WARNING! House Schedules Backroom FISA Reauthorization Hearing Without Sunlight, While FISA Court and DOJ Delay…
Against the backdrop of a then pending OIG FISA report, in December of 2019 buried deep in the congressional budget Continuing Resolution (CR) was a short-term extension to reauthorize the FISA “business records provision”, the “roving wiretap” provision, the “lone wolf” provision, and the more controversial bulk metadata provisions [Call Detail Records (CDR)], all parts of the Patriot Act.
As a result of the FISA CR inclusion the terminal deadline was pushed to March 15, 2020:
FISA Court judges Rosemary Collyer (declassified 2017) and James Boasberg (declassified 2019) both identified issues with the NSA bulk database collection program being exploited for unauthorized reasons. For the past several years no corrective action taken by the intelligence community has improved the abuses outlined by the FISA court. The sketchy programs, and abuse therein, needs more public attention.
However, there is now a confluence of events highlighting a likelihood congress and the intelligence apparatus writ large want to reauthorize the FISA surveillance and collection authorities without further sunlight and without public input. Here’s what’s going on….
AG Bill Barr is scheduled to meet with key Senators. While the media are attributing and framing the meeting toward Trump activity, it is more than likely one key purpose of the upcoming meeting is AG Barr advocating for quiet FISA renewal.
Keep in mind the deadline for the DOJ to respond to the FISA court about the abusive intelligence practices identified in the Horowitz report was February 5th, more than two weeks ago. The responses from the DOJ and FBI have not been made public.
My suspicion is a quiet agreement exists between the DOJ/FBI and FISA Court. It appears the DOJ is trying to get the FISA reauthorization passed before the FISC declassifies the corrective action outlined from the prior court order. This response would also include information about the “sequestering” of evidence gathered as a result of the now admitted fraudulent and misrepresented information within the FISA applications.
With that in mind, it is NOT accidental the Wall Street Journal publishes an article today about AG Barr’s position on FISA reauthorization. The White House wants structural reform; it appears the DOJ and FBI want considerably less than that.
WASHINGTON—Senior White House officials are discussing an overhaul of the government’s surveillance program for people in the U.S. suspected of posing a national-security risk, spurred in part by President Trump’s grievances about an investigation of a 2016 campaign adviser, according to people familiar with the matter.
The effort seeks to take advantage of the looming expiration of some spying powers next month, including portions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a Watergate-era law that Mr. Trump believes was improperly used to target his campaign, these people said.
Overhauling FISA has become a rallying cry for conservatives and allies of the president in the aftermath of a watchdog report detailing several errors made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in its applications for surveillance of Mr. Trump’s campaign adviser, Carter Page. Some Republicans have called for upending FISA, prompting pushback from some in the administration, including Attorney General William Barr.
The plan, which is being spearheaded by officials within the White House Domestic Policy Council, is in the early stages and could face resistance from other parts of the Trump administration, including the National Security Council, which has generally advocated maintaining or expanding surveillance powers during Mr. Trump’s presidency.
Some administration officials have privately raised concerns that the new FISA effort could go too far, but officials working on the plan countered that they don’t intend to undermine the government’s core surveillance powers.
[…] Mr. Trump hasn’t expressed any public opinion on the coming expiration of the spying powers, but he has been a harsh critic of the government’s surveillance powers and has privately encouraged his advisers to develop a policy response to the surveillance of Mr. Page, the people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Trump feels personally victimized by the FISA process and the intelligence agencies that he oversees and some of the White House officials see a political opening for an overhaul.
“We were abused by the FISA process; there’s no question about it,” Mr. Trump told reporters this month. “We were seriously abused by FISA.”
[…] Some senior administration officials, including Mr. Barr, are hesitant to make major changes to existing intelligence law, people familiar with the matter said.
Mr. Barr has said the current FISA process needs more oversight from the Justice Department, in light of the inspector general report, but has defended the law itself as essential for national security.
“We are committed to preserving FISA and we think all Americans should be committed to preserving FISA,” Mr. Barr told reporters in December. “It is essential to protect the security of the United States.”
Mr. Barr has called FISA a “critical tool” and vowed to preserve it after some Republicans suggested the future of the law was in jeopardy following the inspector general’s report. (more)
With the terminal deadline for FISA reauthorization rapidly approaching; and with serious abuses identified within the system of the FISA court, specifically as they pertain to the targeting of American citizens; there have been no public hearings or congressional discussions about the FISA process and the outlined fourth amendment violations.
House Judiciary Ranking member Doug Collins (being replaced by Jim Jordan) appeared on Fox News with Maria Bartiromo and warned of House mark-up hearings to advance the renewal without any public input or reform discussion. WATCH:
Congress always waits until the last-minute to act on important issues.
The FISA “business records provision”, the “roving wiretap” provision, the “lone wolf” provision, and the more controversial bulk metadata provisions [Call Detail Records (CDR)], again all parts of the Patriot Act, must not be reauthorized without a full public vetting of the abuses that have taken place for the past several years.
It is important that we contact our representatives and inform them of the need for full sunlight upon all prior activity; including the declassification of documents showing how the system has been abused; before any reauthorization is considered.
The DOJ/FBI response to the FISA court needs to be made public. To better understand the scale of the issue, the consequences when the system is abused, the upstream sequester material needs to be made public. Additionally with all of the information now known to exist, the White House needs to pressure the intelligence community to declassify both the Collyer report from 2017 and the Boasberg report from 2019.
Reveal the November 2015 through April 2016 FISA-702 search query abuse by declassifying the April 2017 court opinion written by FISC Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer. Show the FBI contractors behind the 85% fraudulent search queries. [Crowdstrike? Fusion-GPS? Nellie Ohr? Daniel Richman?] This was a weaponized surveillance and domestic political spying operation. [The trail was laid down in specific detail by Judge Collyer – SEE HERE]
The fourth amendment is being violated by the continued abuse of bulk metadata collection, and government officials illegally accessing the system. This needs to be stopped.
(TLB) ed: Document links below.
2019 Boasberg Report: Click Here to read document.
2017 Collyer Report: Click Here to read document.
My suggestion would be to let the authorizations expire and do not allow reauthorization until full public sunlight is delivered, and the larger conversation with the American people is fully engaged. Perhaps that is a naive or futile suggestion; however, everything begins with being informed… Now You Know ! ~sundance
Related article: John Ratcliffe Discusses Manufactured ODNI Intel Briefing on Russia and Upcoming FISA Reauthorization…
(TLB) published this article by as it appeared in The Conservative Tree House
(TLB) edited for timeline update
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