As reported earlier today, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz has released a partially redacted review of four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court applications as well as other aspects of the 2016 Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI’s) "Crossfire Hurricane" investigation.

Horowitz's office undertook this review to examine certain actions by the Obama FBI and DOJ during an FBI investigation that opened on July 31, 2016, known as "Crossfire Hurricane," into whether individuals associated with the Donald J. Trump for President Campaign were coordinating – wittingly or unwittingly – with the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

According to the review, there were at least "17 significant inaccuracies and omissions" that were identified.

“The Inspector General report outlined an alarming abuse of the FISA process," Second District Congressman Brad Wenstrup told The Highland County Press. "It verified the findings of the 2018 House Intelligence Committee Republican report on FISA abuse that the Carter Page FISA application was based, in part, on the DNC and Clinton campaign financed Steele dossier. Furthermore, the report found that the FBI omitted exculpatory information in an effort to continue FISA surveillance. I look forward to the release of the Durham report to shed further light on what transpired.”

"Relevant information was not shared with, and consequently not considered by, important department decision-makers and the FISA court," Horowitz admitted, "and the FISA applications made it appear as though the evidence supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case.

"We also found basic, fundamental and serious errors during the completion of the FBl's factual accuracy reviews, known as the Woods Procedures, which are designed to ensure that FISA applications contain a full and accurate presentation of the facts."

Like the guy or not, Fox television host Sean Hannity has been spot on for the last three years regarding the interactions of DOJ attorney Bruce Ohr, Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS.

The OIG review examined more than 1 million documents that were in the DOJ's and FBI's possession and conducted more than 170 interviews involving more than 100 witnesses. These witnesses included some top Obama administrators.

Among those interviewed, Horowitz said, were: "former FBI Director James Comey, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former DAG Rod Rosenstein, former Acting AG and Acting DAG and current FBI General Counsel Dana Boente, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI General Counsel James Baker and Department attorney Bruce Ohr and his wife. The OIG also interviewed Christopher Steele and current and former employees of other U.S. government agencies.

"Two witnesses, Glenn Simpson and Jonathan Winer (a former Department of State official), declined our requests for voluntary interviews, and we were unable to compel their testimony."

Horowitz's 434-page report (Page 435 was intentionally left blank and Page 436 was the DOJ logo and statement page) states: "We are deeply concerned that so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand-picked investigative teams on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations, after the matter had been briefed to the highest levels within the FBI, even though the information sought through use of FISA authority related so closely to an ongoing presidential campaign and even though those involved with the investigation knew that their actions were likely to be subjected to close scrutiny.

"We believe this circumstance reflects a failure not just by those who prepared the FISA applications, but also by the managers and supervisors in the Crossfire Hurricane chain of command, including FBI senior officials who were briefed as the investigation progressed. We do not expect managers and supervisors to know every fact about an investigation, or senior leaders to know all the details of cases about which they are briefed. However, especially in the FBl's most sensitive and high-priority matters, and especially when seeking court permission to use an intrusive tool such as a FISA order, it is incumbent upon the entire chain of command, including senior officials, to take the necessary steps to ensure that they are sufficiently familiar with the facts and circumstances supporting and potentially undermining a FISA application in order to provide effective oversight consistent with their level of supervisory responsibility. Such oversight requires greater familiarity with the facts than we saw in this review, where time and again during OIG interviews FBI managers, supervisors and senior officials displayed a lack of understanding or awareness of important information concerning many of the problems we identified."

Horowitz continues: "In the preparation of the FISA applications to surveil Carter Page, the Crossfire Hurricane team failed to comply with FBI policies and in so doing, fell short of what is rightfully expected from a premier law enforcement agency entrusted with such an intrusive surveillance tool. In light of the significant concerns identified with the Carter Page FISA applications and the other issues described in this report, the OIG today initiated an audit that will further examine the FBI's compliance with the Woods Procedures in FISA applications that target U.S. persons in both counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations."

The OIG also made several rather innocuous recommendations to assist the DOJ and the FBI in avoiding similar failures in future investigations.

The FBI responded that it "fully accepts these recommendations" and is taking appropriate actions, creating a new admonishment to sources relating to the confidentiality, "adopting additional admonishments, as necessary, creating a new subfile, which will supplement the existing validation subfile created in 2013, specifically dedicated to holding certain information, including derogatory information, creating a mandatory checklist for handlers," etc.

You get the idea: No harm, no foul. And virtually zero accountability for those culpable Obama administrators.

In other words, certain high-ranking public officials in the Obama DOJ and FBI were either willfully ignorant of at least 17 significant inaccuracies and procedural errors or they were borderline complicit in the 2016 attempt to undermine the Trump campaign. These officials were incompetent, at best, or unscrupulous, at worst.

As fully expected, however, Horowitz failed to "find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the decisions to open the four individual investigations” into Carter Page, former Trump-campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, former national-security adviser Mike Flynn and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort."

This was no surprise from a Washington bureaucrat. Still, there's plenty of smoke for the Trump supporters and there are plenty of reasons to question how the national media would have handled a sitting President Bush whose DOJ and FBI were involved in spying on the Obama campaign in 2008 with a phony FISA warrant.

Americans should be both appreciative of the long-awaited Horowitz report and outraged by its findings.

• Read the report on the OIG’s website: https://www.justice.gov/storage/120919-examination.pdf.

• Read the report on Oversight.gov: https://www.oversight.gov/report/doj/review-fourfisa-applications-and-other-aspects-fbi%E2%80%99s-crossfire-hurricane-investigation.

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press, Highland County's only locally owned and operated newspaper.