Horowitz: ‘I Think the Activities We Found Here Don’t Vindicate Anybody Who Touched’ the FISA Applications
“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.”
Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz lashed out at the FBI during his testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
He released his report on the investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe and FISA warrants on former Trump adviser Carter Page a few days ago.
Horowitz reiterated his belief that the evidence provided to his team showed the FBI had an “adequate basis” to begin a collusion probe.
Attorney General Bill Barr and US Attorney John Durham, who is conducting his own investigation, disagreed with the findings. Horowitz told the committee that neither man “provided evidence that changed his key findings.”
However, Horowitz tore into the FBI after his investigation found numerous errors by the agency over the authorization and renewals of FISA warrants on Page.
Former FBI Director James Comey complained about the way people smeared the FBI as Horowitz conducted his investigation in an op-ed in The Washington Post after the report came out. He boasted that the agency “fulfilled its mission — protecting the American people and upholding the U.S. Constitution.” He demanded apologies.
Horowitz has some bad news for Comey:
“The activities we found here don’t vindicate anybody who touched this,” Inspector General Michael Horowitz said Wednesday while testifying to the Senate Judiciary Committee on his report.
From Fox News:
“We are deeply concerned that so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked investigative teams; on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations; after the matter had been briefed to the highest levels within the FBI; even though the information sought through the use of FISA authority related so closely to an ongoing presidential campaign; and even though those involved with the investigation knew that their actions were likely to be subjected to close scrutiny,” Horowitz said in his opening statement before the committee.
“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,” he said.
Horowitz found 17 “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the FISA applications:
The report said that Page’s FISA application omitted information that the FBI had obtained from another U.S. government agency detailing its prior relationship with Page, including that he had been “approved as an ‘operational contact’ for the other agency from 2008 to 2013.”
The Crossfire Hurricane team also left out Page’s “consensually monitored statements to an FBI” confidential human source saying that he “literally never met” Manafort, as well as Papadopoulos’ monitored statement to the FBI “denying that anyone associated with the Trump campaign was collaborating with Russia or with outside groups like WikiLeaks in the release of emails.”
Horowitz noted that under FBI policy, every FISA application must contain a “full and accurate” presentation of the facts and that agents must ensure that all factual statements in FISA applications are “scrupulously accurate.”
“These are the standards for all FISA applications, regardless of the investigation’s sensitivity, and it is incumbent upon the FBI to meet them in every application,” Horowitz said Wednesday. “Nevertheless, we found that members of the Crossfire Hurricane team failed to meet the basic obligation to ensure that the Carter Page FISA applications were scrupulously accurate.”
“Our review identified significant concerns with how certain aspects of the investigation were conducted and supervised, particularly the FBI’s failure to adhere to its own standards of accuracy and completeness when filing [FISA] applications,” Horowitz said Wednesday, noting that he recommended that the FBI “review the performance of all employees who had responsibility for the preparation or approval” of Page’s FISA applications, including “senior officials in the chain of command” of the Crossfire Hurricane team for “any action deemed appropriate.”
Horowitz pointed out to the committee that the “FBI leadership supported relying on” Christopher Steele’s now-famous dossier in order to justify a FISA warrant on Page even though a DOJ attorney advised against it.
The attorney cautioned the FBI over concerns “Steele may have been hired by someone associated with a rival candidate or campaign.”
The Democratic party and failed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton paid for the dossier.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) brought up FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who changed an “email that he sent to the supervising agent who thereafter relied on it to swear out the final FISA application.” Cruz mentioned that an ordinary citizen would face prosecution if they did the same:
“So the men and women at home need to know what’s happening,” Cruz continued. “A lawyer at the FBI creates fraudulent evidence, alters an email, that is in turn used for the basis of a sworn statement to the court that the court relies on. Am I stating that accurately?
“That’s correct,” Horowitz answered. “That is what occurred.”
Horowitz added that he has never “seen an alteration of an email end up impacting a court document like this.”
“If a private citizen did that in any law enforcement investigation, if they fabricated evidence and reversed what it said, in your experience,” Cruz then posed. “Would that private citizen be prosecuted for fabricating evidence, be prosecuted for obstruction of justice, be prosecuted for perjury?”
This exchange. Staggering.
Cruz: “A lawyer at the FBI creates fraudulent evidence, alters an email that is in turn used as the basis for a sworn statement to the court that the court relies on. Am I stating that accurately?”
Horowitz: “That’s correct. That’s what occurred” pic.twitter.com/pnsp7gssT1
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) December 11, 2019
“Is it spying?” Senator Graham asks
“It’s illegal surveillance” IG Horowitz responds
That’s also called spying, folks.
The IG knows that the reputation and future of the FBI are on the line, and he’s trying to protect the institution as best he can with word games.
— Buck Sexton (@BuckSexton) December 11, 2019
Is it kind of off-the-charts bad?
Horowitz: It’s pretty bad. pic.twitter.com/t0U812VWjE
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 11, 2019
#Horowitz agrees someone at the FBI needs to be fired. Lots have been fired already or left. The #FISAAbuse against @carterwpage is astonishing – I don’t believe this is the only time. What someone should ask Horowitz is ‘what evidence would you need exactly to constitute bias?’
— Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) December 11, 2019
Horowitz tells Sen. Kennedy he "agrees completely" that someone at FBI needs to be fired.
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) December 11, 2019
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