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DOJ Inspector General Releases Report On FBI Conduct, Finds “Clear Abuse” Of FISA Process

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Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz has released his report into the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign during the 2016 US election. The report concludes that despite nearly everybody investigating President Trump hating him – and that evidence was fabricated by at least one FBI attorney, and that they misrepresented Christopher Steele’s credentials, none of their bias ‘tainted’ the investigation, and the underlying process was sound.

That said, Horowitz faults the FBI for “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in their applications to secretly monitor Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, and agents “failed to meet the basic obligation” to ensure the applications were “scrupulously accurate.”

RTRS – INSPECTOR GENERAL FINDS POLITICAL BIAS ON THE PART OF FBI EMPLOYEES DID NOT INFLUENCE DECISION TO OPEN FBI INVESTIGATION -SOURCE

— Brad Heath (@bradheath) December 9, 2019

RTRS – FBI OVERSTATED ITS CONFIDENCE IN STEELE’S RELIABILITY, STEELE’S PAST CONTRIBUTIONS TO FBI INVESTIGATIONS, INSPECTOR GENERAL FINDS -SOURCE

— Brad Heath (@bradheath) December 9, 2019

IG: 17 “errors” in Carter Page FISA warrants targeting @RealDonaldTrump. No reasonable explanations for the errors.

— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) December 9, 2019

Attorney General William Barr, meanwhile, says that the report “now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken.”

AG BARR: “The evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory. Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance was pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump’s admin.”

— Jack Posobiec ?? (@JackPosobiec) December 9, 2019

FBI used confidential human sources on Carter Page and George Papadopoulos *before* and after they joined the Trump campaign! pic.twitter.com/WPru3jBSYV

— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) December 9, 2019

Also in disagreement is US Attorney John Durham, who is running a concurrent investigation into the 2016 election for AG Barr.

“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.  Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.  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.” -US Attorney John Durham

Horowitz also found that the Steele dossier provided “probably cause” to spy on Carter Page, and that the FISA application “drew heavily…upon the Steele reporting to support the government’s position that Page” was a Russian agent.

The DOJ IG determined that the Steele dossier is what provided “probable cause” for the government to spy on Carter Page, and that the FISA application “drew heavily…upon the Steele reporting to support the government’s position that Page” was a Russian agent. pic.twitter.com/lelsAFD9Oq

— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) December 9, 2019

The following seven ‘significant inaccuracies and omissions’ were found in the first FISA application:

1. Omitted information the FBI had obtained from another U.S. government agency detailing its prior relationship with Page, including that Page had been approved as an “operational contact” for the other agency from 2008 to 2013, and that Page had provided information to the other agency concerning his prior contacts with certain Russian intelligence officers, one of which overlapped with facts asserted in the FISA application;

2. Included a source characterization statement asserting that Steele’s prior reporting had been “corroborated and used in criminal proceedings,” which overstated the significance of Steele’s past reporting and was not approved by Steele’s handling agent, as required by the Woods Procedures;

3. Omitted information relevant to the reliability of Person 1, a key Steele sub-source (who was attributed with providing the information in Report 95 and some of the information in Reports 80 and 102 relied upon in the application), namely that (1) Steele himself told members of the Crossfire Hurricane team that Person 1 was a “boaster” and an “egoist” and “may engage in some embellishment”

4. Asserted that the FBI had assessed that Steele did not directly provide to the press information in the September 23 Yahoo News article based on the premise that Steele had told the FBI that he only shared his election-related research with the FBI and Fusion GPS, his client; this premise was incorrect and contradicted by documentation in the Woods File- Steele had told the FBI that he also gave his information to the State Department;

5. Omitted Papadopoulos’s consensually monitored statements to an FBI CHS in September 2016 denying that anyone associated with the Trump campaign was collaborating with Russia or with outside groups like Wikileaks in the release of emails;

6. Omitted Page’s consensually monitored statements to an FBI CHS in August 2016 that Page had “literally never met” or “said one word to” Paul Manafort and that Manafort had not responded to any of Page’s emails; if true, those statements were in tension with claims in Report 95 that Page was participating in a conspiracy with Russia by acting as an intermediary for Manafort on behalf of the Trump campaign; and

7. Included Page’s consensually monitored statements to an FBI CHS in October 2016 that the FBI believed supported its theory that Page was an agent of Russia but omitted other statements Page made that were inconsistent with its theory, including denying having met with Sechin and Divyekin, or even knowing who Divyekin was; if true, those statements contradicted the claims in Report 94 that  Page had met secretly with Sechin and Divyekin about future cooperation with Russia and shared derogatory information about candidate Clinton. None of these inaccuracies and omissions were brought to the attention of OI before the last FISA application was filed in June 2017. Consequently, these failures were repeated in all three renewal applications.

Further, as we discuss later, we identified 10 additional significant errors in the renewal applications.

The failure to provide accurate and complete information to the OI Attorney concerning Page’s prior relationship with another U.S. government agency (item 1 above) was particularly concerning because the OI Attorney had specifically asked the case agent in late September 2016 whether Carter Page had a current or prior relationship with the other agency. I n response to that inquiry, the case agent advised t he OI Attorney that Page’s relationship was “dated” ( claiming it was when Page lived in Moscow in 2004-2007) and “outside scope.” This representation, however, was contrary to information that the other agency had provided to the FBI in August 2016, which stated that Page was approved as an “operational contact” of the other agency from 2008 to 2013 (after Page had left Moscow).    

Thus, the FBI relied upon Page’s contacts with Intelligence Officer 1, among others, in support of its probable cause statement in t he FISA application, while failing to disclose to OI or the FISC that ( 1) Page had been approved as an operational contact by the other agency during a five-year period that overlapped with allegations in the FISA application, (2) Page had disclosed to the other agency contacts that he had with Intelligence Officer 1 and certain other individuals, and (3) the other agency’s employee had given a positive assessment of Page’s candor

The FBI also used Steele to gather information on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

August 2016:

SSA1 (Pientka?) ran an op against Flynn under the guise of providing a defensive briefing. pic.twitter.com/8YYm8npeQK

— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) December 9, 2019

Rep. Devin Nunes suggested that the DOJ IG report makes clear that “Republican FISA abuse memo from February 2018 was accurate and actually understated the FISA abuse the dirty cops engaged in.

Looks like DOJ IG Report is clear that Republican FISA abuse memo from February 2018 was accurate and actually understated the FISA abuse the dirty cops engaged in. Time for FISA court to take action!

— Devin Nunes (@DevinNunes) December 9, 2019

And after reading this, it’s no wonder we’ve been seeing defensive leaks in the New York Times and CNN. And that the Democrats rushed to hold an impeachment hearing the same day.

It’s every bit as bad as advertised. And certainly worse than the media has been suggesting. https://t.co/0U5dzQGDMY

— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) December 9, 2019

We now know that within one week of the investigation opening, the FBI was surveilling the campaign and four specific individuals associated with it. (2/4)

— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) December 9, 2019

Read the massive report here. This article will be updated as analysis pours in.

Something to keep in mind from Rolling Stone‘s Matt Taibbi: “conservative media will find it damning, while MSNBC/CNN types, if they cover it at all, will call it a nothingburger.”

Have heard conflicting things about the report by Inspector General Horowitz that’s supposed to drop imminently. No matter what, a classic Hate Inc. situation: conservative media will find it damning, while MSNBC/CNN types, if they cover it at all, will call it a nothingburger

— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) December 9, 2019

2) Horowitz was instead asked to investigate whether FBI abused its powers as part of its probe–namely if it abused the FISA process. Was it honest to court about its sources; did it include exculpatory evidence; did it doctor anything?

— Kimberley Strassel (@KimStrassel) December 9, 2019