(Ken Silva, Headline USA) FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate said Tuesday that unmasking the informant who levied bribery allegations against President Joe Biden is a “question of life and death”—confirming earlier reports that the informant could be killed if his or her identity is made public.
Abbate’s disclosure came at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, where Sen. Marsha Blackburn R-Tenn., was pressuring him about why the FBI redacted information from the informant’s FD-1023 file, which purportedly details information about Biden receiving a $5 million bribe from a foreign national.
Blackburn wanted to know specifically why the FBI redacted references to recordings of phone calls between the foreign national, Joe Biden and Hunter Biden. Information about these recordings was revealed Monday by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who has read an unredacted copy of the FD-1023 file.
Abbate pled ignorance about the recordings. He said information was redacted from the document presented to Congress to protect the FBI’s source.
“I have no idea if there are voice recordings or not,” Abbate told Blackburn. “The document was redacted to protect the source. This is a question of life and death, potentially.”
Abbate’s comments come on the heels of Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., making similar comments about the informant after receiving a briefing from the FBI. Luna, who sits on the House Oversight Committee, said last week that the FBI is purportedly worried that its highly placed confidential source might be killed if that person’s identity is revealed.
Following Abbate’s statement on Tuesday, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., asked him for a copy of the FD-1023 file. Despite this document being unclassified, Abatte demurred.
“The document, as you know, contains sensitive information that has bearing on the source’s life, potentially,” he said, reiterating his concern for the informant’s life.
Abbate said redacting the source’s name could still reveal that person’s identity. He did say he’d take Hawley’s request back to the bureau for consideration.
The Senate’s interest in the FD-1023 file follows threats from House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., to charge Wray with contempt of Congress due to his previous reluctance to release the informant file. Ultimately, Wray reached an agreement with Comer to allow all members of the House Oversight Committee to review the file in exchange for withdrawing the charges, which had not been filed.
Comer and Grassley first learned of the file from a whistleblower who raised the concerns about the DOJ’s failure to investigative the alleged multi-million dollar bribery scheme involving Biden during his time as vice president during the Obama administration.
Grassley maintains that the release of the file is crucial, stating, “Getting a full and complete 1023 is critical for the American people to know and understand the true nature of the document and to hold the FBI and the Justice Department accountable.”
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.