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FISA Court Describes FBI’s Handling of Carter Page Warrant Applications as “antithetical to the heightened duty of candor”

FISA Court Describes FBI’s Handling of Carter Page Warrant Applications as “antithetical to the heightened duty of candor”

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

The U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court lashed out at the FBI’s handling of the Carter Page warrant applications, demanding the bureau make changes by January 10.

Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer wrote:

The FBI’s handling of the Carter Page applications, as portrayed in the OIG report, was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above. The frequency with which representations made by FBI personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable. 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 a sufficient factual basis.

THEREFORE, the Court ORDERS that the government shall, no later than January 10, 2020, inform the Court in a sworn written submission of what it has done, and plans to do, to ensure that the statement of facts in each FBI application accurately and completely reflects information possessed by the FBI that is material to any issue presented by the application. In the event that the FBI at the time of that submission is not yet able to perform any of the planned steps described in the submission, it shall also include (a) a proposed timetable for implementing such measures and (b) an explanation of why, in the government’s view, the information in FBI applications submitted in the interim should be regarded as reliable.

DOJ IG Michael Horowitz highlighted at least 17 errors the FBI committed when applying for surveillance warrants on Carter Page, the one-time campaign adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump.

Collyer noted those omissions and errors where the FBI did not provide “information in their possession which was detrimental to their case.”

The FBI promised to make some changes, but “the FISA court will weigh in on whether the reforms are deemed sufficient.”


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Headline needs a spelling correction. Not read piece yet.

A bit like closing the barn door after the horses have already gone, but I suppose it’s better late than never.

    Close The Fed in reply to Dantzig93101. | December 17, 2019 at 4:27 pm

    Dantzig, I don’t think this can correct the problem.

    A secret court that has to rely on applicants for truth cannot function fairly. Fair operations will be an accident, not a routine outcome.

    This is why our adversarial system works as well as it does — both sides get a say.

    I agree with Ret. Lt. Col. West: abolish it.

      Seriously? You do realize, don’t you, that the alternative to the FISA Court is… nothing? Until the passage of FISA the government did not need any warrant of any kind for such surveillance. FISA for the first time imposed such a requirement, setting up a secret court for that purpose. So abolishing it would mean the government could go back to doing whatever the **** it wanted, without having to justify it to anyone.

        stablesort in reply to Milhouse. | December 17, 2019 at 8:50 pm

        Carry the ‘nothing’ forward a bit; there should be no monitoring US citizens without a warrant.

          Milhouse in reply to stablesort. | December 18, 2019 at 12:58 am

          And the country’s security can just go hang, eh? Go tell General Washington that. Surveillance of foreign powers and their agents is not optional. And it’s constitutional. But Congress got concerned that it would be abused (as indeed it was in this case) so it passed FISA, which established this court to put an extra-constitutional check on it. Abolish FISA and we’re back to the situation before it was passed. The president exercises his mandate to protect the USA by spying on foreign powers and agents, and nobody makes any effort at all to ensure that’s what he’s really doing.

          Nice straw man. If the government has the evidence, let them get a warrant. Meanwhile, I’ll stick with General Washington’s contemporary:

          “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)”

          Virginia42 in reply to stablesort. | December 18, 2019 at 10:11 am

          That’s not so simple, especially in this era of having “citizens” who aren’t.

          The system (or a system) is still necessary, or we’re back to the days of trying to treat terrorists as bank robbers. Doesn’t work.

          That the FBI and Obamunists horribly abused the system is the point. And individuals (like this judge), who KNEW it was phony at the time, had a responsiblity to kill it.

          They didn’t. That’s the real scandal, here.

          Milhouse in reply to stablesort. | December 18, 2019 at 4:14 pm

          The liberty at issue here is hardly essential; the safety at issue is. That is why spying on foreign powers and their agents, for purely intelligence purposes, has always been considered exempt from the fourth amendment.

        CaptTee in reply to Milhouse. | December 18, 2019 at 1:18 pm

        I would agree with you if the people who signed the false FISA applications know the would be in jail for a long time as soon as their lies were discovered. FISA Courts without integrity are worse than not having them at all.

    Local talk radio is reporting that Carter Page is gonna sue, baby sue, everyone involved

What? No sua sponte orders for hearings to find applicants in contempt? I assume such a powerful, hidden court, has such powers.

    snopercod in reply to Close The Fed. | December 17, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Exactly. The FISA judges must know by now that they were played and their failure to take any action tells me they were complicit in the coup attempt. I blame Chief Judge Roberts who is in charge of the FISA court. Didn’t congress just approve the renewal of the odious Section 702 of the (misnamed) Patriot Act?

    Why do you assume it has such powers? You could read the FISA and find out.

    stablesort in reply to Close The Fed. | December 17, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    In 2016, 87% of NSA database searches were illegal and the FISA court learned of this in 2017 at the latest.

Allen West voted against the Patriot Act that continued this abomination of a SECRET court…

His recent column on why it should be abolished:

    Tom Servo in reply to Close The Fed. | December 17, 2019 at 6:00 pm

    I agree completely – I was one who used to believe that the Secret Court was necessary and that it would NEVER be used to spy on Americans. I now know I was wrong on both counts, completely wrong.

    Abolish it. It cannot be repaired.

      Milhouse in reply to Tom Servo. | December 18, 2019 at 1:13 am

      The US cannot long exist without surveillance of foreign powers and their agents, and international terrorists (including “lone wolves”), and no responsible president will stop such surveillance no matter what Congress says about it. Therefore some mechanism is needed to try to prevent as much abuse as possible; the only alternative is to have the surveillance without the mechanism.

        rdmdawg in reply to Milhouse. | December 18, 2019 at 11:38 am

        Can’t you see the difference between spying on Foreign Powers, which is an intelligence issue, and spying on American citizens, which is a criminal issue?

          Milhouse in reply to rdmdawg. | December 18, 2019 at 4:11 pm

          We are not talking about criminal issues. Spying for the purpose of criminal investigation and prosecution has nothing to do with FISA. It remains subject to the fourth amendment and nothing has changed in that regard. We are talking only about spying for intelligence, on foreign powers and their agents, including those who are US persons.

Subotai Bahadur | December 17, 2019 at 4:25 pm

“THEREFORE, the Court ORDERS that the government shall, no later than January 10, 2020, inform the Court in a sworn written submission of what it has done, and plans to do, to ensure that the statement of facts in each FBI application accurately and completely reflects information possessed by the FBI that is material to any issue presented by the application.”

And what basis does this court, or any court in the country, or any juror in the country have to believe any FBI statement of fact, investigation, or law? What basis is there for the FISC to believe any sworn written submission in response to this order?

Subotai Bahadur

That’s just great your honor, but what are you going to do about it?

legacyrepublican | December 17, 2019 at 4:26 pm

All I am hearing in this order is CYA, CYA, no mea culpa! Tag, you’re to blame.

    Almost every legal blog agrees that this may be the lowest point of Federal courts since 1890. A complete admission by abdication of complicity with a huge fraud on the American people and participation in the creation of a police state centered on our law enforcement agencies.

2nd Ammendment Mother | December 17, 2019 at 4:30 pm

Well, finally, this is the people I’ve been wanting to hear from…. however, now that we’ve heard from them, all they are saying is “how dare you”….. now, dragging these folks in front of them in handcuffs – that would be a statement.

Notice how the wording always has to make it sound like it was no big deal it was almost minor, no need to say to violated our Constistual republic.

“The Court further ORDERS that any application submitted by a Democrat will be rejected out-of-hand.”

Wow, I mean wow. It is amazing that the Court did anything at all, especially publicly. I am not saying that they should not have this but the automatic reflexive action would be to protect the FBI. I believe this means that the court views this more seriously than most other Americans do. I think it is great that they finally took some action. Yes they need to do more but this is a good start

Not clear if this is being done, but if not, the FISC should be required to file timely reports with the chair and ranking member of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. That would help with oversight.

Shorter version: Chief Justice of the Secret Tribunal said “Harumph.”

And Business as Usual continued apace.

Looks like a cover up. The court seems to have approved 99.999% of applications. This is in and of itself unacceptable. I think the public assumed there might be some scrutiny and that applications were a relatively rare proceeding. Well no…they are flying into the court and ten of thousands of citizens are or were being spied upon by the FBI. And to make matters worse, we find out that the DOJ, FBI are crooked and a number of the FISC judges are likely crooked as well. At least one has turned out to be a TDS Obama judge that sees himself as having general authority over the country.

    oldgoat36 in reply to puhiawa. | December 17, 2019 at 5:33 pm

    I would imagine that in the beginning use of the court it might have been more diligent in looking at the information, but as time goes on abuses of using this power becomes more commonplace as the agencies see they get away with “little” errors here and there for their benefit.
    Corruption usually starts small, but it always grows. Now we have an abuse that totally political in nature and the court didn’t even bat an eye asking that a much higher standard be set due to the political underpinnings of this request. And not only did the court pass this AFTER refusing it the first time, they renewed it.
    When a body becomes this corrupt, I’m not sure it can be fixed. Either it goes too far the opposite way and doesn’t perform the function it is supposed to, or continues in corruption of the law once the heat dies down.
    I was never a fan of the Patriot act. I knew it had all the means to be abused.
    If people were angels, we wouldn’t need government, but we are not angels, so government should be limited to help prevent abuses of power.
    There is no putting this genie back in the bottle. Imagine that this was allowed to happen in a case where it affected someone running for the office of President, and continued to be used to effect a coup of that person once elected. What kind of hope is there for an ordinary citizen who gets caught up in this kind of abuse.
    It needs to go the way the Democrat Party and all abusive entities should go… into the history bin, and ended. For the good of this country.

      stablesort in reply to oldgoat36. | December 17, 2019 at 8:59 pm

      How would the FISC verify information provided by any applicant? It’s an impossible task and we were left to believe that J.Edgar’s hooligans were trustworthy.

    It would be SO enlightening to read the court transcripts between the judge(s) and FBI/CIA representatives – what the judge(s) questions, how the FBI/CIA answered. I’d really like to know if the judge(s) suspected the FBI/CIA were cooking the books and let them get away with it once they got an answer that gave the judge(s) cover.

      J Motes in reply to MrE. | December 17, 2019 at 10:42 pm

      I recall reading somewhere that the FISA Court did NOT actually hold formal hearings to review these four applications, so there could not be any transcripts documenting questions/answers that were never asked/answered. They were handled as a routine matter — pushing paperwork through the mill and pretty much accepting it at face value (trusting, I guess, that the problems that had made the judges deny the FBI’s initial application had been corrected).

      In addition, the judges should not have had faith in the integrity of FBI applications because they had, in years past, found the same pattern of FBI errors and omissions and oopsy-booboo misrepresentations that the IG report has now documented. A big report on these past offenses was produced. As now, the Court told the FBI not to do that kind of stuff anymore and I do not believe that anyone was punished for it. I cannot remember where I read about this report, so I am giving you two bits of info for which I cannot cite sources (help!). Nevertheless, I have enough confidence in my memory to assert that the FISA judges had good reason before this current debacle to know that the FBI has a long, documented history of being dishonest in its representations to the Court.

Mary Chastain, please, never again refer to those 17 acts as “mistakes”! There were all intentional and premeditated!

Camouflaging turd behavior with flowery words.

The whole concept of a secret court is antithetical to a democracy. There is nothing the FISA court (or any court)can do to prevent sworn lies. Sunlight is the best disinfectant which means no secret court. Judge Collyer is simply trying to restore public confidence in the FISA court. Unfortunately until those responsible for the judicial travesty of the Carter Page fiasco are imprisoned restoring confidence is not possible. Just what does Judge Collyer expect? The FBI to promise it won’t happen again? Ha! Ha! Ha!

This is how the court demands accountability, a strongly worded letter. They’re putting everyone involved in this debacle on notice. If we don’t get answers, we’ll dispatch another strongly worded letter. And, if we still don’t get any answers, we’ll keep this up. We’ve got a limitless supply of paper and strong words.

There were a stack of signed warrants sitting in someone’s desk that were filled out and dated as needed.

Just as Barry wanted commanded.

This is professional-level buck-passing. Even giving the Court the benefit of the doubt and assuming it wasn’t complicit in these crimes, all it’s doing here is trying to blame its incompetence on the FBI. The court got punked, and punked multiple times; and it now wants a statement from the FBI that it won’t do any more punking. Pretty feeble stuff.

All we can say of the Court is, “You had one job . . . “

This is too little too late. I believe that the FISA court it’s self holds their future existence in their own hands. Either they start issuing show cause orders and referring folks to their bar association as well as striping them of ability to practice before federal courts. Then DoJ can either choose to prosecute for perjury etc or the DoJ will likewise lose any remaining goodwill. FBI either fires these folks or also faces the scorn and damage to reputation for a generation.

If the system refuses to police it’s self and hold bad actors accountable they will not be trusted. If I were a Federal Judge or Magistrate I would never defer to their previous reputation or allow anything across my desk that wasn’t 100% verified before I signed another warrant or entered another order to the Federal government benefit.

We are going to make sure this never happens again by impeaching Trump and removing him from office.

Well, judge you asked.

amatuerwrangler | December 17, 2019 at 10:35 pm

Why does it seem that the last to react to this “lack of candor” is the court that was fooled? At this point the left is usually jumping up and down demanding a review of every case that any of the people involved in this mess ever had a hand in… every damned one, and attorneys filing all kinds of Habeas cases as a result. They must be busy tonight, or something.

I hope people don’t think that these shenanigans are limited to only FISA cases.

Fire all these corrupt bureaucrats, just close the agency already. The FBI does *far* more harm to our Republic than any good they accidentally manage to do.

It took two years for the FISC to issue a warning on the FBI’s lying and corrupt ways. Me thinks that maybe they are just a tad liberal under their black robes!

For sake of God and country: lock these bastards away!

Since over 99% of FISA warrants are granted, it clearly serves no gatekeeping function.

“antithetical to the heightened duty of candor”

“They lied their asses off”

Well Ms Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer, perhaps if the FISC wouldn’t just rubber stamp every single warrant that comes before them and perhaps ask a question or two about the backup data these sorts of things wouldn’t happen.
How many others have been just as bad? Or is this, gosh and gee-whiz, the only one?

2nd Ammendment Mother | December 18, 2019 at 10:21 am

What we still don’t know is what warrants were issued on every other candidate in the Rep Primary as well as their staffers…all the way back to Romney and McCain? While Trump had no problem taking advantage of the allegations of Cruz’s father and Castro, he wasn’t the source of it…. and Hillary was outsourcing her dirty deeds.

    Absolutely…. eight years of Obama to weaponize as many bureaucracies as possible. You are correct to suspect major spying .. bugging Republican officials and congress-critters?