Secret Court Rubberstamped FBI FISA application on Page

Let’s put it this way: You probably get more questions from the check-out lady at the local grocery store than James Comey’s FBI got from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court about its request to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page for a year.

Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group that has been on the forefront of exposing the Russiagate scandal, submitted a FOIA request to the Justice Department shortly after the release of the February 2018 memo by the House Intelligence Committee that claimed the infamous Christopher Steele dossier had been used as evidence to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on Page. The FOIA asked the DOJ for transcripts of any hearings related to the initial application in October 2016 and three subsequent renewals. According to a court filing posted last night, the DOJ does not have any transcripts because no hearing was held: “FOIA staff consulted with knowledgeable subject matter experts in the Office of Intelligence. Those experts confirmed that, as is typical in proceedings before the FISC, no hearings were held with respect to the acknowledged Carter Page FISA applications, and thus no responsive transcripts exist.”

So, here’s how this went down. The FBI accused Carter Page, a Naval Academy graduate and international energy consultant, of being a Russian agent and therefore a threat to national security. In order to access all of his communications, the FBI submitted an application that contained political opposition research funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign that was disguised as legitimate intelligence. That information was not only unverified but collected by a former spy from a foreign country. The application also included a Yahoo News article as evidence and vouched for the credibility of the former spy even after he was fired by the FBI for leaking information to the American media days before the presidential election.

Yet there was no hearing on this dubious request. There is no record of any FISC judge, who are appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States, asking the FBI one question about the veracity of its charges against Page. And this happened not once, but four times. Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and current Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein all signed off on this.

Carter Page has never been charged with a crime but suffered untold damage to his personal and professional life. He’s been mocked and smeared in the media. All because he offered to volunteer on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Page told me today that “what we now know what they did in 2016 is a complete disgrace to American democracy. This needs to be fixed as soon as possible, as the repair of our broken secret court system is long overdue.”

Anyone mad yet?

About Julie Kelly

Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. After college graduation, she served as a policy and communications consultant for several Republican candidates and elected officials in suburban Chicago. She also volunteered for her local GOP organization. After staying home for more than 10 years to raise her two daughters, Julie began teaching cooking classes out of her home. She then started writing about food policy, agriculture, and biotechnology, as well as climate change and other scientific issues. She graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1990 with a degree in communications and minor degrees in political science and journalism. Julie lives in suburban Chicago with her husband, two daughters, and (unfortunately) three dogs.

Photo: WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Carter Page, walks away after speaking to the media after testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. The committee conducting an investigation into Russia's tampering in the 2016 election. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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