Monday July 23, 2018
In an unprecedented move, the Justice Department has released the FISA application submitted by the FBI to spy on Carter Page, the rather hapless would-be advisor to the Trump campaign who has been smeared as a “Russian agent” – but has not been charged after almost two years.
We’ve never before even seen a FISA application, in which law enforcement agents explain to a judge why it is necessary for them to conduct surveillance on an American citizen, and so this is a special treat. The document that came out of this unique Freedom of Information Act request shows that the FBI had an ulterior motive in going after Page – and that they lied to the FISA court judge.
In order to get the judge to agree to the surveillance, the FBI had to establish a fairly convincing probable cause: at a minimum, agents had to identify multiple sources indicating that an act of espionage may have occurred or is about to occur imminently. This FISA application shows that the FBI had a single source: the unverified “dossier,” compiled by “former” MI6 agent Christopher Steele, bought and paid for by the Clinton campaign to dig up dirt on Trump. The other ostensible “sources” were news articles by journalists whom Steele had leaked to. There was a clear intent to deceive the judge who read this application.
This technique is a familiar one: remember how the neocons used to quote each other as “proof” that Saddam had “weapons of mass destruction”? It’s the old echo chamber trick, and every third-rate smear artist deploys it. The question arises: so is this how the FBI carries out its “investigations” into espionage?