November 15, 2019 – John Solomon asks 15 questions of former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch
After nearly two years of reporting on Ukraine issues, here are 15 questions I think could be most illuminating to everyday Americans if the ambassador answered them.
Ambassador Yovanovitch, at any time while you served in Ukraine did any officials in Kiev ever express concern to you that President Trump might be withholding foreign aid assistance to get political investigations started? Did President Trump ever ask you as America’s top representative in Kiev to pressure Ukrainians to start an investigation about Burisma Holdings or the Bidens?
What was the Ukrainians’ perception of President Trump after he allowed lethal aid to go to Ukraine in 2018?
In the spring and summer of 2019, did you ever become aware of any U.S. intelligence or U.S. treasury concerns raised about incoming Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and his affiliation or proximity to certain oligarchs? Did any of those concerns involve what the IMF might do if a certain oligarch who supported Zelensky returned to power and regained influence over Ukraine’s national bank?
Back in May 2018, then-House Rules Committee chairman Pete Sessions wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggesting you might have made comments unflattering or unsupportive of the president and should be recalled. Setting aside that Sessions is a Republican and might even have donors interested in Ukraine policy, were you ever questioned about his concerns? At any time have you or your embassy staff made comments that could be viewed as unsupportive or critical of President Trump and his policies?
John Solomon reported at The Hill and your colleagues have since confirmed in testimony that the State Department helped fund a nonprofit called the Anti-Corruption Action Centre of Ukraine that also was funded by George Soros’ main charity. That nonprofit, also known as AnTac, was identified in a 2014 Soros foundation strategy document as critical to reshaping Ukraine to Mr. Soros’ vision. Can you explain what role your embassy played in funding this group and why State funds would flow to it? And did anyone consider the perception of mingling tax dollars with those donated by Soros, a liberal ideologue who spent millions in 2016 trying to elect Hillary Clinton and defeat Donald Trump?
In March 2019, Ukrainian prosecutor general Yuriy Lutsenko gave an on-the-record, videotaped interview to The Hill alleging that during a 2016 meeting you discussed a list of names of Ukrainian nationals and groups you did not want to see Ukrainian prosecutors target. Your supporters have since suggested he recanted that story. Did you or your staff ever do anything to confirm he had recanted or changed his story, such as talk to him, or did you just rely on press reports?
Now that both the New York Times and The Hill have confirmed that Lutsenko stands by his account and has not recanted, how do you respond to his concerns? And setting aside the use of the word “list,” is it possible that during that 2016 meeting with Mr. Lutsenko you discussed the names of certain Ukrainians you did not want to see prosecuted, investigated or harassed?
Your colleagues, in particular Mr. George Kent, have confirmed to the House Intelligence Committee that the U.S. embassy in Kiev did, in fact, exert pressure on the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office not to prosecute certain Ukrainian activists and officials. These efforts included a letter Mr. Kent signed urging Ukrainian prosecutors to back off an investigation of the aforementioned group AnTac as well as engaged in conversations about certain Ukrainians like Parliamentary member Sergey Leschenko, journalist Vitali Shabunin and NABU director Artem Sytnyk. Why was the US. Embassy involved in exerting such pressure and did any of these actions run afoul of the Geneva Convention’s requirement that foreign diplomats avoid becoming involved in the internal affairs of their host country?
On March 5 of this year, you gave a speech in which you called for the replacement of Ukraine’s top anti-corruption prosecutor. That speech occurred in the middle of the Ukrainian presidential election and obviously raised concerns among some Ukrainians of internal interference prohibited by the Geneva Convention. In fact, one of your bosses, Under Secretary David Hale, got questioned about those concerns when he arrived in country a few days later. Why did you think it was appropriate to give advice to Ukrainians on an internal personnel matter and did you consider then or now the potential concerns your comments might raise about meddling in the Ukrainian election or the country’s internal affairs?
If the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States suddenly urged us to fire Attorney General Bill Bar or our FBI director, would you think that was appropriate?
At any time since December 2015, did you or your embassy ever have any contact with Vice President Joe Biden, his office or his son Hunter Biden concerning Burisma Holdings or an investigation into its owner Mykola Zlochevsky?
At any time since you were appointed ambassador to Ukraine, did you or your embassy have any contact with the following Burisma figures: Hunter Biden, Devon Archer, lawyer John Buretta, Blue Star strategies representatives Sally Painter and Karen Tramontano, or former Ukrainian embassy official Andrii Telizhenko?
John Solomon obtained documents showing Burisma representatives were pressuring the State Department in February 2016 to help end the corruption allegations against the company and were invoking Hunter Biden’s name as part of their effort. Did you ever subsequently learn of these contacts and did anyone at State — including but not limited to Secretary Kerry, Undersecretary Novelli, Deputy Secretary Blinken or Assistant Secretary Nuland — ever raise Burisma with you?
What was your embassy’s assessment of the corruption allegations around Burisma and why the company may have hired Hunter Biden as a board member in 2014?
In spring 2019 your embassy reportedly began monitoring briefly the social media communications of certain people viewed as supportive of President Trump and gathering analytics about them. Who were those people? Why was this done? Why did it stop? And did anyone in the State Department chain of command ever suggest targeting Americans with State resources might be improper or illegal? (John Solomon, 11/15/2019) (Archive)
- 2016 Election
- Andrii Telizhenko
- Anti-Corruption Action Centre (AntAC)
- Artem Sytnyk
- Blue Star Strategies
- Burisma Holdings
- Clinton campaign
- Department of State
- Devon Archer
- George Kent
- George Soros
- House Intelligence Committee
- Hunter Biden
- illegal surveillance
- International Monetary Fund (IMF)
- John Buretta
- John Kerry
- Karen Tramontano
- Marie Yovanovitch
- Mike Pompeo
- National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU)
- November 2019
- Pete Sessions
- Sally Painter
- Serhiy Leshchenko
- Trump-Zelensky transcript
- U.S.Embassy Kiev
- Ukrainian nationalists
- Victoria Nuland
- Vitali Shabunin
- Volodymyr Zelensky
- Yuriy Lutsenko
October 30, 2019 – Former CIA directors, John Brennan and John McLaughlin, brag about the deep state being engaged in a coup to remove President Trump; the crowd cheers
“During an interview with Margaret Brennan of CSPAN, former CIA head John McLaughlin along with his successor John Brennan both basically admitted that there is a secretive cabal of people within US intelligence who are trying to ‘take Trump out.’
“Thank God for the ‘Deep State,’” McLaughlin crowed as liberals in the crowd cheered.
Former CIA director John McLaughlin on Trump’s impeachment: “Thank God for the deep state” pic.twitter.com/t4pQhFOBuj
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) October 31, 2019
“I mean I think everyone has seen this progression of diplomats and intelligence officers and White House people trooping up to Capitol Hill right now and saying these are people who are doing their duty or responding to a higher call,” he added.
“With all of the people who knew what was going on here, it took an intelligence officer to step forward and say something about it, which was the trigger that then unleashed everything else,” McLaughlin said, referring to the unnamed ‘whistleblower’, who it seems worked for Obama, Biden And Brennan.
The White House “whistleblower” is Eric Ciaramella.
– Registered Democrat
– Worked for Obama
– Worked with Joe Biden
– Worked for CIA Director John Brennan
– Vocal critic of Trump
– Helped initiate the Russia “collusion” investigation hoax
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) October 30, 2019
“This is the institution within the U.S. government — that with all of its flaws, and it makes mistakes — is institutionally committed to objectivity and telling the truth,” McLaughlin claimed.
“It is one of the few institutions in Washington that is not in a chain of command that makes or implements policy. Its whole job is to speak the truth — it’s engraved in marble in the lobby.” he continued to blather.
Brennan also expressed praise for the deep state and admitted that the goal is to remove the President.
“Thank goodness for the women and men who are in the intelligence community and the law enforcement community who are standing up and carrying out their responsibilities for their fellow citizens.” he said.
.@JohnBrennan on the whistleblower coming from the intel community: They're “ighting in the trenches here and overseas … I’m just pleased every day that my former colleagues in the intelligence community continue to do their duties.” pic.twitter.com/7YW9lkQMj0
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) October 31, 2019
There you have it. Two former CIA heads admitting that there is a plot to take out a duly-elected President.” (Read more: Summit News, 10/31/2019)
The entire event can be viewed here.
October 23, 2019 – Judicial Watch: The State Department uses a Soros-linked social media tracking tool to monitor journalists, Trump allies and it’s called Crowdtangle
“The State Department utilized a powerful Facebook-owned social media tracking tool linked to leftist billionaire George Soros to unlawfully monitor prominent U.S. conservative figures, journalists and persons with ties to President Donald Trump, according to an agency source. The State Department veteran identified Crowdtangle as the tool used to closely watch more than a dozen U.S. citizens, including the president’s son, personal attorney and popular television personalities such as Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, among others.
Last week Judicial Watch launched an investigation into the unlawful monitoring, which State Department sources say was conducted by the agency in Ukraine at the request of ousted U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, an Obama appointee. Judicial Watch has obtained information indicating Yovanovitch may have violated laws and government regulations by ordering subordinates to target certain U.S. persons using State Department resources. Yovanovitch reportedly ordered monitoring keyed to the following search terms: Biden, Giuliani, Soros and Yovanovitch. Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the State Department last week and continues gathering facts from government sources. This week Judicial Watch filed another FOIA request for information related to the State Department’s use of Crowdtangle.
A private, invitation-only engine, Crowdtangle describes itself as a leading content discovery and social monitoring platform that can help identify influencers and track rivals. It was launched in 2011 to organize activism via social media and Facebook purchased it in 2016. Crowdtangle monitors more than 5 million social media accounts and uses dashboards to track keywords, data and specific topics across platforms. For years Facebook has made Crowdtangle available to the mainstream media and in January founder and CEO Brandon Silverman announced he will give access to select academics and researchers in order to help counter misinformation and abuse of social media platforms. “To date, Crowdtangle has been available primarily to help newsrooms and media publishers understand what is happening on the platform,” Silverman writes. “We’re eager to make it available to this important new set of partners and help continue to provide more transparency into how information is being spread on social media.”
A leftwing, Soros-funded organization called Social Science Research Center (SSRC) is charged with determining who is granted access to Crowdtangle. Earlier this year Facebook announced that SSRC will pick researchers who will gain access to its cherished “privacy-protected” data. The statement assures that “Facebook did not play any role in the selection of the individuals or their projects and will have no role in directing the findings or conclusions of the research.” That is left up to the SSRC, which claims that selected researchers will use privacy-protected Facebook data to “study the platform’s impact on democracy worldwide.” The nonprofit describes itself as an international organization guided by the belief that “justice, prosperity, and democracy all require a better understanding of complex social, cultural, economic, and political processes.” In 2016 Soros’s Open Society Foundations gave the SSRC nearly $500,000 for a Latin America human rights and public health initiative and a global “equality and antidiscrimination” program.
The 2018 Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy report confirms that the State Department uses Crowdtangle and considers it an important tool for social media managers to conduct official agency business worldwide. The State Department’s head of Public Diplomacy training also encourages the use of Crowdtangle to educate personnel about polling data consumption and “the difference between impression and reach.” The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) actually includes a link to Crowdtangle and reveals the agency uses it to track social media posts. Nevertheless, ordering subordinates to target certain U.S. persons, as sources say Yovanovitch did, using State Department resources would constitute a violation of laws and government regulations. “This is not an obscure rule, everyone in public diplomacy or public affairs knows they can’t make lists and monitor U.S. citizens unless there is a major national security reason,” a senior State Department official told Judicial Watch last week when the story broke.” (Judicial Watch, 10/23/2019)
- Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy
- Brandon Silverman
- Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA)
- data mining
- Department of State
- FOIA request
- George Soros
- illegal spying
- illegal surveillance
- Judicial Watch
- Marie Yovanovitch
- media publishers
- October 2019
- Open Society Foundations
- social media
- social monitoring platform
- Social Science Research Center (SSRC)
- spy app
August 12 – October 11, 2019: A look at IC IG Michael Atkinson’s activities surrounding the hearsay whistleblower
“Last week the Intelligence Community Inspector General, Michael Atkinson, testified behind closed doors to congress. Atkinson testified about his role in bringing the ‘whistle-blower’ complaint forward. The details of that testimony are now starting to surface and thankfully congress is taking a closer look at the sketchy background of Michael Atkinson.
There are numerous aspects to the whistle-blower (likely CIA operative Michael Barry), and the complaint, that just don’t add up. One of the areas of focus is the backdating of changes made to the ‘whistle-blower’ complaint form. As Sean Davis notes:
[…] Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general, told HPSCI lawmakers during a committee oversight hearing on Friday that the whistleblower forms and rules changes were made in, even though the new forms and guidance, which were not uploaded to the ICIG’s website until September 24, state that they were changed in August.
Despite having a full week to come up with explanations for his office’s decisions to secretly change its forms to eliminate the requirement for first-hand evidence and to backdate those changes to August, Atkinson refused to provide any explanation to lawmakers baffled by his behavior. (read more)
The CIA ‘whistle-blower’ had no first-hand knowledge; everything was based on hearsay. The CIA operative never informed the ICIG about prior contact and coordination with the House Intelligence Committee (Adam Schiff). The CIA operative never disclosed congressional contact on the complaint form, and the complaint forms were changed specifically to accommodate this CIA operative.
On Sunday, October 6th, Ranking Member Devin Nunes also discussed his concerns with the testimony of Michael Atkinson. Nunes noted the testimony “was a joke.”
Nunes told Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Sunday host Matt Boyle, “[The ICIG is] either totally incompetent or part of the deep state, and he’s got a lot of questions he needs to answer because he knowingly changed the form and the requirements in order to make sure that this whistleblower complaint got out publicly.”
“So he’s either incompetent or in on it, and he’s going to have more to answer for, I can promise you because we are not going to let him go; he is going to tell the truth about what happened,” Nunes added. (read more)
ICIG Atkinson never reviewed the call transcript and facilitated the complaint processing despite numerous flaws. Additionally, Atkinson ignored legal guidance from both the director of national intelligence (DNI) and the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel that highlighted Atkinson’s poor decision-making.
President Trump announced Joseph Macguire as the Acting ODNI on August 8th, 2019. (link) The CIA operative “whistle-blower” letter to Adam Schiff and Richard Burr was on August 12th (link). Immediately following this letter, the ICIG rules and requirements for Urgent Concern “whistle-blowers” was modified, allowing hearsay complaints. On August 28th Adam Schiff begins tweeting about the construct of the complaint.
Given the nature of Atkinson’s background, it appears his prior work in 2016, during his tenure as the lead legal counsel for the DOJ-NSD, likely played a role in his decision.
Here’s Nunes Sunday Interview (audio):
The center of the 2016 Lawfare Alliance election influence was/is the Department of Justice National Security Division, DOJ-NSD. It was the DOJ-NSD running the Main Justice side of the 2016 operations to support Operation Crossfire Hurricane and FBI agent Peter Strzok. It was also the DOJ-NSD where the sketchy legal theories around FARA violations (Sec. 901) originated.
Michael K Atkinson was previously the Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General of the National Security Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ-NSD) in 2016. That makes Atkinson senior legal counsel to John Carlin and Mary McCord who were the former heads of the DOJ-NSD in 2016 when the stop Trump operation was underway.
Michael Atkinson was the lawyer for the same DOJ-NSD players who: (1) lied to the FISA court (Judge Rosemary Collyer) about the 80% non compliant NSA database abuse using FBI contractors; (2) filed the FISA application against Carter Page; and (3) used FARA violations as tools for political surveillance and political targeting.
Yes, that means Michael Atkinson was Senior Counsel for the DOJ-NSD, at the very epicenter of the political weaponization and FISA abuse.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 10/07/2019)
(Republished with permission)
- Adam Schiff
- Admiral Joseph Maguire
- Carter Page
- Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
- Crossfire Hurricane
- Department of Justice National Security Division
- Devin Nunes
- Donald Trump
- FARA violations
- first-hand evidence
- FISA application
- FISA court
- FISA Title-1 surveillance warrant
- hearsay whistleblower
- House Intelligence Committee
- IC OIG
- illegal surveillance
- John Carlin
- Judge Rosemary Collyer
- Lawfare Alliance
- Mary McCord
- Michael Atkinson
- Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)
- Peter Strzok
- political surveillance
- political targeting
- Richard Burr
- Trump-Zelensky transcript
- urgent concern
- Volodymyr Zelensky
- whistleblower forms
- whistleblower rules
August 8, 2019 – Trump appoints former Admiral Joseph Maguire as acting DNI
It’s interesting that Joseph Maguire (pictured above), comes from his current position as Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). The NCTC was first organized by John Brennan, and we have suspected this part of the intelligence apparatus ties directly into the 2015/2016 use of the FBI and NSA database search issue.
All of that is laid out inside a 99-page opinion from FISC Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer who also noted that none of this FISA abuse was accidental in a footnote on page 87: “deliberate decisionmaking“:
This specific footnote, if declassified, would be key. Note the phrase: “([redacted] access to FBI systems was the subject of an interagency memorandum of understanding entered into [redacted])”, this sentence has the potential to expose an internal decision; withheld from congress and the FISA court by the Obama administration; that outlines a process for access and distribution of surveillance data.
Note: “no notice of this practice was given to the FISC until 2016“, that is important.
Here’s the list of material possible for declassification, and the intelligence offices who hold custodial authority over the compartmented documents. This was the original list as outlined in 2018: (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 8/08/2019)
August 8, 2019 – Former NSA director, Bill Binney, confirms “they can use your data against you any time”
July 20, 2019 – Schiff says Inspector General Horowitz’s work is ‘tainted’ ahead of report on surveillance abuses
“House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) has pivoted from ‘deepfake doom‘ influencing the 2020 election, to downplaying an upcoming watchdog report by the DOJ’s Inspector General due sometime in September.
Speaking at the Aspen Security Conference (where he had a pow-wow with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson last July), Schiff claims that DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz was co-opted into a scheme to protect President Trump by instigating a “fast track” report last year at Trump’s behest, according to the Washington Examiner‘s Daniel Chaitin.
Schiff claimed the president wanted McCabe, who briefly took over as acting FBI director after Trump fired James Comey in May 2017, investigated and his pension taken away and suggested someone such as former Attorney General Rod Rosenstein obliged the president by making a referral.
“The inspector general found that McCabe was untruthful. He may very well have been untruthful,” the California Democrat said, but noted that is not where main his concern lies.
The initiation of the inspector general’s inquiry in McCabe happened, Schiff said, “because the president wanted it politically.” He added, “Once you go down that road, it leads to disaster.” –Washington Examiner
“I have no reason to question the inspector general’s conclusion, but that investigation was put on a fast track. It was separated from a broader inspector general investigation, which is still ongoing,” said Schiff. “Why was that done? It was done so he could be fired to not get a pension. It was done to please the president when the initiation investigation is tainted. So are the results of that investigation.” (Read more: Zero Hedge, 7/22/2019)
March 7, 2019 – Lindsey Graham reboots FISA abuse investigation with expansive DOJ document request
“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)
October 18, 2018 – DNI Declassifies FISA Judge James Boasberg 2018 Ruling – FBI conducts “tens of thousands” of unauthorized NSA database queries
“There is a lot to unpack in a decision today by the Director of National Intelligence to declassify (with redactions) a 2018 FISA court ruling about ongoing unauthorized database search queries by FBI agents/”contractors” in the period covering 2017/2018.
BACKGROUND: In April 2017 the DNI released a FISA report written by Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer that showed massive abuse, via unauthorized searches of the NSA database, in the period of November 2015 through May 2016. Judge Collyer’s report specifically identified search query increases tied to the 2016 presidential primary. Two years of research identified this process as the DOJ/FBI and IC using the NSA database to query information related to political candidates, specifically Donald Trump.
Now we fast-forward to Judge Boasberg in a similar review (full pdf below), looking at the time period of 2017 through March 2018.
The timing here is an important aspect.
It cannot be overemphasized as you read the Boasberg opinion, or any reporting on the Boasberg opinion, that officials within DOJ and FBI are/were on a continuum. Meaning the “small group” activity didn’t stop after the election but rather continued with the Mueller and Weissmann impeachment agenda.
Remember, the 2016 ‘insurance policy’ was to hand Mueller the 2016 FBI investigation so they could turn it into the 2017 special counsel investigation. Mueller, Weissmann and the group then used the ‘Steele Dossier’ as the cornerstone for the special counsel review. The goal of the Mueller investigation was to construct impeachment via obstruction. The same players transferred from “crossfire hurricane” into the Mueller ‘obstruction‘ plan.
Within Judge Boasberg’s review of the 2017 activity, he outlines an identical set of FISA violations from within the FBI units and “contractors” as initially outlined by Judge Collyer a year earlier. Judge Boasberg wrote his opinion in October 2018 and that opinion was declassified today (October 8th, 2019). Boasberg is reviewing 2017 through March 2018. [Main link to all legal proceedings here]
(Via Wall Street Journal) The intelligence community disclosed Tuesday that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court last year found that the FBI’s pursuit of data about Americans ensnared in a warrantless internet-surveillance program intended to target foreign suspects may have violated the law authorizing the program, as well as the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.
The court concluded that the FBI had been improperly searching a database of raw intelligence for information on Americans—raising concerns about oversight of the program, which as a spy program operates in near-total secrecy.
(…) The court ruling identifies tens of thousands of improper searches of raw intelligence databases by the bureau in 2017 and 2018 that it deemed improper in part because they involved data related to tens of thousands of emails or telephone numbers—in one case, suggesting that the FBI was using the intelligence information to vet its personnel and cooperating sources. Federal law requires that the database only be searched by the FBI as part of seeking evidence of a crime or for foreign intelligence information.
In other cases, the court ruling reveals improper use of the database by individuals. In one case, an FBI contractor ran a query of an intelligence database—searching information on himself, other FBI personnel and his relatives, the court revealed. (more)
As with the Collyer report, I am going line-by-painstaking-line through the Boasberg report (yeah, swamped); and what is clear is that in 2017 the FBI ‘bad actors’ and ‘contractors’ were continuing to try and subvert the safeguards put into place by former NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers. The 2017 non-compliance rate is similar to the 2016 review.
Judge Boasberg touches on the April 2017 Judge Collyer report. Here is the carefully worded DNI explanation of the connective tissue (emphasis mine):
(…) The FISC also concluded that the FBI’s querying and minimization procedures, as implemented, were inconsistent with Section 702 and the Fourth Amendment, in light of certain identified compliance incidents involving queries of Section 702 information.
These incidents involved instances in which personnel either misapplied or misunderstood the query standard, such that the queries were not reasonably likely to return foreign intelligence information or evidence of a crime. Some of these instances involved queries concerning large numbers of individuals.
While stating that the Government had taken “constructive steps” to address the identified issues, the FISC held that these steps did not fully address the statutory and Fourth Amendment concerns raised by the compliance incidents.
(…) Additionally, the FISC considered the scope of certain new restrictions regarding “abouts” communications that were enacted in the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017. “Abouts” collection is the acquisition of communications that contain a reference to, but are not to or from, a Section 702 target. As the NSA explained in April 2017 (see NSA’s April 28, 2017 Statement), the NSA stopped acquiring any upstream internet communications that are solely “about” a foreign intelligence target and, instead, limited its Section 702 collection to only those communications that are directly “to” or “from” a foreign intelligence target.
NSA’s 2018 Targeting Procedures contained the same limitation. Although the Government did not seek to resume “abouts” collection, the FISC, with assistance from amici, reviewed whether the “abouts” restrictions applied to any other types of Section 702 acquisitions currently being conducted. While the FISC held that the “abouts” restrictions apply across Section 702 acquisitions, it found that current Section 702 acquisitions did not implicate the “abouts” restrictions. (read more)
Here is the October 2018 Boasberg Opinion:
- Andrew Weissmann
- Department of Justice
- FBI contractors
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- FISA Abuse
- FISA Report
- FISA search violations
- illegal spying
- illegal surveillance
- Judge James E. Boasberg
- Judge Rosemary Collyer
- Mueller Special Counsel Investigation
- Mueller team
- NSA database
- Obama administration
- October 2018
- Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)
- Trump administration
- U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC)
- unauthorized searches
October 3, 2018 – James Baker testimony reveals he met with Larry Klayman regarding CIA/NSA whistleblower, Dennis Montgomery, and played a role in his immunity deal
On the same day House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes gave a press conference disclosing that President Trump had been under “incidental surveillance,” attorney and FreedomWatch chairman, Larry Klayman, sent a letter to the same committee, imploring them to pursue the claims and evidence presented under oath at a Washington DC FBI Field Office by his client, CIA/NSA whistleblower Dennis Montgomery, who Klayman claims “holds the keys to disproving the false claims that there is no evidence that the president and his men were wiretapped.”
When Montgomery attempted to deliver this information through the appropriate channels, he was met with closed doors.
In a March 2017 Newsmax article, Klayman writes:
(…) “Montgomery left the NSA and CIA with 47 hard drives and over 600 million pages of information, much of which is classified, and sought to come forward legally as a whistleblower to appropriate government entities, including congressional intelligence committees, to expose that the spy agencies were engaged for years in systematic illegal surveillance on prominent Americans, including the chief justice of the Supreme Court, other justices, 156 judges, prominent businessmen such as Donald Trump, and even yours truly. Working side by side with Obama’s former Director of National Intelligence (DIA), James Clapper, and Obama’s former Director of the CIA, John Brennan, Montgomery witnessed “up close and personal” this “Orwellian Big Brother” intrusion on privacy, likely for potential coercion, blackmail or other nefarious purposes.”
(…) “After Montgomery was turned away as a whistleblower, he came to me at Freedom Watch. With the aid of the Honorable Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, who I had come to respect and trust over the years of my public interest advocacy, we brought Montgomery forward to FBI Director James Comey, through his General Counsel James Baker. Under grants of immunity, which I obtained through Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Curtis, Montgomery produced the hard drives and later was interviewed under oath in a secure room at the FBI Field Office in the District of Columbia. There he laid out how persons like then-businessman Donald Trump were illegally spied upon by Clapper, Brennan, and the spy agencies of the Obama administration. He even claimed that these spy agencies had manipulated voting in Florida during the 2008 presidential election, which illegal tampering resulted in helping Obama to win the White House.
This interview, conducted and videoed by Special FBI Agents Walter Giardina and William Barnett, occurred almost two years ago, and nothing that I know of has happened since. It would appear that the FBI’s investigation was buried by Comey, perhaps because the FBI itself collaborates with the spy agencies to conduct illegal surveillance. In landmark court cases which I filed after the revelations of Edward Snowden, the Honorable Richard Leon, a colleague of Judge Lamberth, had ruled that this type of surveillance constituted a gross violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
Deborah Curtis, the DoJ attorney who helped Montgomery receive a grant of immunity, also served on Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation team.
Here is the relevant testimony in James Baker’s transcript release: