Wednesday, May 24, 2017

UMKC Prof. Bill Black Sheds Further Light on FBI Corruption Discretion

therealnews |  KIM BROWN: Bill Black, that has been the buzzword pretty much for the past couple of weeks, but this week in particular regarding the investigations. We're talking about an investigation into former FBI Director Jim Comey's email investigation into Hilary Clinton and now an investigation into former Director Comey's firing, an investigation happening surrounding Mike Flynn and his potential role there. So what are we to take away from these numerous investigations not only swirling around D.C. but swirling around this White House in particular?

BILL BLACK: I wanted to provide some background and some perspective. As you said, I'm a former financial regulator that worked very closely with the FBI and Department of Justice investigations and prosecutions of elite white collar criminals and also, on a pro bono basis, was an outside consultant, an expert to the investigation of a portion of the Bill Clinton stuff. That was a special counsel relationship as well. I can tell you a little bit about these things that are now famous, these Comey notes about the meeting that he had with the president in which, at least according to the leaks, the notes show that the president asked Comey to not pursue General Flynn.

So to begin at the beginning, also with this claim that you're hearing repeated time after time, that nothing can interfere with an FBI investigation and such. In fact, enumerable things can and do interfere with FBI investigations and anybody that's lived through the financial crisis that we just had knows that because they know that the same person, Robert Mueller, the former head of the FBI, not an evil person at all, understandably reorganized the FBI in response to the 9/11 attacks to make it almost exclusively, in its priorities, a counter-terrorist and intelligence organization. That meant that the absolute best people that investigate white collar crime, and the way they do that is by following the money, in other words, the ones with real financial expertise, were transferred out of the white collar section and they were never replaced. That's one of the stories of why there have been zero successful prosecutions because they easily defeated investigations of all the top bankers by never assigning remotely enough agents to the work and assigning them to minor cases.

Historically, J. Edgar Hoover of course was the first director of the FBI and served almost forever and notoriously would not allow the FBI to investigate attacks on, for example, blacks and civil rights workers. The movie, Mississippi Burning, is a fictionalized account of when the attorney general of the United States finally pushed back and forced the FBI to investigate. There were hundreds of occasions in which Hoover intervened to start investigations or stop investigations. Of course, John Dean came up with a bright idea of stopping an FBI investigation by having the CIA, who was only too happy to agree to help President Nixon, falsely claim that the FBI shouldn't look because it was really a CIA operation.

Let's do away with this myth that there's nothing that can interfere with an FBI investigation. The FBI investigations were very much at risk. Let's talk a bit about the key players. Rod Rosenstein is the Deputy Attorney General and because Sessions is recused from dealing with matters involving Russia, Rosenstein actually serves as the acting attorney general when he appointed Mueller, former head of the FBI, before Comey as the special counsel to look at these matters. A little bit about the notes. FBI agents are, in fact, taught, like most people with senior positions in Washington D.C. that involve important matters, to, immediately after a key meeting, to take detailed notes in writing while you're doing the meeting and then turn those notes into a description of the meeting.