SAN FRANCISCO—In an effort to gather evidence in their investigation of the presidential candidate’s alleged misuse of her private email server when she served as secretary of state, members of the FBI reportedly convinced actor George Clooney to wear a hidden listening device Friday night while attending a campaign fundraising dinner with Hillary Clinton.
Sources confirmed that, following weeks of intense personal lobbying that ultimately persuaded the Hollywood A-lister to secretly record Clinton, a pair of special agents met with Clooney in a dimly lit interrogation room in their San Francisco field office, where they prepared him in the hours leading up to the party. There, sources said, agents stressed to the still-reluctant celebrity that Friday evening’s event represented the government’s best opportunity yet to record the former cabinet official possibly incriminating herself.
“Look, George, I know you’re nervous, but you’re doing your country a big service,” Special Agent Carter Wilson reportedly said to a fidgeting, shirtless Clooney while using medical tape to secure the microphone wire to the actor’s chest. “Mrs. Clinton should be comfortable, relaxed, and talking freely tonight, so this is the perfect environment to get her to slip up. This mic will be recording the entire time, but you need to speak clearly, and make sure she speaks clearly, otherwise the audio might not be admissible in court.”
“And she needs to admit her part in all of it, so keep prodding her until we get what we need—just use your head so she doesn’t catch on, okay?” he continued. “The last thing we want is to have to fish you out of the bay.”
While awaiting Clinton’s arrival at the party several hours later, the visibly anxious two-time Academy Award winner—who kept the listening device concealed beneath a dress shirt and black dinner jacket—reportedly reminded himself again and again of the topics that the FBI requested he discuss with the Democratic frontrunner, as well as the list of specific names and dates they needed to hear her say.
Shortly after 8 p.m., upon spotting Clinton entering the premises, Clooney began making uneasy small talk with the former first lady, witnesses confirmed, asking her on several occasions to repeat herself more slowly while he adjusted the right side of his shirt collar. Clooney, who is said to have grown concerned that the presidential hopeful had yet to say anything revealing after an hour at the fundraiser, reportedly leaned in close to Clinton and mentioned that he had always been fascinated by computer encryption. According to sources, the comment elicited a quizzical glare from the candidate and a moment of prolonged, tense silence, which a panicking Clooney then attempted to awkwardly defuse by explaining how he had been interested in the topic ever since he read the script for his 1997 film The Peacemaker about the high-tech pursuit of nuclear weapons smugglers.
Reports indicate that a sweaty, shaking Clooney then hastily excused himself, retreated to the bathroom, and proceeded to vomit into the toilet.
“I can’t do this, I can’t do this, I can’t do this,” Clooney is reported to have said, as the sound of his hyperventilation resounded in the headphones of the FBI agents monitoring him from a van labeled “Valley Catering & Events” that sat parked outside the party. “Oh, God, she can tell something is up. I know it. I just know it.”
“She’s going to fucking kill me,” Clooney continued.
Sources confirmed that the movie star eventually returned to the party after a brief pep talk from agents speaking to him through his earpiece, a speech that, according to sources, included one agent screaming at Clooney to “fucking pull it together.” Despite steeling his nerves with several drinks and asking at least a dozen more leading questions, Clooney is said to have failed to secure any useful information from Clinton throughout the remainder of the evening and decided to leave the party before arousing any further suspicion.
“Goodbye, Madame Secretary,” Clooney said before hesitantly embracing Clinton, his heart reportedly racing as the former senator’s hand slowly ran along his back just inches from the FBI transceiver. “It’s always a pleasure talking with you.”
“And let me know if you ever want to finish that chat about Libya,” he added.
Witnesses reported that, moments later, a stone-faced Clinton whispered into the ear of her largest Secret Service agent, who intercepted Clooney on his way out and offered to escort him to his car.