Charles McGonigal, a former FBI Special Agent in Charge for the New York Field Office, was indicted Monday in Washington, D.C. on charges that he had received more than $225,000 from an ex-agent of the Albanian intelligence agency. McGonigal was in the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program in New York Field Office when he took the money.
Saturday’s arrest of McGonigal, who was returning from Sri Lanka after a visit to McGonigal, was based on allegations that he had worked for Oleg Deripaska, a sanctioned Russian oligarch.
McGonigal was an important figure in the Russian Hoax. He was the one who was accused by Alexander Downer, the Australian High Commissioner to Britain, of claiming that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos claimed the Russians had “dirt on Hillary”.
The media are focusing on the “Russian oligarchs” narrative because they cannot admit that Hillary Clinton’s opposition research group thoroughly punked them. However, it is important to recall that Robert Mueller, FBI Director, approached Deripaska in 2009 about funding a private effort for the search of Robert Levinson, an American citizen and former FBI agent who was missing in Iran. Hillary’s oppo team at Fusion GPS worked on getting Deripaska’s sanctions lifted, the same activity that led to McGonigal being indicted. Although I do not know McGonigal’s professional history, it is possible that he was working in the New York Field Office at the time Mueller attempted to make Deripaska an FBI asset.
Although I may be tempted to give McGonigal a pass in the Deripaska scandal, it is unacceptable for someone leading our counterintelligence programs to take money off-books of someone who is known to be associated with a foreign intelligence agency. McGonigal may have seen this as a way to jump-start his Thrift Savings Plan contributions since Albanian intelligence is closely linked with the CIA in the Balkans.
Another truth is revealed by the McGonigal story. The FBI is corrupt and partisan. FBI’s Inspector General found that FBI officials accepted expensive gifts from American “journalists” such as tickets to sporting events and vacations.
This is more likely a political score-settling exercise using the generic FBI corrupt practices to cover up any major scandal. It will be interesting to see how the FBI as an institution reacts to this. McGonigal being the only person arrested will tell us that this is not an attempt to clean up the FBI or to cover tracks.