Former CIA Director John Brennan said that the report from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz showed mistakes in FISA applications to spy on a Donald Trump campaign aide, but attributed the errors to officials being too aggressive.
Brennan was asked on Tuesday night about the slew of errors and omissions uncovered by Horowitz in the applications to spy on Carter Page.
“Well clearly, there were mistakes made based on the inspector general’s reports. And I know that a lot of people attribute it to either to incompetence or politicization. Well, I might just attribute it to, these were FBI agents who were doing their level best to try to prevent Russian interference in the election,” Brennan responded to MSNBC host Chris Hayes.
“They were probably overly aggressive, they didn’t pay careful enough attention to some of the details, they may have ignored some aspects of the work that was uncovered. But I think the IG was very clear that politicization did not seem to creep into any aspect of their work either at the initiation of the investigation or throughout.”
Horowitz said that his team couldn’t find evidence of political bias in the decision to apply to spy on Page, but told lawmakers last week he couldn’t rule out political bias playing a role in the applications, a stance he repeated in another Senate committee hearing on Dec. 18 while saying the answers his team received from FBI officials were “unsatisfactory.”
“Either these people were really incompetent, or they had an agenda,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) concluded.
Brennan has criticized President Trump a number of times since he was elected, including calling Trump’s criticism of the way the FBI handled its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election “treasonous.” Brennan also claimed that one of Trump’s children would be jailed just before special counsel Robert Mueller announced his team didn’t find evidence of conspiracy or collusion between Trump or his campaign and Russia.
Brennan later said he was the victim of “bad information.”
During his MSNBC appearance, Brennan told Hayes that congressional committees have become partisan.
“One of the things I’m most concerned about is the oversight responsibilities of the Congress that I feel really have been affected by partisanship on both sides. Looking back over the last two decades,” he said.
“The Republicans are not the only ones that engaged in this partisan activity. I experienced some of it on the Democratic side when I was director of CIA and at the White House. And those oversight responsibilities are very, very important and fundamental to the good operation of the government.”