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A Defiant Comey Defends FISA Process, Admits to His FBI’s ‘Real Sloppiness’

A Defiant Comey Defends FISA Process, Admits to His FBI’s ‘Real Sloppiness’

“Comey claimed that the FBI did not intentionally commit wrongdoing, but described the FBI’s failures as ‘real sloppiness’.”

Here at LI, we’ve covered disgraced former FBI director James Comey throughout President Trump’s candidacy and presidency.  His roles in the Russia hoax and the FBI’s deceptive manipulation of the FISA process are unconscionable.

IG Michael Horowitz made a point of stating after his report’s release that his findings vindicate no one, including presumably Comey.

On Sunday, Comey claimed to Chris Wallace that he was simply being “overconfident” when he lied about the FBI’s role, as revealed by the IG report.

Fox News reports:

Former FBI Director James Comey admitted on “Fox News Sunday” that the recently released Justice Department Inspector General’s report on the launch of the FBI’s Russia investigation and their use of the surveillance process showed that he was “overconfident” when he defended his former agency’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

This comes days after Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report and testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee detailed concerns that included 17 “significant errors and omissions” by the FBI’s investigative team when applying for a FISA warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Horowitz referred “the entire chain of command” to the FBI and DOJ for “how to assess and address their performance failures” during the probe, which was conducted while Comey was in charge.

“He’s right, I was wrong,” Comey said about how the FBI used the FISA process, adding, “I was overconfident as director in our procedures,” and that what happened “was not acceptable.”

Comey also defended the FBI’s use of the debunked Steele dossier and the withholding of exculpatory evidence from the FISA court.

Fox News continues:

Comey downplayed the role of Steele’s information in obtaining the FISA warrant against Page, claiming Sunday that it was “not a huge part of the presentation to the court,” just part of the information included in the warrant application.

He insisted that he and Horowitz “weren’t saying different things” about Steele’s significance, but host Chris Wallace then read Horowitz’s words, which said Steele’s information “played a central and essential role” in establishing probable cause.

Comey said he did not “see the disconnect” between his stance and Horowitz’s, even though he recognized that Steele’s reporting “was the one that convinced the lawyers” to move forward.

When Wallace accused him of minimizing the relevance of Steele’s information, Comey said, “if I was then I’m sorry that I did that.”

Another tense exchange occurred when Comey and Wallace accused each other of “mischaracterizing” the problems with Steele’s reporting. Comey claimed that the issue “were significant questions about the reliability of some of the sub-source reporting.”

Wallace then pointed out that according to Horowitz’s report, Steele’s Russian sub-source was not the problem. Rather, the sub-source told the FBI that Steele was the one misrepresenting his statements, demonstrating a lack of reliability.

. . . . In addition to the issues related to Steele, the FBI was found to have omitted exculpatory information about Page that could have impacted the judge’s decision in granting the FISA warrant. Included in this was an instance where an attorney was found to have altered an email to say that Page had not been a CIA source, when in fact he had been working with them. That information would have justified Page’s contacts with Russia, and its omission ultimately led to the FBI renewing the FISA warrant against Page.

In an April 2018 interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Comey claimed that the FISA process is “incredibly rigorous” and claimed that Republicans’ criticism of the Page FISA warrant was “a political deal” that was not “based in substance or law.”

Following the report’s release, Comey essentially claimed vindication, declaring in the wake of the report that the criticism of the bureau’s actions “was all lies.” When asked about vindication at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the inspector general bluntly replied, “I think the activities we found here don’t vindicate anybody who touched this FISA.”

Comey preferred to embrace his tenure as FBI director as marked by “real sloppiness” than to admit to any other reason for the FBI’s litany of violations and false statements.

Fox News continues:

On Sunday, Comey claimed that the FBI did not intentionally commit wrongdoing, but described the FBI’s failures as “real sloppiness.” He said the Horowitz report “did not find misconduct by any FBI people,” rather just “mistakes and negligence.”

Wallace was quick to remind Comey that attorney Kevin Clinesmith was referred for criminal investigation for the doctored email. Comey said “that’s not been resolved.” He did say it was “fair” to say that the FBI provided false information to the FISA court.

Comey said that “in general” he was unaware of “the particulars of the investigation” when it was going on, but said that as the person at the head of the FBI at the time, it still falls on him.

“I was responsible for this.”

Watch the segment:

Former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said Sunday that it’s “too damn late” for Comey to own up to his failures.

The Daily Caller reports:

Former Rep. Trey Gowdy said Sunday that it is “too damn late” for James Comey to admit he was wrong about FBI abuse of the FISA process, as the former FBI director did in an interview on Fox News earlier in the day.

“I think this morning Comey admitted he was wrong. Sometimes, Maria, it’s better late than never, and sometimes it’s just too damn late,” Gowdy said in an interview on “Sunday Morning Futures,” hosted by Maria Bartiromo.

. . . . Gowdy, who investigated the FBI’s handling of the dossier while he was on the House Intelligence Committee, said Comey is “two years too late” in admitting to FBI abuses of the surveillance process.

“We could have used his objectivity, as head of the FBI helping Republicans figure out what was happening with FISA instead of thwarting us and obstructing us,” he said.

“He said it was policy and procedure issue. It’s not, Maria. There always has been policies against manufacturing evidence and withholding exculpatory evidence — that’s not new. This is a personnel issue. It’s the wrong people in the wrong positions of power. That’s not going to be fixed with a new policy or procedures. It’s going to be fixed by replacing the people who did what they did in 2016.”

Watch the segment:


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If a referee made 17 sloppy decisions, all resulting in goals for the same team, he might be suspected of bias.

Mistakes were made

From the Van Drew comment section.
Fuzzy Slippers.

I love you guys, but come on! The entire point of #WalkAway is to encourage Democrats to become more informed, more free-thinking. If their reward for taking a courageous step in walking away is our derision and spite and resentment, what is their impetus? Leave a party they loathe because it doesn’t represent their view of America or of our Constitution . . . only to be spit on and loathed by their new party?

I, personally, welcome any and all dems who leave that socialist snakepit for saner ground. And I think it’s a mistake to be snotty and mean-spirited about it. Oh, they didn’t leave soon enough, they are too stupid to get it forty years ago, they are ridiculous and stupid and pretty much beneath us . . . sound familiar? Aren’t we constantly called stupid and don’t we resent being considered “beneath” the political elite? Why on earth would you become what you claim to reject?

Walkaway Dems are already being called all those things simply for thinking as we do. I really wish people on our side were less judgmental and more welcoming. Frankly, the reaction by Trump voters is horrifying enough to ensure that no one else follows suit. Why would they leave a crap commie party for a party that hates and distrusts them?

Why are we making walking away absolute hell for Democrats? I just don’t get it.

Yes, we do need to be wary of the same crazy syndrome that has leftists leaving the hell they created for Republican states and imposing the same failed policies on their newly adopted states. BUT let’s give the benefit of the doubt, and be a bit more welcoming. It’s hard to leave your life-long party, and being spit on, denigrated, and rejected by your new chosen party’s base is . . . just stupid. On our part. So stop it.

    Tiki in reply to Tiki. | December 15, 2019 at 7:20 pm

    You’ve conflated different aspects of #WalkAway and the comments here. The important issue being the difference between self-serving politicians and ordinary working people. All of us want ordinary rank and file democrat voters to register republican – and then hopefully remain that way. But I’ll take defections from democrat voter roles for whatever reason. Just vote Trump.

    What we rightists don’t need, nor want, is lifelong leftist politicians switching parties to save their skins and thus, retain their power. In this case Van Drew. He’s a lifelong democrat party operative. He’s only changing parties because his seat may be in play ONLY AFTER the spectacular failures of Meuller and Schiff.

    He’s generally voted party line until now. (If someone here with spreadsheet-fu wants to run the numbers than please do so.)

    VD voted “present’ when House democrats voted for Speaker. He could’ve voted for anyone not named Nancy Pelosi, but he didn’t.

    Pelosi 220/McCarthy 192.

    If Van Drew and the rest of the impeachment dissenters voted for McCarthy instead of ‘Present’ Pelosi would not be Speaker. And the impeachment sham would not have followed. What does that say to you? That VD is a man of conviction and principals? That this political leopard changed its spots? That we should encourage the opposition to switch parties and occupy republican seats and committee chairs?

liar, liar, pants on fire.

he was responsible for oversight, ergo all the “mistakes” are on him.

whether omission or commission, the head of the department is responsible for everything done by it.

He’s just following the standard liberal playbook. Brass it out. Admit to nothing except maybe “errors in judgement.” Play the victim. Never ever give in.

Unfortunately, it seems to be working, as it often does for them.

It is remarkable to me that the head of the premier law enforcement department in our country actually said he would NOT have resigned if he had still been the FBI Director! He is saying that the entire FISA application team was not only sloppy but corrupt and that he didn’t know about it. Even so, he would not have resigned. One of his teams actually CHANGED an e-mail to read the OPPOSITE of its original intent. That’s not sloppy or a mistake. That’s corrupt with the INTENT to deceive the FISC. He also bragged about tricking Gen. Flynn into a gotcha conversation with two of his agents that never informed him that they were going to use his words against him in a court of law. This fool doesn’t know the law and has broken it routinely. Remember his nonsense about there being no “Intent” in hillary’s e-mail debacle? There is no mention of intent in that security law.

Comey wants us to think he is incompetent. He must be very afraid he will be held accountable for his corrupt violations of the law. His arrogance and contempt for the voters never ends. Measure him for his orange jumpsuit.

Poor Comey, the agency failed him. He deserved better and he relied upon them but they left him hanging in the breeze.

Under Comey, they became the Fredo Bureau of Instigation/Indignation.

Of course, that is grossly unjust to essentially all of the agency with the exception of those with actual authority and capability to betray their own positions and CHOSE to do so.

OnTheLeftCoast | December 15, 2019 at 8:10 pm

From what William McGurn says, historically FBI investigations were run out of the local office; the Watergate investigation was run out of the DC office for example. What was different here was having this “investigation” run out of FBI headquarters by the top brass. We know the names by now. Comey, whom Peter Strzok called a “control freak,” is now claiming to have been “sloppy.” Strzok, Page, McCabe.

This practice allowed easier coordination with the top echelons of the Obama Justice Department. Under Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, the DOJ was highly politicized. Holder is probably not just “defending Obama’s legacy” as some say, but trying to protect the Obama stay-behind agents in the DOJ.

Does Horowitz’ circumspection about this reflect a fear that the DOJ is so corrupted that it cannot be reformed and still function?

    One of Trump’s major faults is keeping on so many 0bama holdovers and Never Trumpers. He needed to clean ship – but he didn’t. That confused me.

    When Jack Welch took over GE, he told ALL the bigwigs to start looking for another job. He told them they’d have their current job for one year – then all still remaining would be let go. Trump should have pulled the Welch strategy except given them 90-days. So much could have been done…..

      gospace in reply to walls. | December 15, 2019 at 11:31 pm

      Recall this – the Republican controlled SENATE has never gone into recess in order to deny Trump the ability to make recess appointment to any agency.

        Milhouse in reply to gospace. | December 16, 2019 at 9:51 am

        The senate needs the House’s consent to go into recess. And internally a decision to go into recess could probably be filibustered. Besides which, the senate has by now established a tradition of not going into recess, so breaking it for Trump would be a significant and blatantly partisan move that might not even get a majority.

      Milhouse in reply to walls. | December 16, 2019 at 9:52 am

      Career civil service can’t be fired.

        Incorrect. Career Civil Service employees *can* be fired, but it takes about a year to go through the appeals process, and the employee must have done something dramatic-stupid instead of just passive-stupid. Or a whole series of passive-stupids over a few years.

        The FBI for a great part works under ‘excepted service’ rules, which are slightly different, making them harder to fire for anything that looks political, but easier to fire when they screw up cases. (Seriously, screw up some US Attorney’s case or two and you better have a nice, deep hole to hide in.)

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to OnTheLeftCoast. | December 15, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    It can’t be reformed. Their dream is to be the American version of the Second Chief Directorate of the KGB.

    Subotai Bahadur

It’s just that he believed too much in the FBI, Mom, America, and apple pie. As FBI Director, how could he have known that a few low-level employees would do anything wrong? His personal rectitude made him too trusting of others.

Dress it up in legalese, charge at least $1,000 per billable hour, let CNN document his patriotic martyrdom at the hands of the Bad Orange Man, and that will be his defense.

He literally has nothing to lose by being “defiant” while not under oath.

Is it just me, or does James Coney, at age 59, seem to have way more than his share of facial lines and folds? He seems like the Shar-Pei of The FBI. Maybe he ages extra fast because of all his lies.

    Mercyneal in reply to Sally MJ. | December 16, 2019 at 6:25 am

    He’s been dyeing his hair for ages. He needs to fire his colorist

    He also looks like a boozer, which may account for the puffy eyes and lines

Sharyl is a gem.

1) Always interesting to hear and read the news and then actually get the original sourcing. IG Horowitz says he did not claim there was no political bias in the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe. He gave a very specific qualified opinion about one small slice of the opening of the probe.
Sharyl Attkisson
‏Verified account @SharylAttkisson
Dec 14

2) Horowitz actually testified there was remarkable bias and misconduct throughout the FBI probe and political bias demonstrated by numerous players–all of which has been referred to Durham and FBI to address. I read the report. That’s what it says.

So now he’s retreating to the same BS excuse he gave Hillary and that leftists always seem to fall back on when they’re caught: we were just sloppy and made some mistakes, but our intentions were good and we don’t deserve any punishment.

Very few options here, the mid to upper level staff knew that that there was no internal oversight and they could do whatever they wanted without repercussions, they felt that Comey’s leadership was so weak that they could walk all over him or Comey was well aware of what was happening and green lighted it.
Nobody on the three hand picked teams spoke up, that in itself should be very alarming as to the motives within the agency.

There was a time that fascists attempting to seize power in the United State were situated in the highest offices in the land.

That was before PDJT became president and fired this dirtbag comey.

The ball is now in the AG’s court, and he needs to jam it.

Like I said three years ago –

Comey is a crook.

During the run-up to his firing, Comey was the Knows Everything guy on the whole investigation. He knew how serious every charge was, how overwhelming the evidence was, how much serious work the FBI did to verify every single fact…

And now that we have proof that was all bunk, he has transitioned into “Investigations seldom involve the head of the FBI, I have 31,000 agents to oversee, I didn’t know any of the things that showed up in the report and I certainly would have acted in response if I did, my subordinates handled everything not me it’s somebody else responsible for the failures while I’m only taking credit for the successes and no I would not have resigned if this came out while I was still head of the FBI.”

Yeah, that’s why you were fired. You should have been fired about five minutes after Trump was sworn in, along with the top 2-3 layers of the whole agency. They’re all gone now, but they did their damage on the way out too, just like you did.

    Dantzig93101 in reply to georgfelis. | December 16, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    “Comey was the Knows Everything guy on the whole investigation.”

    Where NOT to incarcerate Comey while he’s awaiting trial: The Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City.

    And if he’s out on bail, he should try to avoid being a victim of a “botched robbery.”

When I think of all the abuse of power by the Kenyan and his appointees, this impeachment, this unending harassment of Trump, makes me angry and frustrated.

I didn’t feel criticizing Obama was productive, because blacks would never forgive criticism of him, just because he was the first dark-skinned office holder.

But now, when an American wins the office fair and square, with 90% of the media against him, and the other branches are constantly usurping his powers basically nullifying his term, and we are expected to put up with unending crap.

I’m about to start going off on the Kenyan, blacks’ feelings be damned. The Kenyan was involved in this – Lisa Page made that clear – “potus wants to know everything we’re doing.”

That he has destroyed the peaceful transfer of power is unforgivable and infuriating. I’ve had it with that piece of anti-American trash.

    Progs always rely upon skin color to insulate them from criticism.

    If they are white, they’ll work black and brown into their words to provide the insulation. Criticize them and they will immediately call “racist”.

strzok knew rudy contreras was on the FISC. He texted page about judge shopping contreras. My guess is the FISC is possibly not such an innocent victim in all this. The FISC likely had corrupt elements just like many other organizations. It would make sense that obama knew this and used it against CJ roberts to turn the guy into a pretzel on his obamacare rulings.

Yeah, and I guess Mohammed Atta just got a little sloppy flying that airplane!

Steele himself would not stand by his “dossier”. Comey signed off on the FISA requests without verifying the claims in the “dossier” because, as Hannity keeps pointing out ad nauseum, they are unverifiable. That is more than sloppy and he can’t absolve himself from criminality by blaming it on his underlings.

What an ego. Words have no meaning with this sanctimonious a-hole. The Dems should put in a strait jacket and muzzled for his own good. The more he talks, the guiltier he gets.

BTW in the investment business, “failure to supervise” is the most common ruling against brokerage firms. They can’t blame their reps/advisors to escape. It was their job to supervise the activities going on in their shops. Comey’s new story is so lame.

Comey claimed that the FBI did not intentionally commit wrongdoing,”

Weird, there’s that “intent” thing again…just like letting hillary walk.

More on “failure to supervise”, the Devon Nunes letter to Adam Schiff:

It appears that will be the main dodge by these weasels, “blind trust” of those they are supposed to be supervising or in the case of the House Intelligence Committee, “vigilantly monitoring” to the point of “reject[ing] any oversight whatsoever…”.

This weasel talk needs to be shut down harshly. House Republicans and Democrats who are fed up with this scam should be demanding that Pelosi step down and that committee chairmen be removed.

Couple thoughts:
Regarding the issue of bias, just make a folder of every single James Comey Tweet since Trump fires him. I’ll bet 12 jurors wouldn’t have a problem with the obvious bias against President Trump.

Trump was Comey’s boss. Comey lied to his face when Comey said the President wasn’t under any investigation. Comey was properly fired for this.

Allow me one additional football analogy. What head football coach would be retained after making seventeen totally avoidable errors in the most important game of the season?

    rabidfox in reply to Redneck Law. | December 16, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    In most of the country, perhaps. But remember that any trials will be conducted in DC or its environs. Which means a jury 90+% democraps.

Sloppiness, the same excuse he invented for Hillary Clinton.

I am so glad that I can keep learning!
I never knew that “sloppiness” was a synonym for intentional criminal felonies !

Comey was the guest on Fox News Sunday when host Chris Wallace asked the former agent if he were still in charge of the FBI, would he feel obligated to resign after the release of the damning report from Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz that found that FBI agents and officials made 17 major errors or omissions in the FISA applications.

“No I don’t think so. There were mistakes I consider more consequential than this during my tenure.” Comey suggested it would be better “to be transparent about it, look to fix it, explain to the American people how you fix it.”

    J Motes in reply to Neo. | December 16, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    “There were mistakes I consider more consequential than this during my tenure.”

    I wish someone would ask Comey to tell us just what those mistakes were, as well as their consequences. Sounds like there’s much worse sloppiness in his tenure that might require investigation and prosecution.

The FBI’s integrity is “tragically, under assault from too many people whose job it should be to protect” it, writes former FBI and CIA director William Webster in the New York Times.

Webster should read the Horowitz report and tell us he is perfectly happy with that FBI.
Better yet, does he like those things Comey thought were worse.

These folks talk about the rule of law then nobody ever gets anything worse than a ‘letter to file’