The presiding judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in a rare public order took the FBI to task on Tuesday for its conduct in obtaining a warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The public rebuke came a week after Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz issued his scathing report on the bureau’s conduct during the 2016 presidential election.
“The FBI’s handling of the Carter Page applications, as portrayed in the [Office of Inspector General] report, was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above,” FISA court presiding judge Rosemary M. Collyer wrote in her order.
“The frequency with which representations made by FBI personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable.”
“The FISC expects the government to provide complete and accurate information in every filing with the Court,” the judge continued.
“Without it, the FISC cannot properly ensure that the government conducts electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes only when there is a sufficient factual basis.”
Collyer gave the FBI until Jan. 10 to provide a “sworn written submission” of how the bureau plans to properly address the wrongdoing that occurred during 2016 and into the early months of Trump’s presidency.
Horowitz testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that his investigators found “significant inaccuracies and omissions in each of the four applications” to surveil Page.
The IG noted one of the major failings was not revealing to the court information the FBI possessed that cast doubt on the reliability of the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele for the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign, which was used to obtain the FISA warrant on Page.
In his opening statement, Horowitz blamed the entire chain of command at the FBI for the FISA application abuse during its counterintelligence investigation Crossfire Hurricane directed at the Trump campaign.
“We believe this circumstance reflects a failure not just by those who prepared the FISA applications, but also by the managers and supervisors in the Crossfire Hurricane chain of command, including FBI senior officials who were briefed as the investigation progressed,” the IG said.
Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume argued on Monday night it was “laughable” for former FBI Director James Comey to say Horowitz’s report does not allege FBI misconduct.
Hume explained that Comey’s use of the term “sloppiness” to describe the misconduct was inaccurate. “It’s not sloppiness. It was a series of errors all of which … pointed in the same direction, all negative for the president.”
“Exculpatory information that was known to FBI people was kept out or kept away from the FISA judges,” the Fox personality said. “This, to any definition, is misconduct.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray promised on Dec. 9 that his agency is taking 40 “corrective steps” in response to Horowitz’s report, The Hill reported.
“The FBI accepts the Report’s findings and embraces the need for thoughtful, meaningful remedial action,” Wray said.
FBI Dir. Chris Wray acknowledges IG report found missteps by FBI.
“I am ordering over 40 corrective actions to address all of those things in a way that’s robust and serious,” he tells @ABC. “We’re determined to learn the lessons from this report.” https://t.co/HaoJ0FORRx pic.twitter.com/mNzKJ3EcHn
— ABC News (@ABC) December 9, 2019
“Because our credibility and brand are central to fulfilling our mission,” he added, “we are also making improvements beyond those recommended by the OIG.”
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