FISA abuse

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The FISA court ruled the Obama administration's improper access of FISA data granted to contractors "seems to have been the result of deliberate decision making."

From the draft Resolution introduced in the House May 22, 2018:[1]

Whereas in October 2016, the FBI and DOJ used politically biased, unverified sources to obtain warrants issued by the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (FISA Court) that aided in the surveillance of U.S. citizens, including Carter Page;

Whereas these warrants grant U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies sweeping power to collect bulk information and conduct ‘‘about collection’’,[2] which results in surveillance of a broad array of private communications from the past, present, and future, including those of U.S. citizens not specifically targeted in the FISA authorized warrant;[3]

Whereas to obtain these warrants, FBI and DOJ officials submitted an unverified dossier prepared by Christopher Steele to the FISA Court,[4] failing to disclose that Christopher Steele was hired by the firm Fusion GPS, which was hired by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign to prepare this dossier and that the source was unreliable and was soon thereafter going to be terminated as a source;[5][6]

Whereas the FISA Court was not informed that Christopher Steele was actively opposed to the election of Donald Trump,[7] that he was the unnamed source cited in the media reports that the FBI used to corroborate his dossier,[8] and that Fusion GPS had been hired to perform previous anti-Trump research efforts in 2015;[9]

Whereas the Woods Procedures, which are the FBI’s mandatory vetting process required for all FISA warrant applications instituted to ensure that all the facts contained in an application are accurate and verified to clearly support probable cause for a warrant, were not followed; [10]

Whereas former Director Comey admitted in sworn testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 8, 2017, that material contained in the Steele dossier was known to be both ‘‘salacious’’ and ‘‘unverified’’;[11]

Whereas since FISA warrant applications are rarely turned down, are almost never subject to appeal, and are presented in closed court with no public record where the Government is not challenged by any defense, it is imperative that the Government take extra care to validate the information being utilized to build their case before they take the extraordinary step of waiving rights of a U.S. citizen without his or her knowledge or the opportunity to present a defense;

Whereas at the FISA Court, the Government has a responsibility not only to provide its best evidence in support of its case, but also to provide the best evidence against its case;

Whereas these deeply flawed and questionable FISA warrant applications utilizing illicit sources and politically biased intelligence were approved by DOJ and FBI officials at the highest levels before being submitted to the FISA Court;[12]

Whereas it was further not disclosed to the FISA court that the wife of fourth-ranking DOJ official Bruce Ohr worked for Fusion GPS and that Christopher Steele directly transmitted the dossier and other information through Bruce Ohr for submission to the FISA court;[13]

Contractor access

Agencies within the United States government with FISA access routinely grant contractor access to outside groups and individuals.

About queries

Section 702 "About queries" are intended for use against non-U.S. citizens outside the United States. If a U.S. citizen is "incidentally collected" in a 702 search, their name is to be "masked" or "minimalized" under "minimalization procedures." Because a U.S. citizen's constitutional Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches do not end at the water's edge, 702 search queries are not intended to be used against an American citizen as the target.

Compliance audit and review

In early 2016 NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers, tasked with overseeing the vast databases used in FISA surveillance, detected unusual activity among Obama FBI contractors with FISA access, and ordered a compliance audit.[14][15][16]

Hoaxing the court

See also


  15. In March 2016, NSA Director Rogers became aware of improper access to raw FISA data. "Private contractors had access to raw FISA information on FBI storage systems," Pages 83-84 of April 2017 FISA Court Ruling. In April of 2016, Rogers directed the NSA’s Office of Compliance to conduct a “fundamental baseline review of compliance associated with 702”, Senate testimony June 7, 2017.