Politics

Comey admits he was wrong about Carter Page wiretap: 'There was real sloppiness'

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Key Points
  • "I was wrong," Comey said in an interview with Fox News Sunday. "I was overconfident in the procedures that the FBI and Justice had built over 20 years. I thought they were robust enough."
  • During congressional testimony last week, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said his inquiry found 17 inaccuracies and admissions in the four applications to conduct surveillance against Page.
James Comey
Samuel Corum | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Former FBI director James Comey admitted on Sunday that he was "overconfident" in the process used by the bureau to obtain a court-ordered wiretap of a former Trump campaign aide.

The Justice Department's Inspector General found serious errors with the FBI's investigation into links between Russia and Trump campaign aides in a report last week.

Michael Horowitz, who led the watchdog probe, found that the FBI had sufficient justification to open the investigation and conducted the inquiry without political bias, though he noted that the bar is set low to open such investigations.

However, Horowitz also concluded that the bureau made multiple errors when applying for a secret court order to obtain a wiretap of Carter Page, a former advisor to the Trump campaign.

"I was wrong," Comey said in an interview with Fox News Sunday. "I was overconfident in the procedures that the FBI and Justice had built over 20 years. I thought they were robust enough."

"He was right — there was real sloppiness," Comey said in response to the Inspector General's report.

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The former FBI director had previously said he had "total confidence" that the process for obtaining a warrant from the secret foreign intelligence surveillance court was followed and the case was handled in a "thoughtful and responsible way."

During congressional testimony last week, Horowitz said his inquiry found 17 inaccuracies and omissions in the four applications to conduct surveillance against Page.

When asked if Comey had been vindicated by the watchdog probe, Horowitz said: "It doesn't vindicate anyone at the FBI who touched this, including the leadership."

However, Comey defended the broader investigation into links between Trump campaign aides and Russia, saying the president had repeatedly told lies about the probe. Trump has repeatedly characterized the Russia investigation as an attempted coup against his administration, a claim discredited by the Inspector General's report.

"The American people, especially your viewers, need to realize they were given false information about the FBI," Comey told Fox News' Chris Wallace. "It's honest, it is not political, it is flawed."

Trump responded to Comey's interview on Twitter. The president fired Comey as FBI director in 2017.