Inspector general launches investigation into FISA warrants

  • 29 March 2018
  • NormanL
Inspector general launches investigation into FISA warrants

The Department of Justice inspector general is launching an investigation of the Department's use of secret FISA court warrants used to spy on Trump campaign aides:

The Justice Department inspector general announced Wednesday that he will examine a series of controversial applications to surveil a former Trump campaign adviser, along with the department’s relationship with a former British intelligence officer who provided information for those requests.

Conservatives have long alleged the Justice Department acted inappropriately in obtaining a warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page — in particular because the department relied on information that was funded in a roundabout way by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The review by Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz is likely to produce a report that assesses the appropriateness of those dealings.

Horowitz will be wading into a political minefield, as the warrant to surveil Page and the former British intelligence officer who provided information to aid that effort have become significant friction points in the partisan squabbling over special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

The firing of former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe has shown us how powerful these sorts of independent investigations can be. 

And it is true the DoJ inspector general is wading into a "political minefield." That comes with the job description. IG Michael Horowitz, however, is not afraid to shine an investigative light into the Justice Department's darkest corners. Because of this, it comes as no surprise Democrats are already trying to discredit the investigation:

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement it was “a shame that the Inspector General has to devote resources to investigate a conspiracy theory as fact-free, openly political, and thoroughly debunked as the President’s so-called ‘FISA abuse.’ ”

Were Mr. Nadler's accusation true, the IG wouldn't be wasting time on investigation -- and would say so publicly. But Horowitz's office has determined otherwise.

We should welcome this investigation. It will be objective. It will be thorough. It may uncover some very inconvenient and uncomfortable facts...for all sides. That's the point. Inspectors general aren't in the business of appeasing politicians. Rather, their job is to save taxpayers investigate and publicize wrongdoing...and to hold federal bureaucrats accountable.

Bring it on.