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McGonigal did not report the meetings with Rama and took bribes, the FBI director reacts for the first time: Unacceptable behavior!
Wray spoke publicly for the first time about the case against Charles McGonigal, a former special agent in charge of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division in New York, who was charged in an unsealed indictment on Monday.
The investigation and arrest of a retired FBI official for money laundering and violating US sanctions against Russia shows the agency can police itself, FBI Director Christopher Wray said.
Wray said it was FBI agents who "methodically and professionally" built the case against McGonigal.
"What I think the charges in this case demonstrate is the willingness of the FBI as an organization to shine a light on behavior that is completely unacceptable, including when it occurs by one of our own people, and to hold those people responsible ," Wray told reporters in Washington on Friday, who is facing criticism over the case, particularly from conservative lawmakers who have already vowed to investigate him and the FBI.
"We're talking about a guy who's been away from the FBI for over four years now," Wray said. "It is the FBI that started this investigation. It is the FBI and our agents who meticulously and methodically pieced together the case against him. And it's the FBI."
Attorney General Merrick Garland also commented, saying that every federal employee takes an oath to uphold the US Constitution and faithfully perform the duties of their offices.
"We take this oath seriously and we will make sure that anyone who does not live up to that oath is held accountable, " Garland told reporters.
McGonigal faces several charges after allegedly working with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska in exchange for hidden payments. McGonigal pleaded not guilty in Manhattan federal court and was released on $500,000 bail.
As special agent in charge, McGonigal held a national security clearance and was responsible for overseeing counterintelligence and national security matters. That included participating in secret investigations of Russian oligarchs, including Deripaska, according to prosecutors. He retired in 2018.