Troubling Factions Emerge Within the FBI

Wayne Barret reports some background about the former head of the NY FBI office, Jim Kallstrom. He is now retired and has appeared as a guest on Fox News, where he calls the Clintons a “crime family.” If reference to the Clinton email scandal, he once told Megyn Kelly, “if it’s pushed under the rug,” the agents “won’t take that sitting down.” When Comey announced that the FBI would not press charges on the case back in July, here is how Kallstrom responded:

By Sept. 28, Kallstrom said he’d been contacted by hundreds of people, including “a lot of retired agents and a few on the job,” declaring the agents “involved in this thing feel like they’ve been stabbed in the back.” So, he said, “I think we’re going to see a lot more of the facts come out in the course of the next few months. That’s my prediction.”

Kallstrom, whose exchanges with active agents about particular cases are as contrary to FBI policy as Giuliani’s, formally and passionately endorsed Trump this week on Stuart Varney’s Fox Business show, adding that Clinton is a “pathological liar.”

It appears as if his prediction about more “facts” coming out was accurate based on the letter FBI Director Comey sent to Congress. In other words, it reinforces the idea that Comey knew these agents would leak the information if he didn’t get out ahead of the story. And now the floodgates have opened. We’ve been seeing a host of leaks from FBI agents who were frustrated about the fact that corruption prosecutors at DOJ wouldn’t support an ongoing investigation of the Clinton Foundation.

Secret recordings of a suspect talking about the Clinton Foundation fueled an internal battle between FBI agents who wanted to pursue the case and corruption prosecutors who viewed the statements as worthless hearsay, people familiar with the matter said.

Agents, using informants and recordings from unrelated corruption investigations, thought they had found enough material to merit aggressively pursuing the investigation into the foundation that started in summer 2015 based on claims made in a book by a conservative author called “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,” these people said.

Here is a reminder of what we know about the track record of the “Clinton Cash” author, Peter Schweitzer. That his lies would be the basis for an FBI investigation is absurd. Beyond that, someone who has no connection to the foundation said something on a secret recording from an unrelated corruption case. That’s all they’ve got. But…

FBI investigators grew increasingly frustrated with resistance from the corruption prosecutors, and some executives at the bureau itself, to keep pursuing the case.

As prosecutors rebuffed their requests to proceed more overtly, those Justice Department officials became more annoyed that the investigators didn’t seem to understand or care about the instructions issued by their own bosses and prosecutors to act discreetly.

In subsequent conversations with the Justice Department, Mr. Capers told officials in Washington that the FBI agents on the case “won’t let it go,” these people said.

That is probably why the leaks from these rogue agents continue. Fox New’s Bret Baier heard from two sources inside the FBI that:

* an indictment is “likely” in the case of pay-for-play at the Clinton Foundation, “barring some obstruction in some way” from the Justice Department, and

* FBI sources say with 99% accuracy that Hillary Clinton’s server has been hacked by at least five foreign intelligence agencies, and that information have been taken from it.

Neither of those things comport with information that has been shared either on or off the record to date. But it sure feeds the narrative that Donald Trump is trying to peddle about “crooked Hillary.”

On the other hand, apparently a different contingent within the FBI is talking to Spencer Ackerman.

Deep antipathy to Hillary Clinton exists within the FBI, multiple bureau sources have told the Guardian, spurring a rapid series of leaks damaging to her campaign just days before the election.

Current and former FBI officials, none of whom were willing or cleared to speak on the record, have described a chaotic internal climate that resulted from outrage over director James Comey’s July decision not to recommend an indictment over Clinton’s maintenance of a private email server on which classified information transited.

“The FBI is Trumpland,” said one current agent…

The currently serving FBI agent said Clinton is “the antichrist personified to a large swath of FBI personnel,” and that “the reason why they’re leaking is they’re pro-Trump.”

What a mess! As Steve Benen wrote earlier today, “If you weren’t concerned about what’s going on at the FBI before, you probably should be now.” Ultimately, responsibility for all of this falls on FBI Director Comey, Attorney General Lynch and President Obama. They need to get busy fixing it and not pass it on to their successors.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.