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Experts Blast Chief Justice’s ‘Sham’ Leak Probe: ‘When Is an Investigation Not an Investigation?’

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Legal and political exerts are blasting the U.S. Supreme Court’s investigation that failed to determine who leaked the draft opinion in the Dobbs case that ultimately served to overturn Roe v. Wade and void the decades-old previously-constitutional right to abortion. Some, having read the Court’s report on the investigation, state it appears the Justices and their spouses were not interviewed or investigated.

In an unsigned statement Thursday the Court announced after a long investigation, “to date” it had been “unable to identify a person responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.”

Frank Figliuzzi, the well-known former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence and MSNBC national security analyst, served up strong contempt for the process chosen by the Court, and what he suggested was the underlying reason the investigation failed to produce the leaker.

Asked point-blank on MSNBCs “Dateline: White House” if he believes the leaker is already known to the Court, he responded with one word: “Yes.”

“Looks like maybe they didn’t want to get to the truth,” he opined.

READ MORE: Supreme Court Announces It Can’t Figure Out Who Leaked the Draft Decision of the Ruling That Overturned Roe

Noted national security attorney Mark S. Zaid, who also handles government investigation cases, says investigators did not interview or investigate the Justices or their spouses.

“Having read [the] investigative findings, I am completely struck by fact does not appear Justices (or their families) were interviewed, much less investigated,” he tweeted.

“Since bare min[imum] ‘preponderance of evidence’ was standard that could not be met w/staff, who else does that leave as leaker?” he asked.

“When is an investigation really not an investigation?” Figliuzzi also rhetorically suggested to MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace. “When you’re told what you can and can’t do, you can’t do what you need to do or talk to the people you need to talk to to solve the investigation, and, when the investigation isn’t conducted by professional investigators.”

Figliuzzi, himself an expert investigator who served as the Bureau’s chief inspector, blasted the decisions made about how the investigation would be conducted and who would conduct it.

“The U.S. Marshal Service did not conduct this investigation. This investigation was conducted by someone called the Marshal of the Supreme Court. I’m sure she’s a wonderful person. But she has no law enforcement training or experience. She’s in charge of securing the building called the Supreme Court building and its justices. That’s what she does.”

He also criticized who he says was not investigated: former clerks and current Justices.

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“If you want to do real serious leak investigation, you’re going to talk literally to every person who may have had access to whatever it is that leaked. From what we can see so far, while they may have talked one hundred people, they didn’t talk to ex-clerks. They didn’t talk to the very universe of people who may have done the leaking and then left the court,” he noticed.

“They didn’t call the FBI, because you know what would happen, then a real case would have happened. They wouldn’t have actually had the criminal process.”

“Someone stole government property, someone mishandled government records, potentially a crime. They could have had subpoenas of former clerks and former employees they would have had that leverage over them. They could have subpoenaed phone carriers and internet providers, and they could have see who was talking to whom and when, at the media platform that obtained this information,” he said, presumably referring to Politico which obtained and published the leaked draft opinion. “All of that could have been done.”

“We still have, according to The New York Times reporting today, we have no evidence that the justices themselves were interviewed.”

There was “no serious intent to get to get to the bottom of it, in my opinion,” Figliuzzi added.

Wallace at that point specified she was calling it “a sham investigation,” and then asked, “Why would a sham investigation be ordered? If Justice Alito felt that his quote assassination was possible because of the leak?”

Former Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, Peter Strzok, also points to the fact, based on the report from the Marshal of the Supreme Court, that the Justices and their spouses were not investigated, and former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff’s claim affirming the quality of the investigation.

“Kind of blows a huge hole in Chertoff’s statement that he ‘[could] not identify any additional useful investigative measures,'” Strzok wrote.

Former RNC chairman Michael Steele went even further, while agreeing with Figliuzzi’s take that the Court knows who the leaker is.

“I don’t think they want to know,” he alleged, also on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House.”

“I don’t think they want to know because I think they already know. I think they already know enough to know who, what, where, when and why, inside that building.”

Steele, a veteran of politics, declared, “the worst outcome here is not a judicial one. It is a political one. It is one that steeps this building, and its justices in a political vortex that they cannot escape from. Sitting at 26% approval among the American people because of the prior bad acts and opinions in how people are perceiving how this Court is operating.”

READ MORE: Trump Moves to Return to Twitter and Facebook After Being Banned Over Risk of ‘Incitement of Violence’ and to Public Safety

“You layer on top of this, someone within their own ranks, whether it was a staffer or a justice, God forbid – which I do not take off the table here – leaking this for nefarious political reasons, whether to create outcome ‘A’ or create outcome ‘B’ around this opinion, that does not create an avenue to further entrust or garner the trust of the American people.

Slate’s legal expert Dahlia Lithwick added to the conversation, “I think that the decision was taken to do this is in-house using the Marshal Service, but probably other choices could have been made, to have a different, perhaps more thorough investigation. But I think the takeaway is exactly what you just heard, that for a leak that was characterized by most of the justices as the single most shocking, egregious violation of norms like trust. It’s still being credited for destroying collegiality amongst the justices.”

“This was a nuclear bomb that went off into court. And now the answer seems to be, ‘so sad, too bad, I’m good,'” she observed. “It’s pretty amazing in light of how absolutely consequential this has been, not just for the justices amongst themselves, but for the sort of integrity and reputational interests of the court.”

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‘Volunteer’ Santos Congressional Staffer Alleges Sexual Harassment: ‘Proceeded to Touch My Groin’

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A man who says he was hired by U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) as a congressional staffer, told he had to be listed as a “volunteer” until his paperwork was processed, then subsequently told his job offer had been “rescinded” nine days later despite having worked several days during that time, is now accusing the embattled New York GOP congressman of ethics violations and sexual harassment. He is calling for both a congressional and a police investigation.

In a two-page letter to the House Ethics Committee dated Friday requesting an investigation, Derek Myers alleges Rep. Santos invited him to a karaoke club on his second day of work, then “proceeded to take his hand and move it down my leg into my inner-thigh and proceeded to touch my groin.”

He says Santos then told him, “My husband is out of town tonight if you want to come over” and told him where he lived.

READ MORE: ABC Host Pops Marco Rubio’s Balloon Rant: It ‘Happened Three Times’ Under Trump

Myers is also asking the congressional investigation examine his being told he had to work as an unpaid volunteer while being offered a full-time job, which he says is a violation of House ethics.

He says he has filed a police report.

In his letter (above) which he posted to Twitter, Myers says was interviewed by Santos, offered the job on Monday, January 23, asked by Santos’ chief of staff to come into the office the following day.

“On Wednesday. January 25, I was alone with the Congressman in his personal office going over mail correspondence from constituents and making my recommendations for which letters we should respond,” Myers’ letter reads. “The Congressman earlier in the day had asked me if I had a Grindr profile, which is widely-known as an LGBTQ+ social networking app, more commonly used for sexual intercourse. The Congressman shared with me that he, himself had a profile.”

Myers says Santos called him “buddy” and “insisted I sit next to him on a small sofa.”

READ MORE: Burn Bags and Use of Personal Email: Justices’ Security Practices Even Worse Than Leak Investigation Showed

“I proceeded to move forward with the discussion about the mail, but the Congressman stopped me by placing his hand on my left leg, near my knee and saying, ‘Hey buddy, we’re going to karaoke tonight. Would you like to go?’ I kindly declined the invitation by telling the Congressman I was not a fan of clubs and bars and that I was not a good singer,” the complaint reads.

“The Congressman proceeded to take his hand and move it down my leg into my inner-thigh and proceeded to touch my groin. He proceeded to look at me and say, ‘My husband is out of town tonight if you want to come over’ and went on to tell me where the Congressman lived. I quickly pushed the Congressman’s hand away and grabbed the mail from the table and proceeded to discuss the topic of constituent correspondence. Shortly thereafter, I left the personal office and returned to my desk.”

He alleges the following Monday, one week after being made the offer of employment, he was asked about his background as a journalist. He says on Wednesday, February 1, “I was informed that my job offer was being rescinded.”

The New York Times reports, “Mr. Myers’s account could not be corroborated, but a spokeswoman for Representative Susan Wild, ranking member of the House Ethics Committee, acknowledged that his letter had been received by her office.”

“There’s no corroborating evidence whatsoever,” Myers told CNN. “It’s simply going to be his word against mine.”

Santos is currently facing at least three federal investigations, including for allegedly absconding with thousands of dollars raised to save a veteran’s dying service dog, and for campaign finance issues.

Myers was in the news last week after sharing what he says were conversations with Santos he recorded. Talking Points Memo published some of that audio and reported some of Santos’ statements to Myers, including, “Stop going to Colombia for your diluted Botox.”

Santos claimed the recordings “violated the trust that we had” in Myers.

TPM also reported on Myers’ background, which Santos allegedly used to terminate him.

“A local news reporter from Ohio, Myers faced unusual criminal charges last year after he published surreptitiously recorded audio of courtroom testimony that he said he obtained from a source. The criminal case, which is in limbo, sparked a national outcry from press freedom organizations who rushed to his defense,” TPM says.

“It was quite a mesmerizing feeling to be in that proximity to power,” Myers told TPM. “Not only was I working with a sitting congressman, but I would see all these other U.S. senators and congressmen and women who I would only see on the news walking through the basement.”

He also told the news outlet of the “dream that drew Myers to Santos: a potential book or Hollywood project.”

“George Santos is making history,” Myers told TPM. “There’s gonna be a book about it. There’s gonna be a movie about it.”

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Burn Bags and Use of Personal Email: Justices’ Security Practices Even Worse Than Leak Investigation Showed

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Supreme Court employees raised security concerns that were not made public when an internal investigation was completed following the leak of a draft opinion reversing abortion rights.

Multiple sources familiar with the court’s operations told CNN that justices often used personal email accounts for sensitive communications, employees used printers that didn’t produce logs and “burn bags” to collect sensitive materials for destruction were often left open and unattended in hallways.

“This has been going on for years,” one former employee said.

Some justices were slow to adopt email technology — they were “not masters of information security protocol,” according to one source — and court employees were afraid to confront them over the security risks.

Supreme Court marshal Gail Curley in her investigative report noted that printer logs intended to track document production were insufficient, but a former employee said employees who had VPN access could print documents from any computer, and remote work during COVID-19 shutdowns and otherwise meant draft opinions could have been taken from the building in violation of court guidelines.

Curley’s report noted that court methods for destroying sensitive documents should be improved, but three employees said striped burn bags supplied to chambers were often left sitting out unattended, and each justice had their own protocols for disposing of court documents.

A source familiar with court security practices said some colleagues stapled burn bags shut, while others filled them to capacity and left them near their desks, and others simply left them sitting in hallways where anyone with access to non-public areas could have taken sensitive materials.

ALSO IN THE NEWS: ‘Has made my life miserable’: Marjorie Taylor Greene explains why she hates being in Congress

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Ethics Complaint Against Sinema Urges Investigation Into Staffers’ Duties and Her Possible ‘Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars’

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If you are hired to work in Senator Kyrsten Sinema‘s office on Capitol Hill there is a 37-page memo you’ll want to read detailing all the responsibilities her staffers are required to perform, from getting her groceries, calling Verizon and going to her D.C. home to wait for a repair person if the internet goes out, scheduling massages, and ensuring her very detailed airplane requirements are met.

“It is your job to make her as comfortable as possible on each flight,” the memo says, as The Daily Beast first reported in December.

But now a group of 13 non-profit organizations have joined to file an ethics complaint against Senator Sinema (I-AZ), a new Daily Beast report reveals Friday, including details from that 37-page memo which the newly-independent lawmaker directed to be drawn up. Dated Thursday, the complaint is titled: “Letter to Senate Ethics Committee Regarding Reports of Sinema Abusing Taxpayer Dollars.”

“Senate Ethics guidelines stipulate that staff should not be asked to perform personal errands for members. This is an unambiguous ethical boundary,” the group’s complaint reads.

READ MORE: Santos May Owe Thousands in Unpaid Traffic Violation Fines and Fees Across Two States: Report

It also points to that 37-page memo, which it says, “indicates that staff are required, as a condition of their jobs, to carry out numerous tasks that are outside the scope of public employment, including doing personal errands for the Senator, carrying out household tasks at her private residence, and advancing their own funds for her personal purchases. It makes unreasonably precise scheduling demands, and former staff have confirmed some of the allegations.”

The allegations continue.

“And, most troubling, it calls on staff members, who are employed and paid by the public and explicitly barred from campaign activity, to schedule and facilitate political fundraisers and meetings with campaign donors, presumably during the workday while they are on the clock and physically on federal property.”

“Senate staff are prohibited under your guidelines from engaging in political activity ‘on Senate time, using Senate equipment or facilities.’ While you have not prohibited campaign activity outside work hours, the plain language of the memo clearly implies that Sen. Sinema expects her staff to carry out these scheduling tasks during the workday. And these tasks may separately violate Senate Rule 41.1, which explicitly prohibits Senate employees from ‘solicit[ing]’ campaign funds.”

READ MORE: ‘Bioweapons? FFS’: House Oversight Chairman Mocked for Pushing Unfounded Balloon Conspiracy Theories

The complaint also alleges that “Sen. Sinema required her staff to schedule three physical therapy and massage sessions a week related to her training for athletic competitions, and to tightly manage her dietary schedule — while allotting only a 30-minute period on Wednesdays for meetings with the constituents she represents.”

The carefully-worded complaint adds, “the allegations paint a picture of a Senator who is not only unresponsive to her constituents, but also disrespectful and even abusive to her employees and wholly unconcerned about her obligations under the law.”

The Daily Beast has posted a copy of the complaint here.

You can read The Beast’s full report here.

 

 

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