Sometimes the people who have done a job are the most qualified to analyze how a job was done. Frank Watt, a former FBI Agent, posted an article at The American Thinker today about the surveillance of Carter Page. The title of the article is, “Two Possibilities in Trump Wiretapping, and Neither Is Good.”
Mr. Watt reminds us that because the surveillance of an American citizen violates that citizen’s Fourth Amendment rights, there has to be proven justification for that surveillance. We know that was not the case with Carter Page, in fact, some things were left out of the application for surveillance that would have immediately called into question the need for surveillance.
The article notes:
Based on what we are told by the I.G., there are only two possible conclusions that can be reached regarding the official conduct of those responsible for infringing on Carter Pages Constitutional freedoms:
The first is that the hand selected team of investigators, attorneys, and Senior Executive Service officials with decades of law enforcement, administrative, and judicial experience were abject failures at a task that they were hired to perform. Speaking from personal experience, in FBI, DEA, and state and local wire tap investigations, the slightest omissions, misstatements, and clerical errors are routinely identified and corrected by the street agents and line prosecutors who do these investigations for a living. To believe that a “varsity level” team, with unlimited time, support, and resources, somehow inadvertently overlooked seventeen major omissions, misstatements, and/or outright falsehoods, is simply not believable.
The second possibility is that nearly everyone who significantly participated in obtaining FISA coverage on Page knowingly and deliberately operated outside the law to one degree or another. The reasons behind the decision to do so are irrelevant. The particulars regarding the seventeen I.G. findings are startling, taken individually. It’s difficult to see how any of the individual omissions or misstatements could have happened accidentally. Viewed collectively, the apparent intentionality is nearly impossible to reconcile as anything but corruption.
In light of the I.G findings, the presiding FISA court judge seems to have come down on the side of intentional abuse. In a recent court order, Judge Rosemary Collyer gave the FBI until January 10 to explain to the court why the FBI should be allowed to continue to utilize FISA. The statement that the FBI “withheld material information” and that “FBI personnel misled NSD” suggests that the judge isn’t buying the “series of unfortunate events” excuse peddled by prominent figures in defense of the indefensible.
The article concludes:
Whichever explanation seems more likely, the end result should be infuriating to every American. Either your nations premiere law enforcement agency was breathtakingly incompetent when the stakes were the highest, or select officials in that organization made deliberate decisions to break the law, undermine the Constitution, and illegally spy on a fellow American. Either possibility has deeply damaged the reputation of the FBI and DOJ in addition to the reputations of thousands of honest FBI Agents and DOJ attorneys. Despite the legitimate concerns of civil libertarians, the FISA process has indisputably proved an invaluable resource in safeguarding the country from terrorism. If the heinous abuses documented in the I.G.s report result in a weakening or loss of FISA, we will all be the worse for it. If those responsible are not held to account, this will happen again. There is no happy face to put on this episode.
It is time for those guilty of corruption to be tried and held accountable for their actions.