A senior FBI agent assigned to the Hunter Biden investigation being conducted by now-Special Counsel David Weiss disputed a key allegation by IRS whistleblower Gary Shapely in closed door testimony given to House lawmakers last week, according to a leak of the transcript of the interview given to the Washington Post. The Post reported on the leaked testimony given by Thomas Sobocinski, Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Baltimore Field Office, in an article posted Tuesday afternoon.
In May of 2022, Sobocinski posted an FBI video warning gun criminals, “Gun crime equals federal time. Which means no parole.”
“Gun crime equals federal time.” As we head into the summer months #FBIBaltimore Special Agent in Charge, Tom Sobocinski, shares a message regarding violent crime in the Baltimore area.
— FBI Baltimore (@FBIBaltimore) May 26, 2022
The Post report on Soborcinski does not mention if he commented on the sweetheart immunity diversion plea deal offered by Weiss to Hunter Biden for his drugs-related gun crime that gave no prison time for his federal crimes. The plea deal fell apart in court in July. Weiss has since said he intends to indict Hunter Biden on the gun charge by the end of September.
Key parts of Sobocinski’s interview with lawmakers focused on an Oct. 7, 2022, meeting that Gary Shapley, one of the IRS whistleblowers, had earlier described to the lawmakers.
Shapley said Weiss told FBI and IRS agents during that meeting that Weiss was not the “deciding official on whether charges are filed.” But Sobocinski, who was also there, said he did not hear Weiss say that and “never felt that [Weiss] needed approval” to bring charges.
Sobocinski, who is the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore field office, noted there was “bureaucratic administrative process” Weiss had to work through to bring charges outside Delaware but that his understanding was “that [Weiss] had the authority to bring whatever he needed to do.”
“I never thought that anybody was there above David Weiss to say no,” he said.
Pressed again on the issue later in the interview, he said, “I went into that meeting believing he had the authority, and I have left that meeting believing he had the authority to bring charges.”
…Sobocinski said he had no awareness of several other claims Shapley made about the Oct. 7 meeting, including that Weiss informed the group that U.S. District Attorney for D.C. Matthew Graves would not allow Weiss to charge Hunter Biden with tax violations in the nation’s capital.
But he added that he while he had a “very high-level sense of IRS charges,” he was not tracking the “minutia” of tax law nor the statute of limitations that was set to lapse on Hunter Biden’s 2014 and 2015 tax returns. Sobocinski also said that he did not take any notes during the Oct. 7 meeting or send emails about it afterward. Shapley, in contrast, memorialized his takeaways from the meeting in notes and an email later that day.
FBI press release announcing Director Christopher Wray’s appointment of Sobocinski on July 14, 2021:
Director Christopher Wray has named Thomas J. Sobocinski as special agent in charge of the Baltimore Field Office. Mr. Sobocinski most recently served as deputy assistant director of the International Operations Division at FBI Headquarters in Washington.
Mr. Sobocinski joined the FBI as a special agent in 1998 and reported to the Fayetteville Resident Agency of the Charlotte Field Office in North Carolina, where he worked violent crime. His focus shifted to counterterrorism cases after the 9/11 attacks. In 2005, he was promoted to supervisory special agent and assigned to the Counterterrorism Division at Headquarters to work in the International Terrorism Operations Section.
In 2007, Mr. Sobocinski was appointed the FBI’s senior liaison to the Department of Homeland Security. He transferred to the Washington Field Office as a counterterrorism supervisory special agent in 2008.
Mr. Sobocinski embarked on a the first of a series of foreign assignments in 2009, when he was appointed assistant legal attaché in Kabul, Afghanistan. He was promoted to legal attaché in Cairo, Egypt, in 2011, then moved to London in 2013 to serve as the deputy legal attaché.
In 2016, Mr. Sobocinski was appointed as the assistant special agent in charge of the Intelligence Branch at the Washington Field Office and was promoted to section chief in the Counterterrorism Division at Headquarters in 2018.
In 2019, he was appointed the deputy assistant director of the International Operations Division.
Prior to joining the FBI, Mr. Sobocinski was a police officer and special agent with the U.S. Secret Service. He earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology and political science from the Purdue University and a master’s degree in security studies from the Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Homeland and Defense Security.