The ‘Woods File’ is the mandatory FBI evidence file that contains the documentary proof to verify all statements against U.S. persons that are contained in any FISA application. Remember, this is a secret court, the FISA applications result in secret Title-1 surveillance and wiretaps against U.S. persons, outside fourth amendment protections.
The absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence. However, in the case of the “missing” or “reconstructed” Woods file used to gain a Title-1 FISA surveillance warrant against U.S. person Carter Page, the overwhelming evidence shows there never was one. The Special Counsel manufactured the appearance of one ex post facto in 2018.
Here’s how we can tell:
♦ FIRST – Common Sense: Recent reports of the DOJ, FBI or NSD “losing” the Woods file are abjectly silly on their face. Given the specific importance of this specific case there’s no reasonable person who would believe such a critical file of underlying evidence would just go missing and have to be recreated by the Weissmann special counsel.
♦ SECOND – Precedent: In the March 30, 2020, memorandum written by the Office of Inspector General after review of 29 DOJ-NSD FISA applications, the IG noted the absence of Woods Files is not an uncommon occurrence. Factually within the 29 FISA applications reviewed, four were completely missing the Woods File. Meaning there was zero supportive evidence for any of the FBI claims against U.S. persons underpinning the FISA applications. [ie. The FBI just made stuff up]
♦ THIRD – How Would They Get Away With That?: To answer that question it is important to remember the DOJ-National Security Division, the entity responsible for the legal assembly of FISA applications, did not have any oversight. In 2015 the OIG requested oversight and it was Deputy AG Sally Yates who responded with a lengthy 58 page legal explanation saying, essentially, ‘nope – not allowed.’ (PDF HERE) All of the DOJ is subject to oversight, except the NSD.
The DOJ-NSD could get away with the lack of legal requirements because there was no entity providing oversight to ensure the completeness of the legal requirements they were supposed to follow. Not coincidentally this is the exact division within the DOJ that weaponized FARA investigations as the justification for political surveillance. [That becomes important later when we get to Carter Page specifics]
♦ FOURTH – Trish Anderson Admission: The Deputy General Counsel for the FBI National Security & Cyber Law Branch (NSCLB), Trisha Beth Anderson, admitted during her testimony to congress that she never verified the existence of the Woods File, nor its content. Anderson stated she never even reviewed the FISA application for appropriate assembly because it came to her from an unusual top-down process.
In front of a joint session of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees on Aug. 31, 2018, former FBI Deputy General Counsel Trisha Anderson said she was normally responsible for signing off on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications before they reached the desk of her superiors for approval. Anderson said the “linear path” those applications typically take was upended in October 2016, with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates signing off on the application before she did. Because of that unusual high-level involvement, she didn’t see the need to “second guess” the FISA application. (link)
Why did she do this? Trish Anderson disclosed why in her previously hidden testimony to congress (August 2018). [LINK]
Anderson said all FISAs need to be signed off on in the FBI’s National Security Law Branch, where she was assigned at the time. Anderson said she was the Senior Executive Service approver for the “initiation” of the Page FISA, including determining whether there is legal sufficiency.
But Anderson stressed “in this particular case, I’m drawing a distinction because my boss and my boss’ boss had already reviewed and approved this application.” She emphasized “this one was handled a little bit differently in that sense, in that it received very high-level review and approvals — informal, oral approvals — before it ever came to me for signature.”
Anderson said that FISA approvals are typically “tracked in a linear fashion” and that someone in the Senior Executive Service “is the final approver on hard copy before a FISA goes to the director or deputy director for signature.” She said the Page FISA was approved outside regular procedures. (more)
Anderson had signed-off on earlier Page FISA applications because they came to her already signed: ex. by James Comey (FBI) and Sally Yates (DOJ).
“Because there were very high-level discussions that occurred about the FISA,” Anderson said she believed that meant “the FISA essentially had already been well-vetted all the way up through at least the Deputy Director [McCabe] level on our side and through the DAG [Yates] on the DOJ side.” Yates had already signed the application by the time it made it to Anderson’s desk.
When Trish Anderson signed-off on the last Carter Page FISA renewal (June 29, 2017) the Special Counsel was now running the DOJ. Andrew Weissmann, formerly of the DOJ-NSD, was running the special counsel operation. Meanwhile FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was in position and running the FBI.
This was the third renewal where Office of General Counsel (OGC) lawyer Kevin Clinesmith fabricated evidence to hide that Carter Page was working with, and was a source for, the CIA.
Again, Deputy General Counsel Trish Anderson rubber-stamped the application because it came with pre-approval from above. Anderson never saw, nor questioned, any underlying documentation; or the absence thereof. The lack of supportive documentation, a Woods File, passed her review because the application had pre-approval by her supervisors.
♦ FIFTH – IG Horowitz Provides Cover for Institutional Issues: Within his December 2019, IG report on the four FISA applications, Inspector General Horowitz covers for the issue of missing supportive evidence by saying the customary procedure for the Woods File verification is not needed when the evidence involves a confidential human source (CHS):
This description is entirely consistent with the DOJ and FBI using the Chris Steele dossier as a replacement for the Woods File procedures. Under this sketchy justification Steele would be an FBI confidential human source (CHS). Ergo, the dossier served as the underpinning and the only requirement would be for the application to “accurately reflect what [Steele] told the FBI”. That’s how they pulled this off.
♦ SIXTH –Everyone knew it was BS – AGAIN FARA (Remember, FARA via DOJ-NSD had no oversight) this is part of the corrupt process: Senator Johnson’s FISA timeline, citing page 62 of the IG report, states categorically that FBI HQ ordered the New York Field Office to open a Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) investigation of Carter Page on April 1, 2016, and that the NYFO did so on April 6, 2016.
Since Carter Page’s alleged Russian agent status (“an agent of a foreign government”) is the critical predicate for the original and three renewal FISA applications [core of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation], how can Crossfire Hurricane team maintain they did not open investigation until July 31, 2016?
Carter Page joined the Trump campaign March 21, 2016, eleven days before the order, and ten days after the Buryakov press release identified him to the Russians as the (undercover employee) UCE responsible for burning three of their SVR agents.
Not only is is incredibly unlikely that Page — who was still on the witness list for Buryakov’s prosecution until his sentencing on May 25, 2016 — was thought an appropriate subject for recruitment by the Russians, even after associating with the Trump campaign… but even if he was, the opening of the April 6, 2016, FARA investigation by the NYFO almost four months before Crossfire Hurricane “officially” opened meant the FBI’s investigation into a Trump campaign associate began long before they say it did.
Add to that reality the fact the FARA order likely came from FBI HQ via Bill Priestap, and there is no way the FBI could credibly believe a UCE they knew responsible for burning three SVR agents had been recruited by the same SVR due to his recent association with the Trump campaign. It was all smoke and mirrors.
♦ CONCLUSION: Taking all the above into proper context, when the office of inspector general announced on March 28, 2018, that he was going to review all four of the Carter Page FISA applications; no doubt the office of the special counsel, Andrew Weissmann; who was previously the DOJ-NSD FARA targeting coordinator; moved swiftly to create the appearance of a Woods File where none previously existed. That led to the Woods Procedure justification as stated by the IG.
There never was a Woods File. The FBI and DOJ relied upon the Chris Steele Dossier as the evidence to support the FISA application. Chris Steele was identified as a Confidential Human Source, and his dossier was qualified as a replacement for the Woods File.
That’s exactly what happened. I guarantee it.