Monday, February 5, 2018

Did Comey et al Violate The Woods Procedures?

Sharyl Attkisson may be the only real journalist left: Nunes memo raises question: Did FBI violate Woods Procedures? I've rearrnged the quote slightly for my own sense of order:
Woods Procedures were named for Michael Woods, the FBI official who drafted the rules as head of the Office of General Counsel’s National Security Law Unit. They were instituted in April 2001 to “ensure accuracy with regard to … the facts supporting probable cause” after recurring instances, presumably inadvertent, in which the FBI had presented inaccurate information to the FISA court.

Prior to Woods Procedures, “[i]ncorrect information was repeated in subsequent and related FISA packages,” the FBI told Congress in August 2003. “By signing and swearing to the declaration, the headquarters agent is attesting to knowledge of what is contained in the declaration.”
So, can you see where this is going?
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.
Which would put each of these people in violation of the rule, by signing that they attested to their knowledge of what was in the documents submitted for the FISA warrant.

This is probably not strictly law, but an administrative interpretation, so violating it may not be an actual crime (although the judges of the FISA court would have a right to be pretty pissed off). However, violating such a rule, deliberately, with malice against the Trump campaign and administration could certainly be construed as a firing offense. Need an excuse to fire Rosenstein? Here it is.

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