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December 18, 2019

More FISA Regs Won’t Stop Political Lies

The court issued a rare public rebuke of the FBI for its abuse in investigating Trump.

In a rare move, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) issued a stinging public rebuke of the FBI over FISA abuse in its surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, which was uncovered by Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Judge Rosemary Collyer wrote, “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.”

Furthermore, the FISA court ordered the FBI to present plans for what the agency has done and will 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.”

What this unusual public action taken by FISC makes clear is that the court is furious over how it was repeatedly lied to and used by politically motivated members of the FBI in order to secure surveillance warrants. The court gave the FBI a deadline of Jan. 10 to present its proposal for “fixing” this problem. But therein lies the real problem: How does one fix the unfixable? This is not a problem that can be fixed simply by adding more regulations. No amount of new regulations will prevent unscrupulous individuals with biased political motivations from lying in the future.

Meanwhile, how many of these individuals within the FBI who lied and engaged in deceitful actions to hide information from the FISA court are currently under prosecution? What are the consequences for this gross abuse? To this point, virtually none. However, all hope is not lost, as prosecutor John Durham’s criminal investigation may bring indictments against some of these corrupt individuals.

Leftmedia outlets quickly either brushed aside this huge story for not comporting with their anti-Trump narrative or they spun the court’s rebuke as little more than an argument for overhauling the FISA application process. The New York Times falsely asserted that Horowitz’s report “debunked the claims by President Trump … that senior FBI officials were part of a political conspiracy.” Horowitz debunked nothing; he simply noted that he had no hard evidence proving that the 17 “significant errors or omissions” made by individuals within the FBI and Justice Department were made either with intentionality or gross negligence. That’s a long way from “debunking” any of Trump’s claims, and the FISA court’s rebuke indicates as much.

To all honest observers, there was a clear pattern of politically motivated behavior from the agents involved. The facts are that the FBI targeted the political campaign of the party not in power by knowingly using dubious information to garner a surveillance warrant. This is illegal and criminal abuse of the FISA court. How can any American trust the FBI going forward?

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