When Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz published his report on the Hillary Clinton email investigation, some of us began to suspect that he was the deep state’s most clever ultimate protector.
The IG’s strategy was to find a long list of malfeasances with which to excoriate an institution, in this case, the FBI—abuses that might, under normal circumstances, land multiple people in jail—slap the miscreants firmly on the wrist, and then let everyone off at the end with a disingenuous excuse (in the Clinton affair, a supposed similarity to the vastly less-serious accusations against Alberto Gonzalez, for which Bush’s attorney general was exonerated).
Thus, the organization is preserved—they don’t call Horowitz an “institutionalist” for nothing—and life goes on as before, with only the slightest cosmetic alterations.
He has done much the the same with his “Review of Four FISA Applications and Other Aspects of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane Investigation.” He found “17 significant errors,” one (we are assured low-level) attorney to have forged part of an email, and various other mistakes in the FISA process that (we are also assured) have already been corrected by FBI Director Christopher Wray.
All’s well that ends well. Even former FBI Director James Comey was happy, dashing off an op-ed in The Washington Post touting his and the organization’s vindication.
Except, within hours of the release of the report, along comes U.S. Attorney John Durham—who has been investigating much of the same territory but with a wider berth and prosecutorial powers—to spoil the occasion:
“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.”
Predication is, of course, the heart of the matter. Just why did the FBI open an investigation of Trump–Russia collusion that proved, after nearly two years, to be nonexistent? Was there real justification somewhere, no matter how obscure, as the IG suggests, or was it a set-up, as implied in Lee Smith’s recent book “The Plot Against the President”?
Durham apparently has found evidence of something untoward. He advised Horowitz of his information at least a month ago, but the IG apparently ignored it or disagreed. This isn’t a minor difference of opinion. It’s the essence.
So who’s right here?
I’m betting on Durham. Government employees—people in his position—almost never speak out at moments like this, unless they have the goods. It’s not the least bit collegial and could cost them their careers. Durham must have been extremely disturbed and concerned the public was being misinformed.
He and his boss, Attorney General William Barr, have journeyed to Europe on several occasions, gathering pertinent information from intelligence agencies. As Durham points out:
“I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff. However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department. Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.”
We will have to wait for details of what Durham learned in Italy and the United Kingdom and elsewhere, but I would suggest that it’s time to step back and apply Occam’s razor (i.e., common sense).
An investigation that went on for years produced nothing of any substance. What started it? It could have been an accident, though I’m not sure how. It could have been a trigger of some unknown sort, but a “low bar,” as Horowitz infers. Or it could have been deception. Whatever it was—it was wrong.
It will take strong men such as Durham and Barr, not an obfuscator such as Horowitz, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Roger L. Simon is The Epoch Times’ senior political analyst. His most recent novel is “The GOAT.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.