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Network BLACKOUT: Top FISA Judge Accuses FBI Lawyer of Criminal Act

A complete and total blackout. That was how ABC, CBS, and NBC reacted on their Tuesday evening newscasts when the top Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge, Rosemary M. Collyer blasted the FBI for misleading the court when seeking surveillance warrants for a former Trump campaign staffer. The order was damning, accusing an FBI lawyer of a criminal act in intentionally lying to the court. Adding, the court’s confidence in the FBI’s evidence was so shaken they needed extra oversight for all cases.

Judge Collyer penned the 4-page order declaring, “When FBI personnel mislead NSD [National Security Division] in the ways described above, they equally mislead the FISC.” Much of the order explained the application process for obtaining FISA warrants and what happened in the case of Carter Page; in order for the public to “appreciate the seriousness of that misconduct and its implications…

On page three of the order, the judge accused an unnamed FBI lawyer of intentionally lying to other FBI personnel and the FISC in turn, which was a criminal act:

In addition, while the fourth electronic surveillance application for Mr. Page was being prepared, an attorney in the FBI’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) engaged in conduct that apparently was intended to mislead the FBI agent who ultimately swore to the facts in that application about whether Mr. Page had been a source of another government agency.

Adding, the FISC couldn’t trust anything the FBI told them anymore:

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.

 

 

Instead of reporting on this damning order by the top FISC judge, the broadcast networks were salivating over impeachment. NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt eagerly proclaimed President Trump would occupy a “rare and dishonored place in American history.” And ABC and NBC gushed about former Trump campaign staffer Rick Gates getting sentenced to three years of probation.

Meanwhile, Fox News Channel’s Special Report kicked off its broadcast with the breaking news. “Breaking tonight, the FISA court is fighting back not against the critical inspector general’s report, but against the FBI,” announced anchor Bret Baier, skipping past the opening teases.

“This is a stunning rebuke of the FBI by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. In its order of this afternoon, the court chastised the FBI for the FISA abuses brought to light in the recent inspector general’s report,” reported correspondent Doug McKelway.

As a rebuke to a false claim made by fired FBI director James Comey over the weekend, when he suggested it was difficult to obtain a FISA warrant, McKelway noted: “The government made 1,081 FISA surveillance requests in 2018. The court rejected only one of them. That is an approval rate of well over 99 percent, a number which has raised concern that the FISA court has been a rubber stamp for the FBI.” That was followed up with soundbites of bipartisan suspicion of the court’s legitimacy.

McKelway concluded: “This is all information that U.S. attorney John Durham may factor into his ongoing criminal investigation.”

The transcript is below,c click “expand” to read:

Fox News Channel’s Special Report
December 17, 2019
6:00:18 p.m. Eastern

BRET BAIER: Breaking tonight, the FISA court is fighting back not against the critical inspector general’s report, but against the FBI. The chief judge issued a very rare public order, a statement that the court expects the government to provide complete and accurate information in every filing so surveillance is only done when there is sufficient factual basis. Correspondent Doug McKelway following this breaking story. Good evening Doug.

DOUG MCKELWAY: Evening, Bret. This is a stunning rebuke of the FBI by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. In its order of this afternoon, the court chastised the FBI for the FISA abuses brought to light in the recent inspector general’s report. The IG found at least 17 significant errors or omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications.

The chief judge of the FISA court writing today, “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.”

Today’s rare response comes after former FBI Director James Comey acknowledged wrongdoing in seeking the FISA warrant to surveil former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

[Cuts to video]

JAMES COMEY: He’s right. I was wrong. I was overconfident in the procedures that the FBI and Justice had built over 20 years. I thought they were robust enough. It’s incredibly hard to get a FISA. I was overconfident in those.

[Cuts back to live]

MCKELWAY: In fact, it’s not been real hard, as Comey suggested, to get a FISA warrant. The government made 1,081 FISA surveillance requests in 2018. The court rejected only one of them. That is an approval rate of well over 99 percent, a number which has raised concern that the FISA court has been a rubber stamp for the FBI.

[Cuts to video]

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): Many of us have been looking at this FISA– this secret FISA court for years, saying, this isn’t the first and won’t be the last time that the FBI misrepresents evidence before this court.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): If they’re not willing to discipline people who mislead the court, manipulate evidence given to the court, it’s going to be hard for us to say the court should stay around.

[Cuts back to live]

MCKELWAY: The FISA court is also ordering the government to submit a sworn statement by January 20th of, quote, “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.” This is all information that U.S. attorney John Durham may factor into his ongoing criminal investigation. Bret.

BAIER: All right, Doug. Thank you. More on this with the panel.

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