Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday that the internal watchdog at the Justice Department is looking at whether the FBI has properly handled applications for surveillance orders under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Sessions, appearing at a news conference announcing a new opioid task force, was asked about House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’ controversial memo outlining purported surveillance abuses and told reporters that “the inspector general will take that as one of the matters he’ll deal with.”
“We believe the Department of Justice must adhere to the highest standards in the FISA court, and yes, it will be investigated, and I think that’s just the appropriate thing,” Sessions added.
When the Nunes memo, which focuses on the FISA warrants on former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, was released earlier this month, Sessions signaled that any abuses of the process would be investigated.
“Congress has made inquiries concerning an issue of great importance for the country and concerns have been raised about the Department’s performance,” Sessions said in a statement at the time. “Accordingly, I will forward to appropriate DOJ components all information I receive from Congress regarding this. I am determined that we will fully and fairly ascertain the truth.”
Sessions reiterated to Fox News last week that every FISA warrant “submitted to that court ha[s] to be accurate” and “that will be investigated and looked at.”
His comments Tuesday took the matter a step further by directly putting the accusations by House Republicans on the inspector general’s plate.
A spokesperson for the inspector general’s office acknowledged the referral but declined to comment further.
The office is currently examining how investigations were handled at the department and the FBI in advance of the 2016 presidential election, including, notably, the Hillary Clinton email server probe.