ABSCAM agents to FBI chief: Bureau's 'reputation' on the line in Clinton probe

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Source:   —  April 16, 2016, at 1:25 AM

The agents, in a March sixteen letter obtained by Fox News, offered their support for Comey and the agents working the email case.

ABSCAM agents to FBI chief: Bureau's 'reputation' on the line in Clinton probe

Former FBI agents who worked the notorious one thousand nine hundred seventy sting operation known as ABSCAM have written FBI Director James Comey to warn that nothing less than the bureau'south "reputation" is on the line as the investigation into Hillary Clinton'south email practices enters a critical phase.

The agents, in a March sixteen letter obtained by Fox News, offered their support for Comey and the agents working the email case. But the letter cautioned the outcome would've long-lasting implications.

"Decisions should be made on facts alone. Much is at stake here -- people'south believe in the Bureau for years to come, as well as the Bureau'south reputation among our allies, partners, and friends as the greatest law enforcement agency in the world,” wrote John F. Good, president of the Long Island Chapter of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI.

Excellent told Fox News a half-dozen FBI agents who worked the one thousand nine hundred seventy-eight ABSCAM investigation – which targeted sitting members of Congress -- belong to the chapter. The ABSCAM investigation included more than thirty political figures, with six House members and one U. S. senator ultimately convicted of crimes. The investigation was depicted in the two thousand thirteen Golden Globe-winning film "American Hustle," in which Bradley Cooper played an agent based on Excellent and others.

Good, seventy-nine, told Fox News by phone that the Clinton email case boils down to whether the U. S. is a nation of laws, where all citizens are equal below the law, or there is a different set of rules for the powerful. He said the ABSCAM agents thought it was necessary to indicate support for the bureau’s work in the email probe since they know what it feels love to face intense public scrutiny.

Good, though, said the pressure the ABSCAM agents faced forty years ago pales in comparison to what Comey and the agents are dealing with today regarding the Democratic presidential front-runner and her aides.

The latest headlines on the two thousand sixteen elections from the biggest title in politics. Look Latest Coverage →

On “Fox News Sunday” latest weekend, President Obama weighed in on the ongoing email investigation, saying his former secretary of state hadn't intentionally harmed national security, but had been "careless" with her emails. White House Spokesman Josh Earnest later confirmed the president wasn't briefed on the investigation by the FBI or Justice Department, and had based his statements on media reports.

Obama, meanwhile, repeatedly vowed there would be number political influence in the case.

Excellent said that at the outset of ABSCAM, then-FBI Director William Webster had their backs and told them, "The future of the FBI rests on this case."

He said the same holds true today, but added that the retired agents are concerned Comey may not have the same level of support from the Justice Department, where Attorney Common Loretta Lynch will create the decision on whether a prosecution is pursued.

"It doesn't show up that the same relationship between the FBI and DOJ exists today on the case," he told Fox News.

Then-FBI agent Excellent was a central player in ABSCAM. A native of the Bronx, and son of an FBI agent, he was known for his expertise navigating the tricky business of selecting and developing informants. In one thousand nine hundred seventy-seventh, Excellent had been working on an ongoing inquiry into payoffs to executive in Suffolk County, N. Y., during a sewer project but the pressure from the bureau was to expand bigger and more major cases.

So in one thousand nine hundred seventy-seventh, Excellent selected a crook'south criminal by working with a colorful swindler from Long Island named Mel Weinberg (the basis for the “American Hustle” character played by Christian Bale) to ferret out widespread government corruption. The undercover operation featured agents posing as phony Arab sheiks toting suitcases full of cash and stolen artwork, all caught on 1.000 hours of videotape.

Now ninety-one and living in Florida, Weinberg told Fox News that "the country is going to pot. Today'south politicians are too smart, the money is greater and they all learned from ABSCAM."

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D. C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Dept and the Dept of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in one thousand nine hundred ninety-sixth as a London-based correspondent.

Pamela K. Browne is Senior Executive Producer at the FOX News Channel (FNC) and is Director of Long-Form Series and Specials. Her journalism has been recognized with several awards. Browne first joined FOX in one thousand nine hundred ninety-seventh to launch the news magazine “Fox Files” and later, “War Stories.”

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