Politics

Head of FBI Press Office Accepted Baseball Tickets From CNN and New York Times Reporters, Lied Under Oath

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Michael Kortan, the head of the FBIs Office of Public Affairs until his retirement early in 2018, during his tenure accepted baseball tickets from reporters with CNN and The New York Times and lied about the gifts under oath, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Inspector General (OIG).

Kortan accepted three tickets from a CNN correspondent for Major League Baseball games in May 2016 and September 2016, the OIG determined. He also accepted a playoff game ticket from a New York Times reporter in October 2014.

Investigators flagged Kortans communications with the CNN reporter as part of the inspector generals review of the FBI and DOJs actions in advance of the 2016 election. The report found that multiple FBI employees accepted gifts from the media in violation of FBI policy.

During an interview under oath, Kortan lied about repaying the reporters for the tickets. He retired on Feb. 16, 2018, during the course of the investigation. The DOJ declined to prosecute Kortans potential criminal violations.

Michael P. Kortan (L), FBI deputy assistant director of Public Affairs, and former FBI Director Louis Freeh (R). (FBI)

The OIG concluded its investigation into Kortan in October 2018 but issued only a brief report, which didnt identify Kortan nor name the media companies involved. The Epoch Times obtained a detailed report (pdf) on the investigation via a Freedom of Information Act request.

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The New York Times and CNN didnt respond to requests for comment.

After claiming under oath that he repaid the CNN correspondent for two tickets, valued at $65 each, to the Washington Nationals game against the Miami Marlins on Sept. 30, 2016, Kortan circled back with the OIG and admitted that he didnt pay the reporter back. He said he later recalled that he left the game because of rain, so the reporter had declined to accept the money. He also changed his testimony about who his guest was at the game, admitting that the guest was a female FBI employee, not a civilian, as he previously claimed.

The female FBI employee told the OIG that she was familiar with the CNN correspondent from watching television.

During a subsequent interview, Kortan admitted to lying about the type of seats he received with the tickets. The seats were in a members-only section reserved for season-ticket holders, not general seats as Kortan had claimed.

Kortan was also unable to produce proof that he repaid the same CNN correspondent for a $65 ticket to a May 9, 2016, Nationals game and a New York Times reporter for an October 2014 game, which he only recalled as the “18-inning game.” The OIG didnt find any evidence that Kortan paid the reporters back.

“In view of the fact that Kortans claim under oath that he paid for the September 2016 tickets proved not to be true, the absence of any communication or evidence relating to payment for the May 2016 and the 18 inning game tickets, and Kortans lack of candor with respect to several issues surrounding the September 2016 tickets, the OIG did not credit Kortans statements that he paid for the May 2016 and 18 inning game tickRead More – Source

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