Amid FISA Scrutiny, Critics Warn of FBI Briefing ‘Subterfuge’

Allowing government surveillance of private citizens has been an explosive topic ever since laws expanding the practice were passed after the 9/11 attacks.

But several former law enforcement officials say they also are troubled by other aggressive and unorthodox FBI tactics used to investigate Trump campaign operatives. Chief among them was a counterintelligence briefing the Office of the Director of National Intelligence provided to the Trump campaign, but which was also used to collect information for the FBI’s Russia probe.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that the supervising agent overseeing the FBI’s Russia investigation attended the counterintelligence briefing, and a week later the agent documented questions he asked then-candidate Trump and his top foreign policy adviser, Michael Flynn.

In essence, Horowitz said, the FBI used a briefing ostensibly focused on guarding against foreign interference as a “pretext” to gather evidence on Trump and Flynn and help further the Russia investigation. Hillary Clinton’s campaign also received a similar briefing but the FBI didn’t use it to collect information on her or her team.

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