FISA 702 certifications

July 13, 2018 – Lisa Page on John Carlin’s role

John Carlin and John Brennan speak at the Center for Strategic & International Studies on September 19, 2016. (Credit: YouTube)

(…) “John Carlin was an assistant attorney general and head of the DOJ’s National Security Division (NSD). He had previously served as chief of staff to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Carlin announced his resignation the day after he filed the government’s proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications. This filing would be subject to intense criticism from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) following disclosures made by then-National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers. Significant changes to the handling of raw FISA data would result.

Carlin was succeeded by Mary McCord–who would later accompany acting AG Sally Yates to see White House counsel Don McGahn about Trump’s national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn.

Page was asked at several points regarding influence from political appointees. At one point in the discussion, she singled out Carlin—and what she had to say proved interesting:

“I do know that at least John Carlin, for example, who is a political appointee, was kept abreast of the sort of investigative activity that was going on. And the only reason I know this is because when there was conflicts between us and DOJ, John might call over to—John Carlin might call over to Andy McCabe, and sort of make his team’s pitch, and then Andy would, you know, sort of the back-and-forth would go on. So it is clear that John had, was getting some sort of briefing, but he was not, it was, it never occurred by the FBI, which is, in my view, atypical.”

In response to a question asking who was McCabe’s direct counterpart at the DOJ on the investigation, Page responded, “it would have been John. It was either John Carlin or George Toscas who would have, who would have reached out to Mr. McCabe.”

The congressional staffer who was doing this particular line of questioning appeared to attempt to mitigate the information just revealed by Page:

“Numerous witnesses have confirmed to us that George Toscas, a career prosecutor, was in charge of the day-to-day operation of DOJ on this investigation. And that Carlin and other political folks above him had briefings certainly, so they had knowledge but didn’t have input in the investigation.”

“Do you have any personal knowledge of John Carlin, Loretta Lynch, Sally Yates, or other political appointees at the DOJ issuing orders on how to conduct the Midyear investigation?” Page was asked.

Page answered that she had “no personal knowledge of that.” Despite the attempts to shift the conversation, these admissions are notable.

Carlin was a very senior official within the DOJ. He was also Toscas’s boss. It was Toscas who was contacted by New York prosecutors (possibly former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara) involved in the Anthony Weiner investigation regarding the Clinton emails found on Weiner’s computer. In response, Toscas contacted McCabe, his counterpart at the FBI, ultimately forcing McCabe to inform Comey of the existence of Clinton emails on Weiner’s laptop.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/21/2018)

September 26, 2016: John Carlin, the former NSD head who enables the FBI’s Carter Page FISA warrant

John Carlin (Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi/The National Law Journal)

John Carlin was an Assistant Attorney General – and Head of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division (NSD).

On September 27, 2016, Carlin announced his resignation. He formally left the NSD on October 15, 2016. Carlin had been named Acting Assistant Attorney General in March 2013 and was confirmed in the spring of 2014.

Carlin had previously served as chief of staff to then-FBI Director Robert S. Mueller.

Carlin was replaced with Mary McCord – who would later accompany Acting Attorney General Sally Yates to see White House Counsel Don McGahn regarding General Michael Flynn.

Carlin announced his resignation exactly one day after he filed the Government’s proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications. His signature can be found on page 31.

This filing would be subject to intense criticism from the FISA Court following disclosures made by NSA Director Rogers. Significant changes to the handling of raw FISA data would result.

Section 702 is part of the broader FISA Act and permits the government to target for surveillance foreign persons located outside the United States for the purpose of acquiring foreign intelligence information.

Instead of issuing individual court orders, Section 702 requires the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to provide the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) with annual certifications that specify categories of foreign intelligence information the government is authorized to acquire pursuant to Section 702.

The Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence must also certify that Intelligence Community elements will follow targeting procedures and minimization procedures that are approved by the FISC as part of the annual certification.

The National Security Division and Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) are jointly required to routinely review all Intelligence Agency U.S. person queries of content to ensure the Section 702 queries satisfy the legal standard.

The NSD – with notice to the ODNI – is required to report any incidents of Agency noncompliance or misconduct to the FISA Court.

Again, John Carlin was Head of the NSD.

At the time Carlin’s sudden resignation went mostly unnoticed.

But there was more to the story.

Here is the official explanation as provided by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence:

After submitting its 2016 Certifications in September 2016, the Department of Justice and ODNI learned, in October 2016, about additional information related to previously reported compliance incidents and reported that additional information to the FISC. The NSA also self-reported the information to oversight bodies, as required by law. These compliance incidents related to the NSA’s inadvertent use of U.S. person identifiers to query NSA’s “upstream” Internet collection acquired pursuant to Section 702.

The FISA Court was more direct in a 99-page April 26, 2017 unsealed FISA Court Ruling.

On October 24, 2016, the government orally apprised the Court of significant non-compliance with the NSA’s minimization procedures involving queries of data acquired under Section 702 using U.S. person identifiers. The full scope of non-compliant querying practices had not been previously disclosed to the Court. Two days later, on the day the Court otherwise would have had to complete its review of the certifications and procedures, the government made a written submission regarding those compliance problems…and the Court held a hearing to address them.

Here’s what actually happened:
(Read more: themarketswork.com, 5/21/2018)