Federal agents who botched the whole Carter Page wiretapping process — and by botched, of course, it’s meant politicized and weaponized — have been banned from pursuing spy permissions through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. And thank goodness for that.
That’s a common-sense move.
If criminal charges aren’t forthcoming against these rogue FBI agents, at the least, at the very least, they should be barred from using FISC to shoot FISA arrows against political enemies.
In a 19-page just-released opinion, the chief judge of the FISA court, James Boasberg, wrote that “no DOJ or FBI personnel under disciplinary or criminal review relating to their work on FISA applications shall participate in drafting, verifying, reviewing, or submitting such applications to the Court.”
That’s only sensible.
The inspector general for the Justice Department, Michael Horowitz, did just find that the federal government’s top-tier law enforcement agencies, Justice and the FBI, made at minimum 17 “significant errors and omissions” on the FISA applications that went into the spy campaign against Page, whom feds suggested was a Russia agent.
“These errors and omissions resulted from case agents providing wrong or incomplete information to the National Security Division’s Office of Intelligence and failing to flag important issues for discussion,” is how Horowitz put it in his 476-page report released in December.
Horowitz didn’t find cause to conclude these agents acted out of any political animosity toward, say, President Donald Trump. But come on now.
That’s exactly what occurred.
Americans, with or without the Horowitz conclusion of politicized intel, aren’t stupid and can see the writing on the wall.
This wasn’t simple sloppiness. Given all the deep state hatred of Trump, it defies logic to think this was simple sloppiness.
“The frequency and seriousness [of the FISA application errors] called into question the reliability of the information proffered in other FBI [FISA] applications,” Boasberg wrote.
Absolutely. And yes, while the FBI is undergoing a vetting process to supposedly ensure these types of mistakes — and honestly, that’s “mistakes” in quotation marks — don’t occur again, as Boasberg said, it’s a simple matter going forward of trust but verify.
“[T]he integrity of the FISA process must be protected,” he wrote.
Yay for the banning of the agents. Boo for the use of the word “integrity.”
Integrity is a curious word to use for a court system that’s so counter to the Constitution. It’s secretive. It’s behind closed doors. It ignores the whole constitutional concepts of due process and the right to confront one’s accusers and the requirement of warrants for searches and seizures. The entire FISA system of spying on American citizens who’ve not committed crimes, who’ve not even been accused of breaking laws, is hardly one of “integrity.”
Un-American is more like it.
But so long as the FISA system is in place, the least that can be done is make sure the obvious mistakes, like intel agents who use their powers for political revenge, are corrected.
Now let’s take a second look at the whole unconstitutional FISA system and see about course correcting that.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.
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