U.S. Senators Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr requesting the full declassification of briefing notes for then-Director James Comey summarizing the FBI’s investigative efforts regarding Crossfire Hurricane. The May 1, 2017 notes identify Miles Taylor, the former Trump administration official who anonymously authored a September 2018 op-ed criticizing the president, as a possible witness in the Flynn investigation. The chairmen enclosed the partially declassified but heavily-redacted FBI document in their request to Attorney General Barr.
Text letter to Attorney General Barr follows. A copy of the letter and the briefing notes can be viewed here.
November 20, 2020
The Honorable William P. Barr
U.S. Department of Justice
Dear Attorney General Barr:
On October 30, 2020, we requested that the Department of Justice (DOJ) declassify several types of records, including then-Director Comey’s briefing notes and FBI Lync messages, relating to Crossfire Hurricane. The DOJ recently produced to the Committees the enclosed partially declassified document titled “Director’s Briefing Notes Crossfire Hurricane” dated May 1, 2017. This document appears to summarize the FBI’s investigative efforts, as of May 1, 2017, relating to subjects of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, namely, George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Carter Page, and Paul Manafort.
This 11-page document includes information about the status of the then-ongoing investigations into those individuals and references new information obtained through witness interviews. One of the witnesses named in the section of the document labeled “Michael Flynn [CROSSFIRE RAZOR]” is Miles Taylor. Although the document does not fully explain the FBI’s interest in Taylor in relation to Flynn, the memo included a “place holder” for an “interview w/ Miles Taylor.”
Taylor previously worked for the House of Representatives and then in 2017 he joined the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), eventually rising to become then-Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s chief of staff in February 2019. In late October 2020, Taylor revealed that he was the anonymous author of a September 2018 New York Times op-ed titled, “I am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” where he stated that he intended to “thwart” President Trump’s agenda while he was in the administration. Taylor resigned from DHS in June 2019 and shortly thereafter, in November 2019, he published a book titled “A Warning,” which was also critical of President Trump.
The FBI document appears to list meetings that Taylor had with Michael Flynn’s lobbying organization, the Flynn Intel Group, in October 2016. The document also noted that a “witness interview of Miles Taylor, mentioned in the FARA documents, indicated Flynn Intel Group’s involvement with a late 2016 Turkey-related briefing to the now-National Security Adviser to the Vice President.” Further, under a Flynn subsection titled “[m]oving forward in the near-term,” the FBI wrote, “[b]ased on Miles Taylor interview + open source reporting, considering an interview of former CIA Director James Woolsey [REDACTED].”
This heavily-redacted document suggests that the FBI spoke directly to Taylor and it also provides additional information relating to Crossfire Hurricane. Accordingly, we request that the entire document be further declassified. We believe that further declassification is appropriate at this time because, among other factors, the Inspector General’s review of Crossfire Hurricane is closed; the investigation has already been the subject of years of oversight, public hearings, and document productions; and there is a strong public interest in knowing and understanding what really transpired between and among federal government officials relating to Crossfire Hurricane. Together, these factors outweigh the need to further protect the information contained in the classified records.
In addition, we request all records relating to the FBI’s interview of Miles Taylor, including all 302s and notes, to better understand his role in the Flynn investigation. Please produce this information as soon as possible but no later than November 30, 2020. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Committee on Homeland Security and
Charles E. Grassley
Committee on Finance