FISA court, silent before release of Horowitz report, judges FBI

by WorldTribune Staff, December 18, 2019

The FBI was rebuked by the chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) on Tuesday for its misleading application to surveil Trump 2016 campaign adviser Carter Page.

The rare order, which was issued by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, came a week after Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz released his report on the FBI’s FISA abuses.

Judge Rosemary M. Collyer

Collyer said the sheer number of problems with the FBI’s petition raises serious questions about other filings by the bureau.

“The frequency with which representations made by FBI personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable,” Judge Collyer wrote.

“The FISC expects the government to provide complete and accurate information in every filing with the court. Without it, the FISC cannot properly ensure that the government conducts electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes only when there is sufficient factual basis,” the judge wrote.

President Donald Trump said the FISA court order proves the FBI acted improperly in a partisan bid to undercut his campaign in 2016.

“Wow! ‘In a stunning rebuke of the FBI, the FISA court severely chastised the FBI for the FISA abuses brought to light,’” Trump tweeted. “Statement by the Court was long and tough. Means my case was a SCAM!”

Judge Collyer gave the FBI until Jan. 10 to come up with 10 “corrective solutions” to ensure future applications are accurate.

“The FBI’s handling of the Carter Page applications, as portrayed by the OIG report, was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above,” the judge wrote.

In a statement issued late Tuesday, the FBI said the conduct described in Horowitz’s report was “unacceptable and unrepresentative of the FBI as an institution.”

“The director has ordered more than 40 corrective steps to address the Report’s recommendations, including some improvements beyond those recommended by the IG,” the bureau said.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said last week that he has ordered the FBI to change how it submits FISA requests.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham praised the court’s condemnation of the FBI: “Very pleased to see the FISA court condemn the FISA warrant application and process against Carter Page. As Inspector General Horowitz’s report describes in great detail, the FISA process falsified evidence and withheld exculpatory evidence to obtain a warrant against Page on numerous occasions.”

The FISA court is comprised of 11 federal judges chosen by the Supreme Court’s chief justice and meets in secret at a federal courthouse in Washington.

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