The FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of alleged Trump campaign “collusion” with Russia has now been taken over by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The investigation seems to have involved abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in general and section 702 in particular, under which the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program operates. Under the leadership of James Comey, the FBI appears to have conducted wayward surveillance of the Trump campaign. If word gets out, it might represent a political scandal bigger than Watergate.
Yesterday the House of Representatives voted to reauthorize section 702 “for six years with minimal changes,” the New York Times reports, “rejecting a push by a bipartisan group of lawmakers to impose significant privacy limits when it sweeps up Americans’ emails and other personal communications.”
Having been removed from office by President Trump and having engineered the appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel to serve as Trump’s nemesis, Comey now views himself as an Olympian figure. Actually, he has viewed himself as an Olympian figure for a long time. According to Comey himself, he adheres to A Higher Loyalty, as the title of his forthcoming book has it. He therefore obliged us with his judgment on the reauthorization of section 702 before the House vote yesterday (below).
Thoughtful leaders on both sides of the aisle know FISA section 702 is a vital and carefully overseen tool to protect this country. This isn’t about politics. Congress must reauthorize it.
— James Comey (@Comey) January 11, 2018
This past May the the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court declassified an order revealing serious abuse of FISA by the National Security Agency in the Obama administration (below). Andrew McCarthy explained the technicalities underlying the FISC order and its bearing on the upper reaches of the Obama administration here. I think the abuse implicates Comey’s stewardship of the FBI and that he may have been the last man in the United States from whom we wanted to hear on the subject yesterday.