media leaks

January 10, 2020 – Another top FBI official is caught leaking sensitive information to the media and will not be prosecuted

“The name of a former top FBI official who leaked sensitive information over the course of hundreds of communications with at least six reporters can be revealed by the Washington Examiner.

Bryan Paarmann gives a guest lecture to cadets at the Combating Terrorism Center on October 6, 2017. (Credit: public domain)

His identity is contained in a 21-page report obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The report reveals that investigators for the Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz determined that Bryan Paarmann, 53, the deputy assistant director of the FBI’s international operations division from 2016 to 2017, “improperly disclosed court-sealed and law enforcement sensitive information to the media” in violation of FBI rules.

The incident is one Horowitz included as part of what his June 2018 report called the FBI’s “culture of unauthorized media contacts.” A one-page summary of the investigation was released last May.

But Paarmann defended his actions.

“I gave 35 years of faithful and devoted service to this nation and never did I give classified or investigatively sensitive information to the press,” Paarmann told the Washington Examiner. “I never endangered a prosecution and only did what I believed my superiors had tasked me with.”

Although most identifying details about the reporters in question and the cases Paarmann was leaking details of were redacted, the Washington Examiner was able to identify one of the reporters in question, Los Angeles Times reporter Del Wilber, and two of his stories that the DOJ’s watchdog alleged contained details leaked by Paarmann.

(…) Horowitz’s team reviewed Paarmann’s communications from 2012 through 2017, which showed “extensive contacts” with members of the media, especially in 2016 and early 2017, laying out interactions with at least six reporters. These contacts included hundreds of texts, calls, and emails; over a dozen rounds of golf, including one where the reporter paid for both and another where Paarmann did; private drinks and dinners, including instances where investigators couldn’t determine who paid; a media member’s housewarming party where Paarmann brought wine as a gift; and a $225-ticket dinner, which was free of charge thanks to a member of the media, in violation of FBI rules.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 1/10/2020)  (Archive)

December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report reveals Glenn Simpson was paying Steele to ‘discuss his reporting’ with the media

Contained within Monday’s FISA report by the DOJ Inspector General is the revelation that Fusion GPS, the firm paid by the Clinton campaign to produce the Steele dossier, “was paying Steele to discuss his reporting with the media.” (P. 369 and elsewhere)

And when did Steele talk with the media (which got him fired as an FBI source)? September of 2016, roughly six weeks before the election.

One of the more damaging articles to result from these meetings was authored by Yahoo News journalist Michael Isikoff, who said in an interview that he was invited by Fusion GPS to meet a “secret source” at a Washington restaurant.

That secret source was none other than Christopher Steele, a former MI-6 Russia expert who fed the Isikoff information for a September 23, 2016 article – which would have had far greater reach and impact coming from such a widely-read media outlet vs. $100,000 in Russian-bought Facebook ads.

Isikoff’s article claimed that former Trump campaign aide Carter Page “has opened up private communications with senior Russian officials – including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Republican nominee becomes president.”

This allegation was found by special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to be false. Moreover, the FBI knew about it in December 2016, when DOJ #4 Bruce Ohr told the agency as much.

(FISA Report, pg. 206)

(Read more: Zero Hedge, 12/10/2019)  (Archive)

October 21, 2019 – Carter Page sues the DOJ for violating his right to privacy and demands a review of the IG report before it’s release

Carter Page in Washington D.C. on May 28, 2019. (Credit: Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

“A former Trump campaign associate who was wiretapped by the FBI sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Oct. 21, demanding that the government provide him with the opportunity to review, before it is made public, the forthcoming inspector general’s report on potential surveillance abuses in his case.

In a lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court in Washington, Carter Page accuses the DOJ of violating his privacy rights by failing to grant him the opportunity to review the report before the document is published.

The DOJ Office of Inspector General is expected to soon release a voluminous report examining potential surveillance abuses tied to secret court warrants that the FBI obtained to spy on Page.

Page additionally alleges that the DOJ violated his privacy rights by disclosing copies of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) application to the New York Times prior to giving him an opportunity to review the documents.

In addition to requesting damages and the prosecution of the officials involved, Page is asking the court to order the DOJ to hand over all of the documents he has long sought to review and amend.

“The DOJ, its employees and officers, including those in the affiliated agency of the FBI under their jurisdiction, acted intentionally or willfully in violation of Dr. Page’s privacy rights,” the lawsuit states.

“As a result of the DOJ’s violations of the Privacy Act, Dr. Page has suffered adverse harmful effects, including, but not limited to, mental distress, emotional trauma, embarrassment, humiliation, and lost or jeopardized present or future financial opportunities.”

Page filed a formal Privacy Act request in May 2017. The request remains unfulfilled.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 10/27/2019)  (Archive)

September 12, 2019 – US attorney recommends proceeding with charges against McCabe; DOJ rejects last-ditch appeal

Andrew McCabe (Credit: Lancaster Dems)

“U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu has recommended moving forward with charges against Andrew McCabe, Fox News has learned, as the Justice Department rejects a last-ditch appeal from the former top FBI official.

McCabe — the former deputy and acting director of the FBI — appealed the decision of the U.S. attorney for Washington all the way up to Jeffrey Rosen, the deputy attorney general, but he rejected that request, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The potential charges relate to DOJ inspector general findings against him regarding misleading statements concerning a Hillary Clinton-related investigation.

A source close to McCabe’s legal team said they received an email from the Department of Justice which said, “The Department rejected your appeal of the United States Attorney’s Office’s decision in this matter. Any further inquiries should be directed to the United States Attorney’s Office.” (Read more: Fox News, 9/12/2019)

August 31, 2019 – The Archey Declarations prove Comey/McCabe “small group” hid information from FBI investigators until they could get Mueller appointed

“There are two sets of documents that outline a precise picture.  Robert Mueller’s lead FBI Agent David Archey made sworn declarations to the court, without knowledge of FBI “whistleblower” information provided to DOJ Inspector General, Michael Horowitz.

There is a distinct conflict within the IG report on James Comey (and memos) (Available Here) and the David Archey declarations (Available Here).  However, beyond the conflict, there’s an even more alarming picture of how Robert Mueller was deployed when all the information is overlaid on a timeline.   A very clear picture emerges; very clear.

In June 2017 CNN (and other media) filed a FOIA suit to gain the Comey memos.  As the lawsuit progressed through a lengthy battle -where the Mueller team did not want to turn over those memos- Mueller’s lead FBI agent, David Archey, made sworn declarations to the court.  Those statements became known as the “Archey Declarations.”  Inside those declarations, agent Archey provided a specific outline of the FBI and the memos.

Note the date – Agent Archey states the “investigative team” came into full possession of the Comey memos: on or by May 12th, 2017.”

The “investigative team” would be Andrew McCabe, Bill Priestap, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and then James Baker as lead counsel for the group.  The “Director’s staff” would be James Rybicki, who is identified by Archey as having “maintained” possession of the memos.

So this “small group”, particularly James Rybicki, is the center of the team.  This team is also confirmed by the IG Horowitz report. This team had the memos on May 12th, 2017.

Now we move into the aspect where the motives and ideology become clear when we look at the IG custodial record of the memos, as outlined by the Supervisory Special Agent in charge of Comey’s documents within the IG report, compared to the Archey declarations.

The FBI Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) in charge of Comey’s document retrieval is the “whistleblower” who eventually went to the IG.  I’ll explain why and how below; and to make understanding easier we shall use “SSA Whistleblower” to describe him.

♦ On May 10th, the Comey memos were not in Comey’s office [per IG report].  At the time of the search and review of Comey’s office, there were no hard copies found by SSA Whistleblower.

Now, keep in mind “by May 12th” James Rybicki had all the Comey memos in his possession, per Mueller team FBI Agent David Archey.

♦ On May 12th, SSA Whistleblower went to James Comey’s house along with James Rybicki and Deputy FBI Director David Bowditch.

(IG Report – Comey Memos – Page 34) 

During this May 12th visit, James Comey never told SSA Whistleblower he had the memos in his personal safe.  James Rybicki was also present for this retrieval visit and also never told SSA Whistleblower that he was holding the memos in his FBI HQ office.

♦ On May 15th, three days later, James Rybicki then tells SSA Whistleblower he knows the location of the Comey memos; and Rybicki informs SSA Whistleblower he has additional relevant material.

(IG Report – Comey Memos-Page 38) 

From the IG Report: “Rybicki told the SSA that he did not tell anyone about the Memos during the May 10 inventory because he understood that process to only include Comey’s office.”   Very sketchy.

At this point, SSA Whistleblower had to suspect something sketchy was happening.  Keep in mind the following day May 16th, 2017, Comey sent memo content to his friend Daniel Richman with instructions to leak to the New York Times. (Article published 5:00 pm May 16, 2017)

If Rybicki didn’t inform SSA Whistleblower on May 15 about the Comey memos, then SSA Whistleblower would have found out from leaked media reports the next day May 16.

If Rybicki didn’t tell SSA Whistleblower about the memos on May 15, then it would have looked like the ‘small group’ was hiding and leaking the memos.  An intellectually honest review of the timing, and considering Rybicki had indeed been hiding the memos, leads to the conclusion Rybicki knew the NYT leak was coming; Rybicki was coordinating with James Comey; Rybicki/Comey were trying to avoid team scrutiny. [Further evidence of this surfaces in the Mueller contact timeline.]

By May 16th, 2017, SSA Whistleblower, had to see the sketchy nature of how this was unfolding.   As a result this scenario from the IG report now makes sense:

If we overlay the FBI “small group” contact with Robert Mueller an even more clear picture emerges.

“Crossfire Hurricane” – During 2016, after the November election and throughout the transition period and into 2017, the FBI had a counterintelligence investigation ongoing against Donald Trump. FBI Director James Comey’s memos were part of this time period as the FBI small group was gathering evidence.  Then Comey was fired…

♦ Tuesday, May 9th – James Comey was fired at approximately 5:00 pm EST.  Later we discover Rod Rosenstein first contacted Robert Mueller about the special counsel appointment less than 15 hours after James Comey was fired.

♦ Wednesday, May 10th – From congressional testimony, we know DAG Rod Rosenstein called Robert Mueller to discuss the special counsel appointment on Wednesday, May 10th, 2017, at 7:45 am. [See Biggs questions to Mueller at 2:26 of video]

According to his own admissions (NBC and CBS), Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe immediately began a criminal ‘obstruction’ investigationWednesday, May 10th; and he immediately enlisted Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

A few hours after the Rosenstein-Mueller phone call, James Comey’s office was being searched by the SSA Whistleblower per the IG report on Comey’s memos.

(IG Report – Comey Memos – Page 33) 

♦Thursday, May 11th – Andrew McCabe testified to congress. With the Comey firing fresh in the headlines.  McCabe testified there had been no effort to impede the FBI investigation.

Also on Thursday, May 11th, 2017, The New York Times printed an article, based on information seemingly leaked by James Comey, about a dinner conversation between the President and the FBI Director.   The “Loyalty” article [link].  The IG report shows: [Daniel] Richman confirmed to the OIG that he was one of the sources for the May 11 article, although he said he was not the source of the information in the article about the Trump Tower briefing“.

♦Friday, May 12th –  Andrew McCabe met with DAG Rod Rosenstein to discuss the ongoing issues with the investigation and firing.  Referencing the criminal ‘obstruction’ case McCabe had opened just two days before.  According to McCabe:

“[Rosenstein] asked for my thoughts about whether we needed a special counsel to oversee the Russia case. I said I thought it would help the investigation’s credibility. Later that day, I went to see Rosenstein again. This is the gist of what I said: I feel strongly that the investigation would be best served by having a special counsel.” (link)

According to Andy Biggs questioning of Mueller, on this same day, May 12th, evidence shows Robert Mueller met “in person” with Rod Rosenstein.  This is the same day when SSA Whistleblower went to James Comey’s house to retrieve FBI material and both Rybicki and Comey never informed the agent about the memos:

(IG Report-Comey Memos-Page 34)

May 12th, is the date noted by David Archey when FBI investigators had assembled all of the Comey memos as evidence.  However, no-one in the FBI outside the “small group” knows about them.

Saturday, May 13th, 2017, another meeting between Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller, this time with AG Jeff Sessions also involved. [Per Andy Biggs]

♦ Sunday, May 14th –  Comey transmitted copies of Memos 2, 4, and 6, and a partially redacted copy of Memo 7 to Patrick Fitzgerald, who was one of Comey’s personal attorneys.  Fitzgerald received the email and PDF attachment from Comey at 2:27 p.m. on May 14, 2017, per the IG report.

♦ Monday, May 15th, McCabe states he and Rosenstein conferred again about the Special Counsel approach. McCabe: “I brought the matter up with him again after the weekend.”

On this same day was when James Rybicki called SSA Whistleblower to notify him of Comey’s memos. The memos were “stored” in a “reception area“, and in locked drawers in James Rybicki’s office.

(IG Report-Comey Memos-Page 38)

♦Tuesday May 16th – Per the IG report: “On the morning of May 16, Comey took digital photographs of both pages of Memo 4 with his personal cell phone. Comey then sent both photographs, via text message, to Richman”

On this same day, Rod Rosenstein takes Robert Mueller to the White House for a meeting in the oval office between President Trump, VP Pence, Robert Mueller, and Rod Rosenstein.    While they were meeting in the oval office, the following story was published by the New York Times (based on Comey memo leaks to Richman):

Also during the approximate time of this Oval Office meeting, Peter Strzok texts with Lisa Page about information relayed to him by Tashina Guahar (main justice) on behalf of Rod Rosenstein (who is at the White House).

Later that night, after the Oval Office meeting – According to the Mueller report, additional events on Tuesday May 16th, 2017:

Interesting that Tashina Gauhar was taking notes presumably involved in the May 16, 2017 meeting between, Lisa PageRod Rosenstein, and Andrew McCabe. 

This meeting at Main Justice appears to be happening in the evening (“later that night”) after the visit to the White House with Robert Mueller.  This meeting appears to be Lisa Page, Rod Rosenstein and Andrew McCabe; along with Tashina Gauhar taking notes.

Why is Tuesday, May 16th, 2017, date of additional importance?

♦ Wednesday May 17th, 2017:  Rod Rosenstein and Andrew McCabe go to brief the congressional “Gang-of-Eight”: Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Devin Nunes, Adam Schiff, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, Richard Burr and Mark Warner.

(…) “On the afternoon of May 17, Rosenstein and I sat at the end of a long conference table in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol. We were there to brief the so-called Gang of Eight—the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate and the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Rosenstein had, I knew, made a decision to appoint a special counsel in the Russia case.”

(…) “After reminding the committee of how the investigation began, I told them of additional steps we had taken. Then Rod took over and announced that he had appointed a special counsel to pursue the Russia investigation and that the special counsel was Robert Mueller.” (link)

Immediately following this May 17, 2017, Go8 briefing, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein notified the public of the special counsel appointment.

What is clear from a review of all the related and released information is the FBI small group (McCabe, Page, Strzok, Rybicki, Baker) were hiding the ongoing FBI investigation from other FBI officials (including the SSA Whistleblower), inside the department after Comey was fired.

McCabe launched a “criminal investigation” (obstruction) on May 10th, and Rosenstein was in immediate contact with Robert Mueller about being a special counsel after conversations with the FBI small group. The small group was then releasing information to their media allies, and hiding the releases from FBI agents outside the small group; until they no longer needed to do so (May 15).

On May 15th, it appears the SSA was finally notified of the Comey memos because the small group already knew Robert Mueller was going to be appointed.

Comey, his lawyers and Lawfare allies, together with the small group, coordinated to leak and publish the NYT article (May 16th) the day Mueller was interviewing President Trump in the oval office. They knew Mueller was going to be appointed the following day, May 17th.  The NYT leak was cover and ammunition for Rod Rosenstein to fulfill his role.

This is the Special Counsel as the insurance policy deployed.

Everything was a set up by the small group; exclusively executed by the small group; kept hidden from other FBI agents and officials; Mueller’s visit with President Trump was part of that investigative effort.

This overall conspiracy/plan is why the SSA turned to the Inspector General and requested Whistleblower protection.  This is also why IG Horowitz was motivated to carve out the Comey memos in his report.  KEY POINT – OIG Michael Horowitz has outlined the Special Counsel appointment as fraudulently predicated.

(Conservative Treehouse, 8/31/2019)

(Republished with permission.)

August 28, 2019 – Jeff Carlson: Highlights from the IG Report on Comey’s Memos

(Credit: Lazaro Gamio/Axios)

Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz has released a report on former FBI Director James Comey’s leaking of personal memos to his attorneys, a personal friend, and the media.

Comey had told the IG that he believed the memos shared with his attorneys did not contain any classified information.

However, the IG noted that specifically: “Memos 1 and 3 contained information classified at the ‘SECRET’ level, and that Memos 2 and 7 contained small amounts of information classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level—although Comey redacted all classified information in Memo 7 before sending to his attorneys.”

The IG report also noted that “Comey considered Memos 2 through 7 to be his personal documents.”

Comey maintained copies of Memos 2 through 7 at his personal residence—a fact that he failed to report to the FBI. Comey also provided James Rybicki, his chief of staff, with a copy of these same memos to maintain at FBI headquarters.

On May 14, 2017, Comey provided electronic copies of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to one of his personal attorneys, who subsequently shared the memos with two additional attorneys several days later on May 17, 2017. Memo 2 contained six words, four of which were names of specific countries that the FBI later deemed to be classified.

Leak to the Media

On May 16, Comey provided a copy of Memo 4 to Daniel Richman who was a “close personal friend” in addition to being one of Comey’s attorneys. Comey directed Richman to “share the contents of Memo 4, but not the Memo itself, with a specific reporter for The New York Times.”

Richman did have a security clearance at this time, but there appears to be no demonstrable “need to know” that is also a requirement for gaining access to classified information.

This memo contained information that was deemed by the FBI to be “For Official Use Only” but did not contain any classified information. The IG noted: “We found no evidence that Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the Memos to members of the media.”

The same day that Comey’s two additional attorneys gained access to his memos—May 17, 2017—former FBI Agent Peter Strzok sent a text to former FBI lawyer Lisa Page noting, “F’in Pamela Brown knows there were two phone call memos.” Brown, a reporter for CNN, had reported on the existence of Comey Memos the night prior during a segment with Anderson Cooper but had yet to mention the phone call memos.

The Strzok text regarding Brown is notable for two reasons. One, Strzok was clearly familiar with the contents of Comey’s Memos, and two, Brown had to have learned of the “phone call Memos” from a source other than Richman—who had only received a copy of Memo 4, which detailed a physical meeting and did not mention any “phone call Memos.” It is not known who provided Brown with the additional information.

Notably, the FBI “first learned that Comey had shared Memo 4 with Richman while watching Comey’s public testimony before SSCI [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence] on June 8, 2017.” Nor did Comey inform the FBI that he had shared Memos 2, 4, 6 and 7 with his personal attorneys. It was only after the FBI questioned Richman regarding Memo 4 that the FBI learned that Comey had also provided the additional memos to his attorneys.

Comey Kept Memos at His Home

The June 8, 2017, date is particularly notable because only the day before, on June 7, 2017, did Comey provide the copy of his memos that he kept in his home safe to the FBI at the request of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Although the existence of the Comey Memos were well-known by this time, it does not appear that FBI personnel knew that Comey kept his own memo copies at home—until he turned them over.

The IG report highlighted Comey’s retention of his memos at his personal residence, noting: “We found it particularly concerning that Comey did not tell anyone from the FBI that he had retained copies of the Memos in his personal safe at home, even when his Chief of Staff, the FBI’s Associate Deputy Director, and three SSAs [Supervisory Special Agents] came to Comey’s house on May 12, 2017, to inventory and remove all FBI property.” Why Comey chose to not disclose this information to the FBI remains unknown.

According to the IG report, “[O]n June 7, 2017, Comey provided the SSA who came to his home with Comey’s signed originals of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7, which were the only Memos that Comey said he had retained at his residence.” Notably, the “SSA said he had been advised ahead of time that Comey had Memos to give to him.” The report does not disclose who advised the SSA, but it may have been Special Counsel Mueller.

Comey told the IG that “he voluntarily gave his signed originals of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to the SSA at his house that day, not because he had concerns that they contained classified information, but “because Special Counsel [Robert Mueller] asked for them.”

How the Special Counsel came to learn that Comey had a personal copy of his memos at his house remains unknown, particularly as it appears that no one else within the FBI was aware of this fact until Comey turned the memos over.

Comey had previously viewed the FBI copies of his memos that had already been officially classified by the FBI on June 7, 2017, in preparation for his June 8 testimony. As a result, Comey was now aware of what the FBI deemed “SECRET” or “CONFIDENTIAL.” As the IG report noted, “By not immediately reporting that he had provided Memo 2 to his attorneys when Comey first learned that the FBI had designated a small portion of Memo 2 as classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level, Comey violated FBI policy.”

Lisa Page Obtains Memos Ostensibly for McCabe

Others within the FBI also had copies of Comey’s Memos. According to the IG’s report, “Page told the OIG that McCabe also allowed her to look at Memos 2, 3, and 4, but asked her not to share them with anybody. Page told the IG that “she decided to make and keep copies of these Memos because they were ‘just of the nature that [she] felt like there should be one other copy somewhere else.’” Page claimed not to know “if others in the FBI were keeping copies of the Memos.”

However, it appears that Page attempted to hide her possession of Comey’s Memos from other officials within the FBI. On May 10, 2017, Comey’s former chief of staff James Rybicki was contacted by Page who requested “a full set of the Memos.” Rybicki, who told the IG that Page said her request was made on behalf of Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, then made three copies of Comey’s Memos—one for himself, one for Page to pass along to McCabe, and one for FBI General Counsel James Baker. Notably, May 10, 2017, may have been the date that McCabe opened an investigation into President Donald J. Trump.

Page told the IG a somewhat different version of events, noting that “she did not think McCabe had asked her to assemble copies of the memos; she said she thought she did it on her own because she “knew that it needed to get done.” Additionally, Rybicki told the IG “that he was ‘surprised’ when he learned that Page already had copies of some of the Memos because he ‘didn’t think anybody maintained a copy’ other than him, and didn’t know how she got them.”

Comey told the IG that he considered “Memos 2 through 7 to be his personal documents,” but this assertion was roundly dismissed by other FBI officials. According to the IG report, “All of the FBI senior leaders interviewed by the OIG stated that the Memos were official government records.” McCabe told the IG that Comey’s Memos served as a “record of [Comey’s] official engagement with the President.” Baker said the memos were “related to official business” and that “they were discussed in the office in connection with [Comey’s] official responsibilities.” Rybicki said he had “treated the Memos as FBI records.” The FBI’s Director of Counterintelligence Bill Priestap characterized the memos as documents “produced by the Director in his capacity as Director … they’re FBI work product.”

Whistleblower Provided IG Memos

Interestingly, “shortly after Comey’s removal, a set of the seven Memos was provided to the OIG by a Department employee, who claimed whistleblower status,” the IG revealed in the report. The number of individuals within the FBI who had access to Comey’s Memos was comprised of a very small group. The IG noted that the whistleblower “viewed the Memos as extremely sensitive documents and was concerned that there should be a separate set deposited somewhere for safekeeping.” This means that the IG obtained possession of the Comey Memos very early on—since mid-May 2017.

Additionally, the IG revealed that it was then-Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who referred the matter of Comey’s Memos to the Office of the Inspector General for review in July 2017. McCabe may have been unaware that the IG already was in possession of Comey’s Memos via the unknown whistleblower.

Genesis of Comey’s Memos

In regards to the genesis of the Memos, Comey told the IG that it was his Jan. 27, 2017, dinner with President Trump that prompted him to begin the process of maintaining Memos detailing his interactions with the president. However, Comey had already written an earlier memo regarding a meeting with President Trump on Jan. 6, 2017, where Comey provided the president with details of the “salacious” information from the Steele dossier. Comey also told Congress a slightly different story, testifying on June 8, 2017, that he began creating memos from his very first interaction with President Trump, based on a “gut feeling.”

The IG report provides some intriguing details surrounding the Jan. 6, 2017, meeting, and the manner in which that meeting was pre-determined to be fully documented by Comey.

“Witnesses interviewed by the OIG also said that they discussed Trump’s potential responses to being told about the ‘salacious’ information, including that Trump might make statements about, or provide information of value to, the pending Russian interference investigation.

“Multiple FBI witnesses recalled agreeing ahead of time that Comey should memorialize his meeting with Trump immediately after it occurred. Comey told the OIG that, in his view, it was important for FBI executive managers to be ‘able to share in [Comey’s] recall of the … salient details of those conversations.’ Comey also said that an additional concern, shared by the members of his management team, was that if the briefing became ‘a source of controversy’ it would be important to have a clear, contemporaneous record because Trump might ‘misrepresent what happened in the encounter.’”

It appears from the IG’s report that President Trump had no knowledge that Comey was transcribing their interactions. The FBI’s General Counsel, James Baker, told the IG that “it was his understanding that the small group of people who had access to the Memos ‘really didn’t want anyone to know the Director … was recording at this level of detail his interactions with the President’ because any perception that Comey was ‘keeping … book’ on the President would upset any effort to have an effective and ongoing working relationship.”

It should also be noted that Comey failed to keep any memos of his meetings with Obama and other Obama-era officials.

Memo 3 was one of those deemed to contain information classified at the “SECRET” level. In regards to this particular memo, Comey told the IG that he gave one copy to Rybicki, with instructions for Rybicki to show it to McCabe and Baker, while keeping the other copy in his desk drawer—located in his secure office. On May 10, 2017, the day immediately following Comey’s firing, a Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) was assigned to inventory the contents of Comey’s office. As noted in the IG report, “According to the inventory, no hard copies of any of the Memos were found in Comey’s office.”

Five days later, on May 15, 2017, following a conversation with Comey, Rybicki notified the SSA that there “were additional documents belonging to Comey stored in the reception area near the former Director’s office.” Among these documents were six of the original Comey Memos. According to the IG, this was the first time the SSA learned of the existence of the Comey Memos. Rybicki told the SSA that “he did not tell anyone about the Memos during the May 10 inventory because he understood that process to only include Comey’s office.”

Comey Violated FBI Policy

The IG found that “Comey’s actions violated Department or FBI policy, or the terms of Comey’s FBI Employment Agreement” and concluded that “Comey’s retention, handling, and dissemination of certain Memos violated Department and FBI policies, and his FBI Employment Agreement.”

The IG recognized that the “responsibility to protect sensitive law enforcement information falls in large part to the employees of the FBI who have access to it through their daily duties” and pointedly noted that “Comey failed to live up to this responsibility.”

The IG’s report also noted, “By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees—and the many thousands more former FBI employees—who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information.”

The IG provided a copy of his findings to the DOJ for a prosecutorial decision regarding Comey’s conduct. The DOJ declined prosecution. It is not known when the IG’s findings were first submitted to the DOJ. The IG then prepared this more comprehensive report that focused on whether Comey’s actions violated Department of FBI policy.

It was previously reported that the DOJ had declined prosecution of Comey. According to a source for Fox News, “Everyone at the DOJ involved in the decision said it wasn’t a close call,” one official said. “They all thought this could not be prosecuted.”

To underscore the difficulties the DOJ faced in pursuing a successful prosecution is the fact that Comey’s Memos were only classified by the FBI after Comey had leaked them. Additionally, the IG found no proof that “Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the Memos to members of the media.”

A failed prosecution at this juncture would prove problematic to the overall investigation of Spygate. The IG’s pending report on FISA abuse is far more important and potentially significantly more damning. (themarketswork.com, 8/30/2019)

(Republished with permission.)

August 18, 2019 – FBI Agents: McCabe apologizes for changing his story on a leak to the Wall Street Journal

Andrew McCabe (Credit: Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

“Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe faced scorching criticism and potential criminal prosecution for changing his story about a conversation he had with a Wall Street Journal reporter. Now newly released interview transcripts show McCabe expressed remorse to internal FBI investigators when they pressed him on the about-face.

The FBI released the documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). They provide fresh details about the investigation into a leak to the Journal, McCabe’s role in it, and the reaction of agents who investigated it.

In the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign, the Journal broke news about an FBI investigation involving then-candidate Hillary Clinton, describing internal discussions among senior FBI officials.

The apparent leak drew scrutiny from the bureau’s internal investigation team, which interviewed McCabe on May 9, 2017, the day President Donald Trump fired James Comey from his post as FBI director. The agents interviewed him as part of an investigation regarding a different media leak to the online publication Circa and also asked him about the Journal story.

In that interview, McCabe said he did not know how the Journal story came to be. But a few months later, his story changed after he reviewed his answer.

On Aug. 18, FBI officials met with McCabe in an attempt to work through what they said was “conflicting information” they had gathered about the possible leak to the Journal.

“I need to know from you,” an agent said he told McCabe in a sit-down meeting, “did you authorize this article? Were you aware of it? Did you authorize it?”

McCabe then looked at the story he had reviewed months earlier.

The FBI investigator described his response this way: “And as nice as could be, he said, yep. Yep I did.”

The investigator then said that “things had suddenly changed 180 degrees with this.” The interviewers stopped taking notes on what McCabe was saying, and the agent indicated their view of McCabe had changed: He was no longer a witness or victim. “In our business, we stop and say, look, now we’re getting into an area for due process,” the agent said.” (Read more: The Daily Beast, 12/31/2019)  (Archive)

August 14, 2019 – Grassley/Johnson report suggests a mole with Clinton ties was suspected of leaking from IC IG team during email probe

The Intelligence Community Inspector General — whose office performed some of the most important work on the probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server — suspected someone on his team was leaking information, Senate testimony shows. His counsel was tied to the Clintons.

The suspected mole is now working for the Trump administration in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), according to the testimony.

After returning from the State Department, an ICIG investigator noticed a Jeep that began tailing him and his colleagues and even rummaging through recycling, according to testimony in a Senate report by GOP Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Chuck Grassley of Iowa released Wednesday.

ICIG Charles McCullough, an Obama nominee, said he was eventually pushed out of federal service under pressure from California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and others.

Rev. Wogaman with Bill and Hillary Clinton after services. (Credit: public domain)

An investigator for the ICIG, Frank Rucker, told Senate investigators the office suspected their ICIG colleague Paul Wogaman, the son of the Bill and Hillary Clinton’s longtime pastor and adviser, was leaking.

He is the son of Rev. J. Philip Wogaman, who during the Clinton presidency, was pastor of Foundry United Methodist Church, which the Clintons attended.

(…) On Feb. 9, 2016, Clinton’s lawyer David Kendall wrote to Cheryl Mills, another top aide and lawyer: “Just talked to [redacted] — about our favorite son. He’s meeting with OSC today, which is good and a step in the right direction, but nothing yet public. [Redacted] said she’d heard — but second/third hand (and not from son) that IC IG was handing out anti-HRC clips to journalists. Have we gotten any inkling of that happening? I certainly haven’t, and it seems weird.”

A John Podesta email about mole in IC IG / Grassley report.

Mills forwarded the email to John Podesta, Brian Fallon and other Clinton aides.

The Senate report says Rucker told them Wogaman was “the only male employee on leave the following day when a meeting with [redacted] was supposed to take place according to the email. Therefore, he said, it was believed that Mr. Wogerman [sic] was leaking to [redacted].”

“He said that Mr. McCullough made a decision not to confront Mr. Wogerman [sic],” it continued. Mr. Rucker said that he does not believe that ICIG ever did an official assessment on whether Mr. Wogerman [sic] leaked classified information.”

“He said that Mr. Wogerman [sic] pushed very hard to be included on the investigation, but he was NOT part of it. He said that Mr. Wogerman [sic] now works at ODNI in the mission integration department. Mr. Rucker said that to his knowledge, nobody ever confronted Mr. Wogerman [sic] about it. He said that they all signed non-disclosure agreements or NDA’s regarding their work at ICIG.”

(…) Wogaman now works for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in the Trump administration, according to the report.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 8/14/2019)

August 14, 2019 – Pentagon analyst and whistleblower Adam S. Lovinger is cleared on allegations of leaking to the media and mishandling classified information

Adam Lovinger (Credit: GoFundMe)

“A confidential counterintelligence investigation cleared suspended Pentagon analyst Adam S. Lovinger on allegations of leaking data to the news media, but officials never told his defense team.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) examined Mr. Lovinger’s use of classified computer networks. In a 2018 report, the NCIS said its review “did not reveal any potential CI (counter intelligence) concerns,” according to a copy obtained by The Washington Times.

(…) Before his suspension, Mr. Lovinger complained internally that the Office of Net Assessment (ONA) was not doing its job by failing to produce reports on future threats known as “net assessments.” Instead, the office was awarding contracts for outside academic-style reports, he said.

One paid contractor was Stefan Halper, the Washington national security figure who while at Cambridge University became an FBI informant to spy on Trump campaign associates in 2016.

Federal security clearance attorney, Sean Bigley (Credit: public domain)

Here is how Mr. Bigley discovered the NCIS verdict:

Judicial Watch, a conservative investigative nonprofit run by Tom Fitton, joined the Lovinger team. It filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court to obtain the Pentagon’s file on Mr. Lovinger.

Mr. Fitton hit pay dirt. The Pentagon turned over a number of email threads. Buried in them was a passing reference to the NCIS. Nothing more.

Mr. Bigley then filed an open records request. Last month, the NCIS turned over its 2018 report.

The attorney said he was stunned. He never knew the probe even existed, but less its findings.

He also discovered the Pentagon knew his client was exonerated on the leak issue.

The NCIS report states that the investigative agency specifically informed the Office of Net Assessment.

“ONA was apprised of the status of the investigation,” the report states.

The report also shows that the requesting agency in August 2017 was the Pentagon’s Washington Headquarters Services. It is the organization that revoked Mr. Lovinger’s clearance and brought the case against him.

Mr. Bigley said that NCIS surely informed Washington Headquarters Services of its findings since it had asked for the probe.

The Washington Times submitted a query about Mr. Bigley’s complaint to the Pentagon press office, which didn’t respond.

Mr. Bigley said the administrative judge did not find Mr. Lovinger guilty of leaking to the press. But he said that is beside the point. The attorney said he spent hours preparing a defense on that charge, not knowing there was an NCIS report that already had cleared his client. Government attorneys pressed the leak case during the hearing, he said.

By not being told of the exoneration, Mr. Bigley also was denied the opportunity to present the NCIS report as evidence.

“The leaking allegation against Mr. Lovinger was by far the most serious claim brought against him by DoD,” Mr. Bigley told The Times. “We believe that the government hid this exculpatory evidence because they knew that their other allegations were a smorgasbord of nonsense that would never independently have gotten off the runway.”

Director of the Office of Net Assessment, James H. Baker (Credit: public domain)

In a May 2017 memo, Washington Headquarters Services outlined why it was suspending Mr. Lovinger’s security clearance.

There were two general categories: He mishandled a classified document and shared “sensitive” material with others.

Second, he played a role with a contractor in leaks to the Washington Free Beacon about the Office of Net Assessment’s supposed failings under Director James Baker.

The NCIS report refuted that: “An interview of former ONA contractor did not yield any information of concern.”

“According to Mr. Baker, the leak had disastrous consequences for the ONA mission,” the report added.

In his July letter to the Defense Department inspector general, Mr. Bigley said Pentagon lawyers “failed to make any mention of the NCIS findings in their case, failed to turn over the NCIS investigative report, and failed to even alert this attorney that a report existed which effectively exonerated Mr. Lovinger of the most serious allegation against him.”

That same month, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense sent Mr. Lovinger a firing memo. Since he needed a security clearance to work at ONA and his had been revoked, Mr. Lovinger was being terminated.

Mr. Bigley fired off a return letter saying the termination was premature.

“Nothing underscores ‘whistleblower reprisal’ quite like rushing to terminate a whistleblower from federal service before the Department’s own IG can complete its statutory obligation of an independent, thorough investigation,” he said.” (Read more: The Washington Times, 8/17/2019)

August 7, 2019 – Top FBI Deputy Assistant Director who leaked to the media is reported to be Bryan Paarmann

The DOJ’s Combating Terrorism Center hosts Bryan Paarmann on October 6, 2017. (Credit: DOJ Combating Terrorism Center)

“Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a harsh summary report in May revealing that an FBI Deputy Assistant Director had numerous unauthorized contacts with the media, accepted gifts from journalists and disclosed the ‘existence’ of sensitive information under court seal to the media.

Several officials confirmed to SaraACarter.com this week that the unknown senior FBI official is Bryan Paarmann. Paarmann, who began his career with the bureau in 1996, was shuffled by FBI Director Christopher Wray in August, 2017 from his position as FBI Deputy Assistant Director of the International Operations Division to special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Division for the New York field office. He is currently on leave and his security clearance has been suspended, sources stated.

Horowitz did not name Paarmann in the investigative summary released in May, but instead referred to him as a Deputy Assistant Director. Horowitz’s investigation focused on the time Paarmann was working at the FBI’s Washington D.C. headquarters as the Deputy Assistant Director of the International Operations Division.

Horowitz stated in his summary that the Department of Justice declined to prosecute.

A senior DOJ official confirmed “that the decision by the Department of Justice to decline prosecution was made before William Barr was Attorney General.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 8/07/2019)