The Department of Justice announced on Tuesday, Sept. 1, important reforms to be implemented at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in response to allegations of several mistakes made during Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
According to Reuters, Attorney General William Barr issued two memos describing some changes to be implemented at the FBI, one is the creation of an internal audit office that is sufficiently rigorous in monitoring the activities of the office.
The other memo specifies that in order for the FBI to monitor communications of an elected candidate, political campaign, or public official, the director must first file an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which must also meet certain requirements.
“The additional reforms announced today, which we worked on closely with the Attorney General’s Office, will build on the FBI’s efforts to bolster its compliance program,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement.
Changes at the FBI
The measure is expected to tighten enforcement of secret surveillance orders under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, after the FBI was accused of carrying out the so-called Crossfire Hurricane operation in which Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser, was spied on when the FBI was looking for collusion with the Russian government.
“FISA is a critical tool to ensuring the safety and security of Americans, particularly when it comes to fighting terrorism,” Barr wrote in a statement.
“However, the American people must have confidence that the United States government will exercise its surveillance authorities in a manner that protects the civil liberties of Americans, avoids interference in the political process, and complies with the Constitution and laws of the United States,” Barr added, as reported by the Washington Examiner.
If the changes are implemented before the elections scheduled for November, the FBI would have the ability to warn campaigns of foreign interference, should it occur, according to CBS.
CBS indicated that Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz said that although the FBI was justified in initiating the investigation and did not indicate any political bias, he stated that there were “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the handling of the FISA applications.
So far the most notorious case lies with the investigation of FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who appeared in federal court last month and pleaded guilty to making a false statement in the first criminal case arising from United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham’s investigation into the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
Requests submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court must be subject to a review for “accuracy and completeness” by an FBI agent who has no link to the investigation and FBI lawyers who must inform the attorney general, deputy attorney general and assistant attorney general for Homeland Security of their recommendations.
According to FBI Director Christopher Wray, “The additional reforms announced today, which we worked on closely with the Attorney General’s Office, will build on the FBI’s efforts to bolster its compliance program.”
“FISA is an indispensable tool that the FBI uses to protect our country from national security threats, and Americans can rest assured that the FBI remains dedicated to continuously strengthening our FISA compliance efforts and ensuring that our FISA authorities are exercised in a responsible manner,” Wray added, according to the Washington Examiner.