No Oversight: Who Does the FBI Really Work For?

Ryan DeLarme,
October 5th, 2021

The FBI has had a pretty murky track record in recent years, leading many to wonder if the domestic intelligence service still works with the best interest of the American people in mind. Whether it’s hatching the plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer or helping to orchestrate and execute the January 6th photo op, it’s starting to appear as though the Bureau’s become a tool of the political elite.

There’s new evidence coming out suggesting that the FBI has been warped into something far-flung from its original purpose, operating by its own rules with seemingly no oversight from anyone. Inspector General Michael Horowitz recently issued a new report on the FBI’s execution of the Woods Procedures for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications, and it has been called “damning”. 

Last year, Horowitz reviewed 29 random FISA applications and found that the FBI was “not meeting the expectations of its own protocols.”

The FISA court has a questionable track record for excusing government misconduct as was recently displayed by the sentencing of FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith. After he went to great lengths to lie to a federal court and, when caught, lied by saying he didn’t really intend to lie; Clinesmith received only one year of probation. Many have been left wondering what such leniency says about the FISA Court’s “heightened duty of candor” If there aren’t heightened punishments for violating that duty.

The FISA abuse scandal isn’t the only negative press currently directed at the FBI. During a recent Senate Judiciary hearing on how the FBI failed to investigate alleged sexual abuse by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) interrupted the proceedings when he reported that the FBI had failed to respond to the Republican Senator’s letters and also that,  they had declined to meet with him “month after month, year after year, at any time for any reason”. This is significant considering that Grassley is a ranking member of the Judiciary Committee and has been for a long time.

According to Senator Grassley:

I’ve asked Director Wray several times to meet with me relating to a very troubling briefing that I received in August 2020 from the FBI and which was later weaponized against my and Senator Johnson’s oversight. Director Wray and his staff have ignored my request to meet.”

In short, a ranking member of the Judiciary Committee can’t get the FBI to meet with him. This begs the question: does Congress have any real oversight on the FBI? Does the Bureau serve the American people or only select establishment politicians?

Senator Grassley has recently released a letter that offers some insight to the average American citizen as to how our government really works.

On August 6, 2020, we received a briefing from the FBI which, according to the FBI, was done in conjunction with the Intelligence Community (IC). This briefing was done because of political pressure from Democratic Leadership, not because of any real threat.

We have asked to meet with FBI Director Christopher Wray to discuss our concerns and have requested records relating to the briefing; however, he and his Chief of Staff, Corey Ellis, have refused to answer our communications and have failed to provide any answers or information.

FBI leadership’s failure to respond to congressional inquiries not only undermines the FBI as an institution, it also undermines the work of its dedicated agents and staff.

On July 13, 2020, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Mark Warner, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Representative Adam Schiff sent a letter, with a classified attachment, to the FBI to express a purported belief that Congress was the subject of a foreign disinformation campaign.

In that letter, which was publicly released on July 20, 2020, they requested a briefing on foreign efforts to interfere in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The classified attachment included unclassified elements that, among other things, attempted — and failed — to tie our joint investigation into the Biden family’s foreign financial deals to foreign disinformation.  

So Schumer, Warner, Pelosi, and Schiff were trying to slow down Grassley and Johnson’s “joint investigations into the Biden family’s foreign financial deals.” How did the Democrats do it? By using their go-to strategy of leaking to their allies in the corporate media of course. The letter continues:

Then, on May 1, 2021, the Washington Post reported on “an extensive effort by the [FBI] to alert members of Congress…that they faced a risk of being used to further Russia’s attempt to influence the election’s outcome[.]”

This statement was attributed to “several current and former U.S. officials” who remained anonymous “because the matter remains highly sensitive.”

The article then inaccurately proceeded to link Russian disinformation attempts to our investigation, which was based on Obama administration government records and records that showed extensive financial connections between the Biden family and questionable foreign nationals, including individuals connected to the communist Chinese government’s military and intelligence services.

The Washington Post reporting purported to be based, in part, on an August 6, 2020, briefing that we received from the FBI, which, as the timeline above illustrates, happened in response to pressure from Democratic Leadership. The briefing was not specific. Moreover, it consisted primarily of information that we already knew and information unconnected to our investigation.

We made clear to the FBI briefers on August 6, 2020, that the briefing was not relevant to the substance of our work.

We also made clear our concern that the briefing would be subject to a leak that would shed a false light on the focus of our investigation. Indeed, the Washington Post article did exactly that and so did the other inaccurate media articles.

During your review of Crossfire Hurricane, you identified that counterintelligence briefings for Trump campaign officials were used by the FBI as intelligence gathering operations, concerns that we raised with the Justice Department on April 25, 2019, after we discovered text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. Specifically, Peter Strzok was primarily responsible for assisting the FBI agent that would be at those briefings.

In response to your findings, Director Wray established new protocols for these transition briefings to keep potential political considerations out of the decision-making process. Specifically, Director Wray noted that these briefings “should be for national security purposes and not for investigative purposes.”

Senator Grassley and Senator Ron Johnson were credited with the discovery of the now-famous text messages between FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page as well as discovering that Strzok was one of the crooked agents who used intel briefings to spy on Trump in 2019 prior to being fired. Director Wray promised to put a stop to these phony briefings that end up getting leaked to the media, yet it happened again to Grassley and Johnson last year while investigating “the Biden family’s foreign financial dealings”.

This information is compelling regardless of which side of the political aisle one falls on. When senators start informing the people during public hearings in Congress that the FBI is setting them up with fake briefings and then stonewalling them once caught, it makes one wonder whether or not Congress is actually in charge anymore. If the FBI can engage in this sort of activity against ranking members of the Judiciary Committee, the mind shudders to think of what they might do to the average citizens of our diminishing republic.

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