Rick Manning
Guest Columnist
Stunning. That’s the only way the exchange between U.S. Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) and newly minted FBI Director Christopher Wray in the House Judiciary Committee on December 7, 2017.
In a must-see Congressional Q&A, Jordan hammers and hammers Wray on whether disgraced Peter Strzok was involved in dressing up the discredited Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee funded opposition research dossier on then-candidate Donald Trump.
Why does this matter?
If, as appears to be true, the FBI presented what they knew to be a campaign document to the FISA Court as evidence that they should be allowed to spy on their political opponent’s campaign, it represents an unprecedented intrusion of the intelligence agencies into the political process.
Robert Wray was appointed and confirmed to clean up the political mess left behind by James Comey at the FBI, yet he refused to confirm or deny whether Strzok was involved in the handling of the dossier and whether the dossier was used to obtain FISA Court warrants. Incredibly, he also refused to provide the non-classified information before the Committee leaving far more questions than answers in the wake of his obfuscation.
What is clear is that the apparent abuse of the FISA Court system for political spying requires that Congress stop all action of reauthorizing Section 702 of FISA until, at the very least, significant reforms are made to ensure that a repeat of this political spying scandal becomes impossible.
Additionally, for America’s political institutions to be credible, the public needs to know that the intelligence services are not being used as partisan agents engaged in manipulating their votes. If Wray is not willing to lead the charge in cleaning up the Obama Administration abuses he inherited, then perhaps he should step aside and allow someone willing to do the job take his place. The first place he can start is by coming clean with Rep. Jordan and the Judiciary Committee and providing them the information they have requested. No more cover-ups or bogus excuses, just do your job and provide the answers and information now that will either validate or invalidate the charge that the FBI became a political tool under former director Comey.
The author is president of Americans for Limited Government.