1. The first thing to look for is the actual scope of the FBI's misconduct--whether by omission or commission. Solomon expects Horowitz to document
"between six and 12 failures, mistakes and acts of misconduct. These will range from the serious offense of altering a government document to failures to provide the courts evidence and information required under the FISA process."
Obviously, the larger the number of serious problems of this sort that are identified, the louder the calls for tougher oversight and reform of FBI procedures will be.
2. A major focus falling under #1 is whether the FBI withheld from the FISC exculpatory evidence that it is required to reveal. Solomon expects the report to focus on the exculpatory statements that George Papadopoulos made to one of the FBI informants who was targeted against Papadopoulos in London--one of the now famous "OCONUS lures." However, Solomon also will be looking for similar issues to be raised regarding Carter Page. In the case of Page, in my opinion, a concerted effort was made in the FISA application to conceal the true nature and extent of Page's past cooperation with the FBI, which would have cast serious doubt on the claim that Page was a Russian agent.
3. A second focus under the heading of "information withheld" has to do with "derogatory information" concerning Christopher Steele--by far the most important source used to justify the FISA order against Carter Page. A reading of the application reveals that the FBI clearly obscured the major point that Steele was working for the Clinton campaign and was known to have provided demonstrably false information. This becomes of increased importance when the renewal applications are examined. We should examine the report carefully in that regard. To give just one example, the demonstrably false story of the Alfa bank server should have been revealed to the FISC as blowing huge holes in Steele's credibility. Will Horowitz go there?
4. The Use of Steele's planted dossier stories in Yahoo News as corroboration for Steele's "official" dossier--what Solomon calls "circular reporting." In other words, had the FBI been honest with the FISC they would have said something like: We know Steele is reliable because he said the same things to Yahoo that he produced as opposition research for the Clinton campaign. I'll also be interested to learn whether this is also the case with the claim that the State Department had identified Page was a foreign agent. I strongly suspect that that was more circular reporting, deriving from Steele. None of this was revealed to the FISC.
5. Did the FBI actually conduct full verification under the Woods Procedures for vetting FISA applications? This issue has to do with Steele's claims that Carter Page met close associates of Vladimir Putin in Russia while Page was associated with the Trump campaign.
6. When did the FBI first begin to doubt the validity of the Steele dossier? In this regard Solomon notes:
Congressional Republicans have demanded the release of a series of email chains they claim might show FBI and DOJ officials had similar heartburn about the reliability of the document.
Will Horowitz go there?
7. Related to #6 is the question: What did the FBI know and when did they learn it--regarding Steele's multiple leaks to media outlets? How did that affect the FBI's views as to Steele's reliability and his asset relationship--which appears to have continued on the sly, using DoJ's Bruce Ohr as a cutout?
8. How will Horowitz deal with the endemic political bias at the FBI? Will he regard that as having an effect on the FISA application process--including the renewal applications?
9. How many, if any, criminal referrals and referrals for disciplinary action will Horowitz make?
10. Lessons Learned. Under this heading Solomon suggests we look for recommendations for reform of the entire FISA regime:
What will Horowitz recommend as remedies so we don’t have another Russia collusion fiasco in the future? Do FBI and DOJ need new rules and thresholds for opening probes of candidates and campaigns? Does the FBI system for vetting informants need to be fixed? Does the FISA court need a public advocate to protect the liberties of Americans targeted for warrants to create a check and balance on the FBI? Do the Woods procedures for verifying evidence for a FISA warrant need revision or overhaul? These are weighty questions that the FBI, DOJ and Congress almost certainly will face in the coming months.
Read it all.