- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Exclusive to RicksiLeaks, direct from the fevered imagination of Tom Ricks, with no state interference or contact.)
20 October 2016
TO: White House Counsel
FROM: Office of the Attorney General
CC: Election Working Group
As requested, pursuant to the observed rise in threats of violence, intimidation and organized militia action, here is the current thinking of the Election Working Group on the posture of the executive branch in the coming weeks and months.
— Department of Justice Civil Rights Division conducts full court press in deterring voter intimidation. FBI takes lead in investigating such cases, either as notified by DoJ or on its own initiative.
— Justice Department coordinates with state and local law enforcement entities so that any and all “open carry” demonstrations outside campaign offices or polling places will be monitored by well-armed police with vehicles for arrests posted nearby, should the demonstrators seek to intimidate voters or campaign workers. Team leaders should be reminded that verbal threats, whether spoken or written, violate a clear line of legality.
— Cases of vandalism, such as the spray-painting of cars belonging to people attending campaign rallies, should be aggressively investigated and quickly prosecuted at the local level in order to deter copycat crimes. Federal aid money will be available to ensure swift action, and also to publicize governmental actions.
— Chief of National Guard advises all state Guards that they are to discuss with him any potentially controversial orders from state governments, such as surrounding polling stations or poll watchers. Also will remind them that if state leadership refuses federal orders, their Guard units will be federalized. In worst-case situations, such as rebellious units, paperwork should be prepared to ensure permanent disbandment of the units in question. For individuals, especially recalcitrant commanders, Article 92 of the UCMJ (failure to obey a lawful order) will be invoked, with consequences in the military justice system. JAGs are to be notified to be prepared to act swiftly. Service JAGs will monitor the work of NG JAGs.
— NSA will continue to track contacts between foreign entities and U.S. entities interested in presidential campaign.
— Justice Department will establish hotlines with counsels of both campaigns, with requests that any allegation of balloting fraud, intimidation or any other form of “rigging” be shared with the government for immediate action. If such allegations are made without contacting Justice, that will be announced.
The week before Election Day:
— Starting the week before Election Day, the Working Group will issue a daily press release summarizing the allegations received, its responses, and all other significant actions it has taken that can be publicized without hurting its work. This will be done 7 days a week, with issuance NLT than 4 pm.
The day before Election Day:
— A federal joint action team, led by office of the Attorney General, will stand by for 72 hours, from day before to day after, to coordinate federal response to any attempts to deter voting, and especially to any threats of or acts of violence. This team includes FBI, Secret Service, Treasury Department, Homeland Security, National Guard Bureau. Representatives of the Chief Justice, DNI and NSA will be present but not participate.
— Each TAG will report daily to the chief, National Guard Bureau, on the state of his or her units.
Immediately after Election Day:
— Attorney General’s office will coordinate monitoring of threats to federal officials. Any such threat of any nature detected by any federal office must be reported. Nothing should be dismissed as “just talk” or “blowing off steam.”
— FBI will take lead on monitoring social media. Again, nothing should be dismissed as too outlandish to be pursued. Coordination is especially important here. Any problem known by one office should be known by all.
— Special attention will be given to security of all judges, both federal and state, before whom come questions of election fraud or ballot counts. This includes bodyguards and 24-hour patrols around homes. Marshals Service has the lead on this.
— Wiretaps will be sought for monitoring of known threats. This requires early discussion with Judicial branch in order to reduce possible cross-branch friction.
— For two weeks before Inauguration Day, there will be a 24-hour watch stood up, with members of all relevant federal entities intensely coordinating efforts to monitor threats to the event. Known threats will be watched and tracked; all new possible threats will be reviewed at change of watch, three times a day.
Weeks and months after Election Day:
— DoJ will monitor the creation of any new political parties but will not interfere in any way, unless acts of violence or threats of such — to the federal government or to others — becomes known.
— ATF and FBI will coordinate on issues of armed militias, especially those associated, even loosely, with any new political parties. For example, known militia members who join new parties should be watched to the degree possible without violating their civil rights.
— Executive branch as a whole will consider issue of whether new legislation is needed to regulate foreign intervention in U.S. elections. Special consideration will be given to “hacking” and other cyber issues. DoJ National Security Division will take lead on developing a proposed bill.
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