Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute (GAI), explained how former FBI Directors James Comey and Robert Mueller leveraged their government positions for self-enrichment. He joined his colleague Seamus Bruner, a GAI researcher, to discuss the latter’s forthcoming book, Compromised: How Money and Politics Drive FBI Corruption, in a Friday interview with Sean Hannity.
Hannity opened the interview with questions: “How is it all of these politicians have become filthy rich? They’re supposed to be public servants. Where does the money come from? What are the conflicts of interest?”
Hannity drew from Bruner’s new book, “James Comey’s net worth has skyrocketed 4000 percent. By the time he left [the Department of Justice] in 2005 and came back in 2013, [James] Comey made 6.1 million dollars after [Robert] Mueller granted his employer, Lockheed Martin — the largest contractor in history — a billion-dollar boondoggle. Under Mueller’s direction, the FBI granted multiple spy contracts to Lockheed Martin while Comey was advising them on the legality of their operations. Comey also received another six million dollars working for one of the world’s largest hedge funds and an additional $500,000 for unused vacation time.”
“Mueller cashed in, as well,” continued Hannity. “In 2013, when Comey took over the FBI while Mueller left to start consulting at a consulting firm, he made more than 3.5 million in about year giving speeches and representing clients who had previously enriched his FBI director; clients like the world’s most profitable spy corporation.”
Apple and Facebook are both former clients of Mueller’s consulting firm, with the former providing Paul Manafort’s iCloud data to Mueller’s team of lawyers. Hannity read, “Two of Mueller’s former clients are cooperating with the special counsel, Facebook [and] Apple. Mueller’s former client, the paragon of privacy Apple Inc. provided the special counsel with access to Paul Manafort’s iCloud despite making a public spectacle protecting the San Bernardino terrorist’s privacy. Mueller’s former client, and another paragon of privacy Facebook, may be cooperating with the special counsel voluntarily without a subpoena according to congressional testimony from CEO Mark Zuckerberg.”
Schweizer described Comey and Mueller as a “tag-team” engaged in the “revolving door” of “crony capitalism.”
“Jim Comey and Robert Mueller are very close friends,” said Schweizer. “They met each other in the 1990s at the Justice Department and have really been sort of this tag team from the beginning. When one of them is in the private sector and one is in government, they steer contracts in the direction of people they’re affiliated with and vice-versa. It’s a very troubling story that shows the revolving door applies every bit as much to these gentlemen, and crony capitalism applies every bit as much as it does to other people in Washington.”
Bruner said, “Mueller was senior vice president of Lockheed Martin and general counsel, so he was the top lawyer at the largest contractor in U.S. history. Lockheed Martin gets about 50 billion dollars a year, 95 percent of that is in taxpayer money, and James Comey — who’s never been the general counsel of a corporation that large — comes in in 2005, and by 2009, he’s made 6.1 million dollars just in that year alone in cash and stock options, and that’s disclosed in SEC documents.”
“This is after Robert Mueller gives a program in 2008 called Next Generation Identification [to Lockheed Martin]. It is a surveillance program [with] biometric facial recognition, basically turning everyone’s face into a fingerprint.”
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) describes Next Generation Identification (NGI) as poised to become “the largest biometric database in the world” which will include “fingerprints, iris scans, DNA profiles, voice identification profiles, palm prints, and photographs.” It warns of NGI’s inclusion of “millions of individuals who are neither criminals nor suspects … in [its] database. Many of these individuals will be unaware that their images and other biometric identifiers are being captured [and used].”
Bruner said some federal contracts procured by the FBI during Mueller’s directorship were unlikely to have been competitively selected using best practices for procurement, including contracts valued as highly as $100 million.
“Like Peter said, [Comey and Mueller] kind of work as a tag team,” said Bruner. “So Robert Mueller leaves [the FBI directorship] in 2013, and James Comey takes over. Mueller goes and sets up Robert Mueller and Associates, a consulting firm. He starts giving speeches — much like the Clintons do — and he returns to his old firm WilmerHale, and some of Mueller’s clients are really interesting characters. You‘ve got Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc., both of those corporations are now cooperating with the special counsel.”
Bruner noted Apple’s refusal to comply with court orders directing it to unlock and decrypt the iPhone of Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the perpetrators, one of the perpetrators of the 2015’s Islamic terrorist mass murder attack in San Bernardino, CA. “Apple Inc. kind of sells itself as a paragon of privacy, as if they’re going to keep your data private,” he said. “The San Bernardino terrorist is one very public example where they resisted court orders to unlock this terrorist’s phone. Meanwhile, they cooperated with a subpoena from Robert Mueller’s special counsel for Paul Manafort’s iCloud.”
Hannity remarked, “Apple received a court order to give over Paul Manafort’s iCloud data while they refused a court order to unlock the San Bernardino terrorist’s iPhone.”
Schweizer explained how security clearances held by former government officials are monetized for self-enrichment.
“If you do not have a security clearance as a retired FBI director or former DOJ senior executive, if you do not have access to that security clearance, you can’t work for these contractors,” stated Schweizer. “It’s not just an issue of John Brennan or James Comey or whoever having access to these clearances for purposes of knowing what’s going on. It actually affects their bottom line in a big way.”
Schweizer added, “This revolving door is a big problem. We know that it happens in the Pentagon. We know that Health and Human Services people do favorable things for, say, a pharmaceutical company, and then they leave to go work for this pharmaceutical company. The same thing is going on at FBI and DOJ and James Comey and Robert Mueller are involved in it.”
Schweizer explained the motivations behind political and news media recalcitrance towards President Donald Trump’s removal of security clearances from former Obama-era intelligence officials John Brennan and James Clapper.
“One of the reasons you’re going to see a lot of pushback and a lot of screaming on this issue of security clearances is that it goes to the heart of their ability to cash in,” said Schweizer. “If they don’t have a security clearance, they cannot cash in with these contractors in this way.
Schweizer went on, “It’s a huge issue, because if you work for a contractor, let’s say you’re a former assistant director of the FBI and you go work for Lockheed Martin or you go to Booz Allen Hamilton or one of these other consulting firms, you are working on classified projects and you need a security clearance. So if you are John Brennan, for example, who was a contractor after he left the intelligence service, those opportunities dry up. Booz Allen Hamilton can’t hire you. Lockheed Martin can’t hire you to work on any intelligence programs, because those programs are classified. … Access to top secret security clearances is key if you are going to work for the multitude of contractors out there working in the national security or the intelligence space.”
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