FISA Report Was So Bad That FBI’s Top Lawyer During Russia Probe Felt ‘Distressed’ After Reading It

Former FBI general counsel James Baker said Monday that he felt “distressed” after reading the Justice Department inspector general’s report laying out “significant” errors and omissions in the bureau’s applications to surveil former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

In an interview on CNN, Baker went further in his critique of the bureau than did FBI Director James Comey, who said Sunday that he believed the FBI was “sloppy” in its efforts to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against Page.

“Sloppiness is completely unacceptable. That is not the way you operate in front of a federal court. I don’t know what word you want to use, it’s terrible, it’s unacceptable, it shouldn’t happen. That is not the way we should be filing matters in front of a federal court,” Baker told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“I was distressed about it. I was completely distressed about it,” Baker said of his response to the inspector general’s (IG) findings.

Baker has testified that he personally reviewed the FISA applications against Page, given their political sensitivity.

The IG report laid out 17 “significant” omissions and errors in the Page FISA applications.

BI agents and officials failed to disclose exculpatory information regarding Page in the applications, which asserted that the Trump aide was a Russian agent. The IG report said that the FBI relied heavily on the infamous Steele dossier in the applications, but had failed to verify any of the allegations in the document.


FBI agents also failed to disclose information that undermined allegations in the dossier and raised questions about the reliability of Steele and his sources. The IG report said that FBI agents failed to disclose that Steele’s primary source of information for the dossier told the FBI in January 2017 that Steele had misrepresented or exaggerated some of the most significant allegations about Donald Trump and Page.

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