Ex-FBI agent on the Russia probe sees ‘troubling’ signs it fell short on the Trump campaign's ‘counterintelligence nightmare’

Ex-FBI agent on the Russia probe sees ‘troubling’ signs it fell short on the Trump campaign's ‘counterintelligence nightmare’
CBS News screenshot

This week, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its bipartisan report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Former FBI agent Peter Strzok has analyzed the SSCI report in a Twitter thread, stressing that it paints a damning picture of President Donald Trump and his allies. And according to Strzok, the FBI could have done more to address the “counterintelligence nightmare” of Trump’s campaign.

Strzok, author of the book “Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump,” opens his thread by tweeting that the SSCI report and each “signatory” — including Republican senators — “conclusively debunk” Attorney General William Barr’s “mendacious assertions that the FBI’s investigations” of Russian election interference in 2016 “were based on ‘a very thin, slender reed,’ which ‘should have been obvious to anyone, that there was nothing there.’”

The former FBI agent explains: “These senators describe at enormous length the counterintelligence nightmare we at the FBI confronted in the [Trump] campaign in 2016. In so doing, they validate the premise.”

The SSCI, in its report, was critical of some of the methods the FBI used in its Russia investigation. But the report, Strzok points out, emphasizes that the premise of the investigation was totally legitimate.

“While criticizing some of the FBI’s investigation,” Strzok tweets, “the report overwhelmingly verifies on a bipartisan basis that this was no witch hunt; it was not, as Barr has called it, ‘political spying’; and it was in no sense a hoax.”

Trump has slammed the Russia investigation as the “Russia hoax” — a characterization that Strzok vehemently disagrees with. Strzok has, of course, come under personal attack by the president and others because private text messages between him and another FBI employee revealed their deep disdain for Trump as a candidate. He was removed from the case after these messages were uncovered.

But he argued in the Twitter thread that the SSCI report “makes clear” that the counterintelligence concerns of the investigation “were significant and pervasive.”

Strzok goes on to say that the report raises a “troubling question: whether the FBI did enough to understand Russia’s actions and whether ongoing efforts have been chilled or even quashed in a climate in which the attorney general is denying the premise that investigation was even warranted.”

Strzok tweets, “As Trump RTs @GovernmentRF propaganda and suggests meeting @KremlinRussia_E before the election, it begs one last question: whether the USIC is now positioned to understand the dire consequences of a president whose behavior poses a mountain of still-unanswered CI concerns.”

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