It’s been out of sight, out of mind for so long that most probably forgot about Carter Page’s lawsuit against DOJ and the various government officials who forged the FISA warrant targeting him. Unfortunately, on Thursday, Page received some devastating news about his quest for accountability.
Judge Dabney L. Friedrich, who was appointed by Donald Trump, dismissed the lawsuit.
Judge Friedrich has dismissed Carter PAGE's long-running lawsuit against DOJ, the FBI and many individuals involved in the FISA warrants used to surveil him.https://t.co/p1k92bYK05
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) September 1, 2022
I’m no lawyer, so I’m not going to attempt to dissect why exactly what happened, though I’ll give some reaction below. Here’s The Federalist’s Margot Cleveland, who follows the legal aspects of all this very closely, giving her initial thoughts.
BREAKING: Federal court tossed @carterwpage lawsuit. Haven't studied opinion yet but from briefing my view was dismissal inappropriate. From justice, it is outrageous. But Carter's legal rep includes @McAdooGordon so in best hands. She's whom I would hired if I needed to. pic.twitter.com/v3rqCLAH1E
— Margot Cleveland (@ProfMJCleveland) September 1, 2022
Again, I can’t talk about the legal ins and outs here, but this just makes no sense to your average onlooker. What happened to Page was terrible, and the idea that he would have zero recourse as an American citizen after having his life destroyed by out-of-control partisans at the DOJ and FBI is insane. The message being sent here is that government officials can abuse their power while facing nothing more than some classroom time and a slap on the wrist. Even Andrew McCabe, who was near the center of the scandal, ended up getting his retirement because government officials are untouchable.
What incentive does the DOJ have to not use the levers of government power and surveillance to harass and target Republicans? Obviously, they can get away with it, and they have. Heck, the one guy, Kevin Clinesemith, who was prosecuted and plead guilty for forging documents related to the Page FISA warrant ended up not serving his full probation stint and being given his law license back. When no one pays a price for corruption, that incentivizes more corruption, and that’s exactly what we’ve been getting.
The recent spate of whistleblowers forcing changes at the DOJ has offered some glimmer of hope that things will change, but I’m still of the mind that these agencies must be torn down and completely rebuilt. There’s a role for federal law enforcement, but it needs to exist in a limited fashion that goes out of its way to respect the rights of Americans. Until that happens, the calls to defund the FBI and such will only grow louder, and you aren’t going to find me disagreeing.
As to Page, I hope this isn’t his last move in trying to get justice. He’s got great representation (including Leslie McAdoo Gordon) on his side, and I’m sure they’ve got some more tricks up their sleeve.