According to recent records, the FISA Court held exactly zero deliberations to decide whether or not to grant the Obama administration a foreign surveillance warrant on Carter Page in 2016, so we’re not sure if it really matters what the FBI did or did not tell them in their application. It seems that this court essentially acted as a rubber stamp for whatever Loretta Lynch and Barack Obama wanted to do, even if that meant spying on American citizens for no good reason whatsoever. Tell ‘em about the political origins of the dossier, don’t tell ‘em, what difference does it make if the Court isn’t even taking their role as intermediaries seriously?
But let’s be generous and assume that the FISA court has ways of working these things out – of giving Americans the benefit of their rights – without holding an explicit hearing. We’re not sure how that works, but hey, it’s not the nation’s most secretive process for nothing. We’ll assume for the sake of argument that they gave the Page application lots of thought and (internal) deliberation before giving the Justice Department a blank check.
If we go with that assumption, then we’re back to the FBI and what they did and did not share with the court. And according to a RealClearInvestigations story, we still haven’t heard the full story of the FBI’s glaring omissions.
From the piece, written by Paul Sperry:
The FBI omitted from its application to spy on Carter Page the fact that Russian spies had dismissed the former Trump campaign adviser as unreliable – or as one put it, an “idiot” – and therefore unworthy of recruiting, according to congressional sources who have seen the unredacted document.
The potentially exculpatory detail was also withheld from three renewals of the wiretap warrant before a special government surveillance court. The warrants issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court allowed the FBI to spy on Page and others he was in contact with for almost a year, the sources also confirmed.
The FBI was aware of Russians’ skepticism that Page knew anything of value or was a significant player because the bureau had recorded them voicing such doubts in a wiretap, from an earlier espionage case involving three Russian spies working undercover for the Kremlin in New York.
The FBI cited that 2013 case, minus the disparagement of Page, in its applications to the FISA court.
So we not only know that the FBI intentionally downplayed the origins of the dossier, lied about the political motivations of Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele, but also omitted the fact that the Russians were on record denouncing Page as someone not worth their time.
Like we said, if the FISA court wasn’t giving this the due attention it deserved, then maybe it doesn’t matter one way or the other. But it’s still another puzzle piece showing how desperate the Obama administration was to get their grubby little surveillance fingers all up inside TrumpWorld in 2016.
Oh and by the way: Two years have passed and Carter Page has still not been indicted, so…