In a stinging rebuke to the FBI, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court) publicly scolded the Bureau for its behavior in seeking to gain a warrant for Carter Page, at that time an adviser to Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign. The warrant application, a key aspect of the Bureau’s investigation into alleged Russian intervention into the 2016 elections, should never have been granted given the Bureau’s missteps.
According to the court:
The FBI’s handling of the Carter Page applications, as portrayed in the OIG report, was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above. 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.
That’s pretty damning stuff. The court further stated that:
The FISC expects the government to provide complete and accurate information in every filing with the Court. Without it, the FISC cannot properly ensure that the government conducts electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes only when there is a sufficient factual basis.
That brings us to the real problem with the FISA court. Yes, the FBI may have been acting in bad faith. But every court should assume automatically that law enforcement officers are lying. A court that just takes the government’s word at face value is nothing more than a kangaroo court, a rubber stamp that police forces and intelligence agencies will take advantage of to further their own personal agendas.
That appears to have been what happened with the FISA court’s approval of the warrant to surveil Carter Page, as the court accepted everything the FBI said at face value. Unless the court does its due diligence and actually investigates the FBI’s claims, there’s no telling what the Bureau, and other agencies, could be getting away with.
Yes, the FBI was at fault here, but so was the FISA court. The court needs to do its own homework and not assume that everything it is being told by government agents is factually correct. And if the court actually believes that its order that “the government shall, no later than January 10, 2020, 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” will ensure that the FBI doesn’t lie in the future, then the court is fooling itself and needs to be completely disbanded.
We’re witnessing a slow motion coup attempt as government agencies and government courts are attempting to remove from office a legitimately elected President just because they didn’t like the fact that he got elected. It’s time to really hold these people’s feet to the fire to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.