Jonathan Moffa, an FBI special agent, admitted to Congress his agency leaks stories to the news media, then uses the resulting stories to back up assertions in warrant applications, according to a series of reports Tuesday.
Moffa, who worked alongside fired anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok on the Hillary Clinton email and “Russia” investigations, testified last Friday at closed door sessions of the House Judiciary and House Oversight Committees. A source with knowledge of those proceedings was quoted by the Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) late Monday, claiming Moffa had admitted to representatives that the FBI uses the controversial practice, long-suspected of playing a role in obtaining Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against one-time Trump aide Carter Page.
“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,” the source told DCNF’s Chuck Ross.
The admission was then the subject of second report by Fox News, which quotes a source saying Moffa admitted the leak-and-reuse tactic at least “had been a practice in the past.”
It is not clear from either report if the DCNF and Fox News are relying on the same source.
According to Fox News, Moffa was a topic of more than one of Lisa Page and Peter Strzok’s now infamous texts during the waning days of the Obama administration.
House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) released a memo in February containing the bombshell revelation that the FBI had used a September 2016 Yahoo! News article as evidence to convince the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to allow them to wiretap and monitor Page. The FBI’s warrant application suggest’s Yahoo! writer Michael Isikoff’s article corroborates former British spy Christopher Steele’s infamous “dossier” on Trump and his associates, funded by Never Trump billionaire Paul Singer, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and the Democratic National Committee. The dossier contains not only allegations of ties between Trump’s circles and Russian intelligence, but graphic descriptions of deviant practices by Trump in a Russian hotel. Former FBI director James Comey famously labeled the dossier “salacious and unverified.”
But rather than the Yahoo! article providing verification, it became clear with the Nunes Memo that the article had exactly the same source as the dossier itself: Chrisopher Steele.
With Moffa’s reported admissions, it becomes increasingly unlikely the FBI was unaware of this circular sourcing and suggests the Bureau itself may have been involved in the attempt to make the contents of an unverified dossier funded by Donald Trump’s political opponents look like independently reported evidence.
These revelations intensify the political situation surrounding once-senior (now demoted) Justice Department official Bruce Ohr’s testimony before one of the same committees before which Moffa appeared last week. Ohr was scheduled to speak just hours after these reports dropped. His wife, Nellie Ohr, is a senior official at Fusion GPS, the same opposition research firm from which the Steele dossier originates.
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) immediately seized on what he saw as a significant development on the eve of Ohr’s testimony on Fox News and on Twitter:
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 now-fired Strzok’s testimony suggested Ohr was possibly the official who introduced his wife’s firm’s dossier to the FBI’s investigation. Ohr was demoted to a human resources position at DOJ from his role as associate deputy attorney general after the controversy over his involvement began to be investigated last year. President Donald Trump has continued to call for his complete dismissal.