Washington – Attorney General William Barr announced a series of reforms in the FBI’s process to obtain warrants for secret surveillance of elected officials, political campaigns and candidates, a move that came nearly a year after the inspector general’s report was documented. numerous failures The FBI is investigating the 2016 Trump campaign.
Barr posted the new restrictions in a couple of memorandums released on Tuesday. IN first directive authorizes the creation of an Internal Audit Office within the FBI to ensure “rigorous and reliable audit” of the bureau’s activities. IN second note establishes new procedures for supervising the execution of secret surveillance orders under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
“FISA is an important tool for the safety of Americans, especially when it comes to countering terrorism. However, the American people need to be confident that the United States government will exercise its surveillance powers in a way that protects the civil liberties of its citizens.” interfere in the political process and abide by the United States Constitution and laws, ”Barr said in a statement.
“What happened to Trump’s presidential campaign and subsequent administration after the president was duly elected by the American people should never happen again,” he added.
Among the new restrictions is the requirement that the FBI director first consider providing “defensive briefing” to potential foreign government targets before seeking a surveillance warrant. This new restriction applies to potential subjects of national security investigations, including candidates for federal office, elected federal officials, their employees, or both official and informal advisers. If the FBI Director chooses not to provide such briefing, he or she must explain the reason in writing.
The change, which comes just weeks before the 2020 election, could raise the likelihood that the FBI will alert campaigns to potential investigations of foreign interference.
Barr also set additional levels of verification for FISA claims, responding to criticism from Republicans following the Inspector General’s report on the Trump campaign investigation known as the Hurricane of the Crossfire.
Michael Horowitz, Inspector General of the Department of Justice, concluded that the FBI was acquitted and did not indicate political bias when the investigation began, but also decided Bureau made 17 “Significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the processing of FISA applications to monitor Carter Page, Trump’s former campaign assistant. In addition, Horowitz found that surveillance of Page “continued even while the FBI was gathering information that weakened the probable cause.”
In its most egregious case of abuse, an FBI lawyer was found to have modified the email to change its meaning and support the bureau’s FISA page monitoring application. Lawyer Kevin Klinsmith, pleaded guilty on one criminal charge last month.
According to the changes announced on Tuesday, FISA applications must be certified by the FBI director and approved by both the Deputy Attorney General and the Assistant Attorney General for Homeland Security. The last word when filing an application remains with the Attorney General.
All applications must also be checked for “accuracy and completeness” by an FBI agent not involved in the investigation and by FBI lawyers, who must then inform the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General for Homeland Security of their findings.
In response to the Inspector General’s report released last December, FBI Director Ray agreed with the findings, calling them “unacceptable,” and announced more than 40 corrective actions that his bureau will take to reform its practices. Ray expressed support for the additional procedures in a statement on Tuesday.
“The additional reforms announced today, which we worked closely with the attorney general’s office, will build on the FBI’s efforts to strengthen its compliance program,” Ray said. “FISA is an indispensable tool that the FBI uses to protect our country from national security threats, and Americans can rest assured that the FBI remains committed to continually strengthening our efforts to comply with FISA requirements and to ensure that our FISA mandate is exercised in a responsible manner.” …
An FBI spokesman said the inspector general’s verification of information included by the FBI in recent FISA filings has proven accurate. In addition to establishing the Internal Audit Service, a spokesman told CBS News that the bureau is in the process of seeking an external consultant to provide guidance on how to improve the FISA audit process.