5 FBI Scandals Shining Light on the FISAGate Fiasco
Last Friday, President Donald Trump made public a Republican memo detailing ways the FBI abused the Foreign Intelligence Service Act (FISA) surveillance process to acquire a warrant to watch members of the Donald Trump campaign during the 2016 election. Democrats have rushed to counter with their own memo.
Trump has denounced the investigation into alleged Russian "collusion" within his campaign, carried out by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, as a "witch hunt." Democrats have denounced the FISA scandal as a comparable witch hunt, warning that Republicans are carrying on a war to delegitimize the intelligence community (IC) so as to make the Mueller probe seem partisan.
Both sides seem to be engaging in hyperbole to destroy the other. The Democrat attack seems particularly damaging, as it suggests that any scandal among the FBI would constitute a destruction of public trust in the organization. If so, the public should no longer trust the body.
Americans should counter that the FBI, like any organ of government, is subject to scandal. When scandal is revealed, action should be taken to rectify the damage, to apologize, and to guarantee that abuses will not be repeated in the future. Unfortunately, the FBI formerly headed by Mueller and later James Comey has caused various scandals, and these events should be investigated and not dismissed.
Pointing out the FBI's scandals is not an attack on the necessity or value of the FBI. Even so, these scandals do suggest that some liberties may have been taken in the FISA process, corroborating part of the Republican narrative.
Without further ado, here are five scandals.
1. The Uranium One/Vadim Mikerin coverup.
In 2010, the Obama administration (and Hillary Clinton) approved a controversial deal giving Russian company Rosatom partial control of Canadian mining company Uranium One (and with it 20 percent of U.S. uranium), just as Russians paid former president Bill Clinton for speeches. Before this deal, the FBI had already gathered evidence of Russian corruption in U.S. uranium, but kept it secret just when it would have mattered most.
A confidential U.S. witness in the Russian nuclear agency helped compile evidence showing that Moscow had compromised a U.S. trucking company. Officials in the case also acquired evidence that Russian officials had routed millions of dollars into the U.S. to benefit the Clinton Foundation as Clinton served on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which approve the Uranium One deal.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) did not bring immediate charges after learning of the corruption in 2010, nor did they release this information to the public or Congress. This information could have prevented the Uranium One deal in 2010 and a lesser-known approval in 2011 for Rosatom's subsidiary Tenex to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear plants.