Sessions says DOJ will investigate alleged FISA abuses
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday that the Justice Department will investigate potential abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
“Yes, it will be investigated,” Sessions told reporters at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees FISA warrants, according to the Washington Examiner.
He said looking into any abuses is the “appropriate thing” to do.
Sessions’s remarks follow allegations from President Trump last year that Obama administration officials misused their FISA authority to wrongly surveil members of his transition team.
It is not clear if Sessions has opened a formal investigation into the matter, but he said the Justice Department’s inspector general would take it up.
Sessions similarly said on Fox News on Sunday that his department would look into the process for obtaining warrants under FISA.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at a press briefing on Tuesday it is the Justice Department’s responsibility to investigate claims of FISA abuses and that the White House would support the probe.
“I think that’s the role of the Department of Justice, and we’re glad that they’re fulfilling that job,” she said.
Trump has publicly pressed Sessions to open up an investigation into potential abuses of the program, which allows U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies to obtain secret surveillance orders on individuals in the U.S. suspected of being foreign terrorists or spies.
The president claimed last year that the Obama administration improperly wiretapped members of his presidential campaign and transition team, though the White House has not provided any evidence to support that claim.
Allegations of FISA abuses surfaced again last month, when Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a controversial memo alleging that FBI and Justice Department officials misused their authority to obtain a surveillance order on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.
The committee released a Democrat-authored memo on Saturday countering the claims in the GOP document.