JOHN KIRIAKOU: The Press Should Not Be Shielding FBI Malfeasance

The Washington Post and others just adhered to the Justice Department’s own policy of protecting their own while wrecking the lives of those who have the guts to stand up to them.

By John Kiriakou
Special to Consortium News

The Washington Post and other media outlets last week reported that a former FBI attorney allegedly altered a document related to the FBI’s 2016 surveillance of Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser.  FBI Inspector General Michael Horowitz apparently concluded that the conduct “did not affect the overall validity of the surveillance application,” which was made with the secret FISA court. 

Carter Page, target of the surveillance. (MSNBC, Wikimedia Commons)

The Post article, as well as articles in The New York Times, at CNN, and in other outlets, downplayed the behavior as having had “no effect” on the FBI’s surveillance of Page, ignoring the fact that tampering with a federal document is a felony.  That’s consistent with the Justice Department’s own policy of protecting their own while wrecking the lives of those who have the guts to stand up to them.

Publishing Excuses 

Look at The Washington Post’s original account of the inspector general’s findings.  The FBI attorney was just a “low-level employee” who has already “been forced out of the Bureau.”  The altered document “did not affect the overall validity of the surveillance application.”  The employee “erroneously indicated he had documentation to back up a claim he had made in discussions with the Justice Department about the factual basis for the application.  He then altered an email to back up that erroneous claim.”

Let’s straighten a few things outs.

First, the employee was not “low-level.”  Attorneys enter the FBI at the GS-11 level.  That’s a starting salary of $69,581.  On Day One of his career, the attorney would actually be a mid-level employee.  Furthermore, “low-level employees” are not assigned to sensitive operations involving counterintelligence against a major-party presidential campaign. Hand-picked senior employees get that honor. 

Second, even if the altered document didn’t affect the FISA warrant application, the statement is irrelevant.  The attorney committed a felony, plain and simple. 

Third, the media says that the attorney “erroneously indicated” that he could back up the document. But that, too, was a felony.  It’s called “making a false statement” and it’s punishable by up to five years in prison.

To make matters worse, there is no indication from the Justice Department that this attorney will be prosecuted.  “He’s already resigned,” The Washington Post tells us, as if that’s supposed to make everything OK.  Why is the mainstream media shielding FBI malfeasance?  For FBI crimes?  Because the victim is the Trump campaign, and we’re not supposed to like the Trump campaign. It’s all about Russia, Russia, Russia, remember?  If the evidence doesn’t show that, you just change the evidence.

FBI headquarters. (Wikimedia Commons)

Letter from Terry Albury

We shouldn’t be surprised about this kind of behavior from the FBI or from the Justice Department writ large.  I received a letter this week from FBI whistleblower Terry Albury.  He’s the courageous former FBI agent who blew the whistle on systemic racism in the bureau.  And he received four years in prison for his trouble.  Terry wrote to tell me about an experience that he’s having identical to my own, when I was in prison after blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program.

Terry has less than a year left on his sentence.  He has watched over the past year as dozens of prisoners around him have been sent from their low-security prison to a minimum-security work camp.  These are prisoners who have committed violent crimes; prisoners who have attempted escape in the past; and prisoners who are incarcerated because they are recidivists.  Here’s what Terry wrote:

“On 11/13/2018, I self-surrendered to FCI Englewood in Littleton, CO.  In assigning me to a Low Security Prison (LSP), the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) placed a Management Variable (MGTV) on my case to counteract my extremely high security score of zero.  Of the variables at their disposal, I was deemed to be a ‘Greater Security Threat.’ 

According to institutional policy:

When the BOP believes that an offender represents a greater security risk than the assigned security level would suggest, it may apply this Management Variable and place the inmate in an institution with a higher security level.  The BOP typically applies this MGTV to offenders with lengthy prior arrest records but few convictions, nonviolent offenders who have a history of poor adjustment under probation or community supervision, offenders with a history of organized crime, offenders with significant foreign ties and/or financial resources, and offenders who have had disciplinary problems during prior incarceration.  Inmates who receive this MGTV are placed one security level higher than their score would otherwise require.

The facts of my case and background confirm that none of these parameters apply.  Furthermore, an analysis of the policy clearly demonstrates that I should never have been placed (and continue to be held) in an LSP. 

Over the past year, I’ve consistently complied with all institutional rules, taken extensive BOP-sponsored educational courses, and earned the support of my case manager, unit manager, and warden who followed BOP Policy and authorized the removal of my erroneous MGTV and subsequent transfer to a Minimum Security Prison (MSP) within 500 miles of my residence (in line with Congressional guidance under the First Step Act).

In authorizing my 10/11/2019 transfer to an MSP and the removal of my MGTV, Case Manager D. Taylor specifically cited “unit team discretion outlined in PS P5100.08” which further states “when a management variable no longer applies, institution staff will remove the variable(s) accordingly.”  Program Statement 5270.09 is also clear in that “the Unit Team may recommend a greater security transfer, using their professional judgment, and in accordance with the policy on inmate security designation and custody classification.”

However, on 10/30/2019, I was informed that the DSCC’s Designation and Sentence Computation Center (DSCC) discounted, rejected, and overturned my legally justified transfer and MGTV removal.  Furthermore, they unilaterally assigned a new MGTV to my case (“monitoring required”) in spite of the fact that all federal prisoners are subjected to comprehensive phone, e-mail, and traditional mail monitoring at every prison around the country (minimum, low, medium, and high).

To say that I’m being held to a different institutional standard would be an understatement. Over the past year, I’ve watched prisoners transfer to MSPs with nine security points, violent backgrounds, five or more years remaining on their sentence, and histories of escape. 

Yet somehow, a man with zero security points, a non-violent background, less than a year remaining on his sentence, and someone authorized to self-surrender, I was deemed to be ineligible for placement in an MSP.  And to exacerbate the issue, the entire executive staff of FCI Englewood supported my transfer and no longer believed I warranted the misguided and inappropriate MGTV of “greater security threat.”

In an effort to resolve this issue, I’ve filed a series of administrative grievances, which is on par with applying scotch tape to fill a leak in the Hoover Dam.  I have no confidence in the internal process which is why I am pursuing all available external channels to voice my concerns.” 

The fix is in, not just with Terry Albury, but with the whole system.  Want to tell the press that the FBI is an inherently racist organization?  Go ahead. You’ll get years in prison.  Want to tamper with federal documents to prove a political point?  Don’t worry. The press will cover for you and the chances are that the Department of Justice won’t even bother to prosecute.

Terry Albury will be home soon, where he’ll continue the fight for transparency and honesty in government.  But the fight is a daunting one, especially when the mainstream media is one of your enemies.  It’s a fight we should all be happy to take on.

John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act—a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration’s torture program.

If you enjoyed this original article, please consider making a donation to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

Before commenting please read Robert Parry’s Comment Policy. Allegations unsupported by facts, gross or misleading factual errors and ad hominem attacks, and abusive or rude language toward other commenters or our writers will not be published.  If your comment does not immediately appear, please be patient as it is manually reviewed. For security reasons, please refrain from inserting links in your comments, which should not be longer than 300 words. 

27 comments for “JOHN KIRIAKOU: The Press Should Not Be Shielding FBI Malfeasance

  1. Brian James
    December 1, 2019 at 21:08

    March 2015 Trevor Aaronson: How this FBI strategy is actually creating US-based terrorists

    There’s an organization responsible for more terrorism plots in the United States than al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab and ISIS combined: The FBI. How? Why? In an eye-opening talk, investigative journalist Trevor Aaronson reveals a disturbing FBI practice that breeds terrorist plots by exploiting Muslim-Americans with mental health problems.


  2. JWalters
    December 1, 2019 at 20:15

    Our justice system and corporate news system are corrupt, i.e. criminal, as Mr. Kiriakou courageously reports. Further, this corruption is clearly coordinated. So who is directing it? The crimes of Israel are routinely ignored by the entire corporate media, acting as a functional monopoly. That is a clear clue. And as CN articles routinely document, the corporate news also acts in unison to promote more war in the Middle East. Watergate taught us to follow the money. Today the bank that financed the establishment of Israel is profiting from the Golan Heights oil fields stolen by Israel. Also, led by Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban, Israeli money dominates both political parties in America, dwarfing whatever minuscule efforts Russia may have made. The situation is, as Mr. Kiriakou notes, serious indeed.

  3. Tim Jones
    November 30, 2019 at 22:09

    I’ve been thinking how much power William Barr could wield? Will he have an alligator mouth and a humming bird ass? Or is he going to deliver justice and clean house? Little hand slaps- and admonishments, or the fair application of the law. A good man or woman would risk all to right the ship of state and others will just retire with a book deal and a consulting job. Which is it Bill?

  4. Tyler
    November 30, 2019 at 03:57

    Once again, a complete lack of accountability has allowed those entrusted with power over We the People run amok, destroying lives and with them the very foundations of what it means to participate in a democracy where the rule of law spikes to everyone. They have committed violence not only to their victims but also to their very credibility. Those who refuse to accede to their will are no longer violating the will of We the People but instead committing an act of courage. This is what the rot of empire looks like up close.

    • lou e
      December 1, 2019 at 19:07

      It can get a whole lot closer than that. No tears for ex-Myrmidons here…

  5. Nathan Mulcahy
    November 29, 2019 at 13:58

    Thank you John Kiriakou, for your ourage and sacrifice.

    There is one misnomer in the article. Mainstream papers are neither”press” of organs of journalism. They are stenographers, or “presstitutes”, if you so prefer.

  6. November 29, 2019 at 11:01

    This article focuses on one agent who altered a document involved in the FISA application targeting Carter Page. But the entire application was corrupt. The signatories attested under oath that the evidence presented – most prominently, sections of the Steele dossier mentioning Carter Page – had been verified. Yet they had not verified it, and the allegations were lies. The applicants indicated their belief that Page was acting as a Russian agent – yet Page had cooperated with the FBI in recent years to enable conviction of true Russian spies – a fact which the application left out. Also left out was the fact that the dossier was funded by the DNC and Clinton campaign as oppo research. The evident intent of the warrant was to spy not just on Page, but on other members of the Trump campaign who had contact with him – the “2 hop” rule. So, on the basis of “evidence” that anyone with half an ounce of sense could see was highly dubious and, in any case, wholly unverified – and concocted by political opponents – the FBI gained the right to spy on the Trump campaign.

    If the people responsible for this are not indicted, then ANY political campaign in future can be spied on by the Deep State once some defamatory lies have been concocted by the campaign’s opponents. This must not stand. Horowitz may look the other way on this, but I doubt Durham will.

    • December 1, 2019 at 19:11

      The principle of ‘follow the money’ in government institutions like this usually leads to the conclusion that you are being screwed with your own tax dollars…

  7. November 29, 2019 at 11:00

    Interesting that Albury tells us that “Of the variables at their disposal, I was deemed to be a ‘Greater Security Threat'” and that this was “misguided and inappropriate” – in other words, completely false.

    What is interesting is that when Max Blumenthal was arrested he was described as “armed and dangerous” even though this was clearly untrue.

    They have a way of getting at people who say things they don’t like – presumably based on a particular hatred of them.

  8. Robyn
    November 29, 2019 at 02:09

    I can add nothing to this article but I am pleased to be able to record my boundless admiration for John Kiriakou, Terry Albury, and all the others CN readers are sadly familiar with – heroes all. They stand head and shoulders above the cowards and hypocrites who turn a blind eye or play a role in persecuting their honest colleagues.

  9. Sam F
    November 28, 2019 at 20:51

    Thank you, Mr. Kiriakou, and Mr. Albury for your efforts; indeed the fight for “honesty in government” is daunting. I do not expect to be happy while fighting corruption, but feel strongly that it is necessary. The greatest difficulty is the realization that almost everyone betrays the public-interest activist, in envy or hope of personal gain. Your stories encourage those able to take action.

    • Hank
      November 29, 2019 at 11:07

      Money and power attract the type of people who should NOT be entrusted with it.

    • Sam F
      November 29, 2019 at 16:56

      Exactly, Hank; and those lowest characters float to the top in an unregulated market economy. And of course the rich and economic power generally have seized control of our government, because the founders could not have foreseen the need to protect the institutions of democracy (all three federal branches and mass media) from economic power.

      The federal government needs major repairs, but the tools of democracy are no longer available to the People.

  10. robert e williamson jr
    November 28, 2019 at 19:35

    What is witnessed here is what happens when the rule of law does not prevail. The classic “double standard” appears. Things have been this way since at least since WWII.

    In the past the slow pace of communications, that transfer of critical information of the highest levels, dictated by the speeds and flexibility of the communication technology available at the time enabled members of the intelligence community to more easily control their data.

    Things have changed with that technology and I believe we are witnessing what happens when those who play fast and loose with the rules make mistakes now. Yep, they get found out and it doesn’t take long. The up side is we tend now not to forget the lies told just days ago when “the forces of light” counters the “party line” and exposes the lies.

    I also believe the chaos we are witnessing is the result of a lack of unity among the media. A media that has lost the trappings of being a worthy agent providing the TRUTH to American at large but has instead succumbed to the pressure to make big money.

    We get truth more efficiently from independent media who worry more about content that the bottom line, while the MSM has sunk to the low standards of the “oldest profession”.

    Thanks to all who care enough to pursue the truth and make it available for the rest of us.

  11. Sally
    November 28, 2019 at 16:39

    Walk a mile in Assange’s shoes back and forth in a cell fit for no sentient being it makes me want to throw up

  12. GMCasey
    November 28, 2019 at 12:24

    Having both literary and American history studies in college, I am now finding that the more I learn— the less I know. It’s almost as if the many governmental agencies are over flowing with mini Humpty Dumpties, on increasingly higher walls———and I am dreading the fall of all those walls and the Humpty types. I am left with the bizarre words of the 1920s writer Gertrude Stein and what she said about the city of Oakland. It almost seems as if America has become that city of Oakland, where Stein once wrote that,” there is no there— there.”
    Maybe the many power seekers and takers are merely a throwback to the once upon a time king—–Gerorge. Although, we seem to be in a curious wormhole—at least Consortium News has made a readable path. Thank you.

  13. Tomonthebeach
    November 28, 2019 at 11:27

    Life is unfair. We choose the people with whom we associate and the actions in which we engage on their behalf. There is no question that this situation involved inappropriate, even punitive, actions by government officials. However, the assumption that Page is an innocent in all this is likewise dubious. He had his agenda and his objectives, while self-promoting, remain cloudy.

    The old adage about what happens when you lie down with dogs seem to apply in this case.

    • incontinent reader
      November 29, 2019 at 08:26

      Tomonthebeach- I don’t understand your comment. Are you suggesting that it is likely that Page is guilty? Could you provide reasons and proof? And when you say this is what happens when you lie down with dogs, do you mean that by joining the Trump campaign he called upon himself all the illegal actions of the FBI, and should have expected to be set up?

      And if you’ve read it, Mr. Kiriakou’s article highlights systemic illegality and injustice at the FBI, including attacking all those who question it and fight for their rights. Maybe it is more appropriate to refer to the Bureau as the dogs in your adage.

    • November 29, 2019 at 09:24

      Page’s guilt or innocence is totally irrelevant. Falsifying evidence is a felony. Falsifying evidence for a FISA warrant against a presidential candidate is a major crime which, left unpunished, encourages further outrages against out legal system, bu the very watchdogs set to protect it.

    • Jeff Harrison
      November 29, 2019 at 11:20

      It’s not clear to me what you’re thinking. Carter Page has never been charged with, much less convicted of illegal behavior. He was illegally surveilled by the FBI based on false testimony – the very epitome of the 9th commandment – Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Yet you think he should get fleas. Last time I checked, in this country you’re supposed to be able to do anything you want as long as you don’t break the law.

    • November 29, 2019 at 12:51

      So it is just fine with you that a lawyer working with the FBI altered documents to the FISA Court in order to frame Carter Page. It is fine with you that he walks free. The fact that the MSM in the USA agrees with you shows just how sad the state of the union actually is . And Americans are so gung ho on fighting corruption in other countries, especially those they are currently demonizing. Talk about sick countries.

    • michael
      November 29, 2019 at 16:42

      Am I to infer that the FBI are “fleas”? Possibly the type carrying the Black Plague?
      A basic tenet of American Law used to be the presumption of innocence for the accused. These cases John Kiriakou presents, and his own as well, provide evidence that the Intelligence Agencies are now Judge, Jury and Executioner of those who cross them. A Police State amok.

  14. Tony
    November 28, 2019 at 08:57

    Is the FBI still doing the sort of things that it did when Hoover was in charge?

    • Hank
      November 29, 2019 at 11:08

      Can a bird fly?

    • Georgia
      November 30, 2019 at 11:32

      Worse. Now they have no problem trying to “fix” Presidential elections to install the Candidate they are in bed with– in 2016 that was Hillary Clinton who committed numerous Felonies that FBI Head James Comey et al both covered up and let the evidence be destroyed by here and her lackeys & they also now have attempted to frame a duly elected President that they did not support and who beat “their” candidate with a phony “Russia Collusion” hoax/fraud–

      So it is easy to argue that Hoover was actually a piker compared to the miscreants and serious felons “running” the FBI (and their buddies at the CIA….) today…the fact that if you are “inside” with these criminals you don’t get prosecuted is amazing to watch– the DOJ and FBI are little more than criminal organizations now to anyone paying attention– perjury, frame jobs, political hatchet work etc. — people need to wake up that the KGB was actually less of a problem for the people in the USSR because they were all aware of what was up– most in the USA due to the complicit Mainslime Media have no clue that the country has devolved into a banana Republic run by criminals — the FBI “Lab” was actually just fabricating evidence for many years framing people at the request of Field Agents–this is now a PROVEN FACT there is no dispute the “Lab” did this for well over a decade, even in Death Penalty cases they were doing this….– almost no one knows about it of course, the country is a sad joke–

      The fact Hillary Clinton can even be given consideration as a possible “Candidate” again is amazing given what she has pulled and what she has done to the country thru her frauds and machinations, Ma Barker was born at the wrong time she could be in the running for Federal Office these days even with her final life “resume”….

  15. AnneR
    November 28, 2019 at 08:17

    Thank you Mr Kiriakou for this further confirmation of the lies and obfuscations, the intrinsically duplicitous and hypocritical nature of all aspects of our government (and I do believe that it is all facets), their ever-ramifying, largely secret agencies (that apparently answer to no one, certainly no one in the lower 90% of the population whose taxes actually fund all of it) and the ruling elites who control it all to their sole benefit, of course.

    One is – again – confronted with the ongoing, starkly hypocritical difference in “treatment” and publicity between the so-called White House “whistleblower” on Trump’s phone call with Zelensky and real whistleblowers such as Mr Allbury as presented in the MSM. The former (really just a “leaker” of second-hand chit-chat) is lauded by the Dems who were more than willing to denounce, charge and incarcerate genuine whistleblowers, like Mr Allbury, Chelsea Manning and others. who made apparent the really existing war crimes, law-breaking, racism, lies and other malfeasant actions of these agencies of the ruling elites and *their* government stooges.

    The rank hypocrisy of government, of their masters, of the secret agencies *and* the judiciary at all levels is nauseating beyond belief. And its drenched Russo-phobic, Cold War, Warmongering, “we’re the planet’s rulers” worldview underlies all of it.

  16. November 28, 2019 at 00:16

    [Inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz decided that] The altered document “did not affect the overall validity of the surveillance application.”

    This is actually quite possible if FICA reads only the requests and ignores the justification. Inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz presumably has enough experience to make that judgement.

Comments are closed.