otro día.

Se alega que el ayuntamiento tenía unos “suplidores preferidos”, quienes cobraban el triple que los suplidores regulares, debido al poco tiempo con el que se solicitaban las cotizaciones. De acuerdo al recurso legal, Pereira le informó a Molina que su compañía recibía la lista de materiales y especificaciones de compras con varios días o hasta semanas antes de que el ayuntamiento emitiera la lista oficial de los artículos.

Ni niega ni confirma

El portavoz de prensa del FBI, Carlos Osorio, dijo que no podía confirmar ni negar la existencia de la pesquisa. Entretanto, personal del municipio de San Juan no devolvió llamada solicitando su reacción a este nuevo ángulo de la pesquisa federal.

EL VOCERO se comunicó con Fontánez, quien aseguró que no ha sido contactado por el FBI y negó haber cometido actos ilegales.

“Ningún acto ilegal”

“Los contratos están en el Contralor y son públicos. No he cometido ningún acto ilegal”, afirmó.

Al ser cuestionado sobre la implicación que hizo el representante novoprogresista Georgie Navarro de que le habría pagado un viaje a Minnesota a la alcaldesa Carmen Yulín Cruz para asistir a un juego de Grandes Ligas, Fontánez respondió “no tengo nada que decir sobre esto. Es mentira”.

De acuerdo al registro de contratos de la Oficina del Contralor, Cosa Buena Group obtuvo dos contratos con el ayuntamiento capitalino que totalizaron $306,222 para las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián para los años 2017 y 2018.

Uno por la cantidad de $136,000 del 16 de enero de 2018 al 21 de enero de 2018 por concepto de servicios de “publicidad, de representación o artísticos”. Bajo el renglón de tipo de servicio se indica que por “servicios de productor”.

El otro contrato fue por la cantidad de $170,222 del 16 de enero de 2017 al 23 de enero de 2017 por concepto de “servicios misceláneos no personales”. Bajo el renglón de tipo de servicio indica “servicios de rotulación”.

Catorce contratos

Mientras, que la empresa Buena Vibra Group, obtuvo 14 contratos entre enero de 2013 a septiembre de 2016 por $1,159,987.

Bajo el renglón de categoría de servicios figuran: “servicios de publicidad, de representación o artísticos; compra, venta y/o alquiler de inmuebles; interagenciales y servicios misceláneos no personales”.

Según el registro del Contralor Electoral, en el 2015 Fontánez hizo una donación de $1,000 a Cruz Soto.

Por su parte, la directora de comunicaciones del municipio, Carmen Serrano, ha sostenido que “la política del municipio de San Juan es que no hacemos comentarios sobre casos sometidos ante los tribunales o bajo investigación”.

Melissa Correa Velázquez, EL VOCERO

Fuente: EL VOCERO

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FBI Investigating Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico for Alleged Corruption

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Ex-teacher accused of raping minor linked to Anthony Weiner, report says

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Brandon Goldner, WCNC-TV Published 1:06 a.m. ET June 23, 2018 | Updated 2:31 p.m. ET June 23, 2018

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Busch’s case has ties to former New York congressman Anthony Weiner’s federal sexting scandal back in 2016. The name of the minor in Busch’s case matches the minor’s name in the former congressman’s sexting case. USA TODAY

Jonathan Conrad Busch, 54, a former North Carolina teacher, is charged with two counts each of statutory rape of a child under the age of 15 and indecent liberties with a child, according to the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office.(Photo: Gaston County Sheriff’s Office)

GASTONIA, N.C. — Authorities arrested a former North Carolina teacher Thursday on sex offenses involving a minor.

The Gaston County Sheriff’s Office says 54-year-old Jonathan Conrad Busch of Mooresville, North Carolina is charged with two counts each of statutory rape of a child under the age of 15 and indecent liberties with a child.

Gastonia Police Officer R.S. Lewis said in an arrest warrant the indecent liberties and statutory rape charges involved the same girl and occurred between June and September 2016.

According to WCNC-TV, Busch’s case has ties to former New York congressman Anthony Weiner’s federal sexting scandal back in 2016. The name of the minor in Busch’s case matches the minor’s name in the former congressman’s sexting case.

Weiner is currently serving a 21-month sentence in federal prison after admitting to illicit online contact with a 15-year-old girl living in Gaston County.

Weiner had been married to Huma Abedin, a prominent aide to former 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and many political experts cited his crime as a factor in Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump.

In a letter sent to parents, Lake Norman High School Principal Keith Gentle confirmed that Busch resigned from his position as a social studies teacher due to the nature of his criminal charges.

Iredell-Statesville Schools Superintendent Brady Johnson told NBC Charlotte that none of Busch’s crimes occurred on the high school’s campus nor did they involve any current or former students at the school.

More: Women allegedly had sex with teens, bragged of being ‘sexual deviants’

Related: Teacher sentenced for sex with 15-year-old student while pregnant

According to the school system, Busch worked at Lake Norman High School for almost 15 years as a social studies teacher.

Bob Leonard, a local resident who lives just up the road from Busch’s Mooresville house, told WCNC-TV that he never spoke with him. As a grandfather, Leonard said the criminal charges concerned him.

“It’s just a little disturbing that we learn more about this,” Leonard said. “The advice I’d have to people is to pay attention and get involved and know what your kids are doing.”

Busch was arrested and released on a $20,000 bond. He’s scheduled to appear in district court on Monday, according to WCNC-TV.

Contributing: Associated Press

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Crisis en el PNP | Opinión

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Por: Lcdo. Iván Rivera

Facebook: Facebook.com/DiscusionPuertoRico

Ramón, la semana pasada el PNP demostró síntomas de su primera gran crisis en este cuatrienio. Ante la falta de oposición real, y lo inconsecuente que ha resultado ser el PPD, en este ciclo electoral todas las situaciones del diario vivir de la administración habían sido paliadas con relativo éxito.

La excepción a eso lo fueron los dos temas relacionados a los huracanes ligados a la administración Trump y que, por ende, eran “sexies” para cierto sector del “media monopoly” de EE.UU. Los cuales aún, de vez en cuando, remachan sobre los mismos. De hecho, ni tanto. Luego de aspavientos con el tema de Whitefish, ni las investigaciones congresionales, ni de las agencias investigativas federales, han levantado un ápice de ilegalidad. Pero, en fin, era sexy decir que el tipo que aspiraba a ser empresario, sin dinero y con oficina original en una choza de Montana, había obtenido un contrato millonario, no por sus conocimientos, sino porque lo traqueteó alguien en el ministerio de lo interior del gobierno de Trump. Si la era Trump hubiese sido en 1976, Steve Jobs y Steve Wozniak hubiesen sido lapidados y hoy no tendrías tu Iphone.

Pero a lo que vinimos. Tanto el choque frontal del gobernador con Rivera Schatz, así como el desaire que le realizara Trump ante su petición informal de estadidad, en sus consecuencias, representan la primera gran crisis del presente ciclo electoral para el PNP y sus aspiraciones a la reelección.

El primero sumerge a la administración en una incertidumbre fiscal que puede tener efectos políticos adversos. Además, abre una fisura de división que puede llenarles el barco de agua. El segundo, toca la fibra de lo que le da unidad al PNP: el asunto “ideológico”. Si las huestes del PNP, ante dicho desaire comienzan a perder de perspectiva eso que los une, por imposible que aparenta ser, junto con la fisura antes mencionada, puede ser el comienzo del final. Algo similar le pasó al PPD con AGP el cuatrienio anterior y su falta de liderazgo terminó enterrándolo. Ahora queda por verse el talante de liderazgo de Ricky.

Por: Lcdo. Ramón L. Rosario Cortés

Twitter: @discusionPR

Iván, discrepo con el título que seleccionas. No estamos en una crisis del PNP sino en todo nuestro entorno económico y fiscal. Y eso, no es algo que nace en esta administración, sino que venimos experimentando con distintas gradaciones desde la administración de Sila María Calderón.

Ciertamente, el gobernador y el pueblo añaden a su lista de retos, el que no se haya podido cumplir con el acuerdo con la Junta de Supervisión Fiscal sobre la derogación de la Ley 80. Cumplirlo, aseguraba mucho dinero para nuestro desarrollo económico y protegía importantes derechos de la clase trabajadora como su bono de Navidad y sus días de vacaciones y enfermedad. Luego de que al gobernador recibiera el apoyo de la comisionada residente, alcaldes del PNP y su delegación en la Cámara de Representantes, el Senado determinó no darle paso.

Iván, cada funcionario electo es escogido democráticamente para tomar las determinaciones que entiendan benefician más a sus constituyentes. Muchas veces, las cosas que benefician al pueblo no son simpáticas. No obstante, por muchas décadas, otros han tomado determinaciones simpáticas y rehusado hacer lo correcto; por eso tenemos un gobierno en quiebra y una migración sin precedentes a otras jurisdicciones de los Estados Unidos.

El gobernador y los representantes tomaron su determinación señalando los posibles riesgos de no hacer lo correcto. El Senado tomó su determinación y es su derecho y responsabilidad. Pero, cada cual debe estar consciente que cada acción tiene resultados y hay que asumirlos y explicarlos. Eso le tocará a cada uno. No creo que el gobernador pierda liderato o apoyo con esta situación. Consistentemente, todos los estudios y encuestas de opinión resaltan la figura del gobernador porque no es un político tradicional y vino a hacer grandes cambios en las áreas de energía, educación, contributiva, salud, permisos, y otras.

Sobre Trump, lo que vi fue un gobernador valiente que exige para su pueblo la igualdad que merecemos. La reacción de Trump fue una “jocosa” ante un planteamiento al que no se puede oponer. Prefiero que mi gobernador utilice cada oportunidad que tenga para exigir la igualdad que solo nos dará la Estadidad.

Héctor Ferrer acusa al Gobierno de Rosselló de la situación crítica de Puerto Rico | Puerto Rico | Edición USA | Agencia EFE

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PUERTO RICO POLÍTICA

Héctor Ferrer acusa al Gobierno de Rosselló de la situación crítica de Puerto Rico

EFEUSASan Juan
El presidente del opositor Partido Popular Democrático (PPD) de Puerto Rico, Héctor Ferrer, acusó en entrevista con Efe al Gobierno de ineficacia en el área económica, falta de transparencia en los muertos por María y tolerar la Junta de Supervisión Fiscal, todo causa de una situación crítica. EFE/ArchivoEl presidente del opositor Partido Popular Democrático (PPD) de Puerto Rico, Héctor Ferrer, acusó en entrevista con Efe al Gobierno de ineficacia en el área económica, falta de transparencia en los muertos por María y tolerar la Junta de Supervisión Fiscal, todo causa de una situación crítica. EFE/Archivo

El presidente del opositor Partido Popular Democrático (PPD) de Puerto Rico, Héctor Ferrer, acusó en entrevista con Efe al Gobierno de ineficacia en el área económica, falta de transparencia en los muertos por María y tolerar la Junta de Supervisión Fiscal, todo causa de una situación crítica.

“Miles de personas permanecen sin energía, cientos de intersecciones tienen estropeados los semáforos y cerca de cinco mil negocios que estaban operativos antes del huracán no han podido abrir”, un complicado panorama descrito por Ferrer al que en su opinión el Gobierno liderado por Ricardo Rosselló no ha sabido responder.

Ferrer aseguró que tampoco ha contribuido a mejorar las cosas la desde su punto de vista mala administración por parte del Ejecutivo de los fondos federales llegados a Puerto Rico para paliar los daños causados por el huracán María del pasado septiembre.

El presidente del PPD, una formación que defiende el actual estatus de Puerto Rico de Estado Libre Asociado a Estados Unidos, lo que le permite al Ejecutivo local cierto grado de autonomía y contar con su propia Constitución, subraya que la isla caribeña se enfrenta a una realidad complicada a la que no se dan las respuestas adecuadas.

“El Gobierno colapso tras el huracán María”, subraya Ferrer, para quien la isla solo comenzó a ver la luz tras la llegada de las autoridades federales a Puerto Rico una semana después del desastre.

Asegura que los distintos departamentos del Gobierno, comenzando por la Agencia Estatal para el Manejo que Emergencias, no estuvieron a la altura de la situación tras María.

Ferrer indicó que la cadena de errores comenzó en la gestión de la respuesta al huracán, a lo que siguió el controvertido asunto de la cifra de muertes ocasionadas por el ciclón, que el Gobierno de Rosselló mantiene fueron 64 personas, cifra oficial que contrasta con un informe de la Universidad de Harvard que la sitúa en más de 4.500.

“El Gobierno insiste en la cifra de 64 muertos pero todo el mundo sabe que fueron muchos más” asegura el líder de la oposición, para quien no tienen sentido que el Ejecutivo trate de enmascarar la cifra real de fallecidos.

La lista de graves problemas a los que se enfrenta Puerto Rico sigue con el papel de la Junta de Supervisión Fiscal, entidad de control al Ejecutivo de San Juan impuesta por una ley aprobada por el Congreso en Washington para atender el problema de una deuda pública impagable y encauzar las cuentas públicas.

“Estoy en contra de la Junta por contradecir el derecho natural de escoger las personas que nos gobiernen”, sostuvo el líder del PPD, tras matizar que “Junta y Gobierno son la misma cosa”.

La JSF exige, tras negociar con el Ejecutivo de Rosselló, la derogación de la Ley 80 que garantiza una indemnización por despido injustificado, una medida criticada por el PPD.

“Espero que el Senado mantenga su oposición y no permita que esa ley se elimine”, resaltó Ferrer, para quien no existe estudio alguno que señale que acabar con esa norma que garantiza una indemnización por despidos vaya a suponer un estímulo para la economía.

“La responsabilidad de la Junta es enderezar las finanzas del Gobierno, pero la eliminación de la Ley 80 no tiene ninguna influencia en eso”, defendió Ferrer.

A su juicio, la economía solo mejorará si se consigue un Gobierno más eficiente y unos municipios con una gestión más óptima que la actual de los servicios que se presentan a los ciudadanos.

Además, rechazó que el Gobierno exija austeridad a los ciudadanos mientras hay jefes de agencia que cobran hasta 400.000 dólares anuales

En cuanto al asunto del estatus de Puerto Rico, dijo que los esfuerzos del Gobierno para convertir a la isla en un estado más de EEUU han sido inútiles y que el Ejecutivo utiliza el asunto de la relación política con Estados Unidos para desviar la atención de los problemas reales que no sabe solucionar.

Ferrer subrayó que defiende el desarrollo del Estado Libre Asociado para ganar mayor autonomía y permitir así que la isla goce de una economía más robusta, postura que choca con el Gobierno, que defiende la plena anexión de Puerto Rico a Estados Unidos como un estado más del país norteamericano.

El líder de la oposición criticó además la situación por la que atraviesa la isla en el ámbito de la criminalidad, en su opinión sin una respuesta contundente a causa de la mala gestión del secretario del Departamento de Seguridad Pública (DSP), Héctor Pesquera.

Pidió que prescinda de los servicios de Pesquera, un funcionario que como recordó gana anualmente cerca de 250.000 dólares, y que la Policía vuelva a ser responsabilidad exclusiva de una sola persona.

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No, Christopher Wray, we don’t trust you

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Has the FBI Created a Constitutional Crisis?

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A crisis in leadership at the FBI

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The institution of the FBI is not in tatters, contrary to recent reports. That’s because the identity of the FBI is not located on the seventh floor at FBI headquarters. It resides within the hearts and minds of the brick agents.

The FBI had been immune to outside influences until Robert Mueller became director. Although the FBIreports to the Justice Department, we maintained an arm’s-length distance from that politically infested agency. Previous attorneys general attempted to shroud their partisanship, but recent appointees such as Loretta “Tarmac” Lynch have openly ripped Lady Justice’s blindfold off and dropped Lois Lerner on her scales.

So how did the FBI become politicized? During his 12-year term as FBI director, Robert Mueller slowly merged the FBI into Justice. Prior to his tenure, agents could investigate cases minus interference from the U.S. attorney. The agent would submit the investigation findings to Justice, which had three options: indict, decline or request additional evidence.

After Mr. Mueller’s tenure, Justice Department’s approval was required to open sensitive cases, informants and authorize investigative techniques. This additional bureaucratic layer would be a minor speed bump had Justice not engaged in selective prosecution based on personal belief systems.

I’m an Italian who spent eight years infiltrating the Mafia, but it never occurred to me to ignore criminal activity based on shared ethnicity. FBI agents must remain fact finders because if you act upon your bias, then you turn into Peter Strzok.

Special Agent Strzok and Deputy Director “Andy” McCabe soiled their FBI credentials. Mr. McCabe’s wife accepted political dollars from a Clinton bud, while Mr. McCabe was investigating Hillary. Mr. Strzok played verbal gymnastics with a federal statute allowing Hillary a pass. Retired agents are wondering, “What the hell happened to my FBI?”

The sole function of FBI headquarters should be to support the field. If HQ disappeared tomorrow the field can still fulfill our mission of putting bad people in jail. Brick agents view HQ as an obstruction to overcome. Delays have damaged cases and cost lives. Field divisions are staffed with Senior Executive Service-level agents who are capable of making many decisions now required by headquarters.

It appears that several HQ managers had allegedly schemed to influence the 2016 presidential election. Field agents are too busy protecting America to participate in attempted government overthrows. When FBI Director James Comey announced that field agents supported his decision not to prosecute Hillary, he was suffering from a severe case of Beltway delusion. A majority of agents in Tulsa and Pittsburgh believed his decision to be a travesty of justice.

Examples of failed leadership at headquarters abound, but the handling of the Zacarias Moussaoui case is especially troubling. One month prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Minnesota FBI agents were begging the Radical Fundamentalist Unit at headquarters for a FISA warrant. They sent HQ 70 emails warning of an “imminent” terrorist attack.

Evidence included intel from the Phoenix FBI that Osama bin Laden was sending agents to train in U.S. flight schools, a CIA warning that Moussaoui might be “involved in a larger plot to target airlines,” and pointing out Moussaoui’s $83,000 in tuition cash.

The Radical Fundamentalist Unit’s reply to a possible attack on U.S. soil was, “That ain’t gonna ever happen.” Well, it happened, and nearly 3,000 Americans were killed.

After the attacks, the FBI found documents linking Moussaoui to 11 of the hijackers. Minnesota agents testified that the leadership void inside headquarters is due to a culture of decision avoidance. The Radical Fundamentalist Unit at HQ was guilty of “obstructionism, criminal negligence, and careerism,” and that its opposition blocked “a serious opportunity to stop the 9/11 attacks.”

Messrs. Comey, Mueller and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein share a professional and personal history. In a questionable sequence of coincidences, Mr. Comey desires a special counsel and Mr. Rosenstein obliges by appointing their mutual bud Mr. Mueller, who then hires his buds, all of whom share a hatred for all things Trump. Had this team been vetted for jury duty, all would be excused for cause.

The above sequence of events does not pass the smell test. Politicians of both parties feel it suicide to fire Mr. Mueller. I disagree, since Mr. Mueller has violated several provisions of the statute which states that “the Special Counsel may be removed for a conflict of interest, or for even the ‘appearance,’ of a conflict of interest.”

Since Mr. Comey is both a witness and potential target in the Russia investigation, Mr. Mueller should immediately recuse himself or be fired for cause. In fact, this conflict of interest is so obvious that any decision made by the special counsel will be forever tainted.

The FBI is still the finest law enforcement agency on earth. We have some stress fractures, but we’ll survive and turn the page on this current crisis in leadership. We must return to our roots when the agents were viewed as knights in shining armor. I hope that Director Christopher Wray will reach out to the retired FBI ranks for some advice. I’m available.

• John Ligato is a retired FBI agent and former Marine who was the recipient of three Purple Hearts for action in Vietnam. His latest book is “The Near Enemy” (Post Hill Press, 2017).

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The biblical case for closed borders

Well stated commentary, with enough references to make the strong case for borders. The larger point of course, is what happened during the past eight years, the utter cruelty of an administration that, to score political points and expand voter rolls for Democrats, says America has open borders. In effect, they tell the coyotes that (wink wink) just any excuse for asylum will do, we won’t be able to turn away the children you either drag– or drive like a herd, on foot through the hell that is Mexico–only to find that yes, Virginia, the US does indeed have borders. We *are* striving to be charitable–but to be a normal country at the same time, with a normal border.

FBI may be biggest loser in investigation of investigations

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Favorable opinion of FBI has dropped from 52% to 43% since February

Investigations don’t seem to help anybody – even if there is no criminal finding. At least that’s what seems to be happening as the public reacts to the Department of Justice’s report on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe into Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s emails. Many Americans in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll see her as culpable, though that has been the case all along.

The FBI might be the biggest loser: the percentage with a favorable opinion of the Bureau has dropped 11 points since February. The drop comes from all partisan groups – Republicans, Democrats and independents, with Republicans having the most negative views.

Most Republicans believe the agency is biased – towards Hillary Clinton (68%) during the email investigation, and against Donald Trump (67%) today in the Russia investigation. Most Democrats believe there is no bias in the Russia investigation, though fewer say that about the Clinton probe, with as many saying the FBI was biased against Clinton as say it was unbiased.

As for the man in charge of the FBI during the Clinton email investigation, there isn’t a lot of love for James Comey from any part of the political spectrum. A majority of Democrats and Republicans agree that he did not handle the investigation properly, though the two parties likely have different reasons for saying that. Most Republicans (67%) say Comey should have been fired for how he handled the Clinton investigation, though only a quarter of Democrats agree.

A majority of Democrats, and a third of Republicans, believe how the investigation was handled affected the outcome of the 2016 election.

Opinions about Clinton’s use of a private email server for government business are clearly negative in this week’s poll. But the findings on the specific questions about Clinton are not much different than they were in 2016, both in the summer, when Comey said Clinton had been “extremely careless,” and just before that year’s election, when Comey announced he was reopening the investigation. Comey then closed the probe, filing no criminal charges. In fact, opinions are marginally better today. In July 2016, 64% believed Clinton had done something wrong, this week, 55% say that. And Americans, both then and now, divide closely on whether they agree with Comey’s decision not to file criminal charges against Clinton.

The Inspector General’s critique of the Clinton investigation has done little to change the public’s view of the current investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, or to change minds on whether the President himself did anything wrong.

By two to one, Americans approve of the appointment of a special counsel to oversee the investigation; Republicans disapprove 45% to 30%.

They have a favorable opinion of Robert Mueller, the special counsel, but by a very narrow 5-point margin. By 42% to 17%, they don’t want him fired. Republicans are split. 30% believe Mueller should be fired, 27% disagree. 61% of Republicans say the President is being framed; the rest of the nation, by a wide margin, disagrees.

More continue to believe that the President has attempted to influence the investigation than think he hasn’t tried. Most Republicans say the President has not interfered.

Last Friday, just before the poll began, Paul Manafort, a one-time Trump campaign manager, had his bail revoked for possible witness tampering and was sent to jail. Some, especially Republicans, view this as an attempt to apply government pressure and get Manafort to flip on the President. While a majority expresses no opinion of Manafort’s guilt or innocence when it comes to the charges of financial crimes (not related to the Trump campaign), those with an opinion believe he is guilty. Republicans, two-thirds of whom say they have no opinion, are evenly divided.

Read more topline and tables results here.

Photo: Getty


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