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Comey Says “I Was Wrong,” and Admits to FBI “Sloppiness”

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Comey Says “I Was Wrong,” and Admits to FBI “Sloppiness”

Comey Says “I Was Wrong,” and Admits to FBI “Sloppiness”
December 16
15:46 2019

Controversial former FBI Director James Comey has acknowledged that the recently released Justice Department inspector general report has identified “real sloppiness” in the surveillance of a former Trump campaign aide and said he was “wrong” to have been “overconfident” about how the Russia investigation was handled.

Comey’s comments come days after Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report and testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee detailed concerns that included 17 “significant errors and omissions” by the FBI’s investigative team when applying for a FISA warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Horowitz referred to “the entire chain of command” of the FBI and DOJ for “how to assess and address their performance failures” during the probe, which was conducted while Comey was in charge.

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“He’s right, I was wrong,” Comey said about how the FBI used the FISA process, adding, “I was overconfident as director in our procedures,” and that what happened “was not acceptable.”

Horowitz did make it clear that he believes the FBI’s investigation of Russian election interference and possible connections with the Trump campaign was properly initiated, but he did note that this is based on a “low threshold.” He also concluded that there was no testimonial or documentary evidence to show that the investigation started due to any political bias, but said the issue of bias “gets murkier” when it comes to the various issues with the FISA process.

In the sometime contentious interview with Fox’s Chris Wallace, Comey also insisted he was right to feel some measure of vindication because the report did not find evidence for the most divisive of President Donald Trump’s claims, including that he had been wiretapped and illegally spied on and that the FBI had committed treason in investigating ties between Russia and his 2016 campaign.

“Remember how we got here,” Comey said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” “The FBI was accused of criminal misconduct. Remember, I was going to jail, and lots of other people were going to jail.”

Things got tense when Wallace brought up the apparent discrepancy between Comey and the IG’s report regarding the reliance on information gathered by former British spy Christopher Steele in obtaining the FISA warrant to surveil Page.

Comey downplayed the role of Steele’s information in obtaining the FISA warrant against Page, claiming Sunday that it was “not a huge part of the presentation to the court,” just part of the information included in the warrant application.

He insisted that he and Horowitz “weren’t saying different things” about Steele’s significance, but host Chris Wallace then read Horowitz’s words, which said Steele’s information “played a central and essential role” in establishing probable cause.

When Wallace accused him of minimizing the relevance of Steele’s information, Comey said, “if I was then I’m sorry that I did that.”

Following the IG report’s release, Comey essentially claimed vindication, declaring in the wake of the report that the criticism of the bureau’s actions “was all lies.”

However, when asked about vindication at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the inspector general bluntly replied, “I think the activities we found here don’t vindicate anybody who touched this FISA.”

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Michael F. Strong

Michael F. Strong

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