Mar. 6th, 2017

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 While trying to read today's news I realized that I really don't know what is meant by common terms like "the White House" and "the administration."  I am also very murky on how the DOJ is organized, who exactly the FBI works for, and what the Director of National Intelligence does. In the past, all of these terms tended to refer to pretty much the same nexus of power. Not any more, apparently.

Anyway, after a short google-fest I am both less and more confused. According to Wikipedia:
  • the Department of Justice (DOJ) is headed by the Attorney General
  • the AG reports directly to the President - so does that make him part of "the administration?" I always assumed so.
  • the AG is a member of the cabinet - so does that make him part of "the White House?" Again, I always assumed so.
  • the FBI is under the jurisdiction of the DOJ, so the head of the FBI (Comey) reports to the AG (Sessions)
  • but the FBI also takes direction somehow from the Director of National Intelligence (nobody, at the moment)
So what does it mean when??
  • the head of the FBI "asks" the Justice Department to declare an assertion by the president to be false? Comey is asking his boss to contradict his own boss, presumably, which seems unlikely to happen. But if Comey is the one with the information, is there something stopping him from making that statement himself? He didn't seem to have any problem making provocative announcements about Clinton during the campaign without permission from the DOJ.
  • For that matter, exactly what is the difference between publicly asking your boss to announce "X" and making that announcement yourself?  
  • What does it mean to say that "no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the DOJ?" Isn't the AG a "White House official?" And doesn't he direct the DOJ?

ETA: Ugh. Dreamwidth editor does really ugly bullet points. Another strike against it. I may just go back to LJ.


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