The court issued a rare public order in response to the Horowitz report
The chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court issued a strong rebuke of the FBI on Tuesday, criticizing the agency’s handling of surveillance applications against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page and saying the reliability of information coming from the bureau in other cases is now in question.
What are the details?
In a four-page public order, presiding judge Rosemary M. Collyer responded to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report on FISA abuses used against the 2016 Trump campaign — which found “at least 17 significant errors or omissions” made by the bureau in applications used to investigate Page.
Judge Collyer slammed the FBI for misleading her court by withholding material details and providing false information in four FISA applications in order to obtain permission to spy on Page, a U.S. citizen.
The judge pointed out that the government “has a heightened duty of candor” in such surveillance applications, as well as a duty “to protect the fourth amendment rights of U.S. persons.”
“The FBI’s handling of the Carter Page applications, as portrayed in the [Horowitz] report, was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above,” Collyer wrote.
Collyer went on to say the FBI’s misconduct documented in the IG’s report has hurt the agency’s credibility, adding, “The frequency with which representations made by FBI personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable.”
Judge Collyer stopped short of making recommendations to the FBI, but ordered the agency to “inform the Court in a sworn written submission of what it has done, and plans to do, to ensure that the statement of facts in each FBI application accurately and completely reflects information possessed by the FBI that is material to any issue presented by the application.” The FBI’s response is due Jan. 10, 2020.
Fox News reported that Judge Collyer’s order “came amid a Republican-led push to reform FISA,” highlighting the FISA Improvement Act introduced last week by GOP Reps. Chris Stewart (Utah) and Brad Wenstrup (Ohio).
“The deceptive acts of a few high-ranking officials within the FBI and Department of Justice have eroded public trust in our federal institutions,” Stewart was quoted as saying, “They flattened internal guardrails, deceived the FISA court, and irreparably damaged the reputation of an innocent American.”
Author: Breck Dumas