Wednesday, June 19, 2024

George Santos Case Proves that FBI Uses Informants to Infiltrate Congress

'The FBI was actively looking for someone close to the congressman so they could infiltrate him and try to get information from within his inner circle...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USAOn Feb. 2, Headline USA published an article titled, “Does the FBI Have Spies in Congress?

At that same time, the FBI was actively attempting to infiltrate the office of embattled Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., according to information that has been released in the wake of the DOJ announcing a slew of charges against Santos.

The information comes from former Santos staffer and “journalist” Derek Myers, who left his role with the congressman and filed a sexual-harassment complaint against him in February. Myers told NewsNation’s Chris Cuomo on Tuesday that the FBI had approached him to inform against Santos while he was still working for the congressman.

“When I was working for the congressman as a legislative aide, I was approached by the FBI about infiltrating the congressman,” Myers said. “The FBI was actively looking for someone close to the congressman so they could infiltrate him and try to get information from within his inner circle.”

Myers’s information seemed to take Cuomo by surprised. The news host asked Myers if he considered the FBI’s actions against Santos to be appropriate.

“I think they were looking for a human asset—someone close to the congressman who could feed them information, somebody within his inner circle,” Myers responded. “It’s not inappropriate for them to do that. They do that quite often.”

Indeed, as Headline USA has reported, the FBI has a program devoted to embed informants in the media, congressional offices, churches, defense teams and other “sensitive” institutions.

This program was discovered by Utah attorney Jesse Trentadue in 2011, while prepping for a separate lawsuit. His friend and fellow investigator, Roger Charles, had discovered an FBI memo showing that a journalist at ABC News was also doubling as a federal informant.

While Trentadue and Charles’s discovery moved through the news cycle quickly with little impact, it prompted Trentadue to file records requests with the FBI to see if the bureau had other informants in the media, as well as places such as congressional offices, courts, churches, other government agencies and even the White House.

“I thought they’d come back and say, ‘We would never do that because that would be illegal and unconstitutional,’” he said. “Instead, they came back and said, ‘Yeah, we do that. We have manuals on that, but you can’t have them because of national security.’”

Trentadue filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit over the matter in 2012, seeking unredacted copies of the FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, the FBI Confidential Human Source Validation Standards Manual, the FBI Confidential Human Source Policy Manual and the FBI Confidential Human Source Policy Implementation Guide.

After about two years of litigation, the presiding judge in Trentadue’s lawsuit said the FBI could keep the manuals secret.

The judge noted that government agencies are “entitled to considerable deference” when they exercise national security or law enforcement exemptions—unless there’s evidence of bad faith by government actors. Then, he said, the courts have no power to make government agencies disclose secret information.

The judge ordered the case closed on June 9, 2015.

While some might defend the FBI’s sensitive informant program as necessary for national security or for investigating allegedly corrupt politicians such as Santos, Trentadue said the records he’s uncovered show that the bureau has far overstepped its boundaries.

“This isn’t the case of the FBI investigating corruption,” Trentadue said. “The bureau is recruiting spies in an effort to infiltrate and influence.”

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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