Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who operates independently from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration, announced Wednesday afternoon he will launch an investigation into alleged FISA abuse during the Obama administration.
— Justice OIG (@JusticeOIG) March 28, 2018
The inquiry comes “in response to requests from the attorney general and members of Congress,” according to the statement from Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
Conservatives for weeks have trumpeted allegations that the DOJ and the FBI abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), detailed in a controversial memo authored by staff for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). The allegations were also detailed in a separate criminal referral made by Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
The Hill reports,
Broadly, the GOP lawmakers believe that officials inappropriately used a controversial piece of opposition research into then-candidate Donald Trump to obtain a politically-motivated warrant on Page.
According to the statement, Horowitz will examine whether the bureau and the department complied “with legal requirements and with applicable policies and procedures in applications filed … related to a certain U.S. person.”
Horowitz will also review the FBI’s relationship and communications with the “alleged confidential source,” as well as what officials knew “from or about” that source at the time the applications were filed. The “confidential source” is a former MI6 agent named Christopher Steele who assembled the dossier under contract with the intelligence research firm Fusion GPS.
The statement does not cite Page or Steele by name.
The Nunes memo alleges that the FBI and the DOJ misled the clandestine court that approves surveillance requests about the provenance of some of the information in its application for Page. They claim that the application both failed to confirm the information they used from the so-called “Steele dossier” and that they did not tell the court that the original research was paid for in part by then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), through the law firm Perkins Coie.
The dossier is comprised of a series of unconfirmed raw intelligence reports alleging a widespread pattern of connections between Trump campaign officials and Moscow, including claims that the Kremlin sought to cultivate the business mogul “for at least five years.” It also alleged that Putin was backing Trump in the 2016 election in order to “sow discord and disunity” within the U.S.
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee who have seen the underlying Page application say the information drawn from the dossier was independently confirmed and that officials disclosed that the information was paid for by a political opponent of then-candidate Donald Trump.
The underlying FISA application for Page remains classified and it continues to be a matter of dispute to what extent it relied on Steele’s reports.
— Mike Cernovich 🇺🇸 (@Cernovich) March 28, 2018
Read more at The Hill