An ex-FBI informant is charged with lying about the Bidens. But the US was warned he was a ‘fraud’ years ago

Alexander Smirnov’s credibility was called into question nearly a decade ago

Kelly Rissman
Saturday 16 March 2024 20:59 GMT
Rep. Ken Buck Says GOP Colleagues Were Warned That Now Indicted Biden Informant’s Statements Were Not Verified

A former FBI informant has been charged with lying about President Joe Biden and his son’s business dealings — but his reputation as a “liar” dates back to at least 2016, according to a report.

The Republican-led impeachment inquiry into the president hinged on details that Alexander Smirnov provided — which have now been deemed as “false derogatory information.”

But long before these recent revelations, Mr Smirnov’s credibility was called into question.

There was a criminal case in which Mr Smirnov allegedly gave false information to the FBI — unbeknownst to the agency at the time — that ultimately led to a prosecution, CBS News reported.

Mr Smirnov’s information was used in a 2015 racketeering case in California, in which the Justice Department brought charges against 33 defendants, the outlet wrote. His information also led to a separate case involving two of the defendants in the racketeering case.

In a sentencing brief, one defendant’s lawyer, Joseph Benincasa, wrote, “The CHS [confidential human source] was known to the United States as a liar and fraudster.”

Mr Benincasa then claimed that the confidential human source “lied to the government” and called the intel “completely untrue.

The document does not name the source or identify Mr Smirnov.

A footnote in the document states that the government was provided with the notes of their private investigator’s interview with a close associate of Smirnov who repeatedly called him a “liar.”

A courtroom sketch of Alexander Smirnov from Feb. 26, 2024
A courtroom sketch of Alexander Smirnov from Feb. 26, 2024 (William T. Robles)

A footnote in the filing states, “A second CHS was interviewed by the defendant’s private investigator and extensively stated that the CHS was a liar. This interview was turned over to the government but has not been provided here as it reveals the identities of the two CHS. Since the production of that interview to the government, the defendant and his family have been threatened with bodily harm by that CHS.”

Mr Benincasa told CBS News: “Having seen how much he lies, it’s kind of surprising that he has been able to do it for as long as he has without anyone in the government stopping him.”

“They never should have used him again … it’s shocking,” he added.

When asked about the recent discoveries, Mr Smirnov’s attorney told The Independent: “Mr Smirnov is proud of his past service to the United States. He intends on vigorously defending himself in court, not in the media.”

Other law enforcement officials have demanded a review of the cases that relied on intel from Mr Smirnov.

“I think a review has to be done, either internally by the FBI or, more advisedly, by the Department [of Justice] to find out not only what happened here, but whether there is a systemic problem in the…supervision of informants,” Michael Bromwich, the former Justice Department inspector general, told CBS News.

On top of this resurfaced past case, his most recent criminal indictment states that Mr Smirnov “was admonished by” the handling agent “that he must provide truthful information to the FBI when he first became a CHS in 2010 and on multiple occasions thereafter.”

The FBI declined to comment.

In addition to the accusations against Mr Smirnov, the impeachment inquiry has not seen much evidence to support the GOP’s argument. So, the White House has now urged for the inquiry to come to an end.

Mr Smirnov has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

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