Disgraced FBI Official Charles McGonigal Pleads Guilty to Concealing Foreign Contacts, $225K From FBI – RedState

Disgraced FBI Official Charles McGonigal Pleads Guilty to Concealing Foreign Contacts, $225K From FBI – RedState

Just a little over a month after he pled guilty to conspiracy in federal court in New York, arising out of his efforts to aid Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska in evading U.S. sanctions, disgraced former FBI official Charles McGonigal has entered another guilty plea: On Friday, McGonigal pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. to concealing his contacts with foreign officials, as well as $225,000 in payments he received from an Albanian intelligence employee. 

McGonigal, 55, was charged by federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C., with concealing $225,000 in cash that he received from a former employee of Albania’s intelligence agency. Prosecutors alleged he also misled the FBI by not properly disclosing his overseas travels and contacts with foreign nationals while he was still employed by the bureau. 

He pleaded guilty to a single count of concealment of material facts on Friday. He faces up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. The judge scheduled a sentencing hearing for Feb. 16, 2024. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to ask the judge to dismiss eight other counts included in the original indictment.

A little more background on how McGonigal connected with — and ultimately accepted payments from —the Albanian intelligence employee: 

Before he retired in 2018, McGonigal served as the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division in New York and formed a relationship with the former Albanian intelligence employee who had become a naturalized U.S. citizen, according to the indictment. The two traveled to Albania and other countries where the individual had business interests and met with foreign nationals on multiple occasions, prosecutors said. 

On one of the trips, according to the statement of facts to which McGonigal admitted on Friday, he met with the prime minister of Albania, one of his advisers and a Kosovar politician and failed to report those meetings. 

During his meeting with Albania’s prime minister, McGonigal allegedly urged him to avoid awarding oil drilling licenses to Russian front companies, according to the plea agreement.  Prosecutors said both the former intelligence employee and the prime minister’s adviser had a financial interest in Albania’s decisions about the contracts. 

McGonigal also admitted that he flagged to the Justice Department a U.S. citizen’s foreign lobbying work on behalf of a political opponent of the Albanian prime minister. The FBI later opened an investigation into that person based on information McGonigal received from his Albanian contacts and the prime minister’s allies. 

The individual with whom McGonigal traveled overseas “later served as an FBI source in a criminal investigation involving foreign political lobbying over which McGonigal had official supervisory responsibility,” prosecutors noted in a release Friday.

Yeah, that’s a problem. It also raises additional questions as to how deep the rot runs at “the nation’s premier law enforcement agency.” As RedStates’ streiff observed when the charges were formally announced in January: 

While I might be tempted to give McGonigal a pass on the Deripaska affair, taking money off-books from someone known to be affiliated with a foreign intelligence service is not acceptable for someone heading our counterintelligence programs. Albanian intelligence works closely with the CIA in the Balkans, so McGonigal might have looked at this as a benign way of jump-starting his Thrift Savings Plan contributions before retiring.

The McGonigal story highlights another larger truth. The FBI is a partisan and corrupt agency. The FBI’s IG found that FBI officials were accepting expensive gifts, like vacations and tickets to sporting events, from American “journalists.” Presumably, some of the return on investment appears in the pages of the Washington Post and the New York Times. (See Senior FBI Official Who Took Illegal Gifts From CNN and Lied to Investigators Was Not Prosecuted and Allowed to Retire With Full Benefits; The FBI Is Rife With Corruption Because No One Cares If Senior Officials Break the Law; This Senior FBI Official Traded Access for Sporting Tickets and What Happened to Him Will Infuriate You; and, FBI Agents Violated Federal Ethics Laws While Cavorting With Reporters for more details.)

This smells more like some sort of political score-settling using generic FBI corrupt practices as window dressing than any sort of major scandal. The easy way to tell will be how the FBI, as an institution, reacts to this. If McGonigal is the only guy arrested, we’ll know this was not some attempt to clean up the FBI and, more likely, an attempt to cover tracks.

Haven’t run across any similar arrests or charges in the intervening months. Not holding my breath either.

Originally Posted on: https://redstate.com/smoosieq/2023/09/24/disgraced-fbi-official-charles-mcgonigal-pleads-guilty-to-concealing-foreign-contacts225k-from-fbi-n2164225
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