FBI director Wray ‘deeply regrets’ FISA court errors in Trump-Russia probe
FBI Director Christopher Wray said he “deeply regrets” the bureau’s mishandling of Russia probe surveillance and outlined a 12-step plan to prevent future abuses, but President Trump on Saturday suggested Wray didn’t go far enough.
“Chris, what about all of the lives that were ruined because of the so-called ‘errors?’ ” Trump tweeted. “Are these ‘dirty cops’ going to pay a big price for the fraud they committed?”
On Friday, Wray submitted his reform plan to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court after a scathing inspector general report found 17 errors in the FBI’s surveillance application of former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
“The FBI has the utmost respect for this [FISA] Court, and deeply regrets the errors and omissions identified by the OIG,” Wray wrote, referencing the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General report released in December.
In the rare public court filing, Wray acknowledged the report found “conduct that is unacceptable and unrepresentative of the FBI as an institution.”
Trump has long accused the FBI and Justice Department of launching an unwarranted, politically motivated probe into his campaign in order to undermine his White House bid. He continues to point to anti-Trump text messages from Lisa Page, then an FBI lawyer, and Peter Strzok, the former FBI head of counterintelligence, as proof the bureau was out to get him.
Despite the errors in the application process, Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz found no political bias or intentional misconduct surrounding the launch of the investigation into Trump campaign ties to Russia.
In the court filing, Wray outlined steps for corrective action, including a new verification form to certify the accuracy of information from informants, and a new checklist for agents to fill out when seeking FISA approval for surveillance to better inform the court of all relevant information.
Wray’s mea culpa comes after the FISA court chief judge slammed the FBI publicly over its shoddy Page surveillance applications and gave the bureau until Jan. 10 to come up with solutions.
“The FBI’s handling of the Carter Page applications, as portrayed in the [Office of Inspector General] report, was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above,” then-presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer wrote in a four-page court order issued Dec. 17. “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.”
Wray responded Friday that the surveillance court is an “indispensable tool in national security investigation” and pledged the “FBI is committed to working with the Court and [the Department of Justice] to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the FISA process.”