Another longtime FBI official quits today. According to Fox News Catherine Herridge reporting, FBI Asst. Director Michael Kortan (aka text message “Mike”), the head of the FBI Public Affairs Office, has announced he is retiring.
Mike Kortan was previously exposed by FBI Agent Peter Strozok as having specific information that the investigation into Hillary Clinton was manipulated by the “small group”. “Mike’s” job was to sell the ruse as a valid investigation.
WASHINGTON – The longtime head of public affairs at the FBI — who was a confidant of former director James Comey — is planning to retire, Fox News has learned.
A notice went out this week for a retirement get-together for Michael Kortan scheduled for Feb. 15. Since 2009, Kortan has served as assistant director for public affairs, an influential job that controlled media access. He also served under former director Robert Mueller, now leading the Russia probe.
The FBI confirmed to Fox News that Kortan is retiring.
It’s unclear whether the retirement was long-planned or in any way precipitated by recent events. The FBI emphasized he was finishing 33 years of service. (read more)
Boy-o-boy this prior Peter Strzok tweet, as read by Bob Goodlatte on January 25th, is striking a nerve:
“Jim”, aka James Baker (FBI Chief Legal Counsel) was removed in January.
“Mike” aka Michael Kortan (FBI Asst. Director Public Affairs) quits today.
“Dave” aka David Laufman (DOJ – National Security Division, Deputy Asst. Attorney General in charge of counterintelligence) quit yesterday.
“Trisha” aka Trish Beth Anderson (Office of Legal Counsel, FBI)
At first, the context behind the September 10th, 2016, message was elusive, however it is now clear.
On September 2nd, 2016, during the (pre-election) apex of the FBI providing the documents behind their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her personal email, and the subsequent decision by FBI Director James Comey not to pursue criminal charges therein, the FBI released their investigative files:
September 2nd, 2016 FBI Press Release:
“Today the FBI is releasing a summary of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s July 2, 2016 interview with the FBI concerning allegations that classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on a personal e-mail server she used during her tenure. We also are releasing a factual summary of the FBI’s investigation into this matter.
We are making these materials available to the public in the interest of transparency and in response to numerous Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Appropriate redactions have been made for classified information or other material exempt from disclosure under FOIA. Additional information related to this investigation that the FBI releases in the future will be placed on The Vault, the FBI’s electronic FOIA library.” (link)
The FBI was under pressure to release their investigative documents. On Sept 2nd, 2016 the release included the FBI investigative notes (FD-302’s) from the questions and answers during Hillary Clinton’s interview. This investigative release was big news at the time.
The 302’s are the specific FBI forms used to document interviews/interrogations. They detail questions asked and answers given as well as who was present during the interview.
Inside the September 2nd, 2016, FBI release were two files:
•One file was 47 pages (full pdf here) and includes a full summary of the Clinton email investigation.
•The second file is 11 pages (full pdf here) and is the actual FBI investigator notes during the Hillary Clinton interview.
This second file is the “FD-302” (embed at the bottom for reference). This is the 302 file FBI Agent Peter Strzok is referencing in the text message to Lisa Page. Remember, Peter Strzok was one of the FBI people who actually interviewed Hillary Clinton.
What FBI Agent Peter Strzok is admitting in the September 10th text message, is that there are details within the interview of Hillary Clinton that he (and others) intentionally withheld from the September 2nd, 2016, release.
Specifically, evidence withheld in the 302’s would be some of the FBI questions and some of the Hillary Clinton answers to those questions. In essence, the FBI held back actually releasing the full account of the interview.
According to the Strzok text message, the reason for withholding some of the details of the Hillary Clinton interview is because there are “very INFLAMMATORY things” within it; and once congress finds out what was withheld the details will “absolutely inflame” them.
Peter Strzok then goes on to say when/if the full FOIA is released, presumably post-election, Jim, Trisha, Dave and Mike are going to have to figure out how to deal with the discrepancy:
…”I’m sure Jim and Trisha and Dave and Mike are all considering how things like that will play out as they talk among themselves.”
“Jim” is likely James Baker, the Chief Legal Counsel for FBI Director James Comey.
“Trish” is likely Trisha Beth Anderson, Office of Legal Counsel for the FBI. [Anderson was hired for the DOJ, by AG Eric Holder, from Eric Holder’s law firm.]
“Dave” is likely David Laufman, National Security Division, Deputy Asst. Attorney General in charge of counterintelligence. [Sat in on Clinton interview]
and “Mike” is Michael P Kortan FBI Asst. Director, Office of Public Affairs.
So it would appear, James Baker and Trisha Anderson, the legal advisers at the top of the FBI leadership apparatus, were both aware the September 2nd, 2016, FOIA release was manipulated to conceal part of Hillary Clinton’s questions and answers.
Perhaps now we can better understand the importance of this specific text message as it was released by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte.
This message by Strzok shows a team of FBI officials intentionally conspiring to withhold “inflammatory” Clinton investigation evidence, from congress. And the decision-making goes directly to the very top leadership within the FBI.
Peter Strzok justifies his knowledge of the intentionally withheld 302 interview material by claiming: “because they weren’t relevant to understanding the focus of the investigation”. However, to evaluate the filter this investigative team are applying we only need to look at the wording of their public release which accompanied the material:
Today the FBI is releasing a summary of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s July 2, 2016 interview with the FBI concerning allegations that classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on a personal e-mail server she used during her tenure. (link)
They felt obligated only to release information about “classified” or “improperly stored or transmitted” information. That’s a rather disingenuous investigation.
There’s no mention of any FBI intent to investigate action or conduct undertaken by Hillary Clinton or her team to hide the use of classified or improperly stored information; or any intent to look at a cover-up, scrubbing, or conduct that happened AFTER it was discovered that she unlawfully used a personal e-mail server during her tenure.
We can see from the wording of the FBI public release, and the overlay of the text message from interviewer Peter Strzok, a deliberate effort to inquire into only the surface issues of classified information transmission and storage. There was no investigative intent to go beyond that, and no information released, intentionally, that might disclose any larger issues.
If the FBI was legitimately conducting an investigation, and providing the subsequent evidence from within that investigation, the FOIA would include all material relevant to the investigation, which would include all 302 (essentially Q&A) pages. However, the set of questions and answers the FBI released on Sept. 2nd 2016 was not the full set of Questions and Answers. They withheld something, likely “inflammatory”, per FBI Agent Strzok.
FBI Agent Peter Strzok is outlining in this text message a deliberate intent to shape the Clinton interview, and then a deliberative process of filtering out only those aspects of the interview that would support their pre-determined outcome, delivered only days later.
Additionally, FBI Agent Strzok is admitting that a group of FBI officials including himself, James Baker, Trisha Anderson, Lisa Page, and likely others (McCabe, Comey) conspired together to intentionally withhold information -derived from this interview- from congress and the American people.
REFERENCE and RESOURCES:
- FBI September 2nd, 2016, Press Release HERE
- FBI Investigative Outline released September 2nd, 2016, HERE
- FBI Investigators Notes (302’s) as Released Sept., 2nd, 2016, HERE
- Chairman Bob Goodlatte Interview Video – HERE
- September 2nd, 2016, CTH Article Discussing FBI Release HERE