Fired Top FBI Official Concedes ‘Many Mistakes’ In Trump FISA Scandal
Andrew McCabe presents onstage at the American Jewish University on March 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
(Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images)

Ex-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said on Thursday the bureau made “many mistakes” in seeking Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authority to snoop on Carter Page, an aide to former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The comments were made during a CNN interview in which McCabe defended FISA’s Section 702 — which empowers the U.S. intelligence community to collect data on non-U.S. citizens abroad — as Congress debates whether to reauthorize it.

McCabe, now a CNN law enforcement analyst, responded to Trump’s call to “KILL FISA” while saying it was used to spy on his campaign, after which the House blocked consideration of a reauthorization bill just days before Section 702 sunsets.

“To be clear, no, there is no truth or accuracy in that post at all,” McCabe said, adding that “702 authorities were never used in the course of that investigation of Donald Trump and his campaign and some of his campaign associates.”

Trump “may be referring to the FISA that was obtained to surveil Carter Page. We now know there are many mistakes in that FISA. Those are all regrettable. But that is not Section 702. Totally different thing here,” McCabe said.

“My guess … is that it’s not surprising that Donald Trump is against surveillance capacity and authority for the FBI because he is someone who’s been investigated by the FBI. But, nevertheless, he is absolutely wrong on this count,” he added.


McCabe signed an application seeking FISA authority to spy on Page, part of a chain of approval that came under fire over its partial reliance on an unverified dossier, and testified to Congress he would not have done so knowing what he learned later.

The Trump Department of Justice fired McCabe from the FBI in 2018 — hours before he was set to retire with a pension — after an inspector general report faulting him for a “lack of candor” regarding disclosures to the media.

McCabe sued over his firing in 2019, claiming his dismissal was “politically motivated and retaliatory” following his leadership in the Trump-Russia investigation, and won back his pension and other benefits in a 2021 settlement.

Some lawmakers who opposed advancing the FISA bill this week have demanded a warrant requirement for officials seeking to access data concerning U.S. citizens — ostensibly for law enforcement — that gets swept up in monitoring foreign persons.

FBI Director Christopher Wray is among those pushing to preserve FISA’s Section 702 authorities, telling Congress on Thursday they are “critical” to protecting Americans and claiming that adding a warrant requirement would be “dangerous.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) argued the FISA bill, as it stands, would not only reauthorize Section 702 for five years, but also implement reforms that would “actually kill the abuses” directed at Trump’s 2016 campaign.

After the vote on Wednesday, in which 19 Republicans joined with all voting Democrats to oppose consideration of the FISA bill, Johnson said lawmakers will “regroup” and insisted the United States “can’t allow a critical tool like this to just expire.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Fired Top FBI Official Concedes ‘Many Mistakes’ In Trump FISA Scandal