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Ex-FBI Official Leaked ‘Sensitive’ Info, Improperly Accepted Gift From Media

The Justice Department’s watchdog said a high-ranking FBI official leaked “sensitive” information to reporters multiple times with authorization and had improperly accepted a gift from the media.

A one-page report from Inspector General Michael Horowitz released Wednesday concluded that a now-former deputy assistant director with the FBI “engaged in misconduct” by disclosing information to the media that had been filed under seal in federal court, maintaining dozens of unauthorized contacts with reporters, and accepting a $225 ticket from a member of the media to attend a dinner sponsored by the media.

Despite these violations of FBI policy, the inspector general said “prosecution of the [deputy assistant director] was declined.”

The Justice Department’s watchdog said a high-ranking FBI official leaked “sensitive” information to reporters multiple times with authorization and had improperly accepted a gift from the media.


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A one-page report from Inspector General Michael Horowitz released Wednesday concluded that a now-former deputy assistant director with the FBI “engaged in misconduct” by disclosing information to the media that had been filed under seal in federal court, maintaining dozens of unauthorized contacts with reporters, and accepting a $225 ticket from a member of the media to attend a dinner sponsored by the media.

Despite these violations of FBI policy, the inspector general said “prosecution of the [deputy assistant director] was declined.”

The investigation was initiated by the Office of the Inspector General in response to allegations from the FBI, and the inspector general said that it is now “providing this report to the FBI for appropriate action.”

When the Washington Examinerreached out to the DOJ inspector general’s office for further information about the investigation, including the identity of the unnamed deputy assistant director, a senior counsel said to file a Freedom of Information Act request with their office.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this month, Sen. Chuck Grassley told Attorney General William Barr “there have been a number of leaks coming out of the Justice Department and FBI during high-profile investigations” and that “leaks undermine the ability of investigators to investigate.” Barr assured him that “we have multiple criminal leak investigations underway.”


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The inspector general said in its report Wednesday that the investigation stemmed from one of many episodes referenced in the office’s bombshell 2018 report titled “Review of Allegations Regarding Various Actions by the Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Advance of the 2016 Election.” That inspector general inquiry, which focused on the conduct of the DOJ and FBI during the “Midyear Exam” investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, concluded that members of both the department and the bureau acted improperly.

The 568-page tome that dropped nearly a year ago described “a culture of unauthorized media contacts” within the FBI and had a section focused on “dozens of FBI employees that had contact with members of the media,” many in violation of FBI policies. Horowitz said “the harm caused by leaks” and “the fear of potential leaks” actually “influenced FBI officials who were advising then Director Comey on consequential investigative decisions in October 2016.”

The 2018 report said investigators “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.” Horowitz said “we do not believe the problem is with the FBI’s policy, which we found to be clear and unambiguous,” but instead “we concluded that these leaks highlight the need to change what appears to be a cultural attitude.”


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A February 2018 report from Horowitz found former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe had improperly disclosed information to the Wall Street Journal confirming the existence of a Clinton Foundation investigation. That report determined McCabe “lacked candor” when speaking with former FBI Director James Comey, with the FBI’s Internal Investigations Section, and with the Office of the Inspector General. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe in March 2018 just a couple days before he was set to retire.

Former FBI General Counsel James Baker, who has been making the rounds on cable news shows defending his role in the Trump-Russia investigation and his handling of the Steele dossier over the past few weeks, recently confirmed the existence of a likely criminal leaks investigation into him, but declined to provide many specifics. “I am confident that I did nothing wrong and nothing illegal,” Baker said. That probe was handled by U.S. Attorney John Durham, who was recently picked by Barr to head up the investigation of the investigators who ran the Trump-Russia probe.

Besides looking into criminal leaks, Horowitz is also handling a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse investigation that is expected to wrap up in May or June.

Story cited here.

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