(USA Features) The inspector general for the Department of Justice released a scathing report Tuesday noting that his office found multiple errors in the FBI’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court filings related to the 2016 “Russiagate” investigation.
Specifically, IG Michael Horowitz noted that there were mistakes in each of the warrant applications FBI officials filed to obtain permission to spy on Trump campaign official Carter Page.
Horowitz’s office found that agents broke FBI policy by failing to adequately maintain a so-called “Woods file,” which is a set of records that substantiate facts asserted in the surveillance applications.
The findings in the Page case led the IG’s office to expand its review of Woods procedures throughout the bureau, which turned up substantial errors in every FISA warrant application audited.
“We believe that a deficiency in the FBI’s efforts to support the factual statements in FISA applications through its Woods Procedures undermines the FBI’s ability to achieve its ‘scrupulously accurate’ standard for FISA applications,” the report stated.
The IG’s office reviewed 29 FISA applications that spanned a five-year period across eight bureau field offices.
The review turned up no Woods Files for four of the applications and for the remaining 25, all had “apparent errors or inadequately supported facts,” the IG noted.
The watchdog also reviewed te internal audits the FBI conducted on 42 FISA applications, finding that “these oversight mechanisms routinely identified deficiencies in documentation supporting FISA applications,” similar to those flagged during the watchdog’s review.
Of the 42 applications reviewed, 39 had a “total of about 390 issues, including unverified, inaccurate, or inadequately supported facts, as well as typographical errors.”
In the case of Page, the FISA applications cast him as a Russian agent, though evidence disproving that assertion was known to the bureau at the time but not included in the court filings.
The CIA sent word to the FBI that Page was in fact an intelligence asset and had been cleared, but the bureau did not put that information in the FISA warrant applications.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe concluded that no evidence exists indicating Moscow and President Trump colluded during the 2016 election.