Why is the FBI investigating its own twitter?
The FBI has launched an internal investigation into one of its own Twitter accounts. The account at issue, @FBIRecordsVault, had not been used for more than a year. Then, all of a sudden on October 30th 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 Bill Clinton’s controversial pardon of Marc Rich, that the account began to attract significant attention.
The account has not been active since that tweet.
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 findings will be referred back to the the Office of Professional Responsibility for “adjudication.”
Federal law and FBI policy prohibit employees from using the power of the department to attempt to influence elections.
Will was responding to a complaint from Jonathan Hutson, a former investigative reporter who now works in communication in Washington, DC. She did not respond to requests, via phone and email, for further comment.
Nancy McNamara, the Assistant Director of the FBI’s Inspection Division, also confirmed to Hutson that she had received the complaint. She copied Voviette Morgan, a 19-year veteran now serving as Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles office.
News of the internal investigation is at odds with the FBI’s official position, which is that the Twitter account followed all FBI procedures.
“Per the standard procedure for FOIA, these materials became available for release and were posted automatically and electronically to the FBI’s public reading room in accordance with the law and established procedures,” the FBI said in a statement.