November 14, 2012 / by emptywheel


The Part of the Story “Shirtless FBI Guy” Left Out

The NYT has a nice story about Frederick Humphries, the FBI Agent who started the investigation into Paula Broadwell’s emails. It talks about how aggressively he pursued Millenium Plotter Ahmed Ressam and other terrorism cases. It quotes two unnamed colleagues vouching for him (though admitting he has conservative political views). It even offers a sort of an explanation for why he sent a shirtless picture of himself to Jill Kelley.

Mr. Berger took issue with news media reports that have said his client sent shirtless pictures of himself to Ms. Kelley.

“That picture was sent years before Ms. Kelley contacted him about this, and it was sent as part of a larger context of what I would call social relations in which the families would exchange numerous photos of each other,” Mr. Berger said.

The photo was sent as a “joke” and was of Mr. Humphries “posing with a couple of dummies.” Mr. Berger said the picture was not sexual in nature.

But it leaves out two key parts of the story. First, his lawyer, Lawrence Berger, rather ridiculously claimed that going to Eric Cantor–rather than someone with oversight over DOJ or Intelligence–constituted normal whistleblower process.

In regard to his client speaking with Mr. Cantor, Mr. Berger declined to address the issue, saying only that his client “had followed F.B.I. protocols.”

“No one tries to become a whistle-blower,” he said. “Consistent with F.B.I. policy, he referred it to the proper component.”

More significantly, though the story repeats the report that Humphries’ superiors believed he was sniffing around the case improperly, the story doesn’t explain what he did to make them think so.

Mr. Humphries passed on Ms. Kelley’s complaint to the cybersquad in the Tampa field office but was not assigned to the case. He was later admonished by supervisors who thought he was trying to insert himself improperly into the investigation.

Given that no one has definitively explained who at FBI told Kelley that Broadwell had sent the emails–which set off a chain that led Broadwell to learning someone knew she was the culprit–there are some very inappropriate ways Humphries might have been involved.

But the NYT does tell a very nice story.

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