Former FBI Director has responded to the IG Report by claiming vindication in an Op-Ed for the Washington Post.
Ari Fleisher tweeted “Comey is his usual pious self. He calls for others to apologize, but he is the one who owes three apologies: 1) To Carter Page, who the FBI wrongfully accused of being a Russian agent. 2) The FISA court for deceiving them. 3) President Trump for relying on the Steele dossier”
By James Comey – Wapo
James Comey is a former director of the FBI and a former deputy attorney general.
For two years, the president of the United States and his followers have loudly declared that the FBI acted unlawfully in conducting a counterintelligence investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
They repeatedly told the American people that the FBI had done all sorts of bad things, such as tapping Donald Trump’s wires during the campaign, opening an investigation without adequate cause, with the intent to damage Trump, and inserting secret informants into the Trump campaign.
The president said the FBI’s actions were “treason.” The current attorney general even slimed his own organization by supporting Trump’s claims, asserting there had been “spying” on the campaign. Crimes had been committed, the Trump crowd said, and a whole bunch of former FBI leaders, including me, were likely going to jail.
On Monday, we learned from a report by the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, that the allegation of a criminal conspiracy was nonsense. There was no illegal wiretapping, there were no informants inserted into the campaign, there was no “spying” on the Trump campaign.
Although it took two years, the truth is finally out.
At the heart of the Russian attack on the election was the release of damaging emails stolen from organizations and individuals associated with the Democratic Party. The releases started in June 2016. In late July, the FBI learned that a Trump campaign foreign-policy adviser named George Papadopoulos had been involved months earlier in conversations about a Russian government offer of “dirt” in the form of emails damaging to Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton.
Based on that information, the FBI opened an investigation to try to understand whether Americans, including any associated with the Trump campaign, were involved with the Russian influence effort. It would have been a dereliction of duty for the FBI not to investigate that.
The investigation included electronic surveillance of one person, Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser with a long relationship to Russia and a history of contacts with Russian intelligence. The surveillance began with a court order shortly before the election. The order was renewed three times by federal judges. And the FBI kept it secret. Nothing was leaked to damage the Trump campaign.
The Russia investigation was complicated — not surprisingly, the inspector general found mistakes, 17 of them, things the FBI should have done differently, or better. That’s always unfortunate, but human beings make mistakes. Inspector-general reports are valuable because they offer the chance to learn. Horowitz also concluded that a low-level FBI lawyer doctored an email as part of the administrative process leading to the renewal of the application for electronic surveillance of the former campaign adviser. Although it is not clear what difference that made, it is still potentially serious wrongdoing and does not reflect the FBI culture of compliance and candor.