UK Politics

Judge Issues Scathing Order After Watchdog Flags Rampant Flaws in FBI Surveillance

The lead judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reprimanded the FBI over widespread flaws in surveillance applications uncovered by the Justice Department inspector general.

In an order issued on April 3, Judge James Boasberg directed the FBI to turn over the names of the targets in the 29 applications audited by the inspector general.

The inspector generals audit, the results of which were released in a memo to the FBI on March 30, found that every one of the 29 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications reviewed had a missing or inadequate Woods File—a group of records that substantiate the facts the bureau asserts in applications to the court.

The inspector general concluded that it was not confident that the FBIs procedures were adequate in ensuring the bureau followed its own policy that FISA applications have to be “scrupulously accurate.”

“It would be an understatement to note that such lack of confidence appears well founded,” Boasberg wrote.

In addition to turning over the names and docket numbers for the 29 FISA applications, the judge asked the government to assess whether any of the applications contained “material misstatements and omissions,” and whether these flaws render the courts surveillance orders invalid. The judge is also asking the bureau to identify the four applications for which a Woods File was missing entirely.

Boasberg gave the bureau until June 15 to comply.

The review by the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General (OIG) was prompted by the damning findings of its inquiry into the FISA applications the FBI obtained to spy on Trump-campaign associate Carter Page. That review turned up 17 significant errors and omissions, including multiple instances in which the FBI withheld exculpatory information from the court.

carter page
carter page
Carter Page, petroleum industry consultant and former foreign-policy adviser to Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential election campaign, in Washington on May 28, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

The findings in the Page case led the court to order the FBI to show why the court should trust any of its future surveillance applications. The bureau has since embarked on a list of reforms. The findings of pervasive flaws beyond the Page case underline the need for the court to supervise the bureaus efforts, the order states.

“The OIG Memorandum provides further reason for systemic concern. It thereby reinforces the need for the Court to monitor the ongoing efforts of the FBI and DOJ to ensure that, going forward, FBI applications present accurate and complete facts,” Boasberg wrote.

The FBI acknowledged the receipt of the order.

“Maintaining the trust and confidence of the Court is paramount to the Read More – Source

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The Epoch Times

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