President Donald Trump sits with FBI Director Christopher Wray during the FBI National Academy graduation ceremony, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, in Quantico, Va. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
.As my colleague, Nick Arama, posted just a short while ago, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s internal investigation into the facts and circumstances of the gross abuse of the FISA by the FBI as uncovered by the Department of Justice IG, Michael Horowitz, and the FBI’s response turned out to be a sham and a whitewash. The FISC engaged the services of a highly partisan, former Obama administration official who has been publicly critical of the idea that anything wrong happened in the process of issuing FISA warrants on Carter Page as well of any attempts to investigate it. And, guess what? He found there was no intentional wrongdoing and was highly critical of anyone who wanted to investigate it. It reads like a smug, little self-congratulatory report that ignored the damage done to the lives of innocent people, downplayed the corrupt nature of using FISA to spy on a presidential campaign and transition team, completely avoiding addressing the violence done to our nation’s political life, and essentially said, “deal with, you proles, because we can do whatever the f*** we like.”
While the report was not unsurprising once we knew who was leading the investigation, the response of FBI Director Christopher Wray was sickening. He went along with the whitewash, promised to create a new film to teach, presumably, senior FBI officials how to better spy on a presidential campaign with with leaving a paper trail, and, though failing to apologize to Carter Page, he said Carter Page’s case would be a case study used to improve the process.
FBI Replies to FISA Court order on FISA Abuse: more training and paperwork
Wray: I sent a video to the FBI to tell them how serious I am 🤡
No mention of discipline
And- there is a sealed(?) filing re: FBI atty Clinesmith (altered evidence)
— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) January 11, 2020
This might, I say again, might have been sufficient had Carter Page only been abused by a one warrant but the FBI went back for three extensions and knowingly lied to an utterly tame and supine FISA court each time. This was not a function of a lack of training. It was because the FBI was deliberately and knowingly corrupting the FISA warrant process.
FBI Director Chris Wray tells FISA Court he "deeply regrets” how FBI lied to spy on Page during 2016 election (FISA Court ordered him to do this).
Page is a victim of FBI lies and illegal spying but the media never cared because he has the wrong ideology https://t.co/dJgTmb7hf3
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 11, 2020
A lot of people were not pleased. Among them Donald Trump:
“FBI Director apologizes for FISA Errors (of which there were far to many to be a coincidence!).” @FoxNews Chris, what about all of the lives that were ruined because of the so-called “errors?” Are these “dirty cops” going to pay a big price for the fraud they committed?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2020
He is 100 percent correct.
When I was an IG we used what was called an “noncompliance model.” In other words, not all regulatory violations were the same. In most cases you found that the offending unit/person either didn’t know the regulation existed or knew the regulation existed and didn’t have the training to execute it. This is a training problem. Sometimes you found the regulation was just stupid and the offending unit/person had done the mission of the regulation but had not dotted i’s and crossed t’s. Here you were tasked to revise the regulation so that it did make sense. And infrequently you found that the unit/person was well aware of the regulation and just said “screw it, I ain’t doing it.” In this case you played kickball with heads.
The latter case is what Trump is dealing with. The people involved are very senior people with experience in the FISA system. Their ‘mistakes’ were conscious and egregious acts that violated the law and damaged the credibility and integrity of the FBI and of our electoral process. The remedy here is not training, but requires making a example of everyone who touched this process at any point and did not file a whistleblower complaint. This is my recommendation:
It is pretty clear at this juncture that Wray is part of the problem and not part of the solution. He was not bound by any finding or recommendation in the FISC inquiry. His decision to protect people who deliberately broke the law because they thought they had political cover is indefensible. There were a lot of reasons why he should have been fired, this is reason why he must be fired.
Fire Wray. Pardon Flynn. Burn down the whole corrupt thing. https://t.co/EB2Va7t0fo
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) January 11, 2020