by WorldTribune Staff, May 31, 2018
Then-FBI Director James Comey violated the bureau’s own rulebook by using Stefan Halper to spy on the Trump campaign, a report said.
Halper was a “confidential human source,” an official category of spy that is regulated by the FBI’s domestic investigations directive, Rowan Scarborough reported on May 30 at The Washington Times.
Citing the FBI’s Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, Scarborough noted that “Human sources are regulated under a program called ‘Otherwise Illegal Activity,’ or OIA. It is called ‘otherwise illegal’ because spying on Americans would be against the law if, as the policy says, the spying is ‘engaged in by a person acting without authorization.’ ”
The FBI’s protocol says the confidential informant must be approved by the Justice Department, “meaning an Obama political appointee might have given the go-ahead in summer 2016,” Scarborough wrote.
According to the bureau’s guidelines, a human source should be used only in “limited circumstances,” which includes “when that information or evidence is not reasonably available without participation in the OIA.”
The rules also say that “otherwise illegal activity” should be “limited or minimized in scope to only that which is reasonably necessary.”
A U.S. official told Scarborough that the FBI should have targeted Russian intelligence officials first to determine whether there was evidence that they were contacting or colluding with Trump people before authorizing domestic spying by what the source called an “agent provocateur.”
John Dowd, President Donald Trump’s former defense counsel, said the FBI had a duty to notify, not spy on, Trump associates.
“If you are concerned that the Russians are trying to penetrate a campaign or meddle with the election campaign process, you include the candidates and their top security professionals in that effort,” Dowd said.
J.D. Gordon, a former Pentagon spokesman and Trump campaign national security adviser, rejected Democrats’ arguments that the FBI informant was protecting the Republican candidate.
“Obama associates are misleading Americans about FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign,” he said. “If the FBI merely wanted to ‘protect’ the campaign and avoid tipping off the Russians, as we’re being told, they should have informed Trump of specific allegations about suspected individuals before the surveillance began. Failing that, it looks like one large sting-and-smear operation against the entire campaign, including Trump.”