Obama’s agencies abandoning people? Didn’t see that coming.
Via Fox News.
After he escaped from Al Qaeda in Syria, American photojournalist Matt Schrier investigated his own kidnapping and uncovered what he describes as a pattern of “betrayal” by FBI agents handling his case.
Schrier is now asking hard questions of former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who now leads the special counsel Russia probe, and former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired by President Trump in May 2017.
“Not every FBI agent is bad. Some are very good people,” Schrier told Fox News. “But the ones that are bad need to be weeded out. And the ones who let them be bad, and who turn their head, need to be exposed.”
In an exclusive cable interview that first aired Monday on “The Story” with Martha MacCallum, Schrier went in depth, sharing emails, financial records and formal letters of complaint, which backed up allegations that after he was taken hostage in 2012, the FBI monitored his accounts as Al Qaeda terrorists used his money to buy at least a dozen computers and tablets.
While he was tortured and held by al Nusra, the brutal Al Qaeda franchise in Syria, Schrier claimed the FBI put intelligence gathering ahead of his personal security, hoping to track the computers and tablets to learn more about Al Qaeda recruits and future plots. After his harrowing escape, Schrier started demanding answers from the FBI, which at the time of his kidnapping was led by Mueller.
Since his return to the U.S. in mid-2013, Schrier shared documents with Fox News and explained, “I faxed– I emailed them, probably between my mother and my father and me, between 50 and 100 complaints.”
Comey took over from Mueller in September 2013, and Schrier said the stonewalling continued. “I was emailing him questions. I was forwarding him all these emails. I was demanding answers from him,” Schrier said. “And I never got anything back.”
Schrier said he has been unable to obtain credit cards or open new bank accounts because Al Qaeda stole his identity and passwords. Unable to get a lease for an apartment, Schrier said his FBI case manager suggested he temporarily live in a New York City homeless shelter.
“I just got clean clothes without bed bugs. I don’t want to go through a situation where I have to deal with lice and bed bugs again. Like, no thank you.”
……Schrier’s story began in 2012 when, as a freelance photographer, he traveled to Syria, one of the most dangerous places on the planet for journalists to operate. Schrier said he wanted to witness history.
“I love military history and I’m not really the type who wants to photograph handshakes. So I thought it would be a great experience witnessing history, photographing history, bringing it back,” Schrier explained.
……Schrier spent the next seven months held in six prisons across Syria where he was routinely tortured and starved.
……Six weeks after his disappearance, records reviewed by Fox News showed 10 computers were purchased using his accounts, after Schrier said his Al Qaeda kidnappers threatened him. “They sat me down in the office in a circle with the emir, three Canadians and another guy. And they put a piece of paper in front of me and said, basically, ‘Write down all the passwords for every account you have, from Facebook to your credit cards to your bank accounts, we want your social security number.'”
At least two tablets were shipped to a Canadian address. Fox News called phone numbers listed under the name and address but there was no response. A February 2017 email reviewed by Fox News from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police suggested a criminal case was being built, but there was no public evidence charges were pursued.
By February 2013, Schrier said the terrorists had everything to steal his identity. “They bought laptops, they bought tablets, they bought boots, you know, things to fight with. They practically rebuilt a Mercedes with parts. I mean, all sorts of stuff… They bought a Kama Sutra guide. They bought sunglasses, cologne.”
At the same time, Schrier claimed the FBI was monitoring the transactions, and the bureau’s point person for his family, agent Lindsey Perotti, misled his mother. Six months into his captivity, the FBI agent wrote Schrier’s mother, “Everything at this point seems to indicate he is the one using his phone, credit card, and bank account.” Despite working as a freelance war photographer, Schrier had not posted any new work.
……Two intelligence officers, one current, the other former, told Fox News that Schrier’s theory — that the FBI was tracking Al Qaeda’s online activity with his accounts, as well as the computer purchases — suggested it was part of a larger operation.
“So they’re monitoring my financial records straight off the bat. They’re letting them steal this money. Why are they letting them steal the money, what’s the angle? Well, what are they buying? They’re buying laptops and tablets. If they intercept them, they do their little spy thing and then they deliver them right into the hands of Al Qaeda and they create, basically, a dream come true for the intelligence community, a way to infiltrate the enemy like never before, without them even knowing it,” Schrier said.
He claimed the FBI’s priority was running an intelligence operation and not an investigation to secure his release. Pressed by Fox News to back up the serious allegation, Schrier said, “Beyond a reasonable doubt, I have all the evidence, I have made one attempt after another to have this investigated so that the people responsible can be held accountable, nobody will return my calls, nobody will investigate this, despite all the evidence.”
……A government official backed up the account to Fox News.
……The 39-year-old Schrier said he remained angry at how the FBI handled his case. “You know, what I needed help with was reestablishing a life for myself, which means a new social security number and rebuilding my credit.”
Schrier emphasized that he still couldn’t get a credit card though he was able eventuallly to recover more than $16,000 in stolen funds through PayPal and Citibank, but it took months. “You have the Witness Protection Program, you give new social security numbers to murderers and pimps and drug dealers. I’m a witness too and I didn’t do any of that stuff. ‘No — can’t help you.'”
After he returned, Schrier described a debrief for the FBI and CIA. The CIA had no comment for Fox News.
“I gave them more information than probably 50 informants could’ve given ’em. And that’s when I went from feeling like, ‘All right, I don’t deserve anything,’ to, ‘You know what, yeah, yeah I deserve some things. I deserve a new social security number, I deserve decent health care, I deserve to be treated with respect.’ I didn’t ask for anything. I gave them Skype names, I gave them more than anyone in my situation has ever given them. I can say that definitively. And what I got in return was lies, betrayal, nothing,” Schrier said.
If you’re a journalist traveling through muzzie cesspools to “experience witnessing history”, you should know the risks, and you shouldn’t be surprised when the FBI exploits your situation.