House Judiciary Committee Republicans are pressing ahead with sweeping reforms to the government’s FISA surveillance powers that among other things would would prohibit the FBI from searching through Americans’ phone records without a court-approved warrant.Read More
Republicans have had a crash course since 2016 in the ways the power of the intelligence community can be abused. To take a few examples, four consecutive judges operating under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act approved wiretaps of a Trump adviser, Carter Page, relying without question on the partisan fictions of the Steele dossier. Michael Flynn was ousted after he was the target of an unprecedented leak of another FISA intercept. And 51 former intelligence officers intervened in the 2020 election to dismiss without evidence the Hunter Biden laptop contents as likely Russian disinformation.Read More
“Not to my knowledge.”
That was FBI Director Christopher Wray’s response to questioning from U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) at the House Judiciary Committee on July 13 about whether the Justice Department and FBI utilize parallel construction — where law enforcement agencies are handed information obtained from Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants or via warrantless surveillance by intelligence agencies, not unlike the FISA surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016 that became the Russiagate counterintelligence and eventually criminal investigation — and then act on it.Read More
President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead top intelligence agencies described a tool used to surveil Americans without a warrant as vital at his confirmation hearing Wednesday.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Timothy Haugh characterized Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a tool that has been abused to spy on Americans, as “extensively used” and “irreplaceable” in his testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Biden nominated Haugh to head both Cyber Command and the National Security Agency (NSA) in May, according to Politico.Read More
FBI Director Christopher Wray declined to answer direct questions from lawmakers on several hot-button issues at a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing.
The performance on Wednesday generated frustration on both sides of the political aisle, and a rebuke from FBI alumni.Read More
Congressional Democrats have joined in bipartisan effort to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amid abuses but GOP outrage over the findings in the Durham Report, including recent calls to impeach Attorney General Merrick Garland over such matters, has likely hurt such efforts.
Congressional reauthorization of FISA is due in December, with particular focus on Section 702 of the law, which permits the government to conduct targeted surveillance on foreign people outside the U.S., with the assistance of electronic communication service providers, to acquire foreign intelligence information.Read More
Suppose a document drops in the wilderness and no one is around to hear it. Does it make a sound? I submit that John Durham just tested this Bishop Berkeleyesque query. The special counsel spent four years beavering away in the forests of the deep state and what did he produce? Three hundred pages telling us what, for the most part, we already knew and with the result that exactly nothing, apart from a little hand wringing, will happen.Read More
The FBI abused a digital surveillance tool nearly 300,000 times between 2020 and early 2021, running 23,132 inquiries alone after Jan. 6., according to a newly unsealed court document.
The Section 702 database, which the FBI is authorized to use to gather foreign intelligence information or if they believe there is evidence of a crime, was used on Jan. 6 suspects, along with congressional campaign donors and protestors arrested in riots after George Floyd was killed in 2020, a newly unsealed court document reveals. An April 2022 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) opinion described these abuses, noting that the employee who ran the queries after Jan. 6 did so “to find evidence of possible foreign influence, although the analyst conducting the queries had no indications of foreign influence related to the query term used.”Read More
The 18-member U.S. intelligence community (IC) has released the Annual Statistical Transparency Report Regarding the Intelligence Community’s Use of National Security Surveillance Authorities. One of the few to pay attention was historian Matthew Guariglia, a policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and an affiliated scholar at the University of California’s Hastings School of Law.
This government document, the ninth such report to be made public, “provides statistics and contextual information concerning how the Intelligence Community uses the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and certain other national security authorities to accomplish its mission.”
The law authorizes the U.S. government to engage in mass surveillance of foreign targets. As Guariglia discovered, FISA is “still being abused by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to spy on Americans without a warrant.” This abuse takes place under Section 702, an amendment to FISA.Read More
In an era where the hunt for disinformation has become a political obsession, Hillary Clinton has mostly escaped having to answer what role she played in spreading the false Russia collusion narrative that gripped America for nearly three years.
On Friday, that dodge ended with a most unlikely witness: her former campaign manager Robby Mook, who was supposed to be a witness helping the defense of her former campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann on a charge of lying to the FBI.Read More
Just as the special counsel’s investigation into the origins of Crossfire Hurricane—the FBI counterintelligence probe launched in the summer of 2016 to sabotage Donald Trump’s presidential campaign—is showing signs of life, one of the central figures in the hoax is attempting to burnish his sullied image.
ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos has produced a documentary featuring Christopher Steele, the man responsible for the so-called dossier bearing his name. “Out of the Shadows: The Man Behind the Steele Dossier,” streamed on Hulu Monday night; promotional clips hinted that, far from a hard-hitting interview exposing Steele for the charlatan he is, Stephanopoulos gave Steele a chance to spin his story ahead of possible new indictments related to John Durham’s inquiry into the Trump-Russia election collusion hoax.Read More
Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson called on the Biden administration Wednesday to turn over intelligence records regarding Hunter Biden’s work with a Chinese energy company with suspected ties to the Chinese military.
In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, Grassley and Johnson said that it is “imperative” for Congress to understand the relationship between the Biden family and CEFC China Energy, the now-defunct energy conglomerate.
CEFC China Energy paid Biden approximately $6 million from August 2017 to September 2018 for consulting and legal services, according to a report that Grassley and Johnson released last year.
The Republicans said in the report that banking regulators flagged some of the wire payments from CEFC to Biden for “potential criminal financial activity.” Grassley and Johnson also noted that CEFC’s founder, Ye Jianming, was an official in the mid-2000s for a front group of the Chinese Communist Party.Read More