March 28, 2018

Following Grassley-Graham Request, DOJ Inspector General Launches FISA Review

WASHINGTON – Following requests by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced it’s reviewing a recent application by DOJ and FBI to secretly surveil an American citizen, Carter Page, as well as reviewing the FBI’s relationship with Christopher Steele.
 
“Federal surveillance authority is an important tool to combat terrorism and keep Americans safe, but it must be used by the book in order to protect the constitutional rights and civil liberties of all Americans. We need to be sure that improper political influence, misconduct or mismanagement is never a factor when federal law enforcement seeks permission to secretly surveil Americans. I’m grateful that the non-partisan inspector general is reviewing both the controversial FISA application and the FBI’s relationship with Christopher Steele, whose Clinton-funded work was used in the FISA application.  The inspector general has a sterling reputation for getting the facts and holding bad actors accountable,” Grassley said.
 “I am very pleased the Inspector General has decided to act on our request to investigate these issues further. “However, I still believe we need a second special counsel to ensure the investigation is thorough and complete.  The American people are rightfully troubled by the information they have heard about politicization in DOJ.  All Americans deserve to know if the rules were followed and whether justice was indeed blind,” Graham said.
 
Inspector General Michael Horowitz confirmed in a letter today to Grassley and Graham that the OIG’s review will include issues surround the FBI’s application and renewal authority to conduct surveillance of a certain American using the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  It will also examine the DOJ’s and FBI’s compliance with relevant laws and agency policies in that process as well as what the agencies knew at the time of the applications.  Specifically, OIG will examine the FBI’s and DOJ’s relationship and communications with alleged sources for the FISA applications.
 
Grassley and Graham detailed their request for a review in a classified and unclassified letter in February.  Because OIG lacks access to grand jury process and other prosecutorial tools, Grassley and Graham, along with Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) called for a special counsel to assist in such a review.
 

-30-