After FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe gave his private testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, the FBI Director Christopher Wray announced that the bureau’s top lawyer would be leaving his post to attempt to bring “new blood” to the agency that had become hopelessly compromised amid revelations of the agency’s partisan bias that may have influenced various investigations, reports Zero Hedge.
The Washington Post reported that the FBI’s top lawyer, James Baker, is being reassigned. This is a part of Wray’s effort to assemble his own team of senior advisers while he tries to defuse allegations of partisanship that have plagued the bureau in recent months.
There could be other motivations behind Wray’s move. Back in July, reports said that Baker was “the top suspect” in an interagency leak investigation.
“‘Three sources, with knowledge of the investigation, told Circa that Baker is the top suspect in an ongoing leak investigation, but Circa has not been able to confirm the details of what national security information or material was allegedly leaked.
A federal law enforcement official with knowledge of ongoing internal investigations in the bureau told Circa, ‘the bureau is scouring for leakers and there’s been a lot of investigations.’
The revelation comes as the Trump administration has ramped up efforts to contain leaks both within the White House and within its own national security apparatus,’ reports Sero Hedge.”
This recent subtraction to the bureau comes after Trump made a promise to “rebuild” the FBI to make it “bigger and better than ever” following its “disgraceful” conduct over the Trump probe.
Baker has played a key role in the agency’s handling of major cases and policy debates in recent years, including the FBI’s unsuccessful battle with Apple over the growing use of encryption in cellphones.
Wray has also been pushing Congress to learn more about senior agent Peter Strzok’s role in both the Clinton email investigation and the Trump probe.
Strzok was exposed to have been exchanging anti-Trump texts with his FBI attorney girlfriend Lisa Page. Strzok was also the person responsible for editing James Comey’s final statement about the Clinton emails, resulting in a less harsh fallout.
According to the Washington Post, Baker told colleagues he will be taking on other duties at the FBI. Unsurprisingly, the Jeff Bezos-owned paper describes Baker as “one of the most trusted, longest-serving national security officials in the US. He has served as the head of the FBI’s Office of General Counsel for several years.”
Since the leak investigation was ended without any publicly disclosed findings, it appears unclear what the real motivations are for Baker’s reassignment.
Baker is reportedly a very close to former FBI director James B. Comey, who asked Baker to be his general counsel. The two men were colleagues at the Justice Department and when they were out of government at Bridgewater Associates, an investment management firm, reports Zero Hedge.
It was also revealed recently that Baker’s name is on a list of DOJ officials who are expected to receive a subpoena to testify before the House Intelligence Committee. Strzok and Ohr’s names are also on that list.
This move is very timely considering that Baker’s departure comes six months after the leaking scandal, and just days after Sessions reportedly asked the DOJ prosecutors to begin asking FBI agents details about the Uranium One Deal.
All of these moves are a positive sign towards improvement in the obviously corrupt and politically biased agency and hopefully create a bureau that can conduct their investigations in an unbiased way as possible.