DOJ IG: FISA Application for Spy Warrants Against Trump Official Riddled with Errors

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Posted: Dec 09, 2019 1:45 PM
DOJ IG: FISA Application for Spy Warrants Against Trump Official Riddled with Errors

Source: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Well, it’s dropped. The report from the Department of Justice Inspector General’s Office on FISA abuses against the Trump campaign during the Obama administration has dropped. The Federal Bureau of Investigation was ripped for deviating from department policy concerning the application process. The FBI used the unverified Trump dossier, which was a Democrat-funded opposition research project. The Hillary Clinton campaign hired research firm Fusion GPS, who then contracted ex-MI6 spook Christopher Steele to compile the document. It’s riddled with inaccuracies. And it’s the work that set off this Russian collusion nuke in the media. It was a myth. 

There are over a dozen instances where DOJ IG Michael Horowitz cites as when the bureau omitted information, including exculpatory evidence when applying for surveillance warrants against Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign (via Fox News):

The IG probe identified at least 17 errors in the Page applications.

IG Michael Horowitz and his investigators probed how the unverified anti-Trump dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele was used to secure the original FISA warrant for Page in October 2016, as well as other decisions at the outset of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of Russian election interference and the Trump campaign.

The release comes as Washington has been consumed with the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The House Judiciary Committee was holding the inquiry’s latest hearing Monday, days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats are moving forward with plans to bring articles of impeachment against the president over his dealings with Ukraine.

But the FISA report is sure to become a political football of its own, alongside the impeachment probe.

Republicans, led by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., have contested the FISA warrant and its subsequent renewal applications, claiming that the FBI misrepresented key evidence and omitted exculpatory information.

Nunes blasted the FBI for not revealing that evidence used to support the warrant application came from an unverified dossier compiled by Steele as opposition research for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Democrats have pointed to a footnote in the warrant application that gave a general characterization of the nature of the information and how the FBI believed that it was part of an effort to get information to discredit Trump’s campaign, though it did not specifically mention Clinton or the Democratic National Committee.

Office of the Inspector General, Review of Four FISA Applications and Other Aspects of the FBI's Crossfire... by PJ Media on Scribd

The report, which is over 400 pages, also notes that there was no evidence of political bias concerning the FBI’s operation to infiltrate the Trump campaign  (via NYT) [emphasis mine]: 

A long-awaited report by the Justice Department’s inspector general released on Monday sharply criticized the F.B.I.’s handling of a wiretap application used in the early stages of its Russia investigation but exonerated former bureau leaders of President Trump’s accusations that they engaged in a politicized conspiracy to sabotage him.

Investigators uncovered “no documentary or testimonial evidence” of political bias behind official actions related to the investigation, known as Crossfire Hurricane, said the report, which totaled more than 400 pages. The F.B.I. had sufficient evidence in July 2016 to lawfully open the investigation, and its use of informants to approach campaign aides followed procedures, the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, determined.

But Mr. Horowitz also uncovered substantial dysfunction, carelessness and serious errors in one part of the sprawling inquiry: the F.B.I.’s applications for court orders approving a wiretap targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser with ties to Russia, under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. He found that one low-ranking F.B.I. lawyer altered a related document and referred the lawyer for possible prosecution.

Given the highly fraught context of investigating someone linked to a presidential campaign, the report said, the Crossfire Hurricane investigators knew their work would be scrutinized — yet they nevertheless “failed to meet the basic obligation to ensure that the Carter Page FISA applications were ‘scrupulously accurate.’”

The findings on the wiretap application showed that when it mattered most — with the stakes the greatest and no room for error — F.B.I. officials still made numerous and serious mistakes in wielding a powerful surveillance tool. Mr. Horowitz’s discovery calls into question the bureau’s surveillance practices in routine cases without such high-stakes political implications.

Sorry, as we’ve said before, this is simply not believable. Why wasn’t the Trump dossier verified? There are errors that a simple Google search could’ve debunked portions of the Steele dossier or at the very minimum raised red flags about the accuracy of the document. That didn’t happen and disgraced fired deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe refused to answer any questions about whether there was any verification process concerning this document when he testified before Congress. Why? Even members of British intelligence were skeptical of this dossier. 

On a sidebar, the antics between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page blows that narrative up. Strzok was fired for his tens of thousands of texts, many of which were anti-Trump, that he sent to bureau lawyer Lisa Page during the 2016 election. Strzok was also having an extramarital affair with Page. And Page noted that those texts meant exactly what they meant. And these two had a meeting with McCabe, allegedly, where they discussed an “insurance policy” regarding a Trump presidency. That “policy” is reportedly a reference to the Trump dossier. 

As for “Crossfire Hurricane,” the linguistic gymnastics that the liberal media has gone to show there wasn’t any spying is nothing short of spectacular. Really, it’s quite impressive. In May of 2018, when this development was first reported, The Times’ headline said it all: FBI Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, As Trump Claims.” 

In that development, George Papadopoulos, a Trump official who was reportedly targeted, said some woman named Azra Turk approached him about Russia ties within the campaign. Turk was an FBI informant sent to oversee the operation that included Stefan Halper, the other asset used in an attempt to glean information from Trump campaign officials without knowing who he really worked for—but don’t call that spying, right? Papadopoulos’ only disagreement with this story is that he felt Turk was CIA.

I mean, even James Clapper, Obama’s ex-spy czar, even said this operation fit the dictionary definition of…spying. 

And now we have U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is investigating the origins of the Russia collusion investigation, releasing this statement disagreeing with the IG’s conclusions. That report has yet to drop: