While James Comey continues to defend his leadership of the FBI and what some say are politically biased actions of the agency in protecting Hillary Clinton, a curious episode has now been revealed. The FBI “lost” notes from a 2015 meeting with people from the office of the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG).
That’s according to newly released FBI records on the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s alleged mishandling of classified information.
The news raises concern that some information about an explosive lead passed by the ICIG to the FBI now might be lost.
The lost notes memorialized a meeting that took place on Aug. 3, 2015, less than a month after the ICIG made a referral to the FBI that classified information may have been disclosed in an unauthorized manner to a foreign power because Clinton conducted State Department business through an email hosted on an insufficiently secured server in her basement.
The ICIG-FBI meetings hold special significance because it was allegedly several of these meetings where the ICIG officials passed a lead to the FBI about anomalies in the metadata of the emails indicating that a copy of nearly every email was sent to an agent of a foreign power.
Several lawmakers, as well as the Justice Department’s Inspector General, publicly confirmed that then-ICIG Charles McCullough told them about the metadata anomalies and that the lead was communicated to the FBI.
The FBI acknowledged that Clinton’s emails could have been breached by foreign actors who covered their tracks, but denied that any evidence of foreign infiltration was found. Several current and former senior FBI officials involved in the Clinton case denied in congressional testimonies any recollection of receiving the metadata lead.
Based on documents from a tranche released by the FBI around May 6, special agents from the FBI’s Washington field office were going through materials from the Clinton investigation so they could be released pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. On Feb. 4, they tried to find the ICIG meeting notes, which should have been in the case file based on information in the FBI’s electronic case management system. But the notes weren’t there.
An intelligence analyst who was previously assigned to the Clinton case reached out to the FBI staffer who originally wrote the notes.
“I know this is a shot in the dark, but do you still have the meeting notes that you wrote up concerning an 8/3/2015 MRE meeting at FBIHQ? I think [redacted] correct me if I’m wrong) that this meeting was with the ICIG, if that helps matters,” the analyst wrote in a Feb. 5 email, also saying the notes “never made it to the file.”
“I actually remember turning over my original notes for the file for this (it was right at the beginning of the case),” the staffer replied. “I gave them to [redacted] who was running the file then.”
All names have been redacted in the communications. The email indicates, however, that the staffer is now with the FBI’s Office of the Chief Information Officer, which manages IT services for the bureau.
The notes could shed light on those involved in the transaction which funneled over $100 million into the Clinton Foundation after the sale of US uranium to the Russian government. In addition, the lost information may cover other illegal activities during Clinton’s time as secretary of state and her campaigns’s alleged collusion with foreign governments in producing the fake “dossier” about candidate Trump.