FBI’s Reputation Damaged Forever over FISA Warrant [OPINION]
Fired and disgraced former FBI Director James Comey is becoming predictable. He has once again taken to the weekend talk shows on the news networks. The Inspector General's report came out last week and detailed damning proof of how the FBI made "errors" and "mistakes" but fell short of accusing the Bureau of political motivations.
It's not completely without offering suspicion of political motivation but IG Michael Horowitz said he didn't have clear evidence, only misgivings of their "mistakes."
I think the IG either didn't have the stomach to go to that conclusion or is too close to the situation as a long-established Washington insider. Horowitz has been in that town for a long time. An assistant U.S. Attorney for the New York Southern District since as far back as 1991, Horowitz has had a growing presence in Washington.
Even during periods since then, he'd been in private white-collar crime defense firms in New York City, he still had roles with the federal courts and Washington kept calling him back.
In 1999 he returned in the capacity of assistant deputy attorney general for the Justice Department and then chief of staff. Horowitz was sworn in as their Inspector General in April of 2012 and has remained there. Surely, this is a man who has deep ties and relationships throughout the halls of the Justice Department and elsewhere in the federal government.
We hear from time to time these discussions about term limits for the elected. I'd be more inclined to see this position have a short tenure, to ensure a higher likelihood of an outsider with unbiased perspectives holds the vital chair of Inspector General of the Justice Department.
So, to reaffirm my suspicions that Horowitz pulled some punches in his report, U.S. Attorney John Durham made a remarkable and rare comment within a day of the report's release, stating that he believes Horowitz's report is quite wrong in stating no proof exists with regards to the "no political bias or motivations."
Durham's own report of a wider-scale probe is nearly completed and has not yet been handed into the Attorney General. Durham's office would comment no further than that.
The IG report accuses FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith of criminal misconduct after intentionally keeping out vital information in the FBI's FISA warrant application to spy on Carter Page, Trump's campaign advisor. I am suggesting to you that Clinesmith is no rogue within the FBI and did not act on his own.
The FISA warrant application delivered by Comey to the judge in a conference left out serious exonerating facts. Carter Page told the CIA about the Russian's attempts to recruit him. The CIA informed the FBI that Page was their asset. This was kept out of the warrant application.
Comey used the Fusion GPS Steele Dossier as evidence for the warrant, even though he knew it was deeply flawed and unreliable. The main source for Steele was, at that time, the subject of an open counterintelligence investigation by the very same FBI. This was kept from the judge issuing the warrant.
Comey attempted to distance himself from the amounts of mistakes and the enormous impact they'd made on the civil rights of Carter Page and Donald Trump. He went on some shows this weekend, including Fox News with Chris Wallace, and I believe he made matters worse for himself:
Comey: Horowitz is] right, I was wrong. I was overconfident in the procedures that the FBI and the Justice [Department] had built up over 20 years. I thought they were robust enough. It’s incredibly hard to get a FISA. I was overconfident in those, and he’s right. There was real sloppiness—17 things that either should’ve been in the applications or at least discussed and characterized differently. It was not acceptable, and so he’s right, and I was wrong.
Wallace: But, you make it sound like you were a bystander, an eyewitness. You were the director of the FBI while a lot of this was going on, sir.
If I were James Comey, I know I would have already called the best attorney that I could possibly afford. I'm quite sure that he has by now.
Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at ken.pittman@