Like America is just a third world, Global South banana republic.
Americans have been waiting a year for Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on suspected FBI abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court in the bureau’s quest to obtain warrants to eavesdrop on President Trump’s 2016 campaign.
The report is expected to explain how James Comey’s FBI obtained the warrants and, specifically we hope, what pieces of evidence were utilized in order to convince FISA court judges they needed to approve surveillance warrants on a major party presidential campaign for the first time ever. (Related: Obama’s deep state in crosshairs of Trump’s Justice Department as “Spygate” review becomes a criminal probe.)
Thanks to leaks last week — leaks that were conveniently sent to ‘friendly’ media and journalists at The New York Times and Washington Post — we know, or believe we know, part of how the FBI got those warrants.
As investigative journalist Sara A. Carter notes, at least one FISA court warrant application was “tampered with,” the significance of which “cannot be overstated.”
It means that Horowitz’s discovery will discredit the bureau’s handling of its investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election and it could make any information discovered during the course of seeking approval for the FISA and after ‘fruit of the poisonous tree,” according to numerous sources…
According to the two media reports, FBI officials at some level grew concerned that bureau lawyer Kevin Clinesmith was the one who tampered with and altered documents in order to obtain the FISA court warrants. That puts into question all evidence gathered as a result of that warrant.
Horowitz has apparently referred Clinesmith to U.S. Attorney John Durham for possible prosecution, Carter added.
But, “other FBI officials will be wrapped up into Clinesmith’s warrant tampering. Who approved the warrants?” she writes.
“Based on what we know, Clinesmith’s tampering of documents appears to have been significant enough to have played a role in the FISA court's decision to grant a warrant to spy on an American, maybe more than one American,” one U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, told Carter.
“There is concern among the FBI that all the evidence will come into question, as it should – particularly the case of the ‘fruit of the poisonous tree’ that the evidence itself is tainted – if that’s true than anything gained from that evidence might also be tainted. This could be a problem for anyone who approved the FISA as well.”
There’s more. In all, there were four FISA warrants granted to the FBI to spy on Trump campaign official Carter Page — one original warrant and three renewals. The Times report said that “the paperwork associated with the renewal applications contained information that should have been left out, and vice versa…”
The U.S. official told Carter that’s a huge deal because Clinesmith’s alterations played a major role in the FBI’s ability to continue monitoring Page through the renewal process, which actually stretched into Trump’s first year in office.
On whose behalf was Clinesmith acting? And what about the bogus “Russia dossier” — what role did that document, which was paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign — play in obtaining the FISA warrants? Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has said that U.S. officials were told “five or six times” that the dossier’s author, former British Spy Christopher Steele, was an anti-Trump hack and not credible.
We await the full report from Horowitz.