FBI Official Linked to Russian Oligarch Charged With Taking $225,000 From Foreign Intelligence Operative

FBI Official Linked to Russian Oligarch Charged With Taking $225,000 From Foreign Intelligence Operative
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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Former FBI Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office, Charles McGonigal, was indicted in Washington, D.C., Monday on charges that he received over $225,000 from a former agent of the Albanian intelligence service. When McGonigal took the money, he was in charge of the FBI’s counterintelligence program in the New York Field Office.

Saturday, McGonigal was arrested upon his arrival from a stay in Sri Lanka on charges that he worked for sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska after his 2018 retirement; see FBI Official Who Investigated Trump for Russian Collusion Gets Arrested for Russian Collusion.

McGonigal was a key figure in creating the Russian Hoax. He’s the guy who received the allegation made by Australian High Commissioner to the UK Alexander Downer that Trump campaign aid George Papadopoulos said the Russians have “dirt on Hillary.” For a trip down memory lane, read Was a Drunken Conversation Really All the Probable Cause the FBI Needed to Investigate a Presidential Campaign?

While the media is harping on the “Russian oligarch” narrative because they can never admit Hillary Clinton’s opposition research team thoroughly punked them, it is useful to remember that in 2009, FBI Director Robert Mueller approached Deripaska about funding a private effort to locate American citizen, former FBI agent, and suspected CIA asset Robert Levinson who had gone missing in Iran. More memories can be found at There Might Be a Very Good Reason Why Mueller Is Not Indicting Paul Manafort’s Russian Business Partner. Even as the Russia Hoax was unfolding, Hillary’s oppo team at Fusion GPS was working on getting sanctions removed from Deripaska, which is the same activity that got McGonigal  indicted; see
New York Times Forced To “Correct” Major Story on the Manafort Case
. I don’t know the trajectory of McGonigal’s career, but it is entirely possible he was in the New York Field Office when Mueller tried to turn Deripaska into an FBI asset.

While I might be tempted to give McGonigal a pass on the Deripaska affair, taking money off-books from someone known to be affiliated with a foreign intelligence service is not acceptable for someone heading our counterintelligence programs. Albanian intelligence works closely with the CIA in the Balkans, so McGonigal might have looked at this as a benign way of jump-starting his Thrift Savings Plan contributions before retiring.

The McGonigal story highlights another larger truth. The FBI is a partisan and corrupt agency. The FBI’s IG found that FBI officials were accepting expensive gifts, like vacations and tickets to sporting events, from American “journalists.” Presumably, some of the return on investment appears in the pages of the Washington Post and the New York Times. (See Senior FBI Official Who Took Illegal Gifts From CNN and Lied to Investigators Was Not Prosecuted and Allowed to Retire With Full Benefits; The FBI Is Rife With Corruption Because No One Cares If Senior Officials Break the Law; This Senior FBI Official Traded Access for Sporting Tickets and What Happened to Him Will Infuriate You; and, FBI Agents Violated Federal Ethics Laws While Cavorting With Reporters for more details.)

This smells more like some sort of political score-settling using generic FBI corrupt practices as window dressing than any sort of major scandal. The easy way to tell will be how the FBI, as an institution, reacts to this. If McGonigal is the only guy arrested, we’ll know this was not some attempt to clean up the FBI and, more likely, an attempt to cover tracks.

 

 

 

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