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Some of the Big Questions about the McGonigal Case

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 23: Charles McGonigal, the former head of counterintelligence for the FBI’s New York office, stands silently as his Attorney Seth Ducharme gives a statement to the media after leaving M... NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 23: Charles McGonigal, the former head of counterintelligence for the FBI’s New York office, stands silently as his Attorney Seth Ducharme gives a statement to the media after leaving Manhattan Federal Court on January 23, 2023 in New York City. McGonigal is being charged with money laundering, and conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions against Russia while secretly working with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Sergey Shestakov, a former Soviet and Russian diplomat, has also been charged in the case. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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January 24, 2023 12:48 p.m.

I want to draw out a few points I mentioned last night about the arrest of Charles McGonigal. When I first heard about the indictments, I understood them to be one (D.C.) that dealt with events while McGonigal still worked at the FBI and one (New York) that dealt with events after he worked at the FBI. But as I noted last night, it’s not that clear cut. The relationship with Oleg Deripaska and a reputed former Soviet/Russian intelligence officer, Evgeny Fokin, began when McGonigal was still at the FBI.

The New York indictment is elusive about just what it’s suggesting about McGonigal and Fokin in 2018, when the former still worked at the FBI. It is also unclear about whether McGonigal was compromised by a foreign power or was simply building a relationship with Fokin and Deripaska for money he would make after he left the FBI.

Was he compromised by Russia? Or was he just compromised by Deripaska? Needless to say, there’s not necessarily a bright line separating these two scenarios.

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