F.B.I director Christopher Wray is shown before speaking to reporters during a dedication ceremony for the new Atlanta Field Office building Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, in Atlanta, (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Earlier today, the FISA court released an extremely rare public statement in which they addressed the findings of the recent IG report.
In it, they laid out the gravity of the misconduct, with the court taking issue with the lies and omissions put upon them by the FBI. While there may be a bit of blame shifting here (the FISA court should have been more skeptical from the jump), there’s no doubt the lion’s share of the issue was they were given incomplete and sometimes false information to make judgements with.
The FBI’s handling of the Carter Page applications, as portrayed in the OIG report, was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above. The frequency with which representations made by FBI personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable.
Now, the FBI has responded via their own statement written by Directer Christopher Wray.
To say this is woefully insufficient is an understatement.
I really didn't have an opinion about Wray up until now.
When your team screws up as badly as the FBI did, literally lying to the FISA court to spy on Americans, you don't just get to order "corrective steps." Heads need to roll, period.
What the hell kind of response is this? https://t.co/MxVoFq6mYP
— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) December 17, 2019
First, yes it is representative of the FBI as an institution. This is far from the first example of rabid misconduct among its ranks. Further, the fact that these specific actions took place at the highest levels means the FBI is not only responsible, but must carry the burden of what was done. This game where bureaucracies pretend to be holy orders only rarely stained by the acts of rogue agents is nonsense. That kind of benefit of the doubt has no place when dealing with unelected, largely unaccountable agencies and law enforcement entities. What happened in regards to the Trump-Russia investigation was malicious, purposeful, and widespread. It was not an isolated incident that otherwise doesn’t reflect on the entirety of the FBI.
Secondly, the idea that the solution here is to just take “corrective steps” at the administrative level is unbelievable. No, some people should be fired. Others should be prosecuted. Still more should be demoted and reprimanded. The kinds of abuses of power that took place deeply harm our country. That’s not going to go away by holding a few workshops and changing up the paperwork. What happened within the FBI is part of a cultural, partisan rot that permeates the bureau. You fix that be getting rid of people, not by giving the guilty a new handbook they’ll inevitably ignore again.
Lastly, you can tell by the statement that Wray doesn’t actually care about what transpired. He’s instead worried about losing the ability to easily get warrants on American citizens. If there were no possible consequences here, I’d struggle to be convinced he’d take any action at all.
It’s time for Wray to go. This is not the guy who can lead a full rehabilitation of the FBI. He’s clearly more concerned with protecting the institution’s power than with cleaning out the bad actors and righting the ship. That’s simply not acceptable given the stakes.
The problem isn’t procedure, it’s people. Who need to be held accountable. Or it WILL happen again. And again.
— Undercover Huber (@JohnWHuber) December 17, 2019