Sharyl Attkisson: Why Wasn’t Dossier Verified for FISA Court?

Joe Scudder
Written by Joe Scudder

According to the “Woods Procedures,” the FBI should have had the Steele dossier verified before presenting it.

Sharyl Attkisson wants to know why FBI leaders didn’t make sure the dossier was verified before they brought it to the FISA court. As a journalist, Attkisson has had her own adventures with government surveillance, so her observations on the FISA memo are especially weighty. The FBI, she says, is supposed to follow the “Woods procedures” when bringing a case for a warrant to the FISA court. But it appears they were ignored.

Were they ignored?

And, if they were, was this an exception or are they always ignored?

Sharyl Attkisson writes at The Hill: “Nunes memo raises question: Did FBI violate Woods Procedures?

For all the debate over the House Republican memo pointing to alleged misconduct by some current and former FBI and Justice Department officials, one crucial point hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves.

[…]

The point is: There are strict rules requiring that each and every fact presented in an FBI request to electronically spy on a U.S. citizen be extreme-vetted for accuracy — and presented to the court only if verified.

There’s no dispute that at least some, if not a great deal, of information in the anti-Trump “Steele dossier” was unverified or false. Former FBI director James Comey testified as much himself before a Senate committee in June 2017. Comey repeatedly referred to “salacious” and “unverified” material in the dossier, which turned out to be paid political opposition research against Donald Trump funded first by Republicans, then by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Presentation of any such unverified material to the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to justify a wiretap would appear to violate crucial procedural rules, called “Woods Procedures,” designed to protect U.S. citizens.

Yet Comey allegedly signed three of the FISA applications on behalf of the FBI. Deputy Director Andrew McCabe reportedly signed one and former Attorney General Sally Yates, then-Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein each reportedly signed one or more.

Read the entire column.

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About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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