DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz notified FBI Director Christopher Wray on Monday that he "did not have confidence" that the agency was providing appropriate supporting documentation to back up assertions, after violations were found following a review of more than two dozens Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications, according to a publicly released memo.
"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," wrote Horowitz in a Management Advisory Memorandum addressed to Way.
"Specifically, the Woods Procedures mandate compiling supporting documentation for each fact in the FISA application. Adherence to the Woods Procedures should result in such documentation as a means toward achievement of the FBI’s policy that FISA applications be 'scrupulously accurate.'"
Horowitz discovered these additional problems after visiting eight FBI field offices and reviewing a selected sample of 29 FISA applications that were tied to both counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations between October 2014 and September 2019.
Horowitz said he chose broaden his review of FISA applications following the release of a sprawling report in December that found "fundamental and serious errors in the agents’ conduct" as it related to the Woods Procedures.
That report, which was particularly focused on the wiretap warrant FBI officials sought to surveil former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, identified numerous occasions where federal officials did not include the documentation to back up their assertions. -The Hill
"As a result of these findings, in 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," reads Horowitz's letter.
That said, Horowitz did not make a determination as to whether the identified issues had a material impact on the entire surveillance application.
"During this initial review, we have not made judgments about whether the errors or concerns we identified were material. Also, we do not speculate as to whether the potential errors would have influenced the decision to file the application or the FISC’s decision to approve the FISA application."