In Saturday’s blog, “Expectations and the Release of the Horowitz FISA Investigation Report,” I wrote that “In the final analysis, I have no expectations other than the bureaucracy protecting the bureaucracy – if I am wrong, that will be a pleasant surprise.” and noted…
His powers are limited …
Unlike a United States Attorney, Horowitz, as an Inspector General, lacks the broad investigative powers which allow him to investigate matters outside of his agency, issue subpoenas, or convene a Grand Jury to compel testimony. While he can investigate agency matters and recommend prosecution through criminal referrals to the Department of Justice, he cannot proceed with his own prosecutions. If the Department of Justice refuses to further investigate through the Federal Bureau of Investigation or seek indictments, Horowitz has no recourse other than making the matter public in an unclassified version of his report.
He is more about protecting the agency from criticism and harm than protecting “We the People” from the agency…
Functioning more like the human resources department in a corporation, Horowitz’s primary job is not to specifically root out agency corruption, malfeasance, and policy violations, it is to protect the agency from scandal and to produce reports and recommendations that prevent future problems and ensure adherence to agency procedures and protocols. The Inspector General is part of the club while portraying the appearance of some degree of independence.
So why should anybody be surprised that the report is myopic, woefully deficient, does not answer significant questions, and is generally unsatisfying?
Attorney General Barr took exception to the report…
Department of Justice
Statement by Attorney General William P. Barr on the Inspector General's Report of the Review of Four FISA Applications and Other Aspects of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane Investigation
"Nothing is more important than the credibility and integrity of the FBI and the Department of Justice. That is why we must hold our investigators and prosecutors to the highest ethical and professional standards. The Inspector General’s investigation has provided critical transparency and accountability, and his work is a credit to the Department of Justice. I would like to thank the Inspector General and his team.
The Inspector General’s 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.
It is also clear that, from its inception, 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 administration.
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. The Inspector General found the explanations given for these actions unsatisfactory. While most of the misconduct identified by the Inspector General was committed in 2016 and 2017 by a small group of now-former FBI officials, the malfeasance and misfeasance detailed in the Inspector General’s report reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process.
FISA is an essential tool for the protection of the safety of the American people. The Department of Justice and the FBI are committed to taking whatever steps are necessary to rectify the abuses that occurred and to ensure the integrity of the FISA process going forward.
No one is more dismayed about the handling of these FISA applications than Director Wray. I have full confidence in Director Wray and his team at the FBI, as well as the thousands of dedicated line agents who work tirelessly to protect our country. I thank the Director for the comprehensive set of proposed reforms he is announcing today, and I look forward to working with him to implement these and any other appropriate measures.
[OCS: I have no respect for FBI Director Wray. I believe he is a political hack who will do little or nothing to remedy the situation.]
With respect to DOJ personnel discussed in the report, the Department will follow all appropriate processes and procedures, including as to any potential disciplinary action." <Source>
Points echoed in a rare public statement from John Durham, the U.S. Attorney more fully investigating the matter…
Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Connecticut
Statement of U.S. Attorney John H. Durham
Monday, December 9, 2019
“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.” <Source>
From the report, “Review of Four FISA Applications and Other Aspects of the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane investigation,”…
[OCS: Consensus decision – diffused blame; no political bias found, legitimate investigation with proper probable cause…]
“The decision to open the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was made by the FBI's then Counterintelligence Division (CD) Assistant Director (AD), E.W. "Bill" Priestap, and reflected a consensus reached after multiple days of discussions and meetings among senior FBI officials. We concluded that AD Priestap's exercise of discretion in opening the investigation was in compliance with Department and FBI policies, and we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced his decision. While the information in the FBI's possession at the time was limited, in light of the low threshold established by Department and FBI predication policy, we found that Crossfire Hurricane was opened for an authorized investigative purpose and with sufficient factual predication.”
[OCS: Errors were made, explanations were unsatisfactory …]
“We determined that the inaccuracies and omissions we identified in the applications resulted from case agents providing wrong or incomplete information to Department attorneys and failing to identify important issues for discussion. Moreover, we concluded that case agents and SSAs did not give appropriate attention to facts that cut against probable cause, and that as the investigation progressed and more information tended to undermine or weaken the assertions in the FISA applications, the agents and SSAs did not reassess the information supporting probable cause. Further, the agents and SSAs did not follow, or even appear to know, certain basic requirements in the Woods Procedures. Although we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence of intentional misconduct on the part of the case agents who assisted NSD's Office of Intelligence in preparing the applications, or the agents and supervisors who performed the Woods Procedures, we also did not receive satisfactory explanations for the errors or missing information. We found that the offered explanations for these serious errors did not excuse them, or the repeated failures to ensure the accuracy of information presented to the FISC.”
[OCS: No misconduct, we will do better next time, so sad too bad …]
“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 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. 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.”
[OCS: We do not expect our senior leaders or managers to know their jobs and what they are signing under penalty of perjury…]
“We do not expect managers and supervisors to know every fact about an investigation, or senior leaders to know all the details of cases about which they are briefed. However, especially in the FBI's most sensitive and high-priority matters, and especially when seeking court permission to use an intrusive tool such as a FISA order, it is incumbent upon the entire chain of command, including senior officials, to take the necessary steps to ensure that they are sufficiently familiar with the facts and circumstances supporting and potentially undermining a FISA application in order to provide effective oversight consistent with their level of supervisory responsibility. Such oversight requires greater familiarity with the facts than we saw in this review, where time and again during OIG interviews FBI managers, supervisors, and senior officials displayed a lack of understanding or awareness of important information concerning many of the problems we identified.”
[OCS: Tell the truth, but only after the fact and when it doesn’t matter…]
“We concluded that the Crossfire Hurricane team's receipt of Steele's election reporting on September 19, 2016, 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. In particular, the OGC Unit Chief told us that she thought probable cause was a "close call" when the team first proposed seeking a FISA in mid-August and separately when she discussed the idea with 01 around the same time. She said that it was the Steele reporting received in September, concerning Page's alleged activities with Russian officials in the summer of 2016, that "pushed it over" the line in terms of establishing probable cause that Page was acting in concert with Russian officials.”
“Steele told us that the reports he generated were not designed to be ‘finished products’ and instead were ‘to be briefed off of orally versus consumed as a written product.’ He said that the reports were "mostly single source reporting" and were uncorroborated intelligence ‘up to a point,’ but were informed by background research and his judgment as an intelligence professional.”
“The FBI conducted interviews of the Primary Sub-source in January, March, and May 2017 that raised significant questions about the reliability of the Steele election reporting.” [OCS: One would have assumed that this would have been done before anyone submitted a “VERIFIED” application for a warrant, signed under penalty of perjury.]
“WFO Agent 1 said that the Primary Sub-source explained that his/ her information came from ‘word of mouth and hearsay;’ ‘conversation that [he/she] had with friends over beers;’ and that some of the information, such as allegations about Trump's sexual activities, were statements he/she heard made in "jest." The Primary Sub-source also told WFO Agent 1 that he/she believed that the other sub-sources exaggerated their access to information and the relevance of that information to his/her requests. The Primary Sub-source told WFO Agent 1 that he/she ‘takes what [sub-sources] tell [him/ her] with 'a grain of salt."' [OCS: So many lives ruined over raw random rumors and hearsay – and it is being repeated by Adam Schiff and his staff.]
Yada, yada, yada…
“As we describe in Chapter Three, the FBI opened Crossfire Hurricane on July 31, 2016, just days after its receipt of information from a Friendly Foreign Government (FFG) reporting that, in May 2016, during a meeting with the FFG, then Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos ‘suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist this process with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Mrs. Clinton (and President Obama).’"
[OCS: Amazing that the FBI opened an investigation based on a low-level employee of a foreign government’s alleged bar conversation between possibly inebriated individuals, yet did little or nothing when a Russian communique warned of the radicalization of the Tsarnaev Brothers who perpetrated the Boston Marathon bombing.]
“The FBI Electronic Communication (EC) opening the Crossfire Hurricane investigation stated that, based on the FFG information, ‘this investigation is being opened to determine whether individual(s) associated with the Trump campaign are witting of and/or coordinating activities with the Government of Russia.’ We did not find information in FBI or Department ECs, emails, or other documents, or through witness testimony, indicating that any information other than the FFG information was relied upon to predicate the opening of t he Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”
[OCS: Of course not, you had no ability to access information outside of the Department of Justice and the FBI, thus the activities of other agencies which may have had a direct bearing on this matter were ignored as if the didn’t exist.]
“Although not mentioned in the EC, at the time, FBI officials involved in opening the investigation had reason to believe that Russia may have been connected to the Wikileaks disclosures that occurred earlier in July 2016, and were aware of information regarding Russia's efforts to interfere with the 2016 U.S. elections.”
[OCS: Wikileaks disclosures were based upon substantial wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton and others who were using an unauthorized server to convey and store Department of State communications, along with classified information that has to be knowingly transferred from a classified system to the unprotected Clinton server. Several crimes, supported by evidence, which were ignored by the FBI which usurped the role of the Department of Justice and gave Hillary Clinton and a number of her associates a pass from prosecutions that would have sent Clinton and others to prison for violation of the Espionage Act. Not to mention their perjury, subornation of perjury, and the destruction of documents and other government property.
The belief of the FBI that Russia was involved originated from a private security company hired by the Democratic National Committee – much as they hired Fusion GPS to spread the Steele Dossier – and which refused access for the FBI to forensically examine the server that was allegedly hacked. There is credible evidence that the information provided to Wikileaks did not come from a hack, but was provided by an insider who was angry about the way the Clinton campaign committee and the DNC ran roughshod over the campaign of Bernie Sanders.]
“These officials, though, did not become aware of Steele's election reporting until weeks later and we therefore determined that Steele's reports played no role in the Crossfire Hurricane opening.”
[OCS: This is likely to be a bald-faced lie given the activities of Fusion GPS, John McCain, foreign actors, and others with respect to the Steele Dossier and other material that significantly predated the start of the investigation.]
“The FBI assembled a Headquarters-based investigative team of special agents, analysts, and supervisory special agents (referred to throughout this report as "the Crossfire Hurricane team") who conducted an initial analysis of links between Trump campaign members and Russia. Based upon this analysis, the Crossfire Hurricane team opened individual cases in August 2016 on four U.S. persons Papadopoulos, Carter Page, Paul Manafort, and Michael Flynn- all of whom were affiliated with the Trump campaign at the time the cases were opened.”
[OCS: This is the type of case that would have been parceled out to field offices in New York, Washington, and Miami where events took place rather than being handled by high-level officials at headquarters, most of whom were Hillary Clinton supporters and partisans although they would deny this vehemently. There is also no follow-up information of the activities where the FBI appears, backed by credible evidence, set up Michael Flynn to gain access to the Trump campaign. But that case of prosecutorial misconduct is now before the court.]
Wading through 476 pages, I have come to the conclusion that the Department of Justice Inspector General was woefully myopic and appears to whitewash the activities of both the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Another reason that many Americans have lost faith in what our government is doing and saying.
Don’t look for the mainstream media to investigate the investigators, as they have abandoned all journalistic ethics and now appear to serve as the media relations arm of the Democrats.
But, no matter how you interpret the report, there is sufficient evidence of a conspiracy to commit fraud on the FISA court to be actionable, at least to start a Grand Jury proceeding. And, this was the hearsay garbage, much like the Adam Schiff hearsay garbage, that was used for a Special Prosecutor to investigate the President of the United States.
Someone needs to go to prison!
We are so screwed.