“Ken deGraffenreid, a counterintelligence expert, said the problem with FBI counterintelligence is that it lacks qualified personnel and a strategic approach to countering foreign spies.
Of Crossfire Hurricane, deGraffenreid said the operation was poorly run and demonstrated a lack of seriousness. “If this was the best they could do in counterintelligence, it’s pretty poor,” he said, noting that seasoned counterspies would have recognized a lack of Russian collusion with the campaign from the start.
DeGraffenreid believes the FBI, spurred on by the liberal news media, probably reacted to Trump’s half-joking comment that if Russia had intercepted Clinton’s emails, Moscow should make them public.
The dossier was based on unverified information obtained by Steele and fed to the FBI alleging that Trump was a Russian agent and had cavorted with Russian prostitutes.
The FBI’s approach to Crossfire Hurricane lacked a serious “counterintelligence mind” that requires more in-depth critical thinking and real signs of Russian collusion. Instead, meetings with Russians in Trump Tower, a meeting with a Russian ambassador, and the activities of two minor campaign figures, Page and George Papadopoulos, who were thought to be Russian agents was the main thesis basis for launching Crossfire Hurricane.
DeGraffenreid, former deputy national counterintelligence executive with extensive experience, said those signs are not what a Russian intelligence operation to penetrate an American political campaign would look like.
Biases Appeared to Seep into Crossfire Hurricane Investigation
Former FBI counterspy I.C. Smith said Crossfire Hurricane appeared to be launched not by FBI field operatives who the most experienced at doing counterintelligence but from FBI headquarters.
Strzok and Page were properly fired for exchanging the politically charged texts and emails, he said.
“The damage they’ve done to the FBI will last for years,” Smith said. “But having said that, I’m not sure that necessarily translates into their letting their biases interfere with their work on the FISA, etc. I wouldn’t characterize their texts as threatening to derail the Trump campaign so much as posturing with little capability to do anything about it.”
Smith said Strzok and Page could have undermined the Trump campaign by leaking to the press the fact of the investigation and that was not done.
“If indeed, FBI [headquarters] was essentially conducting the investigation, that too, is against protocol,” Smith said, something done in the past by FBI Director Louis Freeh who interfered extensively with field investigations, including the probe into the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
“But FBI HQ managers should not conduct investigations. That’s a field office function, period,” Smith said.
DeGraffenreid said the fallout from Crossfire Hurricane likely will further weaken an already poor FBI counterintelligence capability. Bureaucratically, the fallout will further erode support for aggressive counterintelligence and dissuade the most capable people from seeking counterspy positions.
Strzok, based on his congressional testimony and publicized text, revealed himself to be ill-suited for counterintelligence. The FBI counterspy came across as “an arrogant bureaucrat” in his congressional testimony, deGraffenreid said. “He’s not George Smiley.”
Also, as outlined by the Justice IG, the FBI’s protective bureaucratic culture is in need of correcting.
“There’s extreme bureaucratization there with a culture that thinks the bureau is something other than the United States,” said deGraffenreid who worked with senior FBI officials in government for more than 30 years.
“More than any other government bureaucracy, the FBI will openly lie to protect the FBI’s reputation,” he said, adding that of all the intelligence disciplines, counterintelligence requires the smartest and best analysts and operators free of political bias like that shown by Strzok.”