Is There Anyone Keeping Track of These FBI Agents?

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Posted: Jun 16, 2022 5:30 PM
Is There Anyone Keeping Track of These FBI Agents?

Source: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Lisa Page and Peter Strzok are the two folks who serve as the face of the FBI’s bias and corruption. The lovebirds’ texts have tarnished the bureau’s reputation as an impartial and professional law enforcement agency. Donald Trump broke the FBI. The 2016 election broke the FBI. There are also other instances of the FBI dropping the ball. They totally screwed up the investigation into Larry Nassar, the now-convicted child predator who abused scores of American gymnasts, which forced FBI Director Wray to issue an apology. Now, we have a top FBI official having inappropriate interactions with journalists, including receiving gifts, which is the least surprising thing to emanate from this the J. Edgar Hoover post-Trump (via Free Beacon):

The FBI's top national security official had dozens of improper meetings with journalists and accepted tickets from one journalist to the White House Correspondents' Dinner, interactions that FBI officials said were a "no-no" and "dangerous."

Michael Steinbach, who served as an FBI executive assistant director, failed to report the gifts on his federal financial disclosures, according to an inspector general report obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. He met regularly from 2014 until his abrupt retirement in February 2017 with 7 reporters and had contact with 21 others. His interactions with journalists overlapped with his work on major counterterrorism cases and Crossfire Hurricane, the ill-fated investigation into collusion between the 2016 Donald Trump campaign and Russia.

The report, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, is the latest example of a top FBI official accepting gifts from journalists. The former head of FBI public affairs, Michael Kortan, received baseball game tickets and other gifts from CNN and New York Times reporters. Journalists also plied Steinbach's former deputy, Bryan Paarmann, with a variety of gifts.

The FBI prohibits employees from accepting gifts from a "prohibited source"—a category that includes journalists—without prior authorization. FBI officials told the inspector general that off-the-books meetings like Steinbach's could "lead to a lot of problems" within the bureau.

Steinbach is not accused of leaking classified or sensitive information, but the inspector general's report details numerous conversations he had with journalists about breaking news stories. The watchdog also determined that reporters gave gifts to Steinbach "because of his official positions with the FBI."

Steinbach eagerly sought invitations to swanky media industry parties, such as the Radio-Television Correspondents' Dinner and the White House Correspondents' Association's annual gala. According to text messages and emails in the watchdog report, Steinbach on March 25, 2015, began soliciting an unnamed reporter for tickets to the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Steinbach attended the next year's event and an afterparty, according to the report. Steinbach did not disclose the gift, which was valued at $300.

Again, not shocking that the FBI had more leaks than the Iraqi Navy during the Trump years. These people manufactured or omitted exculpatory evidence to secure spy warrants against Trump campaign officials. They also spied on the campaign proper via Crossfire Hurricane. Is soliciting gifts and tickets to swanky dinners from journalists from top FBI officials a stretch in this climate? No, but this stuff must be documented. It’s part of the ongoing narrative that the FBI has been compromised by its political biases. There were a great many people here who couldn’t handle Trump winning in 2016 and sought a campaign of sabotage from within as a result. These people are not patriots.