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Saturday, December 21, 2019

SECRET COURT Demands to Know Whether Ousted FBI LAWYER Tainted Other Cases

In this Nov. 2, 2017, photo, Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, speaks with reporters following a day of questions from the House Intelligence Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ** FILE **
In this Nov. 2, 2017, photo, Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, speaks with reporters following a day of questions from the House Intelligence Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)



Stephen Dinan

The FBI said Friday it has complied with a demand from the government’s secret surveillance court to detail all the cases that may have been tainted by the disgraced former bureau lawyer who falsified information in order to target the Trump campaign.
The bureau was facing a deadline set by Judge Rosemary M. Collyer of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to explain itself in light of last week’s inspector general’s report that found major missteps in the FBI’s application for a warrant to spy on Carter Page, a Trump campaign official, in 2016 and 2017.
Among the most egregious problems was a lawyer in the FBI’s Office of General Counsel who falsified information in an email provided to the FISA court, deleting the fact that Mr. Page was working for another U.S. government agency and instead making it look like he was not a source for the government.
The lawyer has since resigned and faces a criminal investigation, but Judge Collyer demanded to know what else he might have tainted.
“Identify all other matters currently or previously before this court that involved the participation of the FBI [Office of General Counsel] attorney,” she wrote.
She added: “Describe any steps taken or to be taken by the Department of Justice or FBI to verify that the United States’ submissions in those matters completely and fully described the material facts and circumstances.”
Her order was declassified Friday — the same day as the deadline she set for action.
The bureau said it met the deadline.
“I can confirm that the FBI has complied with the court’s order but I cannot comment beyond that,” a bureau spokesperson said.
The court’s order and the potential for other tainted cases is the latest fallout from the inspector general’s report. The probe found that the FBI did follow its procedures in opening the investigation into the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016, but the bureau bungled the execution when it came to surveillance.
Not only did the lawyer falsify information, but the FBI relied on the anti-Trump Steele Dossier to justify its case, despite a number of red flags that hinted at the dossier’s unreliability.
Those findings have spurred calls for reforms to the FISA process.
As it stands now, there is no adversarial process at the FISA court, meaning the government and the judges have an extra duty to be truthful and fair to those who are targets for government surveillance.
The FBI has acknowledged its breakdown on the Carter Page FISA warrant and says it’s taking steps, including all of those suggested by the inspector general, to fix things.

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