Ex-FBI Counterintelligence Chief Sentenced to Over 4 Years

    Ex-FBI Counterintelligence Chief Sentenced to Over 4 Years
    Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images News [via Getty Images]

    The Facts

    • After pleading guilty in August to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, former FBI agent Charles McGonigal was sentenced on Thursday to more than four years in prison for violating US sanctions by working with Russian diplomat Sergey Shestakov to help Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

    • McGonigal worked as the head of counterintelligence at the FBI's New York office until he retired in 2018. One of the federal prosecutors, Hagan Scotten, said in court Thursday that McGonigal's position was "one of the most important" anti-spying jobs in the country, adding that it "should have been the crowning achievement in his FBI career."

    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    As the US has worked hard to deter the power and influence of these Russian billionaires through sanctions, McGonigal chose the greedy route by enriching himself at the expense of American national security. It's a shame that a man with such a decorated career should find himself in this situation. No one is above the law, even FBI agents with storied careers.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    McGonigal hid his own corrupt ties to Russian oligarchs while launching the now-debunked Russia probe into an elected US president. During the two years the government was conducting its case against Trump, one of its top so-called investigators was getting rich doing exactly what he accused others of doing.

    Establishment split



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