Story Analyzer Dashboard

  Horowitz Report Chapter 5 Section III

       Feedback from the FISC on the Read Copy, Completion of the Woods Procedures, and Final Briefing and Signatures
III. Feedback from the FISC on the Read Copy, Completion of the Woods Procedures, and Final Briefing and Signatures

A. Feedback from the FISC and Revisions to the Application

On October 20, 2016, the FISC legal advisor assigned to the Carter Page application provided OI with four comments and questions regarding the read copy.
Two related to information in the footnote about Steele, and two related to certain facilities believed to be used by Carter Page:

The FISC legal advisor inquired about a sentence in the footnote that stated," In addition to the specific information pertaining to Page reported in this application,[ Steele] has provided other information, which the FBI is currently investigating.''
To clarify, the final application was revised to state," In addition to the specific

information pertaining to Page reported in this application,[ Steele] has provided other information relating to the Russian Government 's efforts to influence the election that do not directly pertain to Page, including the possibility of the Russian 's[ sic] also possessing a dossier on Candidate# 1, which the FBI is currently investigating.''

The legal advisor asked how it was that Steele had a network of sub-sources, and the OI Attorney provided additional information to him regarding Steele 's past employment history.
At the request of the legal advisor, OI included the additional information in the final application, including the identity of[ REDACTED]

The legal advisor asked OI for clarification regarding the information used to establish Carter Page 's use of a particular email account, and OI corrected an error in the description of the supporting documentation.

The legal advisor requested additional information to establish the[ REDACTED] of Carter Page 's[ REDACTED].
The FBI provided the OI Attorney with some additional information; however, the information was somewhat stale, and the FBI elected instead to remove[ REDACTED], rather than hold up the final application to investigate[ REDACTED] further.

According to the OI Attorney, the FISC legal advisor raised no other issues and did not further question the application 's reliance on Steele 's reporting.

The FBl 's Completion of the Factual Accuracy Review(" Woods Procedures'')

On October 19, the OI Unit Chief" signed out'' the cert copy of the application and cert memo, so that the FBI could complete the FISA verification process known as the Woods Procedures, described in Chapter Two.
Case Agent 1 was the agent responsible for compiling the supporting documentation into a Woods File, performing the field office database checks on Carter Page, and completing the accuracy review of each fact asserted in the FISA application. His supervisor for the Carter Page investigation, SSA 1, was responsible for confirming that the Woods File was complete and for double checking the factual accuracy review to confirm that the file contained appropriate documentation for each of the factual assertions in the FISA application.

With respect to the factual accuracy review, Case Agent 1 told us that he personally compiled the supporting documentation in the Woods File and then went through the factual statements in the cert copy one-by-one and made sure that each factual assertion was verified by a corresponding document in the Woods File.
After he completed his review of all the factual information, he said he turned the Woods File over to SSA 1, and SSA 1 and Case Agent 1 then performed a second factual accuracy review of the same information together. SSA 1 said he found that each factual assertion was supported by documentation in the Woods File, and he had no concerns with how the Woods Procedures were completed. SSA 1 told us that he relied on Case Agent 1 to highlight each relevant fact in the supporting document in the Woods File, and that once he verified that each highlighted fact corresponded to a factual assertion in the application, he would move on to the next fact, without necessarily reviewing the entire document. On the evening of October 20, Case Agent 1 and SSA 1 signed the" FISA Verification Form'' or" Woods Form'' affirming the verification and documentation of each factual assertion in the application.

After Case Agent 1 and SSA 1 signed the Woods Form, they passed the Woods Form, cert copy, and cert memo( collectively referred to as the FISA or application" package'') to a Headquarters Program Manager assigned the responsibility of signing the final application under oath attesting that the factual information was true and correct.
The Headquarters Program Manager was an SSA in the CD 's Counterespionage Section. His official duties at the time did not include supervising the Carter Page investigation, contrary to what was stated in boilerplate language in the FISA application. Instead, he was briefed into the Crossfire Hurricane investigation on or about September 23 for the purpose of swearing out the Carter Page FISA. The Headquarters Program Manager told us that after he was briefed, he attended some of the team meetings and had multiple conversations with Case Agent 1, SSA 1, and the OGC attorneys for updates on the status of and changes to the application. He said he read the entire application before it was final and, as changes were made to the application, he reviewed the changes. He said he had no specific memory of reviewing the Woods Form or Woods File( as described in Chapter Two, the Woods Procedures do not require the affiant to review the Woods File), but he believes that he would have done both since the Woods File was compiled at Headquarters, and thus he would have had access to it. However, he said he trusted that the case agent verified the accuracy of the factual assertions, as the case agent was required to do as part of the Woods Procedures. Further, the Headquarters Program Manager said that he was not independently aware of any information suggesting that the information in the application was inaccurate. After the Headquarters Program Manager signed the affidavit in the application declaring under penalty of perjury that the information in the application was true and correct, he submitted the application package to the OGC Attorney.

The OGC Attorney and Deputy General Counsel Anderson reviewed the application package on behalf of OGC 's National Security and Cyber Law Branch.
However, as discussed in Chapter Two, FBI procedures do not specify what steps must be taken during the final OGC legal review. The OGC Attorney, who had participated in the drafting process and was familiar with the content of the application, told us that he reviewed the Woods Form with the Headquarters Program Manager. After the OGC Attorney confirmed that all of the Woods Procedures had been completed, he signed the cert memo below the OI Unit Chief 's signature and submitted the package to Anderson.

Anderson told us that she reviewed the cert memo and Woods Form and determined that the application package was complete, all the steps of the Woods Procedures were represented to have been taken, the probable cause standard was met, and there were no outstanding issues.
She then signed the cert memo below the other signatures, signifying that the application was ready for certification, and she gave the application package to the OGC Unit Chief for submission to the FBI Director.

B. FBI Director 's Certification

Comey certified the Carter Page application on behalf of the FBI.
In Chapter Two, we described the elements of the certification required by the FBI Director or Deputy Director, including that the information sought through the requested FISA authority is foreign intelligence information that can not reasonably be obtained by normal investigative techniques and is necessary to protect the United States against clandestine intelligence activities. In this regard, the Director 's certification is different from the approval of the NSD AAG, DAG, or the Attorney General, which requires that the signatory find that the application satisfies the FISA 's statutory requirements.

Comey told the OIG that when he was Director his practice varied in terms of whether he would read a FISA application itself before certifying an application, or whether he would rely solely on the description of the application in the cert memo.
He said that he would read applications if they required special attention, but that from time to time he would also select others to read for quality control purposes. In this instance, Comey said he read the application because of its sensitivity. He further stated that he read the application once, after Baker presented the final package to him. He said he did not recall any conversations with Baker or with others about the application.

Baker told us that he presented the final package to Comey because he wanted to discuss the foreign intelligence purpose with Comey before Comey signed the certification.
Baker said that in addition to explaining the foreign intelligence purpose to Comey, he wanted to make sure that Comey knew that he( Baker) had read the FISA and was satisfied that the probable cause standard was met. According to Baker, Comey told him that he understood, was satisfied with the foreign intelligence purpose, and was glad Baker read the application.

Comey told us that the application seemed factually and legally sufficient when he read it, and he had no questions or concerns before he signed.
When we asked him why the FBI moved forward with an application on a target who was formerly connected to a presidential campaign, based in part on source reporting that may have been funded by the opposing political party and had not yet been corroborated, Comey said that the reason was because there was probable cause to believe that Page was an agent of a foreign power. He said that simply because the information regarding Page was uncorroborated at the time of the application did not mean that it was unreliable. He stated that in this case, he understood that the FBI assessed that Steele was a credible source, with a network of sub-sources in positions to receive information, and the core of the Steele reporting was consistent with other information the FBI had at the time.

Comey signed the application on October 20, and the application package was presented to Yates on October 21.

D. DAG Oral Briefing and Approval

Yates told the OIG that she did not recall the discussion that took place at the October 21 oral briefing when NSD presented the final application package to her.
Evans said that he recalled that because Yates had already read the FISA application and was familiar with its contents, the OI Attorney used the oral briefing to advise her of the FISC legal advisor 's questions and the changes made in the final application to address those questions. Evans said that he recalled little discussion during the oral briefing on this application before Yates signed the application.

The OIG asked Yates about her views on the application.
Yates told us that, in her view, the application did not present a close call from a legal sufficiency standpoint, and she was comfortable that it was an appropriate investigative step to take. In terms of the specific reasons she approved the application, Yates stated:

Well, several things here.
First, the context of the issue that we 're talking about here, which is the Russian attempt to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, and the potential involvement of U.S. persons in that, is obviously a critically important topic. This is not some tangential run-of-the-mill crime. This is, to state the obvious here, critically important to the country. So we start sort of with the premise of, this is a topic that we need to get to the bottom of.

Secondly, Carter Page is not someone who just popped up out of the blue on the FBI 's radar, with respect to his relationship with the Russian government.
He is someone who had been on the radar for quite some time, both in terms of, and I think it 's laid out in the FISA, the attempts to recruit him that had been laid out in a prior criminal case, and the FBI 's knowledge of interaction that he had had in the past, and was continuing to have, with high-level people in the Russian government. So, it 's not as if, just some guy who had never had any relationship with Russia has been alleged to be involved in the Russians ' interference in the election.

[ T] hat 's also against the backdrop of the information that Papadopoulos had provided, and that then was corroborated to the extent that then Wikileaks did do the email dump, as predicted there, and identified that a person in the campaign that was coordinating that.

Combined with[ Steele], who had been someone with whom the FBI had worked for many years, both in an official capacity at[ REDACTED], and then afterwards, whom they had found to be credible.
I believe criminal cases had been made, or he had participated in criminal cases[.] So again, not just somebody out of the blue. And he was also very knowledgeable of Russia, which is not an easy place to break into, in terms of getting information.

[ I] t may have been, the information that[ Steele] had acquired, may have been at the behest of the Clinton campaign or the DNC. I guess I would emphasize the word" may'' there. That again, my understanding was that the FBI did not know who he was working for. In fact, and this is one of these things I have a hard time teasing out, what I knew then versus what I may know now, or have learned since, is that[ Steele], my understanding is at one point, was actually working for someone connected with the Republican Party. I do n't know, again, whether I knew that at the time, or not. I 'm not at all sure about that. So, while certainly there was[ an] implication that he was doing opposition research, it 's got ta be for somebody. I mean, he 's been hired by someone. My understanding was that the FBI did n't know who. And that is a factor to consider in this.

But that was not the determinative factor, when you 're talking about gathering foreign intelligence, not when it 's against the backdrop of all of the other information there.
And the FBI, who are experts in this, who have people who do this all day, every day, and the folks in DOJ who work with them on that, all believed that this was an important FISA to get, and to get now. So it 's against the back-drop of that, of believing that it met the legal standards for a FISA, which appear to be borne out, given that it 's been signed and reauthorized a number of times through the FISA court. It, I believed then and I believe now, it was the appropriate step to take. They 're not all easy decisions that you make when you 're DAG.

Following Ol 's presentation, Yates signed the application, and OI submitted the application to the FISC the same day.
By her signature, and as stated in the application, Yates found that the application satisfied the criteria and requirements of the FISA statute and approved its filing with the court.

E. Final Orders

The final FISA application included proposed orders, which were signed by then Chief Judge of the FISC, Rosemary Collyer, on October 21, 2016.
According to NSD, the Chief Judge signed the final orders as proposed by the government in their entirety, without holding a hearing.

The primary order and warrant stated that the court found, based upon the facts submitted in the verified application, that there was probable caμse to believe that Russia is a foreign power and that Carter Page was an agent of Russia under 50 U.S.C. § 1801 E.
The court also found that the[ REDACTED]. The court authorized the request electronic surveillance[ REDACTED] for 90 court days[ REDACTED] to effectuate the electronic surveillance[ REDACTED] authorized by the court. The authorization also permitted the government to[ REDACTED]
Highlighted Information
Narrative Web
Times Cloud
Places Cloud
Subjects Cloud
Actions Cloud
Objects Cloud
Contexts Cloud