FBI to Create Special Unit to Investigate “Russian Role” in US 2016 Election
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) plans to create a specialized unit that will prioritize the agency’s investigations into claims of Russia’s interference in the 2016 US Presidential election, local media reported.
“It’s [the unit] meant to surge resources,” a source familiar with the situation told the Financial Times newspaper late on Sunday, adding that the move is also meant to give more access to the investigation’s details to FBI director James Comey.
The new unit is expected to begin operations in May, with the team likely to include some 20 agents drawn from other units. The unit’s chief will reportedly brief Comey on the ongoing probe weekly, providing day-to-day updates to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
According to the media, the high-profile nature of the investigation requires a central manager, with a source familiar with the plan, saying that the investigation is “too big and it’s on the front page of the newspaper every day.”
A spokeswoman for the FBI declined to comment on the information, the media added.
On March 20, Comey confirmed to the House Intelligence Committee that the FBI was conducting an investigation into efforts allegedly undertaken by the Russian government to interfere with the US election.
Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a direct denial on Thursday of allegations that his country influenced the 2016 US presidential elections. On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated Moscow’s assertion that US claims of Russian interference in the election are completely unfounded.