Here is FBI Director Christopher Wray’s letter to the Society of Former FBI Agents regarding the IG Report.
Today, the Office of the Inspector General released its report on certain actions by DOJ and the FBI in an investigation known as “Crossfire Hurricane,” which looked into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. I sent a video message to the workforce earlier today, but I feel it’s important enough to share with you directly – as members of our extended FBI Family- my thoughts about the report and what we’re doing to address the OIG’s findings.
The FBI cooperated fully with this independent review, and we respect the crucial oversight work of the IG. We take this report seriously, and we fully accept its findings and recommendations.
The report concluded that the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, and certain related investigations, were opened for an authorized purpose and with adequate factual predication. The IG did not find any evidence that political bias or improper motivation impacted the opening of these investigations, or the FBI’s decisions to use certain investigative tools in the course of these investigations.
Having said that, the report does identify a number of actions that failed to meet the standard of conduct we expect of ourselves. And we’re taking concrete steps to fix that. To that end, I’ve ordered more than 40 corrective actions to address the report’s findings, and to make improvements even beyond its recommendations.
We’re modifying our policies and procedures under FISA and how we manage our confidential human source program. And we’re developing new, experience-based training for all employees who work within those programs, to ensure they have the tools and knowledge to implement these changes.
Going forward, we’re taking steps to ensure that sensitive investigations are conducted in the field, not Headquarters, except in the rarest of circumstances. We’re also establishing new protocols for how we participate in transition briefings to presidential nominees. Those protocols will supplement what we already have in place for defensive briefings, a separate and indispensable tool in our counterintelligence work.
Lastly, we’re going to follow our processes and hold employees accountable for potential misconduct or performance issues. And we will take disciplinary action where warranted.
I want to emphasize that this report does not call into question the integrity of our organization generally or our workforce as a whole. The IG reviewed a specific investigation with four offshoots, spanning a 10-month period in 2016-2017, and the report involves a limited number of employees, many of whom are no longer with the Bureau.
But the lessons of this report and the changes we are making matter to all of us. I have encouraged our workforce – and I encourage you who support us – to spend some time reviewing the report and our detailed response attached to it.
Since becoming FBI Director in August 2017, I have emphasized the importance of doing things the right way, by the book. Earlier in my tenure, unrelated to this report, I reinstated the annual ethics training program for all FBI employees that had been discontinued in previous years, because our credibility depends on maintaining the public trust.
Nobody understands the importance of that trust more than you, the men and women who previously served this great institution and took the oath we all swear by: to follow the law and uphold the Constitution. That means we pursue the facts objectively and independently, no matter where they may lead. Your unique insight into this organization helps the American people understand our work and helps us to build and maintain our credibility, and I am grateful for your continued support.
When it comes to the future of this organization, I want to be crystal clear about the FBI that I know and see every day as Director. I’ve visited all 56 FBI field offices around the country, and several of our Legats overseas. I’ve visited with folks from every FBI division at Headquarters, and I’ve met many of you. And, in office after office, meeting after meeting, I see extraordinary people doing extraordinary work.
In just the past several months, we’ve disrupted several would-be domestic terrorists from potentially carrying out attacks in major cities and small towns across the U.S. In August, we deployed hundreds of FBI personnel from around the country to El Paso to assist in our investigation of the terrible shooting that occurred there.
This year alone, we’ve recovered over 1,500 kids from situations ranging from child sexual exploitation to sex trafficking to abductions, and arrested approximately 7,400 violent gang members across the country. Just last week, we arrested more than 50 members or associates of the Latin Kings in New England, and more than 30 members of another gang in Oklahoma – in a single day. Our FBI Lab has assisted in investigating thousands of cases through fingerprint identification and DNA analysis. Our Hostage Rescue Team has deployed on more than 40 different missions around the country. I could go on and on.
That’s what we’ve always focused on: the work. I’ve been known to say that, at the FBI, we need to “keep calm and tackle hard,” and that’s what this organization will continue to do. We’ve got a lot of work to do, and we’re going to stay focused on that – remaining faithful to our core values and best traditions.
The American people should be confident that the FBI is an independent organization, and that when we act to protect this country, it’s done right – each time, every time. You should be confident in that as well. You know firsthand that our people have some of the hardest jobs out there, and they do their work with an unwavering commitment to our mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.
Rest assured we will use the lessons learned from this report to improve our historic institution, and emerge from this even better and stronger.
Christopher A. Wray