Jason Chaffetz was shocked by the incestuous nature of the relationship between the media and the FBI. It’s especially concerning when one considers how far-left and how anti-Trump the journalists are. In fact, they aren’t journalists, they are anti-Trump-Republican activists.
“These people need to be unmasked. They need to be held accountable. The American people, the taxpayers who pay their bill — we should know exactly who they are,” Chaffetz said on “Fox & Friends” Friday.
“I didn’t see this one coming, but the incestuous nature of the FBI and the media — remember, we had a report earlier last week and last week about somebody who was sleeping with the security official and the Senate Intel Committee. But now this report comes out. I see over 330 instances of documented times, unauthorized, that they’re communicating with the media.”
Jason Chaffetz believed Michael Horowitz did a good job on the report. President Trump said he has confidence FBI Director Christopher Wray can and will straighten the organization out.
The Inspector General’s report does address the culture of the FBI which fostered this incestuous relationship. Former FBI Director Comey was responsible for either initiating or continuing this culture. Most likely, he started it.
Improper Disclosure of Non-Public Information
As we also describe in Chapter Twelve, among the issues we reviewed were allegations that Department and FBI employees improperly disclosed non-public information regarding the Midyear investigation.
Although FBI policy strictly limits the employees who are authorized to speak to the media, we found that this policy appeared to be widely ignored during the period we reviewed.
We 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. Attached to this report as Attachments E and F are two link charts that reflect the volume of communications that we identified between FBI employees and media representatives in April/May and October 2016. We have profound concerns about the volume and extent of unauthorized media contacts by FBI personnel that we have uncovered during our review.
In addition, we identified instances where FBI employees improperly received benefits from reporters, including tickets to sporting events, golfing outings, drinks and meals, and admittance to nonpublic social events. We will separately report on those investigations as they are concluded, consistent with the Inspector General Act, other applicable federal statutes, and OIG policy.
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. The FBI updated its media policy in November 2017, restating its strict guidelines concerning media contacts, and identifying who is required to obtain authority before engaging members of the media, and when and where to report media contact. 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 among many in the organization.