The secret court, which approves government sensitive surveillance requests, said Friday that a lack of confidence in the accuracy of FBI surveillance requests appears “justified” and ordered the office to show whether there were errors in documents that support 29 wiretapping requests Monitoring may have been invalidated.
The order from the judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, James Boasberg, comes just a few days after a review by the Department of Justice internal law found new problems in the management of wiretapping requests by the FBI, and concludes that the documents supporting the Support requests that routinely contain errors or “insufficiently supported facts”.
A DOJ general inspector’s analysis of 29 surveillance requests from eight FBI field offices over the past five years showed that “we have no confidence” that the office follows standards to ensure their accuracy.
The report expanded a highly critical assessment of the FBI’s surveillance activities in December, focusing on editing several interception applications to monitor former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page.
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In four of the 29 applications examined, the new report found that the evidence for the listening applications, known as the “Woods Files”, could not be found. In three of these cases, the agents did not know if the underlying information was available.
“Obvious errors or insufficiently supported facts were found in the files in all 25 (fully filled out) applications that we were reviewing, and previous interviews with available agents or line managers generally confirmed the problems we identified,” concluded the Report.
On Friday, the surveillance court said Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s assessment “is another cause for systemic concern”.
“It would be an understatement to note that such a lack of trust seems justified,” Boasberg wrote. “None of the 29 cases investigated had a Woods file that did what it was supposed to do: support every fact submitted to the Court.
“This reinforces the need for the court to monitor the ongoing efforts of the FBI and (the Department of Justice) to ensure that FBI applications will contain accurate and complete facts in the future,” Boasberg wrote on Friday.
Boasberg ordered the FBI to provide the names of everyone in the 29 surveillance applications by June 15, and to check whether any errors invalidated the court’s surveillance permits.
“Maintaining the trust and confidence of the court is of the utmost importance to the FBI, and we are continuing the over 40 corrective actions,” the FBI said in a statement on Friday that referred to guidelines issued by Director in December Chris Wray were published. “Although the applications examined by the (Inspector General) in this review are prior to the announcement of these corrective actions, the FBI understands the court’s desire to receive information about the applications.
“In line with our duty to be open to the court and our responsibility to the American people, we will continue to work closely with the FISC and the Department of Justice to ensure that our (surveillance) authorities are used responsibly.”
This article originally appeared TODAY in the United States: The surveillance court cites a lack of trust in FBI surveillance