Kallstrom: Americans Deserve Answers on ‘Out of Control’ Leaks
Former FBI assistant director blasts Comey for playing into Capitol Hill 'circus'
Former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom insisted the American people deserve to know whether significant leaks of classified information are being investigated during an interview Tuesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show.”
Kallstrom said FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee Monday left much to be desired. During the hearing, Comey publicly admitted that the FBI is conducting an investigation into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. But Comey refused to confirm whether the agency was investigating what Kallstrom called “incredibly hurtful national security leaks.”
“It’s not comforting to the general population, you know, that has to have full faith and confidence in an agency like the FBI and the Justice Department and the Congress, for that matter, when you just see basically a circus take place.”
“I think it’s absolutely out of control. And, you know, the fact that this stuff is in the public domain so easily, and just the nonchalant way that [those in government] are dealing with this thing, are just pitiful,” Kallstrom said. “It’s just an outrage, and it just allows people to have information that may or may even not be factual.”
Saying the leaks are “aimed at embarrassing and making it more difficult for this administration to function,” Kallstrom said “the whole thing smells to high heaven.”
“Who unmasked the name of Gen. Flynn? What minimization took place? Why is there a transcript? Who disseminated it? Director Comey — it was unclear in his testimony who in the FBI actually had the authority to unmask something like that,” Kallstrom said. “Who was it disseminated to?”
“Is there an audit trail? Are people writing down in a log when they are getting briefed on things like this? Why is this not being followed up on? Why is there no discussion of it?” Kallstrom continued. “And why isn’t it possible, you know, for the Justice Department … to talk about the fact that they’re going to conduct an investigation into these incredibly hurtful national security leaks?”
But Comey declined to answer many of those questions at Monday’s hearing, in a move that Kallstrom called disappointing and unfair to the American people.
“I think [Comey] deserves to tell the American people — are you investigating these leaks? If not, then the attorney general needs to be asked that question because that has to happen,” Kallstrom said. “The attorney general really has to look at this whole thing and look at how this type of information is disseminated, who needs to know about it.”
Saying that “there seems to be a loss of control of how information is disseminated throughout the government,” Kallstrom warned that “too many people know too many things.”
“I mean, as soon as the director of the FBI briefs the attorney general on something, you know, who knows where it goes? It goes to the National Security Council, it goes to the White House, who knows how many times it’s repeated? I think they’ve lost control of the process,” Kallstrom said. “The inmates are running the institution lousily.”
In the end, Kallstrom found the hearing to be so far from “comforting” that he doubted whether the American people could justifiably put any real trust in the government agencies.
“It’s not comforting to the general population, you know, that has to have full faith and confidence in an agency like the FBI — and the Justice Department and the Congress, for that matter — when you just see basically a circus take place,” Kallstrom said.