FBI Director Christopher Wray said Wednesday that the FBI agents involved in the surveillance of Carter Page who are still at the bureau have been referred to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility for possible disciplinary action.
During a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Wray noted that most of the FBI officials who oversaw Crossfire Hurricane, which involved surveillance of Page, have left the bureau and are no longer subject to disciplinary review. He said the FBI personnel who worked on that probe and who still have jobs at the FBI are mostly line-level agents.
“Those people have all been referred to our disciplinary arm,” Wray testified, referring to the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).
Republicans on the committee pressed Wray over the Justice Department inspector general (IG) report released Dec. 9, 2019, that found the FBI misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) in four applications to surveil Page. (RELATED: DOJ Report Faults FBI Over ‘Significant’ Inaccuracies In Carter Page FISAs)
Wray also said in the hearing that he had “erred on the side of inclusion” in referring FBI agents to OPR.
“What I mean by that is there are some people in the report who are literally named like once or twice, and it’s not really clear they’re even named in a way that’s problematic, but we’ve gone ahead and just figured better safe than sorry, and we’ve sent all those names to the Office of Professional Responsibility,” he said.
He also asserted that he will accept whatever discipline OPR recommends.
“We’re going to impose discipline, and we’re going to hold those people accountable.”
The IG report found 17 “significant” errors and omissions in the FBI’s submissions to the FISC. Agents failed to disclose exculpatory information related to Page, as well as derogatory information related to the Steele dossier. The FBI extensively cited information from the dossier in its surveillance applications.
The report is particularly harsh toward an FBI counterintelligence agent identified only as Case Agent 1.
“Case Agent 1 was primarily responsible for some of the most significant errors and omissions in the FISA applications,” the report said.
The agent drafted the initial surveillance request on Page, and conducted interviews with the former Trump aide in March 2017. He was also involved in an interview with a source for dossier author Christopher Steele, who disputed many of the allegations in the dossier.
The agent failed to disclose that source’s remarks to the FISC.
A now-former FBI attorney, Kevin Clinesmith, is also reportedly under criminal investigation for allegedly altering an email regarding Page that was part of the FBI’s investigation.
The FBI did not return a request for comment about how many FBI agents have been referred to OPR.
Wray said throughout the hearing that the FBI conduct laid out in the IG report was “unacceptable.” He has submitted 40 proposed reforms to how the FBI handles and vets information in its wiretap requests.
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