Nearly all the inaccuracies and omissions cited by an internal watchdog report of the Justice Department and FBI of their practices for seeking approval of intelligence-related surveillance were minor or involved paperwork problems, a review has concluded.
Politico noted that Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s office, which looked at 29 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court applications late last year, had flagged 203 false statements or omissions. But a Justice Department and FBI review found that only two of those were “material.” Politico attributed the information to court documents released on Monday.
The two instances involved a misstatement and one omission in separate filings. The individuals named in the applications were not identified. In both cases, they were deemed by law enforcement agencies not to be so serious that they “invalidated” the secret surveillance warrants, according to a court filing by Melissa MacTough.
“Given that the government uncovered only two material errors amidst thousands of facts, and because those errors are not judged to have impacted probable cause, the FBI believes the results of the review … should instill confidence in the accuracy of material information the FBI submits to the Court,” wrote the FBI’s acting general counsel, Dawn Browning.
Horowitz had told Congress in December that he was concerned that “so many basic and fundamental errors" were made by the FBI as it investigated ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
His testimony came two days after the release of his report that identified significant problems with applications to receive and renew warrants to eavesdrop on a former Trump campaign aide in 2016 and 2017.
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