FISA

National Security Surveillance Apologists Are Starting to See the Light

Privacy advocates have long warned about potential abuses. Will the mishandling of the Carter Page investigation change some minds?

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When Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz testified to the Senate yesterday about the problems with the FBI's wiretaps on former Trump aide Carter Page, a couple of Republicans acknowledged their history of defending the federal surveillance apparatus from privacy-minded critics.

"[Sen.] Mike Lee [R–Utah] has warned me for four and a half years the potential for abuse in this space is terrible," said Sen. Ben Sasse (R–Neb.). "I constantly defended the integrity and the professionalism of the bureau and of the department that you couldn't have something like this happen."

Similarly, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–S.C.) has long defended giving virtually any power to the government to fight terrorists—it's his entire post-9/11 shtick. But now that he's seen the FBI cutting corners and omitting important information when requesting permission to wiretap Page, he thinks the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments (FISA) court and its secret warrants maybe need some reform after all:

I'm a pretty hawkish guy. But if the court doesn't take corrective action and do something about being manipulated and lied to, you'll lose my support. I know a lot about what's going on out there to hurt us. And they're real threats and they're real agents and they're really bad actors out there. I'd hate to lose the ability of the FISA court to operate at a time probably when we need it the most.

But after your report, I have serious concerns about whether the FISA court can continue unless there's fundamental reform. After your report, I think we need to rewrite the rules on how you start a counterintelligence investigation and the checks and balances that we need. Mr. Horowitz, for us to do justice to your report, we have to do more than try to shade this report one way or the other. We have to address the underlying problem. The system and the hands in a few bad people can do a lot of damage.

Let's appreciate, first of all, that Sasse and Graham are acknowledging their past pro-surveillance positions before suggesting they may support reforms. If they had not, this would come off more as defending "their guy" Trump rather than realizing that there are serious problems with the FISA system itself.

But is this really the true reckoning for the government's ability to secretly snoop on U.S. citizens through the FISA court? Later that same day, the House overwhelmingly passed (with the support of most Republicans) a massive military spending bill that does nothing to reform these problems, prompting disappointment from surveillance critic Rep. Justin Amash (I–Mich.):

Amash, a former member of the GOP, was long denounced by fellow Republicans for his warnings against potential abuses of the warrant process. And now, of course, he and Lee (and Reason, and the American Civil Liberties Union, and FreedomWorks, and a host of other critics) are being proven correct.

Unfortunately, we have no idea how correct we are. As somebody who has been writing about federal surveillance under two presidents, I want to make it clear how unprecedented it is for any of us to get this much information about a specific FISA warrant process. This has made it impossible for national security journalists to contextualize what happened. And that makes it easier to try to pass off the many mistakes in the warrant process as an anomaly that doesn't represent typical FBI behavior, both for people trying to deflect criticism of the bureau and for people who want to argue that the FBI's screw-ups were a deliberate effort to get Trump.

Charlie Savage, who has been covering federal surveillance policies for the New York Times for years, describes how unusual it is that we all get such a close look at the inner workings of this FISA warrant process:

Congress enacted FISA in 1978 to regulate domestic surveillance for national-security investigations—monitoring suspected spies and terrorists, as opposed to ordinary criminals. Investigators must persuade a judge on a special court that a target is probably an agent of a foreign power. In 2018, there were 1,833 targets of such orders, including 232 Americans.

Most of those targets never learn that their privacy has been invaded, but some are sent to prison on the basis of evidence derived from the surveillance. And unlike in ordinary criminal wiretap cases, defendants are not permitted to see what investigators told the court about them to obtain permission to eavesdrop on their calls and emails.

Horowitz himself acknowledged Wednesday that this was the first time anybody in the Office of the Inspector General had delved into the contents of a specific FISA warrant application. When Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R–Tenn.) asked him how frequently he found mistakes in these warrant applications, he explained to her that his office had only in the past done "high-level" reviews of the process. None of us outside the FBI can say, with the information we have right now, how typical this behavior is. We do know that while the FISA court has approved nearly all surveillance warrants (99 percent of them), the court has inquired and received additional information or changes to the warrant applications about a quarter of the time.

The good news from Horowitz's report is that the inspector general is not going to wait for either Congress or Attorney General William Barr to decide what to do in a highly politicized environment. The Office of the Inspector General will audit the FBI to determine how well the warrants against those 232 other Americans will withstand this sort of scrutiny.

Next year we'll see how serious Sasse and Graham are about FISA reform. An extension of PATRIOT Act surveillance authorities was shoved into a stopgap spending bill passed (primarily by Democrats) in November. That extension expires in March. At that point, Congress will have to decide whether it really wants to reform how secret surveillance is used against Americans or if it just cares how it affects Donald Trump.

NEXT: Republicans, Democrats Agree to Dump $738 Billion More Into the Forever War and Space Force

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  1. “Ugh, well …. ok, yes, this looks bad …. but, um …. Republicans brought it on themselves, so …. you know, you reap what you sow …. oh, and, Trump should totally still be impeached.”

    1. Yeah, this article is no less stupid than Robby’s last night (funny how Reason puts out two articles within twelve hours saying the exact same fucking thing).

      Most people defending the FBI for the past three years have been DEMOCRATS, you lying sack of shit. It’s been Republicans that have braved the media onslaught for peddling “conspiracy theories” that the FBI was misbehaving.

      To Kathrine, Nick, Matt, and anyone else listening, TDS is a fucking cancer, and it’s strangling your collective brain. You need to get your shit together and start taking to task the numerous journalists (your fucking colleagues that you try to maintain good relationships with) that have been covering for corrupt government agents. Pretend you’re as libertarian as Reason used to be, and go after the FBI and hack journalists that enable them.

      1. Oh right, the Republicans had the House, the Senate, and the Presidency for two years. Did they do anything about this?

        Grow up, you partisan lying sack of shit.

        1. You mean, when the FBI director and others were actively misleading the President and Congress?

          Read the news, you partisan lying sack of shit.

          1. Yes, po widdle Republicans, let a bunch of Dems mislead them. O po widdle trusting Republicans, so innocent and naive.

            1. Go suck on a handgun, slaver.

            2. You go full brain dead often.

        2. You mean the people the media and Democrats yelled to recuse themselves from anything related to Mueller or the FBI?

      2. Amen.

        Would it be too much to ask for at least one article dissecting all the ways in which Adam Schiff not only defended the FISA abuse, but also all the ways in which he actively tried to cover it up by assuring the public (after seeing the underlying applications) that everything was 100% copacetic?

        Schiff literally sat on this shit with near full knowledge of the improprieties and lied to everyone’s face, over and over and over again, while dismissing Nunes’ memo as a farce and conspiracy theory and claiming he had evidence to demonstrate Trump was a Russian agent.

        Schiff being drawn and quartered would be too kind, if you ask me.

        1. Strange isn’t it that the civil libertarians here have not problem with Schiff’s behavior during all this?

        2. If they wrote about Schiff they would have to write about their dreamy Amash as well. They’d have to admit they were fucking tricked due to their own biases. Better to be like ABC and pretend they were never pushing the narrative so they can blame both houses now and ignore their own bullshit for the last 3 years. Granted… they still havent blamed Democrats yet.

          1. I agree.

            However, I do not think anyone that pushed the narrative was “tricked.” At least not in the traditional sense where you have an unwitting person being led to believe things that are false under circumstances where they have no occasion to challenge the assertions being made or independently investigate them.

            I think it was abundantly evident that the entire collusion narrative was a fictional absurdity from its inception. I think most of the journalists writing about it knew it was nonsense but, nevertheless, wrote false and misleading articles with the hope that incessant repetition would turn perception into reality.

            Bombshell after bombshell evaporated. Scandalous leaks were disseminated, then debunked. Still, everyone played along as though the evidence was mounting into something credible, rather than disintegrating before their eyes.

            The problem isn’t that journalists were being misled, it is that they deliberately ignored all evidence to the contrary. And that makes it willful. Nobody wants to admit to being played for a fool; but to admit to being a liar?

            Hence the silence.

            1. Mass delusion is a reality. But nobody will admit to it.

            2. 17 government agencies agree, they screamed.

              Well 17 mistakes…er, lies were discovered, so every agency should be disbanded.

              1. For those that cannot do the math: if each of the 17 error had a fifty percent chance of going either way, the probability that all 17 would go in the direction that enabled the FBI to illegally surveil the Trump people is (17 choose 17)*0.5^17*0.5^0 = 1*0.5^17*1 = 0.0000076, or 7.6 chances in a million.

        3. Bingo. And now that Schiff’s house of cards has been exposed, the lunatic fringe is deluding itself yet again: this time by employing the refrain ( all together now), “but there was no political bias. “

          Uh, huh.

          What we are witnessing, in short, is classic groupthink coupled with the specter of man’s dark side. It’s akin to what Steinbeck called the phalanx. These lunatics haven’t just individually decided to celebrate their own demons, they’ve also crystallized a demonic mob from which all reason and integrity has utterly vanished.

      3. Has the FBI ever not misbehaved?

        J Edgar Hoover, the first director of the FBI had/has a reputation for misusing his position, not just for personal gain, but to meddle with US politics.

        1. Has the FBI ever not misbehaved?

          No. It has been a corrupt and worthless organization since its founding.

      4. True, but they haven’t been willing to start taking apart this nightmare aparatus we’ve built up over the years either

    2. What I was about to post. The authors here have essentially been defending the IC attempts at getting Trump impeached for weeks. Now this article? Where was the outrage over using CHS on political opponents a year ago?!? It has been known since then at a minimum. Why did Reason cheer on Mueller who is fruit of the spoiled tree? Then go on to support hearsay and opinion as evidence. We didnt see one article on Reason about “interagency policy.” What a joke.

  2. As a #Resistance libertarian, I want a strong national security state. We cannot effectively fight Russian influence if our intelligence and law enforcement professionals have their hands tied by red tape.

    #LibertariansForGettingToughWithRussia
    #LibertariansForTheFBI

  3. The FISA court must be dismantled and abolished. This 41-year experiment has been an abysmal failure. The court tramples on our individual liberties routinely. It has to go.

    1. Agreed.

      But let’s not lose the moral of the story. The abuse is likely systemic. Still, this is a *Democrat* boondoggle that Schiff, Pelosi, Nadler, and many others actively defended for years. They should own it because have a lot of questions to answer. Obama’s DOJ has a lot of questions to answer.

      “Well, I hope everyone learned their lessons,” doesn’t cut it.

      We are out for blood and have every reason not to be satisfied with such timid, generalized denunciations.

      1. This is a bipartisan boondoggle. It was passed during Bush II, remember? It’s been reauthorized by Republicans and Democrats together.

        1. No, it’s not.

          The Democrats will wear this crown of shame forever, just like Nixon. Except, this is ten time worse than anything Nixon ever did.

          1. How many times have Republicans joined Democrats in re-authorizing FISA?

            Never? Dream on.

            1. FISA is bipartisan. But what happened here is not. You are conflating two different things.

              1. It’s amazing how easy it is to be outraged if you narrow the scope of your anger to just the most recent scandal and ignore everything you did to set up for that scandal.

                1. How hard would it be for you to admit that the Democrats fucked the pooch on this one?

                  You’re just a neutral libertarian right?

                  So, let’s hear the words. I’d like to see if you have enough honesty to actually say the words.

                  Do you?

                  1. He’s a dogmatist.
                    His faith tells him that both sides shall be exactly equal, no matter reality

                2. See? The right-wingers around here won’t accept yes for an answer. They demand total submission to their worldview. It’s not enough that you agree with them on the need for FISA reform. You must also hate Schiff as much as they do, otherwise it doesn’t count.

                  1. Poor jeffrey is still fucking pretending to be neutral despite the entirety of his posting.

                    Pleawe Jeffrey, go defend Schiff marking documents SECRET again to hide them. You’re totally neutral.

                  2. Where is the Republican misconduct Jeff? Spell it out. Otherwise shut the fuck up.

                  3. Just say it and I promise I will never bother you again.

                    “The Democrats orchestrated a scheme to illegally surveil a rival presidential candidate under the guise of conducting a counterintelligence investigation.”

                    Can you at least say that? Or is it too much?

                    1. Most Republicans voted for FISA, so any abuse of it, regardless of who abused it, is there fault and they have nothing to complain about.

                    2. “”The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was introduced on May 18, 1977, by Senator Ted Kennedy and was signed into law by President Carter on 25 October 1978. “”

                      Damn republicans.

                    3. There you go. You don’t want to solve problems, you just want to settle scores.

                      The IG report doesn’t support the contention that you claim, so why would I agree with it?

                      The investigation was opened legally. Whether it SHOULD have been legal is another question.

                      And it wasn’t “Democrats” who did it, it was agents within the FBI. If you have evidence that “Democrats” like Obama ordered the investigation, well, let’s see it. But I doubt it.

                    4. Holy fuck jeff actually is retarded. He stopped at page 2 and thinks that was all there was he then ignored the entire testimony from Horowitz yesterday. Jeff is honestly retarded.

                      Howoritz said the investigation was opened legally because there was no threshold that had to be met… and then they made every mistake thereafter including burying exculpatory evidence and ignoring anything that would have stopped the investigation. After 4 hours howoritz admitted that he could make no claim of it being partisan and on fact would err on that side. He just had no proof.

                      And Jeffs fucktard takeaway is “nothing to see here.”

                    5. As to one of your points – no I didn’t watch the Horowitz testimony. I have a job, unlike (evidently) many of you.

                      But for heaven’s sake Jesse will you listen to yourself? You’re being hysterical. I didn’t say ‘nothing to see here’. I said that the IG’s report doesn’t support the claim that GG made, about the investigation itself being a type of illegal surveillance.

                      It’s not enough with you people that I agree that the FBI needs reform and that FISA itself needs to be seriously reconsidered. I have to buy into the entire right-wing narrative of ILLEGAL SPYING, DEMOCRAT CONSPIRACY, DEEP STATE COUP, TREASON, BLAH BLAH. That is what I mean by submission to your worldview. It’s not enough that I agree with you on some things and disagree on others. It’s a package deal – either I accept fully the right-wing narrative, or I’m a prog. Well fuck that false choice crapola.

                    6. We all know you’ll continue to deny reality, psychoticjeff.
                      It’s your schtick

                    7. So it’s psychosis if I don’t buy into the right-wing narrative. Got it.

                      Man you people are some pieces of work sometimes.

                    8. I guess there’s a .0000076% chance you’re not wrong on this one, so there you go

                    9. //I said that the IG’s report doesn’t support the claim that GG made, about the investigation itself being a type of illegal surveillance.//

                      Except, that is exactly what the IG report states. Fucking moron. Delusional through and through.

                3. It’s even more amazing tat you will never even consider holding Democrats accountable for anything ever, isn’t it progtard.

                  1. Neutral Jeff.

                    Shits on Republicans by name but can’t bring himself to even start to concede the point that the Democrats ran the most egregious domestic spying program of a political opponent in American history.

                    So, so neutral.

        2. FISA itself is bipartisan. But nothing that happened relating to Page is bipartisan, unless maybe you count John McCain’s likely involvement. This is a Democratic and specifically Obama administration scandal.

          1. John McCain was a Democrat. Through and through.

          2. It is tripartisan if you count the dreamboat Amash.

      2. Oh, I think there is plenty of time for some metaphorical blood, Geraje. The FISA report is bad enough. Layer Durham’s criminal investigations and indictments that will be rolling out next spring, and I think there will be ‘rivers of metaphorical blood in the streets’.

        The Senate trial will be short, and sweet. The House managers present, the Senate debates for about 5 minutes, and they’ll vote to acquit POTUS Trump. Case closed.

        After that: Watch out! POTUS Trump himself will be unconstrained, and he will wipe the floor with whomever Team D puts up against him. It won’t matter. This time though, he will be campaigning actively for a Team R unified congress, using this impeachment horseshit as a cudgel to beat the living shit out of Team D. He may actually flip the House back, and expand Team R control of the Senate.

        1. Let’s hope.

        2. I think the House definitely flips back if Trump wins, which I think he will. If Trump wins, all of those Democrats who won in Trump voting districts promising to be reasonable are toast. Those loses alone flip the House back to Republican.

          Also, the complete failure of impeachment combined with the likely indictments coming from the Durham investigation are going to completely demoralize the Democratic base. They have been told for three years that Trump was going to be impeached and removed from office and all would be returned to normal. They are going to be completely demoralized and alienated when not only does that not happen but a a bunch of people from the Obama administration end up going to jail and not Trump. That will have huge effects all the way down the ballot.

          1. Anyone that bought into the Russia collusion fiction must be dying of shame and embarrassment right about now. The cognitive dissonance must be truly agonizing, along with the realization that every effort to sink Trump as a traitor has only been a stepping stone toward the revelation that Obama and the Democrats are now firmly in the same disgraced company with goons like Hoover and Nixon.

            1. They should be embarrassed but most of them can’t face that. So they cling to the belief that it is all true no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary. What they will do is convince themselves that the feckless and incompetent Democrats allowed a Russian agent to be President and win re-election. They are too arrogant and narcissistic to blame themselves or admit the truth. So, they will blame the Democrats.

            2. Jeff. Mike, and pod have no shame. They are too ignorant to ever believe they are wrong.

              1. I think there is plenty of investigating left for us to be proven right, you Trump cock worshiper.

                1. Poor “neutral ” mike mad he let it slip yesterday (in reality from day one). Please, keep defending the IC corruption because it might hurt democrats buddy.

        3. Only in the nightmare 1984 world that you mfers inhabit is Trump a victim.

          1. The CIA and FBI tried to frame him for being a Russian agent and spied on him and his campaign hoping to find something, anything, else to indict him over. But he is not a victim.

            Fuck you.

            1. You’re just blathering bs. Trump was investigated by his own DOJ because he’s that dirty. Sessions and Rosenstein appointed Mueller. You’re just so delusional and it’s fascinating! You’re like my little lab mouse.

              1. He was investigated by his own DOJ because they had become a corrupt arm of the Democratic Party. And despite having the full weight of the federal government and media going after him, they found nothing. Trump is either the greatest criminal genius who ever lived or the most honest man in Washington. They thought for sure he was a crooked as they were and they would find something dirty and no one would notice the whole thing was started on a lie. They were wrong. And now they are fucked.

                1. Trump was never actually investigated. I know that tweets you and I doubt you can understand the fine distinction of actually being the subject of an investigation versus being related to an investigation but that’s what happened. I wish Trump had been investigated but they never really did it.

                  1. Did you read the IG report?

                  2. Rough Christmas for our poor little pod here

                  3. Your rationalizations of reality should be studied in school.

                  4. I wish Trump had been investigated but they never really did it.

                    OG is now claiming that the FBI, then Mueller, spent three years fucking around instead of doing their job. For someone who doesn’t have kids, you sure seem to argue like one.

                  5. Pod
                    December.12.2019 at 2:18 pm

                    You’re just blathering bs. Trump was investigated by his own DOJ because he’s that dirty.

                    Pod
                    December.12.2019 at 2:45 pm

                    Trump was never actually investigated.

                    LOL, this shit just writes itself.

                    1. Pod, Jeff, Laursen, and others in their merry little click of dishonest and deluded leftists do not seem to be aware that their prior comments don’t just disappear.

                    2. Always remember the progtard will always make two arguments. The second argument always contradicting the first.

          2. I love how liberals quote and reference 1984 without an iota of self reflection or cognizance of the fact that every disturbing aspect of a Orwell’s dystopia is nowadays a nearly perfect picture of the Democrats’ ideological bubble.

            1. Wrongthink!

            2. Just like antifa is the closest example to fascists we have in terms of behavior and tactics.

        4. “metaphorical blood”

          Metaphorical probably isn’t going to be enough

    2. Completely agree. Secret courts with secret judges is something for authoritarian banana republics, not here.

      1. And yet you cheered it on for 3 years. Or are you going to pretend you never did now?

        1. Yeah, but only because we know Trump is evil and guilty. Something will turn up to prove us right. And really, plenty already has. He will be arrested for obstruction of justice as soon as he leaves office.

        2. Only in your mind did I “cheer on” anything regarding to Carter Page’s surveillance.

          1. No, you tried to justify consistently

            1. I did? I hardly said anything with regards to Carter Page.

              Maybe you are the one with the psychosis, inventing things that other people have said because they are true in your head.

              1. Except we all remember you arguing in favor of the investigation

  4. “”Privacy advocates have long warned about potential abuses. Will the mishandling of the Carter Page investigation change some minds?””

    No.

    I believe the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act created an oversight position but the position was never filled. So they will talk a talk, but do little to nothing about it in a practical way.

    Also, consider how a top ranking dem senator feels about the power of the IC.

    “SCHUMER: “You take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you, so even for a practical supposedly hard-nosed businessman he’s being really dumb to do this. ”

    https://news.grabien.com/story-schumer-2017-intelligence-community-may-get-back-trump-criti

    1. Yeah, a lot of the Democrats’ tweets, op-eds, and statements have not aged well in light of this information.

      Schiff, more than anyone else, seems deserving of a good old fashioned hanging.

    2. I had forgotten about that Schumer quote, make you wonder how much dirt these agencies have on people like Schumer

      1. I don’t thinks they have dirt on them at the ready, but they get it if they want. But I think it’s more like Jesse’s comment.

  5. 3, 2, 1 – Everyone hold your breath…. so that you can die because nothing is changing.

    1. Physician heal thyself.

    2. So broken. Seek help.

  6. The Carter Page case is not really about the system. Even if the system were perfect, it wouldn’t prevent the FBI from faking evidence to get a warrant, which is what it appears happened here.

    Any system depends on the integrity of the people in it. As long as the FBI remains corrupt, no changes or even outright repeal of FISA is going to change anything. Shackford needs to ask himself what changes to the system would have prevented this? And the answer is none. Even if you abolished the FISA Court and made the FBI go through normal channels to get a search warrant, they could lie to that judge just as easily as they lied to the FISA judges.

    Whether we should have FISA or not is a different debate. The Carter Page case is about the actions of corrupt Obama Administration officials. All the talk about FISA is nothing but a smoke screen to blame what happened on “they system” rather than the individuals and the Administration responsible for it.

    The answer to the Carter Page case is to send a whole lot of people to jail for perjury and conspiracy. If you don’t do that, I don’t care what reforms you enact, they won’t make any difference because the people involved will have no deterrent against lying to the courts and ignoring the law.

    1. //Whether we should have FISA or not is a different debate. The Carter Page case is about the actions of corrupt Obama Administration officials. All the talk about FISA is nothing but a smoke screen to blame what happened on “they system” rather than the individuals and the Administration responsible for it.//

      Precisely. Very well said. All this deflection to the systemic problems is nothing more than an attempt to shield the Democrats from scrutiny.

      1. Suddenly reason has decided crooked cops are just victims of a broken system. Unbelievable.

    2. Both the FISA court and the FBI need to be dismantled, John.

      TrickyVic had a good suggestion. Fold the FBI into the Federal Marshall’s service.

      1. I would agree with you about that. In fairness to the FISA court, however, they only know what the government tells them. You can’t blame the FISA court for the FBI lying to them. Moreover, the FBI can lie to any court. There is nothing about the FISA court or the FISA system that makes it any less immune to being lied to than any other court. Perjury is a serious crime for a reason.

        1. In fairness to the FISA court, however, they only know what the government tells them.

          Do you think the judges actually read those things?

          1. Yes they do. And believe every word in them.

            1. I don’t buy it for one second. By the time the 4th FISA app rolls around, a judge who actually read these things would’ve started asking questions like “Does it really take 9 months to figure out if a prominent lawyer travelled to Prague?”

              1. Judges are very conscientious but most are former prosecutors and totally credulous about anything the government tells them.

                1. I’m listening to the latest Epstein & Yoo podcast. Epstein just said he doesn’t believe any of the judges actually read the Steele Dossier. Yoo doesn’t disagree.

      2. “”TrickyVic had a good suggestion. Fold the FBI into the Federal Marshall’s service.””

        I don’t think that was my suggestion.

        1. Oh, my apologies. I recall a comment yesterday where you mentioned the Marshall’s service and the postal inspector that were constitutionally defined. And that Federal Marshall’s could be farmed out to different agencies to handle the law enforcement functions.

          Did I recall incorrectly? If I did, I truly apologize Vic. But I thought it was a damned good idea, regardless.

          1. Not me. No biggie.

    3. The Carter Page case is not really about the system.

      I think it’s about both the system and the actors. As you say, they could lie to a regular court to get a similar outcome. The fact is, the individuals involved are guilty and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

      At the same time, “the system” in the sense of a sprawling, unaccountable bureaucracy that uses classification to hide its malfeasance is clearly broken, too. This should be a wake-up call that other sorts of privacy intrusions, like those in the Patriot Act, should be immediately repealed, lest they be used by these sorts of bad actors.

      1. I think you are right about that. But those things have nothing to do with FISA.

        1. Fair enough, your comment below about FISA being a restriction on the IC is enlightening. I hadn’t realized that, but it’s a good point.

          1. A fair question at hand is will FISA judges now scrutinize any warrant application before them as a lesson learned.

            I’m going with no.

            1. When what is put in front of them is a lie, how is them scrutinizing it more going to help? The judges can’t go out and do the investigation themselves. They are necessarily dependent on the government to give them the facts. No system will work unless the people in it are honest.

              Create all the scrutiny you want. As long as the FBI is willing to lie, it won’t stop them from doing it.

              1. By scrutinizing and asking questions about the validity they will know you are paying attention and may hold them accountable. When you just accept their word with out scrutiny they know they can easily pull the wool over your eyes because you are teaching them you don’t really care what the warrant says. We teach people how to treat us by how we interact with them.

                That will help, but you do also need accountability. If I was a FISA judge I would ask several questions to let them know I’m not playing around, if I found out an agent lied I would deny every warrant that agent brought to me thereafter.

              2. Also, to Publius’s point. Rubberstamping is a function of the judge, not the investigator.

    4. I agree, one point though is the “rubber stamping” of the FISA court. Sure the FBI could simply lie to another court/judge, but there is a reason they went the route the did. I think it would have been more difficult to go through a normal court as opposed to FISA.

      1. The reason they went to the FISA court is that they were collecting foreign intelligence. They had no probable cause the Page was committing a crime. So no regular court would have given them a warrant. FISA courts grant warrants to collect intelligence on Americans. To do that, you have to show the court you are actually collecting foreign intelligence and not just spying on Americans.

      2. Sure the FBI could simply lie to another court/judge, but there is a reason they went the route the did.

        The Page case was counterintel, not criminal. That’s why it went to FISC.

  7. “Privacy advocates have long warned about potential abuses. Will the mishandling of the Carter Page investigation change some minds?”

    At this point, the best case scenario is that privacy advocates and privacy opponents will switch positions. At least, for the next 5 years or so.

    1. This is not an abuse of the system. An abuse of the system means you follow the rules but use the system for the wrong purpose. That is not what happened here. They didn’t follow the rules. The system had nothing to do with it. No system can account for law enforcement lying to a court to obtain a warrant.

      1. //No system can account for law enforcement lying to a court to obtain a warrant.//

        Again, this is the point. Well said.

      2. John, I am going to disagree with you slightly. But I think we come out the same in the end.

        I would argue that the three FBI teams knew exactly what the rules were, and more importantly, where there were no rules at all. At each step, they followed guidelines where they existed. No single step was out of line (save that asshole lawyer changing an email). It was when you put it all together that the pattern emerges.

        I don’t think there is any rules reform that will work wrt the FBI and FISA court. They need to be dismantled and abolished.

        One other thing. Remember that obsequious Vindman guy? The arrogant bureaucratic “It is the Interagency!!” attitude? I saw the exact same mindset with the FBI people running Crossfire Hurricane. Scary as fuck. And another reason the FBI has to go.

        And FFS….POTUS Trump needs to channel his “Inner Apprentice” and fire Christopher Wray. That man is just a stunod. The Jersey water must have corroded his common sense or something.

        1. I would argue that the three FBI teams knew exactly what the rules were, and more importantly, where there were no rules at all. At each step, they followed guidelines where they existed. No single step was out of line (save that asshole lawyer changing an email). It was when you put it all together that the pattern emerges.

          That is just not true. They lied to the court about the nature of the Steele Dossier. Also, their only defense before the IG was that they were acting on information given to them by the CIA. The IG has no authority over the CIA and had to assume the information was true. The reporting of people like John Solomon shows that it is very unlikely the CIA information was true. Indeed, both Durham and Barr seem to disagree with this assertion.

          What appears to have happened is the CIA and FBI engaged in a conspiracy whereby CIA assets fed false information to the FBI that was then used to get a FISA warrant to spy on Page and Popadopolous and by extension Trump. Those things are breaking the rules and are crimes. And I am starting to think after a long time of skepticism that Durham is actually going to nail their asses to the wall over it and send some people to jail.

          1. //What appears to have happened is the CIA and FBI engaged in a conspiracy whereby CIA assets fed false information to the FBI that was then used to get a FISA warrant to spy on Page and Popadopolous and by extension Trump. //

            This is exactly what happened. The FBI laundered the CIA’s bullshit for public consumption. Brennan must be laughing right now, in between bouts of shitting his pants, running a fever, and churlishly downing scotch at a seedy tiki bar in D.C.

          2. John, my bad. I believe I was not clear. I think what I intended to say, and what you wrote are consistent with each other. My point was this. The people on the FBI side of the ledger knew the procedures inside out. All of these agents were experienced FBI agents. There were no rookies on those Crossfire Hurricane teams. More importantly, these FBI veterans knew exactly what circumstance(s) did not have written procedural guidelines to follow, and therefore were unsupervised.

            Coordination between FBI Director Comey and CIA Director Brennan to spy on a campaign and destroy a presidency? Whoa.

            1. That appears to be what happened. And whoa is right. My point is that when you are talking about misconduct that blatantly criminal, no system no matter how strict is going to prevent abuse. The only way you stop this is to start locking people up to deter others from doing something like this again.

              1. Yes, if what you are saying proves to be the case, then these people need to be identified, prosecuted, and then imprisoned. Mr. Durham is working on that side of the equation. One hopes he is far along.

        2. They didnt follow regulations. they ignored every piece of exculpatory evidence and were even told to not document said evidence in case it goes to trial and would be available for brady discovery.

      3. No system can account for law enforcement lying to a court to obtain a warrant.

        To the contrary, for a system to be just, it must account for it by vigorous self-examination, discipline and punishment of bad actors.

        Our current system (and this goes beyond the FBI) that gives, at most, a slap on the wrist, is woefully deficient in this area, which has allowed the corruption to spread unchecked.

        Simply put, “accounting” does not mean preventing bad actors in all cases. But it does mean acknowledging that they will exist, constantly rooting them out, and dealing with them in ways to minimize their influence, success, and profit.

        1. Yes. The solution is to throw these assholes in jail. But that isn’t changing the system. It is enforcing the system we already have

          1. Anytime you have a system that is allowed to work in secret you set yourself up for abuse and the inability to bring sunlight to the problems. The only reason this is on our radar is because it happened to a sitting president that is being impeached.

            When the report came out that FISA approves 99% of the warrants, did that motivate the system to review and self correct? How would we know? From the issue at hand it appears not.

            A government of the people, by the people, for the people can not function properly when the process is hidden from the people and only a few select individuals with no accountability run the process. One thing history has shown us for centuries is that government does not effectively police itself.

            1. Anytime you have a system that is allowed to work in secret you set yourself up for abuse and the inability to bring sunlight to the problems. The only reason this is on our radar is because it happened to a sitting president that is being impeached.

              Police investigations are generally conducted in secret. The accused never knows about a warrant until it is served on him and if it is a wiretap not even then. So, the FISA system is no more secret than criminal investigations. If the police lie to the court to get a warrant to wiretap you and then for whatever reason never bring charges, you will never know it happened and the court will never know it was lied to.

              When the report came out that FISA approves 99% of the warrants, did that motivate the system to review and self correct? How would we know? From the issue at hand it appears not.

              In fairness to FISA, that is true of every court that grants search warrants. The difference is that bad search warrants are at least subjected to scrutiny in court in most cases. Since FISA relates to intelligence collection, the information is supposed to never be used in court. So there isn’t that scrutiny.

              I don’t know how you solve that. If you want an extra layer of scrutiny, fine. But that layer is just as susceptible to being lied to as the FISA court. Ultimately, any system depends upon the honesty of the people in it. The only way to fix this is to send the people who did this to jail so that the FBI understands that lying to a court means risking jail. Right now they don’t think they are accountable to anyone and don’t give a shit what the rules are. And frankly, until people start going to jail for this, they are right.

              1. “”So, the FISA system is no more secret than criminal investigations.””

                Then disband the FISA system and move it to regular court.

                1. Then all your intelligence collection is made public. That would be a huge problem

                  1. Too bad.

                    If the FISA cannot prevent itself from being played by liars. It should be shutdown.

                  2. FISA played a role in this crap. The victim card is a little too generous.

                  3. I am with Vic on this one. The individual liberty of citizens comes before the interest of the state to keep their intelligence secret.

                    I am tired of being told that I have to give up my liberty in order for the state to protect us from the bogeyman.

                    1. Except when it comes to Trump, though, right? Because we both agree he’s so evil he gets what he deserves. Plus he’s the president so he was in charge of all these people.

                    2. Except when it comes to people holding positions of power. We the people should have less probable cause than simply “suspected of committing a crime” before asking people who wield power over us to tell us what they’re up to. Not because Trump or anyone else is “evil” per se. But because they are prone to misuse that power, even if they are well-intentioned in doing so.

          2. The “system” is more then the rules and processes on paper. It’s also culture, policies-as-practiced, the people and personalities, etc. and so-on.

            So yes. Actually enforcing things would be changing the system.

        2. It didnt give a slap to Manafort, Papadopoulos, flynn, etc. They pressed until they got convictions.

          And before you attack, manafort was shady as fuck, but no more guilty than hundreds of lobbyists (Chalupa??) In D.C. anytime someone is singled out due to politics it is a travesty whether you think manafort guilty or not.

          1. My guess is no more than the Podesta brother that got immunity.

            1. Almost certainly equally guilty since he was partners with them. That Manafort swings and the Podestas do not is proof the system is corrupt.

  8. LOOK REASON!!!

    https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1205129075041415168

    AOC just influenced a foreign election! Write 50 articles about impeaching her! I’ll hold my breath while you type…

  9. Will the mishandling of the Carter Page investigation change some minds?

    Surely you jest.

  10. Barr says the police won’t protect us if we criticize them. Does it occur to him that Trump has been viciously attacking the FBI for investigating foreign interference?

    1. Considering they lied 17 times in the course of investigating him, it’s more telling that you think the criticism wasn’t warranted.

    2. More rationalizing a corrupt entity from Pod.

  11. The IG found 51 separate violations of DOJ policy and nine separate misstatements to the FISA court. You can’t blame people not following the law on the system. Anyone telling you that you can is just trying to cover up for breaking the rules.

  12. Good grief, the TDS is really out and about on this article. All the Dems fault, because the Trumpistas can only see what Dems have been doing to Trump in the last three years. Everything before that was just hunky dory because they’ve swept their collective memories under the rug.

    What a bunch of idiots. You Trumpistas haven;t got a lickof libertarianism or individuality within sight. Just a bunch of hacks.

    Fuck off, slavers.

    1. All the Dems fault, because the Trumpistas can only see what Dems have been doing to Trump in the last three years. Everything before that was just hunky dory because they’ve swept their collective memories under the rug.

      Show me where the Republicans lied to the FISA court to spy on a Democrat and I will be right there with you condemning them. Thus far I haven’t seen any evidence of that. Please feel free to give some if you have them.

      What are these FISA abuses you are talking about? Name them. Because the only one I see is the Democratic Administration lying to the court to spy on a Republican. If you want to say the Republicans were wrong to think FISA wouldn’t some day be abused, fine. That is a valid point. But, that doesn’t change the fact that as far as we know, Democrats were the ones abusing it.

      1. The only thing worse than reflexive whataboutism is reflexive hypothetical whataboutism.

        1. Oh, Dem vs GOP whataboutism is not at play here?

          Grow up. It’s all over these comments from Trumpistas and anti-Trumpistas.

          1. Do you have the honestly to admit that the Democrats own this one, or not?

            I’ll wait.

            1. He cant even say the democrats did anything wrong.

              1. And he never will. He’s a huge piece of shit.

      2. What a sorry cop-out. Everyone who gave a shit was saying how bad the Patriot Act and FISA were from day one. But suddenly that only matters to Trumpistas when Trump is caught.

        Fuck it.

        1. What does the Democrats lying to the court to get a warrant have to do with the Patriot Act? Do you not understand that they could have gotten a warrant from any court by lying?

          Fuck it is right. You don’t seem to understand what is going on here.

        2. Also FISA was created in 1978 as a reform and existed long before the Patriot Act. The warrant at issue in this case did not rely on the Patriot Act

          1. ABC doesnt actually know facts.

        3. This is why there isn’t going to be any real FISA reform.
          Republicans will bitch and moan about how the big bad Dems “spied” on Trump, but in the end, they get a lot more mileage from their bitching and moaning about the evil Dems than by actually doing anything to reform the system.
          Same with Dems who bitch and moan about Trump “being a dictator” – they get more mileage from their bitching and moaning than from any reforms that would prevent the president from acting like a dictator.
          Because at the end of the day, they want to use those powers for themselves once it’s their turn on the throne.

          1. //Republicans will bitch and moan about how the big bad Dems “spied” on Trump, but in the end, they get a lot more mileage from their bitching and moaning about the evil Dems than by actually doing anything to reform the system.
            Same with Dems who bitch and moan about Trump “being a dictator” – they get more mileage from their bitching and moaning than from any reforms that would prevent the president from acting like a dictator.//

            So, fabricating evidence to spy on a presidential campaign under the auspices of a counterintelligence investigation is totally on the same level as mean tweets.

            GTFO.

          2. What reform to FISA do you want Jeff? Do you want to repeal it and go back to the days of the IC not needing a warrant at all? Do you want to say the IC can never collect intelligence on Americans? So, if an American is in Vienna making a deal to sell secrets to the Russians, the CIA can’t listen in on the conversation without a warrant?

            You use all of these words like you know what they mean. You clearly have no idea what they mean. You are just spewing talking points.

            1. That is what “neutral” down-the-middle “libertarians” do. Equivocate, hypothesize, philosophize, and deflect.

              No one person is responsible. No one party is responsible. It is the “system,” in general, that is the problem. So, why waste one’s breath indicting people or pushing for any individualized accountability when the very machinations that enabled their wrongdoing are permitted to exist unscathed?

              Jeff has no problem singling out Republicans. Now that the Democrats have stepped a pile of shit, knee deep, the problem isn’t the Democrats, or the shit, it is the fact that people have legs and are capable of walking.

              Neutral Jeff. Always neutral.

              1. The problem is the “system”. The system made them do it. Jeff just can’t explain how that works because well it is just obvious or something.

        4. But I will say this. If this example of Trump being treated unfairly turns even a couple of Republicans into people who think more seriously and critically about government overreach generally, then that is a good thing. And if this example of Trump acting imperiously turns even a couple of Democrats into people who think more seriously and critically about excessive executive power generally, then that is a good thing.

          1. What is the government overreach here? Suppose Page really had been a Russian agent and there had been no FBI misconduct. How would you want the system to work differently in that case?

            The problem here is the criminal misconduct of the Obama Administration. FISA was just the vehicle for that misconduct.

            1. The problem here is the criminal misconduct of the Obama Administration.

              Sure, but you have to expect that. What you shouldn’t expect is the investigation to continue almost three years too long with the assistance of Rosenstein(R), Mueller(R), Senate Republicans, and center-right media.

            2. Secret courts, for starters. That is bullshit.

              Citizens giving up their Fourth Amendment rights because they choose to associate with the “wrong people” as determined by the state. That is also bullshit.

              If Carter Page wants to work for the Russians, then he should have the liberty to work for the Russians. The only potential espionage problem arises is if Carter Page also wants to work for the US government. If the government, or any employer, wants to place conditions on employment which forbid interactions with foreign powers, then they should have the liberty to do so as well.

              1. That works really well, until that foreign interaction is a big secret. Which is usually how relationships between spies and their human assets typically work.

        5. Your inference here is anybody who supports trump was against any FISA reforms before Trump. This wouldnt be the first retarded thing you’ve ever said.

      3. But he FEELZ that Orange Man is Bad, so it must be true. Don’t review the actual facts related to this inquiry. Just keep saying it, “Orange Man Bad, Orange Man Bad…”

        What we should really find out is WHO actually approved this warrant. Did the FBI push this on their own initiative or was it somebody in the most transparent administration evah?

        1. It was a dead end warrant. Nothing came of it and you wouldn’t even know about it if Trump wasn’t in need of scapegoats to coverup his own massive corruption and criminality.

          1. So abuse of the process is ok as long as you think nothing came of it?

            Bullshit, A lot came from it. Google Carter Page and look at all the articles. Shit, just search Carter Page in Reason and look at the articles. What came of it is propaganda.

        2. Some of us around here are for substantive reform of a broken FBI and a broken FISA process.

          Some of us, on the other hand, want “reform” only if it means Democrats are framed as the bad guys, and past Republican culpability in enabling abuse of the surveillance state is quietly swept under the rug.

          In other words, some of us can think beyond tribalism, and some can’t.

          1. Can’t even bring yourself to say it, can you? Even now.

            Neutral Jeff to the rescue.

          2. What is broken about the FISA process? Show your work.

          3. chem….Why reform it? Just abolish them.

          4. You’ve never advocated for reform prior to today in regards to the IC. In fact you spent 3 years defending their actions because Trump was bad. Your pretense at neutrality is merely pretense.

            1. If Jeff says he’s always been for FISA reform, even if he’s never posted it here, I’m gonna take his word for it.

    2. Both sides (as you defend only Democrats) lol. We expect this from Pod.

  13. At that point, Congress will have to decide whether it really wants to reform how secret surveillance is used against Americans or if it just cares how it affects Donald Trump.

    In March? You must be joking. A hundred other things will have happened between now and then to get people saying FISA who?

  14. The good news from Horowitz’s report is that the inspector general is not going to wait for either Congress or Attorney General William Barr to decide what to do in a highly politicized environment. The Office of the Inspector General will audit the FBI to determine how well the warrants against those 232 other Americans will withstand this sort of scrutiny.

    It’s not just an audit, it’s an audit of 15 years worth of activities. The best thing about Horowitz’s reports is that he puts in as much information as possible, even if what he puts in may not support the conclusion he draws (the texts from Strzok and Page, as well as Clinesmith, for example, would refute the claim that the agency didn’t act out of bias, but he still put them in there).

    Regardless, I guarantee that digging through 15 years of this stuff is going to show a systemic rot and a lot of warrants brought up on omitted or falsified documentation. We had one report that showed 17 instances of this, and it was a situation where the FBI needed exercise as much scrutiny as possible.

    Think of those 17 instances in an investigation of the incoming President, and just imagine them conducting a similar investigation of you or your neighbor.

    1. To me the Horowitz audit of the 15 years of FISA applications is going to be much more important than this investigation. The Carter Page warrant goes beyond DOJ and into the IT community and well beyond his scope. That is going to be settled by the Durham investigation and the grand jury.

      Horowitz’s audit of the FISA applications is going to be much more interesting. I will be shocked if it doesn’t show systematic abuse and criminality on the part of the FBI. This was not the first time they tried for fuck someone.

  15. The FBI investigated a major presidential candidate by falsifying a FISA warrant.

    But the Deep State is just an alt-right conspiracy.

    1. It is a conspiracy theory. However, it is also true.

    2. That’s your lizard brain talking. Notice how your words are false but they feel so right to you. Trump was not investigated by a falsified FISA warrant or any warrant. In fact he got away (hopefully temporarily) with lying to investigators, obstructing the investigations, conspiring with others to obstruct justice, and otherwise abusing his office to shield himself and his criminal associates from lawful scrutiny. If he was any other man he would have already faced charges for that behavior.

      1. Did you read the IG report?

        1. Bits and it didn’t look that bad. You tell me.

          1. //Bits and it didn’t look that bad.//

            Delusional. Or, illiterate. Or, as the “neutral libertarians” like to say around here, “both things can be true, moron.”

            1. He read the parts highlighted in the Vox gaslighting. Just like jeff.

          2. Pod, it was pretty damned bad = FISA report. Repeated instances of lying to the FISA court? Spying on a presidential campaign? Using a discredited report to obtain FISA warrants? Intentionally violate procedures in the counterintelligence investigation of a presidential candidate? What?!

            I don’t care what Team you are on, but the shit that happened never, ever should have happened.

            So now what? I personally am convinced that the FBI needs to be dramatically downsized, and the FISA court must be abolished entirely. We can’t have this. Today, it was Team R that got spied on. Tomorrow, it will be Team D. The day after that it will be the rest of us. No thanks.

            1. The issue is that lefties like Pod, who pretend to be libertarians, believe that Trump is the limiting principle for a standard that is otherwise unlimited.

              “This is only going to happen to Trump, and then no more. Just this one time, because Trump presents unique circumstances. I promise. Just once.”

              This is how these people think. They do not even consider for a moment that the animus, bias, and looking-the-other-way attitude they embrace today will ever come back to gore them in the ass tomorrow.

              1. Pod believes. As a Party member in good standing, that he and his progressive friends are exempt from such things. That are really there to be used as a weapon against Trump, or anyone who dissents against their Marxist agenda.

          3. You want me to list those 17 instances for you, you little bitch?

            1. As much as Pod has been going on about accountability with POTUS, his nonchalant position on this is pretty funny.

  16. Oversight of national security needs to be increased

  17. It’s kinda odd that nobody is talking about Mueller’s investigation being done three months before he was appointed.

    1. And get then to admit to 3 years of grand fuckery for believing the narrative?

  18. FISA is not an expansion of the powers of the IC. It is a restriction on them. Before FISA, the Intelligence community could spy on anyone they wanted. The only restrictions were that the information might not be admissible in court and they were supposed to be doing actual intelligence

    Then in the 70s we had Watergate and the Church Commission. Come to find out President had been using the CIA to spy on Americans. Understand that before FISA that wasn’t illegal. The only remedy was that the information wasn’t admissible in court. So Johnson using the CIA to spy on MLK was as a technical matter not illegal under the laws of the time.

    FISA changed that. It said that if the intel community was going to spy on Americans it had to be related to foreign intelligence and they had to get a warrant.

    Shackford seems to understand this. This entire article is based on the unstated assumption that FISA is some kind of expansion of the IC’s power and that eliminating it would keep the IC from spying on Americans. No. Repealing FISA would by itself do the opposite and make spying on Americans legal again

    1. Again, well said.

  19. Awwwwwwwwww did I hurt your feelings Scotty?

    Here it is one more time:

    Fuck you you lying hypocrite piece of fucking shit. You enabled, supported and praised this fucked up process from the get-go and abandoned any pretend principles you ever had about government spying because you wanted to get the Bad Orange Man. Go fuck yourself blind.

    1. He is either lying or has no idea what FISA actually is. When the Republicans voted to reauthorize FISA, they were voting for the signature reform of the Church Commission. Shackford seems to think FISA is the exact opposite of what it is.

  20. “And that makes it easier to try to pass off the many mistakes in the warrant process as an anomaly that doesn’t represent typical FBI behavior”

    Mistakes are the lowest concern, although it is concerning how anyone can look at the IG report and conclude these actions and inactions were simple “accidental mistakes” by incompetent and/or lackadaisical bureaucrats.

    The first and foremost concerns are how much FISA is deliberately used to sidestep 4A when they don’t have a case they can properly get a warrant. Is it just an end around? Secondly, we need to know how often it has been abused for political purposes such as clearly was done in the Russia/Trump case. My guess is not many for the later but many for the former.

    1. It isn’t used to sidestep the 4th Amendment. It applies the 4th Amendment to Intelligence collection. Before FISA, they wouldn’t have needed a warrant at all. With FISA, they had to get one just like they do in a criminal case. The problem is they lied to the court in getting it. This is not about FISA. Shackford does not know what he is talking about

      1. It is used to side step the 4th amendment. The bar has been lowered as to whom can be spied on. It’s not for just spies anymore.

  21. I really cannot overstate how wrong Shackford and the media talking points he is repeating have this. This was a criminal disregard for the FISA act. It is not something that was created by FISA or that FISA enabled.

    The intelligence agencies never have and never will be required to get a warrant to collect intelligence. That is never going to happen. FISA requieres them to get a warrant to collect intelligence on Americans. Understand, the Page warrant didn’t involve allegations he committed a crime. If it did, the FBI could have gotten an old fashioned warrant from any court they wanted to get it from. It went to FISA because it wanted to spy on Page. It wanted to college intelligence about Page’s Russian contacts and Page himself. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a crime to talk to Russians and no court would have granted a regular criminal warrant based on that accusation. The FISA court did because its job is to ensure that there really is a foreign intelligence reason to collect information on Americans and we are not back in the old days of the CIA and FBI using their intelligence powers for domestic political purposes.

    What happened here is the FBI lied to the FISA court and said there was a legitimate intelligence purpose to spying on Page when there wasn’t. Saying that because the Republicans supported FISA they somehow are also responsible for this is like saying that anyone who supports needing a warrant to enter someone’s home is responsible for the police lying to the court to obtain one. It makes no sense. And saying what the FBI did here is an indictment of the FISA system is like saying the police lying to get a criminal warrant is an indictment of the entire system of warrants. No. It is not. It is an indictment of the lying piece of shit government hacks who lied to the court.

    1. // Saying that because the Republicans supported FISA they somehow are also responsible for this is like saying that anyone who supports needing a warrant to enter someone’s home is responsible for the police lying to the court to obtain one. It makes no sense. And saying what the FBI did here is an indictment of the FISA system is like saying the police lying to get a criminal warrant is an indictment of the entire system of warrants. No. It is not. It is an indictment of the lying piece of shit government hacks who lied to the court.//

      Again, well said. However, to admit the last point is to admit that the Democrats own this boondoggle and that is clearly beyond what most of the “neutral” libertarians here are willing to do.

      1. They absolutely own it. But the people here saying “we need FISA reform” need to spell out just what they think that reform is and how their reform would have stopped what happened here. If they can’t do that, and none of them can, then they are just engaging in bullshit spin trying to blame the “system” to avoid the truth of blaming the people who did this.

        1. //If they can’t do that, and none of them can, then they are just engaging in bullshit spin trying to blame the “system” to avoid the truth of blaming the people who did this.//

          Exactly correct.

        2. Semi-independent advocates is the best idea I’ve heard.

          1. The FBI was supposed to be that. Hell, the judge was supposed to be that. In this case, they just would have made sure the advocate was a Democratic hack too. Nothing works unless people know that lying and misusing the system will send them to jail. If the people who did this don’t go to prison, this kind of thing will become SOP if it isn’t already.

            1. Good luck convicting any of these characters in DC.

              1. Yeah, we are going to need it.

                1. Luck is as good as thoughts and prayers.

        3. Why have a FISA court at all, John? The potential for abuse is simply too great. We know this now. And when Horowitz completes his audit of 15 years of history, it will become more clear (my prediction). So why continue with a structure – FISA courts – that is inherently corrupt?

          1. Domestic intelligence is going to be done. It’s better to have shitty oversight than none at all.

            1. The F stand for Foreign.

              There should be no such thing as domestic intelligence that would run afoul of the 4th amendment.

              1. There should be no such thing as domestic intelligence that would run afoul of the 4th amendment.

                That’s why the FBI does domestic intel (counterintel) rather than CIA.

                1. And that should go to a regular court. Not FISA.

                2. I separate intel and investigations.

                  Intel is were you are looking for things. Maybe nothing specific. You can’t necessarily get a warrant because you are fishing. You do not know if a crime exists.

                  Investigations are not intel. You are aware of a crime and you are investigating it.

                  I’m assuming we are really talking about investigations.

              2. There should be no such thing as domestic intelligence that would run afoul of the 4th amendment.

                100% agree.

            2. Also consider that part of the rules to prevent Americans caught up in the foreign intelligence is to keep the names masked.

              If the powers that be can’t follow the rule, can’t be held accountable to the rules, then the system should go.

              1. different issue

        4. Get rid of FISA and secret kangaroo courts.

          1. They say democracy dies in secret. So does justice.

  22. I found this comment it’s pretty good. You might want to understand it:

    Clarifications needed about a Trial of Impeachment

    First, the Senate cannot dismiss, alter, nullify an Impeachment. 

    Second, the Senate cannot acquit the impeached federal officer of any crime or abuse of power.

    Third, the Senate can only decide whether to remove the impeached from office, immediately, without appeal, without legal recourse.

    Fourth, changes to existing Rules for conduct of the Trial must be approved a Senate majority.

    Every change requires a vote thus exposing all manipulators publicly. Deviations from Rules applied to Clinton’s trial, themselves established by R-party, will be subjected to withering analysis, debate, witnessed by millions.

    McConnell blusters his way, but he is not dictator of the Senate during a Trial of Impeachment. He cannot prevent “Managers” chosen by the House from presenting the People’s case for immediate removal from office of Ubu Prez. Ubu Prez is represented by counsel at his Trial. Certainly, the impeached officer has a right to mount his own defense.

    The Senate decides only one issue — whether to remove Impeached-1 from office to spare the Republic further damage from criminal behavior and abuses of power. Removal requires a supermajority 2/3 vote — an extraordinary requirement. If the Senate, even as few as 34 Senators out of 53, vote against removal, the impeached is not removed.

    However, Impeachment is forever. The House alone impeaches. Every crime and abuse of power remains to be indicted and tried in federal courts after his term ends or is ended. The Senate cannot acquit or convict Ubu Prez of any crime. He cannotbe exonerated by the Senate.

    The only way for Ubu to avoid a Trial of Impeachment is to resign, as Nixon did, before the House votes to approve a Bill of Impeachment against him. Once the House approves the Bill, Ubu Prez will become Impeached-1. Then and forever after.

    democratos December 12 · 12:29:29 PM

    1. It’s a political process. The Senate can play it pretty much how they want.

    2. House doesnt make the rules of the Senate dumbfuck.

      1. Domt you know? Democrats always make the rules, and those rules change as needed to ensure positive outcomes for de Croats and negative outcomes for republicans.

        That’s what Pod is really saying.

    3. President Trump will forever be correctly termed ‘impeached” (if the House actually votes for it now) and will have an asterick attached to his name.

      The asterick will explain that it was subsequently found that he was impeached in coordination and as part of an attempted coup d’etat in which hundreds were tried and convicted included the previous POTUS, his AG, his advisors, the entire top level of his DoJ and CIA, and Members of Congress. It will state that the House Impeachment led to the demise of the Democrat Party and the rise of the Social Democrats.

  23. Barr’s recent interviews are VERY ENLIGHTENING, and there’s a great summary by Sharyl Attkisson HERE:

    https://www.theepochtimes.com/william-barr-has-suddenly-become-chatty-and-hes-provided-quite-an-information-dump_3171471.html

    Excerpt:

    3. Regarding the FBI’s actions in surveilling Trump campaign associates, it was a “travesty” and there were “many abuses.”

    4. From “day one,” the FBI investigation generated exculpatory information (tending to point to the targets’ innocence) and nothing that corroborated Russia collusion.

    5. It’s a “big deal” to use U.S. law enforcement and intelligence resources to investigate the opposing political party, and I cannot think of another recent instance in which this happened.

    6. Evidence to start the FBI’s investigation into Trump associates was “flimsy” from the start and based on the idea that Trump aide George Papadopoulos expressed he may have had pre-knowledge of a Democrat National Committee computer hack. However, it was actually just an offhand barroom comment by a young campaign aide described merely as a “suggestion of a suggestion, a vague allusion” to the fact that the Russians may have something they can dump. But by that time, May 2016, there was already rampant speculation online and in political circles that the Russians had hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails in 2014 and that they might surface. So the idea that Papadopoulos’s comment showed pre-knowledge of the Democratic National Committee hack and dump “is a big stretch.”

    7. It was “wrong” for the FBI to presume the Trump campaign was part of a plot. They should have gone to the campaign and discussed their suspicions.

    10. As to the FBI’s motive, “that’s why we have Durham.” I’m not saying the motivations were improper, but it’s premature to say they weren’t.

    11. The inspector general operates differently as an internal watchdog. Horowitz’s approach is to say that if people involved give reasonable explanations for what appears to be wrongdoing, and if he can’t find documentary or testimonial evidence to the contrary, he accepts it.

    12. Contrary to much reporting, Horowitz didn’t rule out improper motive; he didn’t find documentary or testimonial evidence of improper motive. Those are two different things.

    1. Whoa! That interview was something. I especially liked the answer…”Well, they are all gone”. We have an AG with a lively sense of humor.

  24. But this isn’t only about FISA and NSA overreac, is it?

    Because as long as the FBI fabricates and ignores details to make a case for surveillance, and they find judges who will go along and provide warrants, they can sort of do whatever they want. Presidents are already required to get approval from congress for things like air strikes, but they ignore it and press on. Obamacare ran on money that was never approved by congress.

    The FBI should be checked by the president, congress and the courts, and the impartial media (ha ha ha) should hold them accountable. But it doesn’t happen.

    This WAS a soft coup attempt. You can’t just try to bury this as another episode of the surveillance theater. With the FBI’s crooked operation revealed, texts between FBI personnel pledging to “stop Trump” cannot be just dismissed as partisan hot air. Barr has more grounds to further explore political bias within the FBI (not just limited to Trump) than Mueller ever had for the Russian probe.

    1. “”nd they find judges who will go along and provide warrants, they can sort of do whatever they want.””

      Yep, this is why FISA court has culpability and are just being played by the FBI.

  25. What the FBI has done and continues to do should be a concern to anyone who loves freedom. Please everyone put down your red and blue jerseys and see that this kind of conduct is a threat to individual liberty, and nothing is more important than that. I dont care what dirt or what smearing they got on Trump through carter page, they falsified shit to go forward with that, they should burn for it

    1. The next time they shit on the constitution, it will be to come after you or your team, keep that in mind

    2. Agreed.

  26. So what if it does?

  27. Sen. Graham is just posturing. Just a few days ago he was castigating the Tech world for not providing a backdoor into encryption so law enforcement could access them. nothing will change, except for increased erosion of our civil liberties and American will let the gov’t do it willingly.

  28. FISA is no different in many regards from how local courts handle warrants. The local judges clearly take blind faith that what is presented to them as gospel. It is what explains wrong address searches. We have a case here in Texas, the Tuttles, who because of warrant abuse has two people dead, 2 LEOs headed for federal prison and a community asking am I next? In the Tuttles’ case the CI was in jail at the time he was to have observed the transactions that were the basis of the warrants.

    The USC specifies that warrants shall not issue without probable cause. The idea of probable cause has two components: (1) The State to define the cause for the intrusion. No carte blanche requests. (2) That the magistrate assigned be prepared to validate/challenge the truthfulness of that request and deny if necessary. The first part is typically adhered to. However second part is treated like a whiff of perfume. Something to be noticed but applied with restraint if not down right disdain.

    Judges need to have skin in the game. In the Tuttles’ case the judge should also be facing charge or at a minimum facing removal for failing their observance of ‘good behavior at the bench’ as are defined in the Federalist papers.

    1. You’re describing an America that does not exist anymore, and ain’t never coming back.

      The government trots out the Constitution only when it serves their purpose, and wipes their ass with it on the regular.

  29. Anyone in a dudgeon over the FISA warrants needs to be clear about the exact way they are different from other warrants, issued by domestic courts, for similar data searches. The FISC can and does handle other matters than warrants, some of them unique to that court, like supervision of NSA data collection. However, my sense is that the significant difference in warrant issue is that the FISA court is able to consider classified national security information that the others cannot.

    To the extent that is so, there is no particular reason for increased concern about this subset of warrants. An applicant’s successful deception may result in a court issuing an invalid or overreaching warrant. That seems to have happened here, but it certainly is not the first or last time, nor is the FISC the only court that has been taken in so.

  30. Partisan politics is a distraction. The fundamental question is: how do we protect an individual right to privacy, while allowing ourselves the ability to target and defend against adversaries (national and international)? I’m not sure any government anywhere has found the solution applicable to the threats we face (substantial).

  31. “…now that he’s seen the FBI cutting corners…”, i.e., a person with too much power doing immoral and probably illegal things. Did that person get punished, arrested, even reprimanded? No! We don’t need reform, e.g., more laws that promise to fix but don’t. We need to abolish the FBI along with coercive govt. That will happen when 10-15% stop supporting the initiation of violence, threats, and fraud as the fundamental political principle of govt.

  32. Lindsey Graham saying he’s a “pretty hawkish guy” is like John Holmes saying he has a “pretty big dick”.

    The correct term, Mr. Graham, is “psychopathic, murdering, mar-monger piece of sh*t”.

    THAT’S what you are.

  33. FISC is a kangaroo court. The problem with these “secret powers” is there is always a trend to make more liberal use of them as time goes on. They cannot stand forever without eventually corrupting to what we are seeing today, a bar so low that any American can be targeted for the flimsiest of reasons and officials that can game the system for political and personal reasons and get away with it with a worst case of their actions being called “terrible accidental mistakes”.

  34. Wray and the whole upper echelon of the FBI needs fired.

    Probably some good eggs who will be caught up in it but can’t separate good from bad now. And if you’re not willing to raise your hand and say hey this wrong and stop it then you are part of the problem.

    Wray is either incompetent or corrupt. At this point it doesn’t matter he needs to go.

    Hit the flush button and start over

    1. Too many high level people think it would make the look FBI bad and ruin their credibility.

      The FBI’s appearance of credibility is more important than removing bad actors. Which equates to being more important than your rights and having something that resembles fair justice.

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  36. One can hope but the reality is civil libertarians are an endangered species. Bush era republican control gave us the Patriot Act. Obama era full democrat control got us the renewal of the Patriot Act as is with not a single change.

    1. The PA was strengthened twice under 0bama and the National Defense Authorization Act did some real damage to our civil liberties, also, under 0bama.

  37. “”Bush era republican control gave us the Patriot Act.”‘

    Really? Only one Senator voted no.

  38. We need some intellectual honesty here. Are you listening to me Reason?

    Biden or Dodd wrote what became the Patriot Act in the late 1990s and then it was shelved. It surfaced after 9/11. I opposed it at the time.
    Fast Forward to the 2008 election. Every Democrat running for office promised to repeal the Patriot Act, including some Republicans. This includes 0bama.
    It was re-authorized and strengthened twice under 0bama. In addition to that, the National Defense Authorization Act was passed under 0bama. After reading that, I realize the Patriot Act was not that bad.

    If you really wish to object or protest the Patriot Act, include the Democrats in this travesty.

  39. The aim for this mishandling of the Carter Page investigation change is to injustice of government

  40. Amash and his estranged Gee Oh Pee buddies seem every bit as religiously fanatical as Bin Ladin’s ISIS buddies. If both ISIS and the GOP were to disappear overnight, there would be a desperate shortage of terrorism by daybreak, with Germany and France competing in offering incentives to attract amok berserkers to relocate within their borders. Britain, not so much.

  41. The FISA court must be dismantled and abolished. This 41-year experiment has been an abysmal failure. The court tramples on our individual liberties routinely. It has to go.
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