FBI Official Had Unauthorized Communication With The Media, Watchdog Finds

(PresidentialWire.com)- According to a report from the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General, an FBI official overseeing the Crossfire Hurricane investigation into Trump’s supposed ties to Russia engaged in “numerous unauthorized contacts with the media.”

When serving as the FBI’s assistant counterterrorism director, Michael Steinbach had “hundreds of contacts” with reporters, exchanging text messages and phone calls, while hobnobbing with DC reporters over drinks and dining.

Steinbach’s “unauthorized contacts” continued after he was named executive assistant director of the FBI’s National Security Bureau in February 2016, including begging one reporter to give him a $300 ticket to the 2016 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

In 2017, Steinbach attended the WHCA Dinner and a reception party at the invitation of a reporter, even boasting about it in a text message to another reporter from CNN.

Steinbach was the recipient of drinks, dinners, and parties, all in the company of reporters.

From 2014 to 2017, Steinbach had multiple lunch dates with DC reporters at fancy-pants restaurants throughout the capital, including Asia Nine, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, Elephant & Castle, and Oyamel Cocina Mexicana.

According to the Inspector General’s report, it wasn’t clear who paid for the drinks and meals Steinbach enjoyed with members of the press.

A senior FBI official interviewed by the Inspect General’s Office said Steinbach claimed that former FBI Director James Comey “was trying to change the way the FBI dealt with the media.”

By having FBI officials beg for tickets to the Nerd Prom?!

The official told the IG that Comey understood more than other FBI directors “that we’re only as good as our ability to listen to information with people.” The official said it should mean something when someone from the FBI takes out his credentials, and that takes trust. The official added that the way to get that trust is to gain the goodwill of the media.

Steinbach retired from the FBI in 2017 and refused to be interviewed for the IG’s investigation.

The IG concluded that Steinbach’s cozy relationship with reporters violated both federal regulations and FBI protocols. However, the IG notes, “prosecution was declined.”