Monday, December 9, 2019

IG Horowitz Report is Out

DOJ: Review of Four FISA Applications and Other Aspects of the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane Investigation   

Ace: Rumor: Horowitz Report to be Released to Public in One Hour, Mark Meadows: I Now Understand the Reason for Media/Democrat Defensive Leaks; It's Worse Than They've Been Claiming

So let's read it for ourselves.

My first finding, from the OIG Methodolgy, pg i
Two witnesses, Glenn Simpson and Jonathan Winer (a former Department of State official), declined our requests for voluntary interviews, and we were unable to compel their testimony.
Regarding the Carter Page FISA warrants, page iii. They excluded exculpatory evidence.
The decision to seek to use this highly intrusive investigative technique was known and approved at multiple levels of the Department, including by then DAG Yates for the initial FISA application and first renewal, and by then Acting Attorney General Boente and then DAG Rosenstein for the second and third renewals, respectively. However, as we explain later, the Crossfire Hurricane team failed to inform Department officials of significant information that was available to the team at the time that the FISA applications were drafted and filed. Much of that information was inconsistent with, or undercut, the assertions contained in the FISA applications that were used to support probable cause and, in some instances, resulted in inaccurate information being included in the applications. While we do not speculate whether Department officials would have authorized the FBI to seek to use FISA authority had they been made aware of all relevant information, it was clearly the responsibility of Crossfire Hurricane team members to advise them of such critical information so that they could make a fully informed decision.
Regarding Christopher Steele, also page v. So he considered himself a Clinton employee.
In 2013, the FBI completed the paperwork allowing the FBI to designate Steele as a CHS. However, as described in Chapter Four, we found that the FBI and Steele held significantly differing views about the nature of their relationship. Steele's handling agent viewed Steele as a former intelligence officer colleague and FBI CHS, with obligations to the FBI. Steele, on the other hand, told us that he was a businessperson whose firm (not Steele) had a contractual agreement with the FBI and whose obligations were to his paying clients, not the FBI. We concluded that this disagreement affected the FBI's control over Steele during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, led to divergent expectations about Steele's conduct in connection with his election reporting, and ultimately resulted in the FBI formally closing Steele as a CHS in November 2016 (although, as discussed below, the FBI continued its relationship with Steele through Ohr).
Still on the Page FISA warrant, page viii
Our review found that FBI personnel fell far short of the requirement in FBI policy that they ensure  that all factual statements in a FISA application are "scrupulously accurate." We identified multiple instances in which factual assertions relied upon in the first FISA application were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation, based upon information the FBI had in its possession at the time the application was filed. We found that the problems we identified were primarily caused by the Crossfire Hurricane team failing to share all relevant information with OI and, consequently, the information was not considered by the Department decision makers who  ultimately decided to support the applications.
Ultimately the IG found 17 deficiencies in the Carter Page FISA warrants, several pages starting on page ix. Read 'em. In conclusion:
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. These failures prevented 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 fou nd in t his review were arguably more significant than others, we believe t hat 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. These errors and omissions resulted from case agents providing wrong or incomplete infor mation to OI and failing to flag important issues for discussion. While we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence of intentional misconduct on the part of the case agents who assisted OI 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 problems we identified. In most instances, t he agents and supervisors told us that they either did not know or recall why the information was not shared with OI, that the failure to do so may have been an oversight, that they did not recognize at t he time the relevance of t he information to t he FISA application, or that they did not believe the missing information to be significant . On this last point, we believe that case agents may have improperly substituted their own j udgments in place of the j udgment of OI, or in place of the court, to weigh t_he probative va lue of t he information. Further, the failure to update OI on all significant case developments relevant to the FISA applications led us to conclude that the agents and supervisors did not give appropriate attention or treatment to t he facts that cut against probable cause, or reassess t he information supporting probable cause as the investigation progressed. The agents and SSAs also did not follow, or appear to even know, the requirements in t he Woods Procedures to reverify the factual assertions from previous applications that are repeated in renewal applications and verify source characterization statements with the CHS handling agent and document the verification in the Woods File.
Regarding Bruce Ohr, page xv.
We concluded that Ohr committed consequential errors in judgment by ( 1) failing to advise his direct supervisors or the DAG that he was communicating with Steele and Simpson and then requesting meetings with the FBI's Deputy Director and Crossfire Hurricane team on matters that were outside of his areas of responsibility, and (2) making _himself a witness in the investigation by meeting with Steele and providing Steele's information to the FBI. As we describe in Chapter Eight, the late discovery of Ohr's meetings with the FBI prompted NSD to notify the FISC in July 2018, over a year after the final FISA renewal order was issued, of information that Ohr had provided to the FBI but that the FBI had failed to inform NSD and 01 about (and therefore was not included in the FISA applications), including that Steele was "desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being the U.S. President."
Regarding the use of CHSs (confidential human sources) and UCEs (undercover) agents to investigate the Trump campaign pg xviii.
While we concluded that the investigative activities undertaken by the Crossfire Hurricane team involving CHSs and UCEs complied with applicable Department and FBI policies, we believe that in certain circumstances Department and FBI policies do not provide sufficient oversight and accountability for investigative activities that have the potential to gather sensitive information involving protected First Amendment activity, and therefore include recommendations to address these issues.
 Good to know we can do it when it's our turn.

Regarding Peter Strzok's (SSA 1) surprise interview of Michael Flynn, pg xviii:
Finally, as we also describe in Chapter Ten, we learned during the course of our review that in August xviii 2016, the supervisor of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, SSA 1, participated on behalf of the FBI in a strategic intelligence briefing given by Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to candidate Trump and his national security advisors, including Michael Flynn, and in a separate strategic intelligence briefing given to candidate Clinton and her national security advisors. The stated purpose of the FBI portion of the briefing was to provide the recipients "a baseline on the presence and threat posed by foreign intelligence services to the National Security of the U.S." However, we found that SSA 1 was selected to provide the FBI briefings, in part, because Flynn, who was a subject in the ongoing Crossfire Hurricane investigation, would be attending the Trump campaign briefing.

Following his participation in the briefing of candidate Trump, Flynn, and another Trump advisor, SSA 1 dralted an EC documenting his participation in the briefing, and added the EC to the Crossfire Hurricane investigative file. We were told that the decision to select SSA 1 to participate in the ODNI briefing was reached by consensus among a group of senior FBI officials, including McCabe and Baker. We noted that no one at the Department or ODNI was informed that the FBI was using the ODNI briefing of a presidential candidate for investigative purposes, and found no applicable FBI or Department policies addressing this issue. We concluded that the FBI's use of this briefing for investigative reasons could potentially interfere with the expectation of trust and good faith among participants in strategic intelligence briefings, thereby frustrating their purpose. We therefore include a recommendation to address this issue.
And that concludes my scan of the executive summary.

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