Three months after FBI Director James Comey’s dramatic press conference announcing his decision not to recommend an indictment in the Clinton email case, disgusted FBI agents who worked on the investigation are finally beginning to speak out anonymously about the decision.
Comey told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on July 7 that the decision was unanimous among the investigative team, but a person who was closely involved in the year-long probe told Fox News it was the other way around. According to the source, “career agents and attorneys on the case unanimously believed the Democratic presidential nominee should have been charged.”
The source, who spoke to FoxNews.com on the condition of anonymity, said FBI Director James Comey’s dramatic July 5 announcement that he would not recommend to the Attorney General’s office that the former secretary of state be charged left members of the investigative team dismayed and disgusted. More than 100 FBI agents and analysts worked around the clock with six attorneys from the DOJ’s National Security Division, Counter Espionage Section, to investigate the case.
“No trial level attorney agreed, no agent working the case agreed, with the decision not to prosecute — it was a top-down decision,” said the source, whose identity and role in the case has been verified by FoxNews.com.
Another source — a high-ranking FBI official — told Fox News that it may not have been a unanimous decision, but “it was unanimous that we all wanted her [Clinton’s] security clearance yanked.” He also said, contra James Comey, that a the majority of the agents who worked on the case did want to see her indicted.
“It is safe to say the vast majority felt she should be prosecuted,” the senior FBI official said. “We were floored while listening to the FBI briefing because Comey laid it all out, and then said ‘but we are doing nothing,’ which made no sense to us.”
It made no sense to the public, either.
Comey tried to quash dissension in the ranks with an internal memo to FBI employees last month, explaining that the decision to forgo criminal charges in the investigation was not even a close call.
“At the end of the day, the case itself was not a cliff-hanger; despite all the chest-beating by people no longer in government, there really wasn’t a prosecutable case,” Comey wrote in the memo. “The hard part was whether to offer unprecedented transparency about our thinking.”
Andrew Napolitano, a former judge and senior judicial analyst for Fox News, says that the law enforcement agents he talks to regarding the case are furious.
“It is well known that the FBI agents on the ground, the human beings who did the investigative work, had built an extremely strong case against Hillary Clinton and were furious when the case did not move forward,” said Napolitano. “They believe the decision not to prosecute came from The White House.”
The claim also is backed up by a report in the New York Post this week, which quotes a number of veteran FBI agents saying FBI Director James Comey “has permanently damaged the bureau’s reputation for uncompromising investigations with his cowardly whitewash of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information using an unauthorized private email server.”
“The FBI has politicized itself, and its reputation will suffer for a long time. I hold Director Comey responsible,” Dennis V. Hughes, the first chief of the FBI’s computer investigations unit, told the Post. Retired FBI agent Michael M. Biasello added to the report, saying, “Comey has singlehandedly ruined the reputation of the organization.”
Especially angering the team, which painstakingly pieced together deleted emails and interviewed witnesses to prove that sensitive information was left unprotected, was the fact that Comey based his decision on a conclusion that a recommendation to charge would not be followed by DOJ prosecutors, even though the bureau’s role was merely to advise, Fox News was told.
“Basically, James Comey hijacked the DOJ’s role by saying ‘no reasonable prosecutor would bring this case,’” the Fox News source said. “The FBI does not decide who to prosecute and when, that is the sole province of a prosecutor — that never happens.
“I know zero prosecutors in the DOJ’s National Security Division who would not have taken the case to a grand jury,” the source added. “One was never even convened.”
Napolitano agreed, saying the FBI investigation was hampered from the beginning, because there was no grand jury, and no search warrants or subpoenas issued.
“The FBI could not seize anything related to the investigation, only request things. As an example, in order to get the laptop, they had to agree to grant immunity,” Napolitano said.
Fox News’s source said it became clear that the investigation would go nowhere when the FBI forced the agents and analysts involved in the case to sign non-disclosure agreements.
“This is unheard of, because of the stifling nature it has on the investigative process,” the source said. Also unheard of were the five immunity agreements granted to Clinton’s State Department aides and IT experts.
Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s former chief of staff, along with two other State Department staffers, John Bentel and Heather Samuelson, were afforded immunity agreements, as was Bryan Pagliano, Clinton’s former IT aide, and Paul Combetta, an employee at Platte River networks, the firm hired to manage her server after she left the State Department.
“No one should have been granted immunity if no charges were being brought,” the source said.
Then there was Mills’ dual role as Clinton’s attorney and a witness in the case which should never have been tolerated.
“Mills was allowed to sit in on the interview of Clinton as her lawyer. That’s absurd. Someone who is supposedly cooperating against the target of an investigation [being] permitted to sit by the target as counsel violates any semblance of ethical responsibility,” the source said.
“Every agent and attorney I have spoken to is embarrassed and has lost total respect for James Comey and Loretta Lynch,” the source said. “The bar for DOJ is whether the evidence supports a case for charges — it did here. It should have been taken to the grand jury.”
Also infuriating agents, the New York Post reported, was the fact that Clinton’s interview spanned just 3½ hours with no follow-up questioning, despite her “40 bouts of amnesia,” and then, three days later, Comey cleared her of criminal wrongdoing.
Many FBI and DOJ staffers have concluded that Comey and Lynch were motivated by ambition and not justice, according to the source.
“Loretta Lynch simply wants to stay on as attorney general under Clinton, so there is no way she would indict,” the source said. “James Comey thought his position [excoriating Clinton even as he let her off the hook] gave himself cover to remain on as director regardless of who wins.”
Early in the year, former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova and other conservative politicos predicted that members of the FBI would “revolt” if charges were not brought against Mrs. Clinton.
DiGenova said in January of 2017 that “vitriol of an intense amount” was developing among the intelligence community and they would “fight to the death” to make sure Hillary and her staff faced justice for mishandling classified information. According to two of his sources in the FBI, they were already in the process of “gearing themselves to basically revolt if she refuses to bring charges.”
Talk is cheap. Especially anonymous talk to reporters less than a month before an election. The country is still waiting for this vaunted FBI revolt to take place.
Maybe Comey and Lynch aren’t the only ones motivated by ambition.