Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that four FISA warrant applications to spy on Carter Page, who was part of Donald Trump’s campaign, contained 17 significant errors or omissions. Horowitz’s report was released on Dec. 9.
Writing to Horowitz in a letter dated Dec. 6 but released on Monday after the report, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that the bureau is making changes to how it works under FISA for both initial warrant applications and renewals.
The changes were being made “to enhance accuracy and completeness,” Wray said.
“The FBI relies on FISA every day in national security investigations to prevent terrorists and foreign intelligence services from harming the United States. We are making concrete changes to ensure that our FISA protocols, verifications, layers of review, record-keeping requirements, and audits are more stringent and less susceptible to mistake or inaccuracy. These new processes will also ensure that the FISA Court and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are apprised of all information in the FBI’s holdings relevant to a determination of probable cause,” he said.
The FBI was taking steps in five other areas, including reviewing investigative activity out of the bureau’s headquarters, significantly changing how it manages its Confidential Human Source program, and implementing required semiannual training for FBI personnel who handle FISA and confidential human source matters.
“Finally, we will review the performance and conduct of certain FBI employees who were referenced in the Report’s recommendations — including managers, supervisors, and senior officials at the time. The FBI will take appropriate disciplinary action where warranted. Notably, many of the employees described in the report are no longer employed at the FBI,” Wray wrote.
Attorney General William Barr said that Horowitz’s report made clear that FBI officials “misled the FISA court” to get and maintain FISA surveillance of Page and other Trump campaign associates.
“FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source. The Inspector General found the explanations given for these actions unsatisfactory. While most of the misconduct identified by the Inspector General was committed in 2016 and 2017 by a small group of now-former FBI officials, the malfeasance and misfeasance detailed in the Inspector General’s report reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process,” he said.
Barr said he’s confident Wray and his team will implement the reforms the FBI announced.