Remember the House Intelligence Committee's game of dueling partisan memos? The Republicans claimed that the FISA warrant to surveil Carter Page, Trump's former advisor, was obtained by using unverified information… the Steele Dossier. Democrats answered by rebuking the release of the Republican memo, claiming it endangered national security and by saying that the FISA application was based on several things, not just the Steele Dossier.
My reaction after seeing both memos was that there was no real way to know the truth until we got our hands on the original FISA application. That seemed like a pipe dream. But that all changed on Saturday after the Trump administration released the 400 plus page application with heavy redactions. For the first time in 40 years, we've been given access to the justification to authorize surveillance on an American citizen. One word describes it: Frightening.
We're supposed to be living under a system of checks and balances. For example, if a high ranking member of the DoJ or FBI has it in for you, there's supposed to be a check or balance in place to protect you. That's where the court comes in. After reading the Carter Page FISA application, the only thing I can see is an out of control FBI and DoJ, and a sham of a court system green lighting whatever comes across their desk.
The Republican memo appears to be exactly correct. This warrant was based almost entirely on the Steele Dossier. Besides the dossier, there were two other instances referenced as part of the FBI's case. The first was a five year old dead case where two Russian intelligence agents looked into using Page as a source.
They quite literally called him an idiot and moved on. The FBI didn't see Page as a threat then, but suddenly this was being brought up in a FISA court years later. The second thing used was a Yahoo News article, but guess who sourced the information to Yahoo News? Christopher Steele using information from his unverified Dossier. Oh yeah, and Steele was working for and getting paid by the FBI at this point. Talking about running your evidence in one giant circle.
The wording of the entire application appears built to deceive.
The wording of the entire application appears built to deceive. The words "opposition research" are never used. "Candidate one," is very obviously Donald Trump, but you never see the words "candidate two" or anything else that identifies Hillary Clinton or the DNC as having anything at all to do with commissioning this information. Seems kind of important doesn't it? Keep in mind, this is in October. The election was just weeks away.
Omitting information and writing words that make the material seem softer has only one purpose. To deceive. The FBI and DoJ were trying to deceive the FISA court. There's just no other way to explain it. But I don't even know if it really made a difference. The court looks like they just rubber stamp these cases. We've heard the rumor that FISA warrants are overwhelmingly approved rather than denied. But this is just ridiculous.
How many other Americans are being spied on — right this minute — based off of a political motivation, or screw it, maybe even a grudge from some pissed off FBI or DoJ employee? FISA needs an audit. We should all be demanding it right now.