“Ironically, the FISA court was created in 1978 to prevent Nixon-style political spying.”
As my section CWO often said when a plan went over like a lead balloon:
“It briefed well.”
Yesterday’s IG report was only the latest in a long series of revelations about FBI misconduct at the FISA court:
*In 2002, the FISA court revealed that FBI agents had false or misleading claims in 75 cases and a top FBI counterterrorism official was prohibited from ever appearing before the court again.
*In 2005, FISA chief judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly proposed requiring FBI agents to swear to the accuracy of the information they presented; that never happened because it could have “slowed such investigations drastically,” the Washington Post reported. So FBI agents continued to have a license to exploit FISA secrecy to lie to the judges.
*In 2017, a FISA court decision included a 10-page litany of FBI violations, which “ranged from illegally sharing raw intelligence with unauthorized third parties to accessing intercepted attorney-client privileged communications without proper oversight.”
* In October, a secret FISA court ruling was released documenting the FBI’s illegal conducted warrantless searches of vast numbers of Americans’ emails despite congressional legislation seeking to curb FBI data roundups.
FBI machinations at the FISA court are especially perilous to American democracy because that court is extremely docile to federal agencies. The FISA court “created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans,” the New York Times reported in 2013 after Edward Snowden leaked court decisions. FISA decisions have “quietly become almost a parallel Supreme Court…regularly assessing broad constitutional questions and establishing important judicial precedents, with almost no public scrutiny.” The court’s servility can boggle the imagination, such as its rubber-stamping FBI requests that bizarrely claimed that the telephone records of all Americans were “relevant” to a terrorism investigation under the Patriot Act, thereby enabling N.S.A. data seizures later denounced by a federal judge as “almost Orwellian.”
Ironically, the FISA court was created in 1978 to prevent Nixon-style political spying.