Patterico's Pontifications


Reactions To The IG Report Released Today

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:43 am

[guest post by Dana]

If you’re interested, consider this an open thread about the release of the IG Report, which can be found here.

The voluminous report, released Monday by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, identified 17 separate inaccuracies across three surveillance applications, effectively inflating the justification for monitoring former foreign policy adviser Carter Page starting in the fall of 2016.

Horowitz, nevertheless, concluded the FBI was legally justified in launching its inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and that there was no “documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the FBI’s decision to conduct these operations.”


Attorney General William Barr on Monday rejected a key conclusion of an investigation conducted by his own agency’s watchdog that a probe into Russian interference into the 2016 election was justified.

Barr…called the FBI’s investigation into Moscow’s interference “intrusive” and said it had been launched “on the thinnest of suspicions” — even though the Justice Department’s inspector general report released Monday concluded that the overall probe was justified and not motivated by politics.

“The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken,” Barr said.

Barr added that “the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory.”


U.S. Attorney John Durham said Monday he disagrees with the Justice Department inspector general’s conclusion that the FBI was justified in 2016 when it launched an investigation into President Trump’s campaign.

Mr. Durham was tasked by Attorney General William P. Barr earlier this year to oversee a separate investigation into the origins of the Russia probe. His investigation is covering much of the same territory as Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz.


Mr. Durham says he’s reached a different conclusion.

“Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened,” Mr. Durham said in a statement.

Mr. Durham noted the inspector general’s authority was limited to information within the Justice Department, while his investigation found information from “other persons and entities both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.”


President Trump said Monday the findings of an inspector general’s report on the FBI’s surveillance of his 2016 campaign were “far worse than what I ever thought possible.”

The president told reporters at the White House that he’s been briefed on Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz’s conclusions. The report found multiple errors and uncorroborated claims in the FBI’s applications for surveillance warrants, but said there was no political bias evident.

“It’s a disgrace what’s happened with the things that were done to our country,” Mr. Trump said. “They fabricated evidence and they lied to the courts. This was an attempted overthrow and a lot of people were in on it, and they got caught.”

He called it “a very sad day … probably something that’s never happened in the history of our country.”

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


UPDATE BY PATTERICO: I thank Dana for writing this post. I lack the energy to weigh in at length. I think Allahpundit sums up the whole thing best: “Today the dominant emotion in every major player in this saga should be humility, but we can’t find an ounce of it among them collectively.”

I predicted long ago that the IG would find the investigation was properly predicated. I also predicted that it would find mistakes by the FBI, because (as I said) an IG always finds mistakes. But I admit to being surprised and dismayed at the extent of the FBI’s failures to disclose important information in the Page FISA applications.

This reminds me in some ways of the Mueller report. Because of the wild and absurd heightened expectations by partisans (Trump was engaged in an active criminal conspiracy with Russia! The FBI planned a coup), the big headline ends up being that the absurd expectations didn’t pan out. If the media gave us the “collusion hoax” then Trump gave us the “coup hoax” and even though no sane person believed either, the big story ends up being that the hoax is a hoax. But in each case, the big dopey headline obscures what should be the real story. For the Mueller report, the real story should have been Trump’s rampant corrupt obstruction. For the IG report, the real story should be an incredibly slipshod and unprofessional handling of a critical FISA application — and that description is being very charitable.

Trump has spent three years undermining the rule of law. If the IG is to be believed, the FBI just contributed its own heaping helping of reasons to worry about the rule of law.

Where, again, is the humility?

About The War In Afghanistan: “The American People Have Constantly Been Lied To”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:49 am

[guest post by Dana]

The Washington Post publishes a damning report about the endless war. It’s a long read but well worth your time:

A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable.

The documents were generated by a federal project examining the root failures of the longest armed conflict in U.S. history. They include more than 2,000 pages of previously unpublished notes of interviews with people who played a direct role in the war, from generals and diplomats to aid workers and Afghan officials. …

“We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing,” Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House’s Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015. He added: “What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”

“If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction . . . 2,400 lives lost,” Lute added, blaming the deaths of U.S. military personnel on bureaucratic breakdowns among Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department. “Who will say this was in vain?”

Several of those interviewed described explicit and sustained efforts by the U.S. government to deliberately mislead the public. They said it was common at military headquarters in Kabul — and at the White House — to distort statistics to make it appear the United States was winning the war when that was not the case.


“Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible,” Bob Crowley, an Army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military commanders in 2013 and 2014, told government interviewers. “Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone.”

John Sopko, the head of the federal agency that conducted the interviews, acknowledged to The Post that the documents show “the American people have constantly been lied to.”


“We don’t invade poor countries to make them rich,” James Dobbins, a former senior U.S. diplomat who served as a special envoy to Afghanistan under Bush and Obama, told government interviewers. “We don’t invade authoritarian countries to make them democratic. We invade violent countries to make them peaceful and we clearly failed in Afghanistan.”


“I may be impatient. In fact I know I’m a bit impatient,” Rumsfeld wrote in one memo to several generals and senior aides. “We are never going to get the U.S. military out of Afghanistan unless we take care to see that there is something going on that will provide the stability that will be necessary for us to leave.”

“Help!” he wrote.

The memo was dated April 17, 2002 — six months after the war started.

And so it goes…

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


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