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Posts Tagged ‘FISA Court’

All Spying, All the Time – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on August 20, 2020

The FISA Court meets in secret in Washington, D.C., and even the judges on the court do not have access to its records. So, the court was hugely embarrassed a few years ago when one of its orders was leaked to the press. It was an order to Verizon directing it to furnish a year’s worth of telephone records to the National Security Agency — America’s 60,000-person strong domestic spy agency — of all 113 million Verizon customers! This was done without the NSA showing probable cause of crime and without identifying a single customer.

Stated differently, the federal government was not warning Americans about foreign spies or the depth of its own spying. It was warning government employees about the depth of sophisticated Americans spying on them. The failure to abide this warning is surely one of the reasons the feds largely departed Portland’s streets as the demonstrators knew when and where the troops would arrive.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/08/andrew-p-napolitano/all-spying-all-the-time/

By

During this summer of madness in Portland, Oregon, and sadness over COVID-19, two below-the-radar events occurred implicating the insatiable appetite of the United States government to spy on everyone in America. Regular readers of this column know that the feds have been wearing away at our privacy rights using a multitude of means. Yet, these two below-the-fold events this summer have caught the feds flatfooted.

Here is the backstory.

After the calamity of Watergate, Congress investigated the nature and extent of FBI and CIA spying on Americans as ordered by President Richard Nixon. A Senate committee headed by the late Sen. Frank Church, D-Idaho, in 1975 made such startling revelations of warrantless and unlawful spying on Americans pursuant to presidential whims — going back to FDR — that it offered legislation to provide judicial oversight.

The legislation is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. It established the FISA Court, with a rotating membership of federal district court judges appointed to it by the chief justice.

FISA is profoundly unconstitutional because it authorizes the judges on the FISA Court to issue search warrants using a lesser standard of proof than what the Constitution requires. The Fourth Amendment requires proof of the likelihood of evidence of crimes in the place to be searched as a precondition for the issuance of search warrants, and it requires specification of the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized.

When James Madison wrote the Fourth Amendment, his goal was to compel the government to focus its investigative resources on evidence of crimes, not spying on political adversaries, as the British had done to the colonists, and to establish that the natural right to be left alone by the government — privacy — is the default position.

FISA reverses all that. It presumes that the feds can obtain all the business and financial records they want about any person for any reason because they can define “business records” and “financial records” to include anything they want, such as mail from the Post Office or medical and legal records.

FISA also ignores the constitutional requirement of probable cause of crime and substitutes in an amorphous and absurd standard of probable cause of speaking to any person who has spoken to any foreign person. FISA also ignores the specificity requirement of identifying the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized.

The FISA Court meets in secret in Washington, D.C., and even the judges on the court do not have access to its records. So, the court was hugely embarrassed a few years ago when one of its orders was leaked to the press. It was an order to Verizon directing it to furnish a year’s worth of telephone records to the National Security Agency — America’s 60,000-person strong domestic spy agency — of all 113 million Verizon customers! This was done without the NSA showing probable cause of crime and without identifying a single customer.

The unconstitutional order was granted pursuant to section 215 of FISA. That section purports to permit bulk acquisition of electronic data — print and voice — without identifying whose data is being sought and without requiring any showing of probable cause of crime. Last February, section 215 expired, and Congress made fruitless attempts to revive it.

Last week, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., when he adjourned the Senate for the summer, addressed the issues it will take up in the fall. FISA section 215 was not among them. McConnell’s silence is baffling as he and the intelligence community have been claiming loud and long, for nearly 20 years, that without section 215, the United States is ripe for subversion and invasion.

Was the pro-spying crowd in the government exaggerating all along about its need for section 215, or will the NSA continue to spy without even a tissue of statutory authorization? My friends formerly in the NSA tell me it doesn’t care about the law or the Constitution. Its goal is to spy on all persons all the time.

A few days before the mysterious McConnell silence came a rare public warning from the NSA. These master spies were concerned that military and Department of Homeland Security personnel in the streets of Portland were unwittingly exposing themselves to being spied upon, not by the feds, but by demonstrators in the streets using the same sophisticated spying tools the government uses.

Thus, the NSA warned that the demonstrators were using stingrays — fake cell towers that send signals that lock onto mobile phones permitting the user of the tower to follow the movements of the phones — as many local police departments unlawfully do.

Stated differently, the federal government was not warning Americans about foreign spies or the depth of its own spying. It was warning government employees about the depth of sophisticated Americans spying on them. The failure to abide this warning is surely one of the reasons the feds largely departed Portland’s streets as the demonstrators knew when and where the troops would arrive.

Government spying is a way of life for tens of thousands of government personnel, even outside the NSA. Yet, all of them have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, which guarantees the right to privacy — privacy as a natural right, as the default position, with its invasion strictly limited to collect evidence of crimes from identified persons when authorized by a judge.

We have come full circle from Madison’s America. He was determined to craft a government that could not do to Americans what the British had done to the colonists. He failed.

Andrew P. Napolitano [send him mail], a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written nine books on the U.S. Constitution. The most recent is Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty. To find out more about Judge Napolitano and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit creators.com.

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Like Freedom? Then You Won’t Like the FREEDOM Act

Posted by M. C. on March 24, 2020

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2020/march/23/like-freedom-then-you-won-t-like-the-freedom-act/

Written by Ron Paul

Last Monday, a bipartisan group of Senators and a coalition including libertarian and progressive activists thwarted a scheme to ram through the Senate legislation renewing three provisions of the USA FREEDOM Act (previously known as the USA PATRIOT Act). The bill had already been rushed through the House of Representatives, and most expected it to sail through the Senate. But, instead, Senate leadership had to settle for a 77-day extension.

Senate leadership was also forced to allow consideration of several amendments at a later date. Included is Sen. Rand Paul’s amendment that would forbid the FISA court from issuing warrants targeting American citizens.

Deep state supporters claim the expiring business records provision (which authorizes the collection of our communications and was at the center of Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations), lone wolf provision (which allows government to subject an individual with no known ties to terrorists to warrantless surveillance), and roving wiretaps provision (which allows government to monitor communications on any device that may be used by a targeted individual) are necessary to keep Americans safe. But, since Congress first passed the PATRIOT Act almost 20 years ago, mass surveillance, warrantless wiretapping, and bulk data collection have not stopped a single terrorist attack.

The legislation does have “reforms” aimed at protecting civil liberties, but these new protections contain loopholes that render the protections meaningless. For example, the bill requires those targeted for surveillance to be notified that the government spied on them. However, this requirement can be waived if the government simply claims — not proves but just clams — that notifying the target would harm “national security.”

The notice provision also only applies to the target of an investigations. So, if you were caught up in a federal investigation because a coworker is being targeted and you shared an office computer, or if a store clerk reported to the government you and others bought pressure cookers, the government could collect your phone records, texts, and social media posts without giving you the chance to challenge the government’s actions.

The bill also makes some reforms to the special FISA court, which serves as a rubber stamp for the intelligence community. These reforms are mainly aimed at protecting political campaigns and candidates. They would not stop the FISA court from rubber-stamping surveillance on organizations that oppose the welfare-warfare-surveillance-fiat money status quo.

Anything limiting warrantless wiretapping and mass surveillance should be supported. However, nothing short of repeal of the USA FREEDOM Act will restore respect for our right to live our lives free of the fear that Big Brother is watching. The path to liberty, peace, and prosperity starts with eliminating all unconstitutional laws and returning to a system of limited government, free markets, individual liberty, sound money, and a foreign policy that seeks peaceful commerce and friendship with all instead of seeking new monsters to destroy.


Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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Rand Paul rails against ‘weak sauce’ surveillance deal: ‘Big disappointment’ | TheHill

Posted by M. C. on March 11, 2020

There is Paul and Lee. The rest are war whores.

https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/486930-rand-paul-rails-against-weak-sauce-surveillance-deal-big

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) knocked a last-minute deal in the House to reauthorize expiring intelligence programs, saying its reforms to the court created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) fall short.

“The ‘Deal’ on FISA is weak sauce diluted [and] made impotent by A.G. Barr. None of the reforms prevent secret FISA court from abusing the rights of Americans. None of the reforms prevent a President of either party from a politically motivated investigation. Big Disappointment!” Paul tweeted early Tuesday evening.

His comments come after House lawmakers announced on Tuesday that they had struck an agreement ahead of the March 15 deadline for expiring provisions in the USA Freedom Act, a 2015 law that overhauled the country’s intelligence programs.

The agreement includes more privacy protections and transparency in the FISA court process, including requiring legal representation for an individual targeted if the government’s application “presents exceptional concerns about the First Amendment rights of U.S. persons.”

It also bolsters penalties for those who abuse the FISA court.
But Paul, a long-time critic of the FISA court, wants language that would prohibit a FISA warrant being used against an American citizen, and prohibit FISA information from being used against an American in domestic court.
The House deal was largely negotiated without the input of senators, a potential curveball in its chances of passing the Senate this week. It is expected to go to the House floor for a vote Wednesday.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who has also advocated for changes to FISA, told reporters shortly after the deal was announced that he was still reviewing it.

“Based on earlier drafts of it I don’t like it at all,” he said.

Because of the tight time frame to get legislation through Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is going to need consent from every senator to speed up consideration of the bill.
That could give leverage to senators like Paul and Lee to try to push through changes or force a lapse of the expiring USA Freedom provisions.
Paul previously used the Senate’s procedural tools to force a brief lapse of the post-9/11 Patriot Act.
A spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a question on Tuesday night about what his tweet means for his willingness to let the House deal move quickly through the Senate.
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The Justice Department Is Devoid of Justice – PaulCraigRoberts.org

Posted by M. C. on January 9, 2020

The Horowitz report of the Justice (sic) Department’s lies to the FISA court did not recommend a six-month prision sentence for those Justice (sic) Deplartment officials who lied to the government.  Horowitz covered up the crimes by converting them into “mistakes.”

Trials take time and provide a test of often unreliable police and prosecutorial evidence.

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2020/01/08/the-justice-department-is-devoid-of-justice/

Paul Craig Roberts

In the United States the criminal justice (sic) system is itself not subject to law.  We see immunity to law continually as police commit felonies against citizens and even murder children and walk away free.  We see it all the time when prosecutors conduct political prosecutions and when they prosecute the innocent in order to build their conviction record.  We see it when judges fail to prevent prosecutors from withholding exculpatory evidence and bribing witnesses and when judges accept coerced plea deals that deprive the defendant of a jury trial.

We just saw it again when federal prosecutors recommended a six month prison sentence for Lt. Gen. Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency accused of lying to the FBI about nothing of any importance, for being uncooperative in the Justice (sic) Department’s effort to frame President Trump with false “Russiagate” charges.  The Justice (sic) Department prosecutor said: “The sentence should adequately deter the defendant from violating the law, and to promote respect for the law. It is clear that the defendant has not learned his lesson. He has behaved as though the law does not apply to him, and as if there are no consequences for his actions.”

That is precisely what the Justice (sic) Department itself did for years in their orchestration of the fake Russiagate charges against Trump.

The prosecutor’s hypocrisy is overwhelming.

The Justice (sic) Department is a criminal organization.  It has no sense of justice.  Convicting the innocent builds the conviction rate of the prosecutor as effectively as convicting the guilty. The Horowitz report of the Justice (sic) Department’s lies to the FISA court did not recommend a six-month prision sentence for those Justice (sic) Deplartment officials who lied to the government.  Horowitz covered up the crimes by converting them into “mistakes.”  Yes, they are embarrassing “mistakes,” but mistakes don’t bring prison sentences.

Gen. Flynn, who was President Trump’s National Security Advisor for a couple of weeks before Mueller and Flynn’s attorneys manuevered him into a plea bargain, allegedly lied to the FBI about whether he met with a Russian.  Flynn and his attorneys should never have accepted the proposition that a National Security Advisor shouldn’t meet with Russians.  Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski met with Russians all the the time.  It was part of their job.  Trump originally intended to normalize the strained relations with Russia.  Flynn should have been meeting with Russians. It was his job.

Ninety-seven percent of felony cases are resolved with plea bargains.  In other words, there is no trial.  The defendant admits to guilt for a lighter sentence, and if he throws in “cooperation,” which generally means giving false evidence against someone else in the prosecutor’s net, no sentence at all.  Flynn was expected to help frame Trump and Flynn’s former business partner, Bijan Rafiekian, on an unrelated matter.  He didn’t, which means he is “uncooperative” and deserving of a prison sentence.

Plea bargains have replaced trials for three main reasons.  One is that the defense attorney doesn’t want the hard work of defending his client.  One is that the majority of defendants cannot afford to pay the cost of defense.  One is that refusing to plea guilty and demanding a trial angers both the prosecutor and judge.  Trials take time and provide a test of often unreliable police and prosecutorial evidence.  They mean work for the prosecutor.  Even if he secures a conviction, during the same time he could have obtained many more plea bargain convictions.  For the judge, trials back up his case docket.  Consequently, a trial means for the defendant very high risks of a much longer and more severe sentence than he would get in exchange for saving prosecutor and judge time and energy.  All of this is explained to the defendant by his attorney.

It was explained to Gen. Flynn.  He agreed to a plea, most likely advised that his “offense” was so minor, no sentence would be forthcoming.  Flynn later tried to revoke his plea, saying it was coerced, but the Clinton-appointed  judge refused to let him out of the trap.

Now that we know the only Russiagate scandal was its orchestration by the CIA, Justice (sic) Department, and Democrats, failing to cooperate with the special counsel investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election is nonsensical as we  know for a definite fact that there was no such interference.

This is how corrupt American law has become.  A man is being put in prison for 6 months for not cooperating with an investigation of an event that did not happen!

If Trump doesn’t pardon Flynn (and Manafort and Stone), and fire the corrupt prosecutors who falsely prosecuted Flynn, Trump deserves no one’s support.  A president who will not defend his own people from unwarranted prosecution is not worthy of support.

In Flynn’s case, we cannot dismiss the suspicion that revenge against Flynn was the driving factor. Gen. Flynn is the official who revealed on television that Obama made the willful decision to send ISIS or whatever we want to call them into Syria.  Of course, the Obama regime pretended that the jihadists were moderates seeking to overthrow the alleged dictator Assad and bring democracy to Syria.  Washington then pretended that it was fighting the mercenaries it had sent into Syria.  Even though the presstitutes did their best to ignore Flynn’s information, Flynn gave extreme offense by letting this information out. That bit of truth-telling was Flynn’s real offense.

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Report: FISA Court Has Not Ordered FBI to Check FISA Applications Beyond One Lawyer

Posted by M. C. on December 26, 2019

Just in case you had a senior moment and thought the FISA court was a victim.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/12/25/report-fisa-court-has-not-ordered-fbi-to-check-fisa-applications-beyond-one-lawyer/

by Kristina Wong

The court that granted the FBI surveillance warrants on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page has only ordered that the FBI review all warrant applications related to one FBI attorney and not all FBI agents involved in misconduct, according to a report.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) earlier this month ordered the FBI to re-verify all previous Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications involving Kevin Clinesmith, the FBI attorney who falsified evidence in the FBI’s efforts to seek a renewed surveillance warrant against Page.

But according to a report by Fox News’s Gregg Re, the FISC did not order the FBI to recheck warrant applications involving other officials who made significant omissions and errors in warrant applications to surveil Page.

Fox News reports:

The FISC’s failure to request a comprehensive evaluation of previous submissions has stunned court-watchers who have questioned whether enough is being done to deter future misconduct by the FBI. In the past, the FISC has gone so far as to prohibit some FBI agents from appearing before the court after finding impropriety.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that Clinesmith had doctored an email that said Page was a source for the CIA to say that Page was “not” a source for the CIA.

However, Horowitz found many more examples of what the FISC itself has called “misconduct.”

In one example cited by Fox News, Horowitz found that an FBI supervisory special agent (SSA) responsible for ensuring that the bureau’s “Woods Procedures” were followed in this case — in that all factual assertions be independently verified and information contradicting those assertions be presented to the court — did not follow those procedures.

The SSA created a digital sub-file where reports by Christopher Steele, ex-British spy working for Fusion GPS, would be uploaded. Those reports were uncorroborated yet used to support the argument that Page was a foreign agent.

The SSA also suspected that Steele was a source for a news report that was included in warrant applications on Page, but he downplayed it in FISA applications. The SSA was also told by a State Department official that Steele was wrong about a claim but that information was not put in any FISA applications.

The SSA also failed to put in other information that was exculpatory for Page, such as Page denying to an FBI confidential human source (CHS) that he knew Russian officials Igor Sechin and Igor Divyekin, which Steele had alleged.

The SSA was also aware that Steele had provided his reports to the State Department, but the FISC was told that Steele “only provided this information to the business associate and the FBI.”

Despite this, the FISC’s Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer only ordered the FBI to identify and review all matters that involved the participation of Clinesmith, and advise whether his conduct has been “referred to the appropriate bar association(s) for investigation or possible disciplinary action,” according to Fox News…

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Collyer - Barr speak out about Comey, Clapper, Brennan ...

 

 

 

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Is Impeachment Backfiring on the Dems? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on December 20, 2019

Beneath Article I, there is not a single crime listed — no treason, no bribery, no extortion, no high crimes.

What kind of impeachment is this, with not one crime from the list the Founding Fathers designated as impeachable acts?

Carter Page, once considered a dupe of the Russians, is now seen as a patriot who assisted his country’s intelligence services only to be made a victim of injustice who saw his civil rights be trampled upon by his own government.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/12/patrick-j-buchanan/is-impeachment-backfiring-on-the-dems/

By

“We’re gonna impeach the (expletive deleted).”

Thus did the member from Michigan, Rashida Tlaib, declare last January to be the goal of the 2019 House Democratic Caucus.

Wednesday night, Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered the goods.

The House impeached President Donald Trump on a straight party-line vote. Not one Republican signed on to the most partisan impeachment in U.S. history.

Yet, as we head for trial in the Senate, Democrats seem to be having nervous second thoughts over what they have done.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for the Senate to subpoena four new witnesses the House never heard. Nancy Pelosi signaled Wednesday night that she might not send over to the Senate the articles of impeachment the House had just approved.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the floor both Wednesday night and Thursday morning. To have the Senate, which is judge and jury of the impeachment charges, to start calling witnesses whom House prosecutors failed to pursue “could set a nightmarish precedent.”

Said McConnell, Schumer “would apparently like our chamber to do House Democrats’ homework for them.”

Schumer’s plea for new witnesses is an admission that the House’s case for impeaching Trump is inadequate and deficient and could prove wholly noncredible to the American people. After all, if you need more witnesses, you probably do not have the smoking gun.

The message sent by Pelosi’s call for more time before the trial, and Schumer’s call for more witnesses, is one of fear that not only could the House’s case for impeachment fail, it could be laughed out of the Senate. And the American people might be fine with that.

The Democratic Party has bet the ranch on the impeachment and removal of Trump for imperiling our “national security.” But are Schumer and Pelosi behaving as though the republic is in mortal peril?

Schumer’s call for new witnesses also underscores the thinness of Article I of the impeachment, Trump’s alleged “Abuse of Power.”

Beneath Article I, there is not a single crime listed — no treason, no bribery, no extortion, no high crimes.

What kind of impeachment is this, with not one crime from the list the Founding Fathers designated as impeachable acts?

Why did the Democratic House not impeach Trump for conspiring with Russia to steal the 2016 election? Answer: The House could no more prove this charge than could Robert Mueller after two years.

Other events are breaking Trump’s way.

The James Comey-FBI investigation Mueller inherited has begun to take on the aspect of a “deep state” conspiracy.

According to the Justice Department’s IG Michael Horowitz, the FISA court warrants used to justify FBI spying were the products not only of incompetence but also of mendacity and possible criminality.

The “essential” evidence use by the FBI to get the FISA judge to approve warrants for surveillance was the Steele dossier.

An ex-British spy, Christopher Steele was working in mid-2016 for a dirt-diving operation hired by the DNC and Clinton campaign to go after Trump. His altarpiece, the dossier, we learn from Horowitz, was a farrago of fabrications, rumors and lies fed to Steele by a Russian “sub-source.”

In the four FBI submissions to the FISA courts for warrants to spy on Carter Page, there were “at least 17 significant errors or omissions.”

And all 17 went against Team Trump.

Moreover, the discrediting of the Comey investigation has just begun. U.S. Attorney John Durham will report this spring or summer on his deeper and wider investigation into its roots.

As IG of Justice, Horowitz’s investigation was confined to his department and the FBI. But Durham is looking into the involvement of U.S. and foreign intelligence in the first days of the FBI investigation.

Attorney General Bill Barr and Durham have both said that they do not share Horowitz’s view that there was no political bias at the beginning of the investigation of the Trump campaign. Durham’s writ is far wider than Horowitz’s and he has the power to impanel grand juries and bring criminal indictments.

Among the fields Durham is plowing are reports that agents and assets of the FBI and CIA may have “set up” Trump foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos. Possible purpose: to feed him intel about Russia having dirt on Hillary Clinton, and then entrap him, put him in legal jeopardy, and turn him into an investigative instrument to be used against Trump.

With the Horowitz report confirming what the Trumpers have been reporting and saying about Comey’s investigation for years, and the newly proven manipulation of the FISA courts, the media hooting about “right-wing conspiracy theories” seems to have been toned down.

Carter Page, once considered a dupe of the Russians, is now seen as a patriot who assisted his country’s intelligence services only to be made a victim of injustice who saw his civil rights be trampled upon by his own government.

The cards appear to be falling Trump’s way.

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Cointelpro Then and Now: From Agents and informants to ...

 

 

 

 

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James Comey Insists the FBI Isn’t Evil, It’s Only “Grossly Incompetent” | Mises Institute

Posted by M. C. on December 19, 2019

…the FBI still has its headquarters in a building named after J. Edgar Hoover – who constantly blackmailed elected officials with dossiers and tried to blackmail Martin Luther King into killing himself – because that’s what these security state agencies are. They are out-of-control, virtually unlimited police state factions that lie, abuse their spying and law enforcement powers, and subvert democracy and civic and political freedoms as a matter of course.

https://mises.org/power-market/james-comey-insists-fbi-isnt-evil-its-only-grossly-incompetent?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=92700c4c7d-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-92700c4c7d-228343965

Ryan McMaken

According to Inspector General Michael Horowitz, we have two options in explaining how the FBI conducted itself in relation to the FISA court and its clearly illegal and immoral efforts to spy on at least one American citizen involved in the 2016 presidential campaigns:

1. Gross incompetence/negligence

2. Intent to do harm.

When asked about it, former FBI Director James Comey, who headed the FBI during the agency’s repeated use of invented “facts” to justify its interventions in the 2016 elections, Comey insisted the lies and abuse of power were not intended. Which means Comey is admitting multiple FBI agents — and the leadership — practiced “gross incompetence.”

That is apparently the best the FBI can hope for in determining why the has so little regard to the law and for basic decency: “hey America, we’re not evil, we’re just grossly incompetent!”

Unfortuantely, however, many Americans aren’t paying very close attention, or the details are too arcane for many people to make sense of them. Certainly, the American mainstream media has no interest in covering these abuses of power.

But last week, Glen Greenwald summarized where we are with the FBI and its utter disregard for due process, privacy, and the Bill of Rights:

If you don’t consider FBI lying, concealment of evidence, and manipulation of documents in order to spy on a U.S. citizen in the middle of a presidential campaign to be a major scandal, what is? But none of this is aberrational: the FBI still has its headquarters in a building named after J. Edgar Hoover – who constantly blackmailed elected officials with dossiers and tried to blackmail Martin Luther King into killing himself – because that’s what these security state agencies are. They are out-of-control, virtually unlimited police state factions that lie, abuse their spying and law enforcement powers, and subvert democracy and civic and political freedoms as a matter of course.

In this case, no rational person should allow standard partisan bickering to distort or hide this severe FBI corruption. The IG Report leaves no doubt about it. It’s brimming with proof of FBI subterfuge and deceit, all in service of persuading a FISA court of something that was not true: that U.S. citizen and former Trump campaign official Carter Page was an agent of the Russian government and therefore needed to have his communications surveilled.

In order to get this authorization from the FISA court, FBIS agents simply lied to the court, asserting as facts information from the Steele Dossier, and thus

the FBI touted a gossipy, unverified, unreliable rag that it had no reason to believe and every reason to distrust, but it hid all of that from the FISA court, which it knew needed to believe that the Steele Dossier was something it was not if it were to give the FBI the spying authorization it wanted.

FBI agents did this not once, but repeatedly, employing, what the IG report calls “significant inaccuracies and omission” to get spying authorization.

But this should hardly be shocking. This is the same FBI that was headed by James Comey. This is a man who while Deputy Attorney General publicly claimed to oppose the US government’s use of torture , but privately signed off on 13 different barbaric methods of torture. That is, it wasn’t enough for Comey to approve of torture, he also lied about it.

When it came time for Comey to offer help to the Mueller investigation — which ended up indicting no one for any actual collusion with the Russians, we were told repeatedly by pundits and supporters about what a “boy scout” Comey is.

This sort of fawning over DC police-state politicos is par for the course at this point, though. As Greenwald notes on the media’s complicity:

But the revelations of the IG Report are not merely a massive FBI scandal. They are also a massive media scandal, because they reveal that so much of what the U.S. media has authoritatively claimed about all of these matters for more than two years is completely false.

Ever since Trump’s inauguration, a handful of commentators and journalists – I’m included among them – have been sounding the alarm about the highly dangerous trend of news outlets not merely repeating the mistake of the Iraq War by blindly relying on the claims of security state agents but, far worse, now employing them in their newsrooms to shape the news. As Politico’s media writer Jack Shafer wrote in 2018, in an article entitled “The Spies Who Came Into the TV Studio” :

In the old days, America’s top spies would complete their tenures at the CIA or one of the other Washington puzzle palaces and segue to more ordinary pursuits. Some wrote their memoirs . One ran for president . Another died a few months after surrendering his post. But today’s national-security establishment retiree has a different game plan. After so many years of brawling in the shadows, he yearns for a second, lucrative career in the public eye. He takes a crash course in speaking in soundbites, refreshes his wardrobe and signs a TV news contract. Then, several times a week, waits for a network limousine to shuttle him to the broadcast news studios where, after a light dusting of foundation and a spritz of hairspray, he takes a supporting role in the anchors’ nighttime shows. . . .

[T]he downside of outsourcing national security coverage to the TV spies is obvious. They aren’t in the business of breaking news or uncovering secrets. Their first loyalty—and this is no slam—is to the agency from which they hail. Imagine a TV network covering the auto industry through the eyes of dozens of paid former auto executives and you begin to appreciate the current peculiarities.

In a perfect television world, the networks would retire the retired spooks from their payrolls and reallocate those sums to the hiring of independent reporters to cover the national security beat. Let the TV spies become unpaid anonymous sources because when you get down to it, TV spies don’t want to make news—they just want to talk about it.

It’s long been the case that CIA, FBI and NSA operatives tried to infiltrate and shape domestic news, but they at least had the decency to do it clandestinely. In 2008, the New York Times’ David Barstow won the Pulitzer Prize for exposing a secret Pentagon program in which retired Generals and other security state agents would get hired as commentators and analysts and then – unbeknownst to their networks – coordinate their messaging to ensure that domestic news was being shaped by the propaganda of the military and intelligence communities.

But now it’s all out in the open. It’s virtually impossible to turn on MSNBC or CNN without being bombarded with former Generals, CIA operatives, FBI agents and NSA officials who now work for those networks as commentators and, increasingly, as reporters.

When these lifelong “intelligence” bureaucrats — who have spent virtually their entire adult lives sucking the taxpayers dry — go on TV to comment on their fellow spies, it’s no wonder we hear relentlessly about what principled heroes they all are. Indeed, this week intelligence agencies trotted  out former CIA and FBI director William Webster to come ot the agencies’s defense. Webster rebuked both Donald Trump and William Barr for criticizing the the FBI, repeating old bromides such as the claim the FBI is brimming with “people who risk their lives to keep us safe,” and that any attack on these well-paid bureaucrats in suits known as FBI agents is “dangerous.”

But as Shafer and Barstow have shown, spooks and former spooks look out for each other.

Beltway politicos will insist they’re all heroes, but at best,  it looks like they are incompetent heroes. Comey swears up and down he meant no harm when he signed all that paperwork riddled with lies, and designed to manipulate the FISA court into approving FBI spying on an American citizen without cause. Comey didn’t mean to throw the Bill of Rights in the garbage. No, he was merely — to use the IG’s words — “grossly incompetent.”

 

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NO ONE IS SAFE: Bombshell findings of the Horowitz report prove the FBI is run by treasonous crooks who answer to no one – NaturalNews.com

Posted by M. C. on December 18, 2019

https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-12-15-fbi-above-the-law-bombshell-findings-of-the-horowitz-report-treasonous-crooks.html

(Natural News) Despite its attempts to whitewash the crimes of the deep state, the damning Horowitz report has awakening us all to the realization that the FBI is a criminal organization run by lawless, seditious tyrants who answer to no one.

For the past three years, we’ve been reporting the undeniable truth of how the FBI is America’s No. 1 most prolific terrorist organization, planning and running terror plots against the American people as a way to justify its own existence in the so-called “war on terror.” Now it turns out the deep state is the origin of all that terrorism, and the FBI has been carrying out assassinations (JFK), cover-ups (Sen. RFK), death threats (Dr. MLK) and political coup attempts against America.

In their attempt to destroy Trump, the FBI finally got caught.

As Peter Van Buren, writing for TheAmericanConservative.com, asks, “Can we impeach the FBI now?”

As Van Buren writes:

[The FBI] unleashed a full-spectrum spying campaign against a presidential candidate in order to influence an election, and when that failed, they tried to delegitimize a president.

We learn from the Horowitz Report that it was an Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer, a man with ties to his own nation’s intel services and the Clinton Foundation, who set up a meeting with Trump staffer George Papadopoulos, creating the necessary first bit of info to set the plan in motion. We find the FBI exaggerating, falsifying, and committing wicked sins of omission to buffalo the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) courts into approving electronic surveillance on Team Trump to overtly or inadvertently monitor the communications of Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Jared Kushner, Michael Flynn, Jeff Sessions, Steve Bannon, Rick Gates, Trump transition staffers, and likely Trump himself.

We learn that the FBI greedily consumed the Steele Dossier, opposition “research” bought by the Clinton campaign to smear Trump with allegations of sex parties and pee tapes. Most notoriously, the dossier claims he was a Russian plant, a Manchurian Candidate, owned by Kremlin intelligence through a combination of treats (land deals in Moscow) and threats (kompromat over Trump’s evil sexual appetites). The Horowitz Report makes clear the FBI knew the Dossier was bunk, hid that conclusion from the FISA court, and purposefully lied to the FISA court in claiming that the Dossier was backed up by investigative news reports, which themselves were secretly based on the Dossier. The FBI knew Steele had created a classic intel officer’s information loop, secretly becoming his own corroborating source, and gleefully looked the other way because it supported his goals.

The FBI, in other words, constructed a massive conspiracy of lies to illegally spy on Trump officials and try to criminalize their actions, even when no criminal behavior occurred. Read the rest of this entry »

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JOHN KIRIAKOU: The Press Should Not Be Shielding FBI Malfeasance – Consortiumnews

Posted by M. C. on December 2, 2019

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/11/27/john-kiriakou-the-press-should-not-be-shielding-fbi-malfeasance/

By John Kiriakou

The Washington Post and other media outlets last week reported that a former FBI attorney allegedly altered a document related to the FBI’s 2016 surveillance of Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser.  FBI Inspector General Michael Horowitz apparently concluded that the conduct “did not affect the overall validity of the surveillance application,” which was made with the secret FISA court.

The Post article, as well as articles in The New York Times, at CNN, and in other outlets, downplayed the behavior as having had “no effect” on the FBI’s surveillance of Page, ignoring the fact that tampering with a federal document is a felony.  That’s consistent with the Justice Department’s own policy of protecting their own while wrecking the lives of those who have the guts to stand up to them.

Publishing Excuses 

Look at The Washington Post’s original account of the inspector general’s findings.  The FBI attorney was just a “low-level employee” who has already “been forced out of the Bureau.”  The altered document “did not affect the overall validity of the surveillance application.”  The employee “erroneously indicated he had documentation to back up a claim he had made in discussions with the Justice Department about the factual basis for the application.  He then altered an email to back up that erroneous claim.”

Let’s straighten a few things outs.

First, the employee was not “low-level.”  Attorneys enter the FBI at the GS-11 level.  That’s a starting salary of $69,581.  On Day One of his career, the attorney would actually be a mid-level employee.  Furthermore, “low-level employees” are not assigned to sensitive operations involving counterintelligence against a major-party presidential campaign. Hand-picked senior employees get that honor.

Second, even if the altered document didn’t affect the FISA warrant application, the statement is irrelevant.  The attorney committed a felony, plain and simple.

Third, the media says that the attorney “erroneously indicated” that he could back up the document. But that, too, was a felony.  It’s called “making a false statement” and it’s punishable by up to five years in prison.

To make matters worse, there is no indication from the Justice Department that this attorney will be prosecuted.  “He’s already resigned,” The Washington Post tells us, as if that’s supposed to make everything OK.  Why is the mainstream media shielding FBI malfeasance?  For FBI crimes?  Because the victim is the Trump campaign, and we’re not supposed to like the Trump campaign. It’s all about Russia, Russia, Russia, remember?  If the evidence doesn’t show that, you just change the evidence.

Letter from Terry Albury

We shouldn’t be surprised about this kind of behavior from the FBI or from the Justice Department writ large.  I received a letter this week from FBI whistleblower Terry Albury.  He’s the courageous former FBI agent who blew the whistle on systemic racism in the bureau.  And he received four years in prison for his trouble.  Terry wrote to tell me about an experience that he’s having identical to my own, when I was in prison after blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program.

Terry has less than a year left on his sentence.  He has watched over the past year as dozens of prisoners around him have been sent from their low-security prison to a minimum-security work camp.  These are prisoners who have committed violent crimes; prisoners who have attempted escape in the past; and prisoners who are incarcerated because they are recidivists.  Here’s what Terry wrote:

“On 11/13/2018, I self-surrendered to FCI Englewood in Littleton, CO.  In assigning me to a Low Security Prison (LSP), the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) placed a Management Variable (MGTV) on my case to counteract my extremely high security score of zero.  Of the variables at their disposal, I was deemed to be a ‘Greater Security Threat.’

According to institutional policy:

When the BOP believes that an offender represents a greater security risk than the assigned security level would suggest, it may apply this Management Variable and place the inmate in an institution with a higher security level.  The BOP typically applies this MGTV to offenders with lengthy prior arrest records but few convictions, nonviolent offenders who have a history of poor adjustment under probation or community supervision, offenders with a history of organized crime, offenders with significant foreign ties and/or financial resources, and offenders who have had disciplinary problems during prior incarceration.  Inmates who receive this MGTV are placed one security level higher than their score would otherwise require.

The facts of my case and background confirm that none of these parameters apply.  Furthermore, an analysis of the policy clearly demonstrates that I should never have been placed (and continue to be held) in an LSP.

Over the past year, I’ve consistently complied with all institutional rules, taken extensive BOP-sponsored educational courses, and earned the support of my case manager, unit manager, and warden who followed BOP Policy and authorized the removal of my erroneous MGTV and subsequent transfer to a Minimum Security Prison (MSP) within 500 miles of my residence (in line with Congressional guidance under the First Step Act).

In authorizing my 10/11/2019 transfer to an MSP and the removal of my MGTV, Case Manager D. Taylor specifically cited “unit team discretion outlined in PS P5100.08” which further states “when a management variable no longer applies, institution staff will remove the variable(s) accordingly.”  Program Statement 5270.09 is also clear in that “the Unit Team may recommend a greater security transfer, using their professional judgment, and in accordance with the policy on inmate security designation and custody classification.”

However, on 10/30/2019, I was informed that the DSCC’s Designation and Sentence Computation Center (DSCC) discounted, rejected, and overturned my legally justified transfer and MGTV removal.  Furthermore, they unilaterally assigned a new MGTV to my case (“monitoring required”) in spite of the fact that all federal prisoners are subjected to comprehensive phone, e-mail, and traditional mail monitoring at every prison around the country (minimum, low, medium, and high).

To say that I’m being held to a different institutional standard would be an understatement. Over the past year, I’ve watched prisoners transfer to MSPs with nine security points, violent backgrounds, five or more years remaining on their sentence, and histories of escape.

Yet somehow, a man with zero security points, a non-violent background, less than a year remaining on his sentence, and someone authorized to self-surrender, I was deemed to be ineligible for placement in an MSP.  And to exacerbate the issue, the entire executive staff of FCI Englewood supported my transfer and no longer believed I warranted the misguided and inappropriate MGTV of “greater security threat.”

In an effort to resolve this issue, I’ve filed a series of administrative grievances, which is on par with applying scotch tape to fill a leak in the Hoover Dam.  I have no confidence in the internal process which is why I am pursuing all available external channels to voice my concerns.”

The fix is in, not just with Terry Albury, but with the whole system.  Want to tell the press that the FBI is an inherently racist organization?  Go ahead. You’ll get years in prison.  Want to tamper with federal documents to prove a political point?  Don’t worry. The press will cover for you and the chances are that the Department of Justice won’t even bother to prosecute.

Terry Albury will be home soon, where he’ll continue the fight for transparency and honesty in government.  But the fight is a daunting one, especially when the mainstream media is one of your enemies.  It’s a fight we should all be happy to take on.

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Revealed: The Justice Dept’s secret rules for targeting journalists with FISA court orders

Posted by M. C. on September 19, 2018

https://freedom.press/news/revealed-justice-depts-secret-rules-targeting-journalists-fisa-court-orders/

Trevor Timm

Today, we are revealing—for the first time—the Justice Department’s rules for targeting journalists with secret FISA court orders. The documents were obtained as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Freedom of the Press Foundation and Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

While civil liberties advocates have long suspected secret FISA court orders may be used (and abused) to conduct surveillance on journalists, the government—to our knowledge—has never acknowledged they have ever even contemplated doing so before the release of these documents today.

The FISA court rules below are entirely separate from—and much less stringent—than the rules for obtaining subpoenas, court orders, and warrants against journalists as laid out in the Justice Department’s “media guidelines,” which former Attorney General Eric Holder strengthened in 2015 after several scandals involving surveillance of journalists during the Obama era.

When using the legal authorities named in the “media guidelines,” the Justice Department (DOJ) must go through a fairly stringent multi-part test (e.g. certifying that the information is critical to an investigation, that it can’t be obtained by other means, and that the DOJ exhausted all other avenues before doing so) before targeting a journalist with surveillance. They must also get approval from the Attorney General… Read the rest of this entry »

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