FCC Commissioner: Schiff Violated Rights by Probing Private Phone Calls
Written by Luis Miguel
House intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.; shown) was censured by a member of the Federal Communications Commission for participating in the “secret and partisan” act of collecting and diffusing private phone records during the impeachment investigation into President Trump.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, chosen by President Trump and confirmed by the Senate in 2017 and again in 2018, explained he was disturbed by Schiff’s handling of the impeachment probe against the president in 2019. Carr called for scrutiny of the senator’s secretive subpoenas and demanded to know whether he continues to examine private phone records.
“Chairman Schiff has been collecting Americans’ private call records through a secret and partisan process,” Carr wrote on Twitter. “He even published some of them in the Impeachment Report. These sensitive records are protected by federal law. His conduct raises serious concerns, and I’ve asked for answers.”
In a five-page letter sent to Schiff, Carr blasted the intelligence chairman for violating the rights of individuals:
I am writing to you because your committee has collected — and may still be collecting — the protected and confidential call records of private citizens and government officials alike through a secret and partisan process that deprives Americans of their legal right to maintain the privacy of this sensitive information.
The FCC commissioner added that “federal law has long protected the privacy and confidentiality of Americans’ call records,” including the phone numbers dialed and the date, time, and duration of calls. Carr said the FCC determined that call records contain “highly-sensitive personal information.” He observed that his agency had just recommended $200 million in fines against AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon for “apparent violations of these provisions.”
Carr notes that “in the case of the Impeachment Report, the records you published revealed private details about calls involving numerous individuals and offices, including an investigative journalist, seniors government officials (including at least one member of Congress), multiple attorneys to the President of the United States, and several executive branch offices.”
Phone logs found in House Democrats’ 658-page December report list calls made to and from Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, and others, including potentially former national security adviser John Bolton, intelligence committee ranking member Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), now-indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, Fox News host Sean Hannity, and then-National Security Council aide and former Nunes staffer Kash Patel.
The records also show a “White House phone number” and the “White House” switchboard, along with the “OMB phone number.” These calls may have been intended for Mick Mulvaney (who was then White House acting chief of staff), conservative lawyer Victoria Toensing, conservative reporter John Solomon, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow, and others.
Schiff dismissed concerns about his collection and publishing of private call records, characterizing the criticism of coming only from the “far right.”
“The blowback is only coming from the far right,” Schiff said. “Every investigator seeks phone records…. Here, we had testimony that the president charged Rudy Giuliani with carrying out this plot. Naturally, we wanted phone records to point out they had those conversations.”
The impeachment proceedings against the president centered around his alleged pressuring of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the business dealing of Hunter and Joe Biden on threat of withholding military aid from the European country.
President Trump was impeached in December and acquitted on both articles — one for abuse of power and the other for obstruction of Congress — in February.
Carr stated: “The process the committee used (and may still be using) to obtain and then publicly release these previously confidential call records raises a number of serious questions — including whether Americans are comfortable with one political party in Congress having the power to secretly obtain and expose the call records of any private citizen, journalist, or government official.”
Schiff’s report made reference to at least 3,719 pages of such records, prompting Carr to cite Section 222 of the Communications Act, which “prohibits any telecommunications carrier from releasing customer call records except as authorized by the customer or as required by law.”
Some of the questions Carr had for Schiff included why his committee carried out “a secret subpoena process that deprived Americans of their right to challenge the publication of their protected call records” and what was the “full scope and extent of the call records sought through the secret subpoena process.”
Additionally, Carr asked if the intelligence committee attempted to obtain “real-time or location data” and speculated about “whether there are First Amendment implications that flow from publishing a reporter’s call records.”
Carr concluded: “As a country, are we comfortable with one political party in Congress having the unilateral & unchecked power to secretly obtain & publicize the confidential call records of any private citizen, journalist, or government official? Chairman Schiff has been doing exactly that.”
Luis Miguel is a writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.
Courtesy of The New American