FISA

DOJ’s FISA report contradicts claims by Dems, media figures that surveillance rules were strictly observed

New findings by the Justice Department inspector general that the FBI has repeatedly violated surveillance rules stood in stark contrast to the years of assurances from top Democrats and media commentators that bureau scrupulously handled Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants — and prompted Republican lawmakers to caution that the FBI seemingly believes it has “carte blanche to routinely erode the liberties of Americans without proper justification.” The DOJ watchdog identified critical errors in every FBI wiretap application that it audited as part of the fallout from the bureau’s heavily flawed investigation into former Trump advisor Carter Page, who was surveilled in part because of a largely discredited dossier funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). An FBI lawyer in that case even falsified a CIA email submitted to the FISA court in order to make Page’s communications with Russians appear nefarious, the DOJ inspector general found; and the DOJ has concluded that the Page warrant was legally improper. But, the DOJ’s new assessment indicated that FISA problems were systemic at the bureau and extended beyond the Page probe. In four of the 29 cases the DOJ inspector general reviewed, the FBI did not have any so-called “Woods files” at all, referring to mandatory documentation demonstrating that it had independently corroborated key factual assertions in its surveillance warrant applications. In three of those applications, the FBI couldn’t confirm that Woods documentation ever existed. The other 25 applications contained an average of 20 assertions not properly supported with Woods materials; one application contained 65 unsupported claims. The review encompassed the work of eight field offices over the past five years in several cases. “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,” the DOJ IG wrote in a memo today to FBI Director Christopher Wray. Reaction on Capitol Hill, where Wray has already promised bureau-wide reforms, was scathing. “If the FBI is going to seek secret authority to infringe the civil liberties of an American citizen, they at least need to show their work,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement Tuesday. “FBI rules demand FISA applications be ‘scrupulously accurate’ and backed up by supporting documents to prove their accuracy. But we know that wasn’t the case when the FBI sought and received the authority to spy on Carter Page.” Grassley added: “Based on the inspector general’s audit, the flawed Page case appears to be the tip of the iceberg. Not a single application from the past five years reviewed by the inspector general was up to snuff. That’s alarming and unacceptable. The inspector general’s decision to bring these failures to the director’s attention before its audit is even completed underscores the seriousness of these findings.” “It Ain’t Easy Getting a FISA Warrant: I Was an FBI Agent and Should Know,” read a 2017 article from former FBI special agent and CNN analyst Asha Rangappa, who spent most of her career as a university admissions administrator. It is unclear whether Rangappa has ever handled a FISA application. In the piece, Rangappa credulously asserted that FISA applications, after a preliminary exhaustive review, travel “to the Justice Department where attorneys from the National Security Division comb through the application to verify all the assertions made in it. Known as ‘Woods procedures’ after Michael J. Woods, the FBI Special Agent attorney who developed this layer of approval, DOJ verifies the accuracy of every fact stated in the application.” Rangappa, who repeated the same message on-air multiple times, was not alone in the media in propping up the FISA process. A comprehensive review by The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple underscored how Politico national security reporter Natasha Bertrand launched her career in part through ultimately debunked reporting on the Steele dossier. Bertrand, who told MSNBC that securing a FISA warrant was “extremely difficult,” even claimed at one point that DOJ investigators found the dossier’s author, Christopher Steele, credible.

Here are the big takeaways…  The FBI lied when it applied for these FISA warrants, and CNN and MSNBC are not just liberal news organs with an agenda.  They’re complicit in lying to the American public about all of this.  That’s HUGE.  For more, click on the text above, and then read the article immediately below.

Rep. Jim Jordan demands DOJ IG Michael Horowitz to testify in wake of second damning FISA report

The top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday demanded the panel hold a hearing with Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz after his latest missive finding the FBI bungled scores of warrant applications to surveil Americans. Rep. Jim Jordan sent a letter to Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, saying lawmakers need to hear from Mr. Horowitz as the debate rages in Washington about whether to limit the FBI’s surveillance powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). “The committee must not allow the FBI’s extraordinary power to electronically surveil Americans to be so haphazardly rubber-stamped with incorrect, unsubstantiated or erroneous supporting information,” wrote Mr. Jordan, Ohio Republican. On Tuesday, Mr. Horowitz released the preliminary results of his team’s review of 29 FISA applications the FBI had submitted to obtain surveillance warrants on U.S. citizens. Every one of the 29 applications reviewed did not include supporting materials to back up the FBI’s allegations against their surveillance targets. And in some cases, the FBI couldn’t find the backup files at all or was unsure if they ever existed. In all 25 cases in which the files were available for review, Mr.Horowitz found “apparent errors or inadequately supported facts.” Mr. Jordan said the latest findings highlight the need to question the inspector general. “Because of the pervasiveness and seriousness of the FISA application deficiencies — and the pending reauthorization of FISA — we renew our request that you invite Inspector General Michael Horowitz to testify at a public hearing promptly when the House returns to session,” he wrote. House Republicans have been calling for a hearing with Mr. Horowitz since last December when he released a scathing report about the FBI’s bungling of a surveillance warrant to spy on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. So far, Mr. Nadler has resisted calls to hear from the inspector general. Mr. Horowitz has testified before two Senate committees about the Page report.

Of COURSE Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) doesn’t want to call the IG before his committee.  He doesn’t want any of this to come to light which very likely could make his side look bad in an election year.