December 22, 2017

"The FBI’s top lawyer, James Baker, is being reassigned — one of the first moves by new director Christopher A. Wray to assemble his own team of senior advisers..."

"... as he tries to fend off accusations of politicization within the bureau," WaPo reports. What politicization was Baker accused of? We're told that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) "singled out Baker, noting he was the subject of a leak investigation," but also that "people familiar with" the reassigning say it wasn't about leaks (and also that the investigation is over and no one will be charged).
In recent months, Baker had been caught up in a strange interagency dispute that led to a leak probe and attracted the attention of senior lawmakers....

For months, Baker had become caught up in what some law enforcement officials considered a particularly frustrating probe of a leak involving the FBI, the National Security Agency and stories that appeared about a year ago involving surveillance techniques for a particular email provider, according to people familiar with the matter. Some NSA officials were concerned that too much had been revealed about a classified program in an effort to correct a prior report, these people said....

The leak probe frustrated some law enforcement officials, who said officials were caught up in it only because they had tried to prevent misinformation about surveillance capabilities from spreading among the public and lawmakers. Others said the very existence of the investigation was mostly due to a disagreement between two agencies, according to people familiar with the matter.
Somebody decided that "caught up in" is the perfect phrase to use on occasions like this, but all that repetition makes me suspicious. I guess it's a way to make the person at the center of things seem like an innocent bystander. And notice the emotional words that push us away from looking too closely: What happened was "strange" and "particularly frustrating" and officials were "frustrated."

Hey, I'm frustrated reading this. I'm going to go see how the NYT covers the same story. Oh... a different kind of frustration: no story at all.

ADDED: I wonder what "surveillance techniques for a particular email provider" refers to. Does that sound like some private email-provider company was doing surveillance for the government? If there were "stories that appeared about a year ago" about this, why not link to those stories?

61 comments:

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I guess it's a way to make the person at the center of things seem like an innocent bystander.

Or it's a way to make an innocent bystander seem like the person at the center of things. I suspect, based on the players, and the press, that your interpretation is correct in this case. But it can be used either way.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

...people familiar with the matter said the probe had recently ended with a decision not to charge anyone.

I'm guessing he was found to be extremely careless, rather than grossly negligent.

Angel-Dyne said...

"...caught up in...

When elites "dindu nuffin".

Luke Lea said...

Google?

Tommy Duncan said...

"I'm going to go see how the NYT covers the same story. Oh... a different kind of frustration: no story at all."

The real bias in the media has to do with what they choose not to print. The Lewinski story opened a lot of eyes to the bias of the press. The press coverup for the left continues unabated.

Breezy said...

Being reassigned to what role? A role in HR?

narciso said...

Probably:

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/943929982363062272.html

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I suspect it’s Yahoo.

John Tuffnell said...

Mistakes were made when officials were caught up in it.

EMS Artifact said...

"There I was, minding my own business as the top lawyer at the FBI, when all of a sudden all of these controversies broke out for no reason at all."

Luke Lea said...

Wonder if Schmidt's reassignment at Alphabet has anything to do with this?

steve w said...

I am frustrated that the Congress can't seem to get information from the FBI and the DOJ. Doesn't the House control the $$? They could, oh I don't know, stop paying the rent on FBI headquarters or delete the salaries of all the upper echelon people who won't answer, couldn't they?
The House could delete all money for travel or pencils or ANYTHING until they changed the culture but, for some reason, they merely complain. What gives? Why won't our elected officials get to the bottom of this mess? Isn't that the whole purpose of "oversight"?

Bob Boyd said...

'Was caught up in' sounds better than 'was caught'.

You might say Louis CK just got caught up in what his hand was doing to his penis.

dda6ga dda6ga said...

"Honest Officer, I was just standing waiting for the bus when this guy ran up and shoved the jewelry and money in my front pocket and a gun in my back pocket. Honest I don't understand what is going on"

IgnatzEsq said...

Reassign the swamp.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Yep, it’s Yahoo.

John Murdoch said...

Wait--wouldn't an organization with one email server, and perhaps a dozen or so end users, perhaps co-locating that server in the bathroom of a contractor--might that (at least to a lawyer intent on misleading a conscientiously-gullible reporter)--might that, I say, be accurately described as a "small email provider" at the center of a dispute between the NSA and FBI over surveillance?

As in, the NSA was aware that every email on that server was being by the Russians, the Chinese, the Israelis, and the Bronx Science High School Girls Robotics team? And the FBI was doing their level best to cover it up?

Just asking, as they say, for a friend....

Quayle said...

Yeah - I’m not buying any of this!

An ...effort to correct a prior report? That’s the tip off. When do prior reports EVER need correcting? Never. All press reports are always the truth. Always!

Luke Lea said...

Google’s true origin partly lies in CIA and NSA research grants for mass surveillance: https://goo.gl/fn3pKb

I didn't know that. Were our intelligence agencies reading everybody's gmail? Or just some of the people around Trump maybe?

Big Mike said...

As anyone who has been in Washington for any length of time can tell you, the FBI is regarded as the most politicized agency in town, going back to J. Edgar Hoover asserting that the Civil Rights movement was riddled with communists, including Martin Luther King, Jr. I can only guess that thePost doesn’t read its own articles because they describe an agency at war with the President of the United States, inventing fake evidence. They’ve done it before and gotten away with it, notably at Waco and Ruby Ridge. I can understand Chris Wray wanting to fix that, even if the Post can’t.

Mike said...

Passive voice alert. This is such a strong "tell" because journalism is supposed to be written in active voice: who did what to whom? Where was the fire? Etc. So when you see a weasily construction like this it is a sign they are obscuring rather than revealing the facts at hand. The Clinton administration was masterful at deploying these types of phrases, like "mistakes were made."

Mike said...

[Corrected a spelling error]

Original Mike said...

Tuesday afternoon when FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe travelled to Capitol Hill for his 10-hour closed door testimony and questioning he was accompanied by “small group” defense shield, FBI legal counsel, James Baker. In front of the House Intelligence Committee, Andy McCabe suddenly couldn’t remember his relationship with the Steele Dossier. As a result of Attorney Baker’s appearance and specific engagement within the hearing investigators announced yesterday to Baker would be summoned for questioning:

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

So the NYT doesn't think the reassignment of the FBI head lawyer deserves an article.

Accordingly to Left Bank's article Baker is close the Leakey Comey. One more puddle in the swamp drained.

Saint Croix said...

It's kind of weird that so many high-level FBI agents are still in the FBI after such a dramatic change of presidents.

I know we'd like to think that many people in the FBI are non-partisan and just doing their job.

But who would think that in the case of James Baker?

For instance, when Comey was drafting his conclusion to the Hillary Clinton investigation, he was doing so months before he had interviewed her in regard to what had happened.

That strikes many observers as something quite different from just doing their job

And when Comey drafted his document, who did he send it to?

James Baker.

It's a non-classified document, but they redacted the hell out of it anyway.

Why? Because James Baker was on the e-mail, and it's an implicit request for legal advice (hence privileged).

If I was Christopher Wray, I would want a different attorney. I would want somebody fresh and new, who is not compromised by prior commitments to prior administrations. That seems to me to be a no-brainer.

"The FBI’s top lawyer, James Baker, is being reassigned — one of the first moves by new director Christopher A. Wray to assemble his own team of senior advisers…"

I think what's happening here is exactly what they say is happening. The new FBI head wants a new attorney advising the FBI.

Joe Drager said...

These leakers leak to fake news like the Washington Post and New York Times. Then we learn of their involvement in leaking and what that means from the Washington Post and New York Times.
End result - what we know is only what we are told by the Washington Post and New York Times.

Joe Drager said...

The Meuller investigation has made one thing perfectly clear - never, ever, under any circumstance speak with an FBI agent about anything.

Mike Sylwester said...

New information about Glenn Simpson (owner of Fusion GPS) and his wife Mary Jacoby:

-----

An article in Tablet by Lee Smith, titled "Did President Obama Read the ‘Steele Dossier’ in the White House Last August?"

Describes Simpson's and Jacoby's long interest in Paul Manafort

http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/251897/obama-steele-dossier-russiagate

-----

An article in The Conservative Treehouse by Sundance, titled "Oh Dear – Trail of Russian Dossier Origination Now Directly Leads to The Obama White House ..."

Jacoby visited the White House on April 11, 2016, the same month when the Clinton Campaign hired Fusion GPS -- also the same month when Fusion GPS hired Nellie Ohr, the wife of Justice Department Deputy Director Bruce Ohr, the US Associate Deputy Attorney General.

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2017/12/21/oh-dear-trail-of-russian-dossier-origination-now-directly-leads-to-the-obama-white-house/

-----

An article in Liberty Unyielding, titled "A Really Big Clue: The Close Clinton Connection of Fusion GPS Founder Glenn Simpson"

Mary Jacoby is from Little Rock, Arkansas, and her wealthy family has been associated with the Clinton family for decades.

https://libertyunyielding.com/2017/12/22/really-big-clue-close-clinton-connection-fusion-gps-founder-glenn-simpson/

mockturtle said...

Reassignment vs. firing. This is always the case in government. Maybe they don't dare fire anyone who knows where the bodies are buried.

Tom from Virginia said...

The FBI has many tools it can use to keep Congress in the dark.

If the Congress really wants to find something out, it has but one tool - a significant cut in the FBI's funding.

I'll believe Congress wants to find out what really happened inside the FBI when it cuts the FBI's funding significantly.

Until then, Congress is just playing to the cameras.

Original Mike said...

Here's a report on that McCabe testimony.

narciso said...

Well he did have levison and another fellow who were party members, as well as pepper the side who resurrected the assasination conspiracy in the 90s

Mike Sylwester said...

Joe Drager at 8:48 AM
The Meuller investigation has made one thing perfectly clear -- never, ever, under any circumstance speak with an FBI agent about anything.

Opponents of enforcing any immigration laws often make the argument that enforcement causes illegal aliens to avoid cooperating with the police.

Meanwhile, Robert "The FBI White-Washer" Mueller is teaching all US citizens that they never should cooperate with the FBI. Even if a citizen is completely innocent and thinks he can prove his innocence, he always should lawyer-up and refuse to answer any questions.

It's a good lesson that US citizens should learn from illegal aliens.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Shitty writing needlessly raises questions. Shitty writing by "news" writers is a growing and underreported problem.

1. To "fend off" is to repulse a physical attack. By inference, to "fend off" an accusation is to refute it and/or provide refuting.

What did Wray do "to fend off accusations of politicization within the bureau?" He reassigned Baker, his top lawyer.

That seems like a corrective action, tacitly admitting the truth of the accusations.

2. The headline is "FBI's top lawyer said to be reassigned." Somebody - we do not know who - claims the top lawyer will be re-assigned. The second paragraph begins "Baker told his coleagues...." The unidentified source in the headline is Baker himself.

Barrett, Nakashima, and Leonnig - three "writers" in search of an editor.

FIDO said...

Meanwhile, Robert "The FBI White-Washer" Mueller is teaching all US citizens that they never should cooperate with the FBI. Even if a citizen is completely innocent and thinks he can prove his innocence, he always should lawyer-up and refuse to answer any questions.

Wait, what?

I have already taught that to my kids for the last 6 years about ANY police involvement in which they are involved.

Anyone who doesn't teach their kids that is doing them a disservice. No to searches, no to entry, no to questions. Lawyer up.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Seems Barrett, Nakashima, and Leonnig are just caught up in the need to publish in haste.

Lotta that goan round.

320Busdriver said...

Whats a "HQ Special"??

narciso said...

O'Neal was the other guy, to America's Fouche that was a red flag.

Bruce Hayden said...

“It's kind of weird that so many high-level FBI agents are still in the FBI after such a dramatic change of presidents.

I know we'd like to think that many people in the FBI are non-partisan and just doing their job.”

We are talking career Civil Service, versus political appointees. I don’t think that McCabe can be fired, absent cause. But he can be reassigned, and any reassignment for him would be a de facto demotion. Part of the reason that we a a “swamp” is that the career leadership of these agencies, the supergraders, are political, left wing, but mostly statist over progressive. Hard to get rid of them.

Now McCabe may be different. They may be able to force him out. We shall see what the OIG investigation turns up, but my guess is that his continuing to personally control the investigation into pay-to-play with the Clinton Foundation after his wife took almost $3/4 million from long time Clinton bag man, Terry McAuliffe, for her campaign, is a pretty egregious conflict of interest under DoJ and FBI regulations. That may be the “cause” that they need.

The other thing about McCabe is that the Republicans in Congress now know him to be a lier. He bailed from his previously scheduled testimony before Congress, when it came out that his co-conspirators were found to have met in his office to discuss an insurance policy if Trump were to win. He then showed up several days later and played dumb, didn’t remember much, etc, after having several extra days to get his story straight, etc. (And let me remind everyone that Scooter Libby was convicted of lying about a much less egregious failure to remember). I don’t see how he is allowed to survive in that position at the FBI.

Lyle Smith said...

Reassigned? Ah... the awesomesauce of being a government worker.

tola'at sfarim said...

Fido Said
"Anyone who doesn't teach their kids that is doing them a disservice. No to searches, no to entry, no to questions. Lawyer up."

Who pays for the lawyers? This works when police are actually investigating a crime. Theres an end point. But when theyre investigating you, and looking for a crime, what are you supposed to do? its almost stalinesque
“ ‘Do you know how much our state weighs, with all the factories, machines, the army, with all the armaments and the navy?’
“Mironov and all those present looked at Stalin with surprise.
“ ‘Think it over and tell me,’ demanded Stalin. Mironov smiled, believing that Stalin was getting ready to crack a joke. But Stalin did not intend to jest. . . . ‘I’m asking you, how much does all that weigh?’ he insisted.
“Mironov was confused. He waited, still hoping Stalin would turn everything into a joke. . . . Mironov . . . said in an irresolute voice, ‘Nobody can know that. . . . It is in the realm of astronomical figures.’
“’Well, and can one man withstand the pressure of that astronomical weight?’ asked Stalin sternly.
“ ‘No,’ answered Mironov.
“ ‘Now then, don’t tell me any more that Kamenev, or this or that prisoner, is able to withstand that pressure. Don’t come to report to me,’ said Stalin to Mironov, ‘until you have in this briefcase the confession of Kamenev!’”

Original Mike said...

"I don’t see how he is allowed to survive in that position at the FBI."

Sheila Jackson Lee took the time to come out and talk to reporters during one of McCabe's testimonies (yesterday's, I think). Her message was, don't you dare fire this man. Apparently, the dems will man the barricades to protect him.

Fernandistein said...

Lyle Smith said...
Reassigned? Ah... the awesomesauce of being a government worker.


Ha ha! I really liked the "worker" part, that was funny.

"Instead of getting paid, most of them should be charged rent."

Quayle said...

One thing seems clear. Some kinda survival game is on.

Fernandistein said...

Lyle Smith said...
Reassigned? Ah... the awesomesauce of being a government worker.


Ha ha! I really liked the "worker" part, that was funny.

"Instead of getting paid, most of them should be charged rent."

Sam L. said...

Forget it, Ann; it's WaPoo-town.

Michael K said...

It may be necessary to shut down the entire top 15% of the FBI and reassign them to Detroit to investigate drug deals.

My FBI agent daughter ended up there for seven years because she was in the last class of the fiscal year at the Academy. Her choices were Detroit and Brownsville Texas. I told her, at least there would be plenty of crime.

She could not get a transfer until the SAC retired and the new SAC didn't figure out in time that no one wanted to be there. He approved her transfer before he figured out that he would never get a replacement.

Those heavy duty SAs would be welcome in the Detroit office. Lots of drive by shooting s to investigate.

Start again with the lower level agents who still have a shred of decency and patriotism.

James Smith said...

Possibly related to the Cliven Bundy case?
http://static.ow.ly/docs/Larry%20Wooten%20Communication_77PI.pdf

The Drill SGT said...

The leak probe frustrated some law enforcement officials, who said officials were caught up in it only because they had tried to prevent misinformation about surveillance capabilities from spreading among the public and lawmakers

"Preventing misinformation?"

e.g. counter-leaking...

The Drill SGT said...

Bruce Hayden said...
We are talking career Civil Service, versus political appointees. I don’t think that McCabe can be fired, absent cause. But he can be reassigned, and any reassignment for him would be a de facto demotion


The way to get at these sort of things is via their security clearance. The sorts of offenses like "leaking" might not be actionable under 18 USC, but the burden of proof to yank somebody's clearance is a lot less.

termination of a civil servant because of a security problem is much easier than a general performance problem.

David Begley said...

Not enough.

Fire Point Shaver Strzok and McCabe.

Form the New Untouchables and sic them on McCabe and Strzok. Rigged investigation.

dwg Z said...

He was "caught up in it" like Charles Manson was caught up in the Tate - LaBianca murders.

Clyde said...

"Caught up in" has the sound of accidentally stumbling into something through no fault of your own, like walking into a spider web you didn't see. And yes, the triple repetition is a tell that they are trying to spin the story.

K McConnell said...

Bruce Hayden said...
We are talking career Civil Service, versus political appointees. I don’t think that McCabe can be fired, absent cause. But he can be reassigned, and any reassignment for him would be a de facto demotion

I've read that he can't even be reassigned with out his approval due to his Civil Service senior status.

Original Mike said...

"I don’t think that McCabe can be fired, absent cause."

Lying to Congress must constitute "cause".

Yancey Ward said...

The interpretation is easy in this case- Baker was a source for WaPo and every paper who described him as "caught up in the probe".

However, he was "reassigned" because of McCabe's testimony this week. A week to prepare with the FBI's top counsel and being unable to remember the details is kind of damning all by itself- it really does look like planned Alzheimers- acceptable for a defendant and a defense attorney, less appropriate in this situation. From the reports, it appears Baker was acting like he was McCabe's personal lawyer.

Mike Sylwester said...

If Peter Strzok was transferred to Human Resources because his security clearance was suspended, then that means the yarn about his being transferred because the bias of his text messages offended Robert "The FBI Whitewasher" Mueller is fake news.

If Strzok was transferred because his security clearance was suspended, then his transfer did not happen because of Mueller.

However, it's likely that Mueller himself leaked the yarn that he transferred Strzok because he was dismayed by the bias in Strzok's text messages.

Original Mike said...

"From the reports, it appears Baker was acting like he was McCabe's personal lawyer."

McCabe just lost his safety net.

poker1one said...

Althouse reads Pravda story then rushes to compare with Izvetzia story. Frustrated that Izvetzia isn't covering the story. If you told the slaves in the old Soviet Union that after freedom was granted they would continue to read just the two old propaganda mills no one would believe you. Althouse remove your chains!

Bay Area Guy said...

Fire McCabe! and his wife!

Original Mike said...

Bay Area Guy - His wife? I don't think she's a government employee.