The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

The Memo

The Congressional memo outlining significant abuse of power by the Obama-era DoJ and appointees at the FBI was released yesterday. As I mentioned in a previous post, the Democrats and a few #NeverTrumpers in the GOP have leaped into the fray, using their now-standard process to discredit even the most compelling evidence. If the memo is to be believed (and there is absolutely evidence to suggest otherwise), Donald Trump was right in his much ridiculed claim that the Obama DoJ/FBI surveilled (he used the term "wiretapped") his campaign before the presidential election. But that's only part of this sordid story.

The DoJ/FBI got FISA court permission to do this surveillance based in part on a dossier prepared by an ex-spy who was paid by the Clinton campaign through a series of cut-outs including a Clinton law firm and a Democratic smear shop, Fusion GPS. Add to that the fact that the DoJ/FBI knew that Clinton paid for the dossier and didn't tell the judge who approved the FISA warrant. It may not have mattered, but it certainly was information for the judge to consider.

The Dems and their trained hamsters in the media are already quoting a law professor who claims that failure to disclose the provenance of the dossier is immaterial. Seriously? One campaign pays for damning, yet phony evidence against another and then goes to the administration in power (that just happens to be of the same political party). That administration gets approval to surveil their mutual opponent, and that's not a big deal?

James Freeman comments:
If this [disclosing the provenance of the dossier is immaterial] is accurate, and if it’s also acceptable to include uncorroborated information in warrant applications, this means that the bar for approving government spying against domestic political opponents is significantly lower than most Americans have been led to believe.

A former government official, having read the Kerr argument, writes via email:
In meth cases, the judges all know the informants are dirtbags. But as Kerr admits, context is everything in these fact determinations. It’s hardly irrelevant that one presidential campaign is being spied on with the collusion of the existing administration and its candidate. Perhaps prosecutors should be mindful of their high ethical obligations in such a unique case. After all, there is the small matter of the credibility not only of law enforcement but the entire democratic process riding on it.
The Democrats on the Intelligence committee seem eager to release their own memo so perhaps we’ll learn more, but based on today’s release it appears either that the Obama administration engaged in historic abuse or that the FISA court cannot be trusted to protect our liberties, or perhaps both.

Readers concerned about the government’s surveillance authority may be interested to know about one current member of the Intelligence committee who began focusing on this issue all the way back in the George W. Bush administration. He was dismayed by the ease with which surveillance could be ordered on U. S. citizens using FISA warrants. He was outraged that George W. Bush would countenance such practices.

Freeman adds:
This lawmaker said that his legislation “will help ensure we have true checks and balances when it comes to the judges who are given the responsibility of overseeing our most sensitive intelligence gathering and national security programs.”

Oh, by the way, do you know who the lawmaker is? I'll let James Freeman provide the answer:
His name is Adam Schiff, and he is now the ranking member on House Intelligence. But oddly he doesn’t seem to want to take credit for his early concern for civil liberties.
And therein lies the problem. Schiff is the Democrat front man on all of this and he is also a partisan hack and a hypocrite, who suddenly became very sanguine about corrupt practices in the FISA process when those corrupt practices reflected badly on his party's past president and his supposedly slam-dunk successor, Hillary Clinton.