On the edges of what is known as news in the United States, those who follow the shadows have known for well over a year that a number of Trump team members were spied upon illegally. On Thursday, the super-secret court that issued the warrants themselves admitted that the things were “not valid” for at least one of the people surveilled.
Authority granted to the federal government to secretly wiretap and spy on former Trump affiliate Carter Page was “not valid,” the nation’s top spy court noted in a secret ruling penned earlier this month. The order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), which was created and authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), was initially signed and issued on January 7, 2020, but was not declassified and released until Thursday afternoon.
Judge James Boasberg, the current federal judge presiding over the FISA court, wrote in his order that at least two of the four FISA applications against Carter Page were unlawfully authorized. Additionally, according his order, the Department of Justice similarly concluded following the release of a sprawling investigate report on the matter by the agency’s inspector general that the government did not have probable cause that Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power. The FISA law states that American citizens cannot be secretly spied on by the U.S. government absent probable cause, based on valid evidence, that an American is unlawfully acting as a foreign agent.
Oops. Somebody owes Carter Page an apology.
Other applications for surveillance on Page are being investigated for validity. A ruling on them is expected soon as well as information regarding an inspector general report also now in question.
In his January 7 order, Boasberg directed DOJ to retain and sequester all information and evidence relevant to both the Carter Page applications, the inspector general investigation of FISA abuse, and any additional DOJ investigations related to or spawned by the inspector general’s report. Boasberg told DOJ to provide all of the required information to the FISA court no later than January 28.
At least this is all starting to come out before the 2020 general election.