Too many FBI agents spoke to reporters in 2016 to pin down anti-Clinton leakers, DOJ watchdog concludes
A four-year investigation into FBI leaks during the 2016 presidential campaign ended with a whimper not a bang on Thursday as Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a final report concluding there were too many "substantial media contacts" by too many FBI agents to determine "whether these media contacts resulted in the disclosure of nonpublic information."
The 10-page report also threw in the towel on determining whether Rudy Giuliani had advance inside knowledge that the FBI found copies of Hillary Clinton's emails on a laptop and planned to reopen its investigation. Two days before James Comey, then the FBI director, announced that the FBI was reopening the Clinton case, upending the final two weeks of the presidential campaign, Giuliani said on Fox News that then-candidate Donald Trump had "a surprise or two that you're going to hear about in the next few days. I mean, I'm talking about some pretty big surprises."
After Comey's announcement, Giuliani told a radio program he'd heard "rumors" about the Clinton email investigation from "former agents, and even from a few active agents." Giuliani told Horowitz's investigators he "had no foreknowledge" of the Clinton email investigation revival and "his use of the term 'active' was meant to refer to retired FBI agents who were still actively working in security and consulting."
Regarding the leaks, Horowitz said his investigation found 56 people at the FBI who had contacts with journalists reporting on pre-election investigations in April, May, and October 2016. Most of the leaks were damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign. The FBI's policies limiting contact with the press "appeared to be widely ignored" at that time, the report said, and "the large number of FBI employees who were in contact with journalists during this time period impacted our ability to identify the sources of leaks."
Horowitz flagged six employees at FBI headquarters for potential disciplinary action for their improper contact with the media.