Shortly After July 10, 2015: Comey decides the FBI’s Clinton email investigation will be run from headquarters for greater secrecy, upsetting agents in New York.

A training session is held for FBI New York field agents. (Credit: public domain)

A training session is held for FBI New York field agents. (Credit: public domain)

According to CNN in November 2016, shortly after the FBI begins its Clinton email investigation on July 10, 2015, FBI Director James Comey decides to run the investigation from FBI headquarters in Washington, DC, instead of the New York office, which normally would be the proper jurisdiction, since the Clinton private email server had been located in Chappaqua, New York. CNN will report, “That decision anger[s] some in New York who thought it was headquarters’ interference into their case.”

Comey then mostly picks agents from the Washington, DC, field office to handle the investigation. He assigns the case “to the counterintelligence section, which investigates cases of alleged mishandling of classified information. It [gives] the added advantage of being a section with a reputation for few media leaks and being close enough for Comey to get personal almost-daily updates.”

Furthermore, all agents working on the case are required to sign an unusual non-disclosure agreement and also agree to be subject to random lie detector tests.

One unnamed senior official will later say, “We’re in the middle of one of the most vitriolic campaigns in American history, and we’re investigating one of the candidates for president. We had to get this right.” (CNN, 11/2/2016)

November 2, 2016: Suspicions of partisan political decisions has been causing increasing conflict within both the FBI and Justice Department, as well as between them.

CNN publishes a front-page article with the title “Turmoil in the FBI,” which is based on interviews with more than a dozen anonymous government officials close to the FBI’s Clinton email investigation. It states that since the investigation began in July 2015, “infighting among some agents and officials has exposed some parts of the storied [FBI] to be buffeted by some of the same bitter [political] divisions as the rest of American society.”

Loretta Lynch (Credit: ABC News)

Loretta Lynch (Credit: ABC News)

CNN alleges, “Some of the sharpest divides have emerged between some agents in the FBI’s New York field office, the bureau’s largest and highest-profile, and officials at FBI headquarters in Washington and at the Justice Department. Some rank-and-file agents interpreted cautious steps taken by the Justice Department and FBI headquarters as being done for political reasons or to protect a powerful political figure [Clinton]. At headquarters, some have viewed the actions and complaints of some agents in the field as driven by the common desire of investigators to get a big case or, perhaps worst, because of partisan views.”

The tensions are said to have “multiplied” since FBI Director James Comey announced in July 2016 that he would not recommend indicting Clinton. In addition to increasing conflicts within the FBI, his announcement “also opened up sharp divides between Justice [Department] and FBI officials, and even within the Justice Department itself, where some officials have pushed for Attorney General Loretta Lynch to more forcefully assert her power over the FBI.”

The tensions in the Clinton email investigation have been duplicated by the Clinton Foundation investigation, with some FBI agents again frustrated at what they consider political obstructionism from FBI leaders and the Justice Department to protect Clinton. That has also led to friction between FBI headquarters and the New York field office.

Since then, conflicts have increased still more due to the reopening of the FBI’s Clinton email investigation on October 28, 2016. Potentially relevant evidence was discovered on the computer of Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, shortly after October 3, 2016. “The longer it took for officials at FBI headquarters and at the Justice Department to decide how to proceed with the matter, the more conspiracies spread among some agents that perhaps senior FBI officials were trying to cover up the matter.”

Rick DesLauriers (Credit: Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters)

Rick DesLauriers (Credit: Jessica Rinaldi / Reuters)

One unnamed “senior law enforcement official” says, “It’s the times we are living in. No one has emerged from this election unscathed.”

Rick DesLauriers, who was head of the FBI’s Boston field office until he retired three years ago, says, “Politics is running rampant. Passions are high.” He adds that “[Comey] made a decision that angered Republicans in July [2016] and one that angered Democrats in October [2016]. That’s a pretty good indication he’s nonpartisan.”

CNN also notes that “Some of the tensions are built-in because of the FBI’s unique position as part of the Justice Department but also projecting a large measure of independence. The FBI director’s job has a 10-year tenure, spanning presidential administrations, while his bosses at the Justice Department are politically appointed and they leave when the administration ends.” (CNN, 11/2/2016)