John Podesta Writes Scathing Op-Ed in WaPo: ‘Something Is Deeply Broken at the FBI’
John Podesta, the chief architect of the Hillary Clinton campaign whose hacked emails were released daily by WikiLeaks in the run up to the presidential election wrote an opinion column for The Washington Post Thursday night calling into question the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Podesta’s piece comes in the wake of reports that the U.S. intelligence community has “high confidence” that a Russian agency hacked emails in an effort of cyber warfare to give a distinct advantage to Donald Trump in the election. The former campaign chair called out the FBI’s “failure to adequately respond,” to the Russian threat, even though it was reported on before the election.
Podesta slammed what he referred to as a “baffling decision” by the FBI cyber division not to more vigorously investigate Russia’a involvement. He writes:
As the former chair of the Clinton campaign and a direct target of Russian hacking, I understand just how serious this is. So I was surprised to read in the New York Times that when the FBI discovered the Russian attack in September 2015, it failed to send even a single agent to warn senior Democratic National Committee officials. Instead, messages were left with the DNC IT “help desk.” As a former head of the FBI cyber division told the Times, this is a baffling decision: “We are not talking about an office that is in the middle of the woods of Montana.”
Podesta called it both “downright infuriating.” He continued, “Comparing the FBI’s massive response to the overblown email scandal with the seemingly lackadaisical response to the very real Russian plot to subvert a national election shows that something is deeply broken at the FBI.”
In the weeks since Donald Trump’s surprise upset victory over Hillary Clinton in the general election, Podesta and the rest of Clinton’s staff have remained largely quiet, dealing with the reality of a botched campaign effort that trudged anemically across the finish line in its final weeks. While the Clinton camp batted down headline after headline that emerged from Podesta’s stolen emails, the work — and potential allegiance — of the FBI and its director James Comey came into sharp focus.
Comey officially closed the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server back in July, announcing that he would not be recommending charges to the State Department for the former Secretary of State’s “extremely careless” handling of classified information. However, in a bombshell move just weeks before the election, Comey reopened the case on October 28th; even more suspiciously in the opinions of many, he closed it yet again — announcing “Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton — just two days before the election.
Podesta called out Comey’s breaking of “long-establish precedent” in his decision to reopen the email investigation while the threats of Russian interference were becoming abundantly clear. Podesta continues:
There are now reports that Vladimir Putin personally directed the covert campaign to elect Trump. So are teams of FBI agents busy looking into the reported meeting in Moscow this summer between Carter Page, a Trump foreign policy adviser, and the Putin aide in charge of Russian intelligence on the U.S. election? What about evidence that Roger Stone was in contact with WikiLeaks and knew in advance that my hacked emails were about to be leaked? Are thousands of FBI person-hours being devoted to uncovering Trump’s tangled web of debts and business deals with foreign entities in Russia and elsewhere?
Podesta called on the Obama administration to act immediately to declassify any known information about Russian interference, also noting that members of the electoral college should be briefed in full before their official vote on Monday.
He writes, “The election is over and the damage is done, but the threat from Russia and other potential aggressors remains urgent and demands a serious and sustained response.” Podesta concludes, “What’s broken in the FBI must be fixed and quickly.”
Read John Podesta’s full op-ed in The Washington Post here.
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