FBI

The FBI Will Be Audited To See How Frequently They Screw Up Other FISA Warrants

Was what happened with Carter Page an anomaly or does the agency regularly leave out important information?

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Yesterday's report detailing problems with how the FBI requested and pursued warrants to secretly wiretap a former Donald Trump aide didn't stop with just describing concerns. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz also announced in the report plans to conduct an additional audit to determine how well (or poorly) the FBI follows proper procedures when requesting permission from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court to surveil American citizens.

Buried amid all the descriptions within the 400-plus pages that documented the many ways the FBI improperly omitted or inaccurately described the information they submitted in their warrant application, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) warned:

"Given the extensive compliance failures we identified in this review, we believe that additional OIG oversight work is required to assess the FBI's compliance with Department and FBI FISA-related policies that seek to protect the civil liberties of U.S. persons. Accordingly, we have today initiated an OIG audit that will further examine the FBI's compliance with the Woods Procedures in FISA applications that target U.S. persons in both counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations."

(Hat tip to Patrick Eddington of the Cato Institute, who noticed the passage and pointed it out on Twitter Monday afternoon.)

The Woods procedures describe the lengthy process FBI officials are supposed to go through when submitting a request for a FISA application to make sure every factual piece of information has been properly vetted and verified. It is supposed to be a painstaking process of dotting every i and crossing every t to get permission to use the FISA court to secretly surveil an American citizen on American soil. Former FBI agent Asha Rangappa explained in 2017 how difficult it was supposed to be to get a FISA warrant to wiretap Carter Page, in the service of arguing the FBI didn't just casually get permission and couldn't just decide to snoop on Page for political purposes to dig up dirt.

But nevertheless, it turned out that the FBI failed on several occasions to properly follow the Woods procedures. And if this hadn't happened in such a high-profile case involving the current president of the United States, would we have even known?

Speaking of Trump, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is no fan. It has been turning to the courts to challenge the administration left and right, fighting his harsh policies on immigration and deportations. The ACLU brags on its site that it has filed 140 lawsuits against the Trump administration.

Some of those lawsuits are also connected to unwarranted domestic surveillance of American citizens, like border searches of tech devices. And while the ACLU may loathe Trump as a president, they're still deeply concerned about the potential privacy violations highlighted by the OIG report. Monday afternoon they released comments by Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU's National Security Project, that probably are not showing up in the Twitter feeds of #Resistance folks:

"When the Justice Department's Inspector General finds significant concerns regarding flawed surveillance applications concerning the president's campaign advisors, it is clear that this regime lacks basic safeguards and is in need of serious reform. While the report found that there wasn't an improper purpose or initiation of the investigation, it also found significant problems that are alarming from a civil liberties perspective. For instance, the litany of problems with the Carter Page surveillance applications demonstrates how the secrecy shrouding the government's one-sided FISA approval process breeds abuse. The concerns the Inspector General identifies apply to intrusive investigations of others, including especially Muslims, and far better safeguards against abuse are necessary.

The system requires fundamental reforms, and Congress can start by providing defendants subjected to FISA surveillance the opportunity to review the government's secret submissions. The FBI must also adopt higher standards for investigations involving constitutionally protected sensitive activities, such as political campaigns."

It's good to see that the ACLU's strong concerns about unwarranted surveillance are not affected by their opinions about who is affected. More people should take note of the ACLU's concerns rather than, as Robby Soave noted Monday evening, mistakenly thinking that the OIG report somehow clears the FBI.

NEXT: "The Court Granted All of the Relief Requested ... Without ... Knowing if the Respondent Even Had Notice of the Proceedings"

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  1. Just as all cops protect fellow cops first and foremost, so do government bureaucrats protect fellow bureaucrats first and foremost. The Houston drug raid shows the kind of overreach it takes to shake that up. Maybe this is the federal counterpart.

    But I doubt either will have any long term effect.

    1. They will hang some agents and mid level directors out to dry, and protect the democrats and deep state trash really responsible.

      If Barr does his job right, hundreds of Democrats in elected and appointed office would be going to prison.

      1. If Bar does his job hundreds or Democrat and Republican elected and appointed officials would be going to jail. It is no secret DC and all of congress is a pay to play system. The impeachment is just a side show, nothing will happen to Trump, it is a diversion to keep people’s attention on the real issues, the more than 20 years of illegal war in the middle east, a US war crime.

        Ukrainians have nothing compared to the corruption in DC, Wall Street, Military Industrial complex and the Health Care Industry. The corruption in Ukraine is chump change compared to the many billions that are stolen annually from the tax payer in the US. The Pentagon alone cannot account for many billions and refuses to be audited. The whole system is rotten, not just democrats.

    2. The first directory of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover used the FBI to spy on US elected officials and meddle in US politics. Nothing has changed. The FBI’s reputation for professionalism and impartiality is and always has been a fiction.

  2. What we really need is another secret court to monitor the secret court. That way, everything still stays a secret, but the accountability is real.

    Turtles all the way down.

  3. I just want to know if anyone at the FBI was actually fired. They should also be prosecuted.

  4. What would happen to me if I lied to the court 17 times?

    1. It depends on your party affiliation.

    2. See last week’s story on sex abuse in federal prisons.

    3. It’s not 17 lies, it’s more like 12, with 5 instances of improperly following procedures.

      1. Oh….so just 12 lies to the FISA court. Only 12? Well I guess that makes it all good then. I mean, if there were 13+ lies to the court, that would change everything wouldn’t it? 🙂

  5. I’ve read and heard just about enough of this rubbish. There are treasonous actors and players here.

    And it ain’t Trump and the GOP.

  6. Bravo, Reason. In three short paragraphs, you turned an article about the FISA abuses of the prior administration into why the ACLU thinks Trump sucks. I know you love yourself some ACLU, but where are they on the First & Second Amendments these days?

    #tdstuesdays

    1. notice how the ACLU is making the FBI problem a Trump regime problem and not a deep state problem.

      1. “The problem isn’t a systemic issue going back at least 15 years, the problem is that Orange Man Bad.”

        1. Here’s the thing. If this behavior is only with Trump, then that is circumstantial evidence that they acted badly because of a bias against Trump.

          If this isn’t a bias issue with Trump, then there should be more cases with the same sort of shenanigans and it’s proof that the FBI is an untrustworthy, unprofessional agency, with no accountability.

          Which is it?

          1. Good question. This “they’re not biased, they’re just incompetent” line that the media is parroting doesn’t help the FBI’s case. Regardless, the “intent” issue isn’t something that the OIG is going to go in to detail on because that’s not how Horowitz has run the place ever since he came on. His issue has always been to try and get as much information out there as possible and let other agencies handle what they decide to handle. Note that he helpfully provided the very clearly biased statements from Strzok, Page, and another official that texted “Vive Resistance” in the report, yet was prevented from getting everything he possibly could because Comey chose not to have his security clearance reinstated prior to his interview, so there was a limit on what the IG team could show him to “jog” his memory.

            In fact, the instances of these officials suffering from malignant memory loss while testifying to the IG shows up time after time in the report. If Barr and Durham are conducting a legitimate investigation, I doubt they’ll let those kinds of niceties slide.

    2. Reason has to attack trump so we can get back to open borders. Priorities man.

      1. Can we spend some time on pot or ass sex now, because we’ve been doing Mexicans for a while.

        1. Ass sex is already a done deal. I guess we can still talk about pot, since “legalization” has turned into such a mess.

          1. Maybe in your house…

    3. It’s good to see that the ACLU’s strong concerns about unwarranted surveillance are not affected by their opinions about who is affected.

      Maybe you missed where the ACLU called out their favorite group:

      The concerns the Inspector General identifies apply to intrusive investigations of others, including especially Muslims,

      ACLU are wrong and evil even when they try to take the high road.

      1. I noticed that, and the ACLUs’ assertion is totally unsubstantiated by the report, which concerns “intrusive investigations” of Trump and his team.

        But what will an audit reveal???

        I see two likely possibilities:
        1) They followed procedures except regarding Trump (looks bad)
        or
        2) They routinely lie to the court (also looks bad)

        Can you imagine all the work involved in an audit to check that every petition assertion is checked for veracity? Will they audit a large enough sample? I hope so.

        Which do you think is worse?

        1. #2 by far = Which do you think is worse?

          However, what I see is an FBI unconstrained by following procedures that also routinely lies to judges when it suits their purpose. Strozok and Page did not just happen. They exquisitely represent the attitudes and inclinations of the bureaucracy.

          1. It started with J Edgar Hoover. The FBI has been rotten since the beginning.

      2. Indeed. There are groups already complaining that the articles of impeachment don’t include ‘bigotry’.

        Interesting.

  7. The FBI Will Be Audited to See How Frequently They Screw Up Other FISA Warrants

    “Screw up” implies that they submitted fabricated information and withheld exculpatory evidence by accident. They did not.

    Your premise is a false narrative, Shackford. Don’t try to peddle your pro-statist bullshit to people who are good at sniffing it out.

    1. Although I would like to thank Shackford for driving more libertarians to the Trump side of the voting aisle with his dishonest coverage. Transparent shills like him, Nolan-Brown, Dalmia, and Boehm are invaluable for marshaling support to Donald Trump’s 2020 election bid…out of hatred for the lies of cosmotarians, if nothing else.

      And I’m sure President Trump will be happy to accept the votes you drive his way.

    2. anybody else fabricates information to the FBI and see how long before they go to jail, heck just mis remembering a date can get you prison time I want jail for those FBI offenders. misstakes happen once but not multiple times for the same subject without willfulness and negligence

    3. >>They did not.

      totes purposeful.

      1. The AG isn’t buying it either. He’s saying that Durham’s finding a lot more due to the scope of his investigation…and has the ability to compel testimony, which Horowitz couldn’t.

        I suspect he wouldn’t be going out on that limb unless he had a pretty good target already in his sights.

        1. UCrawford….More than one, I suspect = I suspect he wouldn’t be going out on that limb unless he had a pretty good target already in his sights.

          Stay tuned.

          1. Yup. The Democrats are freaking out because they know what the Trump administration is going to find if they keep digging into Hunter Biden’s overseas activity. And it appears Barr and Durham have been digging.

            One can only hope that this ends differently than the usual story.

            1. I thought about that. There is a real risk of running out the clock by November 2020. I sure hope Durham is further along than I think.

              Personally, I think Team D already moved on from VP Biden. The media’s latest darling is Mayor Butthead, or whatever the hell his name is. That is as plain as day.

            2. >>One can only hope

              you’d think just once a pendulum swing would occur.

  8. …Congress can start by providing defendants subjected to FISA surveillance the opportunity to review the government’s secret submissions.

    Give in to terrorists? Are you crazy?

  9. >>>plans to conduct an additional audit to determine how well (or poorly) the FBI follows proper procedures

    lol department of redundancy department.

  10. “It’s good to see that the ACLU’s strong concerns about unwarranted surveillance are not affected by their opinions about who is affected.”

    This is not true, the ACLU has become extremely partisan and unprincipled . . . . but not to the point where, for this subject matter, they won’t at least post a statement on their website. I guess that’s something.

  11. From 2017

    Explosive Revelation of Obama Administration Illegal Surveillance of Americans

    The NSA intentionally and routinely intercepted communications of American citizens in violation of the Constitution.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/05/nsa-illegal-surveillance-americans-obama-administration-abuse-fisa-court-response/

  12. “The concerns the Inspector General identifies apply to intrusive investigations of others, including especially Muslims, and far better safeguards against abuse are necessary.”

    The Democrats should offer legislation to address these systemic abuses and call it the GFY Trump Act “We’re using your IG report to protect Muslims” 2020.

    1. Yeah, you’re not upset lololollolol

    2. The Democrats should offer legislation to address these systemic abuses and call it the GFY Trump Act “We’re using your IG report to protect Muslims” 2020.

      Because apparently in the Democrats’ opinion, no one other than Muslims is protected under the 4th Amendment or entitled to due process.

      Good to know.

    3. I was curious what pathetic partisan way you would approach this. This is pretty uninspiring, even for your sorry ass.

    4. Liberals – Trump is racist because he hates Muslims

      Also Liberals – Trump is in bed with the Saudis

    5. Think it is time for someone to utilize one of those red flag laws Pod loves on him.

  13. The FBI didn’t screw anything up. They intentionally lied by withholding information and giving other false information to deceive the FISA court into granting a warrant it should not have granted.

    Their deception goes to the heart of not just the FISA system but of our entire criminal justice system. Judges have no way of knowing if the facts presented to them in a warrant application are true. The subject of the warrant isn’t there to contest the application and the hearing is not a fact finding exercise. All judges can do is evaluate the facts given to them and determine if they constitute probable cause. Even the most honest and conscientious judge is at the mercy of the government in such situations. If the FBI cannot be trusted to tell the truth on it’s application, the entire system fails.

    The most disturbing thing about all this is that they were willing to so brazenly lie about the most politically sensitive warrants they have ever obtained. If they will lie to get a warrant on the Republican nominee for President, they will lie to obtain a warrant against anyone. At this point, there is no reason for any judge to believe anything that the FBI puts in a warrant application before them. The honest thing to do would be for all federal judges to summarily deny any warrant application submitted by the FBI unless it has been independently checked and verified by another law enforcement agency. That wouldn’t eliminate all the fraud but it would at least force the FBI to find a co-conspirator.

    The FBI should no longer be trusted by the judiciary or the public. And without that trust, it can no longer function as a law enforcement agency and should be abolished.

    1. They are law enforcement. So by definition they lie about everything. It’s what law enforcement does. Prosecutors, judges, and defense attorneys all know and accept this. Because, like you said, the only solution is to burn it down and start over. That and government must maintain an illusion of trustworthiness for the system to function. Or a real sense of fear. At this point I don’t think they care which.

    2. “they will lie to get a warrant on the Republican nominee for President”

      That never happened. The Republican nominee for President was not the subject of any warrant. The criminals he surrounded himself with, well, that’s a different story.

      “They intentionally lied by withholding information and giving other false information to deceive the FISA”

      Who lied John? Do you know their names? What specific lies have they told? The IG says your allegation is false and I’m not sure if you even know the identity of the people you’re accusing of lying.

      1. That is exactly what happened. They lied and got a warrant on the people around him for the purpose of spying on him.

        You are a lying piece of shit. They didn’t tell the truth about the Steele dossier and decieved the court.

        The Appendix identifies a total of 51 Woods procedure violations from the FISA application the FBI submitted to the court authorizing surveillance of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page starting in October 2016.

        A whopping nine of those violations fell into the category called: “Supporting document shows that the factual assertion is
        inaccurate.”

        For those who don’t speak IG parlance, it means the FBI made nine false assertions to the FISA court. In short, what the bureau said was contradicted by the evidence in its official file.

        To put that in perspective, former Trump aides Mike Flynn and George Papadopoulos were convicted of making single false statements to the bureau. One went to jail already, and the other awaits sentencing.

        The FBI made nine false statements to the court.

        And the appendix shows the FBI made another nine factual assertions that did not match the supporting evidence in the file. In another words, the bureau was misleading on nine other occasions.

        The vast majority of remaining Woods violations — 33 in total — involved failing to provide any evidence in the Woods procedure backing up assertion in the FISA warrant application.

        That’s serious too since the sole purpose of the Wood procedures is to ensure all evidence cited in a FISA application is documented as accurate and reliable so it can be trusted by the courts.

        http://johnsolomonreports.com/just-how-bad-was-the-fbis-russia-fisa-51-violations-and-9-false-statements/

        Go lie somewhere else you piece of shit.

        1. You don’t even know their names but you claim to know their intentions. Pathetic.

          1. hahahahahaah. You don’t know their names and you claim to know their intentions. Pathetic.

          2. Pod, kill yourself. You are a partisan hack that is a traitor to America. There is no point debating you, as you are continually lying or delusional at all times.

            So take the easy way out. Your life has no value.

      2. Who lied John? Do you know their names? What specific lies have they told?

        You mean besides the 17 instances listed right on pages 9-10 and 12-13 of the report pdf? Do you want me to list them line by line, you fucking waste of carbon molecules?

        1. I wouldn’t bother. He’s a dishonest piece of shit and no evidence will ever sway him.

      3. “”The Republican nominee for President was not the subject of any warrant. The criminals he surrounded himself with, well, that’s a different story. “”

        I guess you have no idea of how link analysis is used in current investigations. You can be a friend of a friend of the target and be subject to being spied on. The warrant carries over the links, you don’t need a warrant for the links specifically. So you don’t need a warrant with Trump’s name on it for Trump to be spied on.

      4. “The Republican nominee for President was not the subject of any warrant. The criminals he surrounded himself with, well, that’s a different story.”

        Criminals like Carter Page, who has never been charged with a crime?

      5. “Criminals”
        Yes, like Carter Page who was not a CIA asset. Wait, no, he was a CIA asset and a FBI lawyer altered the official response from the CIA indicating such.

    3. who trusts the judiciary?

  14. “Speaking of Trump, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is no fan.”

    If the FBI tries to dig up dirt on a presidential campaign with a fraudulently represented warrant application to the FISA courts–a fraud that was approved at all levels of the FBI according to the Inspector General–that’s an interesting story, I guess, but it doesn’t really matter unless it can be spun in an anti-Trump way somehow–because bashing Trump is what journalism is all about. That’s how I read this.

    1. For all of the fake outrage over the evil Russians interfering with the Presidential election, you would think people like the ACLU would be concerned about federal law enforcement and the intelligence community interfering with the election. That is to quote the former VP kind of a big fucking deal from a civil liberties perspective.

      Yet the ACLU and reason for that matter, while not supportive of it, seem oddly unconcerned. Where is the outrage?

      1. It was like this with Reagan.

        Granddaddy used to say that my grandmother wasn’t really hard of hearing, she just wanted him to repeat everything so she could be sure she disagreed with it.

        Everything that happens is either anti-Trump or unimportant at this point.

        P.S. Trump won the House Democrats’ support for USMCA this morning.

        Elsewhere, Kudlow is on TV on multiple outlets stating that there is no firm December 15 deadline for negotiations with the Chinese, suggesting that they’re likely to continue negotiating through the deadline without a tariff hike.

        This free trade stuff has been ignored so far this morning, and if it gets reported, the spin will mostly be negative.

        1. As I have known for many years now, the democrat party is an entity focused on treason and sedition. It is also an existential enemy to our constitutional republic.

          This should now be clear to almost everyone.

        2. “”This free trade stuff has been ignored so far this morning, “”

          Has PETA said anything about Trump signing the law to make animal abuse a federal felony?

        3. To some extent all of them. The president is like a king in many ways.

          Trump is more so because he makes it all about himself. It is his style and how he got elected. “I alone can fix it
          ” “I got this plant built” or whatever. He is more open to personal attacks because he is more personal and attacks more than any I have seen. That is not a problem for him it is a feature. It solidifies his supporters. It gives him a chance to counter attack.

          In terms of style the Gipper and Slick Willie were the best in my lifetime.

          Reagan had the talent of that twinkle in the eye. He could give a speech on TV and you felt he was right there. He never talked down or past you. Good actor I suppose. That is something anyway.

          Clinton had this aw shucks good ol boy kinda charm. He just sailed on through all of the catastrophe around him. Like a ship just plowing through the waves.

          Obama I always thought could make an erudite speech but I always felt that he was that professor I didn’t like giving a lecture I didn’t want to hear.

          Bush and Carter we don’t talk about. They never happened.

          President. My ideal president actually works about 3 short days a week. The rest of the time the president spends shaking hands, smiling on camera and having dinners with the other fancy dignitaries.

          1. What I was talking about was a president who, whatever he did and said, the Democrats and the media were against it.

            There was bipartisanship with Clinton on trade, welfare reform, and other things.

            There was bipartisan support for George H. W. Bush.

            There was bipartisan support for George W. Bush, who the Democrats in Congress were famously too timid to oppose during the War on Terror.

            In Obama’s case, it’s possible the media would support anything he said just because he’s the one that said it.

            But to find a president that the press, the left, etc. would oppose–just because he said it–you’d have to go to Reagan.

            Remember when Reagan joked a missile launch during soundcheck, when he didn’t know his mike was on, and the press reported it as seriously as possible in the hope of embarrassing him?

            They went after Nancy–and her astrologer.

            I remember Reagan once gave a speech about the Pilgrims came to a new, empty land–and the press ran with the story that Reagan was unaware that Native Americans were here before the Pilgrims.

            That’s the last time I saw the press act this way.

      2. The ACLU was really only in the business of defending civil liberties back when they assumed that it would be right-wingers violating the civil liberties of left-wingers. Now that they can usually assume the the violations are by left-wingers, and directed at right-wingers, they’re getting out of that line of work.

        1. Some of them used to take great pride in defending Nazis in Skokie and other “right-wingers.” It gives true civil-libertarians a moral charge to defend “the thought that we hate.”

          OTOH, from the beginning there was an element in the ACLU – which again seems to be coming to the fore – which sees civil liberties as something the left has vis-a-vis the right.

          The group was never free of these tensions, but the old-style “as a leftist I defend the rights of rightists” types seem to be dwindling in number.

          1. Some of them used to take great pride in defending Nazis in Skokie and other “right-wingers.”

            No. I forget the exact details, but the ACLU lost a huge amount of support after Skokie. And the ACLU made it clear that Skokie was a ‘muh principles’ play, not the kind of thing they’d focus on in the future.

            1. “the ACLU lost a huge amount of support after Skokie”

              Which was a point of pride for many ACLU people. As I understand it, lots of new members had joined up during Watergate because the ACLU was anti-Nixon, then many of these people during Skokie said, “whoa, I didn’t know you guys were defending Nazis – I totally resign!”

              The remaining people could then point to the sacrifices they made to uphold the principles of “free speech for right-wingers.”

              They were always left-wing, but the idea of a left-wing monopoly on civil liberties has given way to going woke.

              As I said, there’s always been that tension.

              The group was founded to defend World War One objectors – but the founder Roger Baldwin was a com-symp who thought the Soviets should be able to get away with abuses which he wouldn’t allow in a capitalist country.

              The ACLU even went so far as to purge Communists from its board in 1940 – then they apologized for doing so when the 1970s era of anti-anti-communism rolled around.

              Which come to think of it was about the same time as Skokie – they didn’t discuss whether they’d allow *National* socialists on their board, but they were open to *international* socialists.

              1. The remaining people could then point to the sacrifices they made to uphold the principles of “free speech for right-wingers.”

                Yes, but I’m telling you it was always a fart sniffing PR thing. Nobody was ever planning on doing that kind of stuff regularly.

                1. I think there were (maybe still are) some actual civil libertarians in the organization. So it depends on the person. Such at least is my understanding.

                  Of course, when *as an organization* they do ads juxtaposing Kavanaugh’s protestations of innocence with the protestations of various guilty people – that’s just sick and indicates that civil liberties is just a pretense on their part. Insinuating someone is guilty because they say they’re innocent is so many levels down from civil liberties that it shows the SJWs may have pushed out the actual civil-liberties supporters.

  15. “The FBI was vindicated! They treated Trump like an average citizen?”

    “Hmmm…let’s investigate to see if that’s actually true.”

  16. Aclu lost all respect when they conditioned protection of some rights on not exercising others. They have no principles and are merely a partisan advocacy group these days.

  17. The fact that the FBI even has the ability to spy on a political campaign is scary in itself.

  18. Could it be that the FBI threw reason out the window and made a moral call in how they followed through with the FISA warrant because they saw/knew how a Trump presidency would turn the Republic on its head? Almost seems like the FBI was metaphorically providing watering stations along the border for illegal immigrants walking across a hot desert, you know, cause it’s the morol thing to do.

    I don’t know but Orange Man still bad!

    1. Could it be that the FBI threw reason out the window and made a moral call in how they followed through with the FISA warrant because they saw/knew how a Trump presidency would turn the Republic on its head?

      That certainly goes to intent, but people on both sides are getting way to hung up on it because they don’t understand how the OIG actually works. It’s going to be up to the DoJ to conduct that investigation, and Horowitz even did them a favor by transcribing the clearly biased texts that some of these folks sent out both before and in the wake of Trump’s victory.

    2. You’re asking if the FBI did something out of moral consicence?

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      LOL


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        1. also, this. ^

        2. Looks like Buttplug gets it.

    3. >>>Trump presidency would turn the Republic on its head?

      misspelled Establishment.

  19. “The concerns the Inspector General identifies apply to intrusive investigations of others, including especially Muslims”

    Oh, of course.

    What does “including especially” mean? On the one hand, it indicates that there are non-Muslims at risk. On the other hand, it suggests “Muslims Hardest Hit” – and how do we know this? Without an investigation, that is.

  20. No federal (or state, local, county or municipal) governmental agency should be audited.
    That would give the false impression they might have done something wrong, and as we all know, these governmental entities can do no wrong.
    That has been proven time and again.
    What’s wrong with you people?

  21. I don’t understand why Trump doesn’t just fire everyone in the FBI whose name is attached to this report.

    Incompetent? fired
    Failed compliance? fired
    Pushed false narrative? fired

    It doesn’t make sense to allow them to continue working. They’re probably still doing the same shit now.

    The only way this makes any sense is that he wants them around

    1. Dude, they’re getting him re elected.

      1. “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake” is still solid advice.

        1. And there is this as well.

      2. If I’m Trump, if he does win in 2020 he ought to send every single one of them a fruit basket on his re-inauguration day.

      3. So he does want them around.

        Fair enough.

    2. Uhmmm, I’m pretty sure the one time he did fire an incompetent FBI boss he was subjected to a years long investigation and accused of obstruction of Justice as a result. Much better to do this in his second term if he wins and gets a Republican Congress.

      1. Maybe Barr can fire Wray? Is that possible? Doesn’t Wray report to Barr….Barr could simply say, I have lost confidence in your ability to manage the FBI and you’re done.

        Or is it only POTUS Trump who can fire him?

        1. Only the President can fire Wray, although Barr could certainly make that recommendation to him. It appears the President is already mulling that over, based on his comments about Wray yesterday.

  22. Seems like a good thing but let’s see if it actually has any teeth.

  23. Me on youtube:

    “Impeachment hearings blow up!”
    “This is why your cat bites you when you pet them”

    Hovers over each.

    Clicks on the cat video.

    1. And? Spill.

      1. they’re dicks. just be faster.

        1. Cats.

          If you can be faster they are slowing down for you.

          If I were a cat I could jump on my roof in one leap.

          You get that feeling that the cats are saying “superior species, heh”.

          1. i know mine thinks i’m a doorman bc i have thumbs. he’s almost figured out the screen door doesn’t need thumbs

  24. If the warrants were faulty, shouldn’t any evidence discovered during the wiretaps and other examinations be excluded?

    1. Yes. The fundamental problem with FISA warrants is that because they’re for counterintel, there’s no expectation that a defense lawyer will ever see them.

  25. There are more fundamental questions for me, when I stop to think about it.

    First, the report makes clear that the surveillance of a presidential campaign, and members of that campaign were never approved by the AG (Loretta Lynch), a fellow Cabinet officer, or their boss POTUS Obama. Are you kidding me? Stop and think about that one for a second. The IG is telling us that a decision to spy on a presidential campaign wasn’t approved by a Cabinet officer, or the POTUS. Talk about spectacularly bad command judgment. Nobody at the top levels of FBI management seems to have command judgment. That is just dangerous, considering their function. The current director, Christopher Wray, is not exactly inspiring me with his command judgment.

    Second, if the FBI had evidence of Russian attempts to interfere, why on earth did they not give Trump’s campaign a defensive warning that the damned Russians were going to screw with us?! Hell, I thought we were all Americans. What blows my mind is that the FBI deliberately withheld warning a presidential campaign [I mean, can the stakes possibly get any higher than being elected president?] of Russian attempts to interfere in the election. Like it was some kind of garden variety entrapment thing. WTF were these people thinking? Memo to DOJ/FBI bureaucrats: When the stakes are that high, like a national election, go directly to the Attorney General and/or the President. A call that sensitive [spy on a presidential campaign] absolutely must be made at that level to have any hope of having legitimacy.

    Third, the FBI needs slimming down. As an institution, they cannot be trusted. Their repeated failures and serial violations of our rights warrant something just short of complete dismantlement. So reduce the FBI. In a nod to Soave, I’d say numerous FBI employees acted with both malice and stupidity.

    Fourth, I have come to the conclusion that the FISA courts must be abolished and dismantled. I have to wonder….Exactly what was the judge thinking after the second FISA application (ultimately four were approved)? I mean, I would think that if I were the judge and I was being asked to approve a warrant to spy on a presidential campaign, I’d want to know more about the evidence – regardless of what the FBI is telling me. Why did the judge approve two more? To me, a judicial warrant of this magnitude [the decision to spy on a presidential campaign] should be approved by a SCOTUS justice, and preferably the Chief Justice.

    Finally, it is time to repeal the Patriot Act in entirety. That has to go. Aside from the ironic name (the act is anything but patriotic), it has become a snare for government (all levels) to trample on our individual rights. This must end. This kind of power is corrupting.

    1. Every FISA application has to be approved by the FBI director. Horowitz is asking us to believe that a FISA application to spy on the close associates of the Republican nominee for President came across the director’s desk and he didn’t think that important enough to tell the President much less the AG about it.

      That is just Horowitz pissing on your leg and telling you its raining.

      1. “”he didn’t think that important enough to tell the President much less the AG about it. “”

        Why would he usurp the President’s ability of plausible denial?

        1. ^this

          A real investigation would go all the way to Obama.
          It was always telling that the Mueller team never interviewed members of the Obama administration – you know, the people in charge at the time of alleged “meddling”
          The whole Russia hoax was the brainchild of John Brennan, Obama’s CIA director, with Clapper, Comey, Power, and Podesta (and possibly McCain) as primary collaborators.
          And I’m guessing Susan Rice was rather involved.
          If there were justice in US government, the gallows would already have been built

      2. It is just inconceivable to me that the FBI a) did not warn a fellow American of potential danger, and b) just went and spied on a presidential campaign w/o telling the AG or POTUS.

        Christopher Wray just has to go. He sounds like a Swamp Thing.

        1. Yes, Wray sucks.
          And it’s far worse than you imply

  26. Well, at least one good thing is coming out of all this.

    The FBI and FISA courts need investigating.

    Frankly, the FISA court at the very least needs to be dismantled.

    One can make the case that the FBI should probably exist as a necessary evil, but only if we can get rid of all those other alphabet soup enforcement arms of various agencies and roll them all up into the FBI.

    Why does, say, the FCC need armed agents? Shouldn’t the FBI always serve that purpose, since all federal agencies ultimately report to the same person?

    What’s hilariously depressing is that instead of consolidating federal law enforcement after 9/11, they just created another domestic law enforcement agency to ‘coordinate’ the others.

    Yeah, that seems reasonable and logical. /sarc

    1. One can make the case that the FBI should probably exist as a necessary evil, but only if we can get rid of all those other alphabet soup enforcement arms of various agencies and roll them all up into the FBI.

      It is just the opposite. You can make the case that there should be a CBP, ICE, Secret Service, even the BATF because those are actually either core federal functions or in the case of the BATF something Congress has made a federal function through the interstate commerce clause.

      You can make no case for why the FBI should exist. And rolling those agencies up into the worst and most corrupt of all federal law enforcement agencies is a very bad idea. No, the FBI needs to be dismantled and its functions sent to the other agencies.

      1. In my view it just doesn’t make sense for every agency to have it’s own personal enforcement arm. It ensures that no one is every really aware of what they’re all doing.

        You could easily have every separate law enforcement group rolled into departments at the FBI.

        1. You could. But the FBI is the worst of all of them. Putting them under the FBI would just make them worse. It wouldn’t make them better.

          Moreover, the FBI is guilty of years of abuses. Who did CBP or ICE or the Secret Service bother? Basically, you are saying the solution to the FBI being a corrupt organization is to reward it with more power and punish agencies that were not corrupt by rolling them up into the FBI. That is the exact opposite of what needs to happen.

          1. If the FBI is corrupt there is little reason to think that any other enforcement arm of any other federal enforcement agency, say the ATF or BLM, is any better.

            If, in fact, other agencies are not corrupt it forces us to ask how the FBI in particular is corrupt. Is it their structure? Their law enforcement mandate? Or is it just the people who work there are, for some reason, less ethical than other law enforcement agencies?

            Would it make anyone feel better for me to ask that the whole thing be rolled into Homeland Security instead of the FBI?

            I just can’t see any good reason for ‘separation of enforcement’ where each agency is supposed to have narrow enforcement powers but end up enforcing essentially the same nonsense as every other enforcement group only in slightly different circumstances.

            I think the best argument against such a plan is that concentration of power is rarely a good thing.

            The problem is that ultimately all of them report to the same people anyway so…it’s a cluster fuck that allows them to hide behind each other when they fuck up more than a vehicle to reduce any of their power.

            1. If the FBI is corrupt there is little reason to think that any other enforcement arm of any other federal enforcement agency, say the ATF or BLM, is any better.

              Unless you can show me where those agencies were trying to overturn a Presidential election, there is a lot of reason to think that. The FBI’s record of incompetence and corruption speaks for itself. It goes back 80 years and exceeds any other LEO by a country mile.

              If, in fact, other agencies are not corrupt it forces us to ask how the FBI in particular is corrupt. Is it their structure? Their law enforcement mandate? Or is it just the people who work there are, for some reason, less ethical than other law enforcement agencies?

              It is their culture. It was run by J Edgar Hoover for 50 years. There is no fixing an organization that had that kind of leadership for that long. Also, it is their close association to the intelligence community. Put all of that together and you end up with the FBI.

              The problem is that ultimately all of them report to the same people anyway so…it’s a cluster fuck that allows them to hide behind each other when they fuck up more than a vehicle to reduce any of their power.

              They don’t. They are in different cabinet departments. And that is a good thing. It keeps them at odds with each other and prevents one from corrupting all of them.


              1. Unless you can show me where those agencies were trying to overturn a Presidential election, there is a lot of reason to think that. The FBI’s record of incompetence and corruption speaks for itself. It goes back 80 years and exceeds any other LEO by a country mile.

                So you’re going to set the standard of corruption at Presidential elections? I think that’s a pretty low bar personally. Especially given proven fuck ups like Waco or Ruby Ridge. Waco with the ATF, and ironically the Marshall’s service with Ruby Ridge. I suppose the FBI was the ‘real’ bad actor in both situations since they were involved? Not so sure there. I also distinctly recall the NSA being involved in this Presidential investigation.

                It’s also true that the FBI is older than most other enforcement agencies, and thus has more of a track record to look at. Odd, then, that ‘younger’ organizations have also fucked up pretty badly in recent memory.


                It is their culture. It was run by J Edgar Hoover for 50 years. There is no fixing an organization that had that kind of leadership for that long. Also, it is their close association to the intelligence community. Put all of that together and you end up with the FBI.

                This would appear to be a guilt by association argument. As in, because Hoover was corrupt so too is the FBI even without Hoover in charge. This doesn’t exculpate the FBI for what it has done, even today, but pointing to Hoover or ‘culture’ doesn’t make that point. In fact, one could make the counter argument that a new, non-corrupt leader would off set any effect Hoover might have had nearly 40 years ago. (Not that I think they weren’t corrupt, merely that such an argument could be legitimate given your point.)


                They don’t. They are in different cabinet departments. And that is a good thing. It keeps them at odds with each other and prevents one from corrupting all of them.

                And who do those cabinet members report to? The same guy. Last I saw law enforcement don’t keep each other on their toes, they generally cooperate RE: NSA and parallel construction with various levels of law enforcement. That isn’t even limited to the FBI, they’ll apparently do the same for even local law enforcement.

                Law enforcement might fight each other on jurisdiction, but their infighting doesn’t seem to go much further than that. I haven’t seen the ATF, for example, go after the FBI for corruption.

                Separation of powers, in at least some form, exists in law enforcement with city, state, and federal but we’re only talking about one of the three in this case: the federal.

                All in all, I’ve already said abolishing them would be preferable from my point of view given their corrupt nature. Since that is an improbable result, it seems consolidating them for better oversight might be a potential solution. Creating a new division (DHS) that ostensibly oversee’s the cluster fuck was the government solution, which poorly mirrors actual consolidation in my view.

        2. That would create a Praetorian situation, and probably too much power in the hands of its director

      2. Actually, all of them should be abolished and their functions given to the Federal Marshals office, since that actually has constitutional authority, that and the Postal Inspectors office.

        1. CBP and ICE and the Secret Service have just as much constitutional authority and legitimacy as the Federal Marshals or the Postal inspectors.

          1. Actually the only two federal police agencies listed in the Constitution are the Federal Marshals and the Postal Inspectors. The government can certainly use the Federal Marshals to do the jobs of the CBP and the Secret Service. A single agency with different departments covering different federal crimes. Of course, in a perfect world the list of federal crimes would be very short and most law enforcement left to the states.

        2. Honestly I agree that they should be abolished. That would be my preferred result.

          What I suggest is more of a ‘centrist solution’ rather than a libertarian one. And I’d admit there’s a possibility it would be worse to have one unethical agency instead of many unethical agencies, but then I’m also forced to admit the status quo has real and proven harms as is.

          I also have to admit that most people are probably not willing to do away with the whole thing, so there are inherent limits on what ‘reform’ can look like.

          1. It’s easier I think to keep an eye on one agency, and it saves money and effort as well, then multiple agencies. The best answer is to reduce the need for federal police agencies by honoring the 9A and 10A.

            1. Agree, and that’s essentially my point. With dozens of bad actors, it’s hard to track what they’re fucking up. With one bad actor, it’s much easier to keep your eye on what they’re fucking up.

              It also greatly reduces duplication and overlapping jurisdiction in law enforcement, which I happen to think is a good thing for lots of reasons.

      3. >>You can make no case for why the FBI should exist.

        x-files!

  27. “Was what happened with Carter Page an anomaly or does the agency regularly leave out important information?”

    Depends on whether the investigation is aimed at Trump.

  28. The FBI has been this all along.

    A secretive government agency with highly trained operatives capable of doing whatever they want with almost no oversight or accountability.

    What could go wrong?

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  30. So Chris Steele thought he was working with the FBI as a contractor, but the FBI said he was a confidential informant. Why the discrepancy? Sounds like either the FBI mislead Steele about their relationship, or the FBI wanted to classify him differently in order to hide who gave them the information.

    “”Steele also refuted the IG report’s description of himself as a confidential human source — in other words, an FBI informant — saying that though he had provided investigative work for the FBI as a contractor, he is prohibited from serving as a confidential human source for the FBI because of his obligation to his former government employer — the British government. “”

    https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/dossier-author-chris-steele-refutes-key-points-doj/story?id=67636399

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  32. Saying “screw up” is a disgraceful white washing of the situation. I’m surprised Reason journalists would see it that way.

    It’s clear that (1) FISA is inappropriately used as a “second chance” to get a warrant when they fail to get one the regular way due to the inconvenient 4th amendment. (2) There is an exceedingly low bar to spy on Americans. And (3) the Trump/Russian investigation was a politically motivated and intentional and not result of dozens of “accidental mistakes”. Evidence was ignored, emails doctored, etc… all to make sure the investigation continued. These were not “simple minded mistakes”.

    I can’t fathom why Reason is white washing this flagrant problem and affront to our liberties as just “people screwing up”. I’m not a Trump fan either, but we should be objective about analyzing the real problems with FISA, which is not that “agents might screw up”.

  33. The audit will need to find multiple other screw ups, or the lie Trumps warrant had no political bias will not hold up.

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