Barr vows to make surveillance reforms after watchdog report

Attorney General William Barr told Senate Republicans during a closed-door caucus lunch Tuesday that he wants to make changes to the shadowy court process at the center of a damning watchdog report on surveillance efforts involving the Trump campaign in 2016.

Barr told GOP senators that he wants to use the regulatory process to make changes to the court associated with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), according to several who attended the meeting.

“He went over his recommendations and some internal reforms about FISA warrant application and surveillance technology being used,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “He’s going to do some things that he can do.”

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) added that Barr “talked about things he would … like to make through regulation.”

The discussion on making reforms to the FISA court comes after Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a damning report on the FBI’s warrant application process involving former Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

Horowitz found a total of 17 “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the applications to monitor Page, taking particular issue with applications to renew the FISA warrant and chastising the FBI for a lack of satisfactory explanations for those mistakes.

“I think he’s going to take a lot of what Horowitz did and add his own stamp to it,” Graham said Tuesday, referring to Barr.

Justice Department spokespeople didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about what changes the attorney general would like to enact.

Congress has until March 15 to reauthorize a handful of provisions under the USA Freedom Act.