U.S. officials say a months-long FBI counterintelligence investigation into Russian attempts to manipulate the U.S. election, did not bring up enough evidence to charge anyone criminally, according to a report from Circa.
Agents who investigated claims of computer server activity tied to Russia and then President-elect-Trump’s businesses in New York’s Trump Tower came to the conclusion that no disreputable contacts, financial transactions or encrypted communications occurred with the Russians, according to Circa.
Those in the intelligence community who spoke to the outlet appeared to be frustrated over the representation in the media of their investigation of Russia’s activities.
“We have people spouting off who don’t know the difference between FISA surveillance and a wiretap or a counterintelligence probe versus a special prosecutor criminal case, and it has hurts our ability to get to the truth and has wrongly created the impression that intelligence officials have a political agenda,” said one source directly familiar with the situation.
According to the report, a number of sources claimed the FBI wanted to investigate Russia’s influence peddling in the 2016 election as a result of past investigations into the nation’s spying in the U.S.
More importantly, Circa’s report stresses that Americans routinely are incidentally intercepted when the FBI monitors foreign individuals like Russian embassy officials. Then-soon-to be National Security Adviser General Michael Flynn was an American who was incidentally intercepted during his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
A warrant was not necessary to review his conversations because it was a national security matter and Flynn had a security clearance, sources told Circa.
The calls and text messages from last December to the ambassador were essentially holiday wishes and condolences for tragedies that had happened in Russia at the time. Another conversation, via text message about talking on the phone, was about sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama administration in late December.
“But the message the American official gave was mostly that a new sheriff was about to take over the White House and Russians shouldn’t react to the new sanctions in a way that would foreclose better dialog in the future under a Trump administration, sources said,” Circa reported.
Who leaked Flynn’s name to the media? The leaks began in January after President Barack Obama changed a long time executive order that enabled information intercepted from FISA warrants or by the National Security Agency to be pooled out to 16 other federal agencies
Such sensitive information is normally given to eight top leaders in Congress, who are regularly briefed by the intelligence community about classified matters. But after president Obama changed the executive order before he left office, a massive number of staff throughout the government had access to the information.