In a damning report released Tuesday, Special Counsel John Durham reveals that the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Operation Crossfire Hurricane, was marred by the mishandling of a major memo outlining U.S. intelligence that Hillary Clinton may have hatched a plan to frame Donald Trump.
The memo, sent from the CIA to lead agent Peter Strzok, reportedly contained information that had been so important that then-CIA Director James Brennan had briefed President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and FBI Director James Comey about it in the Situation Room.
Yet, not a single FBI employee could recall seeing it or doing anything with the information, according to the report. This included the “original Supervisory Special Agent on the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, Supervisory Special Agent-1” who, after reading the memo, became visibly upset and emotional. He “expressed a sense of betrayal that no one had informed him of the intelligence,” Durham wrote.
The report also reveals that the FBI team regularly questioned why they were being pushed aggressively to investigate something that seemed so weak. They were also reportedly “shocked” when they were directed to not document any recommendations, context, or analysis in the memorandum they were preparing.
Moreover, the dossier at the heart of the investigation went missing for 75 days between when it was received in London and when it made its way to Crossfire Hurricane investigators. Instead of using that time to validate its authenticity, it was dropped on their lap and they were told to quickly use it to get spy warrants.
Even more disturbing is that the FBI refused to interview some of the people who could have quickly gotten to the bottom of the matter, such as Christopher Dolan, George Papadopoulos, and Carter Page.
“The FBI’s handling of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation has been called into question,” said Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). “The findings of this report are deeply concerning and demonstrate a need for reform.”
“This report confirms what we have long suspected: that the FBI’s investigation was mishandled and potentially politically motivated,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). “It is imperative that the FBI is held accountable for its actions.”
“The FBI’s mishandling of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation is unacceptable and must be addressed,” said Attorney General William Barr. “The American people deserve to have confidence in their law enforcement institutions.”