FISA System Flawed

Consider a hypothetical case in a criminal court where only the prosecutor is allowed to present evidence against the accused. Commonsense tells me that such a system would be inherently unfair. But that is precisely the system authorized by the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act (FISA) to obtain a warrant to spy on an American citizen.  To work fairly, the FISA system depends entirely on the absolute integrity of intelligence officials seeking FISA warrants to present all known relevant evidence, pro and con, to the FISA court.

Political  opposition research paid for by the Clinton presidential campaign, commonly known as the Trump-Russia Dossier, was used by the Obama administration to obtain a FISA warrant to conduct surveillance of Carter Page,  a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump. The Trump-Russia Dossier turned out to be  fake. The source of the Trump-Russia Dossier was not disclosed to the FISA court, according to the  FISA memorandum prepared by the Republican majority of the  House Intelligence Committee.

How significant a role the Trump-Russia Dossier played in the FBI  application to the FISA court for the Page  surveillance warrant and whether FBI officials knew then that the Trump Dossier was fake are presently unknown.  Commonsense tells me that a complete investigation by an independent counsel is urgently needed to answer these and many other questions about the Carter Page FISA application.

Commonsense also tells me that FISA needs to be amended to provide for the establishment of an office of independent counsel to intervene in FISA court proceedings before warrants are issued in order to adequately protect American citizens who are the subject of an application for a FISA surveillance warrant. Regrettably,  the Carter Page case demonstrates that Americans can no longer rely solely on the integrity of the intelligence officials seeking FISA warrants to present all the known facts to the FISA court. What a shame!

Good Day. Better Days are ahead!