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Top FBI official leaked court-sealed and sensitive information to six reporters

The identity of a former top FBI official who leaked sensitive information over the course of hundreds of communication with six reporters through text, calls and rounds of golf has been revealed. 

Washington Examiner named Bryan Paarmann, the deputy assistant director of the FBI’s International Operations Division from 2016 to 2017, as the official after obtaining a report through the Freedom of Information Act. 

Paarmann, 53, is said to have ‘improperly disclosed court-sealed and law enforcement sensitive information to the media’ in violation with FBI protocol. 

The incident is included in Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz’s June 2018 report that called out the FBI’s ‘culture of unauthorized media contacts.’  

Paarmann has denied such allegations and maintains that he never exposed any classified information to the press.

Bryan Paarmann,a former FBI official, (pictured) is said to have leaked court-sealed and sensitive information to at least six reporters from 2012 to 2017

Bryan Paarmann,a former FBI official, (pictured) is said to have leaked court-sealed and sensitive information to at least six reporters from 2012 to 2017

He said: ‘I gave 35 years of faithful and devoted service to this nation and never did I give classified or investigatively sensitive information to the press. I never endangered a prosecution and only did what I believed my superiors had tasked me with.’

Horowitz’s team found that Paarmann has ‘extensive contacts’ with members of the media from 2012 to 2017 after reviewing his communication. 

At his peak, Paarmann conversed with at least six reporters from 2016 to 2017, through a myriad of means. 

Paarmann (pictured) denied leaking any information, telling the Washington Examiner: 'never did I give classified or investigatively sensitive information to the press. I never endangered a prosecution and only did what I believed my superiors had tasked me with'

Paarmann (pictured) denied leaking any information, telling the Washington Examiner: ‘never did I give classified or investigatively sensitive information to the press. I never endangered a prosecution and only did what I believed my superiors had tasked me with’

Contact spanned texts, emails and phone calls; more than a dozen rounds of golf, including instances where Paarmann paid for both and another when the reporter did; private dinners and drinks; a media member’s housewarming party where Paarmann gifted a bottle of wine, and dinner worth $225 dinner. 

Nearly all identifying details about the reporters involved and the specific cases Paarmann leaked was redacted, but the Washington Examiner identified Los Angeles Times reporter Del Wilber as one of the confidants. 

Paarmann and Wilber reportedly exchanged 55 calls and emails, and met for dinner or drinks four times, according to Washington Examiner. 

The report singled out a 2016 article quoting  a ‘U.S. law enforcement official,’ a ‘law enforcement official’ and a ‘counterterrorism official’ which, by matching phrases, the publication identified as an article by Wilber about Orlando Pulse nightclub mass shooter Omar Mateen. 

In a separate article that cited a ‘a federal law enforcement official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the case,’ the phrase appears in a piece co-authored by Wilber regarding cop killer Micah Johnson. 

An investigation done by by the Department of Justice under Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz (pictured) reviewed Paarmann's communications over five years

An investigation done by by the Department of Justice under Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz (pictured) reviewed Paarmann’s communications over five years 

Paarmann reportedly acknowledged engaging in improper conversations when confronted in a interview with DOJ’s watchdog. 

‘I may have dorked that one up,’ Paarmann told investigators at one point. 

However, when texts indicated lengthy phone calls with reporters about investigations, but did not disclose what the conversations were about, he denied leaking information.  

Horowitz’s team pushed back against Paarmann, noting that his willingness to disclose information to reporters, his knowledge of cases the media covered and his failure to report his media contacts to the FBI meant ‘more likely than not that Paarmann violated FBI policy by providing law enforcement sensitive information to these reporters.’

Paarmann (pictured), a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army officer, served the FBI's counterterrorism operations in New York City in 2017 before retiring

Paarmann (pictured), a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army officer, served the FBI’s counterterrorism operations in New York City in 2017 before retiring

Pictured: Paarmann (left) standing with Mitt Romney (right), the junior U.S. senator for Utah and the 2012 Republican presidential candidate

Pictured: Paarmann (left) standing with Mitt Romney (right), the junior U.S. senator for Utah and the 2012 Republican presidential candidate

Paarmann told investigators that he was instructed by a member of the FBI’s office of public affairs to ‘develop friendly cordial relations with the media so that it wasn’t adversarial every time we talked to them and basically be able to educate them.’

The public affairs employee denied this conversation when asked, saying: ‘I don’t remember giving any type of explicit or implicit guidance to go out and do anything independent of the office of public affairs, especially socially.’

Paarmann is a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army officer. A photo of him and Mitt Romney, the junior U.S. senator for Utah and the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, and states, can be seen on his website. 

A caption reads: ‘C. Bryan Paarmann FBI is a 30+ year career public servant who has faithfully and honorably served the United States in a variety of different positions.’

Another page says: ‘Bryan Paarmann is protective of his country and is a proud American. In many ways, he has faithfully and honorably served his homeland.’

Paarmann was charged with running the FBI’s counterterrorism operations in New York City in 2017, but has since retired.   

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