DOJ watchdog Horowitz reveals nearly 200 FBI FISA applications failed to go through accuracy reviews

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A report from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released Thursday details “widespread” shortcomings in how the FBI applies for surveillance warrants. 

In the report, the Inspector General reviewed over 7,000 FISA applications and found that that 183 didn’t have the appropriate factual accuracy review procedures, or “Woods Procedures.” 

FILE: DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz speaks during a Senate Judiciary hearing.
(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

In 2019, Horowitz released a severely critical report on the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation and the procedures used to open a FISA investigation onto former Trump campaign official Carter Page. Horowitz indicated at the time that his office would take a broader look at the FISA application process. 

DOJ officials noted that FBI Director Chris Wray made reforms to address these problems in March 2020 and the issues of non-compliance outlined in Thursday’s report took place before those reforms. 

“The OIG initiated this audit to determine whether the significant errors found in the December 2019 OIG report were indicative of a more widespread problem with the Woods Procedures compliance,” Horowitz’s Thursday report states.  

“Given the FBI’s reliance upon its Woods Procedures to help ensure the accuracy of its FISA applications, we believe the missing Woods Files represent a significant lapse in the FBI’s management of its FISA program.” 

The report lists 10 recommendations for the FBI and the Justice Department’s National Security Division to ensure compliance.  

In a statement to Fox News, the FBI said it fully accepts the Inspector General’s recommendations and has cooperated with the OIG’s review of its Woods Procedures. 

“The FBI’s FISA authorities are indispensable national security tools and a vital means of accomplishing our mission of protecting the American people from national security threats. But our mission is also to uphold the Constitution, and the FBI remains committed to executing our FISA process with the unwavering rigor it requires,” an FBI spokesperson said. 

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