UPDATE: The FBI is disputing claims that the bureau leaked information to news media and then used those same stories in their applications to obtain a warrant to surveil members of the Trump campaign throughout the 2016 election.
An earlier version of a story published by the Daily Caller News Foundation reported that FBI Special Agent Jonathan Moffa told members of the House Judiciary and House Oversight Committees in a closed-door session on Friday that “the FBI/DOJ have previously leaked info to the press and then used stories from the press as justifications for FISA warrants.”
The FBI has disputed this account of Moffa’s testimony, saying that it’s “not true,” an FBI official said.
After pushback from the FBI, the DCNF has reported that the source said there was “‘internal miscommunication’ regarding statements of Moffa’s testimony.”
I've been hammering on media inaccuracies lately, so it's only fair that I hold my own work accountable. The FBI is strongly disputing this story. My source is now citing a "miscommunication" regarding FBI agent's testimony about FBI leaks and FISAs. https://t.co/dVTdFwAwmz
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) August 28, 2018
“Moffa’s admission that the FBI regularly uses media reports to corroborate their own work products is a huge admission given what we know about the FBI’s incredible culture of leaking for their own purposes,” the source said, according to the DCNF. “He never explicitly said: ‘we use our own leaks.’ Frankly, he doesn’t have to.”
On Monday, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina) tweeted that members of Congress had learned that in an effort to get a warrant to clandestinely surveil Trump’s campaign associates, the DOJ and FBI used news stories filled with information they themselves had leaked to these news outlets to obtain a warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
We've learned NEW information suggesting our suspicions are true: FBI/DOJ have previously leaked info to the press, and then used those same press stories as a separate source to justify FISA's
Unreal. Tomorrow's Bruce Ohr interview is even more critical. Did he ever do this?
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) August 28, 2018
In a statement provided to the DCNF, Meadows clarified this tweet.
“Jonathan Moffa made it clear to the committee the FBI routinely uses media reports to corroborate analytic work product,” he said. “We have emails and texts plainly showing the FBI leaks to the media, raising major red flags. If FBI executives want the American people to believe they haven’t used leaks to their advantage, they are not being honest.”
The warrant applications themselves, which were released, albeit heavily redacted, last month, revealed that the FBI used a Yahoo News article about Trump campaign associate Carter Page’s trip to Moscow in July 2016. This article contained information that Steele leaked to that reporter himself, according to the reporter who wrote the aforementioned article, though the FBI has maintained that Steele was not the source.
In a closed-door session of the House Oversight Committee today, members of Congress are interviewing Bruce Ohr, former associate deputy attorney general under then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates who was demoted after he peddled information from Christopher Steele, author of the infamous Steele dossier, to the DOJ long after the FBI had dropped the later as a source.