The Justice Department inspector general could not find evidence that FBI employees leaked non-public information to Rudy Giuliani about the Hillary Clinton email investigation in the lead-up to the 2016 election, according to a new report.
Details of Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s review of the Giuliani leak allegations were revealed Thursday with a report on unauthorized FBI media contacts about that and other investigations related to the 2016 campaign.
The inspector general’s office interviewed Giuliani, as well as four FBI employees identified by the FBI as having potentially been in contact with the Donald Trump ally. Giuliani, in public comments that October, seemed to preview then-FBI Director James Comey’s decision to reopen the investigation before the election. Giuliani at the time said he had heard the “rumors” from “former agents, and even from a few active agents.”
According to the new report, Giuliani, in his interview with the inspector general, denied receiving directly or indirectly information about the Clinton investigation. He told the inspector general he had not been in contact with any active FBI agents that month, claiming that his use of “active” in those 2016 public comments referred to retired agents still doing security.
The four FBI employees meanwhile also denied being in contact with Giuliani. When the inspector general further reviewed information from their FBI phones, the office found that those agents had been in contact with numbers that were not “specific to Giuliani.”
“Accordingly, the purported investigative leads provided by the FBI based on alleged FBI employee contacts with Giuliani were inaccurate,” the inspector general report said.
The review of unauthorized leaks to the media during the 2016 campaign is a follow up to the inspector general’s 2018 report on the Justice Department’s handling of the Hillary Clinton and Trump-Russia investigations in 2016.
The Thursday inspector general report said the office was unable to identify the “source(s) of the alleged unauthorized disclosures of non-public information described in the 2016 pre-election report.” The new report said that the “number of employees in communication with these reporters still remained substantial, making it exceedingly difficult, absent an admission, to determine whether any of these FBI employees had in fact disclosed non-public information.”
Still, the inspector general is recommending that six FBI agents be subject to further scrutiny and, potentially, disciplinary action for their alleged contact with the media in the lead-up to the 2016 election.
The latest report said that the inspector general’s office interviewed more than 50 current and former FBI employees who had been identified as having been in contact with the reporters who wrote relevant media stories about politically sensitive FBI investigations, including its investigations into Clinton’s email server and the Clinton Foundation.
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