Asked by Wallace about comments Comey made last year that he was sure officials at the FBI were “responsible” when they prepared surveillance warrants applications for Carter Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the former FBI chief said he “was wrong.”
“I was overconfident in the procedures that the FBI and (Department of) Justice have built over 20 year years. I thought they were robust enough,” he said.
In 2016, the FBI sought and received approval from the court to surveil Page for nearly a year, starting shortly after he left the Trump campaign in the fall of 2016. The special court that granted the approval operates in secret and approves wiretaps under FISA — a law that is typically used to target foreign spies and terrorists.
The DOJ’s watchdog said there was no bias in the decision to seek FISA surveillance of Page, and that the significant errors and problems with how the FBI prepared the applications to the court were generally mistakes and not intentional manipulation.
President Donald Trump became just the second president in US history to fire his FBI director when he dismissed Comey in May 2017. Comey was leading the investigation into whether Trump campaign members colluded with Russians who hacked the 2016 election. The Trump administration said it was getting rid of Comey because of the way he handled the Hillary Clinton email probe.
CNN’s Ali Main, David Shortell, Evan Perez, Marshall Cohen and Katelyn Polantz contributed to this report.