Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s long awaited report on alleged FBI misconduct during FBI surveillance of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign revealed that the FBI “fell far short” in vetting the accuracy of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications, deliberately withheld exculpatory evidence, and knowingly used illegitimate sources.
The Inspector General’s investigation found “numerous serious factual errors and omissions in the FISA applications … that undercut certain allegations in the applications.”
“We concluded that the failures described above and in this report represent serious performance failures by the supervisory and non-supervisory agents with responsibility over the FISA applications,” the investigation found. “These failures prevented [Office of Intelligence (OI)] from fully performing its gatekeeper function and deprived the decision makers the opportunity to make fully informed decisions. Although some of the factual misstatements and omissions we found in this review were arguably more significant than others, we believe that all of them taken together resulted in FISA applications that made it appear that the information supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case.”
“We identified at least 17 significant errors or omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications, and many additional errors in the Woods Procedures,” the investigation found. “These errors and omissions resulted from case agents providing wrong or incomplete information to [Office of Intelligence (OI)]”
The report reveals that Crossfire Hurricane, the codename for the FBI’s counterintelligence operation, found insufficient evidence that Carter Page was an agent of a foreign power. “However, on September 19, 2016, the same day that the Crossfire Hurricane team first received Steele’s election reporting, the team re-initiated discussions with OGC about seeking a FISA order authorizing surveillance targeting Page and specifically focused on Steele’s reporting in drafting the FISA request.”
The investigation revealed that Steele’s reports, which the FBI “did not have information corroborating the specific allegations against Carter Page in Steele’s reports when it relied upon them in the FISA applications,” and were paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, “played a central and essential role in the decision by FBI OGC to support the request for FISA surveillance targeting Carter Page, as well as the Department’s ultimate decision to seek the FISA order.”