Tag Archives: Inspector General report

FISA court condemns FBI

The FISA court has issued a rare public rebuke of the FBI over its apparent misconduct and illegal tampering of evidence, as documented by the inspector general report released last week, misconduct aimed at misleading the court into issuing uncalled FISA warrants.

[T]he chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [FISC] strongly criticized the FBI over its surveillance-application process, giving the bureau until Jan. 10 to come up with solutions, in the wake of findings from Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz.

The order, from the court’s presiding judge Rosemary M. Collyer, came just a week after the release of Horowitz’s withering report about the wiretapping of Carter Page, a former campaign adviser to President Trump. “The FBI’s handling of the Carter Page applications, as portrayed in the [Office of Inspector General] report, was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above,” Collyer wrote in her four-page order. “The frequency with which representations made by FBI personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable.” [emphasis mine]

This is another independent confirmation that the behavior of the upper echelons of the FBI during the Obama administration was corrupt, apparently acting to take sides during the 2016 election against Donald Trump.

The highlighted words however are to me very distressing. The FISA court is asking the bad apples to come up with new procedures to prevent them from behaving as bad apples again. If this is all that happens then they will have gotten away with it, and will proceed to do worse in 2020 and beyond.

What needs to happen is firm contempt citations against specific individuals, people like James Comey, followed by prosecution. Until that happens the bad guys will still be in charge, and the American justice system will still be corrupted.

Spygate from a scientific perspective

Back in February 2018, Republican-controlled committees in both the House and the Senate released detailed memos, dubbed the Nunes and Grassley memos respectively, accusing the FBI and the Obama Justice Department of using unverified and false information that was nothing more than opposition research paid for by the Clinton campaign to illegally obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), warrants that allowed them to spy on the campaign of Donald Trump as well as his administration following his election victory in 2016.

Put more bluntly, the Republicans accused the Clinton campaign, with the help of the Obama administration, of weaponizing the surveillance powers of the FBI and the Justice Department in order to defeat their political opponents.

Not surprisingly, the Democrats and former Obama officials denied these allegations, calling both memos partisan and false. In the House the Democrats issued their own memo, claiming the Republican memos left out key information that made their arguments invalid.

Who was right? What was true? How was an ordinary citizen going to determine which of these competing political positions properly described what had actually happened?

At the time I admit my instincts and own personal biases led me to believe the Republicans. Even so, the allegations were so horrifying — suggesting a clear abuse of power and a willingness of people in Washington to subvert an American election — that some skepticism of the Republican accusations was certainly reasonable.

In fact, the best thing one could do in this situation is to take a scientific approach to the problem. The Republicans had put forth a theory, citing some data that suggested the Obama administration, the Justice Department, and the FBI had abused their power in the worst possible manner. To prove that theory the Republicans would require both corroborating evidence as well as independent reviews that confirmed their conclusions.
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“inadequate oversight, lax bookkeeping, sloppy paperwork, haphazard performance agreements and missing financial documentation.”

An inspector general’s report of the State Department’s climate change office has uncovered “inadequate oversight, lax bookkeeping, sloppy paperwork, haphazard performance agreements and missing financial documentation.”

Other than that, the Obama administration’s management of its climate research budget is just fine.

Inspector General report condemns NRC chief over his attempts to shut Yucca Mountain

An inspector general report this week slammed the head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission under the Obama administration over his attempts to shut the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste facility.

In the two years that Gregory Jaczko has led the nation’s independent nuclear agency, his actions to delay, hide and kill work on a disputed dump for high-level radioactive waste have been called “bizarre,” `’unorthodox” and “illegal.” These harsh critiques haven’t come just from politicians who have strong views in favor of the Yucca Mountain waste site in Nevada. They’ve come from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s own scientists and a former agency chairman.

NASA Inspector General notes continuing worries about the Mars Science Lab

A NASA Inspector General report issued today [pdf] notes continuing worries about the Mars Science Laboratory, scheduled for launch later this year.

Remaining Unresolved Technical Issues: Although Project managers have overcome the majority of technical issues that led to the [2009] launch delay, as of March 2011 three significant technical issues remain unresolved. . . . Because of technical issues related to these three and other items, Project managers must complete nearly three times the number of critical tasks than originally planned in the few months remaining until launch. [emphasis mine]