Politics

GOP Leaders Seek DOJ Inspector Generals Testimony on New FISA Report

Republican leaders in the House and Senate Judiciary Committees are calling for the Justice Departments Inspector General Michael Horowitz to testify on his new Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) audit report, which found that the FBI had failed to follow proper procedures needed to obtain FISA warrants.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) have separately called for Horowitzs testimony following the release of the preliminary findings in his audit on Tuesday.

The audit was initiated after Horowitzs investigation into the FBIs surveillance on former Trump campaign associate Carter Page found that there were widespread fundamental and serious errors in the FISA applications used to spy on him. The findings of that report, issued in December 2019, found “at least 17 significant errors or omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications, and many additional errors in the Woods Procedures.”

The follow-up review (pdf) determined that FBI agents broke the bureaus policy by failing to follow the “Woods Procedure,” which requires agents to compile supporting documentation for each fact in a FISA application. The Woods Procedures were implemented in 2001 in an effort to “minimize factual inaccuracies in FISA applications” as well as to ensure that the statements are “scrupulously accurate.”

Horowitz reviewed a sample of 29 FISA applications spanning a five year period from eight FBI field offices. Of those, the FBI could not locate the Woods files—a record of that contains documentation that substantiates facts asserted in a FISA application—for four of the applications selected for review. Meanwhile, the office “identified apparent errors or inadequately supported facts” in the Wood files of the other 25 applications.

“[W]e believe that a deficiency in the FBIs efforts to support the factual statements in FISA applications through its Woods Procedures undermines the FBIs ability to achieve its scrupulously accurate standard for FISA applications,” Tuesdays memo stated.

In a statement on Tuesday, Graham said that he intends to ask Horowitz to appear before the senate committee to explain his findings on the problems identified in the inspector generals audit.

Meanwhile, Jordan, the ranking member of the Democrat-led House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to the committees chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) on March 31 to urge him to invite Horowitz to testify on FBIs FISA process. Jordan had previously asked Nadler to invite the inspector general to testify after the December FISA report, but Nadler has so far resisted pressure to do so.

“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,” the letter stated (Read More – Source