Report: A FISA Warrant Was Issued in October to Investigate Russian Hacking
According to an explosive new report in Circa News Wednesday night, a FISA court warrant was granted to federal investigators in October of 2016 as part of an overall Russian hacking investigation.
Investigative journalists Sara Carter (formerly of the Washington Times, the Washington Examiner, and The Blaze) and John Solomon (formerly of the the Washington Post, the Washington Times, and AP) spoke to sources close to the investigation who have been "watching in horror" at the politicization of intelligence since the election, and wanted to set the record straight.
"What we don't know is who was connected to that FISA," Carter said on Sean Hannity's show Wednesday night. "What was that FISA looking at? That is very highly classified. Nobody wants to talk about that particular FISA, right now. They said it did have to do with the Russian hacking on a very broad level, but it didn't hone in directly on Trump is what I was told," she said.
In addition to the FISA warrant in October, the FBI obtained a separate warrant that same month to look into a computer server tied to then-candidate Donald Trump's businesses in Trump Towers (but not located in Trump Towers). According to the report, the feds used traditional investigative techniques to examine allegations of computer activity tied to two Russian banks and there had been no intercepts of Trump’s phone or emails.
The FBI quickly concluded that "the computer activity in question involved no nefarious contacts, bank transactions or encrypted communications with the Russians."
The months-long FBI counterintelligence investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential campaign briefly investigated a computer server tied to Donald Trump's businesses near the end of the election but has not gathered evidence of election tampering to date that would warrant criminal charges against any of the president’s associates, Circa has learned.
U.S. officials, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information, said there is widespread frustration among intelligence professionals who have watched in horror as a normally secretive process has been distorted by media leaks and politicians uneducated about how counterintelligence operations actually work.
“We have people spouting off who don’t know the difference between FISA surveillance and a wiretap or a counterintelligence probe versus a special prosecutor, and it has hurts [sic] our ability to get to the truth and has wrongly created the impression that intelligence officials have a political agenda,” said one source directly familiar with the drama.
Many of the leaks have surfaced since former President Barack Obama in his waning days in office had his intelligence leadership brief a wider than normal audience about the sensitive Russia surveillance. Those leaks have created a false narrative that the FBI has been predominantly focused on Trump ties to Russia, officials said.
In fact, any FBI activity involving the president’s associates or advisers was mostly ancillary to a wider counterintelligence probe into Russian efforts to influence the election or curry favor with U.S. figures, the sources said.
“The (Trump-Russia) narrative in the media hasn’t been our primary focus and mostly involves pieces of information that came in incidentally. We check them out and we move on,” one official said, adding most of the work has involved old-fashioned investigative tactics and not surveillance.
Added another official: “I’ve never seen a case so misrepresented and leaks so damaging to a process that was meant to be conducted in secret so that foreign powers don’t know what we know and people’s reputations aren’t tarnished unfairly.”