Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Secretive Surveillance Court Rebukes FBI Over Handling of Wiretapping of Trump Aide

Photo: joshua roberts/Reuters
Presiding judge describes recent Inspector General report as ‘troubling’
A secret surveillance court issued a rare public order on Tuesday rebuking the Federal Bureau of Investigation for its handling of applications to wiretap Carter Page, a one-time Trump campaign foreign-policy adviser whose monitoring by the government has become the subject of significant public controversy.
Judge Rosemary Collyer, the presiding judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, called the actions of the FBI “antithetical to the heightened duty of candor” owed to the court by government agents.
“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,” Judge Collyer wrote, referring to the behavior of FBI personnel criticized in a recent Justice Department watchdog report.
Judge Collyer ordered the Justice Department to explain by Jan. 10 what steps it was taking to prevent such lapses in the future. She also indicated that she planned to release more secret material about the case in the coming weeks on the court’s public docket, offering the possibility of additional insight into the government’s most secret surveillance programs.
Since the report, several senators, including Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), have said they may want to pursue reforms. Some surveillance provisions are up for renewal in Congress in March, presenting an opportunity for legislative changes.
LINK: The FISA Judge Strikes Back
The FBI has already said it planned to make several changes in the wake of the inspector general report, including overhauling its surveillance warrant process as well as its confidential human informant program. It also said it would take disciplinary action if warranted, as the inspector general referred certain FBI employees for possible disciplinary measures. It didn’t extensively detail other planned reforms to its internal procedures.
Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz found that the FBI had withheld exculpatory material about Mr. Page from the court and made misleading statements about his relationship with another government agency. In total, Mr. Horowitz documented 17 significant errors or omissions in a series of applications for surveillance against Mr. Page.
“The Inspector General’s report describes conduct by certain FBI employees that is unacceptable and unrepresentative of the FBI as an institution,” the FBI said in a statement.
Read the rest from the WSJ HERE and follow link below to a related story:

The FISA Judge Strikes Back

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