Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said Wednesday during testimony before a Senate committee that his recently-concluded investigation into the origins of the so-called “Spygate” probe by the FBI into the 2016 Trump campaign resulted from a failure “by the entire chain of command.”
In his opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Horowitz noted that the FBI’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court applications to monitor a Trump campaign aide were rife with errors and omissions, and top officials should have intervened given the high-profile nature of the target.
“It is incumbent upon the entire chain of command, including senior officials to take the necessary steps to ensure that they are sufficiently familiar with the fact and circumstances and potentially undermining a FISA application in order to provide effective oversight consistent with their level of supervisory responsibility,” Horowitz said.
Horowitz also noted that senior managers and supervisors who were briefed on the “Russian collusion” probe also failed to provide proper oversight of lower-ranking agents.
The IG also noted that during his more than one year-long probe he never received “satisfactory explanations” as to why FBI agents withheld exculpatory information from the FISA court that would have cleared Trump aide Carter Page of any wrongdoing.
“We found that offered explanations for these serious errors did not excuse them or the repeated failures to ensure the accuracy of information presented to the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court],” he said.