Judicial Watch records show 14 FBI officials leaked sensitive or classified info; some barely punished

(FILE PHOTO by Getty)

Through a Freedom of Information Act request filed in January, the watchdog group Judicial Watch has obtained proof that 10 of 14 FBI employees who were referred to the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility for leaking sensitive or classified information remain gainfully employed with the bureau.

No wonder the FBI was leaking so profusely,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement following the public release of this proof on Tuesday.

Collectively, these documents show lenient treatment for evident criminal activity. Only four of the 14 employees found to have made an unauthorized disclosure were dismissed from the FBI. And even though Andrew McCabe was fired and referred for a criminal investigation for his leak, no prosecution has taken place.”

During the FBI’s 2016 investigation into the Clinton Foundation, then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe ordered a subordinate to leak information about the investigation to The Wall Street Journal. Two years later, the Department of Justice Inspector General found that McCabe had performed the leak so as to “advance his personal interests at the expense of department leadership.”

The problem is McCabe was never truly held accountable — i.e., prosecuted — and would have even retired with a large pension had then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions not fired him in March of 2018.

The 14 FBI employees who were found to have leaked sensitive or classified information faced similarly lightweight punishment. In fact, Fitton believes McCabe may be one of them:

  • One was fired. (McCabe?)
  • One was fired.
  • One was given a paltry one-day suspension without pay.
  • One was given a slightly less paltry five-day suspension without pay.
  • One who “misused an FBI database, and provided sensitive information to a former FBI employee” given issued a meaningless letter of censure.
  • One was fired.
  • One was recommended for termination but received a 45-day suspension instead.
  • One was given a 14-day suspension.
  • One was given a 12-day suspension.
  • One received a  letter of censure.
  • One received a letter of censure.
  • One received a 10-day suspension without pay.
  • One was  fired.
  • One was given a letter of censure and a 60-day suspension without pay.

The release of these documents comes only days after that DOJ announced that it would not be prosecuting disgraced former FBI Director James Comey, despite a reported recommendation from the DOJ IG over the former director’s shady actions.

According to reporting by investigative journalist John Solomon, IG Michael Horowitz found that, during his final months in office in early 2017, Comey improperly and illegally took home with him classified memos and then transmitted them to a friend via an unsecured email account.

“The memos, which mostly recount Comey’s interactions with Trump in the Russia case and include information about foreign leaders, were sensitive enough to require government officials to send a professional ‘scrub team’ to a Comey lawyer’s office to ensure all classified information was deleted, sources previously told me,” Solomon revealed in a report published last week.

Just to be clear, it was Comey himself who admitted to leaking this classified information.

“I woke up in the middle of the night on Monday night, because it didn’t dawn on me originally, that there might be corroboration for our conversations, might be a tape, my judgement was that I needed to get that out into the public square and so I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter,” Comey admitted during congressional testimony in 2017.

“I didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons, but asked him to, because I thought that it might prompt the appointment of a Special Counsel. I asked a close friend of mine to do that.”

Listen:

“In addition, the IG is likely to find that Comey engaged in a lack of candor when FBI agents came to retrieve the classified memos in his possession, failing to tell the interviewing agent that he had forwarded some of the sensitive memos by email, according to sources familiar with the probe,” Solomon’s report continued.

“[T]he IG report, at least, reaffirms what has become painfully clear to Americans the past two years: Comey entered the FBI chief’s job with a reputation for excellence but ran a bureau that suffered from ineptitude, political shenanigans, leaking and significant human failings, all of which sharply contrast with the morality lectures he’s become famous for frequently offering since he was fired.”

He added that it was Horowitz who’d recommended Comey for prosecution. Yet his recommendation was ignored by Attorney General Bill Barr. Given both this fact and the DOJ’s record of treating everybody with kid gloves, investigations almost seem pointless.

Except that’s not necessarily the case. Some have argued Barr let Comey off the hook this time because he’s aiming for a much bigger conviction. They point specifically to U.S. Attorney John Durham’s ongoing investigation into the origins of the Russia probe. It’s believed the findings of this probe, which admittedly just began last spring, will be far more consequential — to the point that some people, including Comey, could wind up in jail.

But by the same token, if none of the 14 FBI employees — 10 of whom still remain gainfully employed — were even truly held accountable for their actions, what makes anyone think Comey will be?

Vivek Saxena

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