The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Justice released the findings Tuesday of an investigation that found a former senior FBI official violated agency policy by having numerous unauthorized contacts with the media.
The investigation found that the official, who has not been named and has since retired from the agency, “had numerous contacts with members of the media between January and November 2016 in violation of FBI policy,” as well as accepted unauthorized gifts from media members, according to the report.
The senior official had unofficial contact with media officials during the opening months of the Trump-Russia investigation. That investigation by the FBI started in the months leading up to and after the Nov. 2016 presidential election. However, the report does not mention that this official was part of the investigation.
“I have grave concern that the court was defrauded intentionally … There was some type of agenda, an inappropriate agenda beyond an objective intelligence or criminal investigation,” said Kevin Brock, a retired FBI assistant director for Intelligence who helped implement most of the intelligence and informant rules the FBI uses today.
“I struggle to find any other explanation,” Brock told the John Solomon Reports podcast. “Any other explanation just doesn’t pass the smell test. I mean, the glaring — the Steele dossier, for an experienced counterintelligence agent in the field, was blinking red lights Russian disinformation campaign, and yet you’re going to have the highest levels of the FBI executives use that to create an investigation?”
Nine months into a relentless effort to spy on Carter Page with the most awesome surveillance tools the U.S. possesses, the FBI had no proof the former Trump adviser had colluded with Russia to hijack the 2016 election.
In fact, the bureau hid from the FISA court the fact that it knew Page was actually a U.S. asset who had helped the CIA and that in a secret recording with an informant he had denied all the core allegations against him with significant proof.
For the past year, defenders of the FBI have consistently downplayed the significance of an FBI staff lawyer falsifying evidence in the government’s investigation into Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia. They argue Kevin Clinesmith’s crime of altering a CIA document to obscure the fact that former Trump campaign aide Carter Page worked for U.S., not Russian, intelligence was a rare lapse in judgment by an overworked bureaucrat. It was not, his apologists say, part of any broader conspiracy to conceal exculpatory information from surveillance court judges, who never learned of Page’s history with the CIA before approving FBI warrants to wiretap him as a suspected Russian agent.
But such explanations are challenged by new revelations from court papers filed in the case, which some civil libertarians call the most egregious violation and abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) since it was enacted more than 40 years ago.
Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday he plans to make new criminal referrals to the Justice Department following the release of internal FBI messages from the account of Peter Strzok, the top FBI investigator on Crossfire Hurricane.
In an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Nunes said the messages, which the Justice Department and FBI declassified earlier this month, should have been provided to Congress years ago when Republicans began investigating whether the FBI abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in order to surveil Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
John Durham, the U.S. attorney investigating aspects of the Trump-Russia probe, has sought notes that former British spy Christopher Steele took during his interviews in 2016 with the FBI regarding a since-debunked dossier he penned that accused the Trump campaign of colluding with the Russian government.
An FBI agent who took part in one of the interviews with Steele told Justice Department investigators that the ex-spy “clearly … wasn’t truthful” regarding his contacts with members of the media.
John Ratcliffe, the Director of National Intelligence, urged U.S. Attorney John Durham on Sunday to release an interim report on his investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, saying that the American public should have record of the investigation in case the Biden administration shuts it down.
“I think the American people should know what’s happening in a two-year investigation into this and I hope that that report will be forthcoming,” Ratcliffe said in an interview on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”
A near-majority of voters say FBI agents and leaders should be prosecuted for their role in the Russian collusion conspiracy theory, according to a new Just the News Daily Poll with Scott Rasmussen.
Among the voters, 46 percent said FBI officials should be criminally charged over the scandal, while only half that number — 23 percent — said they shouldn’t.
The U.S. attorney investigating the origins of the Trump-Russia probe is seeking grand jury testimony from a group of computer scientists behind a since-debunked allegation that Donald Trump’s real estate company had covert computer contacts with a Russian bank, according to a report.
The New Yorker reports that John Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, has contacted the scientists in recent weeks seeking their testimony.