A former FBI informant who spent more than six years undercover gathering information on the Russian energy and uranium market was recently interviewed by FBI agents from the Little Rock, Arkansas field office as part of an ongoing bureau investigation into the Clinton Foundation, according to Victoria Toensing, the attorney representing the informant.
Toensing disclosed the information in a letter asking for a retraction to The Hill’s article published Thursday, which was based solely on a Democrat memorandum attacking the credibility of William Douglas Campbell, the former informant. Democrats stated that Campbell provided no evidence to the congressional committees of “quid pro quo” regarding the Clinton Foundation and the Russians.
Toensing was never contacted prior to publication by The Hill for fair comment in the story. The Hill’s article has now been followed up in The Washington Post, The Washington Examiner, CNN, Reuters, Yahoo, and other numerous outlets, none of which contacted Toensing for fair comment. On Friday, The Hill updated the story, only after receiving a call from Toensing asking for a retraction.
In a formal letter, Toensing condemned the Democratic memo and The Hill for making false allegations against her client and not contacting her for comment. The Hill did not retract the story but updated it instead.
“The reporter told me they were leaving in the accusations because she said, that’s what the Democrats told her,” said Toensing. “This is a new journalistic standard.”
A spokesperson for The Hill defended the news organization’s work, stating it has written extensively on the issue of the Uranium One sale and Campbell.
“The Hill has reported more extensively on Uranium One than any other publication brought this issue to the attention of the public, reporting accurately what members on both sides of the aisle have said about the issue,” The Hill spokesperson said in an email.
Friday’s edition of the story was updated to include Toensing’s statements from the letter she sent asking for a retraction of the story. The Hill also included a statement from a spokesperson for the Republican chairman of the House Oversight committee, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., on Friday.
“We did in fact ask multiple Republican lawmakers for comment and they declined to make any statement,” The Hill spokesperson said.
However, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., who were both actively involved in calling for an investigation into the Uranium One matter never received a call, they said.
“The information Campbell posseses and his previous knowledge of Russian operations to enter the U.S. energy market was significant enough to the bureau that they interviewed him in December…”
Toensing said the information Campbell delivered to the FBI and his previous knowledge of Russian operations to enter the U.S. energy market was significant enough to the bureau that they interviewed him in December regarding the Clinton Foundation investigation.
“FBI agents from Little Rock, Arkansas interviewed Mr. Campbell about the Clinton Foundation,” she revealed. “Would they have done so if he had “serious credibility concerns?”
The article was written by The Hill staffer Katie Bo Williams. It was based on the Democratic memorandum of the briefing Campbell gave to both Republican and Democratic staffers from three Congressional Committees in February. Campbell provided the congressional staff members with years of in-depth and valuable information on the Russian nuclear energy industry and relayed thousands of briefs he put together for the FBI on his conversations with the Russians.
The Democratic memorandum “falsely accuses Mr. Campbell of criminal conduct, alleging that he had taken “kickbacks from [the Russian] firm before he was authorized to do so,” Toensing stated.
“Mr. Campbell never took one kickback, not a one,” she added. “He paid for the kickbacks, under FBI direction, out of the salary he received. In fact, these payments, totaling about $500,000, were the bases for his requesting repayment from the government.”
According to the Democratic staff members Campbell was unable to point to anything to support his claims that the review process had been improperly influenced “other than the fact that the [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)] allowed the deal to go through.”
“When asked whether he had any evidence that Russian influence on the Clintons affected CFIUS’s review of the Uranium One deal, Mr. Campbell stated that ‘that was outside my pay grade’ and that the topic was ‘not my bailiwick,’ ” according to the Democrats.
During the February meeting with staffers, however, Campbell provided a written statement and answered in-depth questions about his time working for the Russians. He informed the staffers that the information he collected was in possession of the FBI, which is conducting its own investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Toensing told this reporter that none of the staff members at the meeting had called her for more documentation or information. She noted that she had also told the congressional staff to request from the FBI any information Campbell provided the bureau.
“I am appalled that The Hill would publish a defamatory story about my client without ever contacting him or his lawyer, ” said Toensing. “The article was based solely on Democratic sources and a Democratic memo. Republicans’ comments were cited only in stale, months-old statements indicating there was evidence of a Clinton connection to the Russian purchase of Uranium One. As such, they were included to establish a context that such evidence was not provided by my client. That is false. The publication of this false and misleading story was done purposefully to malign and discredit him. I demand a retraction.”
It wasn’t until 2015, that the information Campbell provided would assist the FBI in bringing in convictions. Daren Condrey, who was president of the American company Transportation Logistics International pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and conspiring to commit wire fraud, according to the DOJ. Russian national Vadim Mikerin, who Campbell worked closely with and who was a top official of the Russian nuclear arms subsidiary Tenex, was also sentenced for money laundering in December 2015. At the time, Mikerin, who was sentenced to 48 months in prison, had been promoted by the Russian nuclear arm to the president of Tenam, the American subsidiary based in Maryland. Boris Rubizhevsky, another Russian national from New Jersey, who was president of the security firm NEXGEN Security, was also involved in the conspiracy and plead guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering in 2015. He served as a consultant to Tenam and to Mikerin.
The memorandum also falsely claimed that her client’s credibility was at issue with the Justice Department because “he was not called as a witness for the corruption cases” against Mikerin and the other defendants. A Justice Department official told this reporter in January that reports that Campbell was not a credible witness “did not reflect” the thinking of DOJ officials.
“First, there was no trial because the Baltimore U.S. Attorneys’ office mishandled the case,” Toensing noted. “They filed a Complaint without ever talking with Mr. Campbell. After interviewing him, they filed an Indictment describing him as a “victim,” a term he had never used and one that is legally inept to a person working undercover. All the defendants pleaded guilty.”
She noted that lawyers with “experience in prosecution and national security, a background not applicable to anyone the reporter interviewed, knows that a person who has worked undercover for three decades for both the CIA and the FBI should never be put on the witness stand because all his past undercover work would have to be provided to defense counsel.”
Despite the insurmountable evidence collected by Campbell prior to 2010 for the FBI, the Obama administration’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States approved Russia’s nuclear giant Rosatom’s purchase of the Canadian firm Uranium One in the fall of that year. Then Uranium One controlled 20 percent uranium mining rights in the United States. The process needed CFIUS approval because uranium is considered a national security asset but the approval by the Obama administration gave Moscow extensive rights to buy and sell more atomic fuels.
In a statement Campbell provided Congress and obtained by this reporter he said, “I was speechless and angry in October 2010 when CFIUS approved the Uranium One sale to Rosatom.” CFIUS has the power to stop deals that could threaten U.S. national security.
At the time, Campbell said he “was deeply worried” that an American company Transportation Logistics International, which was involved in bribery, kickbacks and money laundering with the Russians, was continuing to transport sensitive uranium despite the fact that it had been compromised. Campbell was hired by the Russian firm … who had hired him to assist in getting the Uranium One deal passed, stated he was told by Russian nuclear executives that Moscow had hired the American lobbying firm” in an effort to influence the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton, as reported by The Hill and according to his testimony.
“I expressed these concerns repeatedly to my FBI handlers,” Campbell told lawmakers. “I remember one response I got from an agent when I asked how it was possible CFIUS would approve the Uranium One sale when the FBI could prove Rosatom was engaged in criminal conduct. His answer: “Ask your politics.”
In early 2016, the FBI agents who worked with Campbell took him to a restaurant in Chrystal City, Virginia where they gave him a check for over $50,000 after all the Russian nuclear energy corruption cases were completed.
“Would the government so reward a person about whom it had “serious credibility concerns,” Toensing stated in her letter to The Hill.