The FBI‘s reputation is facing immense scrutiny following last week’s release of the Department of Justice Inspector General report on the FBI’s handling of an investigation into the Trump 2016 campaign. In an op-ed for the New York Times Monday, former FBI and CIA Director and former federal judge William Webster attempted to save the thinning reputation of the bureau and its leadership.
“I am deeply disturbed by the assertion of President Donald Trump that our ‘current director’ — as he refers to the man he selected for the job of running the F.B.I. — cannot fix what the president calls a broken agency. The 10-year term given to all directors following J. Edgar Hoover’s 48-year tenure was created to provide independence for the director and for the bureau,” Webster wrote.
“The president’s thinly veiled suggestion that the director, Christopher Wray, like his banished predecessor, James Comey, could be on the chopping block, disturbs me greatly. The independence of both the F.B.I. and its director are critical and should be fiercely protected by each branch of government,” he continued.
Webster served the FBI during both the Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan administrations.
— James Comey (@Comey) December 16, 2019
“Wisdom from an extraordinary American,” Comey wrote on Twitter with the article attached Monday. Comey is also doing public relations work to give the bureau a good name, however, when he appeared on “Fox News Sunday” he told host Chris Wallace that some of his defenses were “overconfident.” Comey was referring to his former defense of the FBI’s obtaining of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants used in the probe to surveil members of the Trump campaign.
Further, Comey tried to reverse his earlier rhetoric in which he dismissed the Steele dossier’s role in the investigation by claiming that it was ‘not a huge part of the presentation to the court.’ Horowitz’s report, however, found that the FBI heavily relied on that dossier which was funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.
I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me. With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2019
President Trump has signaled that he’s unhappy with Wray’s performance as Director. “I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me. With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!” Trump wrote on Twitter last week.
Trump was responding to Wray’s earlier statement on the IG report’s findings. “The Report concludes that the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation and related investigations of certain individuals were opened in 2016 for an authorized purpose and with adequate factual predication,” Wray wrote.
Horowitz, in his report, cited that the FBI made 17 significant errors in their probe. “As a result of the 17 significant inaccuracies and omissions we identified, relevant information was not shared with, and consequently not considered by, important Department decision makers and the court, and the FISA applications made it appear as though the evidence supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case. We also found basic, fundamental, and serious errors during the completion of the FBl’s factual accuracy reviews, known as the Woods Procedures, which are designed to ensure that FISA applications contain a full and accurate presentation of the facts,” stated Horowitz’s report.