Charts in the recently released DOJ-IG report illustrate “numerous” unauthorized contacts and leaks between the FBI and anti-Trump media uncovered by the IG investigation.
“We have profound concerns about the volume and extent of unauthorized media contacts by FBI personnel that we have uncovered during our review.” So states the report issued last week by Michael Horowitz, the U.S. Department of Justice inspector general. The massive 568-page report, the result of a year-long investigation, goes on to note (on page 429):
Our ability to identify individuals who have improperly disclosed non-public information is often hampered by two significant factors. First, we frequently find that the universe of Department and FBI employees who had access to sensitive information that has been leaked is substantial, often involving dozens, and in some instances, more than 100 people….
Second, although FBI policy strictly limits the employees who are authorized to speak to the media, we found that this policy appeared to be widely ignored during the period we reviewed.
“We identified numerous FBI employees, at all levels of the organization and with no official reason to be in contact with the media, who were nevertheless in frequent contact with reporters,” says the IG report , which continues (page 430): “The large number of FBI employees who were in contact with journalists during this time period impacted our ability to identify the sources of leaks. For example, during the periods we reviewed, we identified dozens of FBI employees that had contact with members of the media.”
Included in the report are two charts, labeled as Attachments G and H (see graphics below) that reflect “the volume of communications that we identified between FBI employees and media representatives in April/May and October 2016.”
The charts, which appear on pages 563 and 565, as Attachment G and Attachment H (shown below), of the report provide a stark confirmation of the charges from the Trump camp that the Obama-Clinton forces in the FBI and DOJ were (and still are) strategically leaking information to hamstring the new administration. It is important to keep in mind that as alarming as these revelations are, they represent only some of the verified FBI-media leaks and contacts during merely a two-month period in 2016. Of course, the leaks did not stop after that and have continued to this day. But in addition to the FBI-media communications they document in their report, the IG team also found a considerable number of other troubling, cozy relationships. (Click on an image to expand it.)
“In addition to the significant number of communications between FBI employees and journalists, we identified social interactions between FBI employees and journalists that were, at a minimum, inconsistent with FBI policy and Department ethics rules,” the IG report states. “For example,” it notes “we identified instances where FBI employees received tickets to sporting events from journalists, went on golfing outings with media representatives, were treated to drinks and meals after work by reporters, and were the guests of journalists at nonpublic social events. We will separately report on those investigations as they are concluded.”
It is also important to keep in mind, as the inspector general notes, that the FBI-media relationships mentioned in the report do not include the leaks by the four “authorized” top-level officials at the FBI. “The Media Policy in effect both at the time of these events and currently authorizes only four employees at FBI Headquarters to speak directly to the media without prior authorization,” the report observes. “This list includes the Director, Deputy Director, Associate Deputy Director, and the Assistant Director of the Office of Public Affairs (OPA).”
That the official FBI policy with regard to the media was “widely ignored” is hardly surprising, since the two top officials, Director James Comey and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (both of whom were fired by President Trump), set the tone by leaking themselves – and then lying about it. Deputy Director McCabe was scathingly exposed in the previous IG report issued by Horowitz in April. We reported at the time: “Like Comey, McCabe deviously leaked information to the press, and then denied it. And then, after getting caught, justified it. McCabe’s credibility, already in tatters, was further demolished with the recent release of the DOJ’s Office of Inspector General report on McCabe.”
Our report in The New American continued:
Among other things, the OIG report exposes McCabe’s duplicity not only in leaking information to the press, but then denying it and attempting to shift attention and blame to other underlings who were innocent of these dealings. Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a member of the Justice and the Oversight and Government Reform committees, has been a longtime critic of McCabe. On April 16, on the Laura Ingraham Show, he lambasted McCabe’s deceit. “To cover his own tracks, the next day when this story is printed, he calls up the assistant director in charge of the Washington field division and the assistant director in the New York office — he calls them up and yells at them, and says, ‘What are you guys doing leaking information?'” Jordan said. “Think about that. He sends someone out to do it and then he’s blaming someone else."