E. W. Priestap

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Bill Priestap
Edward W. Priestap.jpeg
Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for Counterintelligence
In office
December 2015 – December 2018
Personal details
Edward William Priestap

(1969-04-05) April 5, 1969 (age 52)
Spouse(s)Sabina Menschel
RelativesRichard Menschel (father-in-law)
Ronay A. Menschel (mother-in-law)
Robert Menschel (uncle-in-law)
EducationHillsdale College (BS)
University of Detroit-Mercy (JD, MBA)
OccupationAttorney, intelligence official

Edward William Priestap[1], also known as Bill Priestap (born April 5, 1969)[2] is an American attorney and United States intelligence official. He was the assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division from 2015 to 2018.


Priestap earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Hillsdale College in 1991,[3] a master's degree in educational administration from Norwich University, a J.D. and a Master's of Business Administration from the University of Detroit-Mercy.[where?][4]


Priestap joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1998, and he was appointed as assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division in 2015.[4][5] In this role, he notably decided to open the Crossfire Hurricane investigation into the Trump campaign's potential collusion with Russian interference in the 2016 elections.[6][7] Priestap ensured that an FBI informant and an FBI investigator would meet with George Papadopoulos during Donald Trump's 2016 campaign. After arriving September 15, 2016, in London, Papadopoulos met in a private London club with a United States citizen and FBI informer Stefan Halper, who was a Cambridge professor, and a female posing as Halper's female research assistant who had invited Papadopoulos for drinks.[8][9][10] The research assistant was an FBI investigator with the pseudonym Azra Turk but Papadopoulos stated that he believed that she "was CIA" with ties to "Turkish intel" and was tasked to learn about his work in the Energy Triangle which involves Cyprus-Greece-Israel, and competes with the interests of Northern Cyprus and Turkey.[8][9] In 2018 as the FBI counterintelligence expert, Priestap informed Congress that the FBI did not spy on the Trump campaign but did investigate possible ties to Russia beginning on August 10, 2016, as a FARA case on Papadopoulos based upon information the FBI received on July 26, 2016, from the Australian government originating from Alexander Downer's meeting with Papadopoulos on May 10, 2016, in London.[9][11][12] British intelligence was informed of the FBI FARA case on Papadopoulos and did not halt the FBI's operation from being conducted on the soil of the United Kingdom where GCHQ could assist with the FBI in the FARA case involving Papadopoulos but the GCHQ gave no comment about its role according to a May 2, 2019, New York Times article.[9]

Priestap was involved with the investigations into Donald Trump's former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.[13]

Priestap will not comply voluntarily to set before the Senate committee investigating criminal activity by the FBI.[citation needed] Senator Lindsey Graham has officially subpoenaed Priestap to set before the Senate committee investigating wrongful criminal behavior of the FBI leadership during "crossfire hurricane".[citation needed] Priestap retired from the FBI in April 2019.[14][15]


  1. ^ "Prosecutors rest in Hamas case". Articles.chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  2. ^ United States Public Records, 1970-2009 (New York)
  3. ^ Hillsdale Alumni Magazines, Thursday, June 1, 1995, page 39
  4. ^ a b "Bill Priestap". CNBC. September 25, 2017. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  5. ^ Blinde, Loren (December 23, 2015). "E.W. Priestap named assistant director of the FBI counterintelligence division". Intelligence Community News. Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  6. ^ Bump, Philip (December 9, 2019). "What Trump claimed about the Russia probe — and what the Justice Department inspector general determined". Washington Post.
  7. ^ Lichtblau, Eric (December 11, 2019). How the FBI Botched Its Russia Inquiry, One of the Most Closely Watched Cases in Its History: The investigation was slowed by communication failures, concerns about political optics, and an overall lack of urgency, along with plenty of mistakes. The Intercept. Retrieved June 9, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Edelman, Adam (May 3, 2019). "Trump calls report of FBI investigator meeting with campaign aide 'bigger than Watergate, but the reverse': In a tweet, the president offered backhanded praise for The New York Times". NBC News. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d Goldman, Adam; Schmidt, Michael S.; Mazzetti, Mark (May 2, 2019). "F.B.I. Sent Investigator Posing as Assistant to Meet With Trump Aide in 2016". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 2, 2019. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  10. ^ Kilmeade, Brian (May 2, 2019). "Peter Navarro Feels "Duped" For Recommending Stefan Halper To The White House For An Ambassadorship". Fox News Radio. Archived from the original on May 2, 2019. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  11. ^ Apuzzo, Matt; Goldman, Adam; Fandos, Nicholas (May 16, 2018). "Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 2, 2019. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  12. ^ Report of the Senate Intelligence Committee, United States Senate, on the Russian Active Measures Campaigns and Interference in the U.S. 2016 Election. Volume 5: Counterintelligence Threats and Vulnerabilities, Released: August 18, 2020, p.59.
  13. ^ Goldman, Adam; Benner, Katie (May 13, 2020). "Ex-F.B.I. Official Is Said to Undercut Justice Dept. Effort to Drop Flynn Case". New York Times. Archived from the original on May 20, 2020. Retrieved May 13, 2020 – via MSN News.
  14. ^ Tau, Byron (December 4, 2018). "Another High-Ranking FBI Official to Depart". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  15. ^ Burke, Michael (December 4, 2018). "Top FBI official Bill Priestap to retire". The Hill. Retrieved April 3, 2019.

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