More heat than light came from today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Horowitz Report

Thomas Wood
6 min readDec 12, 2019


At the end of the day, the Senate Judiciary Committee failed to get any resolution on the key point that Lindsey Graham and all the other Republicans on the panel zeroed in on, which is 1/41

how to explain the egregious errors and omissions made by three successive teams (each involving roughly six to twelve people) involved in Operation Crossfire Hurricane (OCH) when they prepared the FBI’s FISA warrant applications against Carter Page. 2/41

Horowitz could not explain why everyone involved in this investigation made mistakes that violated well-established and important agency rules, guidelines, and policies (like the Woods procedures) with which they should have been familiar and should have followed but didn’t. 3/41

On being questioned about their many errors of omission and commission, none of the principals had explanations that Horowitz found satisfactory. 4/41

Most importantly, Horowitz never found documentary or testimonial evidence that allowed him to reach a conclusion on the crucial question of the principals’ intentions, 5/41

and he has referred the whole question to FBI Director Christopher Wray for further investigation and possible disciplinary action. 6/41

Although the matter has been referred to Wray, there is no reason to think that Wray will be able to come up with an answer to the fundamental question of intention if he simply goes over the same territory that Horowitz did. 7/41

Clarification, and an answer to the question, will only come from looking at how the FBI has handled FISA applications in other investigations. 8/41

Republicans on the committee today were convinced that there was something nefarious and malicious about the way OCH handled the OCH applications, and they shouted their anger and outrage at the deep state and its alleged collusion against Trump. 9/41

However, there is no evidence to prove the allegation of political motivation (as Horowitz acknowledged), and a great deal that cuts against it. 10/41

Horowitz testified today that the investigation of the Carter Page FISA applications was the first deep dive into the FISA application process he had ever done as OIG. (Apparently it was the first such deep dive by any IG.) 11/41

Horowitiz was appalled by what he discovered, but he did say that he had had occasions in the past to look at other investigations — though not from the same close view he had had in the case of OCH — and found very similar problems. 12/41

This fits with what the individuals involved in OCH told Horowitz when he interrogated them. 13/41

When he pointed out their errors of omission and commission, they told him that they were unaware that their errors were serious matters that involved violations of important agency rules and regulations. 14/41

This, of course, is what they would be likely to say if they were all bad actors, but it is also exactly what they would say if errors and failure to properly follow guidelines and procedures is systemic in the bureau. 15/41

Horowitz did not find the replies by the individuals he interrogated satisfactory, which in his mind, clearly, has opened the possibility of malicious, politically motivated intent — 16/41

particularly because he did uncover one instance of wrongdoing that was undoubtedly politically motivated. (A criminal referral has been made in that case.) 17/41

Note, though, that the view that the individuals involved were all lying to Horowitz (which is what the allegation of malicious intent would amount to) requires us to postulate a conspiracy involving a fairly large number of actors who coordinated their efforts 18/41

to mislead and defraud the FISA court (by, for example, improperly completing the Woods documents for the applications). 19/41

A priori, this isn’t plausible (successful conspiracies being hard to pull off), and the implausibility is underscored by the fact that all the warrants against Carter Page except the first one were issued after the election, 20/41

and even the first Carter Page application was issued in October, when there wasn’t enough time to produce information that OCH could have used against the Trump campaign even if it had intended to do so. 21/41

(We know that the warrants produced information deemed useful by the FBI, but we know nothing about what that evidence was.) 22/41

So the allegation that the FBI’s multiple mishandlings of the Carter Page FISA warrants were politically motivated doesn’t even meet the laugh test, because the surveillance was not in fact used or weaponized to affect the election, 23/41

and because Horowitz found that the FISA warrants comprised only one part of a much wider investigation that Horowitz found was well-predicated and not itself politically motivated. 24/41

(By comparison, Comey’s reopening of the bogus Clinton email and server investigation had an enormous impact pre-election, and was immensely damaging to her campaign.) 25/41

The point just made about the Carter Page FISA surveillance is also true of the Steele dossier (which as I had predicted also received a lot of attention today, on its own and in connection with the FISA warrants). 26/41

There was the Michael Isikoff article that appeared in Yahoo! in Sept 2016, and the David Corn article in Mother Jones in late Oct 2016 on the eve of the election, 27/41

but these two articles received virtually no attention even by the major news media, much less from the general public. 28/41

The impact of the Steele dossier (unlike the surveillance of Carter Page) was of course enormous, but that was only because BuzzFeed published the dossier on 10 Jan 2017, well after the election. 29/41

In the pre-election period Steele did talk to MSM journalists in Washington D.C. about the material in the dossier, but he never handed the dossier itself to them for publication. 30/41

Furthermore, Steele’s main purpose was to get American journalists to start asking questions and to investigate the Trump campaign themselves. 31/41

Steele also wanted American journalists to call the FBI and get the agency to publicly announce that it was investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, but even this never happened, 32/41

so even the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign and its possible connections with Russia’s interference in the election never became known to voters before the election. 33/41

Horowitz said that his office is now probing other counterintelligence and counter terrorism FBI investigations to see if the problems he found with OCH’s handling of Page’s FISA warrant applications are present elsewhere (and possibly widespread). 34/41

For the reasons already given, the evidence is that they do exist elsewhere and are widespread. If in fact, that is what Horowitz finds, then his finding will completely undercut the Republicans’ claim today that the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was 35/41

a special case involving a conspiracy by people in the FBI who hated Trump and conspired to take him down. 36/41

That claim, to summarize, isn’t supported by any of the evidence that Horowitz ever uncovered in his months-long investigation; doesn’t fit with the evidence that we have that similar problems have plagued other FBI investigations; 37/41

and most importantly perhaps, simply makes no sense because Page’s surveillance (and even the existence of the investigation itself) never influenced public opinion or votes in the 2016 election. 38/41

Finally, let me note that I have already posted two long threads on the very issue that Republicans on the committee focussed on today that cover important details of the issue that are not covered here: 39/41


Michael Horowitz and the Steele dossier — Thomas Wood — MediumThe Horowitz Report deals in great detail (and in many different places) with the Steele dossier and its use in the Carter Page FISA applications. 1/47 Horowitz neither impugns…


Critics of the FBI’s handling of the Carter Page FISA warrants have frequently misunderstood their purposeHorowitz determined that the FBI’s Trump-Russia Crossfire Hurricane investigation was properly predicated. That is not the case, however, with Horowitz’s findings about the FBI’s handling of the…



Thomas Wood

The Resistance. Vote Blue: True Blue American. We look forward, they look back. We’re progressive, they’re regressive. @twoodiac