The long-awaited report from Justice Department Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz on alleged abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by the Obama administration’s FBI in obtaining warrants to spy on the 2016 Trump campaign is expected to be released on Dec. 9 — but already parts of it have begun to leak in the media.
Breitbart reports that a former lawyer with the FBI is purportedly under criminal investigation for allegedly making alterations to the application for a FISA warrant to spy on a member of the Trump campaign — presumably, volunteer adviser Carter Page.
Crackdown at the FBI
The revelation was first leaked to CNN on Thursday by several anonymous sources who were reported to have been “briefed on the matter,” according to Breitbart.
Evidence of the altered document was said to have been turned over to U.S. Attorney John Durham, who was tasked by Attorney General Bill Barr with investigating whether anybody within the Justice Department or FBI had broken any laws in the course of the surveillance on the Trump campaign in 2016.
Though it remains unclear at this time what exactly was altered on the document and how significant that alteration ultimately was with regard to the FISA warrant, it was nevertheless reported to have been significant enough to have substantially changed the document’s meaning.
The lawyer accused of altering the document, who is no longer with the FBI, was reportedly confronted over the changes and admitted to making them.
A debunked dossier
Breitbart noted that little else is known about the lawyer and the altered document, and it was also pointed out that CNN went to great lengths to assert that while Horowitz had found “errors” in the FBI’s conduct related to the FISA warrant, supposedly the underlying “premise” of the surveillance was not questioned.
That is likely a desperate stretch by the network, however, given that the underlying premise of the FISA warrant was the anti-Trump “Steele Dossier,” compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele at the behest of research firm Fusion GPS, who in turn were paid by a law firm representing both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Furthermore, the “salacious and unsubstantiated” dossier has been almost wholly debunked, and the two-year special counsel investigation that stemmed from it led to the conclusion that there was no collusion, conspiracy, or coordination between any members of the Trump campaign and Russia, as had been asserted by the dossier and initial FBI probe.
The first of many leaks
As noted, Horowitz’s full report on the FBI’s alleged FISA abuse is supposed to be released by Dec. 9, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has set a hearing date of Dec. 11 for the inspector general to provide a briefing on the report.
Given that it has taken roughly a year and a half for Horowitz to complete his investigation — and that the report is rumored to be more than 1,000 pages long — it is highly likely that there are far more revelations of wrongdoing, potentially even of the criminal variety, by far more people than just this one FBI lawyer.
Odds are, this leak is just the first of many to come over the next couple of weeks as those who are implicated in the report scramble to try and get out in front of it with as sympathetic of a narrative as can be managed prior to the long-expected dropping of the hammer of justice.