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June 21, 2018

BILL GERTZ: IG Report Highlights FBI Counterspy Failings. “Counterintelligence division under fire for mishandling Clinton email probe.”

Critics have said U.S. counterintelligence was weakened during the Obama administration. One example was the mishandling of the arrest of 10 Russian illegal spies in New York in 2010.

Instead of charging the deep cover “illegal” spies with espionage – they did not enjoy the usual diplomatic immunity afforded to legal spies – the 10 Russians posing as Americans were sent back to Moscow without being fully interrogated.

As a result, valuable intelligence on Russian spying operations was lost.

The Obama administration at the time was seeking to curry favor with Russia as part of the failed reset policy toward Moscow.

The administration also failed to take action against Russian intelligence during its operations to interfere with the 2016 election. After the election, a group of Russian intelligence officers was expelled.

In contrast, during the Cold War, FBI counterspies achieved a major intelligence coup by recruiting as an informant the No. 2 official in the Communist Party USA, Morris Childs, who provided Kremlin and other valuable secrets between 1958 and 1982.

Michael Waller, an intelligence expert with the Center for Security Policy, said the IG report lays bare what some have been saying for decades: “The United States is the No. 1 target of every hostile intelligence service on earth.”

“With few exceptions, the FBI has very little to show that it has the strategy and leadership to cut off much more than the low-hanging fruit,” Waller said.”

Damning.