FBI’s failures to protect patriotic whistleblowers, then and now: Devine

Lin Wood, the lawyer who represented the hero security guard falsely accused of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing, says that case “was the precursor of things to come.”

The Richard Jewell case was one of the FBI’s most infamous miscarriages of justice, with the despicable collusion of the media.

Not only was Jewell innocent, but he had saved hundreds of lives that night by spotting the bomb.

The problem was that he was a naïve nobody and the FBI was under pressure to solve a high-profile crime, so they leaked his name to the media and ruined his life.

Wood, who currently is helping to prepare a lawsuit to declare the 2020 presidential election in Georgia “unlawful and constitutional,” says the forces which conspired to destroy Jewell are stronger than ever.

He sees their work in the Russia collusion campaign waged by the media and the intelligence agencies against President Trump and in the current gaslighting over election fraud.

“What’s happening today is very similar in that the media is abusing individuals’ reputations to further its own agenda,” Wood says.

“The agenda with Richard Jewell was to get the scoop. Now I think the agenda is to provide evidence to support propaganda.”

I called Wood because I had just watched the four-hour secretly recorded interrogation of whistle-blower postal worker Richard Hopkins by two federal agents who clearly were not interested in getting to the truth of his allegations of ballot fraud.

Agent Russell Strasser, from the USPS Office of the Inspector General, was focused instead on convincing Hopkins to change the affidavit he had given to independent, undercover news organization Project Veritas.

Hopkins’ affidavit, dated last Friday, was a bombshell, which is why it was cited by Sen. Lindsey Graham when he called for the Justice Department and the FBI to launch an investigation.

On Monday, Attorney General Bill Barr authorized federal prosecutors to examine any credible allegations of voting irregularities.

So, you can see the stakes were high, and the pressure on this 32-year-old divorced postal worker, a Marine veteran, was immense.

What Hopkins claimed in his sworn affidavit was that the postmaster in Erie, Pa., Rob Weisenbach, had instructed postal workers to segregate any mail ballots they received after Election Day, Nov. 3, and hand them over to him, rather than place them in the normal mail-stream to be accurately postmarked in Pittsburgh.

He found that suspicious.

Further, Hopkins alleged that he had overheard Weisenbach tell a supervisor that he was back-dating the postmarks on those segregated late ballots to “make it appear they had been collected on November 3, 2020,” which would be a violation of Pennsylvania law, which requires that ballots cannot be counted unless they were mailed before 8 p.m. on Election Day.

It didn’t take long after the Project Veritas story for his colleagues to figure out it was him.

Then the harassment began.

He was placed on unpaid suspension by the USPS. He was harassed by “a representative of the postal worker union who began asking me about old allegations against me, which have long been resolved.”

In case he lost his job, he set up a GoFundMe account, with the help of Project Veritas. GoFundMe froze the account.

Then on Monday he was interrogated by Strasser and agent Charles Klein for four hours and they convinced him to “amend” his affidavit.

Luckily for Hopkins, he recorded the whole conversation on his phone and Project Veritas released the recording last night.

Like Jewell, Hopkins is a patriot interested in policing. Like Jewell, he is obliging and trusting of authority. And, like Jewell, he was abused by the authorities he trusted.

In the recording, Strasser begins with a series of oily compliments.

“This is why l already like you,” says Strasser, “because you’re a marine and you know what integrity is . . . You and I both served this country and I know you love this country.”

Strasser tells Hopkins, “My goal is to protect you . . . I’m in your corner on this. I want to take care of you.”

Then he threatens him, in the nicest way, over the GoFundMe account being treated as “ill-gotten” gains.

“I am not scaring you, but I am scaring you here . . . it can be argued that money was gained by . . . deceptions . . . you could be held accountable.”

Over and over, Hopkins is asked to repeat verbatim the words he heard Weisenbach using.

He is taken out onto the post office floor to re-enact the moment, and Strasser makes him think he was too far away to really hear what he heard.

Inch by inch, Strasser wears away at his memory, until Hopkins obligingly agrees he had made a “logical assumption” that the ballots were being backdated but had not heard Weisenbach use the word “backdated.”

Strasser tells him, “I am trying to twist you a little bit.”

Toward the end of the interrogation, as Strasser is dictating out loud the amendments to his affidavit, Hopkins realizes the final product is not the full picture, that his apprehension that something fishy was going on has been whitewashed from the document.

Hopkins tries to get the agents to understand the other suspicions he had about late ballots.

“The picking up of the ballots and turning them directly to the supervisor rather than putting them in the ‘mailstream,’ that’s kind of important,” he says.

Agent Charles Klein butts in: “Those were your assumptions. Right?”

Hopkins keeps trying. “See that’s the thing about these ballots — it’s the validity of us picking them up.

“It’s so weird that we’re picking up ballots [after Election Day] because at this point they are no longer valid . . . Wouldn’t it be best to inform somebody that, hey . . . they’re no longer valid . . . Or wouldn’t it make sense to send it to Pittsburgh where . . . it would be postmarked. I mean, they wanted it separated rather than being just thrown in the [mailstream] which we were doing right before, a week before . . . that just didn’t make sense to me.”

Hopkins was right. It didn’t make sense.

But the agents didn’t seem to think any of it was suspicious.

They had what they came for.

The next day, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee tweeted that “the whistleblower completely RECANTED his allegations.”

The Washington Post blared: “Postal worker recanted allegations of ballot tampering.”

Hopkins denies that he recanted his story.

“They were grilling the hell out of me. I feel like I just got played,” he told Project Veritas. “I did not recant my statements.”

Like Richard Jewell, Hopkins is an American hero, caught in something ugly.

“How it all will play out, only God knows,” says Wood.

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