How did the FBI not violate the Woods Procedures when it presented unverified opposition research paid for by the opposing party — the “Steele dossier” — to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to obtain a warrant to spy on an American citizen for over a year? Moreover, were the FISA court Judges who signed off on the application and three separate renewals aware of the origins of the dossier and if not, why not?
I wish I knew the answer to this question and I’m sure Carter Page, the American citizen targeted by the FBI for surveillance for over a year, feels the same. As Julie Kelly of American Greatness noted last year, “even while Page was meeting with congressional investigators, the FBI, and Robert Mueller’s team, the government continued to spy on him, listening to his phone calls and seizing all of his electronic communications. At the same time, the news media continued its assault on Page aided by illegal leaks of information from people at the top echelons in government.”
The result of this surveillance? Page was never charged with a crime as the Mueller investigation “did not establish that Page coordinated with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere with the election.”
That was quite a statement in the Mueller report given what the spying of Page allowed the FBI to do in terms of surveilling members of President Trump’s team. Rep. Devin Nunes elaborated on this point last year in the following interview with Maria Bartiromo.
Where does Carter Page go for his apology? How about those Americans picked up by authorities incidentally? What court does Page appeal to when the court that ran roughshod over his rights is too “secret” for even the falsely accused to know what they were being targeted for? Is there a court above the FISA court that holds the unelected accountable? Without any representation, Americans simply have no rights under FISA.
So, what are the Woods Procedures? They were instituted in April 2001 and require the FBI to vet and support the facts it presents to a FISA court when it seeks a warrant to eavesdrop on a U.S. citizen. The individual who knows this process best is none other than the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller. In a response to questions from Sen. Leahy back in August of 2003, then FBI Director Mueller explains the significance of the procedures highlighting that they were instituted in order to “minimize factual inaccuracies in FISA packages.”
Mueller continues, “specifically, the goal of the procedures is to ensure accuracy with regard to: (1) the facts supporting probable cause; (2) the existence and nature of any related criminal investigations or prosecutions involving the subject of the FISA; (3) the existence and nature of any prior or ongoing asset relationship between the subject and the FBI.”
Starting in 2003, field offices were required to follow an eight page FISA request form when eliciting information about a targets status as well as the facts and circumstances that establish probable cause to believe the target is an agent of a foreign power.
Reading the testimony from Mueller a decade and a half ago is truly stunning as it shows just how hypocritical the “Special Counsel” was in both his actions and inactions by failing to investigate, let alone acknowledge, the violations of the Woods Procedures he once so vehemently defended. This may come back to bite the government as Department of Justice court records from 2015 have provided details about how Carter Page previously cooperated with FBI agents in exposing and helping to catch Russian spies working inside the United States.
If Page’s prior asset work was not included in the FISA application or the three renewals, then what is the point of the Woods Procedures to begin with?