American who escaped Al Qaeda captivity says Robert Mueller and James Comey betrayed him.
After he escaped from Al Qaeda in Syria, American photojournalist Matt Schrier investigated his own kidnapping and uncovered what he describes as a pattern of “betrayal” by FBI agents handling his case, Catherine Herridge, Pamela K. Browne, Cyd Upson | Fox News, cover in this exclusive report.
“Not every FBI agent is bad. Some are very good people,” Schrier told Fox News. “But the ones that are bad need to be weeded out. And the ones who let them be bad, and who turn their head, need to be exposed.”
In an exclusive cable interview that first aired Monday on “The Story” with Martha MacCallum, Schrier went in depth, sharing emails, financial records and formal letters of complaint, which backed up allegations that after he was taken hostage in 2012, the FBI monitored his accounts as Al Qaeda terrorists used his money to buy at least a dozen computers and tablets.
While he was tortured and held by al Nusra, the brutal Al Qaeda franchise in Syria, Schrier claimed the FBI put intelligence gathering ahead of his personal security, hoping to track the computers and tablets to learn more about Al Qaeda recruits and future plots.advertisement - story continues below
After his harrowing escape, Schrier started demanding answers from the FBI, which at the time of his kidnapping was led by Mueller.
Since his return to the U.S. in mid-2013, Schrier shared documents with Fox News and explained, “I faxed– I emailed them, probably between my mother and my father and me, between 50 and 100 complaints.”
Comey took over from Mueller in September 2013, and Schrier said the stonewalling continued. “I was emailing him questions. I was forwarding him all these emails. I was demanding answers from him,” Schrier said. “And I never got anything back.”
Schrier said he has been unable to obtain credit cards or open new bank accounts because Al Qaeda stole his identify and passwords. Unable to get a lease for an apartment, Schrier said his FBI case manager suggested he temporarily live in a New York City homeless shelter.
advertisement - story continues below
“I just got clean clothes without bed bugs. I don’t want to go through a situation where I have to deal with lice and bed bugs again. Like, no thank you.”
The publisher for Comey’s upcoming book, A Higher Loyalty, did not immediately respond to Fox News’ questions. The Office of the Special Counsel referred Fox News to the FBI. The FBI did not dispute Schrier’s account. An FBI spokesperson said the bureau could neither respond to specific questions nor make the agent assigned to Schrier’s case available for an interview.
“The FBI’s investigation into the kidnapping of Matthew Schrier remains open, therefore, we are not able to discuss investigative details surrounding this case. The FBI works closely with our federal partners not only to ensure that the U.S. Government does all that it can to safely recover Americans taken hostage overseas but to also assist victims who have been defrauded or further abused by a hostage-taker,” the spokesperson said.
Schrier said the stonewalling continued after James Comey took over the FBI.advertisement - story continues below
A leading group that helps America hostages and their families, Hostage US, confirmed 2012 and 2013 represented a dark period.
“By the U.S. government’s own admission, there were many problems relating to their engagement with families around this time, mixed messages from different parts of government,” Hostage US CEO Rachel Briggs told Fox News. “President Obama ordered a review of the U.S. government’s handling of hostages’ cases in late 2014, which… led to a range of policy and procedural changes. The review came about largely because families themselves were vocal in their criticisms, and they should take the credit for the changes they brought about.”
Briggs cited a new Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell — a cross-government unit focused on hostage cases, as well as a Hostage Response Group at the National Security Council.
Schrier’s story began in 2012 when, as a freelance photographer, he traveled to Syria. One of the most dangerous places on the planet for journalists to operate, Schrier said he wanted to witness history.
“I love military history and I’m not really the type who wants to photograph handshakes. So I thought it would be a great experience witnessing history, photographing history, bringing it back,” Schrier explained.
Read the exclusive story at Fox News.