The Inspector General of the Department of Justice has issued a long-awaited report on the actions taken by the FBI and DOJ in the lead-up to the 2016 election. The report is voluminous – more than 560 pages – and includes juicy details. Some are maddening and historically important, others merely offensive or weird. The word “fuck” appears eight times.
The IG makes clear that the FBI’s decision not to prosecute Clinton for the mishandling of classified information on her private email server was legally sound, and not the result of special treatment: “We found no evidence that the conclusions by the prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations,” the report reads.
The report also paints former FBI director James Comey – who blasted Clinton as “extremely careless” even as he announced the decision not to prosecute her – as a grandstanding hypocrite who “usurped” power from his superiors, muddied the public debate on FBI investigations and repeatedly violated DOJ policy. (“The conclusions are reasonable,” Comey tweeted, “even though I disagree with some.”)
The report also sheds light on the anti-Trump personal bias of a handful of FBI agents that the IG writes “brought discredit to themselves, sowed doubt about the FBI’s handling of the [Clinton email] investigation, and impacted the reputation of the FBI.”
Here are seven WTF revelations from the report:
James Comey argued against warning about Russian hacking because it would look like an “October surprise.”
In early October 2016 – after he’d written the explosive letter to Congress announcing the FBI was renewing its probe of the Clinton emails – Comey argued that the intelligence community should stay silent on Russia’s hacking. Responding to a draft of a public warning – ultimately published October 7th, 2016 – Comey wrote to CIA chief John Brennan and National Intelligence director James Clapper to argue: “I think the window has closed on the opportunity for an official statement, with 4 weeks until a presidential election.” He added: “I could be wrong (and frequently am) but Americans already ‘know’ the Russians are monkeying around on behalf of one candidate. Our ‘confirming’ it (1) adds little to the public mix, (2) begs difficult questions about both how we know that and what we are going to do about it, and (3) exposes us to serious accusations of launching our own ‘October surprise.'”
Comey used his personal email for government work, in violation of DOJ policy.
Comey gave Clinton a tongue lashing in July 2016 for being “extremely careless” in using a personal email server for official State Department business. But it turns out the FBI director was doing something similar himself. The IG report reads: “We identified numerous instances in which Comey used a personal email account (a Gmail account) to conduct FBI business.” It adds: “We asked Comey if the use of personal email in this manner was in accordance with FBI regulations. Comey replied, ‘I don’t know.'” The IG report concludes that Comey’s use of Gmail “on multiple occasions for unclassified FBI business” was a violation of Department policy.
Comey was “insubordinate” in the way he handled his decision to dress down Clinton.
Comey kept his superiors in the dark about his intentions to publicly blast Clinton, while announcing the FBI would not be charging her. The report reveals that Comey “made a conscious decision not to tell Department leadership about his plans to ‘go it alone’ because he was concerned that they would instruct him not to do it.” The report adds: “We found that it was extraordinary and insubordinate for Comey to conceal his intentions from his superiors.” The IG also found Comey had violated “longstanding Department practice to avoid what others described as “trash[ing] people we’re not charging.” The report says: “Comey’s unilateral announcement … usurped the authority of [the] Attorney General.” Perhaps worse, the IG hits Comey for being sloppy, writing he “did not accurately describe the legal position of the Department prosecutors.” As a result, the report says: “Comey’s statement led to greater public confusion and second guessing, not greater public clarity.”
Comey wrote to Congress that the FBI was reopening its Clinton investigation as a way to head off leaks from FBI agents in New York.
The IG report quotes former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, reporting: “Yates stated that one of the reasons that the FBI ‘gave for why they felt like [Comey] had to go to Congress is that they felt confident that the New York Field Office would leak it and that it would come out regardless of whether he advised Congress or not.'”
An FBI agent called Trump supporters “retarded.”
While the pro-Trump bias of the New York Field Office remains largely unexamined, the IG also investigated the conduct and bias of individual FBI agents who opposed the future president. The report exposes two FBI agents (identified only as Agent 1 and Agent 5) playing a game of “would I rather…” via instant message. Responding to the prompt, would you rather “stick your tongue in a fan??” Agent 5 reveals, “i would rather have brunch with trump and a bunch of his supporters like the ones from ohio that are retarded.” Agent 1 joins in: “french toast with drumpf.”
“Agent 5” was way ahead of Robert De Niro.
Agent 5, described by the IG as “an experienced counterintelligence agent,” was not subtle in her feelings toward the new president: “In a December 6, 2016 exchange, Agent 5 complained to Agent 1 about being required to be on call on the day of the presidential inauguration,” the report reads. “In the middle of expressing displeasure about this, Agent 5 sent a message to Agent 1 that stated, ‘fuck trump.'”
Despite working for an investigative agency, these agents didn’t think the FBI would read their texts.
According to the report: “Agent 1 told us that he believed that instant messages were not retained by the FBI and therefore used less caution with those communications than he would have with other types of communications, such as email or text messages. Agent 5 also made this point, stating that she considered these exchanges as a private ‘outlet’ to Agent 1. Both Agent 1 and Agent 5 apologized for their use of instant messaging in this manner and told us that they were embarrassed.'”