The Department of Justice inspector general identified a number of times where FBI employees allegedly spoke with members of the media and received freebies, The Daily Caller and Breitbart say.
On page XII in the report, the IG says the department “identified numerous FBI employees, at all levels of the organization and with no official reason to be in contact with the media, who were nevertheless in frequent contact with reporters,” The Daily Caller writes.
The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General made the discovery as it tried to identify “possible FBI agents improperly transmitting to reporters, according to its report released Thursday on the agency’s handling of the 2016 probe into Hillary Clinton’s unsecured, private email server,” Breitbart writes.
The IG expressed “profound concerns about the volume and extent of unauthorized media contacts by FBI personnel that we have uncovered our review.”
The IG report says, “In addition to the significant number of communications between FBI employees and journalists, we identified social interactions between FBI employees and journalists that were, at a minimum, inconsistent with FBI policy and Department ethics rules. For example, we identified instances where FBI employees received tickets to sporting events from journalists, went on golfing outings with media representatives, were treated to drinks and meals after work by reporters, and were the guests of journalists at nonpublic social events. We will separately report on those investigations as they are concluded, consistent with the Inspector General (IG) Act, other applicable federal statutes, and OIG policy.”
The report also says, “The harm caused by leaks, fear of potential leaks, and a culture of unauthorized media contacts is illustrated in Chapters Ten and Eleven of our report, where we detail the fact that these issues influenced FBI officials who were advising Comey on consequential investigative decisions in October 2016.
“We do not believe the problem is with the FBI’s policy, which we found to be clear and unambiguous. Rather, we concluded that these leaks highlight the need to change what appears to be a cultural attitude.”
The report gives criticism of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for improperly leaking to the Wall Street Journal about the bureau’s reaction to the discovery of former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop, Breitbart says.
The release of the Inspector General’s findings follow the indictment of Senate Intelligence Committee security chief James Wolfe last Thursday, who is accused of making false statements to the FBI about the transmission of classified information to then-Buzzfeed News turned New York Times national security reporter Ali Watkins, Breitbart says.