FISA Title-1 surveillance warrant

May 24, 2019 – Southeastern Legal Foundation files FOIA request for FISC records on Carter Page

Southeastern Legal Foundation logo (Credit: public domain)

“Southeastern Legal Foundation filed a Motion for Publication of Records with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) on behalf of award-winning investigative reporter John Solomon and itself, seeking rulings, orders and opinions issued by the Court finding any of the attorneys associated with the Carter Page FISA applications violated rules of the Court or rules governing professional conduct by attorneys.

Southeastern Legal Foundation successfully pursued Bar sanctions against sitting President Bill Clinton, ultimately resulting in the surrender of his law license on the last day in office and disbarment by the U.S. Supreme Court (1998-2001) as part of the Agreed Order of Discipline from Independent Counsel Robert Ray.  Click here for more information on the Clinton matter.

“We face a serious crisis of public confidence in our judicial system.  Our nation’s highest law enforcement officers and government attorneys are suspected of lying, misleading and withholding information from the FISC in order to obtain permission to conduct surveillance on U.S. citizen Carter Page,” said Todd Young, SLF executive director.  “If true, even in part, one of the most profound ways to help re-establish public trust in the rule of law is to hold these attorneys professionally and publicly accountable for their alleged grievous violations of the law and public trust.”

Click here for FISC Motion for Publication of Records filed by SLF)

Click here for FOIA request to DOJ

Click here for FOIA request to FBI

(Southeastern Legal Foundation, 5/24/2019)

May 19, 2019 – Trey Gowdy says he has seen exculpatory transcripts of FBI spies engaged with Papadopoulos

“In September 2016 the FBI used a longtime informant, Stefan Halper, to make contact with George Papadopoulos, pay him $3k and fly him to London for consulting work and a policy paper on Mediterranean energy issues.

As part of the spy operation the FBI sent a female intelligence operative (a spy) under the alias Azra Turk to pose as Halper’s assistant and engage Papdopoulos.  A month later the FBI used Papadopoulos as a supplemental basis for a FISA warrant against Carter Page.

Former Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Trey Gowdy, tells Maria Bartiromo that he has seen transcripts of the Halper/Turk operation, and those transcripts exonerate Papadopoulos.

(Transcript)

Bartiromo: I’m really glad you brought that up; the FBI agents’ discussion with George Papadopoulos. Because when the FBI sends in informants to someone they’re looking at, typically those conversations are recorded right? Those people are wired?

Gowdy: Yeah, I mean if the bureau is going to send an informant in, the informant is going to be wired; and if the bureau is monitoring telephone calls there’s going to be a transcript of that.

And some of us have been fortunate enough to know whether or not those transcripts exist; but they haven’t been made public and I think one in-particular is going – it has the potential to actually persuade people.  Very little in this Russia probe I’m afraid is going to persuade people who hate Trump, or who love Trump, but there is some information in these transcripts that I think has the potential to be a game-changer if it’s ever made public.

Bartiromo: You say that’s exculpatory evidence and when people see that they’re going to say: wait, why wasn’t this presented to the court earlier?

Gowdy: Yeah, you know, Johnny Ratcliffe is rightfully exercised over the obligations that the government has to tell the whole truth to the court when you are seeking permission to spy, or do surveillance, on an American.  And part of that includes the responsibility of providing exculpatory information, or information that tends to show the person did not do something wrong.  If you have exculpatory information, and you don’t share it with the court, that ain’t good.  I’ve seen it, Johnny’s seen it, I’d love for your viewers to see it.
(End Transcript)



(Page FISA Application)

(HPSCI Memo)

(Downer Operation Link)

(The Conservative Treehouse, 5/19/2019)

May 12, 2019 – President Trump Calls Out FBI Director Christopher Wray: “the director is protecting the coup gang”…and then there’s Dana Boente

“President Trump indicates he is well aware of the intents and motives of FBI Director Christopher Wray covering for the illegal coup effort:

President Trump may have been aware of Chris Wray’s corrupt disposition prior to today; however, this is the first visible indication he understands the internecine organization of it.  Hopefully we can start the countdown clock to Wray’s exit.

Next up, Chris Wray’s #1 strategic hire, current FBI Legal Counsel Dana Boente.

In 2015 the DOJ-OIG (office of inspector general) requested oversight of the DOJ National Security Division.  It was Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates who responded with a lengthy 58 page legal explanation saying, essentially, ‘nope – not allowed.’ (PDF HERE) All of the DOJ is subject to oversight, except the DOJ-NSD.

When John Carlin resigned as Asst. Attorney General in charge of the DOJ National Security Division in October 2016 he was replaced by Principal Deputy Asst. Attorney General and Chief of Staff, Mary McCord.  After President Trump took office on January 20th, 2017, Sally Yates was Acting AG and Mary McCord was in charge of the DOJ-NSD.

Yates and McCord were the two Main Justice officials who then engaged with White House Counsel Don McGahn on January 26th, 2017, regarding the General Flynn FBI interview conducted on January 24th.  The Trump-Russia Collusion Conspiracy was the headline.

On January 30th, 2017, Sally Yates was fired for refusing to defend the Trump travel ban from extremist countries.  Yates was replaced on January 31st by the U.S. Attorney from the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA), Dana Boente.

With his shift to Main Justice Dana Boente was Acting Attorney General, and Mary McCord was Asst. AG in charge of the DOJ-NSD.  Boente was in the Acting AG position from Jan 31st, 2017, until Jeff Sessions was confirmed on February 8th, 2017.

When Jeff Sessions became AG, Dana Boente became Acting Deputy AG, a role he would retain until Rod Rosenstein was confirmed on April 25th, 2017.   [Mary McCord remained head of the DOJ-National Security Division]

On March 2nd, 2017, Dana Boente was one of the small group who participated in a conversation that led to the recusal of Jeff Sessions from anything related to the 2016 election.  This recusal included the ongoing FBI counterintelligence investigation known as Crossfire Hurricane, which was later picked up by Robert Mueller.

The other attendees for the recusal decision-making meeting (see above schedule) included Sessions’ chief of staff Jody Hunt; Criminal Chief in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, Jim Crowell; Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG) in the Department of Justice National Security Division Tash Gauhar (FISA lawyer); and Associate Deputy Attorney General Scott Schools.  [Note: Tash Gauhar was lawyer for FBI Clinton case; and Scott Schools was part of drafting Clinton exoneration letter.]

The Main Justice group influenced Jeff Sessions to recuse.

With AG Jeff Sessions recused on March 2, 2017, FBI Director James Comey now reported to Acting Deputy AG Dana Boente.  [Technically, Boente is still EDVA U.S. Attorney and is only ‘acting’ as Deputy AG]  Additionally, on March 31st, 2017, President Trump signs executive order 13787 making the U.S. EDVA Attorney the 3rd in line for DOJ succession.

Question:  If Dana Boente was appointed “Acting Attorney General” on January 31st, 2017 (he was), then why did Don McGahn need to draw up XO 13787 on March 31st, 2017… especially after confirmed AG Jeff Sessions was already in place Feb 9th?

The answer likely has to do with a sign-off needed for FISA.

See the issue?

How does somebody (unknown) advise White House Counsel Don McGahn to draw up an executive order so that Boente can sign a FISA…. without telling Don McGahn the reason why AG Sessions can’t sign off on the FISA?   See the issue now?

In the period between March 2nd and April 25th – With AG Sessions recused, and without a Deputy AG confirmed, Dana Boente is simultaneously:

  • U.S. Attorney for EDVA
  • Acting Deputy AG.
  • Acting AG for all issues related to Sessions recusal.

It is James Comey and Dana Boente who sign the April 2017 FISA renewal for Carter Page.

This dynamic would later become important as notes Boente took from conversations with James Comey became evidence for Mueller’s expanded obstruction investigation. (March 2, 2017 Mary McCord is still head of DOJ-NSD.)

Somehow Acting Deputy AG Dana Boente’s personal and handwritten notes were mysteriously leaked to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/12/2019)

March 31, 2019 – In an interview with Sharyl Attkisson, Carter Page states he “helped the FBI and CIA over many years”

“After two years of rumors and allegations, the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation found no Americans colluded, after all.

This week on Full Measure, a fascinating interview that could make you question much of what you’ve been told.

In secret court documents, the FBI said Carter Page was the nexus of Donald Trump’s Russia collusion scheme. As such, the FBI wiretapped Page four times.

In the end, Page was never charged with anything, let alone being a Russia spy. And believe it or not, Page says to this day, he’s never met nor spoken to Trump. But the way wiretaps work, the FBI could have captured Trump in the Page wiretap dragnet, anyway.

And wait until you hear about the relationship Page says he did have with our intelligence agencies over the past two decades.”

(Read more: Sharyl Attkisson, 3/31/2019)

March 24, 2019 – Devin Nunes: No rest until Mueller scope memo is released and the ‘dirty cops’ are rounded up

Rep. Devin Nunes isn’t celebrating special counsel Robert Mueller’s submission of his final report to the Justice Department.

(…) “I don’t think Republicans or any American should be celebrating anything to do with Mueller. Okay? It’s fine. He’s not going to indict anymore people. There are a whole bunch of indictments that are awful. What happened to these people is terrible,” Nunes, R-Calif, said Saturday evening on Fox News. “We need to see the origins of this investigation. We don’t even know what Robert Mueller was supposed to be looking at.”

The classified scope memorandum was issued by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in August 2017, months after he appointed Mueller to lead the Russia investigation without citing a crime. A heavily redacted version of the August memo has already been released to the public. Allies of President Trump, including Nunes, have called for full disclosure of that memo, as well as of documents related to investigatory efforts looking into Trump’s inner circle, including FISA warrants that targeted onetime campaign aide Carter Page.

Over the course of two Fox News interviews Friday and Saturday, Nunes said time is running out for the “dirty cops” at the FBI and career officials at the Justice Department, whom he said are part of a collusion effort between the former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and Russia, to target Trump dating back to the 2016 election cycle.

While Nunes was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee last year, the GOP-led found no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. Democrats argued the probe was concluded prematurely, and with the committee now being led by chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif, a revamped investigation into Trump and his inner orbit is underway.

Upon the submission of Mueller’s report, Nunes declared Friday it was the beginning of “the unraveling of the biggest scandal in American history, the biggest political scandal in American history.” On Saturday, Nunes teased his soon-to-be submitted criminal referrals and reiterated his faith in Barr to clean house at the DOJ and FBI.

“We are working on a criminal referral, so many of the dirty cops, people will find out who actually we believe those dirty cops are. We’ll be sending that to Attorney General Barr among other names I think people will be surprised at,” Nunes said.”

(Read more: The Washington Examiner, 3/24/2019)

March 7, 2019 – Lindsey Graham reboots FISA abuse investigation with expansive DOJ document request

Senate Judiciary Cmte. Chairman Lindsey Graham leaves the Senate after voting to confirm William Barr to be attorney general, on Feb. 14, 2019. (Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press)

“Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham is resuming an investigation of potential surveillance abuse by the FBI with an expansive request for records related to the bureau’s vetting of the Steele dossier.

In a letter sent Thursday to Attorney General William Barr, Graham asked for all FBI and Justice Department documents related to investigators’ attempts to verify allegations made in the dossier, which was authored by former British spy Christopher Steele and funded by Democrats.

The FBI relied heavily on Steele’s report to obtain four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Republicans investigated whether the FBI misled the FISA court by relying on the dossier even though its allegations about Page were unverified. They also asserted the FBI failed to tell surveillance court judges that Steele was working on behalf of the DNC and Clinton campaign on an investigation of Donald Trump.

Graham also indicated in the letter that he is investigating the FBI’s decision to open up investigations of Trump campaign associates in 2016.

He said the Judiciary Committee is concerned vetting proper vetting procedures and the full presentation of facts to the FISA Court “may not have occurred with regard to the applications for FISA warrants for (and the opening of the underlying investigation on) Carter Page and other individuals associated with the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 3/07/2019)

December 19, 2018 – Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee claims four Trump campaign officials are targets of FISA investigations

During a break in the testimony of Christine Blasey-Ford, Sheila Jackson Lee discretely passes along an envelope to Ford’s attorney, Michael Bromwich on September 28, 2018. (Credit: public domain)

“Multiple Trump campaign officials were the subjects of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act investigations, a Democratic lawmaker said in a closed-door hearing late last year.

If what Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, says is true, the scope of the FBI’s FISA efforts for its counterintelligence investigation into President Trump’s 2016 campaign and its ties to Russia span far wider than previously known. So far, it is only confirmed that the FBI obtained FISA warrants targeting onetime Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

During a hearing on Dec. 19 with former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the transcript of which was released on Monday, Jackson Lee mentioned three other individuals.

“I want to talk about the spring, summer, and autumn of 2016. Carter Page, at the time, was suspected of being a Russian asset; George Papadopoulos had told the Australian ambassador that Russians had Hillary [Clinton] emails; Paul Manafort had been named Trump campaign manager; Michael Flynn was Trump’s chief national security adviser and foreign policy adviser and, just yesterday, had a continuance in his sentencing,” Jackson Lee said. “One thing that all of these persons had in common was that each was the subject of a FISA Court investigation, which we now know, and all were directly connected to Trump. As attorney general, you had the authority to oversee FISA application process. Is that correct?”

Lynch replied “yes,” after which Justice Department lawyer Bradley Weinsheimer cut in to say Jackson Lee’s question “potentially gets into possibly classified information and also equities in an ongoing investigation.

(…) There has been talk in recent weeks about further steps taken to record members of Trump’s campaign, including Papadopoulos. Former Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said on Sunday that the FBI withheld “game changer” transcript material about Papadopoulos from the surveillance court when filing applications targeting Page.

In an interview Friday, former FBI general counsel James Baker, who claims to have taken a leading role in overseeing the Page FISA warrant applications, was asked point-blank if the bureau used an unverified dossier to surveil anyone else. Claiming to be unfamiliar with what the government has revealed, Baker opted not to confirm nor deny it.

“I don’t think I should comment on that. I don’t know what else the government has confirmed,” Baker said on MSNBC. “I don’t want to confirm or deny anything about other potential FISA applications.”  (Read more: Washington Examiner, 5/21/2019) 

December 19, 2018 – Former AG Lynch ‘appears to have amnesia’ during testimony about Carter Page FISA

Former attorney general Loretta Lynch stonewalled Congress July 12, 2016, on the details of the Hillary Clinton email case, refusing to get into the specifics of her decision not to prosecute for mishandling classified material. (Credit: CSpan)

“Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch told Congressional lawmakers in closed door testimony that despite the DOJ having approved the FBI warrant and renewals to spy on Carter Page, she did not recall the applications, did not remember the details contained in the applications or the circumstances surrounding conversations about the warrant, according to testimony reviewed by SaraACarter.com.

Lynch “appeared to have amnesia” during her testimony that she delivered in December before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, said one congressional official, who had knowledge of the hearing. The official said Lynch’s closed-door testimony on Page, a former Trump campaign volunteer, left lawmakers with more questions than answers.

(…) Goodlatte Questions Lynch on Carter Page

…under questioning from House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, she listed the standard detailed procedures of what is required from the Attorney General when the FBI files for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Warrant to spy on an American.

“By statute, the Attorney General is the final signatory on the FISA applications,” stated Lynch to the committee. “By regulation, the signatory authority has been delegated – shall I say shared—with the Deputy Attorney General and the head of the national security division as long as the people in those positions are presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed.”

Lynch on Page

“I don’t have any recollection of being briefed on the Page application either. And I don’t have a recollection of signing it, said Lynch.”

So she knows the rules and regulations but when asked in more detail about the process of approving the FBI’s application on Page she freezes.

Goodlatte, who was then the chairman of the committee, asked Lynch: “Is that what happened to the Carter Page case?”

“I wasn’t involved in the processing of the Page FISA and I can outline the process for you but I don’t have personal (knowledge) of it,” she said.

Confounded Goodlatte says “no, no, it is just not clear to me, the Attorney General has a role, you often rely upon others to supplement your work in fulfilling that role. Did you have a role in that or were you briefed?”

“I don’t have any recollection of being briefed on the Page application either. And I don’t have a recollection of signing it,” said Lynch in response.

Goodlatte then asks Lynch if she recalls signing any of the renewal applications to continue spying on Page.

“I don’t have a recollection of being involved in the FISA for Mr. Page at all,” she says.

Goodlatte then goes on to ask: “were you briefed about the relevance of Mr. Page’s FISA warrant with regard to this broader Russia investigation?”

Again, Lynch fails to have any memory of anything Page.

“I don’t have a recollection of a briefing of that type, no,” said Lynch.

Goodlatte then asks: “When did you first hear the name Carter Page?”

Lynch: “Again, it would have to have been like late spring of 2016 or so in this context. I don’t recall I knew of him from other sources or not.” (Read more: Sara Carter, 3/04/2019)

November 19, 2018 – Opinion: Questions grow about FBI vetting of Christopher Steele’s Russia expertise

Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with Hillary Clinton during the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016, in St Louis, Missouri. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By: John Solomon

(…) “Both the DOJ’s inspector general and multiple committees in Congress are investigating whether the FBI properly handled the Trump-Russia collusion case or whether it fell prey to political pressure and shoddy investigative work, as congressional Republicans and President Trump himself claim.

The FBI has an obligation to submit only verified information to support a FISA warrant.

If the FBI failed to perform the sort of due diligence required to ensure that Steele’s expertise on Russia was reliable and that his dossier was verified, it would mark a massive failure in the FISA process.

There are growing warning signs that the FBI may have rushed its due diligence on Steele’s Russia work product, perhaps in part because it had enjoyed an earlier successful relationship in a corruption case involving European soccer.

My sources tell me that FBI counterintelligence analyst Jon Moffa recently told congressional investigators in a transcribed interview that the bureau was still trying to verify the Steele dossier when it was submitted as evidence for the FISA warrant.

“Our work on verifying facts of the FISA would have been — facts of the reporting would have been ongoing at the time the FISA was generated,” Moffa told House investigators, according to the transcript.

Moffa’s statement isn’t the only red flag.

From my earlier reporting, we know that former FBI lawyer Lisa Page told Congress this past summer that in May 2017seven months after the FISA warrant was issued, and nine months after the Russia probe was started — the FBI had not corroborated the main allegation in Steele’s dossier about collusion between Moscow and the Trump.

And former FBI Director James Comey testified in June 2017 that the dossier was considered unverified and salacious.

Yet it was used as evidence to justify the FBI spying on the campaign of a duly-elected GOP presidential nominee’s campaign, even though it started as political opposition research paid for by the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.” (Read more: The Hill, 11/19/2018)

October 23, 2018 – Sally Moyer’s redacted transcript

“Sally Moyer was FBI unit chief in the Office of General Counsel (counterintelligence legal unit within the FBI Office of General Counsel). Moyer reported to an unnamed section chief, who reported to Trisha Beth Anderson, who was deputy legal counsel to James Baker.

Ms. Moyer is responsible for the legal compliance within the FBI counterintelligence operations that generated FISA applications:

(Sally Moyer Transcript)

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

A review of the transcript clarifies a few aspects:

First, the DOJ/FBI team, “the small group”, specifically the legal officials who were ultimately participating in the process that permits politicization and weaponization of government intelligence systems, was also the exact same legal group who reviewed (and approved) the internal inspector general report which outlined their activity.

In essence, the DOJ/FBI bureaucratic corruption is so widespread, the corrupt officials involved are the same people who are the decision-makers in the amount of sunlight the Office of Inspect General is allowed to put forth.  Now the disconnect between the OIG executive summary and the body of content material makes sense:” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/21/2019)