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Discussion in 'Φ QANON & POLITICS' started by Rose, Nov 23, 2019.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Tuesday that he has started closed-door interviews as part of his deep dive into the surveillance courts and the FBI’s Russia probe.
Graham confirmed to reporters that he has started the depositions, then escaped into a Senate elevator.
Graham is using his gavel to probe the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) surveillance warrants involving Trump campaign associate Carter Page and the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Russia's election meddling and the Trump campaign.
He’s requested testimony from more than 20 current Justice Department and FBI officials.
He also wants to call former officials including former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates before his committee.
The deep dive comes amid growing concerns about the potential for abuse of the FISC after Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found 17 “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the Page warrant application.
Some of President Trump’s biggest allies want to use a debate over soon-to-expire provisions of the USA Freedom Act to make broader changes to the surveillance court.
Trump is convening a meeting on Tuesday afternoon with lawmakers on both sides of the debate to try to break the stalemate.
Congress has until March 15 to extend three provisions of the USA Freedom Act.
New findings by the Justice Department inspector general that the FBI has repeatedly violated surveillance rules stood in stark contrast to the years of assurances from top Democrats and media commentators that bureau scrupulously handled Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants -- and prompted Republican lawmakers to caution that the FBI seemingly believes it has "carte blanche to routinely erode the liberties of Americans without proper justification."
The DOJ watchdog identified critical errors in every FBI wiretap application that it audited as part of the fallout from the bureau's heavily flawed investigation into former Trump advisor Carter Page, who was surveilled in part because of a largely discredited dossier funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). An FBI lawyer in that case even falsified a CIA email submitted to the FISA court in order to make Page's communications with Russians appear nefarious, the DOJ inspector general found; and the DOJ has concluded that the Page warrant was legally improper.
But, the DOJ's new assessment indicated that FISA problems were systemic at the bureau and extended beyond the Page probe. In four of the 29 cases the DOJ inspector general reviewed, the FBI did not have any so-called "Woods files" at all, referring to mandatory documentation demonstrating that it had independently corroborated key factual assertions in its surveillance warrant applications. In three of those applications, the FBI couldn't confirm that Woods documentation ever existed.
The other 25 applications contained an average of 20 assertions not properly supported with Woods materials; one application contained 65 unsupported claims. The review encompassed the work of eight field offices over the past five years in several cases.
“As a result of our audit work to date and as described below, we do not have confidence that the FBI has executed its Woods procedures in compliance with FBI policy,” the DOJ IG wrote in a memo today to FBI Director Christopher Wray.
FISA COURT SLAMS FBI ... BUT LEAVES OUT LITTLE-KNOWN AGENT JOE PIENTKA, NOW SCRUBBED FROM FBI WEBSITE
Reaction on Capitol Hill, where Wray has already promised bureau-wide reforms, was scathing.
“If the FBI is going to seek secret authority to infringe the civil liberties of an American citizen, they at least need to show their work," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement Tuesday. "FBI rules demand FISA applications be ‘scrupulously accurate’ and backed up by supporting documents to prove their accuracy. But we know that wasn’t the case when the FBI sought and received the authority to spy on Carter Page."
Grassley added: "Based on the inspector general’s audit, the flawed Page case appears to be the tip of the iceberg. Not a single application from the past five years reviewed by the inspector general was up to snuff. That’s alarming and unacceptable. The inspector general’s decision to bring these failures to the director’s attention before its audit is even completed underscores the seriousness of these findings."
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