Barr issues new rules for FBI surveillance warrants of political figures

Washington – Attorney General William Barr secretly announced a series of reforms to the FBI’s process for pursuing warrants for elected officials, political campaigns and candidates for the survey, a move nearly a year after an inspector general reported the report Many failures During a 2016 investigation into the Trump campaign by the FBI.

Barr issued new restrictions in a pair of memos released on Tuesday. The first directive authorizes the creation of an Office of Internal Audit within the FBI to ensure “rigorous and robust auditing” of the Bureau’s activities. The second memorandum establishes new surveillance procedures to pursue secret surveillance warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.

“FISA is an important tool to ensure the safety and security of Americans, especially when it comes to fighting terrorism. However, the American people must be confident that the United States government will exercise its surveillance officers in a manner that civilians Protects freedom. Americans avoid interference in the political process, Barr said in a statement, and comply with the United States Constitution and laws.

“The American people should never be together again after the Trump presidential campaign and subsequent administration were duly elected by the president,” he said.

Amid the new sanctions is a requirement that FBI directors first consider providing “defensive briefings” to potential targets of foreign governments before proceeding with seeking surveillance warrants. This new barrier applies to potential subjects of national security investigations, including candidates for federal office, federal officials, their employees or both formal and informal advisors. If the FBI director decides against providing such a briefing, he should state it in writing.

A few weeks before the 2020 elections, the change could make it likely that the FBI alerts about a possible investigation into foreign interference.

Barr also set up additional layers of investigation toward FISA applications, addressing criticism from Republicans in the wake of an Inspector General report into the Trump campaign’s investigation, known as the “Crossfire Hurricane.”

Michael Horowitz, Inspector General of the Department of Justice, found that the FBI was justified and had not shown any political bias when launching its investigation, but also determined that the bureau found Surveyor Carter Page “critical inaccuracy in dealing with 17 of FISA applications” And omission “. Former Trump campaign aide. In addition, Horowitz found that Page’s surveillance “continued until the FBI collected information that undermined the evaluation of probable cause.”

In the most horrifying example of misconduct, an email was turned over to an FBI lawyer to change its meaning and the bureau’s FISA application on the survey page. Lawyer, Kevin Kleinsmith, Found guilty On a criminal charge last month.

Under the changes announced on Tuesday, FISA applications must be certified by the FBI director and approved by both the deputy attorney general and assistant attorney general for national security. The Attorney General finalized the submission of the application.

All applications must undergo a review by the FBI agent for “accuracy and completeness” that is not included in the investigation and FBI attorneys must both brief the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, and the Assistant Attorney General for National Security is. Check – Results.

In response to the inspector general’s report, which was released last December, FBI Director Ray accepted the findings, calling them “unacceptable”, and announced 40 corrective actions his bureau would take to improve their practices . Ray expressed support for the additional procedures in a statement on Tuesday.

“The additional reforms we announced, which we worked closely with the Attorney General’s Office, will build on the FBI’s efforts to increase its compliance program,” Ray said. “FISA is an essential tool the FBI uses to protect our country from national security threats, and Americans can assure that the FBI is dedicated to continually strengthening our FISA compliance efforts and ensuring that our FISA Officers are used in a responsible way. ”

According to an FBI spokesperson, recent general reviews of information included by the FBI in FISA applications have proved to be accurate. In addition to the creation of an internal auditing office, the spokesperson told CBS News that the bureau is looking for an external consultant to advise on improving its process for auditing FISA applications.