(…) “Comey also told the IG that “he did not recall himself having any knowledge of Carter Page’s existence until the middle of 2016.” But, as the IG report stressed, Comey’s statements are called into question by “internal email communications” that reflect that in April 2016, the New York Field Office “prepared summaries of the information that ultimately led NYFO to open a counterintelligence investigation on Carter Page on April 6, 2016.” Those were provided to officials at headquarters “for a ‘Director’s note; and a separate ‘Director’s Brief’ to be held on April 27, 2016.”
Notwithstanding these inconsistencies, the IG report stressed, that the IG “was unable to question Comey further using classified details Lynch described to us because, as noted in Chapter One, Comey choose not to have his security clearances reinstated for our interview.”
The IG report then stresses twice more Comey’s lack of a security clearance as a reason investigators were unable to assess Comey’s level of knowledge of the facts misstated in the FISA applications. In discussing “the extent of FBI leadership’s knowledge as to each fact stated incorrectly or omitted from the FISA applications”—seven significant inaccuracies and omissions in total—the IG stressed that multiple factors made it difficult to assess the knowledge of the FBI hierarchy.
“These factors included, among other things,” the IG report noted, “limited recollections, the inability to question Comey or refresh his recollection with relevant, classified documentation because of his lack of a security clearance, and the absence of meeting minutes that would show the specific details shared with Comey and McCabe during briefings they received, beyond the more general investigative updates that we know they were provided.
However, while noting the IG’s inability to determine the “extent of FBI leadership’s knowledge,” the report highlighted reasons to believe such knowledge existed: “As the FBI’s senior leaders, Comey and McCabe would have had greater access to case information than Department leadership and also more interaction with senior [Counterintelligence Division] officials and the investigation team. Further, as described in Chapter Three, [Counterintelligence Division] officials orally briefed the Crossfire Hurricane cases to FBI senior leadership throughout the investigation. McCabe received more briefings than Comey, but both received oral briefings of the team’s investigative activities.” (Read more: The Federalist, 12/09/2019) (Archive)