ast week there was a ripple of excitement when the personal financial records of President Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, were leaked to a number of news outlets and, seemingly, to Stormy Daniels’s mildly unhinged attorney. Unsurprisingly, they showed that Cohen had engaged in a pattern of financial transactions involving shell companies. Though the media tries to link shell company and illegal, that isn’t necessarily the case–though I’m not going to go out on a limb here and say Cohen’s were on the up-and-up. The other unsurprising thing about the leak was the leak. A lot of people, me among them, have felt that Robert Mueller deputized the office of the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York to act as his thugs in this operation. That office could raid Cohen’s home, office, and residence and leak like a sieve and Mueller would not be blamed.
The Treasury IG announced that it was beginning an investigation to determine how Cohen’s personal financial information was made available to the public.
Now we have an answer. Woody Allen’s brother-in-law, Ronan Farrow gives us an interview with the leaker.
In the days since, there has been much speculation about who leaked the confidential documents, and the Treasury Department’s inspector general has launched a probe to find the source. That source, a law-enforcement official, is speaking publicly for the first time, to The New Yorker, to explain the motivation: the official had grown alarmed after being unable to find two important reports on Cohen’s financial activity in a government database. The official, worried that the information was being withheld from law enforcement, released the remaining documents.
The report also refers to two previous suspicious-activity reports, or sars, that the bank had filed, which documented even larger flows of questionable money into Cohen’s account. Those two reports detail more than three million dollars in additional transactions—triple the amount in the report released last week. Which individuals or corporations were involved remains a mystery. But, according to the official who leaked the report, these sars were absent from the database maintained by the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or fincen. The official, who has spent a career in law enforcement, told me, “I have never seen something pulled off the system. . . . That system is a safeguard for the bank. It’s a stockpile of information. When something’s not there that should be, I immediately became concerned.” The official added, “That’s why I came forward.”
Yes, sweetie. Of course, that’s why you did it.
So, the first question you have to ask yourself is why didn’t this high minded individual take his suspicions to the prosecutor or investigator leading the probe. Does he not trust his superiors? Is he the only honest man left? Or is he just a nasty little weasel trying to damage someone whose client he opposes? Tough call.
I find this story insane. If the law enforcement official was concerned about the missing reports, he could have gone to the Treasury IG, or to Robert Mueller, or the US Attorney for the SDNY. https://t.co/wPeWk2oOtb
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) May 16, 2018
The second part of the equation is that this is an obvious cry to call off the dogs. The number of law enforcement and legal personnel with this kind of access to Cohen’s records is going to be relatively small. The net is probably drawing closed about him and he’s begging the IG to please consider the nobility of his motives.
And there is also a possibility that he’s an idiot who is in over his depth.
New statement from FinCEN spox – it does limit access to SARs in ongoing investigations pic.twitter.com/aoeAwggB34
— Aruna Viswanatha (@aviswanatha) May 17, 2018
This hints at an answer. Law enforcement had asked for some of Cohen’s records to be pulled from the system so that an investigation would not be compromised (I’m guessing Mueller’s people because we know from the Concord hearing that Mueller’s people can get access to documents that are supposed to be 100% confidential). The word didn’t get down to our Nimrod and he went off the reservation in a major way to try to save the republic.
The actions of this, as yet, unnamed person point to the same problem we’re seeing with the FBI and the Trump campaign. The organization had been corrupted and weaponized. It thought nothing of whitewashing the Clinton investigation…all of them. It, likewise, thought nothing of engaging in political espionage of a type previously unknown in our history.