DoJ to Launch Review of FBI Surveillance Requests

Tong Wu | Mc Clatchy Washington Bureau | TNS  The FBI headquarters in Washington D.C

Tong Wu | Mc Clatchy Washington Bureau | TNS The FBI headquarters in Washington D.C

"Additionally, the (inspector general) will review the DOJ's and FBI's relationship and communications with the alleged source as they relate to the (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court) applications", the inspector general stated.

As part of its new investigation, "the OIG also will review information that was known to the DOJ and the FBI at the time the applications were filed from or about an alleged FBI confidential source", Horowitz said in his statement Wednesday.

"Department of Justice Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today that, in response to requests from the Attorney General and Members of Congress, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will initiate a review that will examine the Justice Department's and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) compliance with legal requirements, and with applicable DOJ and FBI policies and procedures, in applications filed with the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) relating to a certain US person", the a press release said on Wednesday.

Members of Congress from both parties vouched for the inspector general's independence when Trump tweeted his view that the watchdog was partisan. The GOP memo describes the department's use of information compiled by Steele in obtaining a secret warrant to monitor Page's communications.

The Office of Inspector General also seemed to indicate that it would seek to uncover whether the FBI's surveillance requests were based on information it received from ex-British spy Christopher Steele.

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have since released their own memo, accusing Republicans of deliberately omitting facts in an effort to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation.

After Republicans released their memo in February, they urged the Justice Department to examine the allegations of misconduct. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he referred the matter to the inspector general's office.

Republicans have been fuming about they see as bias within the FBI, while Democrats say the surveillance abuse allegations are created to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's sprawling investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

"It is 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, ' " Nadler said in a statement.

Horowitz is already investigating potential anti-Trump bias by some FBI agents and whether the 2016 investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of state was mishandled.

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Charles Grassley of Iowa, and South Carolina Sen. But Graham said he still thinks a second special counsel should be appointed "to ensure the investigation is thorough and complete".

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