Intelligence Surveillance & Privacy

Justice Department Inspector General Finds Broader Pattern of Errors in FISA Applications

Elliot Setzer
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 11:43 AM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

A new report released by the Justice Department inspector general found errors or lost information in all of the U.S. Person FISA applications it reviewed following its report on the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation into members of the Trump campaign. Each of the 29 applications reviewed contained inaccuracies, including missing files in four FISA applications and errors or inadequately supported facts in the 25 other applications.

After finding in December 2019 that the FBI had not followed standard review procedures for four FISA applications, the inspector general’s office initiated a larger audit to examine compliance with these procedures over the past five years. The office examined the factual accuracy review procedures—or “Woods Procedures”—for 29 FISA applications. Based on this review, the report states that “we do not have confidence that the FBI has executed its Woods Procedures in compliance with FBI policy.”

The inspector general will continue this review of FISA applications and will expand its audit to include FISA application accuracy efforts within the National Security Division of the Justice Department.

You can read the report here and below:

Elliot Setzer is a Knight-Hennessy Scholar at Stanford Law School and a Ph.D student at Yale University. He previously worked at Lawfare and the Brookings Institution.

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