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FBI Official Who Worked on Russia Probe Maintained Inappropriate Media Ties

'Comey's approach entailed proactively trying to find media sources that the FBI could trust to get stories right and to protect the brand of the FBI... '

(Tony Sifert, Headline USA) A former FBI senior official has come under fire for developing unseemly relationships with hundreds of media contacts during his time as head of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division and as executive assistant director of the FBI’s National Security Branch.

FOIA requests made by several media organs identified the recently retired Michael Steinbach as “the Senior FBI Official had numerous unauthorized contacts with the media from 2014 through 2016,” whose conduct was “in violation of FBI policy” according to Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

Politico reported that Steinbach played a major role in overseeing both the 2016 investigations into both Hillary Clinton‘s private email server and President Donald Trump’s alleged “collusion” with Russia.

According to the executive summary of Horowitz’s 2018 report, which did not name Steinbach, the official was also accused of accepting tickets from media members to “black tie events” like the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and of retiring before he could be investigated.

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“The Senior FBI Official retired from the FBI prior to being contacted by the OIG for an interview,” Horowitz wrote. “When later contacted by the OIG for a voluntary interview, the Senior FBI Official declined to be interviewed.”

Outlets like Politico, the New York Post, and the Washington Free Beacon were able to identify Steinbach after the FOIA-required release of a more recent, though redacted, report, which named the official.

An anonymous official told Politico that Steinbach was likely acting under the authority of infamous FBI director James Comey, who allegedly encouraged senior officials to cultivate relationships with the media in order to manipulate the narrative.

“Comey’s approach entailed proactively trying to find media sources that the FBI could trust to get stories right and to protect the brand of the FBI,” the anonymous official said.

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Several of the exchanges between Steinbach and Washington journalists reveal the grotesquely flirtatious nature of the relationship between the deep state and its enablers in the media.

“I put you on the map and now you’re cheating on me with,” a CNN reporter wrote to Steinbach after the FBI official attended an event with another reporter.

“I kept waiting for my invite from you,” Steinbach replied.

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