The errors are similar to those found in an earlier investigation of surveillance that targeted 2016 Trump presidential campaign aide Carter Page, he added.
In the past two months, investigators selected 29 applications from eight FBI field offices to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to surveil suspected American spies and terrorists, as well as 34 internal FBI and Justice Department accuracy reviews of FISC applications to spy 42 Americans.
“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”, the report said on Tuesday.
Woods Procedures refers to a FBI jargon for the background file that is supposed to document every fact presented in a FISC application.
Of the 29 applications chosen for the audit, the FBI was unable to locate four Woods Files and it appeared that Woods Procedures files did not exist for another three, the report said.
Moreover, of the internal FBI and Justice Department reviews of applications to spy on 42 Americans, 39 of the applications contained 390 “issues, including unverified, inaccurate, or inadequately supported facts”, the report said.
The report emphasized that the latest audit is only partially complete with examiners planning to take a closer look at FBI and Justice Department oversight mechanisms to identify “adequate corrective action” for future FISC applications.
The latest investigation was prompted by a scathing December 2019 Inspector General probe of FBI applications to spy on Trump campaign operative Page, the report said.
The earlier report documented more than a dozen omissions and misrepresentations of the government's application to wiretap Page, based largely on a widely discredited dossier compiled by a former UK intelligence officer, who was indirectly funded by the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The FBI, in responding to the latest report, noted that the agency has already implemented sweeping corrective actions that go beyond recommendations in the December 2019 audit.