The FBI’s investigation into alleged Russia-Trump collusion was properly opened without political bias in 2016 but quickly devolved into “serious performance failures” that misled the courts about the flaws with the bureau’s evidence and its star informant Christopher Steele, the Justice Department’s chief watchdog concluded Monday.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz spared few words for the FBI and its chain of command as he concluded the bureau misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court with at least 17 errors and omissions that rendered each of four applications for surveillance warrants grossly inaccurate.
“Our review found that FBI personnel fell far short of the requirement in FBI policy that they ensure that all factual statements in a FISA application are ‘scrupulously accurate,’” Horowitz wrote. “We identified multiple instances in which factual assertions relied upon in the first FISA application were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation, based upon information the FBI had in its possession at the time the application was filed.
Specifically, the IG found, FBI agents had not corroborated any of the allegations in Steele’s dossier before using his source information to support its first FISA warrant on Oct. 21, 2016 and even blew past concerns of a senior DOJ official about Steele’s political biases.
In subsequent applications to renew the FISA warrants in 2017, the FBI failed to inform the FISA judges that Steele’s main intelligence source had raised a stunning red flag by disavowing information attributed to that source, the report said.
The massive omission and false assertions in the FISA applications “made it appear that the information supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case,” the IG found. read more