An FBI special agent told Congress earlier in August that the bureau has used leaked news stories as justifications to obtain surveillance warrants against American citizens, a source familiar with the testimony tells The Daily Caller News Foundation.
During a closed-door interview with the House Judiciary and House Oversight Committees on Friday, Special Agent Jonathan Moffa told congressional investigators that the FBI and Justice Department have leaked stories to the press and then used them to obtain warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
“He more or less admitted that the FBI/DOJ have previously leaked info to the press and then used stories from the press as justifications for FISA warrants,” a source who took part in Moffa’s interview told TheDCNF.
North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows referred to Moffa’s comments in a tweet on Monday night.
“We’ve learned NEW information suggesting our suspicions are true: FBI/DOJ have previously leaked info to the press, and then used those same press stories as a separate source to justify FISA’s Unreal,” wrote Meadows, a member of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee.
“Tomorrow’s Bruce Ohr interview is even more critical. Did he ever do this?” he added.
We’ve learned NEW information suggesting our suspicions are true: FBI/DOJ have previously leaked info to the press, and then used those same press stories as a separate source to justify FISA’s
Unreal. Tomorrow’s Bruce Ohr interview is even more critical. Did he ever do this?
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) August 28, 2018
The FBI did not respond to a request for comment about Moffa’s congressional testimony.
On Tuesday, the Oversight Committee and House Judiciary Committee will interview Ohr, a Justice Department official who was in close contact with dossier author Christopher Steele.
Ohr’s wife also worked for the opposition research firm that hired Steele to produce the dossier. Ohr was also in contact with Glenn Simpson, the founder of the research firm, Fusion GPS.
Moffa worked closely on the Clinton email investigation with Peter Strzok, the former deputy chief of FBI’s counterintelligence division who was recently fired for sending anti-Trump text messages. Strzok and Moffa took part in the July 2, 2016 interview with Clinton about her use of a private email server to exchange classified emails.
Strzok would go on to oversee the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government. Moffa did not work on the Trump-Russia probe.
House Republicans have led an intense investigation into possible FISA abuse by the FBI. The FBI relied heavily on the Steele dossier to obtain four FISA warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Republicans have noted that the dossier was cited despite being unverified. Steele, a former MI6 officer, claimed in the dossier that Page met secretly with Kremlin insiders during a July 2016 trip to Moscow. Steele also accuses Page of being the Trump campaign’s conduit to the Russian government for purposes of collusion.
Page has vehemently denied the allegations.
In its applications for the FISA warrants on Page, the FBI cited an article published on Sept. 23, 2016 by Yahoo! News that relied heavily on Steele as a source. The FBI did not acknowledge that Steele was a source for the article, which was written by Michael Isikoff.
There is no indication that the FBI provided information to Isikoff. The veteran reporter cited a congressional official as a source, as well as a “senior U.S. law enforcement official” who said that the allegations against Page were “on our radar screen.”
The official said that Page’s contacts with Russians were “being looked at.”
Steele revealed in a court filing in London in 2017 that he briefed several reporters prior to the campaign, including from Yahoo!, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker and Mother Jones.
The FBI said in its applications that investigators did not believe that Steele was a direct source for the Yahoo! report.