As we await the Horowitz report, Charles Lipson lays out what is known and not known about the 2016 Russia-related FISA warrants
Now that James Comey’s corruption of the FBI has been exposed, the country awaits the next report from Inspector General Michael Horowitz. This one will deal with government misrepresentations to the special court that grants secret surveillance warrants on foreign agents in the United States.
To launch a counter-intelligence investigation on an American citizen, like Carter Page, the Department of Justice applies to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. All warrants require accuracy and integrity, but those to the FISA court should meet an even-higher standard. Why? Because, unlike criminal warrants, FISA warrants remain hidden. The goal is to “spy on spies,” not haul them into court, so the application will remain secret, never challenged by a defense attorney at trial.
That’s why the DoJ and FBI must certify, in writing, that the FISA application is truthful and complete and that the evidence it presents has been thoroughly vetted by the bureau. That’s what the Obama administration’s top law-enforcement officials did when they wanted to spy on Carter Page. It is becoming increasingly clear they were lying.