U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC)

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 2, 2019 – Big puzzle pieces connecting the CIA, FBI, and 2016 political surveillance is merging

“The admissions within the New York Times story today -outlining how President Obama’s intelligence apparatus ran simultaneous intelligence operations against the Trump campaign- are starting to merge the FBI and CIA operations. CTH anticipated this.

With new information about the “U.K. operation” using Stefan Halper (CIA asset and FBI informant); and the details of the contacts by U.S. intelligence operative Azra Turk; we can overlay the timeline and see a clear picture.

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

On August 15th, 2016, Lisa Page and Peter Strzok discussed the “insurance policy“:

Two weeks later, September 2nd, 2016, CIA operative Stefan Halper reaches out to George Papadopoulos and introduces him to CIA/FBI asset Azra Turk.

This alignment between the CIA and FBI is not a surprise to anyone who has followed the story behind the 2015/2016 political surveillance issues.  However, there’s a specific connection here many are missing.

Remember, everything AFTER March 9th, 2016, is a cover-story.  Everything after March 9th, 2016, are operations from both the CIA and FBI to hide the political surveillance that was going on before March 9th, 2016.  The surveillance was happening through exploitation of the NSA database through unauthorized FISA search queriesand involved both the CIA and FBI.

This is the point that has not been emphasized enough. However, FISA Judge Rosemary Collyer outlined the connection, albeit with mandatory redactions.  The connective evidence is in a footnote on page #87 of Collyer’s report that few are paying attention to:

Read that carefully and you’ll see an agreement between the CIA and FBI to allow contractors.  Note:

“[CIA] access to FBI systems was the subject of an interagency memorandum of understanding enter into [in ????])”

CTH believes that redacted date is 2012 as a result of another section of the report and the emphasis that Collyer is placing on the time-frame throughout her full report.  Notice also:

“Despite the existence of an inter-agency memorandum of understanding (presumably prepared or reviewed by FBI lawyers) no notice of this practice was given to the FISC until 2016.”

So there was a secret agreement between the CIA and the FBI that was kept hidden from the FISA court until 2016 when Director Mike Rogers exposed and reported it.

The agreement centered around “access to FBI systems“; and, THIS IS IMPORTANT, we know the overarching issue was “deliberate decision-making” that led to “contractor access to the NSA database”, and the fact those contractors were searching “U.S. persons”.

Can you see the process now?

Can you see the potentially layered illegality of the process now?

CIA operatives (contractors) were using FBI portal access (per the secret agreement) to exploit the NSA database and extract search results.  Remember, the CIA is not supposed to be conducting surveillance, aka “spying”, inside the U.S. on American citizens.

In essence the secret agreement, unknown to the court, was the CIA hiding their extraction of U.S. person information by using FBI database access.  [Through the DOJ-NSD (National Security Division)]   Now does it make sense why the DOJ would not allow Inspector General oversight?

In 2015 the Office of Inspector General requested oversight and it was Deputy AG 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 NSD.

The secret MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the CIA and FBI was the reason why the DOJ-NSD could never allow inspector general oversight.

In the Obama-era political surveillance programs the lines between the CIA and FBI were blurred. They were working together through contractors. This is why you are noticing blurred lines between the CIA and FBI in the construct of the cover-up.

This is the parallel tracks we previously described, copied below for reference:

Everything after March 9th, 2016, is a function of two intelligence units, the CIA and FBI, operating together to coverup prior political surveillance and spy operations.

Prior to March 9th, 2016, the surveillance and spy operation was using the NSA database to track and monitor their political opposition.  However, once the NSA compliance officer began initiating an internal review of who was accessing the system, the CIA and FBI moved to create ex post facto justification for their endeavors. [Full Backstory]

The evidence for this is found in the documents attached to both operations; and bolsters the original statements by Congressman Devin Nunes as highlighted below.” (Read much more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/02/2019)

April 20, 2019 – The FISA Court, Woods Procedures and Carter Page

(…) “So, what are the Woods Procedures? They were instituted in April 2001 and require the FBI to vet and support the facts it presents to a FISA court when it seeks a warrant to eavesdrop on a U.S. citizen. The individual who knows this process best is none other than the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller. In a response to questions from Sen. Leahy back in August of 2003, then FBI Director Mueller explains the significance of the procedures highlighting that they were instituted in order to “minimize factual inaccuracies in FISA packages.”

Mueller continues, “specifically, the goal of the procedures is to ensure accuracy with regard to: (1) the facts supporting probable cause; (2) the existence and nature of any related criminal investigations or prosecutions involving the subject of the FISA; (3) the existence and nature of any prior or ongoing asset relationship between the subject and the FBI.”

Testimony

Starting in 2003, field offices were required to follow an eight page FISA request form when eliciting information about a targets status as well as the facts and circumstances that establish probable cause to believe the target is an agent of a foreign power.

Reading the testimony from Mueller a decade and a half ago is truly stunning as it shows just how hypocritical the “Special Counsel” was in both his actions and inactions by failing to investigate, let alone acknowledge, the violations of the Woods Procedures he once so vehemently defended. This may come back to bite the government as Department of Justice court records from 2015 have provided details about how Carter Page previously cooperated with FBI agents in exposing and helping to catch Russian spies working inside the United States.

If Page’s prior asset work was not included in the FISA application or the three renewals, then what is the point of the Woods Procedures to begin with?”

(Read more: Politically Short/4/20/2019

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)

January 23, 2019 – Opinion: FBI Special Agent Joseph Pientka Is the DOJ’s Invisible Man

Christopher Steele and Bruce Ohr (Credit: public domain)

(…) “The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [FISC] was not alerted to the fact that much of the information in the surveillance warrant on Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page was being provided by paid political propagandists employed by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

To continue receiving Trump-Russia collusion propaganda from opposition research firm Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele—who had been hired by Fusion GPS on behalf of the Clinton campaign and DNC—the FBI established a back-channel through former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr at the Department of Justice. After every meeting with Steele, Ohr would sit down for an interview with FBI Special Agent Joseph Pientka, who would fill out official FD-302 interview forms to pass on the information within the FBI.

(…) It seems something spooked the SpyGate plotters into presenting an appearance of drawing back from Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS while still surreptitiously using that political propaganda shop as a source for their ongoing investigations.

This back-channel allowed the FBI to hide Fusion GPS’s—and the Clinton campaign’s–role in providing much of the “evidence” being used to drive these politically-motivated investigations of Trump and his associates.

So why Bruce Ohr? Because he was a top official inside the Department of Justice and close to the DOJ’s National Security Division [NSD].

The point was to launder Fusion GPS’s Trump-Russia allegations through Ohr to Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and lead agent on the Trump case, Peter Strzok, so it could be claimed the information was coming from a legitimate intelligence source instead of from paid political propagandists working for Hillary Clinton.

This means it’s highly likely that when Bruce Ohr’s personal notes from his meetings with Fusion GPS are compared with the official FD-302 interview forms that Agent Pientka filled out following his interviews with Ohr, they are not going to match when it comes to what the stated source was for the Trump-Russia information.

For Pientka to write down on the 302 forms that this information on Trump-Russia he was being given by Ohr was still coming from the Fusion GPS boys after the FBI had supposedly severed all ties with them would have defeated the entire reason for going to the trouble of establishing a backchannel in the first place.

Investigative journalist John Solomon of The Hill has stated in his reports that he has been shown Ohr’s handwritten notes that he made during his talks with Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele. So in his own notes, Ohr made it clear who he was talking to and where he was getting these allegations from.

So now the $56,000 question: What do the FD-302 forms Pientka filled out actually say about where the Trump-Russia allegations came from? Do the interview forms admit the allegations were coming from a politically motivated propaganda shop, or do they claim the information came from politically neutral intelligence sources?

I’ve no doubt that at some time in the past year and a half, the DOJ Inspector General’s office sat Pientka down for extensive and detailed interviews about his dual roles in both the Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn affair (he and Strzok interviewed Flynn), and with the Fusion GPS back-channel to the FBI. What he told them must have been incredibly sensitive, since nobody has publicly seen or heard from Pientka all this time, even though House and Senate committees have requested that the DOJ produce him for testimony.  Whatever Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz’s investigators discovered in their interviews with Pientka, they are keeping a very tight lid on it.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/23/2019)

November 19, 2018 – Devin Nunes: ‘Fourth bucket’ of classified emails show info withheld from FISA court

“House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., revealed the existence of a “fourth bucket” of information related to potential misconduct by the FBI that he wants declassified.

On his way out as chairman, as Democrats will take control of the House next year, Nunes said his panel’s investigation into the Justice Department and FBI is largely complete. Still, he said the public release of these “buckets” would help give his efforts a sense of “finality.”

Speaking with anchor Maria Bartiromo on her Fox News program “Sunday Morning Futures,” Nunes said the first of three “buckets” were the Russia-related documents President Trump walked back from declassifying earlier this year.

The last tranche of documents, he said, pertains to emails showing knowledge about withholding information from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court.

“The new fourth bucket that we’re asking to be declassified now is — for months we have been reviewing emails between FBI, and DOJ, and others that clearly show that they knew about information that should have been presented to the FISA court,” he said. (Read more: Washington Examiner, 11/19/2018)

August 31, 2018 – The Justice department admits the FISC never held hearings on the Title 1 FISA application for Carter Page

(Credit: A. Hunter/Washington Times)

“Judicial Watch revealed that the Justice Department admitted in a court filing that the FISA Court never held hearings on the FISA applications for former Trump advisor Carter Page.

Judicial Watch said that, in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, the Justice Department (DOJ) admitted in a court filing that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court held no hearings on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) spy warrant applications targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign part-time advisor who was the subject of four controversial FISA warrants.

“It is disturbing that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance courts rubber-stamped the Carter Page spy warrants and held not one hearing on these extraordinary requests to spy on the Trump team,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement.

In the filing the Justice Department finally revealed that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court held no hearings on the Page FISA spy warrants, first issued in 2016 and subsequently renewed three times:

National Security Division FOIA consulted Office of Intelligence … to identify and locate records responsive to [Judicial Watch’s] FOIA request…. [Office of Intelligence] determined … that there were no records, electronic or paper, responsive to [Judicial Watch’s] FOIA request with regard to Carter Page. [Office of Intelligence] further confirmed that the [Foreign Surveillance Court] considered the Page warrant applications based upon written submissions and did not hold any hearings.

In February, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a memo criticizing the FISA targeting of Carter Page. The memo details how the “minimally corroborated” Clinton-DNC dossier was an essential part of the FBI and DOJ’s applications for surveillance warrants to spy on Page.

Judicial Watch recently filed a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking the transcripts of all hearings related to the surveillance of Carter Page.” (Read more: Conservative Daily News, 9/01/2018)

August 31, 2018 – Justice Department discloses no FISA Court hearings held on Carter Page warrants

Judicial Watch today announced that in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, the Justice Department (DOJ) admitted in a court filing last night that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court held no hearings on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) spy warrant applications targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign part-time advisor who was the subject of four controversial FISA warrants.

In the filing the Justice Department finally revealed that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court held no hearings on the Page FISA spy warrants, first issued in 2016 and subsequently renewed three times:

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

(…) “In February, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a memo criticizing the FISA targeting of Carter Page. The memo details how the “minimally corroborated” Clinton-DNC dossier was an essential part of the FBI and DOJ’s applications for surveillance warrants to spy on Page.

Judicial Watch recently filed a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking the transcripts of all hearings related to the surveillance of Carter Page.

“It is disturbing that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance courts rubber-stamped the Carter Page spy warrants and held not one hearing on these extraordinary requests to spy on the Trump team,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Perhaps the court can now hold hearings on how justice was corrupted by material omissions that Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the DNC, a conflicted Bruce Ohr, a compromised Christopher Steele, and anti-Trumper Peter Strzok were all behind the ‘intelligence’ used to persuade the courts to approve the FISA warrants that targeted the Trump team.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 8/31/2018)

August 28, 2018 – Bruce Ohr: FBI Knew About Bias Before Getting a FISA On Carter Page

Bruce Ohr arrives to testify before the House Judiciary and House Oversight committees on Aug. 28, 2018. (Credit: Chris Wattie/Reuters)

“Senior Justice Department official, Bruce Ohr testified Tuesday that prior to obtaining the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant on short-term Trump campaign volunteer, Carter Page, the FBI was aware that former British spy and anti-Trump dossier author, Christopher Steele was biased against then-candidate Trump. He also stated that the FBI knew that his wife, Nellie Ohr was working for Fusion GPS, the now-embattled research firm which was hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC to compile the dossier with Steele. This, according to Congressional sources with direct knowledge of Ohr’s closed-door deposition.

Ohr stated during his hours-long testimony that the FBI failed to disclose this pertinent information to the nation’s secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) when it sought an application to spy on Page. The FBI also failed to disclose that when it sought the application, it was using senior Justice Department official, Bruce Ohr as a cut-out for a source the bureau had terminated.

Ohr had also communicated with senior members of the FBI, including former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, FBI attorney Lisa Page, and former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, at the bureau but stated that his superiors at the Justice Department were not aware that he was being used as a source for the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign, according to sources who spoke to SaraACarter.com.

“When it comes to the dossier, the hours of testimony from Bruce Ohr only further confirm how wrong the FBI operated,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) told this news outlet. Jordan would not give details on the testimony but stated that Ohr’s deposition was a necessary part of the investigation and getting to the truth.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 8/28/2018)

August 28, 2018 – Ohr’s testimony confirms the Nunes Memo — The Schiff memo, not so much

(…) “Last year, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence issued dueling memos about the Russia investigation. The release of Ohr’s testimony backs up then-chair Devin Nunes’ memo. Nunes’ memo explained that, after the FBI fired Steele as a source, he continued to feed Ohr intel, with the FBI interviewing Ohr to document the communications with Steele. Ohr confirmed that that is exactly what occurred.

Ohr’s testimony also refuted Schiff’s Democrat’s response memo. In that memo, Schiff called Nunes’ “reference to Bruce Ohr misleading,” stating that the Republican “misleads about the timeframe of Ohr’s communications with the FBI.” Schiff then claimed Ohr informed the FBI of the information Steele had shared with him in late November 2016—weeks after the election, and more than a month after the court approved the initial FISA application.

But as his just-released testimony made clear, Ohr contacted McCabe shortly after his July 30, 2016, meeting with Steele, and conveyed the details of that tête-à-tête to McCabe. Steele continued to provide Ohr with information on Trump. Ohr then passed those details on to Strzok and Lisa Page. Th[is] occurred well before Steele’s firing and the first FISA court order.

Ohr’s testimony has helped to clear up this dispute and others, but unfortunately there are many more questions left unanswered.” (Read more: The Federalist, 3/11/2019)