The Inspector General's Report, what it is and what it is not
I thought I would do a short essay on my own understanding of what the Inspector General's report is and is not. I have read at several places that people are disappointed at the most recent report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
Without passing judgment on the content of the IG report, which I have not yet read, I am going to try lay out a framework for understanding what we have seen thus far from the OIG.
First, we must understand that under the Obama administration, the role of all Inspectors General had been effectively neutralized. However Horowitz,an Obama appointee, went to war against the Obama administration for tying the hands of all 73 Inspectors General.
Throughout Horowitz’s tenure he has continuously fought for the legal rights of all Inspectors' General to have unobstructed access to information.
This was something AG Holder had specifically limited – and the FBI had embraced. Holder used this tactic to delay the IG’s Fast and Furious Investigation.
So now we know something about Horowitz and his relationship to the Inspector General process. So what is the charge for an Inspector General?
Established by the Inspector General Act of 1978, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) examines all actions of a government agency or military organization. Conducting audits and investigations, either independently or in response to reports of wrongdoing, the OIG ensures that the agency's operations are in compliance with the law and general established policies of the government. Audits conducted by the OIG are intended to ensure the effectiveness of security procedures or to discover the possibility of misconduct, waste, fraud, theft, or certain types of criminal activity by individuals or groups related to the agency's operation. Misuse of agency funds or equipment is often revealed by OIG audits.
When reviewing the current report by the Inspector General for the Department of Justice, Michael Horowitz, we must understand that his report is based upon the above criteria for an Inspector General's office. Therefore his scope of reporting will be based upon how it affects the operations in the Department of Justice, which also includes the FBI.
The most recent report focuses mainly upon the FBI and the actions of James Comey who was its director at the time of those actions. This is the second OIG report of what is expected to be at least four or five reports. The first report focused upon the actions of the FBI's #2 man, Andrew McCabe and that report was unredacted and contained criminal referrals.
In order to understand the impact of this most recent report, it may help to know that the version that has been released is the most redacted version of the three versions that were given to President Trump. Those versions included (1) the unredacted version from IG Horowitz with no changes by the DoJ; (2)the DoJ version written by Asst. Att. General, Rod Rosenstein; and (3) the redacted Rosenstein version, which is the one that was released to the public. The President also received the IG summary notes re: obstruction(s) to obtain select info (classified).
In November, Inspector General Horowitz began working with US Attorney John Huber of Utah who was appointed by Attorney General Sessions as the lead attorney for prosecuting crimes resulting from the IG's investigation. At this point, no one knows if there are any grand jury indictments associated with this investigation and no one has yet been publicly charged. That does not mean that there may be much more going on in the background. We only can wait to see if any indictments are made public.
In summary, the Inspector General (Horowitz) functions as the investigator and the US Attorney (Huber) is acting in the role of the charging attorney. If there is information that has been uncovered by the Inspector General that could and will be used in the charging of criminal offenses, it probably will not have appeared in the publicly released version of the Inspector General's report. In other words, there may be a lot more under the surface that the public is currently aware of.
I hope this essay will clarify why we may not be getting the entire story just yet.