There is a lot to unpack in Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report on the review of four FISA applications. It is impossible in one short blog post to detail all of the things uncovered. The only safe conclusion is all Americans should be upset by this report. As one group said (emphasis added):
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 FBI must also adopt higher standards for investigations involving constitutionally protected sensitive activities, such as political campaigns.
That statement is not from a Republican or a conservative group, it is from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Speaking of Carter Page, he has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal which begins:
My name is Carter Page, and I wish you were hearing it for the first time. If you were, I could introduce myself—a former naval officer who has worked for political figures from both parties. But my identity has been reduced to a series of false accusations. If something isn’t done to prevent future abuses of power by intelligence agencies, I won’t be the last to lose his good name this way.
How outrageous was this abuse? How about the example discussed by Senator Ted Cruz in today’s hearing as reported in the Daily Caller:
“So the men and women at home need to know what’s happening,” Cruz continued. “A lawyer at the FBI creates fraudulent evidence, alters an email, that is in turn used for the basis of a sworn statement to the court that the court relies on. Am I stating that accurately? [...]
“That’s correct,” Horowitz answered. “That is what occurred.”
Horowitz added that he has never “seen an alteration of an email end up impacting a court document like this.”
It is unfortunate that Democrats continue to distort and play politics. For as Attorney General William Barr said:
The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken. It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory. Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance was pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump’s administration. In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source. The Inspector General found the explanations given for these actions unsatisfactory.
This investigation and report is important both for the nation as a whole and so Americans such as Carter Page cannot be falsely accused in the future.