The original Supervisory Special Agent on the Crossfire Hurricane investigation had never seen a CIA memo pointing to a Clinton campaign plan to tie former Pres. Donald Trump to Russia – and became “visibly upset and emotional” when Special Counsel John Durham’s office showed it to him.
On Friday, Special Counsel John Durham released a report on his investigation of the FBI’s handling of its Operation Crossfire efforts to prove Pres. Trump was colluding with Russia in order to further his 2020 reelection campaign.
In his report, Durham explains that the FBI’s treatment of Trump’s campaign was “markedly different from the FBI's actions with respect to other highly significant intelligence it received from a trusted foreign source pointing to a Clinton campaign plan to vilify Trump by tying him to Vladimir Putin so as to divert attention from her own concerns relating to her use of a private email server.”
The FBI “never opened any type of inquiry, issued any taskings, employed any analytical personnel, or produced any analytical products” to look into the purported Clinton Plan – even though the CIA Director thought it was so troubling that he sent a formal memo to the FBI Director and briefed the White House:
“This lack of action was despite the fact that the significance of the Clinton plan intelligence was such as to have prompted the Director of the CIA to brief the President, Vice President, Attorney General, Director of the FBI, and other senior government officials about its content within days of its receipt.
“It was also of enough importance for the CIA to send a formal written referral memorandum to Director Comey and the Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division, Peter Strzok, for their consideration and action. The investigative referral provided examples of information the Crossfire Hurricane fusion cell had ‘gleaned to date.’”
The Referral Memo, which mentioned the Clinton Plan intelligence, stated, in part:
“Per FBI verbal request, CIA provides the below examples of information the CROSSFIRE HURRICANE fusion cell has gleaned to date [Source revealing information redacted]:
“An exchange ... discussing US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's approval of a plan concerning US presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian hackers hampering US elections as a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.”
“None of the FBI personnel who agreed to be interviewed could specifically recall receiving this Referral Memo, nor did anyone recall the FBI doing anything in response to the Referral Memo,” Durham’s investigation found.
Most of those actively involved in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation said they had never seen the Clinton Plan intelligence – and some “expressed surprise and dismay” when Durham’s office told them about it.
One FBI special agent became so “visibly upset and emotional” when shown the Clinton Plan intelligence that he left the interview with his lawyer, then returned to “emphatically” deny any previous knowledge of either the Clinton Plan intelligence or the CIA memo, Durham reports:
“The original Supervisory Special Agent on the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, Supervisory Special Agent-1, reviewed the intelligence during one of his interviews with the [Durham Special Counsel’s] Office.
“After reading it, Supervisory Special Agent-1 became visibly upset and emotional, left the interview room with his counsel, and subsequently returned to state emphatically that he had never been apprised of the Clinton Plan intelligence and had never seen the aforementioned Referral Memo.”
“Supervisory Special Agent-1 expressed a sense of betrayal that no one had informed him of the intelligence,” Durham reports:
“Supervisory Special Agent-1 responded firmly that regardless of whether its contents were true, he should have been informed of it.”
Former FBI General Counsel James Baker also claimed in his interview to have “neither seen nor heard of the Clinton Plan intelligence or the resulting Referral Memo.”
If he had, Baker said, he would have been “much more skeptical” of the Trump-Russia Collusion investigation:
“He acknowledged the significance of the reporting and explained that had he known of it during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, he would have viewed in a different and much more skeptical light (i) information the FBI received from Steele concerning Trump's purported ties to Russia and (ii) information received from attorney Michael Sussmann that purported to show a secret communications channel between the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank.”