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Posts Tagged ‘FISA’

DOJ Says FBI Not Trustworthy – PaulCraigRoberts.org

Posted by M. C. on April 15, 2020

Your FIB

10 Classified FBI Secrets - YouTube

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2020/04/02/doj-says-fbi-not-trustworthy/

News Updates From CLG

02 April 2020 

All links are here:

https://www.legitgov.org

IG Horowitz Found ‘Apparent Errors or Inadequately Supported Facts’ in Every Single FBI FISA Application He Reviewed | 31 March 2020 | The Justice Department inspector general said it does “not have confidence” in the FBI’s FISA application process following an audit that found the Bureau was not sufficiently transparent with the court in 29 applications from 2014 to 2019, all of which included “apparent errors or inadequately supported facts.” Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a report in December which found that the FBI included “at least 17 significant errors or omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications and many errors in the Woods Procedures” during its Crossfire Hurricane investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign… Horowitz’s office said in a report released Tuesday that of the 29 applications — all of which involved U.S. citizens — that were pulled from “8 FBI field offices of varying sizes,” the FBI could not find Woods Files for four of the applications, while the other 25 all had “apparent errors or inadequately supported facts.” The Woods Procedure dictates that the Justice Department verify the accuracy and provide evidentiary support for all facts stated in its FISA application. The FBI is required to share with the FISA Court all relevant information compiled in the Woods File when applying for a surveillance warrant.

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/ig-horowitz-found-apparent-errors-or-inadequately-supported-facts-in-every-single-fbi-fisa-application-he-reviewed/

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How out of Control Is Our Surveillance State? | Cato Institute

Posted by M. C. on December 23, 2019

Americans deserve a stronger assurance than “hope” that their Fourth Amendment rights are being respected.

https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/how-out-control-our-surveillance-state

By Julian Sanchez

This article appeared on The New York Times on December 18, 2019.
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The F.B.I.’s investigation of the former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, we can now say with assurance, was a train wreck. In his report, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz cataloged a damning list of egregious errors, omissions or misrepresentations in filings to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which approved nearly a year’s worth of wiretaps on Mr. Page.

Many Republicans have taken this as proof that the investigation was hopelessly contaminated by anti-Trump political bias. That would be the optimistic scenario. Unfortunately, it’s probably much worse than that.

If the F.B.I. botched its applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants against Mr. Page because of political bias, after all, problems of the sort Mr. Horowitz identified are most likely unique to this case. The bureau obtains about 1,500 FISA warrants each year, and an overwhelming majority have no connection to domestic politics. The solution is also similarly simple: Toss out the bad apples who acted on political motives and add a few layers of safeguards for the tiny fraction of cases that are designated “sensitive investigative matters” because they do intersect with politics.

 

That might be a reasonable response if we were confident the Page investigation represented an outlier or aberration. The chilling reality, however, is that we have no idea whether that’s the case.

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, Senator Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, zeroed in on this point. When she asked Mr. Horowitz whether finding mistakes in a FISA application was “a fairly unusual occurrence,” he responded, “I would hope so.”

Americans deserve a stronger assurance than “hope” that their Fourth Amendment rights are being respected. The sheer quantity of serious defects in the FISA applications targeting Mr. Page — which officials consistently told Mr. Horowitz received far more review than normal, because agents understood the applications would doubtless attract controversy and scrutiny — raises an obvious and disturbing question: If they’re this sloppy with a target involved in a presidential campaign, how bad is it in ordinary cases, which the public will never learn about and which are unlikely to ever be the topic of congressional hearings?

We needn’t worry so much about that, of course, if the defects of the Page warrants were products of political animus against the Trump campaign. But the report provides very little reason to think that’s the case. The case for supposing bias is the culprit here leans heavily on the former F.B.I. agent Peter Strzok, now notorious for a voluminous history of text messages denigrating Mr. Trump and suggesting that he would not become president because “we will stop it.” But while Mr. Strzok played a supervisory role in the earliest stage of the Page investigation, it’s hard to tie him to the specific problems Mr. Horowitz identifies. As the report notes, Mr. Strzok “was not the primary or sole decision maker on any investigative step” and at one point opposed FISA monitoring of another Trump campaign staff member that case agents proposed. Moreover, the problems Mr. Horowitz documented in the initial FISA application filed under Mr. Strzok’s watch were significantly less serious than the outrageous omissions and misrepresentations to the court that occurred in the subsequent applications to renew the wiretap, after Mr. Strzok’s role in the investigation had ended.

With one significant exception — an F.B.I. lawyer responsible for improperly altering an email related to the final renewal application — Mr. Horowitz didn’t find signs of Mr. Strzok’s intense animus among others who worked on the FISA warrants. The report notes that among the huge quantity of internal communications reviewed, the inspector general identified “a small number of text messages and instant messages” in which members of the investigation team “discussed political issues and candidates,” but that these “did not raise significant questions of potential bias or improper motivation.”

If there’s an explanation for the errors Mr. Horowitz documents suggested by his reports, it’s not political bias. It’s confirmation bias.

The F.B.I.’s interest in Mr. Page — and its suspicions that he might be a Russian intelligence asset — predated his involvement in presidential politics. He had reportedly been the target of a FISA warrant in 2014 and was the focus of yet another counterintelligence investigation opened in April 2016 by the F.B.I.’s notoriously Trump-friendly New York field office, months before the bureau started an inquiry into potential links between the Trump campaign and Russia’s election interference operation. When investigators got wind of Christopher Steele’s notorious dossier, which made Mr. Page a pivotal figure in a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” between Mr. Trump and the Kremlin, it would have seemed like confirmation of what they already suspected.

Having adopted this theory, investigators began to exhibit classic signs of confirmation bias, readily absorbing new information that fit the model they’d built, while overlooking or explaining away facts that didn’t fit. The worst misrepresentations to the court that Mr. Horowitz uncovered are sins of omission — new information the bureau obtained as the investigation progressed that should have led it to question previous representations it had made to the court.

The many layers of review FISA applications go through — laid out in a set of rules known as the Woods Procedures — were ill equipped to detect this sort of problem, because the Woods Procedures focus on confirming that facts in the application match documents in the F.B.I.’s case file. But you can’t fact check a claim that doesn’t exist — which means the process is bad at detecting important information that has been left out. Officials who reviewed later applications also told Mr. Horowitz that they typically focused on the new information in each submission. That means assertions they’d made early on ended up effectively being taken for granted: Nobody was revisiting early assumptions to see whether they still held up in the face of new data.

If this explains why the Page investigation went increasingly off the rails, it’s an explanation that has little to do with partisan politics at its heart. But that would mean there’s little reason to think the Page investigation is special in this respect. There’s an urgent need, then, for the inspector general to do more such “deep dives” and figure out just how pervasive the problem really is.

Fortunately, the inspector general is already taking a first step in this direction, having begun a review that will “examine the F.B.I.’s compliance with the Woods Procedures in FISA applications that target U.S. persons.” But in itself, that’s not enough: While Mr. Horowitz found violations of the Woods Procedures in the Page case, they weren’t the most serious distortions. Those occurred precisely because the Woods Procedures aren’t well calibrated to catch material facts that get left out. To do that, you’d need to do the kind of intensive and comprehensive case-by-case review conducted in the Horowitz review, not just run Woods vetting a second time to see whether the results tally.

Doing this sort of deep dive for a representative sample of FISA applications will, of course, be both expensive and extremely time consuming. But it’s well worth it to find out just how badly our surveillance state is broken.

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JOHN KIRIAKOU: James Comey’s Interview on Fox News Screams Out for Correction – Consortiumnews

Posted by M. C. on December 21, 2019

And the truth of the matter is that the FISA court isn’t really a court at all.  It meets in secret.  A “defendant” has no idea that the government is asking for a warrant against him.  The defendant has no attorney to represent his interests before the court. 

The FISA judges have to know they are being played. The truth is that if they make waves they loose their jobs.

The FISA court has become such an embarrassment to those who pay attention that it has to pretend they care.

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/12/19/john-kiriakou-james-comeys-interview-on-fox-news-screams-out-for-correction/

By John Kiriakou

Former FBI Director James Comey gave an interview this week to journalist Chris Wallace on Fox News in which he made one of the most disingenuous and dissembling statements I’ve heard in years, one that screams out for correction and real Congressional oversight.

When asked about Justice Department Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz’s report, which found “17 significant errors and omissions” by the FBI when it began investigating alleged Russian involvement with the 2016 Trump campaign and it applied for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, Comey said that he had been “overconfident” when he defended the FBI’s use of FISA.

Overconfident! Comey ignored the fact that the FBI repeatedly renewed the warrant against Page, whom the FBI suspected was working for Russian intelligence, even if it had no evidence to indicate that was the case.  He downplayed the fact that an FBI attorney illegally changed an FBI report to indicate that Page was not working for the CIA, when the FBI knew for a fact that he was.

Perhaps most disingenuously, Comey told Wallace that, “I thought the FBI had gone about this in a thoughtful and appropriate way.  He’s (Horowitz) right.  I was wrong.  I was overconfident as director in our procedures…It’s incredibly hard to get a FISA.”

Comey’s Lie About a FISA Warrant 

Even more importantly, at least for the American people as a whole, is Comey’s lie that “it’s incredibly hard to get a FISA.”  It’s actually incredibly easy to get a FISA.  Over its 33-year lifespan, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has issued 33,942 warrants.  It has denied 12.  In fact, between the court’s creation in 1986 and 2003, it didn’t deny a single request for a warrant.  Those numbers simply don’t support Comey’s odd contention that it’s “incredibly hard” to get a FISA.  He’s lying to us… Read the rest of this entry »

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Remember the FBI’s promise it wasn’t abusing the NSA’s data on US citizens? Well, guess what… • The Register

Posted by M. C. on October 17, 2019

The FBI said it had no way to measure it the number of searches it ran.

But that, it turns out, was a bold-faced lie. Because we now know that the FBI carried out 6,800 queries of the database in a single day in December 2017 using social security numbers. In other words, the FBI was using the NSA’s database at least 80 times more frequently than the NSA itself.

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/10/08/fbi_spying_abuse/

By Kieren McCarthy in San Francisco

Turns out the Feds make the CIA and NSA actually look good

The FBI routinely misused a database, gathered by the NSA with the specific purpose of searching for foreign intelligence threats, by searching it for everything from vetting to spying on relatives.

In doing so, it not only violated the law and the US constitution but knowingly lied to the faces of congressmen who were asking the intelligence services about this exact issue at government hearings, hearings that were intended to find if there needed to be additional safeguards added to the program.

That is the upshot of newly declassified rulings of the secret FISC court that decides issues of spying and surveillance within the United States.

On Tuesday, in a year-old ruling [PDF] that remains heavily redacted, everything that both privacy advocates and a number of congressmen – particularly Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) – feared was true of the program turned out to be so, but worse.

Even though the program in question – Section 702 – is specifically designed only to be used for US government agencies to be allowed to search for evidence of foreign intelligence threats, the FBI gave itself carte blanche to search the same database for US citizens by stringing together a series of ridiculous legal justifications about data being captured “incidentally” and subsequent queries of that data not requiring a warrant because it had already been gathered.

Despite that situation, the FBI repeatedly assured lawmakers and the courts that it was using its powers in a very limited way. Senator Wyden was not convinced and used his position to ask questions about the program, the answers to which raised ever greater concerns.

For example, while the NSA was able to outline the process by which its staff was allowed to make searches on the database, including who was authorized to dig further, and it was able to give a precise figure for how many searches there had been, the FBI claimed it was literally not able to do so.

Free for all

Any FBI agent was allowed to search the database, it revealed under questioning, any FBI agent was allowed to de-anonymize the data and the FBI claimed it did not have a system to measure the number of search requests its agents carried out.

In a year-long standoff between Senator Wyden and the Director of National Intelligence, the government told Congress it was not able to get a number for the number of US citizens whose details had been brought up in searches – something that likely broke the Fourth Amendment.

Today’s release of the FISC secret opinion reveals that giving the FBI virtually unrestricted access to the database led to exactly the sort of behavior that people were concerned about: vast number of searches, including many that were not remotely justified…

The FBI said it had no way to measure it the number of searches it ran.

But that, it turns out, was a bold-faced lie. Because we now know that the FBI carried out 6,800 queries of the database in a single day in December 2017 using social security numbers. In other words, the FBI was using the NSA’s database at least 80 times more frequently than the NSA itself…

Or, in other words, the FBI was breaking the law and the constitution. And it did so tens of thousands of times between 2017 and 2018 – while at the same time promising Congress that everything was fine and it was only using the database for rare instances connected to national security.

To say Senator Wyden is unhappy about this turn of events would be an understatement. “Last year, when Congress reauthorized Section 702 of FISA, it accepted the FBI’s outright refusal to account for all its warrantless backdoor searches of Americans,” he said today in a statement.

“Today’s release demonstrates how baseless the FBI’s position was and highlights Congress’ constitutional obligation to act independently and strengthen the checks and balances on government surveillance.

“The information released today also reveals serious abuses in the FBI’s backdoor searches, underscoring the need for the government to seek a warrant before searching through mountains of private data on Americans. Finally, I am concerned that the government has redacted information in these releases that the public deserves to know.”

In short, little had changed in the security services’ approach since Edward Snowden revealed the scale and depth of spying operations carried out against US citizens and foreigners. Given the slightest opportunity to spy on citizens, the FBI will take it, lie about it and when finally caught, promise to do better next time. ®

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Funny J Edgar Memes of 2017 on SIZZLE | Church

 

 

 

 

 

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Robert Mueller and James Comey have made the FBI a threat to democracy former agent warns | Daily Mail Online

Posted by M. C. on September 5, 2019

ad nauseum…

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7423843/Robert-Mueller-James-Comey-FBI-threat-democracy-former-agent-warns.html

By Daniel Bates For Dailymail.com

  • The FBI under Robert Mueller undermined public confidence in justice while James Comey nearly destroyed it completely, a new book by an ex-agent claims
  • Mike German writes in his upcoming book that Mueller wanted to ‘remake the FBI in his own image’ with no room for dissent
  • Mueller’s FBI silenced whistle-blowers, undermined controls over its operations and created a new category of victims, German writes 
  • The attacks on 9/11 ‘justified unleashing the FBI from traditional legal and moral restraints in order to prevent the follow up attacks they predicted’
  • Upon request from the FBI under Mueller, Congress loosened the Foreign Service Intelligence (FISA) act – meaning the FBI could ‘surreptitiously father information about anyone it deemed ‘relevant’ 
  • It is likely that these looser rules would have helped Mueller during his investigations as Special Counsel and Comey when he was director of the FBI
  • Meanwhile, German claims that Comey breached a ‘cardinal rule’ of the FBI by commenting on Trump’s uncharged behavior in regards to the 2016 election 
  • Comey’s actions tipped the tightest presidential election in history and cast a cloud of illegitimacy over the Trump administration even before taking office’ 
  • German writes: ‘The FBI has systemic problems that, left unchecked, make the bureau a threat to the very democracy it is intended to serve’

The FBI under Robert Mueller undermined public confidence in justice while James Comey nearly destroyed it completely, a new book claims.

Ex-FBI agent Mike German, a 16 year veteran of law enforcement, writes the former directors of the bureau turned it into a ‘lawless law enforcer’.

In Disrupt, Discredit, and Divide: How the New FBI Damages Democracy, German says: ‘The FBI has systemic problems that, left unchecked, make the bureau a threat to the very democracy it is intended to serve’.

In a damning history of the FBI, German claims that Mueller, who later became the Special Counsel in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, wanted to ‘remake the FBI in his own image’ with no room for dissent.

He threw out the safeguards that were brought in by the Church Committee in 1975 and brought about a ‘new era of abuse’ against citizens.

Mueller’s FBI has silenced whistle-blowers and created many ‘victims of the FBI’ says German, who became an adviser to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) after retiring and has written papers attacking the bureau.

Comey went further and ‘dispensed with the illusion the bureau was impartial and apolitical’ when he made his public comments about the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails in 2016.

German claims that Comey breached a ‘cardinal rule’ of the FBI by commenting on a subject’s uncharged behavior and his comments cast a ‘cloud of illegitimacy’ over Trump’s presidency before he even took office…

‘The stain of the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover-era abuses should have served as a strong warning that public trust can be lost more easily than it can be recovered’.

German also states his belief that the FBI should have more vigorously pursued bank executives behind the 2008 financial crash.

In some of his most damning comments in the book, German writes that by targeting protesters and minorities and not white nationalists, the FBI contributed to a ‘societal breach’.

German writes: ‘I believe that the FBI has contributed to a breakdown of public trust in government institutions… the FBI widened the divide between us and them – the protected versus the suspected.

‘When members of the public internalized that government institutions would not protect their rights and privileges, they had to decide which side they were on’.

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Yes son, you too can grow up to be lying scum and hate black people.

 

 

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Christopher Steele Made Damning Pre-FISA Confession; FBI Retroactively Classified | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on May 9, 2019

The FIB and Hillary, how bad can they get? How low can she go? It takes a lot to be worse than LBJ.

What happened to turn her from being a Goldwater Girl into this?

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-05-08/christopher-steele-made-damning-pre-fisa-confession-fbi-retroactively-classified

by Tyler Durden

Former British spy Christopher Steele made a stunning admission during an October 11, 2016 meeting with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec, just 10 days before the FBI used his now-discredited dossier to justify securing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page and the campaign’s ties to Russia, according to The Hill‘s John Solomon.

According a typed summary of the meeting – which sat buried for over 2 1/2 years until an open-records litigation by Citizens United – Steele said that his client “is keen to see this information come to light prior to November 8,” the date of the 2016 US election. Also attending the meeting was an employee of Steele’s Orbis Security firm, Tatyana Duran.

And according to The Hill, Kavalec’s notes of the meeting – including this stunning admission – do not appear to have been provided to the House Intelligence Committee for its Russia probe, according to former Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA).

“They tried to hide a lot of documents from us during our investigation, and it usually turns out there’s a reason for it,” Nunes told The Hill‘s Solomon, who notes that One member of Congress had transmitted the memos to the DOJ’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz out of concern that the IG’s office had never seen it either.

The FBI has retroactively classified Kavalec’s notes on 4/25/2019, despite the fact that it was originally marked unclassified in 2016. It is set to “Declassify on 12/31/2041,” 25 years after the 2016 election.

The apparent effort to hide Kavalec’s notes from her contact with Steele has persisted for some time.

State officials acknowledged a year ago they received a copy of the Steele dossier in July 2016, and got a more detailed briefing in October 2016 and referred the information to the FBI.

But what was discussed was not revealed. Sources told me more than a year ago that Kavalec had the most important (and memorialized) interaction with Steele before the FISA warrant was issued, but FBI and State officials refused to discuss it, or even confirm it.

The encounter, and Kavalec’s memos, were forced into public view through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation by Citizens United. Yet, all but a few lines have been redacted after the fact. Officials are citing as the reason national security, in the name of the FBI and a half-century-old intelligence law. –The Hill

“This new information proves why the attorney general must conduct a thorough investigation of the investigators,” said Citizens United president and informal Trump adviser David Bossie, adding that Kavalec’s notes suggest there was an illegal effort to “frame” Trump with bogus collusion allegations

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The Nunes Memo Matters—But Not For the Reason You Think | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on February 6, 2018

the intelligence community played an ongoing public role in deciding who ended up in the White House, and they’re now continuing that role to determine how long the elected president remains there.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-nunes-memo-matters-but-not-for-the-reason-you-think/

By PETER VAN BUREN

…But when you wave away all the partisan smoke, what’s left is that the Nunes memo confirms that American intelligence services were involved in a presidential campaign and remained so in the aftermath. That’s the real takeaway from the political hysteria of the past week.

The FBI conducted an investigation, the first ever of a major-party candidate in the midst of a presidential contest, that exonerated Hillary Clinton of wrongdoing over her private email server, a government-endorsed “okay” for her expected victory. No real probe was ever conducted into the vast sums of money moving between foreign states and the Clinton Foundation, dead-ending those concerns to partisan media… Read the rest of this entry »

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Lying, Spying, and Hiding – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on February 1, 2018

personal courage (in congress?), patriotism (in -Israel first- Washington?), fidelity to the Constitution (considered a hindrance in Washington).  How many take it meaningfully and seriously? (seriously?)

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/02/andrew-p-napolitano/lying-spying-and-hiding/

…Where is the personal courage on the House Intelligence Committee? Where is the patriotism? Where is the fidelity to the Constitution? The government exists by our consent. It derives its powers from us. We have a right to know what it has done in our names, who broke our trust, who knew about it, who looked the other way and why and by whom all this was intentionally hidden until after Congress voted to expand FISA.

Everyone in government takes an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. How many take it meaningfully and seriously?

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One Final Expansion of the Surveillance State as Obama Heads for the Door – Hit & Run : Reason.com

Posted by M. C. on January 17, 2017

https://reason.com/blog/2017/01/13/one-final-expansion-of-the-surveillance

 changes that will increase the ability of the National Security Agency (NSA) to share some raw intercepted data with other agencies before the process of filtering out private information from people unconnected to actual targets. The snooping itself is not changing, but more people will have access earlier in the process.

Specifically this is surveillance authorized by Executive Order 12333, the provisions that outline the conduct of intelligence agencies. These are rules separate from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the PATRIOT Act, and the new USA Freedom Act. The 12333 rules are specifically intended to oversee surveillance of foreign targets and foreign countries. It has very little oversight outside of the executive branch.

How he loves us, let us count the ways.

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Your Constitution is Sold Down the River By the US Senate, Again

Posted by M. C. on December 31, 2012

Passed: HR 5949 Renews the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act FISA. Carte Blanche to spy on your communication without a warrant. Casey and Toomey voted for it.

Failed: An amendment that requires a warrant to access private credit card, internet and banking data.

Casey and Toomey voted against. Read the rest of this entry »

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