Ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee Jim Jordan sent a letter to Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz last week requesting a slew of FBI documents pertaining to Horowitz’s recent audit of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance warrants to spy on Americans. The March memorandum submitted by Horowitz of his agency’s highly classified audit of documents submitted to the secret court by the FBI revealed stunning malfeasance and failures by the bureau in obtaining the warrants against Americans.
Moreover, concern is mounting that FBI Director Christopher Wray is blocking the ability for Congress and the OIG to obtain specific documents needed to complete the review, as Congress considers reauthorizing FISA, and deliberates what reforms are needed.
The letter, which was obtained by SaraACarter.com, was sent to Horowitz after numerous attempts by Congress to get the information requested from Wray have failed, according to several Congressional sources.
The committee is giving the FBI and Horowitz a deadline of May, 15 to turn over documents they say are necessary for their review of the FISA warrant process.
“We continue to closely follow the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) examination of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications targeting U.S. persons,” the letter from Jordan states. “We write to ask that the OIG seek additional information from the FBI about its FISA applications targeting U.S. Persons.”
The letter also refers to a recent phone briefing on March 30, about the OIG’s Management Advisory Memorandum, which was an interim report regarding Horowitz’s audit of randomly selected Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Applications on Americans. The memo of the audit alerted ‘the Justice Department, FBI, and Congress of substantial concerns stemming from the OIG’s preliminary review, including serious deficiencies in all 29 applications reviewed.”
Horowitz’s December 19, 2019 report on FBI misconduct in the FISA applications submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page revealed 17 ‘significant errors and omissions’ in the applications that would have changed the approval by the court to allow the bureau to monitor Page.
Horowitz’s memorandum also detailed substantial FBI noncompliance with Woods Procedures. The FBI procedure is designed to minimize factual inaccuracies and ensure that the information is vetted intelligence. That was not done in the case of Page. The FBI failed to conduct a Woods Proceedure on former British spy Christopher Steele’s dossier, which led to the debunked investigation against the Trump campaign.
“Specifically, the OIG found unsupported, uncorroborated, or inconsistent information in the Woods files of all 25 surveillance applications on U.S. persons that the OIG was able to review. The FBI was unable to locate the Woods files for four additional files that the OIG had requested – meaning the OIG could not review those applications,” Jordan’s letter stated.
The 29 highly classified applications reviewed by Horowitz’s team covered the period from 2014 to 2019, and one former U.S. intelligence official told this reporter that “there is a systemic failure within the system when all applications have significant problems like these do.”
Jordan specifically asked Horowitz to turn into the committee a progress report from the FBI:
- Changes, if any, that the FBI has made to its Woods Procedures directly as a result of the OIG’s Management Advisory Memorandum dated March 30, 2020
- The steps, if any, that the FBI has undertaken to locate the four missing Woods Files:
- If FBI is unable to locate the four missing Woods files, a detailed explanation from the FBI for why it is unable to locate the Woods files; and
- Details about how, if at all, the FBI used information collected from the 29 FISA applications in non-FISA contexts, including but not limited to criminal indictments, sentencing memoranda, non-FISA search warrants, and other court filings.