A new report from the Washington Free Beacon is raising more concerns about the FBI.
The outlet reports:
The FBI’s top national security official had dozens of improper meetings with journalists and accepted tickets from one journalist to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, interactions that FBI officials said were a “no-no” and “dangerous.”
That “top national security official” is Michael Steinbach.
Steinbach was the FBI’s executive assistant director until February 2017 when he suddenly retired. Steinbach worked under ex-FBI director James Comey.
The report’s findings
The Free Beacon details the findings of a newly-released inspector general report.
The outlet writes:
[Steinbach] met regularly from 2014 until his abrupt retirement in February 2017 with 7 reporters and had contact with 21 others. His interactions with journalists overlapped with his work on major counterterrorism cases and Crossfire Hurricane, the ill-fated investigation into collusion between the 2016 Donald Trump campaign and Russia.
As for the wrongdoing that Steinbach is accused of doing, he is said to have accepted gifts from journalists in violation of agency policy. And, what’s more, is that he failed to report them, which is also against agency policy.
The Beacon reports:
. . . the inspector general’s report details numerous conversations he had with journalists about breaking news stories. The watchdog also determined that reporters gave gifts to Steinbach “because of his official positions with the FBI.”
The Beacon continues:
Steinbach eagerly sought invitations to swanky media industry parties, such as the Radio-Television Correspondents’ Dinner and the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual gala.
The Beacon based its reporting on an inspector general report, which was released about a week ago. The report is titled, “Findings of Misconduct by a Then-Senior FBI Official for Having Numerous Unauthorized Contacts with the Media, and for Accepting Unauthorized Gifts from Members of the Media.”
What the inspector general report does not reveal is the identities of the journalists that Steinbach was in contact with. It also doesn’t tell us what the gifts are that Steinbach received.
Steinbach’s is now the latest in a number of scandals that the FBI has faced in recent years. This has been hurting the agency’s image, particularly in the eyes of the public. Also, there is little in the way of signs to suggest that the agency is doing anything to restore its image.