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Nunes to FISA judge: Turn over the transcripts of the Carter Page wiretap warrant hearings
Time to take it up a notch.
One of the main criticisms of the Nunes memo was that it didn't prove its case. It alleged things, we were told, but didn't provide the evidence to demonstrate the allegations were true.
Well. If you've been paying attention, you know the reason for this is that the DOJ and the FBI insisted members of Congress be allowed to review and take notes about the documents (after months of resisting even that), but not be allowed to keep copies. You can't provide the evidence if you've been trying to get the evidence and you've been denied access to it.
But you want Nunes to provide evidence? He's trying to get it, and now he's going directly after what was said in FISA court hearings on the Carter Page wiretap warrant hearings:
Writing to Rosemary M. Collyer, the presiding judge at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, Nunes asked for transcripts of "any relevant FISC hearings associated with the initial FISA application or subsequent renewals related to electronic surveillance of Carter Page."
The Page surveillance warrant, first granted in October 2016, and the evidence used to secure it are at the heart of the controversial memo Nunes and the White House released last week on alleged surveillance abuse.
The Republican staff-authored memo claimed that the unverified anti-Trump dossier was critical for the surveillance warrant application, and that the government omitted key information about its political funding. Lawmakers have clashed over that document for weeks, and a Democrat-authored rebuttal memo could be released as early as Friday.
Transcripts from the application hearings could speak to a central issue in the debate: to what extent the FBI and DOJ relied on the dossier.
Thsi information will be essential in telling us how much the FBI really relied on the Steele dossier to get this warrant, and also whether the FISA court really did its job in scrutinizing everything the FBI presented as evidence of probable cause. No one can say for sure how complete these transcripts are, but to whatever extent the capture the real discussions that took place, they will tell us:
- If the FBI intimated to Judge Collyer that the dossier had been corroborated by anything other than a Yahoo News story for which Steele himself was the source.
- If the FBI was really forthcoming about the fact that the Clinton campaign was behind the dossier and the disinformation it contained.
- If the FBI really made any legitimate case apart from the dossier that Page was involved in any illegal dealings with the Russians.
Also, we keep hearing that the rules under FISA don't allow a renewal of a wiretap warrant based on the same information submitted for the original warrant. In other words, you can't just submit the Steele dossier to get a warrant, and then 90 days later come back and submit the Steele dossier again. That's what the rules say. But did the FBI follow that, and did the court make the FBI follow that? And if they did follow it, then what did they hear while listening into Page's conversations that justified renewing the warrant.
And did it justify renewing the warrant? Or did the court simply act as a rubber stamp to an FBI request that really didn't meet the legal standards of FISA.
We need to know all this. And certainly, the congressional committees with oversight authority over FISA has a right to get the information. Let's see if Judge Collyer quickly complies, or if she tries to stonewall just as the FBI and the DOJ did. Because if she does, that will deserve our attention as well.
Dan writes Christian spiritual warfare novels and does all kinds of other weird things too. Follow all his activity by liking him on Facebook!