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Tag: carter page

FBI Director Wray Pledges to Fix Flaws Found in FISA Court Applications

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray pledged Wednesday to fix the flaws found in the bureau’s applications for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA).

Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, Wray addressed findings by Justice Department’s inspector general Michael Horowitz that the bureau bungled its surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Horowitz said that the FBI’s applications to FISA Court to monitor Page contained “significant inaccuracies and omissions” and that agents “failed to meet the basic obligation” to ensure the applications were “scrupulously accurate.”

Horowitz, however, dismissed some conservatives’ longstanding allegations about the investigation into the Trump campaign, including that top FBI officials were motivated by political bias and illegally spied on Trump advisers.

“The failures highlighted in that report are unacceptable. Period,” Wray said. “They don’t reflect who the FBI is as an institution.”

Wray told lawmakers that the bureau had changed policies and procedures to clean up the process. That includes more training for FBI officials who apply for the warrants.

Saying the warrants are important to the FBI’s mission, Wray asked lawmakers to renew the FISA authorities, which are set to expire in March.

“I can assure members of this committee we need those FISA authorities,” Wray said. “We need the agility to stay ahead of the threat or we’re all going to regret it.”

FBI Director Wray to Testify before Congressional Committee about Bureau ‘Oversight’

FBI Director Christopher Wray.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray will take the hot seat Wednesday as he testifies before the House Judiciary Committee about flaws found in the bureau’s investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

The hearing, which is set for 10 a.m., will examine oversight issues, including findings by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz that the bureau bungled its surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Horowitz said that the FBI’s applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor Page contained “significant inaccuracies and omissions” and that agents “failed to meet the basic obligation” to ensure the applications were “scrupulously accurate.”

Horowitz also dismissed some conservatives’ longstanding allegations about the investigation into the Trump campaign, including that top FBI officials were motivated by political bias and illegally spied on Trump advisers.

DOJ Says Surveillance of Carter Page Should Have Ended Earlier

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department says it lacked sufficient evidence to continue surveilling former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in 2017.

The department revealed its assessment that it should have ended the surveillance sooner in a December letter to the Foreign Surveillance Court, which oversees surveillance of suspected foreign spies.

The letter, which was made public Thursday and obtained by Reuters, suggested the DOJ lacked probable cause to continue wiretapping Page.

The letter follows a review by the DOJ’s internal watchdog that concluded the FBI left out evidence evidence and went too far in its investigation of possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Comey Says FBI Vindicated, But Admits Was ‘Wrong’ Defending FISA Process

James Comey via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey admitted Sunday that he was wrong to defend the bureau’s process of obtaining a warrant to monitor Carter Page, an adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign.

But Comey said the inspector general report vindicated himself and the FBI because it concluded the bureau didn’t improperly open its investigation into the Trump campaign, nor did it act with bias.

“I was wrong,” Mr. Comey said on “Fox News Sunday,” referring to the bureau’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor Page. “I was overconfident, as director, in our procedures. And it’s important that a leader be accountable and transparent. If I were still director, I’d be saying the same thing that [FBI Director Christopher Wray] is saying, which is that we are going to get to the bottom of this, because the most important question is, is it systemic? Are there problems in other cases?”

According to the report, the FBI made “17 significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the applications to surveil Page.

Trump seized on Comey’s admission that mistakes were made in the FISA process.

“So now Comey’s admitting he was wrong,” the president tweeted Sunday. “Wow, but he’s only doing so because he got caught red handed. He was actually caught a long time ago. So what are the consequences for his unlawful conduct. Could it be years in jail? Where are the apologies to me and others, Jim?”

The report, however, contradicted Trump’s larger conspiracy theories that the bureau acted with political bias as part of a “deep state” conspiracy.”

“The inspector general did not find misconduct by F.B.I. personnel, did not find political bias, did not find illegal conduct,” Comey said.

FBI Did Not Spy on Trump’s Campaign, DOJ Inspector General Found

President Trump and AG William Barr, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

President Trump has repeatedly claimed that the FBI turned rogue and spied on his campaign in 2016 in what he said was “perhaps the biggest scandal in the history of our country.”

The Justice Department’s inspector general found no evidence that the FBI infiltrated Trump’s campaign or launched a politically motivated investigation to undermine his candidacy, according to The New York Times and NBC News.

The findings are in a draft copy of an inspector general report that is due out on Dec. 9 as part of a larger examination of the Russia investigation.

The inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, also undercuts claims that the FBI’s pursuit of a secret wiretap on a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, was politically motivated.

In April, Attorney General William Barr told a Senate committee that he suspected “spying did occur.” A few days later, Trump insisted, “There was absolutely spying into my campaign.”

But in May, FBI Director Christopher Wray took issue with the characterization that the bureau was “spying” on Trump’s campaign, saying, “I don’t think I personally have any evidence of that sort.”

Former FBI Lawyer Accused of Altering Document Related to 2016 Russia Probe

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former FBI lawyer is accused of altering a document related to the 2016 Russia investigation.

The accusations are part of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on the FBI’s actions during the Russia investigation. The report is expected to be released Dec. 9.

The former low-level FBI lawyer is accused of doctoring a document associated with the court-ordered surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, The Washington Post reports.

The allegations are contained in a draft of the report, which says the lawyer altered an email to support his erroneous claim that the FBI had factual basis for the surveillance application.

The altered report, however, did not change Horowitz’s position that there was proper legal and factual basis in the application.

AG Barr Says He Suspects ‘Spying Did Occur’ on Trump Campaign

AG William Barr testifies before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr took Washington D.C. when he told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday that he’s investigating what he described as “spying” on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.

“I am going to be reviewing both the genesis and the conduct of intelligence activities directed at the Trump campaign during 2016,” Barr said. “I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal.”

Asked by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., whether he believes Trump’s campaign was spied on, Barr responded, “I think spying did occur.”

“The question is whether it was adequately predicated,” he said. “I’m not suggesting it was not adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.”

Barr presented no evidence to back up why he believed “spying” occured, but he appears to be referring to a secret surveillance warrant obtained by the FBI to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Barr said he plans to work with FBI Director Christopher Wray to examine what prompted the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign.

Appearing before a subcommittee for the second consecutive day, Barr also indicated he “hoped” to publicize a redacted version of the Mueller report “next week.”

AG Sessions Rebuffs GOP: No Need for Second Special Counsel to Probe DOJ, FBI

Attorney General Jeff Sessions during a previous congressional committee for failing to disclose his contacts with Russia.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions rebuffed calls from Republican lawmakers to appoint a second special counsel to investigate whether the FBI and Justice Department overextended their authority in surveilling a former Trump campaign aide.

Some House and Senate Republicans urged Sessions to make the appointment, continuing to assail the investigation of Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser during Trump’s campaign, as politically motivated.

In a letter to three congressional committee chairmen, Sessions said there’s no need– at least not yet – to appoint a special counsel because the matter is already the subject of two separate investigations  – one by the Justice Department inspector general, the other by the U.S. attorney in Utah. 

“I take the concerns you raise seriously,” Mr. Sessions wrote, adding, “I expect every person in this Department to adhere to the highest levels of integrity, ethics, and and professionalism.”

Sessions’ decision was criticized by some Republicans.

“Mr. Sessions, what’s it going to take?” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said in a phone interview with Politico. “I’m hopeful this is just one last step Jeff Sessions wants to take before he realizes the obvious, which is there needs to be a second special counsel.”