Washington — A former career Justice Department official said Attorney General William Barr misused her statements to justify the department’s decision to drop the criminal case against Michael Flynn.

Mary B. McCord, the Justice Department official overseeing the early stages of the Russia investigation, said in a New York Times opinion piece that the motion to dismiss the charges relied heavily on her account of events leading to the FBI’s interview of Flynn, President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser, in January 2017.

Neither that account nor the circumstances surrounding the interview supports a dismissal of the case, McCord wrote in the 1,300-word op-ed. She said Barr came up with his own justification to drop the case after Flynn had twice pleaded guilty.

“The department concocts its materiality theory by arguing that the FBI should not have been investigating Mr. Flynn at the time they interviewed him,” McCord wrote, adding that “the account of my interview in 2017 doesn’t help the department support this conclusion, and it is disingenuous for the department to twist my words to suggest that it does.”

The Justice Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The piece is likely to add to the controversy surrounding the Justice Department’s decision this month to drop the Flynn case, which accused the former general of lying to FBI agents about communications he had with Sergey Kislyak, who was at the time Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., after the election but before Trump took office.

Former Justice Department officials from both Republican and Democratic administrations have since criticized the decision, as has former President Barack Obama.

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