Politics & Policy

FBI Director Announces ‘40 Corrective Steps’ in Response to Failures Detailed in Horowitz Report

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before a Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the Bureau’s proposed 2020 budget, May 7, 2019. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

FBI Director Christopher Wray outlined “a number of takeaways” from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on the origins of the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign in 2016, saying in a statement and an interview that he is issuing “over 40” steps to address the report’s findings.

“The Report concludes that the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation and related investigations of certain individuals were opened in 2016 for an authorized purpose and with adequate factual predication,” Wray stated. “The Report also details instances in which certain FBI personnel, at times during the 2016-2017 period reviewed by the OIG, did not comply with existing policies, neglected to exercise appropriate diligence, or otherwise failed to meet the standard of conduct that the FBI expects of its employees — and that our country expects of the FBI.

“We are vested with significant authorities, and it is our obligation as public servants to ensure that these authorities are exercised with objectivity and integrity. Anything less falls short of the FBI’s duty to the American people,” Wray said in a statement.

He echoed a similar sentiment in an interview with ABC News, saying that “the inspector general did find a number of instances where employees either failed to follow our policies, neglected to exercise appropriate diligence, or in some other way fell short of the standard of conduct and performance that we and that I, as director, expect of all of our employees.”

Wray outlined four main steps in his statement, including modifying the process for FISA applications, changing the requirements for “investigative activity based out of FBI Headquarters,” “significant changes” to the FBI’s confidential sources program, and new protocols for briefings provided to presidential nominees.

The FBI director received a vote of approval in attorney general Bill Barr’s statement on the IG report, in which Barr said that “no one is more dismayed about the handling of these FISA applications than Director Wray.”

“I have full confidence in Director Wray and his team at the FBI, as well as the thousands of dedicated line agents who work tirelessly to protect our country.  I thank the Director for the comprehensive set of proposed reforms he is announcing today, and I look forward to working with him to implement these and any other appropriate measures,” Barr’s statement reads.

The attorney general did not mince words for former-FBI officials, saying that “the malfeasance and misfeasance detailed in the Inspector General’s report reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process.”

Horowitz’s report detailed how the FBI made “at least 17 significant errors or omissions” in its FISA application to surveil Trump-campaign adviser Carter Page, including the application’s reliance on the unverified Steele dossier.

In the interview with ABC, Wray also dismissed allegations of “Deep State” influences at the bureau, calling the label a “disservice to the 37,000 men and women who work at the FBI” and saying “that’s not a term that I would ever use to describe our workforce.” Wray added that “we’re going to be taking a number of corrective steps to address” conduct violations detailed in the report.

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