- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 15, 2019

Former FBI Director James B. Comey admitted Sunday that he was “wrong” — and Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz was right — about the agency’s sloppy handling of surveillance applications for warrants against a former Trump campaign official.

“He’s right, I was wrong,” Mr. Comey told “Fox News Sunday.” “I was overconfident in the procedures that the FBI and Justice had built over 20 years. I thought they were robust enough.”

In his report released last week, Mr. Horowitz said his investigation found 17 significant errors committed by FBI agents in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process, and Mr. Comey didn’t challenge his findings.

“It’s incredibly hard to get a FISA,” Mr. Comey said. “I was overconfident in those, because he’s right, there was real sloppiness. Seventeen things that either should have been in the applications or at least discussed and characterized differently. It was not acceptable.”

The FBI “is honest. It is not political. It is flawed,” Mr. Comey said.

Asked if the FBI had given false information to the FISA court, he replied, “I think that’s fair.”

Mr. Comey, who was fired by President Trump in May 2017, said he wanted the American public, and in particular Fox News viewers, to understand that the worst allegations against the FBI were “nonsense.”

“What I mean is the FBI was accused of treason, of illegal spying, of tapping Mr. Trump’s wires illegally, of opening an investigation without justification, about being a criminal conspiracy to defeat and then unseat a president — all of that was nonsense,” Mr. Comey said.

The FBI obtained a warrant and three renewals from the FISA court to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, but Mr. Comey disagreed with the conclusion that the applications were based on the since-discredited Steele dossier.

Mr. Horowitz told a Senate committee last week that the Steele dossier played a “central and essential role” in the decision to seek the FISA order, while Mr. Comey has said it was part of a “broader mosaic.”

“I don’t think we’re saying different things,” said Mr. Comey, prompting Mr. Wallace to respond, “I think you are, sir.”

Mr. Comey also pushed back at the contention that the Steele dossier, which has been ripped as opposition research paid for by the Democrats, was “bunk.”

The IG’s report “didn’t conclude the reporting from Steele was bunk,” he said. “They concluded there were significant questions about the reliability of some of the sub-source reporting. That should have been included in the renewals.”

He also said Mr. Trump continues to spread “lies” about the FBI, such as his recent campaign speech in which he said that people’s lives were destroyed by “scum.”

“Carter Page was treated unfairly, most significantly by his name being made public,” Mr. Comey said. “He’s a United States citizen and it never should have been made public, and that’s an outrage. But that statement is a continuation of the lies about the FBI. The FBI is an honest, apolitical organization.”

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