The long-awaited report on abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz was finally released on Monday, and already it’s controversial.
According to various reports, Horowitz found “clear abuse” of the FISA process, as well as “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the application process — by seasoned federal agents, mind you — in the effort to place 2016 Trump campaign adviser Carter Page under surveillance.
Agents also “failed to meet the basic obligation” to make sure that applications were “scrupulously accurate,” the report noted.
But the IG also said he found no evidence of ‘political bias’ on the part of the Obama FBI and Justice Department in launching Spygate — despite the fact that everyone involved in the operation hated Trump, said as much in a series of memos and tweets, and that evidence was fabricated by at least one FBI attorney, all while misrepresenting former British spy Christopher Steele’s “Russia dossier” (which was bought and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC).
As noted by Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton, the IG found 17 “errors” in those Page warrant applications, but there is “no reasonable explanation” for them.
IG: 17 "errors" in Carter Page FISA warrants targeting @RealDonaldTrump. No reasonable explanations for the errors.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) December 9, 2019
Also, Horowitz did not appear to make any criminal referrals to the Justice Department, though he and his investigators found obvious violations of the law — especially alleged attempts to defraud the FISA court by withholding key evidence from FISA court judges who ultimately signed off on four surveillance warrants.
How is that possible?
Others disagreed with varying aspects of Horowitz’s conclusions as well, including U.S. Attorney John Durham, whom Attorney General William Barr has tasked with investigating the origins of Spygate — a probe which recently turned into a criminal investigation.
In a statement issued by the Justice Department, Durham said he has great respect for Horowitz, but he doesn’t concur with all of his conclusions.
“I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff. However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department,” he said.
“Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.” Durham continued. “Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.”
For his part, Barr highlighted the fact that the officials involved in Spygate knew of “exculpatory evidence” involving the president and Page, but continued to keep him under surveillance anyway (and everyone Page spoke and communicated with, including Trump). Again, that’s defrauding the FISA court.
In his own statement, Barr said the continued surveillance against Page was a “clear abuse” of the FISA process.
“In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source,” said Barr. “The Inspector General found the explanations given for these actions unsatisfactory.
Now, as The National Sentinel asked Monday following release of the report, what is Barr prepared to do about this:
So no matter what IG Horowitz found or what he will say to the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, he can’t prosecute anyone. All he can do is provide findings — and even those are being disputed.
Thus, criminal prosecutions are the only way to instill trust in the system and our institutions again. That’s what Barr and Durham must do.