One of the FBI’s Twitter accounts was dormant for a year before it was revived over the weekend. @FBIRecordsVault began posting links to documents related to candidates in the US presidential election in the early hours of October 30th, starting with info on Donald Trump’s father Fred Trump. The account followed that up two days later with a release of files from an investigation into President Bill Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich, a case that was closed in 2005. ThinkProgress reports that the FBI has launched an internal investigation into the activity which includes dozens of other posts last Sunday.
The FBI’s Inspection Division will reportedly look into the matter. As you might expect, it’s illegal (and against bureau policy) for employees to use the department’s resources to influence an election. In a statement after criticism about the posts, the FBI said the document releases were in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and that the files were posts automatically. This doesn’t explain why the account didn’t post anything for over a year. We doubt this wasn’t the first FOIA request in the last 12 months.
“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 statement explained.
The social media posts come just days after FBI director James Comey wrote a letter to Congress informing them of new Clinton emails that turned up as part of an unrelated case. That case was an investigation of Anthony Weiner and the material surfaced during an examination of devices used by the former Congressman and his wife and Clinton aide Huma Abedin. The Justice Department said that Comey’s letter didn’t follow departmental protocols.