Johnson, Grassley Call for AG Barr to Declassify Four Significant Footnotes in DOJ OIG Report About Crossfire Hurricane Investigation

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, sent a classified letter Tuesday to U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr to request the declassification of four footnotes in the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Inspector General’s (OIG’s) report on FISA abuses in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.

For maximum public transparency, the senators wrote a separate unclassified cover letter to describe their request.

In the unclassified letter, the senators wrote, “We have reviewed the findings of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) with regard to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, and we are deeply concerned about certain information that remains classified. Specifically, we are concerned that certain sections of the public version of the report are misleading because they are contradicted by relevant and probative classified information redacted in four footnotes. 

“This classified information is significant not only because it contradicts key statements in a section of the report, but also because it provides insight essential for an accurate evaluation of the entire investigation.  The American people have a right to know what is contained within these four footnotes and, without that knowledge, they will not have a full picture as to what happened during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.”

Full text of the unclassified letter is below, and it can also be viewed here.

January 28, 2020

The Honorable William P. Barr

Attorney General

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Washington, DC 20530

 

Dear Attorney General Barr: 

The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Committee on Finance are continuing oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and its Crossfire Hurricane investigation.  We have reviewed the findings of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) with regard to the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation,[1] and we are deeply concerned about certain information that remains classified.  Specifically, we are concerned that certain sections of the public version of the report are misleading because they are contradicted by relevant and probative classified information redacted in four footnotes.  This classified information is significant not only because it contradicts key statements in a section of the report, but also because it provides insight essential for an accurate evaluation of the entire investigation.  The American people have a right to know what is contained within these four footnotes and, without that knowledge, they will not have a full picture as to what happened during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. 

Consequently, we are writing to respectfully request that you, pursuant to the original classification authority delegated to you by the President over matters related to this investigation, fully declassify the four footnotes to ensure that this information is made available to the American people.  Today, under separate cover, we are also sending you a classified letter that identifies these four footnotes and describes the importance of this information to a complete understanding of the OIG report and the underlying Crossfire Hurricane investigation.

Should you have any questions, please contact Joseph Folio of Chairman Johnson’s staff at (202) 224-4751 and Joshua Flynn-Brown of Chairman Grassley’s staff at (202) 224-4515.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Ron Johnson

Chairman

Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Charles E. Grassley                                                           

Chairman                                                                              

Senate Finance Committee

 



[1] U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Office of Inspector Gen., Review of Four FISA Applications and Other Aspects of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane Investigation (Dec. 2019), https://www.justice.gov/storage/120919-examination.pdf.