The Justice Department and FBI will implement "foundational" reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process as well as changes to promote "active oversight" of FISA applications to surveil federal elected officials, candidates and their staffs, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.
"Since the Inspector General's Crossfire Hurricane report was issued last December, I have made clear that it describes conduct that was unacceptable and unrepresentative of the FBI as an organization," FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement. "That's why I immediately ordered more than 40 corrective actions, including foundational FISA reforms, many of which went beyond those recommended by the Inspector General."
"FISA is an indispensable tool that the FBI uses to protect our country from national security threats, and Americans can rest assured that the FBI remains dedicated to continuously strengthening our FISA compliance efforts and ensuring that our FISA authorities are exercised in a responsible manner," Wray continued.
The recently announced reforms include requiring the FBI to perform routine audits of its use of National Security Letters and compliance with FISA.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Wray stand together at an announcement of a Crime Reduction Initiative designed to reduce crime in Detroit on Dec. 18, 2019. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
"The reforms also include oversight protocols to ensure that any use of FISA to surveil federal elected officials, candidates for federal elected office, or their advisors or staff is justified, non-partisan, and based on full and complete information," the Justice Department said in a news release.
Crossfire Hurricane was the code name of the FBI counterintelligence investigation into links between Trump associates like George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn and Carter Page and Russian officials and whether they worked "wittingly or unwittingly, with the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election."
Many Americans first heard of FISA warrants in the context of Page, who in August told "Mornings with Maria" his life was "overturned" when federal agents started spying on him in 2016.
Page was surveilled largely because of a discredited dossier funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. An FBI lawyer in that case even falsified a CIA email submitted to the FISA court in order to make Page's communications with Russians appear nefarious, the Justice Department inspector general found; and the Justice Department has concluded that the Page warrant was legally improper.
Fox News' Jake Gibson, Gregg Re and Andrew O'Reilly contributed to this report.