Signatures From AG, FBI Director Needed on FISA Probe of Presidential Campaign Under New Proposal

One proposal to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court would require the signatures of both the attorney general and FBI director before launching a counterintelligence operation into a presidential campaign, Attorney General William Barr said.

The FBI during the Obama administration applied to spy on Trump 2016 presidential campaign associate Carter Page using information from a dossier compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele, who was paid by the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of rival candidate Hillary Clinton.

Barr was asked on Jan. 13 about a recent apology from FBI Director Christopher Wray about how the FBI handled the Page situation and what changes he wants to see to the secretive court.

“Were considering a number of additional things,” Barr told reporters at an unrelated press conference in Washington. “Chris Wray and I have discussed a number of possibilities.

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FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks in Washington on Dec. 9, 2019. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo)

“One of the things that weve agreed on is that the opening of a counterintelligence investigation of a presidential campaign would be something that the director of the FBI would have to sign off on, and the attorney general would have to sign off on.”

Barr was speaking a few days after Wray expressed “deep regret” over the FBIs slew of significant errors and omissions made in the applications to spy on Page.

“The FBI has the utmost respect for this court, and deeply regrets the errors and omissions identified by the [Office of the Inspector General],” Wray wrote in the letter, adding that the agencys conduct was “unacceptable and unrepresentative of the FBI as an institution.”

Wray said he ordered dozens of corrective actions to try to ensure the same error-riddled applications dont happen again.

Examples include a new verification form to certify the accuracy of information from informants, a new checklist for agents to fill out when seeking FISA approval for surveillance to better inform the court of all relevant information, and new training to reemphasize the importance of accuracy and thoroughness in all FISA applications.

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