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Stefanik wants transparency from FBI, not herself

Dec 15, 2022 12:55 pm

Larry Rulison reports in the Times Union that Rep. Elise Stefanik wants the Federal Bureau of Investigation to be transparent, but she herself is not following the same advice. Stefanik blasted the FBI on Dec. 13 over what she calls an ongoing lack of transparency regarding the bureau's internal investigation into its past interactions with the family at the center of the 2018 Schoharie limousine crash. But Stefanik won't share the contents of a letter she received from the FBI last month. The letter she won't share prompted her attack on the FBI. The FBI's inspection division last spring opened a probe to examine its investigation of Shahed Hussain, an FBI informant who owned the Wilton-based limousine company involved in the limo crash, which killed 20 people in Schoharie County. Stefanik, a Republican member of the House intelligence committee that oversees the FBI, said on Dec. 13 that she would follow through on a promise to subpoena the bureau about. the issue when Republicans become the majority party in the House of Representatives in January. “The FBI is completely failing their responsibility to inform Congress, and they can no longer brush off my requests on behalf of New York families,” Stefanik said in a statement on Dec. 13. “These families and the entire Schoharie community were devastated by the deadly limo tragedy that could have been avoided if not for FBI negligence." But Stefanik declined to provide any evidence that the FBI has not been forthcoming. Stefanik's office refused requests for a copy of the FBI's recent letter and would not say why they would not share the letter, although a brief email from her office cited unspecified "sensitivities." An FBI spokesperson declined any comment on the issue. A New York Magazine article on the crash earlier this year prompted Stefanik and Rep. Paul Tonko, a Democrat, to demand the FBI answer questions about whether or not it had protected Hussain from legal trouble during his time as an FBI informant. Testifying before the House intelligence committee earlier this year, FBI Director Christopher Wray told Stefanik that the FBI did not want to publicly speak about its interactions with Hussain because doing so may imperil the bureau's relationships with its undercover informants. Read more about this story in the Times Union.

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