by Frank Holmes, reporter
It’s so easy to charge someone with a crime that lawyers have an old saying: You can indict a ham sandwich. Thanks to an official government watchdog report, we now know, you can spy on anyone, too.
All you have to do is lie or make “mistakes” on your application—which the government did, hundreds upon hundreds of times.
The FBI regularly asks for the right to spy on American citizens, and it routinely screws up the facts on those applications to the courts that administer the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.
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The mistakes are so common when the feds ask to spy on American “domestic terrorism” threats that there are more than a dozen apiece, on average.
That news comes from a blockbuster report from Inspector General Michael Horowitz. If that name sounds familiar, it should—he was the man whose report blew the whistle on the Obama administration’s alleged widespread and flagrant abuse of the FISA process to spy on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
It began back in 2019 when Horowitz said that FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith faked up a FISA warrant so he could spy on low-level Trump adviser Carter Page—and Special Prosecutor John Durham rang a guilty plea out of Clinesmith over it.
The facts were so damning that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court demanded the FBI reform the way it sought out these top-secret, intrusive warrants.
From the looks of the IG office’s two latest FISA reports, they had a lot to fix.
Horowitz was so amazed by what he saw that in 2020 he inspected 29 of the FBI’s FISA court applications at random—and he found that 25 of them had mistakes, errors, or “inadequately supported facts.” That means the FBI lied or made stuff up.
And as the late-night commercials say, “But wait, there’s more!”
He still couldn’t believe what he’d seen, so he reviewed more applications for this year’s report. This time, he took a look at 7,000 applications and found that in 183 of them, the documentation that would prove the FBI had a reason to spy on this America was “missing, destroyed, or incomplete.”
Then he decided to go back and look at those 29 applications from last year that had all the mistakes—and he found 200 more mistakes in that batch—in addition to the 200 mistakes Horowitz’s Office of Inspector General found before. That’s 400 mistakes in 29 applications, for an average of about 14 “mistakes” on every application the FBI files for a FISA domestic spy warrant.
The government watchdog said that the warrants regularly failed to follow official rules to make sure the warrants are “scrupulously accurate,” a set of regulations called the “Woods Procedures.”
“A failure to adhere to the Woods Procedures … could easily lead to errors that do impact probable cause — and therefore potentially call into question the legal basis for the government’s use of highly intrusive FISA warrants,” IG Horowitz said.
Of course, the FBI says there’s nothing to see here. FBI general counsel, Jason Jones, said that mistakes were made, but that’s all in the past. The federal agency’s “commitment to emphasize the importance of scrupulous accuracy will continue unabated.”
What a relief.
He said most of the files Horowitz looked at came before his recommendations, which were totally implemented at the agency. Honest.
But Horowitz looked at applications from 2015 through 2020.
Now that Joe Biden has brought much of the old Obama team out of retirement to run the Deep State again, and now that he’s said concerned parents at school board meetings are potential domestic terrorists, who are the FBI lying to — and spying on — now?
Frank Holmes is a veteran journalist and an outspoken conservative that talks about the news that was in his weekly article, “On The Holmes Front.”