A carefully buried provision in a 2012 motion made to the Foreign Surveillance Court (FISC) expanded the FBI’s ability share information with foreign powers. “This motion and order would allow the FBI to collude with foreign governments about U.S. citizens,” Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Luke Rosiak writes:
In a 70-page motion to the court dated April 23, 2012, the Obama administration asked to modify “Section IV.C (Dissemination of Foreign Intelligence Information Concerning United States Persons To Foreign Governments).”
“The following underlined text will be inserted into the first sentence: ‘The FBI may disseminate FISA-acquired information concerning United States persons, which reasonably appears to be foreign intelligence information, is necessary to understand foreign intelligence information or assess its importance, or is evidence of a crime being disseminated for a law enforcement purpose, to foreign governments as follows,’” it says (emphasis theirs).
The reason this is interesting is the way the new expanded power might have played out in the Obama administration’s Trump-RUSSIA operation.
The potential for the U.S. government to spy on citizens — including for potentially political purposes — by partnering with foreign governments has come under renewed scrutiny following a pattern of Trump campaign associates being seemingly targeted abroad or by using their contacts with foreigners.
So, for instance, the UK and Australia might be able to trade information back and forth with the U.S. about campaign workers who are American citizens.
Other parts of this DOJ motion included a request to disseminate unredacted data to other government agencies. These agencies are supposed to redact or “minimize” the data before it is used to keep identities private, but in light of the information that has been revealed about the Trump RUSSIA fiasco, it seems like unredacted private information was spread across multiple agencies increasing the possibility that it would be leaked. And it certainly was.
According to Rosiak, “The motion was co-authored — and classified — by then-Deputy Assistant Attorney General Tashina Gauhar, a career official who is still working in a key role at the DOJ under Trump.”