The FBI’s Michael Steinbach had numerous contacts with the media: Watchdog

A former senior FBI official who allegedly oversaw several high-profile investigations leading up to the 2016 election, including an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server, had dozens of unauthorized contacts with members of the media before resigning. Were Justice Department official watchdog.

Michael Steinbach, the former acting director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, held 27 private meetings with reporters from 2014 to 2017 and attended two black tie dinners as a reporter’s guest in Washington, according to the DOJ’s office. Also attended. Retrieved from Inspector General of The Post.

The OIG report, obtained through a request for a Freedom of Information Act, states that Stanbach was “summoning” a reporter from an unspecified outlet for a dinner for White House reporters in 2015. Yes, that night he participated in radio and television. Correspondents’ dinner

“Many of [redacted] Reporter branches here may have to be pulled out! “Stanbach wrote to an anonymous reporter in a text message on the night of the 2015 dinner.

Stanbach allegedly oversaw the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server.
AFP / Getty Images

“Absolutely not !!! But curious to know who you have met so far?” The reporter replied, adding: “Well they will never be as good as me! And you don’t get a big head! ؛) “

“But they are promising a dinner for WH correspondents,” Steinbach replied.

A year later, Stanbach attended a White House correspondents’ dinner and a reception party as a reporter’s guest – and took pride in a text written to an anonymous CNN reporter.

“I put you on the map and now you are cheating on me. [redacted]A CNN reporter wrote in a text message to Stanbach.

“I’ve been waiting for your invitation,” Steinbach replied.

Following the $ 300 ticket event, Steinbach sent an e-mail to a reporter entitled “Great Night,” which included a photo of an unidentified man standing with a journalist in front of a White House reporters’ banner.

“Thanks for hanging out with us last night [redacted] And I had a great time. And thanks for giving us a lift. She was good. I know this has happened. [sic] Very busy year but when it slows down and as the weather gets better, we’d love to catch up. [sic] Or drink with you and [redacted] Either in the city or at our house, “the e-mail read.

In addition to dinner, Steinbach had numerous lunches with reporters in Washington from 2014 to 2017, including at Asia Nine, Del Fresco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, Elephant & Castle, and O’Malley Cocaine in Mexico.

“The OIG notes that it was unable to determine who paid for the drinks or meals during these social engagements,” the report said.

As part of the investigation, the inspector general’s office interviewed a “senior FBI official” regarding media liaison policies.

The official told investigators that Steinbach had told him that the then-director, James Comey, was “trying to change the way the FBI treats the media.”

“I think Director Kami, more than any other director I’ve heard, fully understands the notion that we are as good as our ability to listen to information with people,” the senior official said. The report says.

“And when you pull out your credentials, it has to mean something. And the only way to do that is to trust. And the only way to gain trust is in good faith and the media is part of it, right?” .

Steinbach, who did not respond to a request for comment, resigned from the FBI in February 2017 and refused to be interviewed in the OIG investigation.

The report notes that Watchdog concluded that Steinbach had violated federal regulations and FBI protocol and that its findings would be passed on to the FBI.

“The prosecution was denied,” the report adds.