The Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a review of four FISA applications used for the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane Investigation.
The 46-page report has strong arguments that the DOJ and FBI personnel violated long held procedures for handling confidential human sources.
Horowitz also has many questions of why DOJ and FBI investigators violated many procedures when seeking surveillance of President Trump campaign aides: George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, Paul Manafort, and Michael Flynn.
The procedures that were violated are called the Woods Procedure, which resulted in unverified material was presented to the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court in order to wiretap a US citizen. This is a clear violation of crucial rule to protect US citizens from the government.
From the report’s conclusion:
However, as we describe in this report, our review identified significant concerns with how certain aspects of the investigation were conducted and supervised, particularly the FBI’s failure to adhere to its own standards of accuracy and completeness when filing applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authority to surveil Carter Page, a U.S. person who was connected to the Donald J. Trump for President Campaign. We also identified what we believe is an absence of sufficient policies to ensure appropriate Department oversight of significant investigative decisions that could affect constitutionally protected activity.
The Steele Dossier, which has been deemed a bogus partisan report, was the key document to put the FISA warrants “over the top” as concluded by the IG’s report.
One investigative tool for which Department and FBI policy expressly require advance approval by a senior Department official is the seeking of a court order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). When the Crossfire Hurricane team first proposed seeking a FISA order targeting Carter Page in mid-August 2016, FBI attorneys assisting the investigation considered it a “close call” whether they had developed the probable cause necessary to obtain the order, and a FISA order was not requested at that time. However, in September 2016, immediately after the Crossfire Hurricane team received reporting from Christopher Steele concerning Page’s alleged recent activities with Russian officials, FBI attorneys advised the Department that the team was ready to move forward with a request to obtain FISA authority to surveil Page. FBI and Department officials told us the Steele reporting “pushed [the FISA proposal] over the line” in terms of establishing probable cause. FBI leadership supported relying on Steele’s reporting to seek a FISA order targeting Page after being advised of, and giving consideration to, concerns expressed by a Department attorney that Steele may have been hired by someone associated with a rival candidate or campaign.
Again a 476-page report will have other bombshell and as I get time I will be reading it closely.