That progress report raked the FBI over the coals, culminating in Horowitz stating, which I quoted in Does The Latest OIG Rip On The FBI's FISA Problems Matter?:
As a result of our audit work to date and as described below, we do not have confidence that the FBI has executed its Woods Procedures in compliance with FBI policy. Specifically, the Woods Procedures mandate compiling supporting documentation for each fact in the FISA application. Adherence to the Woods Procedures should result in such documentation as a means toward achievement of the FBI’s policy that FISA applications be “scrupulously accurate.”
Basically, OIG revealed that everywhere they looked in FBI files regarding FISA applications they found mistakes, inadequacies, and sometimes gross irregularities. In the latter category, OIG found that in 4 out of 29 applications no Woods file could be located--and in three of those cases the FBI couldn't state that the file had ever existed. Not good.
Judge Boasberg didn't waste any time. Today he issued an order based on OIG's interim findings--IN RE ACCURACY CONCERNS REGARDING FBI MATTERS SUBMITTED TO THE FISC--and he clearly wasn't amused.
The long and the short is that Boasberg intends to keep the FBI on a very short leash. We can skip over most of those details, but the important part--in my opinion--is briefly summarized:
Judge Boasberg is demanding to know the names of the US Persons (USPERs) who were targeted in the 29 FISA applications referred to in the OIG progress report. That means he'll be able to determine whether any action such as prosecution--but not necessarily limited to that--was taken against each target.
Further, he is demanding that the FBI provide him, in a sworn submission, an "assessment" of those 29 applications, explaining 1) whether the misstatements and/or omissions were material and, 2) if so, whether any of the identified material misstatements and/or omissions rendered the relevant applications invalid--in whole or in part.
For reference, here is the exact wording:
(a) assess to what extent those 29 applications involved material misstatements or omissions; and
(b) assess whether any such material misstatements and omissions render invalid, in whole or in part, authorizations granted by the Court for that target in the reviewed docket or other dockets .
At CTH they're saying that Boasberg is
asking the DOJ to explain what they did with the evidence gathered as a result of the fraudulently obtained FISA warrants. Big. If evidence obtained by execution of a fraudulently obtained warrant was used in the prosecution of any of those targets; there’s a possibility those cases will be reopened.
I didn't read that in the order. However, that could clearly happen down the line--after the FBI files its "sworn submission." Boasberg could also take such disciplinary action as a judge has against the agents and lawyers involved. But the judge has only limited ability to force such action on DoJ and the FBI.
Nevertheless, in the bigger scheme of things, I believe the importance of this development lies--as I maintained in the previous post, linked above--not in closer oversight by the FISC but in how these actions by OIG and the FISC may affect the renewal of the Patriot Act expansions of FISA. The leadership of House and Senate were unable to deliver on that renewal, despite AG Barr's urging, before recessing (Patriot Act Expansion Of FISA Lapses). They will have to take that up in the coming weeks, and it promises to be a can of worms.
There's no straight line of logic, no syllogistic conclusion that necessarily connects the OIG progress report and Judge Boasberg's order to "FISA renewal" (as it's incorrectly labeled). The point is, however, that Boasberg's order is another black eye for the FBI, another vote of no confidence in the FBI. The only way to read the order is that, like Horowitz at OIG, Boasberg questions whether the FBI is willing or able to comply with the law. He doesn't trust the FBI, and a judicial vote of no confidence will carry weight.
This will be ammunition for those representatives and senators who oppose "clean renewal", especially with regard to NSA's bulk collection of metadata that was spectacularly abused by the FBI during the Obama adminsitration. Opponents of renewal will use these developments to argue that AG Barr's claim that he can remedy these problems with more guidelines is empty. Instead, they will argue that reform and oversight must be hardwired into the process by being enshrined in the actual law, with possible criminal penalties. That will be wormwood for the FBI and DoJ.
This won't be easy for the Intel establishment. I'm not betting against them, but it will be a battle.