Regular readers might have wondered why The Point didn’t bother joining other conservative blogs in the countdown to the IG report.
It should be obvious now.
Government reports don’t solve government corruption. Fundamental political change does. At best, like the IG report, they note various abuses piecemeal as incomprehensible errors that occurred for unknown reasons and require some sort of general reforms. That’s the approach that the IG report takes to the FISA abuses, to the fact that this entire Spygate sham was based on the claims of a Clinton campaign contractor.
It just happened that FISA applications were filled with false statements, that multiple FBI teams “mishandled” claims, that they failed to follow procedures, that they failed to obtain corroborating information, that they misstated Steele’s status and showed no apparent interest in who was paying him to produce this dirt. And, even when Steele was honest about his sources, that was ignored as inconvenient.
And, it goes without saying, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, and their biases, had nothing to do with anything. There’s no bias to see here.
But that’s what government reports that dig into a government abuse of power from within the bureaucracy, the deep industry, routinely do.
They highlight violations of the rules, regs, and standards, without addressing motives or exposing conspiracies.
The IG report provides some useful background information, while mostly confirming what we already know yet again, and then exculpating everyone of the big issue, which is that Democrats were able to use the FBI to go after a political rival.
And so it’s ultimately meaning.
AG Barr has issued a statement sharply disagreeing with the report.
“Nothing is more important than the credibility and integrity of the FBI and the Department of Justice. That is why we must hold our investigators and prosecutors to the highest ethical and professional standards. The Inspector General’s investigation has provided critical transparency and accountability, and his work is a credit to the Department of Justice. I would like to thank the Inspector General and his team.
The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken. It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory. Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance was pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump’s administration. In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source. The Inspector General found the explanations given for these actions unsatisfactory. While most of the misconduct identified by the Inspector General was committed in 2016 and 2017 by a small group of now-former FBI officials, the malfeasance and misfeasance detailed in the Inspector General’s report reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process.
FISA is an essential tool for the protection of the safety of the American people. The Department of Justice and the FBI are committed to taking whatever steps are necessary to rectify the abuses that occurred and to ensure the integrity of the FISA process going forward.
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.
With respect to DOJ personnel discussed in the report, the Department will follow all appropriate processes and procedures, including as to any potential disciplinary action.”
AG Barr’s emphasis here is striking, ” The Inspector General found the explanations given for these actions unsatisfactory. While most of the misconduct identified by the Inspector General was committed in 2016 and 2017 by a small group of now-former FBI officials, the malfeasance and misfeasance detailed in the Inspector General’s report reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process. FISA is an essential tool for the protection of the safety of the American people. The Department of Justice and the FBI are committed to taking whatever steps are necessary to rectify the abuses that occurred and to ensure the integrity of the FISA process going forward.”
That closes the barn door, but the horse is already out.
The problem highlighted here is how little practical power the people at the top of agencies have when they haven’t fundamentally remade that agency. This is why the Left runs the government and conservatives don’t.
Here’s Durham’s statement.
Statement of U.S. Attorney John H. Durham
“I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff. However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department. Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S. Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.”
The clear path forward was to release and declassify as much as possible.
I am skeptical that the tunnel of investigations will lead anywhere except to more reports, a few scapegoats like Strzok and Page (despite the focus on them, the IG is correct that they were not the ones with the final say on this, just especially obnoxious about their biases), and the whole thing receding eventually into the corridors of institutional memory. That’s how the Imperial City works.
The solution lies with putting all of it out there. At once. And let the people decide.
We’re not meant to be governed by bureaucrats, but by citizens.