Tag Archives: FISA breaches

Nunes Memo Released by President Trump | Cites 1970’s law for releasing classified information | Feb 02 2018

FACT CHECK: Read The GOP Memo Released By House Intelligence Committee

|| NPR

“A memo alleging the FBI abused its surveillance authority became public on Friday after a push by House Republicans. President Trump authorized the memo’s release, even after the FBI expressed “grave concerns” about the “accuracy” of the document, authored by House intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif.

NPR journalists who cover the Justice Department, the White House and national security have annotated the White House’s authorization letter and the memo itself.

January 18, 2018
Declassified by order of the President on February 2, 2018
To: HPSCI Majority Members
From: HPSCI Majority Staff

The Nunes memo, as it has come to be known, was compiled by members of the Republican staff on the House intelligence committee. On Monday, the committee voted along party lines to release the memo.

Subject: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Purpose

This memorandum provides Members an update on significant facts relating to the Committee’s ongoing investigation into the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and their use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) during the 2016 presidential election cycle. Our findings, which are detailed below, 1) raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain DOJ and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), and 2) represent a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from abuses related to the FISA process.

Investigation Update

On October 21, 2016, DOJ and FBI sought and received a FISA probable cause order (not under Title VII) authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISC. Page is a U.S. citizen who served as a volunteer advisor to the Trump presidential campaign. Consistent with requirements under FISA, the application had to be first certified by the Director or Deputy Director of the FBI. It then required the approval of the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General (DAG), or the Senate-confirmed Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division.

The FBI and DOJ obtained one initial FISA warrant targeting Carter Page and three FISA renewals from the FISC. As required by statute (50 U.S.C. §1805(d)(1)), a FISA order on an American citizen must be renewed by the FISC every 90 days and each renewal requires a separate finding of probable cause. Then-Director James Comey signed three FISA applications in question on behalf of the FBI, and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed one. Then-DAG Sally Yates, then-Acting DAG Dana Boente, and DAG Rod Rosenstein each signed one or more FISA applications on behalf of DOJ.

Due to the sensitive nature of foreign intelligence activity, FISA submissions (including renewals) before the FISC are classified. As such, the public’s confidence in the integrity of the FISA process depends on the court’s ability to hold the government to the highest standard ­— particularly as it relates to surveillance of American citizens. However, the FISC’s rigor in protecting the rights of Americans, which is reinforced by 90-day renewals of surveillance orders, is necessarily dependent on the government’s production to the court of all material and relevant facts. This should include information potentially favorable to the target of the FISA application that is known by the government. In the case of Carter Page, the government had at least four independent opportunities before the FISC to accurately provide an accounting of the relevant facts. However, our findings indicate that, as described below, material and relevant information was omitted.

1) The “dossier” compiled by Christopher Steele (Steele dossier) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application. Steele was a longtime FBI source who was paid over $160,000 by the DNC and Clinton campaign, via the law firm Perkins Coie and research firm Fusion GPS, to obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

  1. Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials.
  2. The initial FISA application notes Steele was working for a named U.S. person, but does not name Fusion GPS and principal Glenn Simpson, who was paid by a U.S. law firm (Perkins Coie) representing the DNC (even though it was known by DOJ at the time that political actor were involved with the Steele dossier). The application does not mention Steele was ultimately working on behalf of — and paid by — the DNC and Clinton campaign, or that the FBI had separately authorized payment to Steele for the same information.

2) The Carter Page FISA application also cited extensively a September 23, 2016, Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, which focuses on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow. This article does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo News. The Page FISA application incorrectly assesses that Steele did not directly provide information to Yahoo News. Steele has admitted in British court filings that he met with Yahoo News — and several other outlets — in September 2016 at the direction of Fusion GPS. Perkins Coie was aware of Steele’s initial media contacts because they hosted at least one meeting in Washington D.C. in 2016 with Steele and Fusion GPS where this matter was discussed.”

…..Continue reading more @ NPR with NPR commentary on the memo

Comey, Yates, McCabe, Rosenstein All Signed Off On Misleading FISA Applications

|| Daily Caller

“A number of top FBI and Justice Department officials neglected to provide essential information to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) when applying for a warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, according to the House Intelligence Committee memo produced Friday.

The memo states that Former FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, former Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe, and former Attorney General Sally Yates were all required to sign off on the FISC warrant application before it was reviewed and ultimately approved.

“As required by statute (50 U.S.C.), a FISA order on an American citizen must be renewed by the ISC every 90 days and each renewal requires a separate finding of probable cause. Then-Director James Comey signed three FISA applications in question on behalf of the FBI, and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed one. Sally Yates, then-Acting DAG Dana Boente, and DAG Rod Rosenstein each signed one or more FISA applications,” the memo reads.

The memo further claims those officials were aware at the time of their signing that the unsubstantiated Steele opposition research dossier, which was included to bolster their warrant application, was paid for by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Clinton campaign; but the application did not include that information.

While the memo asserts the dossier was used in the initial warrant application, it does not specify if it was used in the three successive applications to extend the warrant, which must be filed every 90 days and must include new evidence to support probable cause. The aforementioned four senior agents signed off at various points throughout the roughly one year Page was under surveillance.

The importance of the infamous Steele dossier is demonstrated clearly in the memo, which cites McCabe as having testified that the warrant to surveil Page would not have been approved without the politically funded opposition research.

“Furthermore, Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information”

President Donald Trump indicated he was open to the possibility of firing Rosenstein due to his role in failing to disclose the political funding behind the salacious Steele dossier on the FBI’s FISC warrant application.

“Does it make you more likely to fire Rosenstein? Do you still have confidence in him?” Trump was asked by reporters in the oval office Friday after the highly anticipated memo was released.

“You figure that one out,” Trump responded, according to the White House press pool.”

…Continue reading more @ Daily Caller

 

 

Obama Administration Engaged in Previously Undisclosed Violations of the 4th Amendment | May 26, 2017

Turley | Report: Obama Administration Carried Out Massive and Unconstitutional Surveillance Programs

|| JonathanTurley.org

“With the steady stream of controversies swirling around the White House, there has been little attention given a highly disturbing report that the Obama Administration engaged in previously undisclosed and violations of the Fourth Amendment.  Just a few days from the 2016 election, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) reportedly raised a highly unusual alarm over the creation of “a very serious Fourth Amendment issue” by possibly unconstitutional surveillance conducted under President Barack Obama.

If true, this should be given equal attention to the other stories crowding our front pages and cable coverage.  The Obama Administration has a well-documented history of abuse of surveillance and stands as one of the most antagonistic administrations toward privacy in our history.  Indeed, if true, many of the former Obama officials currently testifying against the Trump Administration were responsible for a far broader scope of abusive surveillance programs.

Recently disclosed top-secret documents from the FISA court suggest that the government admitted that the NSA was regularly violating surveillance rules. Not that these violations were occurring after the unconstitutional surveillance programs revealed by Wikileaks and Snowdon were curtailed.  It also would have occurred after the disclosure that the Obama Administration put journalists under surveillance.

The FISA indicate that the government informed the court that NSA analysts had been violating rules, established in 2011, that protect the privacy of citizens on the Internet.  Once again, the NSA claimed new “inadvertent compliance lapses.”  The Court noted in its dealings with the NSA a certain “lack of candor” in its disclosures to the FISA court.

It is very rare for the FISA court to make such statements.  (For full disclosure, I had occasion to go to the FISA court when I was an intern with the NSA and later became a critic of the court).  The standards for FISA are so low and easily satisfied (with little judicial review) that it is difficult to establish any illegality under the law.

Passed in 1978 as a compromise with the Nixon Administration, FISA allows for “foreign intelligence” surveillance and was designed to evade the fourth amendment protections governing the use of warrants.  FISA surveillance is permitted based on a finding of probable cause that the surveillance target is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. That is manifestly different from probable cause to believe someone has committed a crime.   It is true that, if the target is a “U.S. person,” there must be probable cause to believe that the U.S. person’s activities may involve espionage or other similar conduct in violation of the criminal statutes of the United States.  However, citizens can be collateral to the primary target under FISA. In 1994 Congress extended FISA further to allow for covert physical entries in connection with “security” investigations, and then in 1998, it was amended to permit pen/trap orders. It has been used to gather business records.

By any measure, this story deserves the attention of the national media and Congress.  However, it is being buried in the crush of controversies related to the Russian investigation, embarrassing leaks, and other items. The media is correct in pursuing these legitimate stories but it should also give attention to this chilling report. There was equally limited coverage of the expansion of surveillance authority in the final days of the Obama Administration.  Privacy advocates have serious concerns about these privacy stories being pushed from public review.”

….Continue reading more @ JonathanTurley.org

 

Border Patrol Agent Died after Being Stabbed by Cartel Member, Says DHS Secretary Kelly

|| Breitbart

“A Tweet quotes Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly saying a Border Patrol agent died last night after being stabbed in the face by a cartel member.

Huffington Post politics and immigration reporter Elise Foley Tweeted on Thursday, “DHS Secretary John Kelly says a CBP officer died last night after being stabbed in the face by a cartel member.”

This was followed shortly by a Tweet from U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Twitter account stating that Border Patrol Agent Isaac Morales had died. “CBP mourns the loss of USBP Agent Isaac Morales. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and fellow agents during this difficult time—KM,” the Tweet states.”

….Continue reading more @ Breitbart