Hundreds of Sneaky Media Contacts Over Several Years

media

Nobody seems to wonder why the FBI is so concerned about maintaining their cozy relationship with the media. If they did, they might start to realize that the investigations are being selectively leaked to the press in a circular fashion. The resulting news reports can be used as corroboration to justify the investigation. Or worse.

A cozy media relationship

According to a freshly released report, Michael Steinbach had “extensive contacts” with the news media “in violation of FBI policy.” Not just any senior FBI official, he personally watched over “the bureau’s politically sensitive investigations.

Ones like the probe which handed Hillary Clinton a get out of jail free card for her secret email server. He also oversaw the plot to frame Donald Trump for non-existent and manufactured collusion with Russia.

Back in 2018, Inspector General Horowitz issued a “review” of the media leaks. Last year, an “investigative summary” touched on the issue but didn’t name the leaking rat. A brand new report hot off the presses on Monday, June 13, identified the loose-lipped official as the former executive assistant director of the FBI’s National Security Bureau.

As spelled out in what was just released, “Steinbach had hundreds of contacts with the media for several years.” All at the same time he was “heading up the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division.” He kept his contacts going when he “took up the senior national security role.

Steinbach really slept around, politically. “This media contact included social engagements outside of FBI headquarters without any coordination from Office of Public Affairs, involving drinks, lunches and dinners.

There was a whole lot of magic marker lines across the “heavily redacted 27-page report.” Politico got their hands on a copy. While he wasn’t accused of “unauthorized” disclosures, Horowitz noted that “extensive, unsupervised contacts between FBI officials and the media can lead to such leaks and make them harder to investigate.

Policy ‘widely ignored’

The Federal Bureau of Instigation has a strict policy about talking to the media. Horowitz discovered that policy is so “widely ignored” that it’s become a “cultural attitude.” If nobody follows it, nobody can get in trouble for not following it. Steinbach retired quietly and the new report confirms, “prosecution was declined,” but the remainder of that line is redacted.

Steinbach really shouldn’t have accepted “free tickets to two big Washington media galas: the Radio & Television Correspondents’ Association dinner in 2015 and the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in 2016.” Afterward, an unnamed CNN reporter texted him, “I put you on the map and now you’re cheating on me with” another reporter.

He was supposed to get approval for that and didn’t. He was also supposed to report the tickets on his financial disclosure and didn’t. He also had “at least 27 in-person meetings with seven reporters from 2014 through his retirement three years later.

On his dates with media personalities, they “frequented various restaurants near FBi headquarters, including Capital Grille, Gordon Biersch, Asia Nine, and Central.” According to the report, investigators “were unable to determine who paid for the drinks or meals during these social engagements.

The way Steinbach sees it, he was like 007 with a license to leak. He told investigators “he was authorized, while EAD of NSB, to provide non-case related information to the media as background.

Steinbach said he was “frequently contacted by the media for comment and questions relative to a variety of national security issues, and the media was ‘relentless‘ and ‘aggressive’ in their attempts to get a story.” James Comey put him up to it. “Comey’s approach entailed proactively trying to find media sources that the FBI could trust to get stories right and to protect the brand of the FBI,” one unnamed official said.

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