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Tag: FISA

House Considers Bill to Limit When FBI Can Collect Web-Browsing History without a Warrant

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The U.S. House of Representatives appears to have a reached a compromise on a bill that would limit when the FBI can collect records on Americans’ internet browsing histories without a judge’s warrant.

Two California Democrats, Reps. Zoe Lofgren and Adam B. Schiff, reached a tentative agreement to limit the FBI’s ability to collect the data during national security investigations, The New York Times reports.

The House may vote on the proposal this week. The bill would still need approval from the Senate.

Details of the proposal weren’t immediately clear. The New York Times wrote:

The text of the compromise amendment was not yet public, but congressional aides said that the proposal essentially limits to Americans the protections of a Senate proposal that would categorically ban the F.B.I. from using a court order for business records to collect internet browsing and search records.

FBI Director Wray Pledges to Fix Flaws Found in FISA Court Applications

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Christopher Wray pledged Wednesday to fix the flaws found in the bureau’s applications for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA).

Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, Wray addressed findings by Justice Department’s inspector general Michael Horowitz that the bureau bungled its surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Horowitz said that the FBI’s applications to FISA Court to monitor Page contained “significant inaccuracies and omissions” and that agents “failed to meet the basic obligation” to ensure the applications were “scrupulously accurate.”

Horowitz, however, dismissed some conservatives’ longstanding allegations about the investigation into the Trump campaign, including that top FBI officials were motivated by political bias and illegally spied on Trump advisers.

“The failures highlighted in that report are unacceptable. Period,” Wray said. “They don’t reflect who the FBI is as an institution.”

Wray told lawmakers that the bureau had changed policies and procedures to clean up the process. That includes more training for FBI officials who apply for the warrants.

Saying the warrants are important to the FBI’s mission, Wray asked lawmakers to renew the FISA authorities, which are set to expire in March.

“I can assure members of this committee we need those FISA authorities,” Wray said. “We need the agility to stay ahead of the threat or we’re all going to regret it.”

Comey Says FBI Vindicated, But Admits Was ‘Wrong’ Defending FISA Process

James Comey via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey admitted Sunday that he was wrong to defend the bureau’s process of obtaining a warrant to monitor Carter Page, an adviser to Trump’s 2016 campaign.

But Comey said the inspector general report vindicated himself and the FBI because it concluded the bureau didn’t improperly open its investigation into the Trump campaign, nor did it act with bias.

“I was wrong,” Mr. Comey said on “Fox News Sunday,” referring to the bureau’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor Page. “I was overconfident, as director, in our procedures. And it’s important that a leader be accountable and transparent. If I were still director, I’d be saying the same thing that [FBI Director Christopher Wray] is saying, which is that we are going to get to the bottom of this, because the most important question is, is it systemic? Are there problems in other cases?”

According to the report, the FBI made “17 significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the applications to surveil Page.

Trump seized on Comey’s admission that mistakes were made in the FISA process.

“So now Comey’s admitting he was wrong,” the president tweeted Sunday. “Wow, but he’s only doing so because he got caught red handed. He was actually caught a long time ago. So what are the consequences for his unlawful conduct. Could it be years in jail? Where are the apologies to me and others, Jim?”

The report, however, contradicted Trump’s larger conspiracy theories that the bureau acted with political bias as part of a “deep state” conspiracy.”

“The inspector general did not find misconduct by F.B.I. personnel, did not find political bias, did not find illegal conduct,” Comey said.

Ex-Deputy FBI Director McCabe Defends Use of Dossier and FISA Court

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, on a whirlwind book tour, appears on C-Span with New York Times’ reporter Adam Goldman to discuss his book and some of the criticism the bureau faced under his leadership.

McCabe defends the use of  the infamous Steele dossier, the bureau’s use of a confidential informant to make contact with the Trump campaign and disputes Republican allegations that  the FBI misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court.

To see the full interview click the video below.

Memo Reveals President’s DOJ Extended Surveillance of Carter Page on Russian Spy Allegations

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A classified, highly disputed Republican memo reveals that the Justice Department under President Trump approved continued surveillance last spring of Trump campaign associate Carter Page because investigators suspected he was a Russian agent.

The New York Times, citing three people familiar with the document, reports that the memo portrays the Russia investigation as “tainted from the start” because it relies in part on research by former British spy Christopher Steele, who had been financed by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The memo, which Democrats claim contains “cherry-picked facts” to craft a misleading narrative, takes aim at Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate possible obstruction of justice by the president and collusion with Russian to undermine the 2016 presidential election. Last summer, the president considered firing Rosenstein, who is overseeing the investigation that so far has led to indictments against four Trump associates.

According to the memo, Rosenstein extended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) order on Page, a former Moscow-based investment banker whom a Russia spy had tried to recruit, according to a 2013 investigation. Carter served as a Trump foreign police adviser until September 2016.

In the memo, Republicans alleges that senior intelligence officials abused the surveillance program to target Trump’s campaign as part of a political bias and failed to properly vet the application.

“The president has been clear publicly and privately that he wants absolute transparency throughout this process,” White House spokesman, Hogan Gidley, said in a statement. “Based on numerous news reports, top officials at the F.B.I. have engaged in conduct that shows bias against President Trump and bias for Hillary Clinton. While President Trump has the utmost respect and support for the rank-and-file members of the F.B.I., the anti-Trump bias at the top levels that appear to have existed is troubling.”

The Justice Department declined to comment on this report.

Manafort Calls on Justice Department to Investigate Leak of FBI Wiretaps

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is urging the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate who leaked to the media information about the FBI conducting several wiretap probes of him, Bloomberg reports.  

Manafort also is asking the Justice Department to release “any intercepts involving him and any non-Americans so interested parties can come to the same conclusion as the DOJ — there is nothing there,” Manafort’s spokesman Jason Maloni said in a statement Tuesday.

Using leaked information, CNN reported Monday that two FISA court orders were obtained by the FBI to authorize wiretapping of Manafort before and after the presidential election.

Of the fact that no charges ever emerged,” Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said in a statement on Tuesday. The Justice Department’s inspector general “should immediately conduct an investigation into these leaks and to examine the motivations behind a previous administration’s effort to surveil a political opponent.” 

FBI Obtained FISA Warrant to Monitor Trump’s Former Campaign Adviser on Russia

Carter Page

Carter Page

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI obtained a warrant to secretly monitor President Trump’s former campaign adviser, Carter Page, on suspicions that he was acting as an agent of Russia, The Washington Post reports. 

Using a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant, the FBI and Justice Department targeted Page’s communications as part of a clandestine mission to determine whether he engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of Russia.

This is just the latest revelations allegedly linking Trump’s campaign team to Russia, which federal authorities say influenced the outcome of the presidential election.

It’s premature to say whether the Justice Department investigation will uncover illegal activity. 

“This confirms all of my suspicions about unjustified, politically motivated government surveillance,” Page said in an interview Tuesday. “I have nothing to hide.” He compared surveillance of him to the eavesdropping that the FBI and Justice Department conducted against civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Opinion: Why NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Doesn’t Deserve Celemency

Fred Kaplan
Slate

I regard Daniel Ellsberg as an American patriot. I was one of the first columnists to write that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper should be fired for lying to Congress. On June 7, two days after the first news stories based on Edward Snowden’s leaks, I wrote a column airing (and endorsing) the concerns of Brian Jenkins, a leading counterterrorism expert, that the government’s massive surveillance program had created “the foundation of a very oppressive state.”

And yet I firmly disagree with the New York Times’ Jan. 1 editorial (“Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower”), calling on President Obama to grant Snowden “some form of clemency” for the “great service” he has done for his country.

It is true that Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency’s surveillance of American citizens—far vaster than any outsider had suspected, in some cases vaster than the agency’s overseers on the secret FISA court had permitted—have triggered a valuable debate,leading possibly to much-needed reforms.

If that were all that Snowden had done, if his stolen trove of beyond-top-secret documents had dealt only with the NSA’s domestic surveillance, then some form of leniency might be worth discussing.

But Snowden did much more than that.

To read more click here.

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