Under the logic of the government’s motion to dismiss the charges against Michael Flynn, the FBI can’t investigate whether someone is a Russian agent unless it already has evidence that the person is a Russian agent.
For citizens trying to evaluate the evidence they have heard during the proceedings before the House Intelligence Committee, it may be helpful to refer to some of the standard instructions that a jury would be given in a criminal case under similar circumstances.
The New York Times and other media outlets, citing anonymous sources, recently reported that the Department of Justice inquiry into the origins of the Russia investigation has “shifted” from an administrative review to a criminal investigation.
The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are both contemplating testimony from the intelligence community officer who first brought to light President Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. But requiring the whistleblower to testify is both unnecessary and unwise.
More information is coming out in the media about the whistleblower complaint that Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire blocked the inspector general of the intelligence community (ICIG) from transmitting to the congressional intelligence committees. If the speculation is accurate, Maguire’s actions, and the legal defense of those actions by Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) General Counsel Jason Klitenic, may have a firmer legal foundation than has so far been apparent.
Last week saw an important development in the continuing erosion of governmental checks and balances. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff subpoenaed Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire and wrote a blistering letter accusing Maguire of violating the law by withholding a whistleblower’s complaint from the Intelligence Committee.
It’s recently been announced that Alex Joel, who has served as the civil liberties protection officer in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) for 14 years, is leaving the ODNI. I had the privilege of working closely with Alex, and learning from him, during some turbulent times for the intelligence community. At a time when the intelligence community is under attack, it is appropriate to honor Alex as an exemplar of the dedicated public servants who work in U.S. intelligence agencies.