FBI Now Holding Up Michael Horowitz’ Investigation into the DEA

Man, at some point Congress is going to have to declare the FBI legally contemptuous and throw them in jail.

They continue to refuse to cooperate with DOJ’s Inspector General, as they have been for basically 5 years. But in Michael Horowitz’ latest complaint to Congress, he adds a new spin: FBI is not only obstructing his investigation of the FBI’s management impaired surveillance, now FBI is obstructing his investigation of DEA’s management impaired surveillance.

I first reported on DOJ IG’s investigation into DEA’s dragnet databases last April. At that point, the only dragnet we knew about was Hemisphere, which DEA uses to obtain years of phone records as well as location data and other details, before it them parallel constructs that data out of a defendant’s reach.

But since then, we’ve learned of what the government claims to be another database — that used to identify Shantia Hassanshahi in an Iranian sanctions case. After some delay, the government revealed that this was another dragnet, including just international calls. It claims that this database was suspended in September 2013 (around the time Hemisphere became public) and that it is no longer obtaining bulk records for it.

According to the latest installment of Michael Horowitz’ complaints about FBI obstruction, he tried to obtain records on the DEA databases on November 20, 2014 (of note, during the period when the government was still refusing to tell even Judge Rudolph Contreras what the database implicating Hassanshahi was). FBI slow-walked production, but promised to provide everything to Horowitz by February 13, 2015. FBI has decided it has to keep reviewing the emails in question to see if there is grand jury, Title III electronic surveillance, and Fair Credit Reporting Act materials, which are the same categories of stuff FBI has refused in the past. So Horowitz is pointing to the language tied to DOJ’s appropriations for FY 2015 which (basically) defunded FBI obstruction.

Only FBI continues to obstruct.

There’s one more question about this. As noted, this investigation is supposed to be about DEA’s databases. We’ve already seen that FBI uses Hemisphere (when I asked FBI for comment in advance of this February 4, 2014 article on FBI obstinance, Hemisphere was the one thing they refused all comment on). And obviously, FBI access another DEA database to go after Hassanshahi.

So that may be the only reason why Horowitz needs the FBI’s cooperation to investigate the DEA’s dragnets.

Plus, assuming FBI is parallel constructing these dragnets just like DEA is, I can understand why they’d want to withhold grand jury information, which would make that clear.

Still, I can’t help but wonder — as I have in the past — whether these dragnets are all connected, a constantly moving shell game.

That might explain why FBI is so intent on obstructing Horowitz again.

7 replies
  1. wallace says:

    Is there no end to this Cartels crimes? At what point does someone with authority, finally faced with absolute evidence that has even become full public knowledge, starts indictment proceedings against these fucking criminals? Even Misprison of Felony should be enough to indict at least a 1000 people in WDC..including…ERIC HOLDER himself. What does it take…a half million armed citizens, ready to drag these motherfucking criminals out of their granite palaces, ready to burn them alive in the streets? I believe so..because..no one in the government is going to do a GODDAMNED THING!

  2. bloopie2 says:

    “Still, I can’t help but wonder — as I have in the past — whether these dragnets are all connected, a constantly moving shell game.”
    I reread that post. Is it the case that there is really only one dragnet (technically that is, pulling the data) and that it simply puts on a different dress and makeup when it goes out with a different guy? Or are there different technical interfaces between FBI, DEA, NSA, etc., and the telecoms?

  3. bloopie2 says:

    Someone refresh my memory. Why is it that they collect (for US folks) only metadata, not content? Is that statutory? If so, is it clear as a bell they can’t do that? Cause if it’s not, then they would be twisting the words to justify doing that. And if it’s not denied by statute, then it’s a policy decision, right? Or are they doing it anyway? Thanks.

  4. wallace says:

    Meanwhile, notwithstanding the SCOTUS refusing to ruffle their feathers by virtue of an appeal to even look at the possibility that ‘National Security” has trumped the Constitution, and as such, let’s become another precedent that proves beyond a shadow of doubt, that the so called “rule of law” is a fucking myth..notwithstanding “due process”..


    ..now comes further proof that we have now entered the “post Constitutional” era.


    Oversight. Hahahahahahahaa. Ok…we now return you to analysis of FBI(aka James Comey) refusal to adhere to the “rule of law”. sheeezussHfuckingcrist.. what does it take to make people understand?

  5. Kathleen says:

    EW know you are working on important issues. However thought of you when I heard Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball refer to the invasion of Iraq, U.S. torture while comparing it to IS horrific acts as done with a “level of civility.” That prisoners went home alive. Thought you might have a few things to to Chris Matthews about the “level of civility” that the U.S. torture program, invasion were conducted with. Chris 11:40 “humiliating our hostages, but they did not kill any, they all came home. There was a level of civility even in that mess” Guess Chris has not dug very deep into the torture reports about what has gone on in Abu Gharib, Gitmo, black sites. The Hardball segment “Terror group calls for mall attacks”

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