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Tipsheet

Senior FBI Official Caught for Leaking Confidential Court Material to Media...But There's a Catch

The Department of Justice Inspector General revealed this week that an unnamed former FBI Deputy Assistant Director [DAD] illegally disclosed sealed court information to the media in addition to a number of other violations. 

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"The OIG investigation concluded that the DAD engaged in misconduct when the DAD: (1) disclosed to the media the existence of information that had been filed under seal in federal court, in violation of 18 USC § 401, Contempt of Court; (2) provided without authorization FBI law enforcement sensitive information to reporters on multiple occasions; and (3) had dozens of official contacts with the media without authorization, in violation of FBI policy," OIG released in an investigative summary. "The OIG also found that the DAD engaged in misconduct when the DAD accepted a ticket, valued at approximately $225, to attend a media-sponsored dinner, as a gift from a member of the media, in violation of federal regulations and FBI policy."

OIG opened an investigation after receiving a number of tips the DAD was illegally leaking information the media and accepting gifts. 

Not surprisingly, the individual was not prosecuted. 

While the investigative summary does not name the DAD, it does reference the OIG report on FBI misconduct during the 2016 election. In that report, which came out last year, the DAD repeatedly mentioned is Peter Strzok. 

"Peter Strzok is an experienced counterintelligence agent who was promoted to Deputy Assistant Director (DAD) of the Espionage Section in September 2016," the report states. 

That same report found former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe illegally leaked a "self-serving" story to the media and then lied about it under oath. He was referred to the U.S. Attorney in Washington D.C. for criminal prosecution. from the report: 

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We found that, in a conversation with then-Director Comey shortly after the WSJ article was published, McCabe lacked candor when he told Comey, or made statements that led Comey to believe, that McCabe had not authorized the disclosure and did not know who did.  This conduct violated FBI Offense Code 2.5 (Lack of Candor – No Oath).

We also found that on May 9, 2017, when questioned under oath by FBI agents from INSD, McCabe lacked candor when he told the agents that he had not authorized the disclosure to the WSJ and did not know who did.  This conduct violated FBI Offense Code 2.6 (Lack of Candor –  Under Oath).

We further found that on July 28, 2017, when questioned under oath by the OIG in a recorded interview, McCabe lacked candor when he stated: (a) that he was not aware of Special Counsel having been authorized to speak to reporters around October 30 and (b) that,  because he was not in Washington, D.C., on October 27 and 28, 2016, he was unable to say where Special Counsel was or what she was doing at that time.  This conduct violated FBI Offense Code 2.6 (Lack of Candor – Under Oath).

We additionally found that on November 29, 2017, when questioned under oath by the OIG in a recorded interview during which he contradicted his prior statements by acknowledging that he had authorized the disclosure to the WSJ, McCabe lacked candor when he: (a) stated that he told Comey on October 31, 2016, that he had authorized the disclosure to the WSJ; (b) denied telling INSD agents on May 9 that he had not authorized the disclosure to the WSJ about the PADAG call; and (c) asserted that INSD’s questioning of him on May 9 about the October 30 WSJ article occurred at the end of an unrelated meeting when one of the INSD agents pulled him aside and asked him one or two questions about the article. This conduct violated FBI Offense Code 2.6 (Lack of Candor –   Under Oath).

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"We were advised of the referral within the past few weeks. Although we believe the referral is unjustified, the standard for an IG referral is very low," McCabe's attorney said at the time. "We have already met with staff members from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. We are confident that, unless there is inappropriate pressure from high levels of the Administration, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will conclude that it should decline to prosecute."

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