Key congressman questions FBI Director Wray's commitment to cleaning up bureau's faults

Rep. Jim Jordan cited lack of Wray's intensity, also supports "adversarial" advocate to protect Americans in FISA process.

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RepJim Jordan
Rep. Jim Jordan speaks at a recent House hearing.
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Updated: April 4, 2020 - 10:05am

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Rep. Jim Jordan, whose investigative work exposed the shortcomings in the Russia collusion probe, said he would like to see greater intensity from FBI Director Christopher Wray in fixing the widespread misconduct and noncompliance uncovered inside the bureau.

Jordan, R-Ohio, also said he supports making the process for obtaining Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants to spy on Americans more “adversarial,” perhaps by having a legal advocate protect the civil liberties of individuals unwittingly being targeted by the FBI.

“I would like a more robust process and something that is much closer to an adversarial relationship in that court, because that's how it works in our other courts,” Jordan told Just the News in an interview this week. “And that's one of the hallmarks and what makes our system the best system ever.”

In a wide-ranging interview with the John Solomon Reports podcast. Jordan also addressed concerns about Wray’s leadership of the FBI after a string of Justice Department inspector general reports exposed widespread misconduct and noncompliance inside the bureau. The FBI was "screwing it up left and right," he said.

Those reports by watchdog Michael Horowitz found evidence of falsifying evidence, and submitting inaccurate and unverified evidence to the FISA court in the Russia probe and failing to properly vet informants like Christopher Steele across the bureau.

The most recent alarm sounded Tuesday when the IG revealed that a review of 29 FISA warrant applications over the last five years found all had errors, and unverified information that violated the bureau’s Wood Procedures for ensuring courts aren’t misled and Americans civil liberties aren’t trampled.

Read that memo here.

Some of the faulty applications occurred since Wray took over in 2017, while others dated to fired Director James Comey’s era.

Jordan said he was deeply concerned by the newest revelations and did not yet have confidence that Wray can or will fix the problems.

“I don't know Chris Wray that well,” Jordan said. “I do know in public hearings he doesn't seem to have the same intensity about and concern about what took place and what still may be happening based again on what we just learned on Tuesday from Mr. Horowitz.”

Jordan said when he raised more sweeping ideas for reform with Wray, the director “didn't seem to be that interested.”

“I hope there's the real commitment and intensity to clean this up,” he said.

FBI officials say Wray’s commitment to change is evident in recent actions he has taken. He has ordered more than three dozen reforms to the FISA process since December and has prohibited any agents or lawyers who worked on the faulty Russia FISA to appear before the court. He also has referred every employee who worked on the Russia FISA to be investigated and disciplined if warranted.

Do you trust the FBI to lawfully conduct FISA surveillance on Americans?

Choices

Jordan said part of the responsibility for pushing the FBI to fix itself falls on Congress, where he has been frustrated that Democrats focused on a failed impeachment of President Trump but have not summoned Horowitz to review the problems uncovered at the FBI.

He said he shared the same concerns about the aftermath of the coronavirus, that Democrats like House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and Speaker Nancy Pelosi would focus solely on Trump and not on systemic issues that date to the Obama era, which included a failure to resupply the national stockpile with respirators after drawing down 100 million of them for the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.

"That's legitimate oversight," he said. "But now what's being talked about, Adam Schiff is talking about legislation to create a commission and a panel to look into, after we get through this terrible virus, to look at the government's response.

“My concern is that Adam Schiff is pushing this. This is just yet again another, another attack, another vehicle to use to go after President Trump,” he added. “If we're going to do legitimate oversight and go back and look at what happened in the previous administration, then that's fine. But I got a feeling that's not the plan of Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi."