First, the IG report ripped the FBI in a scathing report that point out all the lies and mishandling during the Russia collusion probe into the Trump team.
Then the FISA court ordered the FBI to come up with a plan for reform.
Now they are officially tossing two of the warrants for “material misstatements”
The Justice Department has concluded that two of the four court orders allowing the FBI to conduct secret national security surveillance on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page were not valid because the government made “material misstatements” in obtaining them, according to a newly declassified judicial order.
The disclosure by James Boasberg, the top judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, underscores the extent to which the FBI bungled its handling of a highly sensitive case, a failure that is continuing to have serious policy and political repercussions.
The order says the department told the court it now believes it did not have probable cause to believe that Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, which was required to obtain the surveillance.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The FBI declined to comment.
According to the order, the DOJ is still looking into the question of the validity of the remaining two warrants.
Perhaps significantly, the Court notes in its order that it’s a crime to “intentionally . . . disclose[ ] or use[ ] information obtained under color of law by electronic surveillance, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through electronic surveillance not authorized by FISA” or another “express statutory authorization Section 1809 (a)(2).” The court is demanding a response by January 28 as to the handling of the information obtained. That may mean there is more action from the Court.
The IG report had already detailed many of those “misstatements” including failing to tell the court that the DNC/Hillary Clinton’s team were behind the Steele dossier.
Perhaps the worst lie was the one by the FBI lawyer who received an email from the CIA that Carter Page had been an asset for them. According to the report, the lawyer allegedly changed the email to say that he had not been an asset and that was the information submitted to the court.
That lawyer was reportedly referred for investigation but it’s not clear what consequences any of the others who signed off on the warrants will incur. Among the people who signed off on the various warrants were James Comey, Dana Boente, Sally Yates. It’s not clear exactly which warrants were invalidated by the Court.
The FBI in December proposed a series of fixes in how it approaches the secret warrants, but an expert appointed by the FISA court, David Kris, said in a brief this month that the proposed reforms do not go far enough. For example, Kris wants a field agent assigned to a case, not an FBI supervisor, to sign any FISA warrant application so that agent will be personally responsible for the warrant’s accuracy.
The inspector general’s report and its fallout are a blow to House Intelligence Committee Chairman and lead impeachment manager Adam Schiff, who said after reviewing classified documents that the FBI’s process for obtaining FISA warrants was solid. Schiff and other Democrats also insisted that the FBI did not rely to a great extent on an opposition research dossier compiled by a former British spy, but the inspector general found that the dossier played a key role in the FBI’s decision to obtain the warrants.
In other words, everything Schiff claimed was false and validates the memo of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA). Nunes had access to the same information that Schiff did. Yet, Nunes represented it accurately to the public and Schiff did not.