Audit: ‘FBI agents violated own rules at least 747 times in 18 months’ in probes for politicians, candidates, media, religious groups

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According to a 2019 FBI audit reviewed by conservative media, “FBI agents violated their own rules at least 747 times in 18 months while conducting investigations involving politicians, candidates, religious groups, the news media and others.”

Reported exclusively by The Washington Times on Friday, these findings paint a picture of a federal bureau that, as one prominent national security and civil liberties policy analyst put it to the Times, has become “radical.”

“The internal review revealed a ratio of slightly more than two ‘compliance errors’ per each sensitive investigative matter (SIM) reviewed by FBI auditors,” the Times reported.

“These errors involved things like agents failing to get approval from senior FBI officials to start an investigation, agents failing to document a necessary legal review occurring before they opened an investigation and agents failing to tell prosecutors what they were doing, among other things,” the report continued.

The part about “failing to get approval” troubled Cato Institute analyst Patrick G. Eddington the most.

“When they open investigations without authorization, to me that’s about as radical as it gets,” he bluntly told the Times.

(Source: The Washington Times)

Making matters worse, the sample of cases reviewed for the audit reportedly represented only a “small” number of the bureau’s total caseload.

Among those cases that were audited were 191 involving “domestic public officials,” dozens involving “religious organizations or their prominent members” and dozens involving “domestic political organizations and individuals,” according to the Times.

The audit’s findings come amid special counsel John Durham’s ongoing investigation into the corruptions or “errors” that were perpetrated during the Russian collusion delusion hoax and conspiracy theory.

The investigation has already led to three indictments, including of one now-disgraced former FBI attorney, Kevin Clinesmith.

Clinesmith was sentenced to probation and community service in January of 2021 for his crime of having altered an email from an FBI agent. The original email had said that former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page was “not a source” for the CIA. The altered email said otherwise.

Clinesmith’s “error” was one of 17 “inaccuracies and omissions” that the Department of Justice Inspector General found in the four FISA warrants that were filed against Page during the height of the collusion probe.

Dovetailing back to the 2019 audit, it also found that 70 percent of the 747 rule-breaking violations that occurred between Jan. 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019, were “related to approvals, notifications, and administrative matters.”

“For example, 35 full investigations and four preliminary investigations did not have the approval of an FBI special agent in charge,” according to the Times. “Mr. Eddington said a portion of the violations could be construed as housekeeping and bookkeeping issues, but he believes there is a lot that goes way beyond individual sloppiness.”

Which is why, after Clinesmith was sentenced to just probation, former prosecutor turned congressman turned Fox News host Trey Gowdy cried foul, slamming both him and disgraced former FBI special agent Peter Strzok.

“I worked with a lot of FBI agents when I was a federal and state prosecutor. Every one of those agents I worked with, you would be proud to have as your next-door neighbor and a coach of your kid’s team. That was the FBI I know,” he said.

“But that was not the FBI in charge [during the Russia probe]. I never met or worked with an FBI agent like Peter Strzok when I was a prosecutor. I never met an FBI agent or employee who would let his own political opinions influence his work. I never worked with an FBI lawyer like Kevin Clinesmith,” Gowdy added.

He continued by accusing Clinesmith of being “actively, vocally biased against” former President Donald Trump and of having “falsified a document to make it easier to target a political opponent.”

“Kevin Clinesmith thought he was part of some great moral resistance — a resistance, I might add, to a duly elected president,” he said.

Gowdy’s accusations regarding Clinesmith’s anti-Trump bias were accurate. An earlier DOJ IG report from 2018 had drawn attention to certain instant messages he’d sent on the bureau’s messaging app that had “raised concerns of potential bias.”

Yet according to a RealClearInvestigions report published in December, despite Clinesmith’s clear-cut bias — not to mention his guilty verdict and sentencing — he eventually wound up having his “good standing” record with the District of Columbia Bar Association restored.

“Clinesmith was sentenced to 12 months probation last January. But the D.C. Bar did not seek his disbarment, as is customary after lawyers are convicted of serious crimes involving the administration of justice. In this case, it did not even initiate disciplinary proceedings against him until February of this year — five months after he pleaded guilty,” according to RCI.

“After the negative publicity, the bar temporarily suspended Clinesmith pending a review and hearing. Then in September, the court that oversees the bar and imposes sanctions agreed with its recommendation to let Clinesmith off suspension with time served; the bar, in turn, restored his status to ‘active member’ in “good standing.”

Apparently, the FBI isn’t the only agency that makes extremely biased “errors” in judgment on an unusually frequent basis …

Vivek Saxena


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