The Wall Street Journal reports that the Justice Department “now believes it should have discontinued its secret surveillance of one-time Trump campaign adviser Carter Page far earlier than it did, according to a new court filing unsealed Thursday.” Lack of probable cause is stated as the reason. Page was subject of surveillance starting in late 2016, but three subsequent renewals of the surveillance warrants were made. Two of those have been deemed illegitimate.
The Federalist reports that “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.”
You can read the ruling here:
“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,” reports Sean Davis of The Federalist. “Additionally, according to his order, the Department of Justice similarly concluded following the release of a sprawling investigate [sic] 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.”
You can read the aforementioned inspector general report here:
“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,” Davis continued.
Boasberg’s ruling noted that DOJ had not yet taken a position on the lawfulness of the first two applications against Page, but was currently collecting information to assess whether those two spy applications were also invalid. The invalid applications specified by Boasberg were dated April 7 and June 29 of 2017. The false and invalid April 7 application was personally signed by James Comey, while the false and invalid June 29 application was signed by Andrew McCabe. Both men were referred for criminal prosecution by the inspector general. Former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who is alleged to have offered to wear a wire against President Donald Trump, also signed off on the false June 29 FISA warrant against Page.
The implications of Judge Boasberg’s ruling are huge, according to Davis, because the final warrant against Page “overlapped with former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.”
“The final three-month authorization to spy on Page was signed nearly six weeks after Mueller was appointed, meaning that Mueller may have had real-time access to and utilized nearly five months worth of surveillance of Page during the course of Mueller’s investigation,” Davis writes. “If his office used any of the information in subsequent cases, the declaration that the final two spy warrants against Page were invalid could potentially nullify previous or future convictions sought by Mueller’s office.”
This story is breaking, more information to follow.