FISA Court Gives FBI Deadline to Reform Surveillance Warrant Process
Written by Luis Miguel
The chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) on Tuesday expressed strong criticism for the FBI over its process for submitting surveillance applications, giving the bureau a January 10 deadline to come up with solutions.
The order from FISC came in the wake of a report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, which documented a number of “errors” the FBI committed as it sought a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to monitor former Trump advisor Carter Page.
“The FBI’s handling of the Carter Page applications, as portrayed in the [Office of Inspector General] report, was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above,”
wrote FISC presiding judge Rosemary M. Collyer in her four-page order.
“The frequency with which representations made by FBI personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable.”
The order goes on to require that the government “inform the Court in a sworn written submission of what it has done, and plans to do, to ensure that the statement of facts in each FBI application accurately and completely reflects information possessed by the FBI that is material to any issue presented by the application.”
The FBI responded in a statement that director Christopher Wray has already ordered corrections to be made:
As [FBI Director Christopher Wray] has stated, the inspector general’s report describes conduct by certain FBI employees that is unacceptable and unrepresentative of the FBI as an institution. The director has ordered more than 40 corrective steps to address the report’s recommendations, including some improvements beyond those recommended by the IG.
Horowitz stopped short of saying that the FBI’s errors were motivated by political bias, despite the known anti-Trump bias of fired agent Peter Strzok, as expressed in a series of published text messages between him and his former mistress, ex-FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
The IG’s assessment has been challenged by both Attorney General William Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is conducting a broader look into the origin of the Russia investigation.
The IG report found that the FBI’s applications for surveillance warrants were almost entirely dependent on the discredited Steele dossier paid for by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign. It also revealed that agents omitted key information to FISC that made Carter Page look more suspicious.
Wray has said he does not believe there was any political bias at the FBI and rejected the notion that the bureau is part of the Deep State, calling the term
“the kind of label that is a disservice to the 37,000 men and women who work at the FBI.”
President Trump took a dig at Wray for accepting Horowitz’s conclusion about the alleged lack of FBI bias.
I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me. With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!
“The [FISA court] expects the government to provide complete and accurate information in every filing with the court,” Collyer wrote. “Without it, the [FISA court] cannot properly ensure that the government conducts electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes only when there is a sufficient factual basis.”
“The most unusual thing is that there is a body of law that the court has created, but as a practitioner that is part of that law, we have between zero and some very limited knowledge of what that law is,”
Michael Sussmann, a former Justice Department prosecutor, told Fox News.
Sussman added, “But, it’s the fact that there is a secret law and a secret body of law that makes it the most vexing.”
“Very pleased to see the FISA court condemn the FISA warrant application and process against Carter Page,” said Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of a number of Republican lawmakers who praised Collyer’s order.
Some Republicans have spoken out about reforming FISA. Representatives Chris Stewart (R-Utah) and Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) introduced last week the FISA Improvements Act, which would mandate that amicus curiae — an impartial court advisor — be assigned to all cases where a U.S. person is involved.
The question that arises is:
How can Americans truly trust that the “impartial” court advisor would be any more impartial that the supposedly objective agents of the FBI?
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