The Office of the Inspector General released a “Management Advisory Memorandum” for the FBI yesterday. The memorandum is 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.” Specifically, “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” stated the memorandum.
Applications were reviewed and case agents or supervisors involved with the applicants were met with “to assess whether the FBI complied with its Woods Procedures for FISA applications submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).” The memo went on to explain
Specifically, in addition to interviewing FBI and NSD officials, we reviewed 34 FBI and NSD accuracy review reports covering the period from October 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.
The conclusion is not shocking: “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. Specifically, the Woods Procedures mandate compiling supporting documentation for each fact in the FISA application…”
Our lack of confidence that the Woods Procedures are working as intended stems primarily from the fact that: (1) we could not review original Woods Files for 4 of the 29 selected FISA applications because the FBI has not been able to locate them, and, in 3 of these instances, did not know if they ever existed; (2) our testing of FISA applications to the associated Woods Files identified apparent errors or inadequately supported facts in all of the 25 applications reviewed…(3) existing FBI and NSD oversight mechanisms have also identified deficiencies in documentary support…(4) FBI and NSD officials we interviewed indicated to us that there were no efforts by the FBI to use existing FBI and NSD oversight mechanisms to perform comprehensive, strategic assessments of the efficacy of the Woods Procedures or FISA accuracy, to include identifying the need for enhancements to training and improvements in the process, or increased accountability measures.
As a refresher, the audit took place because “in December 2019 my office issued a report examining four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications – an initial application and three renewal applications – targeting a U.S. Person and other aspects of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s ‘Crossfire Hurricane” began today’s memorandum. Also known as the December 2019 FISA Report, it detailed “among other things, we identified fundamental and serious errors in the agents’ conduct of the FBI’s factual accuracy review producers (‘Woods Procedures’) with regard to all four FISA applications.
Red State aptly points out the Democrats’ and mainstream media’s next move. “Get ready for a deluge of ‘see, they weren’t just targeting Trump!’ talking points because that’s what the takeaway will be here,” writes Red State.
Unfortunately, “it won’t be that the FBI is a dumpster fire of corruption and incompetence, nor that Carter Page was clearly targeted on another level compared to the errors found in these other applications.” Finally, Red State laments “it’s unlikely anyone will ever pay a price for all that went on under Comey’s tenure as FBI Director.”