On Thursday, an analysis from The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel on the latest developments in the Justice Department’s decision to allow House Intelligence Committee members to view classified information about “a top-secret intelligence source” in the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign revealed that the FBI may have spied on the campaign more than previously thought.
Strassel began by highlighting remarks House Speaker Paul Ryan made in a press conference on Thursday about House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’ demand to see more information about the FBI’s top-secret source.
“I think this request is wholly appropriate and is completely within the scope of the investigation that has been ongoing for a while with respect to [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act],” Ryan said. “I actually think this is something that should have been answered a while ago.”
Strassel noted that this suggests that the DOJ “knew full well it should have turned this material over to congressional investigators last year, but instead deliberately concealed it.”
The most important part of Strassel’s analysis was where she dissected a recent report from The Washington Post about the FBI’s top-secret source. Strassel writes:
The bureau already has some explaining to do. Thanks to the Washington Post’s unnamed law-enforcement leakers, we know Mr. Nunes’s request deals with a “top secret intelligence source” of the FBI and CIA, who is a U.S. citizen and who was involved in the Russia collusion probe. When government agencies refer to sources, they mean people who appear to be average citizens but use their profession or contacts to spy for the agency. Ergo, we might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign.
This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting. It would also be a major escalation from the electronic surveillance we already knew about, which was bad enough.
Strassel also notes that the timeline of events is critical because the FBI has insisted that a tip in July 2016 from a Clinton-connected Australian diplomat on Trump campaign volunteer George Papadopoulos is what led to its counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign.
Strassel continues by noting the different stonewalling tactics the DOJ has used to prevent the information from coming out “strongly suggests that whatever is in these files is going to prove very uncomfortable to the FBI.”
Strassel’s analysis falls in line with comments made this week by CNN law enforcement analyst and retired FBI supervisory special agent James A. Gagliano.
Gagliano tweeted: “Sources with knowledge of the impending DOJ Inspector General Report confirm that it will be a fairly damning indictment of FBI’s seventh floor during the Comey era. ‘It’s worse than expected,’ seems to be the consistent theme …”