The OIG Report os over 600 pages and I have neither the time nor the interest (my CCW class is later this morning) to read the whole thing. Andy McCarthy does have several serious columns on the topic this week.
The Ethos of Law Enforcement
It has become a refrain among defenders of the FBI and Justice Department that critics are trying to destroy these vital institutions. In point of fact, these agencies are doing yeoman’s work destroying themselves — much to the chagrin of those of us who spent much of our professional lives proudly carrying out their mission.
The problem is not the existence of miscreants; they are an inevitable part of the human condition, from which no institution of any size will ever be immune. The challenge today is the ethos of law-enforcement. You see it in texts expressing disdain for lawmakers; in the above-it-all contempt for legislative oversight; in arrogant flouting of the Gang of Eight disclosure process for sensitive intelligence (because the FBI’s top-tier unilaterally decides when Bureau activities are “too sensitive” to discuss); in rogue threats to turn the government’s law-enforcement powers against Congress; and in the imperious self-perception of a would-be fourth branch of government, insulated from and unaccountable to the others — including its actual executive-branch superiors.
I have been reading some of the OIG Report and here is an interesting section:
FBI case agents and the SSA told us, and contemporaneous emails show,
that they believed that interviewing Mills and Samuelson regarding the culling
process and searching the culling laptops were essential investigative steps.
“Culling” refers to the deleting of Clinton e-mails from her server, which were alleged to be ” personal.”
They stated that they hoped to be able to find the full 62,320 emails that were originally
reviewed by Mills and Samuelson to determine whether any additional emails—
beyond those that Clinton’s attorneys provided to the State Department and those
that the FBI found through other sources—contained classified information. They
further stated that they believed the culling process might have been flawed.
Prosecutor 1 told us that the Midyear team did not have an investigative need to interview
Samuelson concerning her time at State.
Wilkinson also represented two other witnesses, a former senior State Department official
and Jake Sullivan. According to emails we reviewed, Wilkinson agreed to provide the former senior
State Department official for an interview, but at first refused to provide Sullivan, although she
acknowledged that Sullivan never had an attorney-client relationship with Clinton. On January 14,
2016, the prosecutors prepared a memorandum requesting authorization to notify Wilkinson that the
Department was prepared to issue a grand jury subpoena for Sullivan’s testimony, as well as
authorization to issue the grand jury subpoena if Wilkinson continued to object. On January 18, 2016,
Toscas emailed Laufman approving both requests. Wilkinson ultimately agreed to provide Sullivan for
a voluntary interview, which took place on February 27, 2016.
Because their other reconstruction efforts had revealed a significant number of work
related emails to or from Clinton that had not been included in the State
Department production. Strzok told us that the FBI investigators hoped that asking
questions about the culling process and reviewing the culling laptops would help
determine why this was the case and whether there was a nefarious purpose. For
example, several FBI witnesses stated that they believed that asking questions
about the culling process might help them determine why Abedin’s emails were
underrepresented in the State IG production.
FBI witnesses told us that once Wilkinson refused to voluntarily provide her
clients for interviews and the culling laptops, they believed it was appropriate and
in the interest of efficiency to subpoena Mills and Samuelson before the grand jury
and seek a search warrant to seize the culling laptops from Wilkinson’s office. The
FBI witnesses stated that even if a judge ultimately were to quash a subpoena or
decide that there was no probable cause to issue a search warrant, it was the FBI’s
obligation to at least try to obtain what they believed to be critical potential sources
None of this happened.