Journalists wined and dined FBI employees and gave them perks like tickets to sporting events, according to the report released Thursday by the Justice Department’s Inspector General (IG).
The report focused on the bureau’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe. But it also noted:
We identified instances where FBI employees received tickets to sporting events from journalists, went on golfing outings with media representatives, were treated to drinks and meals after work by reporters, and were the guests of journalists at nonpublic social events.
Those interactions “were, at a minimum, inconsistent with FBI policy and
Department ethics rules,” the report said. It didn’t offer details on the episodes, saying they’ll be documented in a forthcoming report.
Very few FBI employees are actually authorized to even talk to the media, but the IG investigation found that the policy was “widely ignored” in 2016. The IG expressed “profound concerns about the volume and extent” of these unsanctioned contacts.
The report also notes that these frequent interactions made it difficult to determine the source of leaks. Many FBI employees had access to sensitive government information and were in contact with the press.