Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Executive Summary of the Executive Summary

 

So the Horowitz Report (here) was just released, and we Ricochetti are already suffering serious indigestion. My buddy Gary Robbins has already lamented:

Gary Robbins (View Comment): The Executive Summary is 15 pages long! Can we please have an Executive Summary of the Executive Summary?

OK, I’ll give it a shot, but I think that this deserves a separate post. Incidentally, Gary is not quite correct. The executive summary is actually 19 pages long.

As a matter of terminology, the Horowitz Report involves the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation and four individual investigations on current and former members of the Trump campaign — George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, Paul Manafort, and Michael Flynn. The initial decision to open the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was made in July 2016.

1. The decision to open the Crossfire Hurricane and four related investigations did not violate DoJ or FBI guidelines or procedures, which the Report characterized as a “low threshold” and a “judgment call” that could be made at a relatively low level within the FBI. The decision was made by Counterintelligence Division Assistant Director Bill Priestap. This decision followed consultation and consensus including the FBI Deputy Director (Andrew McCabe), the FBI General Counsel (James Baker), and Section Chief Peter Strzok (who reported to Priestap). Strzok and Lisa Page made “statements of hostility toward then candidate Trump and statements of support for then candidate Hillary Clinton.” While Lisa Page attended some discussions, she did not play a role in the decisions to open the investigations.

2. The Horowitz team did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced Priestap’s decision to open the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. Priestap was Strzok’s boss, and while there was evidence of political bias on the part of Strzok, he wasn’t the decision-maker.

3. The Horowitz team did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the decision to open the four individual investigations. These were technically opened by Strzok, who was biased, but were a result of a consensus process that included his boss Priestap.

4. The Crossfire Hurricane team’s use of more intrusive techniques, including the use of Confidential Human Sources (CHSs) to record conversations with high-level Trump campaign officials, was properly approved by Priestap under FBI policies. The next point criticizes the policies.

5. The Horowitz Report recommends changing FBI policy to require consultation with DoJ in advance of conducting CHS operations involving advisors to a major party candidate’s presidential campaign. Policies require such consultation in “numerous other sensitive circumstances,” but prior policy did not require it in this instance.

6. There were very serious problems with the initial FISA application. The report is brutal on this point. “Our review found that FBI personnel fell far short of the requirement in FBI policy that they ensure that all factual statements in a FISA application are ‘scrupulously accurate.’ We identified multiple instances in which factual assertions relied upon in the first FISA application were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation, based upon information the FBI had in its possession at the time the application was filed.” The report details “seven significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the initial FISA application.

7. There were additional, very serious problems with the subsequent three renewal FISA applications. None of the initial seven inaccuracies and omissions were corrected, and the report identified “10 additional significant errors in the renewal applications.” As a result, the DoJ “officials who reviewed one or more of the renewal applications, including [former Deputy AG] Yates, [former acting AG and acting DAG] Boente, and [former Deputy AG] Rosenstein, did not have accurate and complete information at the time they approved them.”

8. “We concluded that the failures described above and in this report represent serious performance failures by the supervisory and non-supervisory agents with responsibility over the FISA applications. . . . Although some of the factual misstatements and omissions we found in this review were arguably more significant than others, we believe that all of them taken together resulted in FISA applications that made it appear that the information supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case.” The Horowitz report does not speculate regarding whether accurate and complete information would have led senior DoJ officials, or the FISA court, to decline to approve any or all of the four FISA applications.

9. The serious errors in the FISA application process implicate the chain of command at the FBI, including senior officials. Again, the report is quite brutal on this point. “That so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked teams on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations that was briefed to the highest levels within the FBI, and that FBI officials expected would eventually be subjected to close scrutiny, raised significant questions regarding the FBI chain of command’s management and supervision of the FISA process. … In our view, this was a failure not only of the operational team, but also of the managers and supervisors, including senior officials, in the chain of command.”

10. While not violating a policy, the FBI sent a participant to a strategic intelligence briefing given by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to candidate Trump and his national security advisors for investigative purposes, which “could potentially interfere with the expectation of trust and good faith among participants in strategic intelligence briefings, thereby frustrating their purpose.” In other words, the FBI sent a “spy” into what was supposed to be an important national security briefing for someone who might be the next President — Hillary Clinton was also briefed, as were the VP candidates. The spy was not named, and was identified only as “SSA 1,” and described as “the supervisor for the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.” (Context indicates that this person was not Priestap, Strzok, or Lisa Page.) Senior FBI officials approved this action by consensus after a meeting, including former FBI Deputy Director McCabe and former FBI General Counsel Baker. Horowitz recommended hat the FBI establish a policy regarding the use of defensive and transition briefings for investigative purposes, including DoJ approval. The decision to send “SSA 1” to the Trump briefing was discussed at high levels of the FBI, including Deputy Director McCabe and General Counsel Baker, but was not approved by DoJ.

I think that these are the major points.

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  1. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    There is so much more that could have been looked at. Comey and Flynn. Comey and “the hook” briefing. The weird stuff that Brennan did. The Mueller scope memos. And is Crossfire Hurricane, a limitless investigation based on a guy that said he heard a guy in bar say something that was on Fox News the day before, really kosher? 

    My conclusion is that we have built a trillion dollar surveillance beast governed by rules and laws meant for saints and angels. 

    • #1
    • December 11, 2019, at 4:08 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  2. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    I should probably add one more important point. The Executive Summary states:

    While we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence of intentional misconduct on the part of the case agents who assisted OI in preparing the [FISA] applications, or the agents and supervisors who performed the Woods Procedures, we also did not receive satisfactory explanations for the errors or problems we identified.

    The “Woods Procedures” are a special set of procedural rules at the FBI governing FISA applications. Among other things, these procedures require that every factual assertion in a FISA application be “verified.” This does not mean “corroborated” by a second source. I think that I’ve seen prior news reports claiming that factual assertions in a FISA application require a second source as corroboration, but the Horowitz Report concludes otherwise.

    • #2
    • December 11, 2019, at 5:54 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  3. The Reticulator Member

    Thank you for your summary of the summary. It is helpful.

    • #3
    • December 11, 2019, at 6:32 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  4. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):
    My conclusion is that we have built a trillion dollar surveillance beast governed by rules and laws meant for saints and angels. 

    We need another Church Commission. Maybe after the election, assuming we have a workable Senate majority.

    My opinion is that this was a CIA operation run by Brennan with Obama’s approval. The FBI was enlisted but served mostly as a patsy if anything went wrong,. The agents are all CIA, Halper, Mifsud. Downer is an Aussie Hillary supporter, Richard Dearlove was involved. He is head of MiI 6. All CIA types .

    And of course something went very wrong. Trump was elected.

    • #4
    • December 11, 2019, at 6:43 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  5. Gary Robbins Reagan

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Thank you for your summary of the summary. It is helpful.

    Yes, but could you do a summary of the summary of the summary?

    Or would that be “mistakes were made, but not out of malice, and hopefully we will do better next time”?

    • #5
    • December 11, 2019, at 8:08 PM PST
    • Like
  6. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gary Robbins: Or would that be “mistakes were made, but not out of malice, and hopefully we will do better next time”?

    The most amusing part of this whole thing? Progressives and NeverTrumpers claiming “victory” as if we’re all supposed to be happy and relieved that the FBI is “non-political” but so incompetent that they couldn’t pour water out of a boot if the instructions were printed on the heel. Horowitz is an Obama appointee and I’m afraid he’s papering over this to the best of his ability.

    The second most amusing thing is Sean Davis’ Twitter feed. All day he’s been retweeting old posts by Rick Wilson, David French and others who blasted Devin Nunes and praised Adam Schiff to the hilt. Any apologies yet?

    • #6
    • December 11, 2019, at 9:12 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  7. The Reticulator Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Thank you for your summary of the summary. It is helpful.

    Yes, but could you do a summary of the summary of the summary?

    Or would that be “mistakes were made, but not out of malice, and hopefully we will do better next time”?

    That would be a summary worthy of the ruling class media.

    • #7
    • December 11, 2019, at 9:59 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  8. Gary Robbins Reagan

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Thank you for your summary of the summary. It is helpful.

    Yes, but could you do a summary of the summary of the summary?

    Or would that be “mistakes were made, but not out of malice, and hopefully we will do better next time”?

    That would be a summary worthy of the ruling class media.

    Would “MSM Bad” be equivalent to “Orange Man Bad”? Both unthinking, and designed to stop conversation?

    • #8
    • December 12, 2019, at 3:21 AM PST
    • 1 like
  9. The Reticulator Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Thank you for your summary of the summary. It is helpful.

    Yes, but could you do a summary of the summary of the summary?

    Or would that be “mistakes were made, but not out of malice, and hopefully we will do better next time”?

    That would be a summary worthy of the ruling class media.

    Would “MSM Bad” be equivalent to “Orange Man Bad”? Both unthinking, and designed to stop conversation?

    A better conversation stopper is to ignore the summary posted here and play dumb. 

    • #9
    • December 12, 2019, at 4:03 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  10. Stad Thatcher

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: the Report characterized as a “low threshold” and a “judgment call” that could be made at a relatively low level within the FBI.

    This is worrisome for a couple of reasons.

    First, this could be an attempt to push the blame downward, away from the upper tier of political appointees.

    Second, the decision to investigate a Presidential campaign for corruption (either by foreign influence or good old fashioned dirty dealings) is not that would be made at a low level. Because the statement is parsed as “could have been” at a low level, it’s still true even if all the decisions were made at the top of the agencies involved.

    • #10
    • December 12, 2019, at 5:49 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  11. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    As Ted Cruz and others have suggested, there is no reasonable scenario in which top FBI and DoJ officials do not require extraordinary review of proposed justifications to spy on a presidential campaign. They are asking us to believe that the chain of evidence was reviewed several times by dozens of people and no “errors” were found. 

    Why was the “low-level attorney” who falsified the FISA-related email not already being investigated for potential prosecution? 

    • #11
    • December 12, 2019, at 6:16 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  12. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Thank you for your summary of the summary. It is helpful.

    Yes, but could you do a summary of the summary of the summary?

    Or would that be “mistakes were made, but not out of malice, and hopefully we will do better next time”?

    Something like: “The FISA process broke down completely. False and misleading information was submitted to the FISA court to obtain permission to spy on a Presidential campaign. The process failures were so serious and widespread as to indicate a systemic problem in management and oversight at the top levels of the FBI, and not isolated errors by individual agents. We did not find specific evidence directly demonstrating that these manifest errors resulted from bias or other improper motive. While the personnel involved offered no satisfactory explanation for the errors and problems that we identified, we cannot rule out incompetence as a cause.”

    • #12
    • December 12, 2019, at 6:31 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  13. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Stad (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…: the Report characterized as a “low threshold” and a “judgment call” that could be made at a relatively low level within the FBI.

    This is wrrisome for a couple of reasons.

    First, this could be an attempt to push the blame downward, away from the upper tier of political appointees.

    Second, the decision to investigate a Presidential campaign for corruption (either by foreign influence or good old fashioned dirty dealings) is not that would be made at a low level. Because the statement is parsed as “could have been” at a low level, it’s still true even if all the decisions were made at the top of the agencies involved.

    In general, I don’t see a good alternative to the present policies. Relatively low-level management in law enforcement organizations need to have discretion to follow their instincts when opening investigations. There were procedures to require higher-level approval in some sensitive situations, but Presidential campaigns were not one of those situations. The report recommends that this be changed, which seems an appropriate response.

    • #13
    • December 12, 2019, at 6:34 AM PST
    • 1 like
  14. The Reticulator Member

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    While the personnel involved offered no satisfactory explanation for the errors and problems that we identified, we cannot rule out incompetence as a cause.

    I wonder what sort of evidence would be needed to rule out incompetence. 

    • #14
    • December 12, 2019, at 7:31 AM PST
    • Like
  15. DrewInWisconsin, Negative Infl… Coolidge

    EJHill (View Comment):
    The second most amusing thing is Sean Davis’ Twitter feed. All day he’s been retweeting old posts by Rick Wilson, David French and others who blasted Devin Nunes and praised Adam Schiff to the hilt. Any apologies yet?

    That would require self-reflection and a show of good character. Wilson has always been a pig, and French is too dedicated to his mission of shaming anyone who voted for President Trump.

    • #15
    • December 12, 2019, at 8:18 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  16. DrewInWisconsin, Negative Infl… Coolidge

    Good twitter thread:

    Especially this part:

    • #16
    • December 12, 2019, at 8:22 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  17. Django Member

    DrewInWisconsin, Type Monkey (View Comment):

    EJHill (View Comment):
    The second most amusing thing is Sean Davis’ Twitter feed. All day he’s been retweeting old posts by Rick Wilson, David French and others who blasted Devin Nunes and praised Adam Schiff to the hilt. Any apologies yet?

    That would require self-reflection and a show of good character. Wilson has always been a pig, and French is too dedicated to his mission of shaming anyone who voted for President Trump.

    You’re too generous in your assessment of both. 

    • #17
    • December 12, 2019, at 10:31 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  18. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Thank you for your summary of the summary. It is helpful.

    Yes, but could you do a summary of the summary of the summary?

    Or would that be “mistakes were made, but not out of malice, and hopefully we will do better next time”?

    “We couldn’t get anyone to say on the record that that they targeted the campaign out of malice, so we’re forced to report that it was a ‘mistake’ instead.”

     

    • #18
    • December 12, 2019, at 10:38 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  19. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    As Ted Cruz and others have suggested, there is no reasonable scenario in which top FBI and DoJ officials do not require extraordinary review of proposed justifications to spy on a presidential campaign. They are asking us to believe that the chain of evidence was reviewed several times by dozens of people and no “errors” were found.

    Why was the “low-level attorney” who falsified the FISA-related email not already being investigated for potential prosecution?

    Horowitz at Wednesday’s hearings at least didn’t offer up anything in his responses to Cruz and others that could be seen as helping the Democrats and the FBI and DOJ people in question with their spin from Monday and Tuesday that they had been exonerated — in fact he specifically stated that nothing in his report inferred that anyone involved in this should consider themselves to have been cleared.

    The fact he wouldn’t put any of the other names in writing would be more annoying, were in not for the fact that John Durham has the same names and far greater latitude to take action and compel testimony. Whether or not he’s going to start with Kevin Clinesmith and try to work his way up remains to be seen, but the IG made it clear in his statements that Clinesmith wasn’t some rouge operator amidst a group of bumblers, even if he wouldn’t affirm the others were being deliberately mendacious in their actions.

    • #19
    • December 12, 2019, at 10:43 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  20. DrewInWisconsin, Negative Infl… Coolidge

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Thank you for your summary of the summary. It is helpful.

    Yes, but could you do a summary of the summary of the summary?

    Or would that be “mistakes were made, but not out of malice, and hopefully we will do better next time”?

    “We couldn’t get anyone to say on the record that that they targeted the campaign out of malice, so we’re forced to report that it was a ‘mistake’ instead.”

    Well, that’s why the IG referred to the 17 “errors” in the FISA applications. He didn’t want to call them outright lies or fabrications. Although that’s exactly what they were. But swamp-dwellers cover for each other. So . . “errors.”

    • #20
    • December 12, 2019, at 10:43 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  21. Umbra Fractus Coolidge
    Umbra Fractus Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    DrewInWisconsin, Type Monkey (View Comment):

    Good twitter thread:

    Especially this part:

     

     

     

    And these people had what to do with corruption and/or incompetence within the FBI?

    Answer: Nothing. All they did was refuse to toe the Orange-Man-Never-Wrong line, and therefore they should be banished for their disloyalty.

    You people are no better than the Democrats. Like the Democrats, you started from a conclusion, that those who wouldn’t toe the line were traitors, and filled in whatever little bits and pieces of evidence you could find while ignoring any and all context or evidence that doesn’t support your headlong rush to condemn as many people as possible. 

    Alexandria Brown wants people to apologize for being wrong? For saying, “Let’s wait and see?”

    Or is it for not being mindless followers?

    • #21
    • December 12, 2019, at 10:46 AM PST
    • Like
  22. DrewInWisconsin, Negative Infl… Coolidge

    Umbra Fractus (View Comment):

    And these people had what to do with corruption and/or incompetence within the FBI?

    Answer: Nothing. All they did was refuse to toe the Orange-Man-Never-Wrong line, and therefore they should be banished for their disloyalty.

    They should be banished for their part in brainwashing the electorate. There are still people out there convinced that the President is a Russian agent — or really, that anyone who defends the President is a tool of Putin — and these people helped with that brainwashing program, either deliberately or because they themselves had been brainwashed. 

    They also helped boost anti-Trump sentiment among conservatives, even as the President enacted the most conservative policies since Reagan. That is madness. There is a great division in this country, and these guys are partly responsible.

    I don’t want to send these guys to prison. I want them to own up to their part. I want apologies. Or in the case of the Bulwark, I want to see it turned into a slag-heap.

    • #22
    • December 12, 2019, at 10:55 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  23. DrewInWisconsin, Negative Infl… Coolidge

    The pundit class is famous for being wrong over and over again, and somehow still finding enough dupes to carry their poison pen columns. In any other industry, being so dreadfully wrong multiple times would result in firing. Among the pundit class it has no consequences at all. Or it hasn’t yet. I remain hopeful that there will be consequences.

    • #23
    • December 12, 2019, at 10:57 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  24. DrewInWisconsin, Negative Infl… Coolidge

    Umbra Fractus (View Comment):

    Alexandria Brown wants people to apologize for being wrong? For saying, “Let’s wait and see?”

    I don’t recall these guys ever taking a “wait and see” approach. They were quite sure of their positions. Or as the poet wrote “the best lack all conviction, while worst are full of passionate intensity.”

    • #24
    • December 12, 2019, at 11:00 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  25. Taras Coolidge

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Thank you for your summary of the summary. It is helpful.

    Yes, but could you do a summary of the summary of the summary?

    Or would that be “mistakes were made, but not out of malice, and hopefully we will do better next time”?

    That would be a summary worthy of the ruling class media.

    Would “MSM Bad” be equivalent to “Orange Man Bad”? Both unthinking, and designed to stop conversation?

    A better conversation stopper is to ignore the summary posted here and play dumb.

    Note the developing logic of Never-Trumpism:

    “For generations we conservatives have believed, on the basis of overwhelming evidence, that the mainstream media are biased against us.

    “But now that the mainstream media always agree with us Never-Trumpers, we come to the realization that, all those years, conservatives were wrong about media bias!“

     

    • #25
    • December 12, 2019, at 11:00 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  26. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Umbra Fractus (View Comment):
    Alexandria Brown wants people to apologize for being wrong? For saying, “Let’s wait and see?”

    When did they say “let’s wait and see”?

    They said “It’s only crazy people who think the Steele Dossier was used to get the FISA warrants. The FBI would never do that.”

    So yeah, apologies are due to those they called crazy.

     

     

    • #26
    • December 12, 2019, at 11:00 AM PST
    • 10 likes
  27. Jon1979 Lincoln

    DrewInWisconsin, Type Monkey (View Comment):

    The pundit class is famous for being wrong over and over again, and somehow still finding enough dupes to carry their poison pen columns. In any other industry, being so dreadfully wrong multiple times would result in firing. Among the pundit class it has no consequences at all. Or it hasn’t yet. I remain hopeful that there will be consequences.

    Goes back to the William Safire standard. He endorsed Bill Clinton in 1992 in his column in the pages of The New York Times, and then 14 months after the election apologized in his column in the pages of The New York Times for that error (which IIRC, was the same column in which he branded Hillary as a congenital liar). So a bad misjudging of Clinton, but Safire had the stones to admit in his most high-profile public forum that he had screwed up.

    Compare that to the 2008 pundits who endorsed Obama, even before you get to the current Trump kerfuffle. AKAIK, none of them has ever offered up a mea culpa for their error. Some, like Kathleen Parker, have simply gone over to the other side, while keeping their claim to be a “conservative” because their brand has no cachet if they’re simply a liberal typing liberal talking points, while others like Peggy Noonan, have his the liberals at times since then, without ever admitting they were part of the reason the liberals got back into power with Obama in ’08.

    You’re seeing the same split now, where you have the ‘conservative’ pundits who hate Trump so much they really aren’t conservatives anymore, because they can’t even support their own past positions if Trump happens to back them. Then you have the softer #NeverTrump pundits, who for the most part have maintained their positions, but don’t want to be on the same side as Trump. They’re the ones who were hoping Schiff and the other Dems were right, but can’t really explain what Step 2 is for the right once Trump is ousted.

    • #27
    • December 12, 2019, at 11:20 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  28. Roosevelt Guck Inactive

    Can anyone doubt that this report, assuming an investigation was conducted at all, would have been buried if Trump had not won?

    • #28
    • December 12, 2019, at 11:26 AM PST
    • 1 like
  29. DrewInWisconsin, Negative Infl… Coolidge

    Roosevelt Guck (View Comment):

    Can anyone doubt that this report, assuming an investigation was conducted at all, would have been buried if Trump had not won?

    There wouldn’t have been an investigation.

    Which only makes me wonder what sort of perfidy these clowns were up to prior to dashing themselves on the rocks and shoals of the Trump presidency.

    • #29
    • December 12, 2019, at 11:28 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  30. DrewInWisconsin, Negative Infl… Coolidge

    Worth remembering:

    • #30
    • December 12, 2019, at 11:39 AM PST
    • 9 likes