Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, now a CNN contributor, expressed how "shocked and horrified" he was by the report Michael Horowitz, the DOJ Inspector General, delivered to Congress. He also responded to the FISA court rebuking the FBI for mistakes in Russia probe warrants.
In an interview Tuesday, McCabe acknowledged "serious mistakes," however noted the report found the "misrepresentations" made by the FBI were not intentional or done with bias. McCabe said the "mistakes" included leaving out facts "that we should have told the court" and giving information "not consistent with what we knew."
"Let me read a sentence from this truly amazing, very powerful statement the FISA judge released publicly referring to the inspector general of the Justice Department's report," CNN host Wolf Blitzer said at the top of the interview.
"It documents troubling instances in which FBI personnel provided information to NSD, the national security division, which was unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession. It also describes several instances in which FBI personnel withheld from NSD information in their possession which was detrimental to their case for believing Mr. Carter Page was acting as an agent for a foreign power," he read.
"This is very serious misconduct on your watch," Blitzer told the retired G-man.
"Very serious," McCabe said of the misconduct.
"Everyone in the FBI and anyone who reads that report is shocked and horrified by what they've seen in the recitation of the 17 errors," McCabe continued. "Shocked because we all believed, I certainly believed that the procedures we had in place were enough to guarantee that accurate information was going to the court and horrified because it cuts against one of our most fundamental duties and that is to be perfectly accurate and truthful and complete with the court at all times."
Blitzer told McCabe that these weren't just mistakes but sloppy and deliberate errors. McCabe said the "process" in place left "so much responsibility" on low-level FBI agents who made "mistakes" that made it "very, very hard" for oversight to uncover.
"Comey says it was sloppiness," Blitzer told McCabe. "But this wasn't just sloppiness. These were brutal mistakes, deliberate errors, concealments involving surveillance activities of an American citizen."
"They were very, very serious mistakes," McCabe said. "They come into basically two different categories, things that they told the court which were not consistent with what we knew in our own files and facts that we left out, that we should have told the court."
"I will say, though, that the IG pointed out in his report that he found no evidence that those misrepresentations were intentional," he said. "Nevertheless, they are unbelievably serious and something that has obviously gotten the court's attention as you would expect."
"The FISA judge writes that all this, the evidence we now know about, calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable," Blitzer reported. "The FBI just responded saying they're going to take 40 corrective steps to try to deal with this, but if such blunders, if such mistakes can be made, deliberate mistakes in such a high-from file case you have to wonder what's going on with lesser high-profile cases involving U.S. citizens."
McCabe expressed confidence in current FBI Director Christopher Wray to take "very active steps" to make sure this doesn't happen again.
"The biggest mistake we made. The biggest mistake, i think, is the process that was in place essentially left so much responsibility on the lowest level of FBI agents and supervisors involved in a process that once those mistakes are baked in they become very, very hard for the many, many layers of oversight to uncover. That's thing if I were Director Wray that I would focus on," McCabe said.