The DOJ's Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced Wednesday that he is expanding his internal investigation into alleged FBI abuses surrounding Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications - and will be examining their relationship with former MI6 spy Christopher Steele. The announcement follows several requests from lawmakers and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“The OIG will initiate a review that will examine the Justice Department’s and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s compliance with legal requirements, and with applicable DOJ and FBI policies and procedures, in applications filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) relating to a certain U.S. person,” the statement reads.
It should be noted that the OIG's current investigation and upcoming report - which led to former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe's firing, is focused on the agency's handling of the Clinton email investigation. This new probe will focus on FISA abuse and surveillance of the Trump campaign.
On March 1, House Intelligence Committee (HPSCI) Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) wrote in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the FBI may have violated criminal statutes, as well as its own strict internal procedures by using unverified information to obtain a surveillance warrant on onetime Trump campaign advisor Carter Page.
Nunes referred to the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (DIOG), which states that the “accuracy of information contained within FISA applications is of utmost importance... Only documented and verified information may be used to support FBI applications to the court.”
A "FISA memo" released in February by the House Intel Committee (which has since closed its Russia investigation), points to FBI's use of the salacious and unverified "Steele Dossier" funded by the Clinton Campaign and the DNC.
“Former and current DOJ and FBI leadership have confirmed to the committee that unverified information from the Steele dossier comprised an essential part of the FISA applications related to Carter Page,” Nunes wrote in his March 1 letter.
Meanwhile, a February 28 letter from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) requested that IG Horowitz "conduct a comprehensive review of potential improper political influence, misconduct, or mismanagement" in relation to the FBI's handling of counterintelligence and criminal investigations of the Trump campaign prior to the appointment of Robert Mueller.
Steele in the crosshairs
The OIG letter also notes “As part of this examination, the OIG also will review information that was known to the DOJ and the FBI at the time the applications were filed from or about an alleged FBI confidential source.”
The source, in this case, is Christopher Steele.
The "alleged FBI confidential source" here = Christopher Steele https://t.co/SXCGu6D91I— Elana Schor (@eschor) March 28, 2018
The House Intel Committe's "FISA memo" alleges that the political origins of the dossier — paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) — were not disclosed to the clandestine court that signed off on the warrant request, as DOJ officials knew Steele was being paid by democrats. Moreover, officials at the DOJ and FBI signed one warrant, and three renewals against Carter Page.
Considering that much of the Steele dossier came from a collaboration with high level Kremlin officials (a collusion if you will), Horowitz will be connecting dots that allegedly go from the Clinton campaign directly to the Kremlin.