Mar-a-Lago (TFP File)

Report: FBI Recruited Wall Street Journal For Softball Story After Mar-a-Lago Raid

Mar-a-Lago (TFP File)
Mar-a-Lago (TFP File)

Newly released documents indicate the FBI engineered a puff-piece publicity article about its director, Christopher Wray, in an effort to blunt conservatives’ criticism of the agency’s head following the politically charged raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

The conservative Media Research Center reported on Monday about documents the FBI released because of a lawsuit filed by Bloomberg News and its Senior Investigative Reporter Jason Leopold.

Leopold had filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI for any records of its employees objecting to the August 2022 raid and threats made by FBI leaders to staff who protested. Leopold wrote about the document dump on Friday.

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“The documents show that the FBI was weathering a backlash to the Aug. 8, 2020 (sic) raid – not just from Republican officials and Trump supporters, but also from FBI employees who quickly complained to their employer that the raid and search were politically motivated, lacked probable cause, and devastated the bureau’s credibility,” the MRC reported.

“I’ve lost just about all faith in our leadership,” one agent wrote to senior leaders, adding that his attitude arose from “a bunch of democrat (sic) political hacks up top” who ordered the raid.

Another FBI staffer denounced “the politicizing and absolute embarrassment of the recently formed Banana Republic [Bureau].”

That agent added, “What is the predication of the investigation involving the search? It better be more than putting a few documents in the archives or classified material of which the man could have declassed (sic).”

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According to the MRC, the FBI’s response was to arrange for The Wall Street Journal “to publish a transparently-fawning puff piece” on Wray and the Mar-a-Lago search.

That was published 11 days after the raid.

The MRC noted the article featured Wray in the context of hyped patriotic imagery and a memorial dedicated to agents killed in the line of duty.

The MRC added that the Journal piece sought to “humanize” Wray by portraying him as a popular, easy-going, nice guy who believed in teamwork as a college athlete (he crewed at Yale) and who had been in danger of losing his job due to Donald Trump.

One document obtained by Bloomberg noted that Wray’s chief of staff, Jonathan Lenzner, bragged to other senior FBI officials: “This story worked out well.”

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As the MRC reported, “Lenzer praised how The Wall Street Journal article portrayed Dir. Wray as someone who is hard-working, does the right thing, focuses on his work, and tries to ‘keep the FBI away from politics.’

“This story humanizes the Director and gives an inside look at how he and the FBI are focused on the work and how we are not deterred by the drama,” Lenzner told other FBI leaders.

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