Former FBI official says lying in background check not normally prosecuted

A former top official at the FBI says witnesses would not under standard procedure be prosecuted for lying to investigators during the bureau's weeklong inquiry into the allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanuagh.

Kevin Brock, a former assistant director of intelligence for the FBI, says that making false statements to the agency is a federal offense, but emphasizes this is typically true in criminal investigations — not background checks. 

“To lie to an FBI investigation is a federal violation…but that’s normally in a criminal investigation. In a background investigation, I’ve never heard of a scenario where anybody has been in charge to prosecute,” Brock told conservative Hill.TV co-host Ned Ryun.

Brock, who served as special agent for 24 years, said that background checks aren't considered to be particularly high-stakes investigations and are normally used as “training grounds” for new FBI agents who lack any real authority. 

He also emphasized that the bureau’s renewed activity on Kavanaugh is not a criminal investigation, saying the purpose of the investigation is not to prove — or disprove — Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations of sexual assault against the Supreme Court nominee.

“I detect there’s some belief out there that the FBI is going to determine whether or not Dr. Ford was actually violated 30 years ago — that’s not the purpose of the investigation, that’s the jurisdiction of Montgomery Country…to determine whether there was actually some type of criminal act,” he said.

The White House instructed the FBI to wrap up its probe by Friday, and the bureau is expected to send a report to the Senate Judiciary Committee on its findings.

So far, the FBI has talked with four witnesses, according to a report by The New York Times.

Lawyers for two of these key witness — Kavanuagh’s high school friend, Mark Judge, and his second accuser, Deborah Ramirez — have confirmed that they completed their respective interviews. 

— Tess Bonn