Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz has just issued his follow-up audit of the FBI’s compliance with procedures intended to confirm the accuracy of its FISA warrant applications. I have embedded the report below via Scribd.
Based on the FBI’s execution of the four Carter Page warrant applications on which Horowitz previously reported, Horowitz had his doubts that all was well. This is a sideshow to the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign and Trump presidency, with respect to which we impatiently await the administration of justice. Yet the current OIG report further supports the wild-eyed notion that something is rotten in the state of the FBI.
The FBI, however, assures us that all is now well. As the New York Times puts it: “In a statement appended to the report, the F.B.I. said it accepted the findings but also said that it believed it is addressing the source of the problems through corrective steps it put in place following the earlier report about Mr. Page — like greater training and new checklists that officials preparing documents for FISA applications must follow.”
Here is an excerpt of Horowitz memo:
[I]n December 2019, my office initiated an audit to examine more broadly the FBI’s execution of, and compliance with, its Woods Procedures relating to U.S. Persons covering the period from October 2014 to September 2019. As an initial step in our audit, over the past 2 months, we visited 8 FBI field offices of varying sizes and reviewed a judgmentally selected sample of 29 applications relating to U.S. Persons and involving both counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations. This sample was selected from a dataset provided by the FBI that contained more than700 applications relating to U.S. Persons submitted by those 8 field offices over a 5-year period. The proportion of counterintelligence and counterterrorism applications within our sample roughly models the ratio of the case types within that total of FBI FISA applications. Our initial review of these applications has consisted solely of determining whether the contents of theFBI’s Woods File supported statements of fact in the associated FISA application; our review did not seek to determine whether support existed elsewhere for the factual assertion in the FISA application (such as in the case file), or if relevant information had been omitted from the application. For all of the FISA applications that we have reviewed to date, the period of court-authorized surveillance had been completed and no such surveillance was active at the time of our review.
We reviewed these applications, and met with available case agents or supervisors who were responsible for them, to assess whether the FBI complied with its Woods Procedures for FISA applications submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). We also obtained and reviewed information from the FBI and the Department of Justice’s (Department or DOJ) National Security Division (NSD) about their FISA application oversight mechanisms. Specifically, in addition to interviewing FBI and NSD officials, we reviewed 34 FBI and NSD accuracy review reports covering the period fromOctober 2014 to September 2019—which originated from the 8 field offices we have visited to date and addressed a total of 42 U.S. Person FISA applications, only one of which was also included among the 29 FISA applications that we reviewed.
As a result of our audit work to date and as described below, we do not have confidence that the FBI has executed its Woods Procedures in compliance with FBI policy….
I’m sure this will all come as a great shock to James Comey. We can look forward to another effusion of his deep thoughts on Twitter.