FBI Director Christopher Wray told reporters Thursday that he was “disappointed” in the Justice Department watchdog’s report on the bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s personal email system.
“I take this report very seriously, and we accept its findings and recommendations,” Wray told a news conference at FBI headquarters in Washington. “The report does identify errors of judgment, violations of or disregard for policy, and decisions that, at the very least, in hindsight, were not the best choices.”
However, Wray added that the report by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz only addressed a “specific set of events back in 2016, and a small number of FBI employees connected with those events.”
“Nothing in the report impugns the integrity of our workforce as a whole, or the FBI as an institution,” said Wray, who succeeded James Comey as FBI director in 2017 after President Trump fired Comey.
Horowitz’s report reserved its most pointed criticism for Comey, calling him “insubordinate” for his actions, including announcing in July 2016 that Clinton would not be charged in the email investigation. Cases that end without charges are rarely discussed publicly, and Comey did not reveal to Attorney General Loretta Lynch his plans to make an announcement.
However, Horowitz also wrote that his office had referred five FBI employees for investigation in connection with politically charged texts, some of which “mixed political commentary with discussions about the [Clinton] investigation, and raised concerns that political bias may have impacted investigative decisions.”
Horowitz also noted that FBI policy guarding against leaks to the media had been “widely ignored” during the period of the Clinton investigation, writing that “we identified dozens of FBI employees that had contact with members of the media.”
The inspector general also said bureau employees had accepted tickets to sporting events, golf outings, meals and other gifts from reporters — actions “that were, at a minimum, inconsistent with FBI policy and Department ethics rules.”
In response, Wray said he was making “all employees fully aware of our new policy on contacts with the news media … and making clear that we will not tolerate non-compliance.”
“There are some sobering lessons in [the report] and we’re going to learn those lessons and we’re going to act on those lessons,” the director vowed, “and that’s the way the FBI’s always handled these things in the past and that’s what made the FBI stronger over the last 110 years.”
Fox News’ Alex Pappas and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.
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FBI boss Wray admits mistakes made, stands by his investigators
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