A meeting last year between then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton triggered a hunt within the FBI for a source who talked to a reporter about the controversial encounter, newly released government emails show.
The emails, released by the watchdog group, Judicial Watch, show that FBI agents in the bureau’s security division were miffed about an article that appeared in the New York Observer detailing the logistics of how Lynch and Clinton came to meet on the tarmac at Phoenix’s airport on June 27, 2016.
The FBI had initially told Judicial Watch that it did not have documents related to the Lynch-Clinton meeting.
Lynch was heavily criticized for the meeting because she was overseeing the federal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information on her private email server at the time .
Lynch insisted that she and the former president did not discuss the email investigation, but the Obama appointee nonetheless agreed to remove herself from the probe.
The internal FBI emails show that an FBI official in the security division was forwarded the Observer article on July 2, 2016, the same day that Hillary Clinton was interviewed by FBI agents.
The emails show that FBI agents believed that the source for the article was a Phoenix police officer who helped Lynch and Clinton’s motorcades.
“Needless to say that I have contacted the Phoenix office and will contact the local’s [sic] who assisted in an attempt to stem any further damage. This is exactly why our Discretion and Judgement are the foundation’ of the AG’s trust in our team, which is why we can never violate that trust, like the source did in this article,” wrote one FBI security division agent.
Other emails show frustration within the FBI over the article, which asserted that Clinton waited on the airport tarmac for Lynch to arrive at the Phoenix airport.
“We need to find that guy and bring him or her before a supervisor,” read one email.
“Hopefully we will find out and at the very minimum, make sure he never works on any detail,”
One agent asked if “there will be a need for non-disclosure agreements in the future?”
“That might not be a band idea, given the circumstances,” the official responded.
“Unfortunately, this article is a breach of security protocol and I am addressing it with the Phoenix division to make to make certain that they pursuit [sic] this and identify the source of the breach,” the security division official wrote.
Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, responded to the new emails, saying that “these new FBI documents show the FBI was more concerned about a whistleblower who told the truth about the infamous Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting than the scandalous meeting itself.”