The top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday demanded the panel hold a hearing with Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz after his latest missive finding the FBI bungled scores of warrant applications to surveil Americans.
Rep. Jim Jordan sent a letter to Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, saying lawmakers need to hear from Mr. Horowitz as the debate rages in Washington about whether to limit the FBI’s surveillance powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
“The committee must not allow the FBI’s extraordinary power to electronically surveil Americans to be so haphazardly rubber-stamped with incorrect, unsubstantiated or erroneous supporting information,” wrote Mr. Jordan, Ohio Republican.
On Tuesday, Mr. Horowitz released the preliminary results of his team’s review of 29 FISA applications the FBI had submitted to obtain surveillance warrants on U.S. citizens.
Every one of the 29 applications reviewed did not include supporting materials to back up the FBI’s allegations against their surveillance targets. And in some cases, the FBI couldn’t find the backup files at all or was unsure if they ever existed.
In all 25 cases in which the files were available for review, Mr.Horowitz found “apparent errors or inadequately supported facts.”
Mr. Jordan said the latest findings highlight the need to question the inspector general.
“Because of the pervasiveness and seriousness of the FISA application deficiencies — and the pending reauthorization of FISA — we renew our request that you invite Inspector General Michael Horowitz to testify at a public hearing promptly when the House returns to session,” he wrote.
House Republicans have been calling for a hearing with Mr. Horowitz since last December when he released a scathing report about the FBI’s bungling of a surveillance warrant to spy on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
So far, Mr. Nadler has resisted calls to hear from the inspector general.
Mr. Horowitz has testified before two Senate committees about the Page report.
Congress is set to debate the reauthorization of several surveillance tools authorized under FISA. Last month, the House and Senate agreed to reauthorize the tools for 45 days to give lawmakers the time to hammer out a deal and focus on the coronavirus pandemic.
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.