William Webster, the only man to serve as director of both the CIA and FBI, blasted President Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr in a blistering op-ed published Monday.
In The New York Times op-ed, Mr. Webster said their criticism of the FBI after Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz uncovered agents’ errors, omissions and mistakes in a court application to spy on a former Trump campaign aide risks “inflicting enduring damage on this critically important institution.”
Since Mr. Horowitz’s conclusions were released last week, Mr. Trump has assailed the FBI, accusing it of running a partisan campaign to undermine his election. Mr. Barr also has criticized the inspector general’s work, saying he disagreed with Mr. Horowitz’s conclusion that the FBI was justified in opening an investigation into the Trump campaign.
Mr. Webster, who led the FBI from 1978 to 1987 and the CIA from 1987 to 1991, said the report shows the bureau “took its work seriously.”
“The country can ill afford to have a chief law enforcement officer dispute the Justice Department’s own independent inspector general’s report and claim the FBI investigation was based on ‘a completely bogus narrative,’ ” he wrote.
“The aspersions cast upon [the FBI] by the president and longtime friend, Attorney General William P. Barr, are troubling to the extreme,” Mr. Webster continued. “Calling FBI professional ‘scum” as the president did, is a slur against people who risk their lives to keep us safe.”
Mr. Webster said such accusations cause the public to question the FBI’s independence.
“This difficult moment demands the restoration of the proper place of the Department of Justice and the FBI as bulwarks of law and order in America. This is not about politics,” he wrote.