The inspector general’s findings seem to confirm what many have suspected all along: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) request made during the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation doesn’t pass the sniff test. In total, there were 17 errors submitted four times. The level of incompetence required to make these errors in four separate court submissions is nigh inconceivable, leaving two questions that must be answered: Was this flub – or felony? And if the latter, how far does the corruption extend?
Frank Watt, a 1983 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a 22-year veteran of the FBI, believes that these errors would have been career-ending felonies in any other situation. He explained in an article for American Thinker:
“The report of the I.G.’s findings on the use of FISA in the FBI Crossfire Hurricane investigation is an outrage. As a 22 year FBI Agent, I have personally conducted multiple investigations using both Title III ‘wiretaps’ and FISA authorized intercepts. From this perspective, I can only see two possible interpretations of the actions of the FBI and DOJ. Either scenario should anger and frighten every fair minded citizen who takes the time to read the report and understand its implications.”
As Watt further explained, these “errors” made it past a great many eyes. The case had to be approved by both the FBI director, James Comey, and the attorney general. In addition, the IG’s report identified several others who reviewed and approved the FISA affidavit to surveil Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign: “National Security Division’s (NSD) 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.”
That long list of required approvals seems like it should prevent mistakes of the caliber and frequency enumerated by the IG. Was this a rogue group acting independently, providing sanctions all the way to the top?
When a FISA warrant is authorized, the FBI is allowed to conduct telephone, microphone, cell phone, email, and computer surveillance against the named person’s home, office, and vehicle. They can even access the individual’s safe deposit box and intercept his or her mail. In the wake of the IG report, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), which authorizes such extraordinary examinations, has been shown to be extremely deferential to law enforcement and approves 99% of all search warrant requests. In return for the suspension of Fourth Amendment rights, the court ostensibly requires extremely reliable and meticulously detailed applications.
The presiding FISC judge, Rosemary M. Collyer, gave a harsh rebuke to the FBI and NSD. Liberty Nation’s Scott D. Cosenza, Esq. explains the issue:
“The former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page is not, and was not, a ‘foreign government agent.’ That is a vital fact surrounding the Obama administration’s attempt to get court-ordered taps for his communications. FISCs are permitted by statute only to grant secret wiretaps when the target is a ‘foreign power’ or an ‘agent of a foreign power.’”
Andrew McCabe has been fired. The Grand Jury is looking into how he intentionally abused the FISA process while conspiring with Peter Strzok to use the notorious and now discredited Steele Dossier to undermine the president. The list of “non-indicted co-conspirators” is extensive. It includes James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bruce and Nellie Ohr, Christopher Steele, Glenn Simpson, John Brennan, Sally Yates, Loretta Lynch, James Clapper, Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Samantha Powers, Hillary Clinton, Valerie Jarrett, and the DNC.
But back to the IG report: It focuses specifically on House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) falsehoods. White House Deputy Communications Director Adam Kennedy told NPR that Rep. Schiff and others weren’t just completely wrong – they were misleading the public about what the president had done, and they deserve to be held accountable for that.
No doubt Attorney General Bill Barr and his appointed investigator John Durham are looking closely at all the thumbprints on the Steele dossier left by the above cast of characters. Will the bad actors among the group ever be charged and face justice? Only time will tell.
Read more from Lorraine Silvetz, MSW.