The Department of Justice is investigating whether Kashyap “Kash” Patel, a former high-ranking national security official in the Trump administration, improperly disclosed classified information in attempt to reveal that former President Donald Trump was being targeted by the alleged “deep state” within the federal government, The Washington Post reported Friday.
The possible existence of the inquiry into the 41-year-old Patel was revealed by Post columnist David Ignatius, who said his report was based on “two knowledgeable sources who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe.”
“The sources said the investigation resulted from a complaint made this year by an intelligence agency, but wouldn’t provide additional details,” Ignatius wrote, adding that Patel “repeatedly pressed intelligence agencies to release secrets that, in his view, showed that the president was being persecuted unfairly by critics.”
Patel and an attorney said to be representing him did not respond to multiple requests to comment on the alleged investigation, per Ignatius.
A former counterterrorism prosecutor in the Justice Department’s National Security Division and senior congressional aide to Rep. Devin Nunes, Patel had a rather meteoric rise in Washington during the Trump era, proving himself to be one of the president’s most steadfast loyalists inside the U.S. Intelligence Community.
Patel was lionized by conservatives for authoring the infamous 2018 “Nunes Memo,” which alleged that the FBI intentionally misled a FISA court judge regarding the origins of the “Steele Dossier” in an effort to unlawfully surveil the Trump campaign and help Hillary Clinton win the 2016 presidential election.
The memo was roundly mocked by legal professionals and law enforcement officers. Even Trump’s hand-picked FBI director Christopher Wray issued a statement saying the bureau had “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.” Some of the allegations regarding the FBI’s abuse of the FISA system were later proven true, but an exhaustive investigation by the DOJ’s Office of Inspector General concluded that the abuses were widespread throughout the Bureau and not motivated by any political bias.
Patel joined the Trump administration as a staffer for the National Security Council (NSC) in 2019 where he reportedly “misrepresented” himself to Trump in order to affect Ukraine policy by telling him the country was a hotbed of corruption — though Patel has denied those allegations.
In the closing months of the administration, Patel became the chief of staff to acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller. Soon thereafter, then-CIA Director Gina Haspel reportedly threatened to resign after Trump attempted to install Patel as her deputy in an effort to oust her from her role leading the agency.
In one of his final acts as a government official, Patel reportedly blocked the Biden transition team from having access to career officials and experts within the Department of Defense and changed policy descriptions “to include content that reflects favorably on Trump’s policies before the information [wa]s shared with the Biden transition team,” NBC News reported in December.