Robert Mueller: Anna Chapman and Mohamed Mohamud Are Bigger Threats than Lloyd Blankfein

As part of Robert Mueller’s reconfirmation hearing, he stated–and then was repeatedly asked–what threats face our country. Here’s how he described these threats in his hearing statement:

The FBI has never faced a more complex threat environment than it does today. Over the past year, we have seen an extraordinary array of national security and criminal threats, from terrorism and espionage to cyber attacks and traditional crimes. These threats have ranged from attempts by Al Qaeda and its affiliates to place bombs on airplanes bound for the United States to lone actors seeking to detonate IEDs in public squares and subways, intent on mass murder.

A month ago, the successful operation in Pakistan leading to Usama bin Laden’s death created new urgency for this threat picture. While we continue to exploit the materials seized from bin Laden’s compound, one of the early assessments from this intelligence is that Al Qaeda remains committed to attacking the United States. In addition, we are focused on the new information about the homeland threat gained from this operation.

We also continue to face the threat from adversaries, like Anwar Alaqui, who are engaged in efforts to radicalize people in the United States to commit acts of terrorism. In the age of the Internet, these radicalizing figures no longer need to meet or speak personally with those they seek to influence. Instead, they conduct their media campaigns from remote regions of the world, intent on fostering terrorism by lone actors here in the United States.

Alongside these ever-evolving terrorism plots, the espionage threat persists as well. Last summer, there were the arrests of 10 Russian spies, known as “illegals,” who secretly blended into American society in order to clandestinely gather information for Russia. And we continue to make significant arrests for economic espionage as foreign interests seek to steal controlled technologies.

The cyber intrusion at Google last year highlights the ever-present danger from a sophisticated Internet-attack, Along with countless other cyber incidents, these attacks threaten to undermine the integrity of the Internet and to victimize the businesses and people who rely on it.

In our criminal investigations, the FBI continues to uncover massive corporate and mortgage frauds that weaken the financial system and victimize investors, homeowners, and ultimately taxpayers. We are also rooting out insidious health care scams involving false billings and fake treatments that endanger patients and fleece government health care programs.

The violence in Mexico remains a threat for the United States, as we saw with the murder of three individuals connected to the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez in March 2010 and the shooting earlier this year of two DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Mexico.

And throughout, we are confronted with instances of corruption that undermine the public trust and violent gangs that continue to take innocent lives. [my emphasis]

So Mueller’s list, in order, is:

  • Al Qaeda-launched attack like the Undie-bomber
  • Self-radicalized attacks like Mohamed Osman Mohamud
  • Spies like Anna Chapman
  • Cyber attacks allegedly launched by China
  • Massive corporate fraud committed by people like Lloyd Blankfein that weakens our financial system
  • Health care scams
  • Drug cartel violence
  • Public corruption

Now, I take the order here as some sort of prioritization. And that view is born out by Mueller’s answers to several questions about the threats facing the US. He always mentioned terrorism, including terrorism committed by people self-radicalized via the Internet. He mentioned cyber attacks. He raised the risk of drug cartel violence again.

But unless I missed it, in his extemporaneous descriptions of the threats facing our nation, Mueller did not again mention financial fraud. Update: In a response to Amy Klobuchar’s version of this he said FBI had a,

backlog of mortgage fraud and white collar criminal cases that we are assiduously working through.

So maybe that includes Blankfein (though mortgage fraud usually means garden variety local fraud).

In other words, in spite of his concession that the banksters’ “massive corporate frauds … weaken the financial system and victimize investors, homeowners, and ultimately taxpayers,” Mueller seems to think that a hapless teenager framed by the FBI represents a bigger threat to our country than Goldman Sachs crashing our entire economy.

Too bad for the American people that Congress is falling all over itself rushing to reconfirm Mueller.

  1. MadDog says:

    …In our criminal investigations, the FBI continues to uncover massive corporate and mortgage frauds that weaken the financial system and victimize investors, homeowners, and ultimately taxpayers…

    Yup, no mention of any prosecutions of the MOTUs.

    Maybe Mueller & Co. are using the info gained on the MOTUs to get them to be snitches.

    • PeasantParty says:

      Maybe Mueller & Co. are using the info gained on the MOTUs to get them to be snitches.

      LOL! I’m sure he has worked J. Diamon and L. Blankfein over real good. The poor saps are probably handing up any and all docs this very minute.

  2. PeasantParty says:

    I have yet to understand what part of the Patriot Act and FISA rules gives them the right to go after little crimes that used to be handled by local police and county sheriff’s. I mean, seriously, are they now just for domestic disturbances and traffic control?

    I also thought the Patriot Act was to be useful for actual, you know, terrorists.

    More confirmation that the entire citizenry is considered criminal and terrorist.

  3. PeasantParty says:

    Does anybody have an idea of who the FISA court members are? I understand the secretive part of their approvals and non-approvals, but exactly who are they and do they have any idea of the Constitutionality of these operations?

    • bmaz says:

      These are the current members. They are all hand selected by the Chief Justice:

      Judge Judicial district Date appointed Term expiry
      John D. Bates (presiding) District of Columbia February 22, 2006 February 21, 2013
      Dee Benson District of Utah April 8, 2004 May 18, 2011
      Thomas Hogan District of Columbia May 18, 2009 May 18, 2016
      Malcolm Howard Eastern District of North Carolina May 19, 2005 May 18, 2012
      Martin L.C. Feldman Eastern District of Louisiana May 19, 2010 May 18, 2017
      Mary A. McLaughlin Eastern District of Pennsylvania May 18, 2008 May 18, 2015
      Frederick J. Scullin, Jr. Northern District of New York May 19, 2004 May 18, 2011
      Roger Vinson Northern District of Florida May 4, 2006 May 18, 2013
      Reggie B. Walton District of Columbia May 19, 2007 May 18, 2014
      Susan Webber Wright Eastern District of Arkansas May 18, 2009 May 18, 2016
      James Zagel Northern District of Illinois May 18, 2008 May 18, 2015

      • PeasantParty says:

        Thank You, Bmaz.

        They are all hand selected by the Chief Justice:

        That tells us all we need to know about them and their character. I can’t help but be sarcastic.

      • workingclass says:

        Hand selected by the Chief Justice? I wish you had not told me that. Almost as bad as Morgan being the custodian of the silver at SLV.

  4. wagthedog says:

    Keep dropping predator bombs on innocent children and the whole world will become the enemy.

  5. spidermonkey says:

    It’s a good list, and generally the right order for the FBI Director. I can’t find fault here, though would perhaps suggest that they have a role in illegal immigration as well (behind CBP, of course).

  6. orionATL says:

    “…a backlog of [financial and bank fraud] cases we are assiduously working through…”


    if you care about your country, you don’t ever want the fbi to be assiduously working through cases of great importance to the nation collectively – as opposed to those of importance to the super sub-nation of the powerful and wealthy.

    “assiduously work thru” is fbi code for “we’ll dick around with this hot potato and appear busy for a while, but as soon as politically feasible our agents-in-charge will get the message to fold up the case(s) and move on – if they value their careers.

  7. workingclass says:

    I’m afraid of the police. I’m afraid of “my” government. But I’m not afraid of anything on Mueller’s list. If there is an attack I’m not stupid enough to blame “the terrorists”.

  8. TimWhite says:

    Although Mueller is supposed to identify risks, I find it fascinating that when asked about the risks facing America, the US Government’s Chief Risk Officer, James Rickards, said:

    “The Number One vulnerability is the dollar itself…” what if some kind of global coalition – say a trillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund allied with several countries around the world – banded together to create a gold-backed alternative to the dollar?

    Sure, Iraq wanted to trade oil in Euro’s. But Libya wanted a commodity-backed currency!

    Regardless, “humanitarian” causes are always best addressed by bombing people into peace.

  9. papau says:

    Health care fraud may move up the list as the political response by Obama to the expected 11th Circuit killing the whole ACA health insurance reform over the mandate – a total kill made necessary by Obama ignoring FDL – again – and refusing to include language that allowed the rest of th law to survive a challenge and rejection to part of the law – in this case Atlanta seeing “forced commerce” as in the mandate to buy insurance being the poison pill.

    But then Obama always planned on the law failing, didn’t he?

    Remember Mr. Drake – a senior executive at NSA — a “senior change leader” — spoke of the agency’s insular cultureand how he was disillusioned with the agency’s handling of major technology programs and concerned that the NSA was needlessly violating Americans’ privacy through a massive surveillance program adopted after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Now persecuted as a spy for saying those things (and having a file or two in his possession but with no claim that he was a spy or aiding our enemies. Stopping those that try to improve the NSA or any spy agency may be job one.

  10. papau says:

    Obama using defense assets to prevent politically embarrassing stories about our loss of our constitutional rights – who would have thought?

  11. TheOracle says:

    And just like the report today about DHS skeleton-crewing the DHS department charged with keeping an eye on radical right-wing domestic hate groups (ala Timothy McVeigh), Mueller didn’t list any of the right-wing neo-nazi groups in his priority list, even though there’ve been twenty such domestic right-wing terror incidents over the past two years since a former DHS analyst reported concern over these right-wing domestic terror groups.