U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, issued the following statement after the release of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence memo about the FBI’s use of FISA warrants. He spoke in general about his concerns regarding investigations and scrutiny of the FBI.
With each passing day, it seems like there are new questions about the conduct of investigators and justice officials over the last few years. But to suggest that the bureau or the department have become wholesale political operations is simply not true. The men and women of our federal law enforcement agencies serve and protect the public with honor. Unfortunately, the choices of a few officials have hung a cloud of doubt around the Justice Department and the FBI.
“It’s no secret that I’ve got serious, long-standing questions about FBI conduct, especially in its handling of politically sensitive investigations over the past two years. Did they follow protocol or pull punches in the investigation into Secretary Clinton’s handling of classified information? Did they properly handle investigations during a presidential election or did they allow politics to influence their decisions? Did investigators follow the rules when seeking a FISA warrant to surveil an American citizen, and did they do their due diligence in vetting information from outside sources? Were procedures ignored out of intent or incompetence?
“In Congress, we have a constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight of the executive branch and ensure the laws are properly and consistently executed. Oversight works better when federal agencies cooperate. As Attorney General Jeff Session said recently, Congress can be a partner to improve federal agencies. However, failure by these agencies to work with Congress must not prevent us from fulfilling our responsibility to ensure the government is functioning properly for the American people. I want transparency and sunlight to burn off this cloud of doubt around the FBI. I hope the bureau and the department want that too.
Investigations, whether by law enforcement or Congress, should be about fact-finding and uncovering the truth, not about undermining a political adversary. The American people deserve full and complete answers.