"He's a creature of the FBI," Grenell said. "And he views everything as a PR exercise. Don't criticize the FBI. Don't talk about any failures at the FBI because he loves the brand. And it was a brand exercise."
Grenell described an episode in spring 2020 when he was acting DNI and was trying to declassify documents about FBI misconduct in the Russia collusion probe and its pursuit of former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, and there "was a lot of pushback."
He said FBI leaders told him frontline agents adamantly didn't want the memos declassified and released to the public because they would reveal investigative sources and methods.
"I said I'd like to talk to these FBI agents who actually redacted this information," he recalled. "And oh, boy, they did not want me to. But I did. I pushed through, and because I had the position, I was able to do it. I said, 'You know look, I'm about to release this information. But I'm asking you to tell me. If this is really a source or a method, point it to me. What am I missing here?'
"Did you know, John, that the FBI rank and file agents who did that said to me, 'We agree with you. We didn't redact this. Our bosses did.' And it was so obvious to me that there was a political manipulation from up top."
Grenell said the concerns about the credibility of the FBI have only worsened since