Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma blasted the FBI’s handling of warrants through the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) Wednesday arguing the bureau’s misconduct has thrown the nation’s national security courts down “years of turmoil.”
After entering in a FISC order released Tuesday demanding the FBI fix its broken warrant process into the congressional record, Lankford condemned the FBI’s actions at the center of the hearing featuring Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz appearing for the second time before lawmakers.
Last week, the DOJ IG unveiled a damming report detailing glaring omissions from bureau officials in obtaining FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign. A FISC judge on Tuesday has now declared that the FBI’s conduct uncovered in the inspector general’s report “calls into question” every warrant the FBI has ever requested.
“The FBI not only took our nation down years of turmoil but they’re now calling into question every FISA application and I’m confident every attorney is going to bring this case up and say we can’t rely on the FISA now,” Lankford said during a hearing featuring Horowitz before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
During his second round of testimony focusing on the bombshell report documenting FBI abuses, Horowitz also reiterated his call to hold individuals accountable involved in the process.
“We recommended the FBI review the performances of and hold accountable all individuals, including managers, supervisors, and senior officials who had the responsibility for the approval of the FISA applications” Horowitz said.
Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Horowitz made clear that the report, while it did not conclude political bias motivated the renewal of four FISA applications to conduct surveillance of the Trump campaign, did not vindicate anyone associated with them.
“The former FBI Director James Comey said this week that your report vindicates him. Is that a fair assessment of your report?” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina asked.
“You know, I think the activities we found here don’t vindicate anyone who touched this,” Horowitz said.
At the start of Wednesday’s hearing, Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin argued in his opening statement that based on the evidence FBI officials had initially gathered, the Crossfire Hurricane investigation should have been shut down. The Horowitz report revealed that FBI officials knew that the Steele Dossier at the heart of their investigation was junk intelligence while continuing to rely on its sources to renew its FISA applications for Trump campaign surveillance.
“Had the public known what the FBI knew at that time, it’s hard to imagine public support for continuing the investigation, much less the appointment of a special counsel four months later,” Johnson said in his prepared remarks.