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Report on Russia probe found ‘unacceptable’ problems

Published:Wednesday | December 11, 2019 | 12:00 AM
FBI Director Christopher Wray


A Justice Department inspector general report on the early days of the Russia investigation identified problems that are “unacceptable and unrepresentative of who we are as an institution”, FBI Director Chris Wray said in detailing changes the bureau plans to make in response.

In an interview Monday with The Associated Press, Wray said that the FBI had cooperated fully with the inspector general – which concluded in its report that the investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia was legitimate but also cited serious flaws – and accepted all its recommendations.

Wray said that the FBI would make changes to how it handles confidential informants, how it applies for warrants from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, how it conducts briefings on foreign influence for presidential nominees, and how it structures sensitive investigations like the 2016 Russia probe. He said that he has also reinstated ethics training.

“I am very committed to the FBI being agile in its tackling of foreign threats,” Wray said. “But I believe you can be agile and still scrupulously follow our rules, policies, and processes.”

‘badly broken’ bureau

President Donald Trump challenged his FBI director in a tweet Tuesday, claiming that the bureau is “badly broken” and incapable of being fixed.

“I don’t know what report current director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!”

Wray was not FBI director when the Russia investigation began and has so far avoided commenting in depth on the probe, one of the most politically sensitive inquiries in bureau history and one that President Donald Trump has repeatedly denounced as a “witch hunt”. Wray’s comments Monday underscore the balancing act of his job as he tries to embrace criticism of the Russia probe that he sees as legitimate while limiting public judgement of decisions made by his predecessors.

He said that though it was important to not lose sight of the fact that Inspector General Michael Horowitz found the investigation justified and did not find it to be tainted by political bias, “the American people rightly expect that the FBI, when it acts to protect the country, is going to do it right – each time, every time.”