Graham calls for Horowitz to testify after damaging memo on FBI surveillance applications
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., released a statement Tuesday calling for Department of Justice inspector general, Michael Horowitz, to testify before Congress after his office released a memo that found serious issues in how the FBI prepares wiretap requests.
Graham said in the statement that the “random audit” shows “discrepancies regarding verification of the information under the Woods Procedures” and he intends to ask Horowitz to explain the findings and ask for recommendations on how to improve the process.
The Woods Procedures is a reference to the documents that support the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act application. The procedures were adopted in 2001 after errors in these applications.
“The stated purposes of the Woods Procedures are to minimize factual inaccuracies in FISA applications and to ensure that statements contained in applications are “scrupulously accurate,” Horowitz’s memo to FBI Director Chris Wray read.
“We do not have confidence that the FBI has executed its Woods Procedures in compliance with FBI policy, or that the process is working as it was intended to help achieve the ‘scrupulously accurate’ standard for FISA applications,” Horowitz concluded.
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The memo was released on Tuesday.
The New York Times pointed out that the audit was sparked by a damaging probe into Carter Page, the former Trump campaign adviser and figure in the Russia investigation, that revealed key ommissions in the process.
The Times report said that the latest memo reveals more sloppiness and called the “finding of systemic incompetence” devastating to the FBI.
Politico reported that Horowitz’s team focused on about 30 other applications under FISA. The subjects of the applications were U.S. citizens and green-card holders, the report said. Out of the 29 applications reviewed, the memo counted an average of 20 errors in each. One application had as many as 65 issues, while another had five.
“We could not review original Woods Files for 4 of the 29 selected FISA applications because the FBI has not been able to locate them and, in 3 of these instances, did not know if they ever existed,” he wrote, according to Politico.
Paul Abbate, the FBI’s associate deputy director, in a letter attached to the memo, wrote that the agency is working to address the concerns and the errors that were identified will be addressed.
“As Director Wray has stressed, FISA is an indispensable tool to guard against national security threats, but we must ensure that these authorities are carefully exercised and that FISA applications are scrupulously accurate,” Abbate wrote.