December 11, 2019

Crapo: FISA Probe Unacceptably Biased

Americans rightfully concerned by surveillance based on 'thinnest of suspicions'

Washington, D.C. -- As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) had the opportunity today to question Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz about his investigation into DOJ and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) conduct during the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant process as it related to the 2016 presidential election.  Video footage and an outline of Senator Crapo’s line of questioning can be found below. 

Senator Crapo issued the following statement after the hearing: 

“Inspector General Horowitz’s report found the basis of the FISA warrants were rumor, not fact.  Americans are rightfully concerned by the possibility of the government’s use of Big-Brother style surveillance into their private lives based on the thinnest of suspicions.  

“The evidence in Mr. Horowitz’s report shows the FBI’s willingness to go to any lengths necessary to get an inside look at then-candidate Trump by repeatedly omitting exculpatory information from its filings.  The IG’s report identified 17 significant errors or omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications.  It is mind-numbing to think this could just be accidental.  This is egregious misconduct by government officials charged with the task of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.  This behavior is disappointing and unacceptably biased.  

“The FBI--the premier law enforcement agency in the world--failed to conduct some of its most fundamental and basic processes.  The FBI must return to complete and lawful work without error.  I will work to do everything I can to ensure this kind of misconduct toward duly elected U.S. Presidents and their staff does not occur ever again.” 

Some questions of Inspector General Horowitz by Senator Crapo are outlined below.  They have been shortened for clarity.  

You indicated that there was bias among decision-making individuals.  Is it true that you were not able to find evidence to disprove the claim that bias did not affect work performance at the FBI?

  • IG Horowitz’s Answer: “There was evidence that some individuals had bias, but not those making decisions.” 

But the decision [to get a FISA warrant] was made in consultation with those who had bias, correct?

  • IG Horowitz’s Answer: “Yes.” 

You did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the decision to open these four investigations. Did you ask Mr. Priestap if he had bias?

  • IG Horowitz’s Answer: “We asked all witnesses as to whether bias or other improper considerations had any impact, but we also looked for emails, text messages, or documents.  Which is, frankly, how we found bias among Strzok and Page.” 

In the FISA investigation, it seems to me if we go beyond the bias question to intentional versus grossly negligent, the kind of misconduct that has been presented by you and reviewed by everyone here today is that it is mind-numbing to consider it could just be accidental.  Can you reach a conclusion like that?

  • IG Horowitz’s Answer: “I’d be skeptical, but I understand why others might be skeptical of that.  There is such a range of conduct here that is inexplicable and the answers we got were not satisfactory.  We’re still trying to understand how all these errors could happen over 9 months and 3 handpicked teams, and the highest profile case in the FBI, while involving a presidential campaign.” 

I think it is explicable.  Is criminal prosecution possible in some of the cases you referred?

  • IG Horowitz’s Answer: “I’d leave it to the Department to answer that.”

Click the image above or HERE to view Senator Crapo's full line of questioning.