Emails show how FBI's use of news reporters backfired

President Donald J. Trump speaks with reporters outside the South Portico entrance of the White House Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, before boarding Marine One to begin his trip to Fayetteville, North Carolina. (Official White House photo by Tia Dufour)

The FBI’s leaks to establishment-media reporters during the Trump-Russia investigation often backfired, resulting in inaccurate stories that frustrated bureau agents, according to internal text messages reported by Just the News.

The inaccurate media reports exploded shortly after the FBI terminated its primary informant in the Russia probe, Christopher Steele, for leaking information.

“Yes, the headline is REALLY misleading,” Lisa Page, who then was a lawyer for the bureau, told a colleague in a text message concerning a New York Times article that day.

The article was not identified, but Page makes clear the story was part of an effort by the FBI to promote itself that backfired.

She wrote: “My guess is we ‘suggested’ a good news story about the Bu … To remind people that we are still the good guys trying to keep America safe and not political operatives who sway elections.”

Page’s colleague said another official saw the headline and “flipped out.”

The colleague wrote: “I’m glad it was so superficial. If they decide to start digging deep, we are screwed on trying to protect some of our stuff related to that case.”

Just the News explained: “Thousands of FBI text messages declassified over the last three years from the Russia and Clinton email capers lay bare a bureau that frequently leaked to reporters, with some senior officials being on a first name basis with reporters at outlets like the New York Times, CNN, the Wall Street Journal and ABC News. But the outcome often frustrated the FBI, which viewed the resulting articles to be wildly inaccurate, misleading or breathless, creating a false storyline of Russia collusion.”

“The rewrite headline is still wrong,” one FBI official texted in December 2016 over a Washington Post article claiming the FBI agreed with the CIA that Russia tried to help Trump win the election.

“And OPA [office of public affairs] wasn’t able to get the stupid WP headline changed,” another texted.

One of the biggest critics of the news media was Peter Strzok, the lead FBI agent for the Russia and Clinton email cases who was fired after the exposure of his texts with Page reflecting his intent to undermine Trump.

The day before Trump took office, a colleague wrote him saying he was “angry about the times articles. This just has to stop.”

Strzok wrote back: “Yeah, and it’s not even news! No substance, and largely wrong. The press is going to undermine its credibility.”

Strzok said the Times story had “nine falsehoods.”

“We are unaware of ANY Trump advisers engaging in conversations with Russian intel officials,” Strzok wrote, completely debunking the headline. “Our coverage has not revealed contact between Russian intelligence officers and the Trump team.”

However, Just the News noted that while the FBI was complaining about the inaccuracy of reports, senior FBI officials, especially then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who later was fired for lying about leaking, “often texted with reporters at the New York Times and other news organizations.”

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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