Mark Wauck from Meaning In History (email@example.com):
All this is where Michael Sussmann comes in. Sussmann, in my understanding, retains his security clearance from his days at DoJ. As such, I’m guessing that he was considered eligible to be one of the people responsible for ensuring the security of the SCIF, which would involved confirming reasons for access, checking IDs, keeping records of access, etc.
I get all that, and regret perhaps jumping the gun in assuming impropriety or worse. On the other hand, there remains the matter of appearances, which have their own importance. This arrangement, while legally proper, places the FBI in the position of close cooperation with a private law firm—and, within that law firm with a lawyer who happens also to be a partisan political operative. It still seems to me that a more neutral appearing and arms length arrangement, one that doesn’t involve a private third party, would be preferable.
As it is, in addition to physical security concerns there remains the issue that this arrangement possibly gave Sussmann more access influence at the FBI than is desirable for someone with his profile. For example, this arrangement might have made it possible for Sussmann to pick up his phone and text the General Counsel of the FBI, requesting a meeting on an expedited basis. Oh, did that actually happen? And did the FBI’s former General Counsel just testify, only a week or so ago, that he had placed implicit trust in Sussmann’s representations based on his past dealings with Sussmann? Yes, all that did happen. Was John Durham aware of this arrangement? If so, he didn’t bring it up at trial—possibly restricted by the judge, or possibly because it didn’t appear to advance the case.
So, yes, I feel like I may have some egg on my face. On the other hand, I do think the FBI exercised poor judgment—for ten years.
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