FBI Director Christopher Wray has stonewalled members of the powerful House Judiciary Committee for more than a month after possible evidence emerged that the bureau was conducting warrantless surveillance of Americans. Wray’s refusal to answer numerous questions posed by Congressional members during a hearing on June 10, was met Monday with a letter from House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan demanding that the FBI respond to Congress.
Congressional members have raised serious concerns regarding the bureau’s apparent abuse of surveillance powers granted in section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Through Section 702 the FISA court allows for U.S. intelligence community (mainly the NSA) to monitor foreigners but that becomes a backdoor to monitor Americans who are in communication with foreigners.
I spoke with Jordan this afternoon regarding the letter and he told me the “premise here is simple, we want Director Wray to answer the questions that he came to the committee to testify about.” Jordan noted that these questions were not just posed from “Republicans, but Democrats, and we would like information from the questions we posed to at the hearing.”
He said holding the FBI accountable for answering those questions is not easy but “in the end the founders made it so congress controls the purse strings – we want to continue raising the issues and hopefully Wray will get us the answers.” Jordan also noted “that along with the problems with the FISA issue, there are questions about the southern border that are not being answered, as well there are numerous questions regarding journalists like Tucker Carlson, which it appears the NSA was spying on him. These must be answered.”
In the letter Jordan chided Wray for failing to answer numerous questions still plaguing the FBI’s now debunked investigation into President Donald Trump, as well as continued concern that the bureau is still utilizing its powerful intelligence to tools to spy on American citizens, in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
“Of notable concern, both Republicans and Democrats questioned you about the serious and systematic problems with the FBI’s use of its warrantless electronic surveillance powers under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,” stated Jordan in the letter. “Members requested a briefing on the matter, which you agreed to provide. The FBI has not yet provided this briefing, let alone begin to schedule the briefing. In addition, the FBI has not yet provided responses to questions for the record posed following your testimony at the Committee’s 2020 oversight hearing.”
FBI officials did not immediately respond for comment but this story will be updated if and when they do.
Jordan states that Wray has never delivered on questions asked by Rep. Mike Johnson during a hearing on “February 12, 2020. During the hearing Johnson “posed a number questions for the record pertaining to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation. It is our understanding that you have not answered Representative Johnson’s questions. We therefore ask that you provide a copy of your response to the questions for the record from the 2020 hearing.”
Rep. Mike Johnson Questions Submitted To FBI Director Wray
Director Wray, as you are aware Former Special Counsel Mueller brought on members of the FBI onto the Special Counsel’s team when Crossfire Hurricane was transferred from the FBI to the Special Counsel. In Mr. Mueller’s subsequent appearance before this Committee he refused to answer any questions related to the Steele Dossier. With that in mind, I would like to ask you a few questions regarding this phase of the investigation:
1. To your knowledge did Former Special Counsel Mueller ever question any of the Steele Dossier origins after or during the transition of Crossfire Hurricane from the FBI to the Special Counsel’s team?
2. Are you aware of any FBI personnel that were not part of the Mueller team being asked by Former Director Mueller to carry out tasks during his tenure as Special Counsel?
3. In addition to addressing the relevant deficiencies found in the IG report, are you internally examining FBI protocols surrounding the transfer of investigations to a Special Counsel, particularly in instances where FBI staff are used by the Special Counsel?
4. Have you considered updating any sections of relevant Policy Implementation Guides or the Domestic Investigations Operations Guide (DIOG) regarding FBI interactions, or the transfer of investigations, to a Special Counsel?
Johnson questions to Wray February, 2020
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