The FBI is quickly making changes after the Department of Justice’s recent report showed flaws in the agency’s surveillance warrant process. FBI Director Christopher Wray has reportedly ordered more than 40 changes as to how the agency can acquire secret surveillance warrants and other similar matters, reports The Wall Street Journal.
National security officials told the paper that such changes will affect both policy and culture at the bureau. They also claimed that the changes are so extensive that they likened them to changes that followed the discovery of post-9/11 civil liberties abuses.
As reported by The Inquisitr, Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s 476-page report on the FBI’s investigation into President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and his ties to Russia has caused some backlash, with one attorney calling it “damning” for the bureau.
Even before the report was released, the FBI was implementing new guidelines in preparation of the findings, with most of the changes centered on its FISA warrant process. One of the new changes, according to the Journal, is semiannual training for FBI employees who work in areas related to FISA surveillance and confidential human sources.
Another is that every source’s handling agent will be required to confirm the information written about the source in the warrant application. This comes after the FBI, in its efforts to make dossier author Christopher Steele seem like a more reliable source, reportedly included information that his own handler stated was “inaccurate.”
A third change detailed by the Journal is that “politically sensitive investigations” will be run by field employees rather than bureaucrats in Washington with little applicable experience.
Wray also said that “the FBI will take appropriate disciplinary action where warranted” against employees who helped misrepresent information to obtain a warrant against Carter Page, Trump’s former foreign-policy adviser. The FBI chief also emphasized that many people involved with the Page’s FISA warrant had either been fired or left the bureau.
However, many conservative lawmakers are worried that the changes will not be enough to guarantee against abuses of power at the FBI, and Attorney General William Barr is conducting a separate criminal investigation into the FISA process used against Page.
Other pundits have expressed their fears that the furor over the FISA program will have no winners. For example, Carrie Cordero, a former national security lawyer in the Justice Department, succinctly summed up the concerns many in Washington feel about the changes to the FISA process.
“I’m very concerned about the direction that the FISA debate is going,” she said.
“On one hand, there have been individuals who have long been critics of FISA who view this as an opportunity to propose and eventually obtain a whole realm of changes and restrictions to the law that they want,” she explained.
“And that is converging with the fact that FISA is being used for political purposes—or being maligned for political purposes—by people who know that it’s an important authority for national security but are doing it anyway,” Cordero added.