FISA Abuse Can’t be Swept Under the Rug

Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz testifies before a House Committee on the Judiciary and House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform joint hearing on'Oversight of the FBI and DOJ Actions in Advance of the 2016 Election', on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Despite public testimony by DoJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz before Congress, as well as dissenting statements by Attorney General William Barr and US Attorney John Durham, the legacy media and Democrats everywhere remain fixated on these two statements from the Executive Summary of the FISA abuse report:

We concluded that (Counterintelligence Division Assistant Director Bill) Priestap’s exercise of discretion in opening the investigation was in compliance with Department and FBI policies, and we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced his decision.

We also concluded that … the FBI had an authorized purpose when it opened Crossfire Hurricane to obtain information about, or protect against, a national security threat or federal crime, even though the investigation also had the potential to impact constitutionally protected activity.

The furious propagation by the legacy media of the reports’ summary points, while at the same time ignoring the incriminating details in the report itself, was previously reported on here. It has been widely reported that there were 17 “significant errors or omissions” that were discovered by Horowitz’s team in the Carter Page FISA warrant applications. That phrase itself was carefully selected to minimize the characterization of the flagrant criminal conduct committed at the highest levels of Obama’s FBI and DoJ.

It is also now clear that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) was made aware of those “errors” at least 18 months ago but chose to do nothing about it until after the Horowitz report was released, as noted here:

There have been a number of other honest reports similar to Kim Strassel’s about the detailed findings buried in the body of the Horowitz report. Most of the objective (non-legacy media) reports have been observations of journalists and editorialists commenting from the perspective of outsiders and academics not intimately familiar with the FISA process and associated safeguards, and thus the true seriousness of what transpired has not been effectively conveyed to the American public at large. Here is how Frank Watt, a 22-year FBI veteran who has personally submitted FISA warrant applications, describes it:

Typically, a FISA warrant is issued to target a foreign national and, in general, the resulting intercepts come largely from overseas communications. FISA generally requires a lower evidentiary threshold than a “Title III wiretap” (used to intercept and monitor communications in domestic criminal matters). To use a FISA surveillance against a US citizen is a somewhat exceptional step. Basically, it negates Constitutional protections afforded to all Americans based on the judicial determination that the citizen is acting as an agent of a foreign power.

….

No law enforcement officer of any worth would stand before a judge and swear to an affidavit that he or she suspected was not completely true and accurate. No competent supervisory chain of command would permit that to happen. To risk the loss or restriction of that invaluable tool would be unacceptable.

In the course of my FBI career, I have authored multiple affidavits in support of “wire tap” investigations. Among these cases were investigations of sufficient profile to be included in the daily briefing of then Director Mueller (as well as to entities at the Pentagon, Department of State and to the White House). In every case, as I stood before the judge to obtain the authorization to conduct the wire tap, my supporting affidavit had been checked, rechecked, and approved by (at a minimum) the principal legal advisor at my field office, the line prosecutors at the US Attorney’s Office for the appropriate jurisdiction,  DOJ attorneys at the Office of Enforcement Operations at Main Justice, and program managers, legal counsel, and Division heads at FBI Headquarters.

….

In addition to the approval obviously granted by the Director and AG, the IG’s report identified the following additional high level officials who reviewed and approved the Page FISA affidavit:  “NSD’s Acting Assistant Attorney General, NSD’s Deputy Assistant Attorney General with oversight over 01, 01’s Operations Section Chief and Deputy Section Chief, the DAG, Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General, and the Associate Deputy Attorney General responsible for ODAG’s national security portfolio.”

The suggestion that somehow, seventeen significant errors, omissions of fact, falsehoods, or deliberate misrepresentations made their way into a FISA affidavit/s (accidentally, at the hand of an anonymous case agent) and then were not immediately noted and corrected throughout the course of this exceptional review process is simply not believable.

There is a LOT more insider information on FISAs in that article, including review procedures and the need for verifying that “fruits” of the initial warrant need to justify any renewals. And there was NO incriminating evidence on Carter Page gathered over the many months that he was under electronic surveillance. As many have argued since the Horowitz report was released, including during the Senate’s questioning of IG Horowitz, the only possibilities for egregious FISA abuse were either incompetence by multiple layers of senior personnel involved in obtaining and approving the warrants (entirely unbelievable) or purposeful corruption and bias intent on achieving a politically-expedient outcome.

Former FBI special agent Frank Watt gave us all a window into what REALLY happened – that few people who only consume legacy media sources will ever see. These weren’t simply “administrative errors” or the result of “inadvertent” actions. A bright red line that should have raised alarm bells everywhere in the FBI and DoJ was crossed in using FISA against domestic citizens associated with a US presidential campaign. Those “alarm bells” were ignored, and the errors that Horowitz identified all went in one direction – against Carter Page and, ultimately, the President. And many experienced supervisory-level personnel in both the FBI and DoJ were all part of abusing the FISA process. Toss in the FISC’s awareness of those errors many months ago, and the word “conspiracy” immediately comes to mind – a REAL one, not like the debunked Russia collusion conspiracy that the same media covering for the FBI’s FISA abuse sold to us for 2.5 years.

The only possibly conclusion is that their behavior was willful and corrupt from the very beginning. There HAS to be real accountability for the actions of these people. There HAS to be criminal referrals and indictments, as well as tough actions by FBI Director Christopher Wray. We can’t let the Holidays and the central focus on impeachment distract us from demanding accountability for these people through our elected representatives. Everyone should be outraged at the gross violations of the Fourth Amendment’s privacy rights of US citizens by the Obama FBI, DoJ, and FISC. It could happen to you, too!

The end.