Barr demanded access to WMR editor's email the same day we published a scathing article on Barr's links to Russian oligarchs.May 28-29, 2020 -- Barr's DOJ demanded and received access to WMR editor's email/iPhone account
On February 14, 2019, William Barr was sworn in as Attorney General, a position in which he has proceeded to act as Donald Trump's personal lawyer and hatchet man.
A little over a month from Barr assuming his position, his Department of Justice issued a legal demand to Microsoft and Apple, approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, "for data related to your Email account email@example.com." The request was served by U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and Microsoft complied with the legal demand by providing responsive data on 10 April 2019. Apple responded to the "legal request" in what they called a "timely manner."
On March 29, 2019, the same day Barr's Justice Department demanded from Microsoft and Apple access to this editor's Hotmail and iPhone data, WMR published a scathing article concerning Barr. Something in the article obviously triggered Barr into demanding access to Hotmail and Apple data, possibly to discover potential leakers in DOJ or the FBI. In any event, Barr appears to have been overly-sensitive to charges brought forth in the article that he may have been a longtime Soviet-turned-Russian intelligence asset, first recruited while at the CIA:
March 29-31, 2019 -- Barr may have been a subject of Mueller's investigation
Attorney General William Barr may have been a subject of Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 Donald Trump campaign. When Barr sent a 19-page memo to the Justice Department on June 8, 2018, he was a partner with the Kirkland & Ellis law firm. Barr’s unsolicited memo, which was addressed to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Assistant Attorney General Steve Engel, questioned the very legitimacy of Mueller’s investigation of the Trump administration and presidential campaign. Barr’s memo was sent as then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had recused himself from the Mueller probe, was under political fire from Trump and his allies.
Eight days after Barr penned his anti-Mueller memo to the Department of Justice, Barr’s Kirkland & Ellis colleague, Brian Benczkowski, who had no previous prosecutorial experience, was sworn in as the Assistant Attorney for the Criminal Division of the Justice Department. Benczkowski headed up the Trump Transition Team for the Justice Department.
Benczkowski’s client at Kirkland & Ellis was Russia’s Alfa-Bank, which Mueller was investigating for placing a special network server in Trump Tower in New York. Connected to the Alfa-Bank server, which Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner wanted to secure with a Russia-supplied encryption system, was Spectrum Health of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The chairman of the board of Spectrum Health is Richard DeVos, Jr., the husband of Trump’s Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, and brother-in-law of Mrs. DeVos’s brother, Erik Prince of Blackwater infamy. Alfa-Bank has a business relationship with Amway, the firm co-founded by Richard DeVos, Sr., the father of Betsy DeVos’s husband.
After Sessions was fired by Trump in November 2018, the purge began at the Justice Department. Sessions’s chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, a GOP political hack from Iowa, was named acting Attorney General until Barr could be placed at the helm of the department to kill off Mueller’s investigation, bury his report, and order various U.S. Attorney Offices around the country handling matters related to investigating Trump and cronies to wrap up their investigations. Barr is aided by Benczkowski and his staff to put to rest any lingering matters dealing with the 2016 election and the Trump Organization and 2016 and 2020 campaigns. Barr, who successfully covered up the Iran-Contra scandal on behalf of the Reagan and Bush 41 administrations, is a specialist at cover-ups. He learned the trade in his first job out of law school – working for the Central Intelligence Agency.
Seeing that he and his investigation were under attack by Trump’s political creatures taking over at Justice, Mueller may have been deterred in investigating Benczkowki’s and Barr’s Kirkland & Ellis roles in representing Alfa-Bank. Benczkowski had experience in covering up for the Russian oligarchs who were assisting the Trump campaign in violation of federal election laws that prohibit foreign involvement in U.S. elections. It was Benczkowski who helped write a dubious report on the role of Alfa-Bank in the 2016 election along with the outside cyber-security firm, Stroz Friedberg, hired by the bank to conduct a review. Benczkowski said he was satisfied with Stroz Friedberg's analysis that there were no communications links or financial transfers between Alfa-Bank and the Trump Organization. In what was a dubious report, signed off by Benczkowski, the audit of Alfa-Bank, conducted by both Stroz Frienberg and another data security firm, Mandiant, would have never discovered the bank's links to the Trump Organization because the audit trails of the bank's Domain Name System (DNS) covered only the latest 24 hours.
Benczkowski, as Alfa-Bank’s attorney, also participated in libel suits brought by the bank against former MI-6 agent Christopher Steele, the author of the “Steele Dossier” on Trump’s ties with Russia, and Orbis Business Intelligence, Steele’s firm; BuzzFeed News; and Fusion GPS and its president, Glenn Simpson, the firm which helped circulate Steele’s dossier.
The three owners of Alfa-Bank, Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven, and German Khan, are major Russian oligarchs and were targets of Mueller’s probe. One can imagine Mueller’s surprise and disgust when two legal henchmen for the oligarch trio – Barr and Benczkowski – became Mueller’s superiors within Justice. Neither Barr nor Benczkowski chose to recuse themselves from the Mueller investigation, decisions which helped seal the early death of the overall investigation and bury Mueller’s report. After Maria Butina, the Russian intelligence “Mata Hari,” decided to cooperate with Mueller’s investigators, additional links between Alfa-Bank and the Trump campaign and administration began to crystallize. These included suspicious Alfa-Bank money transfers to the Wells Fargo Bank accounts of Paul Erickson, a GOP operative and former boyfriend of Butina and Landfair Capital Consulting, the firm of Alex Abramoff and Robert Abramoff, the son and brother of disgraced Republican Party lobbyist Jack Abramoff, respectively. Mueller likely had possession of the suspicious activity reports (SARs) on the wire transfers that were sent by the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) to the FBI.
It is clear that Mueller was pursuing the Alfa-Bank link to the Trump Organization. Mueller secured an indictment and conviction of Alex Van der Zwaan, the son-in-law of Alfa-Bank's co-owner Khan, for lying to FBI officials in their investigation of Trump's 2016 campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. It is very clear that the
Kirkland & Ellis legal “mafia” in the Trump administration conspired to interfere as much as possible in the Mueller probe and are currently conspiring to bury the Special Counsel’s final report. Barr’s and Benczkowski’s Kirkland & Ellis cronies have been salted throughout the Justice Department and White House. They include Principal Deputy Solicitor General Jeff Wall, White House Special Counsel Pat Cipollone – who will be in charge of determining what parts of the Mueller report are protected from disclosure due to executive privilege, National Security Advisor John Bolton, Assistant Attorneys General for the Office of Legal Policy Beth Ann Williams and Steven Engel, Deputy Attorney General nominee Jeffrey Rosen, and outgoing Deputy U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Robert Khuzami. Other Kirkland & Ellis GOP alums include Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh and Whitewater special prosecutor Kenneth Starr.
Mueller’s investigation, from its very outset, was plagued by Barr spies within the Justice Department’s infrastructure. Barr’s son-in-law, Tyler McGaughey, served as the Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, which handled Mueller’s cases against Manafort and his colleague and Trump Transition Team official, Richard Gates. McGaughey is now working for Cipollone in the White House Counsel’s office. Barr’s daughter, Mary Daly, had been working in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s office. She has been transferred to FINCEN at the Treasury Department, where she will be in a position to clean out the intelligence files of suspicious activity reports and other data incriminating Trump, Kushner, and their Russian, Saudi, Chinese, and other international financiers and interlocutors.
The Mueller probe was doomed to failure from the very beginning. Barr and Trump riddled the Justice Department with cronies who were leaking any information about Mueller’s otherwise tight-lipped probe directly to the White House. Barr worked for the CIA from 1973 to 1977, a time frame when the Soviet KGB was implanting several sleeper agents inside the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement communities.
While at Kirkland & Ellis, Barr had the portfolios for several business ventures involving Russian companies owned by oligarchs. These included representing Glencore, the firm owned by the late international sanctions buster Marc Rich, and its joint venture with the Russian oil company, Rosneft, headed by former Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Igor Sechin. Barr's connections to the very same Russian oligarchs involved in supporting Trump more than likely placed Barr in Mueller's crosshairs.
Barr’s acquiescence to a massive and illegal infusion of foreign capital into the U.S. political system is worthy of a full background check on him for the purposes of conducting a “mole” discovery. Although a number of CIA moles were discovered in the 1980s and 90s, the 1970s, when Barr was with the CIA, are absent any major mole discoveries. The agents for hostile intelligence services discovered during the 1960s and 70s were mostly with CIA contractors and the military, not with the CIA headquarters.
Barr may be the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. However, that did not keep John Mitchell, Richard Nixon’s Attorney General, out of prison. Mitchell served a 19-month prison sentence in Alabama. If Barr has been a foreign intelligence mole since his days with the CIA, he would not be enjoying “club fed” privileges in a minimum security federal correctional institution but, instead, be looking at a very long Supermax stay with FBI Soviet/Russia spy Robert Hanssen in Colorado.
The following is the email received by this editor from Microsoft concerning Barr's DOJ's action:
From: Microsoft User Notification
Microsoft received a legal demand from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on 29 March 2019 for data related to your Email account firstname.lastname@example.org. The request was served by U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Microsoft complied with the legal demand by providing responsive data on 10 April 2019.
The legal demand contained a non-disclosure order of limited duration. This non-disclosure prohibition has expired and Microsoft is now able to notify you of the existence of this legal demand.
Pursuant to Microsoft policy found here: https://blogs.microsoft.com/datalaw/our-practices/#does-microsoft-notify-users, Microsoft gives notice to users whose data is sought by a law enforcement agency or other governmental entity, except where prohibited by law.
Law Enforcement National Security
From: Customer Notice
Dear Account Holder/Customer:
On 2019-03-29, Apple Inc. (“Apple”) received a legal request from U.S. Department of Justice requesting information regarding your Apple account. This legal request only allowed delayed notice to the affected customer.
The contact information in relation to the request:
Requesting Agency: U.S. Department of Justice
Requesting Agency Location: Washington , DC
Legal Request Type: Subpoena / Summons
Requesting Agency Case Number: 18-SC-03344-GMH / USAO 2016R00953 / GJ018121352337
Apple Privacy & Law Enforcement Compliance Apple Inc.
Journalists can only be subjected to Justice Department surveillance under a provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the same act that Trump and Barr have been complaining was misused by the outgoing Barack Obama administration to conduct surveillance of the Trump 2016 campaign for its ties to foreign governments and oligarch criminal syndicates. Under Attorney General guidelines issued in 2015, under the Obama administration, a request to conduct surveillance of members of the media can only be made when "the attorney general, the deputy attorney general, or their delegate" signs off on an application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
There is another loophole that permits the Justice Department to gain access to journalists' private information, the National Security Letter. These Justice Department letters are merely administrative orders that permit the Justice Department and FBI to obtain phone and email records without a court order. Noting that the Barr Justice Department sought a court order from the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC to access this editor's email records, Barr evidently decided to forgo using the National Security Letter route.
The notification from Microsoft was received by this editor on May 27, the same day Trump tweeted that he was going to sign an Executive Order restricting the activities of social media companies, including Twitter.
Trump is waging a tinpot dictator's war against the press, a campaign that dwarfs anything Richard Nixon carried out during the Watergate series of scandals.