Patrick Bryne was the founder and CEO of Overstock.com.
In the Summer of 2019 Byrne described an illicit and intentional use of an FBI counterintelligence operation to monitor the political campaign of the opposing party.
- See also: FBI scandal
On June 8, 2015 Maria Butina approached Byrne at the Las Vegas Freedom Fest. Byrne, who held a security clearance as a member of the CFR, reported the contact with a Russian national to the FBI. By December 2015 Byrne was reporting more frequently on Butina.
In the early GOP primary season of 2016 Byrne was told by FBI handlers to focus Marina Butina’s attention to the campaign of Donald Trump and to diminish any attention toward Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz. Byrne warned FBI officials of a potential that his efforts, his reputation and those who trust him, may result in Butina gaining entry into the confidence of the campaign. The FBI agents told Byrne that was exactly the intent; people high up in the FBI wanted Ms. Butina to gain deep access into the 2016 Trump campaign. Byrne became suspicious of a corrupt political motive, but didn’t say anything at the time.
By June and July 2016 FBI agents requested Byrne to focus on developing a closer romantic relationship with Maria Butina, and to use his influence to target her to closer proximity with the Trump family and Trump campaign. Byrne said the specific instructions were coming to the agents from Peter Strzok as he relayed the requests of those above him Byrne named James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Bill Priestap, and John Carlin (DOJ-NSD).