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Sunday, February 11, 2018

More Memo . . . and Time to Investigate the FISC

The Trump-Russia collusion story is a hoax by the Hillary campaign and its allies, and if we had a legitimate press it would so have been declared. This humble and inconsequential blog called it a hoax long ago (here and here, for example). As I have stated repeatedly, the whole thing falls apart with one question: Why would Putin favor Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton? His buddies had paid Clinton millions, including via "speaking fees" to Bill. Except perhaps for Donald Trump,  everyone, at home and abroad, just assumed Hillary Clinton was going to be the next president.

Well, yet another nail has been hammered into the coffin of this horrible story.

In the last few days, we have had another letter and memo released (somewhat redacted) by Senators Graham and Grassley, two gents who do not particularly care for Donald Trump and are commonly seen as RINOs.

Read it; you don't need me to tell you what's in it, but if you want a devastating analysis of what this memo does to the whole Russia story, read Andrew McCarthy's piece in the NR. There is no way I can do a better analysis than what McCarthy did; note, again, that McCarthy has not been a fan of Trump's.

It's clear that the FBI used the fake Steele dossier to get warrants to surveil American citizens. The FBI knew the dossier was fake and a product of the Hillary campaign. Yet they used it to get the initial surveillance warrant, as well as the extensions. Particularly galling, as McCarthy notes, the FBI did not provide any evidence of wrong-doing found by the initial surveillance when it sought those extensions, and, essentially, just repeated the lie that Steele was reliable and had reliable sources.

What I don't see examined anywhere, however, is yet an even more troubling scandal and piece of evidence of the "deep state" at work.

Why would an honest, objective judge accept the flimsy "evidence" provided by the FBI? What the blazes is going on within the very powerful Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC)? What sort of rot and corruption exists there? We need a full-blown investigation of these judges and their apparent political biases which clouded (to be charitable) their decision-making. We are all in danger if we allow the FISC to operate in this manner.

But, bottom-line: As my son said to me yesterday, "I am tired of memos and investigations. We all know what went on. It's time for people to be indicted and jailed."

76 comments:

  1. Indicting political opponents is a dangerous step off into the unknown for Republicans. Dems (read Hillaty) have no such inhibitions. Perhaps when the stink gets bad enough, say after the IG's report, the Right may rethink things and apply some legal deodorant. Long ago I asked of we could impeach Obama after he left office? This now should be considered.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indicting political opponents is a dangerous step off into the unknown for Republicans.

      *chortle* *snort* *guffaw*

      Delete
  2. This is political warfare at its most dangerous. Didn't that FISA judge recuse himself shortly after he issued the ok? He must have known the whole thing stunk to high heaven. The attempt being made is to overthrow the Trump presidency. The "Deep State" and the Dem party and the "media" are waging war on us. We in the opposition have only taken this to be an attack. This is a war and it needs to be fought with sunlight, exposure, criminal charges and prosecutions. Failure to do so eventually ends with bullets.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The judge that accepted Flynn's guilty plea (Contreras) sits on the FISA court. He recused himself within a week of accepting the plea....the same day of Wray Congressional hearing where it was made clear to him that the documents that had been requested in August would be turned over, or else

      Delete
    2. Why would a judge recuse himself based on Wray's testimony? What would that accomplish?

      Delete
    3. Because the judge figured that the FISA court was soon to be put under the microscope over the Trump spying. He was right

      Delete
    4. How does his recusal prevent scrutiny of his prior actions?

      Delete
    5. when attempting to get out of a hole, people will typically first stop digging...

      - reader #1482

      Delete
    6. What's the hole? How does recusal in the Flynn case stop the digging?

      Delete
    7. It's just possible that he wants to keep it at 'mistake', rather than 'pattern of subterfuge'.

      - reader #1482

      Delete
  3. DOJ's Inspector General's report may have the closing say on the whole matter. He appears to be on the right path, which is why so many senior members of the FBI are resigning/retiring to be with family. Better to collect a smaller retirement than none at all, I suppose is their reasoning.

    While most advise Trump to not meet with Mueller, I would suggest otherwise. But to do it in public, with the interrogator being Trump, not Mueller. And ending with, "I expect your final report to be on my desk by June 30, 2018 at noon."

    Then kick him out.

    Green Bear

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your son has it right, and I feel the same way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, but be careful what you wish for.

      Delete
  5. We are hearing the statistic that 30,000+ warrants have been presented to FISA courts and only 12 have been rejected. If true, that says they do not do serious scrutiny and are just rubber stamps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All of these FISA judges are supposed to be very smart and cautious (due to the sensitive nature of their work), well if they could not have seen what an obvious political job that the first application for a warrant was, how did they miss it in the subsequent reworking and reapplication of the same thing.
      Important note: Isn't CJ Roberts supposed to oversee these guys. Where has he been in all ofthis?

      Delete
    2. @ James,

      No, the Chief Justice's sole function regards FISC is simply to appoint sitting Judges (read, "confirmed" another reason we need a second term) to hear the applications.

      Delete
    3. Anon,
      I stand corrected, thank you.

      Delete
    4. Maybe the FISA court almost inevitably approves warrant requests because there is no "devil's advocate" to poke holes in the requesting agencies' cases.

      All other courts are famously adversarial. This one isn't, but it should be.

      I read the Andy McCarthy piece that Sr. DiploMad cited, and it is a masterpiece. I can think of no one better than McCarthy, the federal prosecutor who secured the conviction of the Blind Sheikh, to perform the role of devil's advocate before the FISC judges.

      I doubt those judges are highly experienced experts in intelligence-gathering. They probably take most of what they are given at face value, and they need to hear from someone who can say, "Now wait a minute, judges, the FBI is trying to hoodwink this court."

      Maybe that would need to be done only 1 or 2 percent of the time, but it would be a necessary safeguard.

      Congress, since it created the court in the first place, could make it happen.

      Delete
    5. All other courts are famously adversarial. This one isn't, but it should be.

      Which courts are adversarial regarding the process of applying for and getting a warrant? If you look through various state and local warrants issued for various non-political crimes, you'll find similarly lax standards. I would definitely approve of tightening up requirements for getting warrants, the problem is getting all the "tough on crime" politicians (legislators, prosecutors, judges) to support it.

      Delete
    6. @One Brow

      I was thinking of trial courts, but point taken.

      Delete
  6. So Trump runs on the premise of making the USA energy independent. What does that do to the price of oil? What is Putin's main source of income? Do you really think he want the price of oil to go down? Then why would he want to help Trump win?. Especially when he already has the Hildabeast bought and sold six ways from Sunday. On the face of it the premise that Trump colluded with the Russians to win is absurd. Everyone from the top down was in on the scam, including Obama and I won't be happy until I see them all hauled away in handcuffs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Too logical. This is all about Feellzzzz.

      Delete
    2. The US was already heading for energy independence before Trump.

      There is no more evidence of Clinton being bought off than there is of Donald Trump's collusion. Certainly, you can match any donations to the Clinton foundation with loans to Donald Trump through Russian banks, and plenty of Russian bank money left over. It's unreasonable to claim one Clinton was bought off by money, but Trump was not.

      Given the sizable praise Trump delivered for Putin, and the lifting of sanctions, I don't see how any investment by Putin in Trump has been unrewarded.

      Delete
    3. US Energy independence is in spite of the best efforts of the Obama administration...

      I am amazed at how much fracking was done during Obama's administration, despite the war on non renewable energy - fracking, offshore drilling, drilling on federal lands, coal.

      I hate to think what would have happened to US energy independence if Hillary, of the Russian Reset Button and Uranium one Fame, would have done.

      Delete
    4. Ray,

      I was unaware that holding people to account for the damage they do was "war".

      Delete
    5. which sanctions were lifted? my impression was that only further sanctions were not placed?
      I could definitely miss something in all this hullabaloo.

      - reader #1482

      Delete
    6. reader #1482, my recollection is that the December 2016 sanctions by Obama were lifted/not enforced, but I can't find evidence of that. I withdraw the comment.

      Delete
  7. My recollection is that this sort of political abuse of the FISA system is exactly what the Dems were screeching about when the system was first proposed and instituted. It's further evidence that whenever Dems screech, it's because they are projecting their own behavior onto everyone else.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You say that as if the Republicans have used FISA with more circumspection.

      Delete
    2. hmm.. no.. I don't think he does... those would be words being shoved into mouths...

      Delete
    3. Anonymous, the use of "projecting" implies the projectee does not have the tendencies being projected by the projector. If you are vain and I am vain, my calling you vain is still identification (and many other things), not projection.

      Delete
  8. To win a second term Trump needs indictments. These people will just try again if they're not stopped.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Softly, softly catchee monkey.

    Turn on the bright lights, march in with the brass band playing, and all the cockroaches disappear under the furniture; it's better to be sneaky, creep in like invisible ninjas- until it's time to drop the hammer!

    Much good reading about this strategy is found at the Treehouse:

    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yeah, as other commenters have pointed out, the only thing that's currently unclear, is whether this lack of due diligence is unusual with regards to FISA courts and tapping with no evidence.
    *BUT*
    This isn't some joe schmoe.... this is a guy who was part of the presidential campaign of an opponent of the sitting president. If the FISA court didn't wake up for *that*, then we need to scrap the FISA court.
    I highly doubt the Bush administration tapped anybody in Obama's '08 campaign. I would assume they wouldn't be so stupid. But then in the Obama white house, they didn't have to worry about anybody else winning in 2016, as the NYT had already anointed King Hillary.

    - reader #1482

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you for bringing up the FISA judges! I have been asking questions about them everywhere, but apparently there are no answers. Shouldn't they or their staffs done some checking out of the requests for warrants? Do they just automatically accept whatever is presented as legitimate reason to grant warrants? WHO are these judges and why do they have so much power without apparently any oversight?
    So much corruption. Are they part of it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @ Francesca,

      Your questions' answers require a whole bunch of "weed work" and it doesn't help that in certain instances things get really complicated because of overlap created when The Patriot Act basically nullified the Fourth Amendment.

      - Were I not constrained by lack of enthusiasm and, this were not Mr. Amselem's blog (I don't blog myself) I might be persuaded to share a personal experience from the period beginning in 2006 that lasted into 2008. Suffice to say that in merely emailing a US boyhood pal who for the past 20 years resides in an Asian country 'progress reports' of something he'd asked me to "look into" - anyway at the end my state's LE and AG got interested and when the perps got jailed I called the lead investigator offering "stuff" that I'd managed. He kindly informed me he, "does not need my files because we've [the state] got transcripts of all your emails."

      2008 witnessed some further changes to FISA - I don't know I believe the changes changed anything.

      Anyway Francesca, if I've gleaned your particular interests correctly I'd suggest your scrolling down to page four (4) and begin reading under "Limitations":

      https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-110publ261/pdf/PLAW-110publ261.pdf

      Hope that helps.

      JK

      Delete
    2. @ Francesca,

      Probably helpful to add Francesca that, in the waning days of President Obama's MisAdministration he made "some changes" to a Reagan era EO (12333) which, though unremarked much lately Very Likely bears directly on "the hows" (& tongue-in-cheekly .. "the whys" too) we're all getting the MSM's take on stuff that should have NEVER seen the light of day.

      In a word, LEAKS!

      https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3283349-Raw-12333-surveillance-sharing-guidelines.html

      You may recall Francesca some months ago Samantha Power testifying regarding the "Unmaskings"?

      https://aclj.org/government-corruption/former-senior-obama-official-samantha-power-blames-others-for-her-unmasking-scandal

      Mr. Amselem on that however is qualified far beyond my former paygrade whether a UN person "normally in a former time" would have enjoyed carte blanche to what ought have been - given these were US citizens - more than a mere "Confidential"?

      Delete
    3. Thanks tool for the ideas for further reading on the
      FISA judges and system.

      Delete
    4. Francesca,

      Libertarians and liberals have been discussing FISA, amongst other ways the state can easily make out life difficult, for years. Ya'll are late to the party.

      Delete
    5. JK- lead investigator? Fed prosecutor? FBI?
      Please elaborate.

      Delete
    6. Now One Brow, that's just downright unfriendly. I'm guessing you didn't intend to insult anybody, particularly someone looking to become more informed (I suspect we all agree our nation is greatly in need of people with such spirit).

      - reader #1482

      Delete
    7. reader #1482,

      You are correct, and I will try to be nicer about it in the future.

      Francesca, I apologize for my poor manners.

      Delete
    8. now now.. one brow.. I don't know what to think... because my ideological adversaries never respond to any attempt at reaching a point of common understanding... and they *never* (as in, absolutely never) walk back anything they say.

      not sure what you are, but you are no 'Progressive' :)

      - reader #148

      Delete
    9. reader #148(2?),

      If I were to give recognizable name to my primary mode of thought regarding politics,it would be something like "skeptical humanist". There are people would would regard me as a social justice warrior (with a sneer, as if fighting for social justice is a bad thing), or a flaming liberal. I trust experts in their field of expertise, when consensus is available. I find common sense is wrong as often as it is right. I think our common humanity should outweigh our ideological opposition. I think when we surround ourselves with like-minded people, our inbred tribalism leads to easy, escalating demonizing of the other side, so it improves us to listen and discuss (as oppose to argue and debate) with those who think differently.

      I am also a guest here, and thus I need to be on my best behavior. I do want to be clear that, should DiploMad as me to leave for any reason or no reason, I will leave; this is his platform to run as he sees fit.

      I'm not out to change anyone's mind, and certainly not to win ideological points. That's a kids game. I'll be happy if one or two other commenters ask themselves "is this really evidence", "how do I know this is true", or "how much am I letting a pleasing narrative serve as evidence" from time to time.

      Delete
    10. Not much of an echo chamber or extremism going on here... maybe some stray, as there are many bridges and a troll for each... but on the other hand... the tagline for this blog says it all... a career at an unabashedly politically liberal state dept... the author does not choose to call his blog Diplopeeved.

      The more I read about the Mueller investigation and it's "results", the more I am recognizing that if there was an intelligence behind what they're supposedly 'investigating', the intended result was actually..... the mueller investigation.

      But that's the problem with backing up into a corner and claiming that one's side should have won because a foreign adversary wanted one's opponent to win... nobody can ever know true intentions of a foreign hostile.

      - reader #1482

      Delete
    11. reader #1482,

      I accept that you don't recognize the echo chamber aspect of the comments in here. Why would you? However, the very notion that you can, apparently without your tongue in your cheek, refer to the entire State department as "politically liberal", apparently with no dissent outside of one recent commentator, says otherwise.

      Intent may not be absolutely knowable, but it is inferable to a reasonable degree. It's reasonable to infer that people who posted negative articles about Clinton were seeking to defeat, or at least weaken, her.

      Delete
  12. from your son's mouth to God's ear...

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'd also take a close look at the other FISA warrants. I doubt that Page was the only victim. This reeks of something the Democrats were doing as a routine procedure - probably multiple targets in 2016, 2012, and even 2000 and 1996. Both the Clintons and Obama have a long track record of very dirty politics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup...I think that is why Ryan of GOPe finally got on board with Nunes efforts and rebuffed the 11th hour plea of Rosenstein to not release the Nunes memo.
      Things are probably clicking for him about strange happenings during his 2012 run with Romney

      Delete
    2. Does anyone really believe that someone as close to the Romney campaign, actually a part of it, was so clueless about what had been done to him.?

      Michael Adams

      Delete
    3. How many people were willing to believe that Zero had done what Nixon only dreamt of a year ago? Despite the IRS scandal, how many would have contemplated the corruption in 2012?

      Delete
    4. Hammerli280,

      Both Democrats and Republicans, for over 15 years now. Do you only get upset about Democrats using this court?

      Delete
  14. 1. It's too bad that there are no allegations that someone picked a lock, or jimmied a desk drawer, or stole a briefcase, or . . . something. Watergate piqued the public's interest because it involved honest-to-gosh thievery and skulking. Absent that, it all gets too esoteric to outrage the bulk of the people.

    2. Re: FISA judges - back when I graduated from law school, I clerked for a district court judge. We did warrant applications regularly. Someone comes in and lays out sworn statements that they claim show probable cause for a warrant. The judge's problem is that there is no way to question the truthfulness of the sworn statements - the only issue to be resolved is "taking these statements as true, do they add up to probable cause?" So, dishonest allegations don't get challenged. That's not so much on the judge as it is on the process.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point re the initial warrant. I would think, however, that to get an extension on the surveillance, the FBI/DOJ would have to show something from the initial surveillance that justifies continuing. My understanding is that there was no such "something."

      Delete
    2. DiploMad, what is the basis for your understanding here? Do you access to non-public information (if so, I will certainly not inquire as to the details)?

      Delete
    3. @ OBie Wan,

      The statute for reauthorization (renewal) of a FISA warrant requires that "positive results must be shown" 50 U.S.C. §§ 1804, 1823, 1842, 1861, 1881 b(b) 188lc(b), or 188ld(a).

      The original Carter Page application dates back to 2013. One would think perhaps after five years of investigation surely some charge by now would have been laid?

      JK

      Delete
    4. One brow, the public record thus far shows that the surveillance extensions were done on the basis of the Steele dossier and nothing else.

      Delete
    5. https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-02-09/we-should-care-about-what-happened-to-carter-page

      ***

      Delete
    6. JK, as far as I know, there has not been a single five-year investigation, but two investigations separated by years. I am not at all surprised that no charges have been laid. The burden of proof for charging is much higher than for investigating.

      DiploMad,

      Is there some public record besides memoranda of Republican legislators, or are you just assuming they are presenting a fair, truthful account? In particular, Nunes had to recuse himself from this investigation based on earlier unethical behavior, so how reliable is he now?

      Delete
    7. One Brow, be realistic. Do you for a moment believe that if there were such evidence it wouldn’t have been leaked to the press?

      Delete
    8. Well One Brow,

      "As far as I [you One Brow] know" that's as it should be:

      https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//NSAEBB/NSAEBB23/07-01.htm

      This Day and Age however; "not been a single five-year investigation" shows One Brow your absolute ignorance which, I suppose was, as intended. (Or perhaps, was figured given the genetic averages.)

      JK

      Delete
    9. burden of proof for investigating political enemies of the incumbent president should be higher. this is the whole reason we have judges and other humans involved in the process... because judges are supposed to look at this stuff and say "wait...what??"

      Delete
    10. One Brow,

      "[T]here has not been a single five-year investigation."

      https://news.usni.org/2014/09/02/john-walker-spy-ring-u-s-navys-biggest-betrayal

      That one though One Brow, I'm figuring you never hear a peep about until charges were laid?

      I've at hand others should One Brow you require examples.

      Don't be idiotic though Please?

      JK

      Delete
    11. JK,

      Thank you for the examples of other investigations, not related to Carter Page. It's certainly possible that it is public information that Page was being investigated in 2013 and in 2016, but that the investigation was continued through 2014 and 2015 and this has not been made public. However, I have seen nothing that would provide kinowledge of this regarding Page. Have you?

      Delete
    12. DiploMad,

      Leaked by whom? Now that Trump has vetoed releasing the Democratic memo, I do expect there will be some leaks regarding its contents. Who knows what they will contain?

      However, leaks that threaten genuine intelligence assests, while not unheard of, are relatively rare. So, I prefer to avoid classifying the absence of evidence as evidence of absence. I prefer to remain uncertain, rather than assume.

      Delete
    13. "I prefer to remain uncertain, rather than assume."

      https://archive.org/details/RealityWinnerFBIInterview

      ***

      Delete
    14. Anonymous,

      I was referring to leaks orchestrated by government officials, but I was obviously insufficiently precise in my wording. Leaks from whistle blowing is a different matter entirely, thank you for pointing that out.

      Delete
    15. Eh ... One Brow?

      While it hadn't occurred to me (yet) to search specifically your term "government officials" I have wasted 0.70 seconds of my valuable time using the words "Leaks from US persons citing anonymous sources" which got me some two million six hundred and thirty thousand results.

      Now I'll use your always helpful "precision."

      Okay now I've wasted 0.53 seconds of my, again, valuable time searching "unsubstantiated information provided to US media by government sources" netting me (and you One Brow) two million eight hundred eighty thousand results.

      I can only regret now that I could've saved 0.17 seconds of my ever-shortening life using your search terms.

      JK

      Delete
  15. I hope that Sessions apparent somnolence is his patient working behind the scenes. I would surely like to see him rouse himself..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sessions is not the only reason for the lethargy at DoJ. There are a number of nominations that McConnell has been sitting on for months. Harry Reid ended the filibuster on appointment when they packed the DC Circuit. McConnell has no excuse.

      Delete
  16. Here's what we should all fear most. If the Left somehow succeeds in removing Trump, what will we the people do? The colonists took up arms against a king for chance at self determination. Now our self determination is being threatened. Dangerous times.

    Anon0005

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ... then Pence takes the reins... and in the next election, the next Trump will win, because nobody likes cheaters.

      Delete
  17. The DOJ, the FBI, the NSA, the State Dept., Education dept., Commerce...
    Our govt has been riddled with yes men and active malicious greedy transnational amoral moles.
    The thieves and murderers are investigating themselves and laughing whilst their fourth estate buddies help the self-entitled first estate garbage spewing bottom dwelling parasites that infest our govt.

    ReplyDelete