The so-called FISA court would have to be a secret, advocates argued, because the federal judges who comprised it would be hearing some of the most sensitive information known to the government. It could never be a ‘public’ court where evidence was presented in a normal fashion and the targets of the surveillance would be afforded their constitutional right to face their accusers and defend themselves.
But that kind of court would be ripe for abuse, opponents countered. How could U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies be trusted to do the right thing and not, say, fabricate evidence in order to secure warrants against political targets?
That would never happen, advocates for the FISA court countered. Too much oversight. There’s Congress, and there are the agencies themselves, they argued.
Well, it turns out that FISA court opponents were right: The court was abused, and so far, very little has been done about it.
Last week, U.S. Attorney John Durham — charged by Attorney General William Barr to look into the origins of the Obama-era ‘Spygate’ investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign — managed to get his first guilty plea. (Related: Confirmed: Obama knew about, and was DIRECTING, the “Spygate” coup attempt against Trump from the very beginning.)
Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith agreed to plead guilty to one count of defrauding the FISA court, according to Molly Hemingway of The Federalist:
The FBI was told Carter Page was a U.S. intelligence agency source months before the agency began keeping that information from the secret court that authorized spying on him and nearly a full year before the agency altered documents to claim otherwise.
Federal charging documents against Kevin Clinesmith, the top FBI attorney who was expected to plead guilty today to altering documents, show that the FBI withheld in three separate spying applications the fact that Page had served as an “operational contact” who helped an agency believed to be the CIA investigate suspected Russian intelligence figures for five years. For the fourth application, the agency didn’t just hide that fact, but deliberately falsified evidence to claim he was not a source.
In short, Page was indeed a CIA asset used by the agency to infiltrate and/or develop Russian contacts for the purpose of gathering intelligence. Clinesmith hid that fact from the FISA court so he could fulfill his anti-Trump mission for his deep state masters.
Clinesmith not only lied on the fourth FISA application, but the FBI (including him) knew within days of opening the ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign “and months before the first application to spy on Carter Page was granted,” Hemingway noted.
Also, as noted in Justice Department Inspector General Micheal Horowitz’s report regarding his investigation into the origins of Crossfire Hurricane, there were, in all, 17 major omissions and errors linked to the FBI’s bogus, sham, hoax investigation of ‘Trump-Russia collusion,’ some of which were tied to the fake ‘dossier’ compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.
Now, as to the generalized corruption involved in defrauding the FISA court, if no one else is held responsible for Clinesmith’s actions — after all, he answered to someone higher up than him — then the vaunted ‘oversight’ the FISA court’s creators claimed would keep such corruption at bay doesn’t really exist, and this will all happen again, to another president ‘the swamp’ hates at some point in the future.