The Problem with Secret Courts

 

The Problem with Secret Courts    Guest post by Mustang

The United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) is a federal court established by and authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.  Its role is to oversee requests for surveillance warrants against foreign spies operating inside the United States.  Agencies making requests for warrants include the National Security Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  FISA was the brainchild of Senator Frank Church (D-ID).  Since its inception, more than 35,000 warrants have been issued to surveil suspects.

In 2013, the FISA Court issued a TOP SECRET order requiring Verizon to provide daily, on-going reports of call detail records, including those of domestic calls, to the National Security Agency.  The order was revealed to the American people by Edward Snowden, who is often reviled by politicians and intelligence agencies as a traitor to his country.

In 2016, U. S. District Judge Rudolph (Rudy) Contreras (an Obama appointee) was assigned to the FISA Court.  In November of that year, Judge Contreras took charge of the case against Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former National Security Advisor to the President.  A two-page grand jury indictment was rendered in early December.  Judge Contreras accepted General Flynn’s guilty plea to one count of making a false statement to the FBI; the plea was part of a bargain with the Special Counsel Investigation led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller.  However, on 7 December, Judge Contreras suddenly recused himself from further hearings in the Flynn case.  The case was reassigned to U. S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan (a Clinton appointee).

Several days ago, The Federalist discovered the existence of text messages between two key federal law enforcement officials who conspired to meet with FISA Court Judge Rudy Contreras.  The two officials were DOJ attorney Lisa Page and FBI Agent Peter Strzok.  The text messages were deliberately hidden from congress investigators.  In the text messages, Page and Strzok discussed Strzok’s personal friendship with Contreras and how the duo might use that relationship in ongoing counter-intelligence investigations.  The pair then began to conspire with one another to set up a cocktail party so that Contreras, Strzok, and Page could speak with one another without arousing suspicion that they were in fact colluding with one another.

While working as one of the FBI’s senior counter-intelligence officials, Strzok is reported to have taken part in the FBI interview with General Flynn on 24 January 2017.  Subsequently, Strzok left the FBI to join Mueller’s special counsel team, which obtained the indictment against Flynn.  Strzok was later removed from Mueller’s team due to inappropriate text messages between Strzok.  Now, of course, we have a reason to wonder if Contreras, Strzok, and Page have illegally conspired against General Flynn, and further, we ought to wonder about:

·       The clandestine meeting between Bill Clinton and (then) Attorney General Loretta Lynch;

·       The decision by former FBI Director James Comey not to pursue charges against Hillary Clinton in the mishandling of classified information—a determination made before the FBI interviewed Clinton;

·       The use of the thoroughly discredited Trump Dossier, paid for by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, as prima facie evidence in securing a FISA warrant against the Trump Campaign and Trump’s business interests;

·       The lies told by Andrew McCabe to IG investigators surrounding his release (leaking) of classified information to liberal news sources

The American people will never have confidence in their government if its agencies do not work lawfully and transparently in the interests of the nation.  Moreover, the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires reasonable searches and seizures only upon issuance of a warrant judicially sanctioned by probable cause, supported by oaths or affirmations, which specifically describe the places to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

The question remains, given the foregoing, how can the people have confidence in FISA courts when all of its business is conducted in secret, when judges can order TOP SECRET warrants and orders, and when the American people have no protection from politicized courts or judges?

For additional information, see Mollie HemingwayChuck Ross, and Sara Carter.

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Flynn Case plot thickens – the Judge asks Mueller for “Exculpatory Evidence”

The plot thickens on the Flynn case. It turns out it was the Judge not Flynn’s lawyer who is after the “exculpatory evidence.” I have my own guess on some of it. Keep in mind this is a new judge, not  Contreras the judge that was ready to sentence him in his plea agreement.

Did FBI Peter Strzok setup FLynn? Judge now recused, Sentencing postponed UPDATE!

It is not clear why Contreras was recused from the case. UPDATE:

(The Judge indeed is a FISA Judge.. did he approve the FISA request?) LInk:

Trump’s chances of being turned down for a FISA wire tap 0.02 percent

Last year, The Gateway Pundit asked: Was President Trump’s National Security Advisor tricked into meeting with the FBI without a lawyer?

Back to the story at hand.

The federal judge assigned to the criminal case against Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has ordered Special Counsel Robert Mueller to turn over any “exculpatory evidence” to Flynn’s defense team.

Oddly, however, Flynn’s legal team did not make this request. Instead, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan issued the order “sua sponte,” or at his discretion, invoking the “Brady Rule” – which requires prosecutors to turn over previously unfiled evidence that might have a material impact on a defendant’s case. Interestingly, two days before the order Mueller filed a motion for an agreed-upon protective order regarding the use of evidence in the case, including “sensitive materials,” provided to Flynn’s lawyers by the office of the Special Counsel.

Snip….

Judge Andrew Napolitano addressed Sullivan’s decision on Tuesday, saying The judge on his own, not in response to any application from General Flynns lawyers says, “By the way, I want all exculpatory evidence, evidence that could help Flynn or hurt the government turned over to Flynns lawyers.

Why would he we want that after General Flynn has already pleaded guilty? That is unheard of. He must suspect a defect in the guilty plea. Meaning, he must have reason to believe that General Flynn pleaded guilty for some reason other than guilt.

More at Zero Hedge

Are the FISA Court members dirty?

 

What is with the members of the FISA court who keep finding their way in handling the very issues that are coming before it regarding #MEMOGATE ?  The Judge that was to sentence Flynn was forced to recuse himself for reasons yet to be determined just as he was ready to bang the gavel down on Flynn. Now buried in this little gem? Oh, yes..we learn the FISA Judge ruled on the Comey matter. Add to this fact that every single Judge on the FISA court was appointed by Obama. These two FISA judges were from the D.C. Court. The list at the end of the post.

Most important is the fact that the FISA court only turns down .02 percent of requests. All day long yesterday we hear that the FISA court demands a “rigorous through review” before granting a request. Total nonsense. One has a better chance of being struck by lightning.

Daily Caller:

On the same day the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released the Nunes memo showing the FBI relied on the salacious and unverified Trump dossier to obtain a surveillance warrant on Carter Page, a federal judge ruled to withhold the Comey memos. The memos, authored by former FBI Director James Comey, are about his nine private conversations with President-elect and President Trump.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, who ruled in favor of the FBI’s request to keep the Comey memos secret, also sits on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The FISA court is the same court that approved the surveillance on Trump associates.

Boasberg refused to release the documents on the basis they were still being used by special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation of the alleged Russian collusion with Trump associates.

The judge ruled, “the Comey Memos, at least for now, will remain in the hands of the Special Counsel and not the public.”

Keep reading…

Then we just learn that the Judge who was to sentence Flynn is on the FISA court as well.

Did FBI Peter Strzok setup FLynn? Judge now recused, Sentencing postponed UPDATE!

“Due to the status of the Special Counsel’s investigation, the parties do not believe that this matter is ready to be scheduled for a sentencing hearing at this time,” the special counsel asked the court.

The court filing states a date to sentence Flynn could not be determined by the special counsel at this time and that 90-day extension is be required.

The fact that one has about as much chance of being struck by lightning than being turned down as a candidate for investigation tells us what rare company Trump is in. Even so the first request to the FISA court was turned down. Here we go:

Only two in over 10,000 applications were turned down by the FISA Court.

According to ABC News:

More than a thousand applications for electronic surveillance, all signed by the attorney general, are submitted each year, and the vast majority are approved. From 2009 to 2015, for example, more than 10,700 applications for electronic surveillance were submitted, and only one was denied in its entirety, according to annual reports sent to Congress. Another one was denied in part, and 17 were withdrawn by the government.

Finally, another very disturbing fact about the wire tapping request of President Trump is that the FISA Court turned down President Obama’s Administration’s first request to wire tap President Trump that was evidently signed off on by Attorney General Lynch.  With only two applications denied out of 10,700 from 2009 through 2015, the fact that the Obama Administration’s application was denied by the FISA Court the first time is very disturbing.  The odds of this happening are 0.02%.

Every single judge on the FISA Court as of today was appointed during Obama’s Presidency!

Five of the current eleven judges on the court are scheduled to be on the court for President Trump’s entire first term with six of the judges’ terms expiring before January 2021.  Seven of the judges are scheduled into the year 2020.

H/T and more: Gateway Pundit

#RELEASE THE MEMO – Where is the Media? Democrats bury their head in the sand over FISA abuse

Anyone who has been watching Fox know that the Democrat’s  Russian House of Cards is or should be about to fall and with it take some good ole boys with it. Nothing at all in any of the MSM press. I slid over to Morning Joe for a nanosecond, about as much as anyone should tolerate and they are still trumpeting Russia Russia Russia and Trump’s collusion. Not one Democrat member has chosen to look at the documents according to reports. Bury your head in the sand Dems, the chickens are about to come home to roost.
“I viewed the classified report from House Intel relating to the FBI, FISA abuses, the infamous Russian dossier, and so-called “Russian collusion.” What I saw is absolutely shocking. This report needs to be released–now. Americans deserve the truth.” #ReleaseTheMemo

I have read the memo. The sickening reality has set in. I no longer hold out hope there is an innocent explanation for the information the public has seen. I have long said it is worse than Watergate. It was & .

Glenn Greenwald Retweeted Mark Meadows

If this FISA memo is even a fraction as incriminating and significant as GOP members are claiming, then it ought to be leaked. If it really exposes a true threat to democracy, that’s what a patriot would do, right? Also, Trump could declassify it with one stroke of a pen.

Glenn Greenwald added,

Trump’s chances of being turned down for a FISA wire tap 0.02 percent

Earlier this year Trump was tweeting that Trump Tower was wiretapped. Everyone in the media mocked him, making him sound like a nut case. On March 6, I posted this. A second time around for this post seems worthwhile with the latest news about Manafort. Keep in mind, the first FISA request was turned down, but Lynch was game to try it again. First an update with Tucker Carlson last night.

We learn that AG Lynch signed off on every single one of the FISA requests during her tenure. Better yet, we learn that it is simply a rubber stamp for the nefarious activities of our government. The fact that one has about as much chance of being struck by lightning than being turned down as a candidate for investigation tells us what rare company Trump is in. And her first request to the FISA court was turned down. Apparently she found a Obama Judge. Here we go:

Only two in over 10,000 applications were turned down by the FISA Court.

According to ABC News:

More than a thousand applications for electronic surveillance, all signed by the attorney general, are submitted each year, and the vast majority are approved. From 2009 to 2015, for example, more than 10,700 applications for electronic surveillance were submitted, and only one was denied in its entirety, according to annual reports sent to Congress. Another one was denied in part, and 17 were withdrawn by the government.

According to ABC, all applications to the FISA Court were signed off on by the Attorney General and therefore if any applications were processed in the past year, they were signed off on by Loretta Lynch.  This means that Lynch signed off on any requests for wire tapping President Donald Trump during the Presidential race.

This is disheartening knowing that she released a video over the weekend calling for the need for more marching, blood and death on the streets.  This also means that she chose not to investigate the Clinton Foundation for illegal activities but rather signed an application to wire tap President Trump.

Finally, another very disturbing fact about the wire tapping request of President Trump is that the FISA Court turned down President Obama’s Administration’s first request to wire tap President Trump that was evidently signed off on by Attorney General Lynch.  With only two applications denied out of 10,700 from 2009 through 2015, the fact that the Obama Administration’s application was denied by the FISA Court the first time is very disturbing.  The odds of this happening are 0.02%.

Every single judge on the FISA Court as of today was appointed during Obama’s Presidency!

Five of the current eleven judges on the court are scheduled to be on the court for President Trump’s entire first term with six of the judges’ terms expiring before January 2021.  Seven of the judges are scheduled into the year 2020.

H/T and more: Gateway Pundit

FISA-Court-575x251

Trump’s odds of being turned down for a FISA wire tap 0.02 percent

It seems like only yesterday that we learned that there was such a thing as a FISA court. A secret court that is not so secret anymore. We learn that AG Lynch signed off on every single one of the FISA requests during her tenure. Better yet, we learn that it is simply a rubber stamp for the nefarious activities of our government. The fact that one has about as much chance of being struck by lightning than being turned down as a candidate for investigation tells us what rare company Trump is in. And the first request to the court was turned down apparently. Here we go:

Only two in over 10,000 applications were turned down by the FISA Court.

According to ABC News:

More than a thousand applications for electronic surveillance, all signed by the attorney general, are submitted each year, and the vast majority are approved. From 2009 to 2015, for example, more than 10,700 applications for electronic surveillance were submitted, and only one was denied in its entirety, according to annual reports sent to Congress. Another one was denied in part, and 17 were withdrawn by the government.

According to ABC, all applications to the FISA Court were signed off on by the Attorney General and therefore if any applications were processed in the past year, they were signed off on by Loretta Lynch.  This means that Lynch signed off on any requests for wire tapping President Donald Trump during the Presidential race.

This is disheartening knowing that she released a video over the weekend calling for the need for more marching, blood and death on the streets.  This also means that she chose not to investigate the Clinton Foundation for illegal activities but rather signed an application to wire tap President Trump.

Finally, another very disturbing fact about the wire tapping request of President Trump is that the FISA Court turned down President Obama’s Administration’s first request to wire tap President Trump that was evidently signed off on by Attorney General Lynch.  With only two applications denied out of 10,700 from 2009 through015, the fact that the Obama Administration’s application was denied by the FISA Court is very disturbing.  The odds of this happening are 0.02%.

Every single judge on the FISA Court as of today was appointed during Obama’s Presidency!

Five of the current eleven judges on the court are scheduled to be on the court for President Trump’s entire first term with six of the judges’ terms expiring before January 2021.  Seven of the judges are scheduled into the year 2020.

H/T and more: Gateway Pundit

FISA Judge: ‘If Americans don’t know they are being spied on, no harm’

Last week there was a Senate vote that got zero coverage. An effort to rein in the abuse of spying on America. The GOP had no interest in supporting it. Now we get a bit of insight as to the impartiality of the FISA court.

Vote Tally Count Senate NSA Data Spying restrictions voted down 

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked a sweeping overhaul of the once-secret National Security Agency program that collects records of Americans’ phone calls in bulk.

Democrats and a handful of Republicans who supported the measure failed to secure the 60 votes they needed to take up the legislation. The vote was 58 to 42 for consideration.

Now I give you this absurd argumentt.

You can’t have your privacy violated if you don’t know your privacy is violated.”

“Oral arguments presented by Yahoo Counsel (Mark Zwillinger) and the US Solicitor General Gregory Garre” reveal a frightening new govt. argument.

Garre then goes on to explain why the govt. feels it should have warrantless access to US persons’ communications, routed through and stored at US servers.He refers to satellite communications — something in use when FISA was enacted in 1978.

. . .But all of this pales in light of the words of Judge Morris S. Arnold. If they sound familiar, they are. This was the argument made, and roundly ridiculed, by Congressman Mike Rodgers, chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

Vladeck: But who would be complaining?

Rogers: Somebody who’s privacy was violated. You can’t have your privacy violated if you don’t know your privacy is violated.”

Read more at Investment watch blog with legal documents and video.

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