The long-awaited memo put out by the House Intelligence Committee has been released. The news source you listen to may determine your evaluation of how important the memo is. There is enough nastiness, hand wringing, and shouts of triumph to provide a space for everyone.
John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article about the memo at Power Line. John Hinderaker is a lawyer from Minnesota who operates Power Line Blog. The blog includes a few lawyers as writers and can always be depended upon for logical, clear-headed analysis of any situation.
The article at Power Line reports a few items in the memo:
The FISA warrants that are the subject of the memo all relate to Carter Page. The original warrant was sought on October 21, 2016, and the memo says that there were three renewals, which apparently occur every 90 days. This would appear to take the surveillance well past the presidential election, and beyond President Trump’s inauguration. The memo does not explain this aspect of the timing. The FISA applications were signed by some familiar names: James Comey signed three, and Andrew McCabe, Sally Yates and Rod Rosenstein all signed one or more.
The fake “dossier” compiled by Christopher Steele with the assistance of unknown Russians “formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application. In fact, McCabe testified before the committee that no FISA warrant would have been sought without the fake dossier. Steele was paid over $160,000 by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign to come up with derogatory information–true or false, apparently–on Donald Trump.
DOJ and FBI failed to mention in their FISA application that it was based on opposition research paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC, even though this apparently was known to the FBI. The application apparently tried to mislead the FISA court by saying that Steele “was working for a named U.S. person”–the memo doesn’t tell us who that person was–but not disclosing Fusion GPS or Glenn Simpson, let alone Hillary Clinton and the DNC. This appears to be a deliberate deception of the court.
In addition to Steele’s fake dossier, the FISA application cited an article about Carter Page that appeared on Yahoo News. The application “assessed” that this corroborating account did not originate with Christopher Steele. In fact, it did: Steele himself leaked the information to Yahoo News.
The memo casually notes that “the FBI had separately authorized payment to Steele for the same information.” This is news to me. It has been reported that Steele sought funding from the FBI, but I believe prior reports have been to the effect that the Bureau refused. Was the FBI paying Steele, known to be working for the Hillary Clinton campaign?
Please follow the link to the article at Power Line to read the rest of the highlights.
So what does this mean?
This is the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The FISA act establishes procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of “foreign intelligence information” between “foreign powers” and “agents of foreign powers” suspected of espionage or terrorism.
The FISA act states:
Approval of a FISA application requires the court find probable cause that the target of the surveillance be a “foreign power” or an “agent of a foreign power”, and that the places at which surveillance is requested is used or will be used by that foreign power or its agent. In addition, the court must find that the proposed surveillance meet certain “minimization requirements” for information pertaining to U.S. persons. Depending on the type of surveillance, approved orders or extensions of orders may be active for 90 days, 120 days, or a year.
It is becoming very obvious that the FISA applications were being used for political purposes. This is the kind of thing that goes on in a police state. All the people who knowingly engaged in this activity violated their Oath of Office to act in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. Everyone involved needs to be charged with a crime appropriate to their level of involvement. The decisions made from this point forward will determine whether we are a nation of equal justice under the law or we have become a nation where the powerful are exempt from the law.