The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Inspector General (OIG) will release a long-awaited report into possible abuses of the national security state’s foremost statutory spying authority on December 9, according to agency head Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz.
Horowitz confirmed the news regarding possible misapplication of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) during the 2016 election on Thursday after apparently leaking the release date to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) sometime Wednesday or before.
During an appearance Fox News’s Hannity Wednesday night, titular host Sean Hannity pleaded with Graham that Horowitz’s report not be released on a Friday night–citing the political establishment’s tendency to “dump” big stories just before the weekend.
“It’ll be December 9th–you’ll get the report,” Graham soothed–promising a Monday release day. “That’s locked.”
Graham’s prior knowledge of the release date was mocked a bit online after New York Times reporter Katie Benner got Horowitz on the record:
Swell of him to selectively brief Graham ahead of time, instead of the Gang of Eight though. Perhaps that ought be mentioned?
— bmaz (@bmaz) November 21, 2019
Was announced by this DOJ's official spokesperson Lindsey Graham last night: https://t.co/nFP5EipVhy
— Lemon Slayer (@LemonSlayerUS) November 21, 2019
Horowitz recently previewed his progress in an October letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.
“As I noted in my September 13 letter, we began the process of finalizing our report for release by providing a draft or our factual findings to the Department and the FBI for classification determination and marking,” Horowitz wrote. “This process is consistent with our usual practice when an OIG report involves classified information. Given that our draft report is lengthy, and concerns sensitive national security and law enforcement matters, we understood that it would take the Department and the FBI some time to work through and appropriately mark the entire report.”
That letter continued:
I can report to that the process is ongoing and nearing completion, and we are working through these issues constructively with. both the Department and the FBI. The goal from my standpoint is to make as much of our report public as possible. I anticipate that the final report will be released publicly with few redactions.
Given the constructive progress that has been made during the classification review process, I do not now anticipate a need to prepare and issue separate classified and public versions of the report. As you know from our prior work, if for some reason that assessment changes, consistent with the Inspector General Act, we will inform our oversight committee of any concerns that we have.
That report likely already has a title: “Examination of the Department’s and the FBI’s Compliance with Legal Requirements and Policies in Applications Filed with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Relating to a certain U.S. Person” and is believed to concern the FISA warrants issued which authorized surveillance of former Trump 2016 campaign adviser Carter Page.
Conservatives and other allies of President Donald Trump have long believed there was something nefarious afoot when those multiple warrants were approved, but as Law&Crime previously noted, the judges who okayed that surveillance were all appointed by Republican presidents.
Horowitz is slated to discuss the report before lawmakers on December 11.
[image via Win McNamee/Getty Images]