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FBI Launches Internal Investigation Into Its Own Twitter Account (thinkprogress.org) 140

An anonymous reader shares a report on ThinkProgress: The FBI has launched an internal investigation into one of its own Twitter accounts. The account at issue, @FBIRecordsVault, had been dormant for more than a year. Then on October 30 at 4 a.m., the account released a flood of documents, including one describing Donald Trump's father Fred Trump as a "philanthropist." But it wasn't until two days later, when the account tweeted documents regarding President Clinton's controversial pardon of Marc Rich that the account began to attract significant attention. The account has not been active since that tweet. ThinkProgress has learned that the FBI's Inspection Division will undertake an investigation of the account. Candice Will, Assistant Director for the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility, said she was referring the matter to the FBI's Inspection Division for an "investigation." Upon completion of the investigation, the Office of Professional Responsibility will be referred back to the Office of Professional Responsibility for "adjudication."
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FBI Launches Internal Investigation Into Its Own Twitter Account

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  • Sure...I trust the FBI to tell the truth about their own wrongdoings. (Oh wait...maybe not.)

    • If it's something done by a predecessor who left, retired, or died. Then I trust they would blame them if anything came out in the open.

  • by melted ( 227442 ) on Thursday November 03, 2016 @12:44PM (#53206545) Homepage

    Is that what you call it, "controversial"? I'd sure hope that pardoning a convicted criminal at the last possible moment in exchange for a couple of million in "donations" is more than just "controversial". What does Bubba need to do in order for people to finally admit he has no moral compass? Publicly behead someone?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 03, 2016 @12:55PM (#53206629)

      It doesn't really matter what happened 16 years ago. This is a federal agency tweeting out partisan tweets a week before the election. That is a violation of the Hatch Act. If they wanted to make a stink of it, the FBI could have released that information at any time over the past 18 months. But a week before the election is a violation of the Hatch Act.

      The Hatch Act of 1939, officially An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities, is a United States federal law whose main provision prohibits employees in the executive branch (of which the FBI is part of) of the federal government from engaging in some forms of political activity.

      • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Thursday November 03, 2016 @01:31PM (#53206951)
        The Hatch Act only applies to people. An automated Twitter feed [newsweek.com] is not a person.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Hence the investigation. Yes, I know it has been said that software was fixed and so things went through, but this begs the question, was info vetted to see what would go out? Or was a decision to fix it (dormant for more than a year) made suddenly in the last little bit? Also heard it said that it takes a critical mass of FOIA requests to process for this to tweet. So did someone suddenly authorize a bunch of FOIA requests to trigger the post?

          There are potential Hatch Act violations by humans that control

        • The Hatch Act is blatantly unconstitutional.

          • by msauve ( 701917 )
            How so? Taking government employment is a voluntary action (the Hatch Act doesn't cover military personnel), and people can voluntarily give up rights. Furthermore, the section of the Hatch Act at issue here only applies "on the job..."

            an employee may not...use his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election;

            Other than that, there are rules which prevent personal gain ("may not...receive political contributions") or run for partisan office. Anyo

            • by arth1 ( 260657 )

              aking government employment is a voluntary action (the Hatch Act doesn't cover military personnel), and people can voluntarily give up rights.

              Some, not all.

              "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by an imaginary being with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

              • by msauve ( 701917 )
                So, you think that influencing an election (which is a civil right) is somehow included in "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" (which are natural rights)?
                • by arth1 ( 260657 )

                  So, you think that influencing an election (which is a civil right) is somehow included in "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" (which are natural rights)?

                  My post was not about the election deba(te|cle), and only pointing out that not all rights are open for signing away - some are considered inalienable. Which ones those are is a different matter entirely.

                  • by msauve ( 701917 )
                    The right of liberty includes the right to give up rights, including liberty, willingly.
                    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

                      The right of liberty includes the right to give up rights, including liberty, willingly.

                      What do you think inalienable means, exactly?

                    • by msauve ( 701917 )
                      Something much more nuanced that what you do, apparently. As used, it is not the dictionary definition, as the founders accepted that liberty could be deprived with jail or indentured servitude, life by suicide or execution.

                      Furthermore, the quote you gave was one of principled belief, not fact.
              • by msauve ( 701917 )
                Let me just add that "unalienable" implies an external force taking rights away, which doesn't apply when someone gives up rights voluntarily. Or do you think that an employer can't demand that you actually do work for them instead of exercising a right to "liberty?"
                • by arth1 ( 260657 )

                  Let me just add that "unalienable" implies an external force taking rights away, which doesn't apply when someone gives up rights voluntarily. Or do you think that an employer can't demand that you actually do work for them instead of exercising a right to "liberty?"

                  No, inalienable means that you cannot give up the right.
                  You cannot sell yourself into slavery, for example. Your right to not be enslaved is inalienable.

                  inalienable (adjective)
                  Not subject to being taken away from or given away by the possessor.

                  Oxford English Dictionary

        • No, but the people who designed, approved, and set up the automated Twitter feed in the FBI's name are all people.

          • by msauve ( 701917 )
            Are you suggesting that the automated system has a subject bias, and announces some FOIA documents but not others based on political criteria?
            • I don't know how it was designed. I can tell what it actually does. If it's making politically significant tweets near Election Day, it needs to be shut down until it can avoid doing that.

              People don't magically shed responsibility by having a machine carry out their decisions.

              • by msauve ( 701917 )
                Nope. If it's automated and following rules which aren't politically biased, then shutting it down just because there's a forthcoming election would introduce political bias into the system.
                • Some things are shut down because there's a forthcoming election. Government announcements concerning the candidates should be postponed, for example.

                  Also, you're suggesting that the rules weren't politically biased, and therefore the system isn't. Automated processes, particularly involving complicated systems, don't always work the way one would expect from the programming. It's easier to examine what's happening and determine if there's bias that way.

                  • by msauve ( 701917 )
                    "Government announcements concerning the candidates should be postponed"

                    You're arguing for a less informed electorate. You're part of the problem.
                    • If you'll give me evidence that the bulk of voters consider new evidence dispassionately and on its merits, I might agree with you. Comey made a vague announcement that gave Trump a boost in the polls, despite the fact that what he was looking at had nothing useful for the Clinton investigation.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It doesn't matter that he sold pardons? You don't want us to know what kind of people we're voting for, because it might make us vote against corruption? Glad to know where you stand on this, CTR.

        It's an automatic Twitter feed. The Hatch Act is to outlaw people using their authority to influence an election, not to prevent the FBI from doing their job. The reason there's more activity now is that you no longer need to go clear to the top, or inform them, when releasing FOIA materials. And people are no

        • It's apparently not that automatic if it's quiet for years, and then starts spitting out tweets oddly relevant to the election.

          Also, with regards to your first point, yeah, we do want to know what kind of people we're voting for. But Bill Clinton is someone we voted for (past tense), he's not running in this election. And Trump's father isn't running either.

          Do you really think "Trump's father is awesome!" (BTW, no, he was a racist shithead) "Clinton's husband was controversial!" (Uh, whatever) adds any

      • You mean like the POTUS who's currently campaigning for Clinton on taxpayer dime and time?

  • Electronic voting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 03, 2016 @12:48PM (#53206565)

    Perhaps its time to investigate:

    1. Electronic voting, all those open Wifi connections, and crap Windows 95 based terminals with exposed USB ports. Do you really want Putin to choose the next president?
    2. Encryption, NSA allowed zero day exploits to go unpatched, and there has been an undermining of encryption. This has made USA less secure and it needs to be fixed. Quit talking shit about Syrian terrorists blowing up babies and start considering all those REAL political, business and industrial secrets that have been exposed to nasty foreign powers and their puppet agents.
    3. Baltic states in particular have online voting and a large Russian population among which agents could be hidden. That's very very foolish. They need to look at the soldiers Russian planted in Ukraine to shit stir and realize their online voting is a liability, not an embrace of modern technology. It would be trivial to rig an election in Latvia the way its rigged in Russia.

    • If you're trying to rig an election at the voting booth, you're doing it wrong.
      • +(mod up)

      • If you're trying to rig an election at the voting booth, you're doing it wrong.

        (As Black Box voting [slashdot.org] points out) rigging it at the central server is more effective. But rigging the voting machines mean that it's harder to determine (in jurisdictions where this test is possible) by comparing the counts posted at the precincts to the totals posted centrally.

        Of course attack-in-depth gives a cheating organization more opportunities to make an election come out "correctly". For instance: Motor-Voter (mail-in

    • Perhaps its time to investigate:

      1. Electronic voting, all those open Wifi connections, and crap Windows 95 based terminals with exposed USB ports. Do you really want Putin to choose the next president?

      He's been trying his hardest this election already to get his stooge in power.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    from releasing real documents about the Clintons' criminal activities!

  • by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Thursday November 03, 2016 @12:52PM (#53206601)

    I swear there's been a secret coup and The Onion has taken over the world.

    • You, sir, win the internet today. In that one statement one could argue that you deserve a +1 in a number of categories: insightful, funny, interesting. It's a strange simulation that we live in.
    • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Thursday November 03, 2016 @02:25PM (#53207417)

      2016 is the last thing The Onion would have wanted. Who wants to read a parody newspaper when the real newspapers have more outlandish content.

      • 2016 is the last thing The Onion would have wanted. Who wants to read a parody newspaper when the real newspapers have more outlandish content.

        We have been living in a "The Onion" reality since at least January 17, 2001.

        http://www.theonion.com/articl... [theonion.com]

        Enjoy the fact that reality is so twisted that only an outrageous parody could predict it so accurately.

    • It's been a frightening amount of time since I could go to snopes.com and tell the "news" from the "fact checks" without looking.

  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Thursday November 03, 2016 @01:02PM (#53206699)
    Bumbling, uncooridnated, impulsive, and just plain stupid. All the qualities of Fife but without the charm.
  • the Office of Professional Responsibility will be referred back to the Office of Professional Responsibility for "adjudication."

    After that, it's up for review by the Department of Redundancy Department.

    The whole point of distribution of power is to not have an office responsible for adjudicating itself.

    • the Office of Professional Responsibility will be referred back to the Office of Professional Responsibility for "adjudication."

      After that, it's up for review by the Department of Redundancy Department.

      Infinite recursion. That's why they always look like they're going around chasing their tails.

  • #jamescomey: I want to be the most powerful person in DC to wear a dress.
    #inspectorclouseau: You fooel! She wears a paintsuit.
  • by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Thursday November 03, 2016 @01:23PM (#53206875) Journal

    FBI launches investigation into FBI investigation-launches. Investigators are investigating where to investigate investigators for the investigation. They're thinking Buffalo.

    • FBI launches investigation into FBI investigation-launches. Investigators are investigating where to investigate investigators for the investigation. They're thinking Buffalo.

      They'd be better served going to the source of nearly all criminal activity.

      Acme Inc.
      Walla-Walla WA 99362
      Wile E. Coyote, CEO

      Strat

  • by CajunArson ( 465943 ) on Thursday November 03, 2016 @01:30PM (#53206935) Journal

    Looks like the FBI has disclosed that not only was Clinton's email server almost certainly hacked, but the hacking got so blatant that even Clinton's own part-time staff who did the incompetent setup of a Microsoft Exchange server were able to figure out that something was going on and shut it down temporarily while she was still using it.

    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/g... [townhall.com]

    • by mi ( 197448 )

      But it was all Trump's fault, because he invited the Russians to hack it [politifact.com]. (After it was already hacked.)

      Putin is the kind of guy, who would've never done anything so unwholesome without an invitation [thepeoplescube.com], of course.

  • by cfalcon ( 779563 ) on Thursday November 03, 2016 @01:51PM (#53207149)

    Are we really at the point where trying to expose criminals is itself a crime? What the fuck is going on?

    • Are we really at the point where trying to expose criminals is itself a crime? What the fuck is going on?

      In it's most simplistic form, the principle is: "You cannot break the law in order to enforce the law."

      • The Hatch Act is a ban on using one's office for partisan gain. It doesn't require the FBI to shut down active criminal investigations just because the Democratic party happened to nominate someone under investigation.

        If anything, the FBI Director has been taking Hillary's side on this. They didn't charge her even after this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

        Why is Hillary different than Martha Stewart [wsj.com]?

  • Behind all the fake tinsel we now find the real tinsel.
  • "one describing Donald Trump's father Fred Trump as a "philanthropist."

    Wow. Nobody mentioned that his granddad, after having fled the military service, opened a whorehouse in Klondike and meemaw was the Madam?

    At least that's documented by German newspapers.

  • Ahh yes, ThinkProgress.org...that bastion of non-partisan journalism. I'm surprised they didn't blame Scott Walker for the tweets.

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