Earlier this year I wrote a series of posts contra the dross of April Doss. The “dross” was found in the Weekly Standard cover story by Doss. The cover story disparaged House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and asserted that he is retailing a “conspiracy theory” involving the Obama administration’s misuse of FISA on Carter Page to surveil the Trump presidential campaign. Doss purported to lay down the truth about Nunes and FISA. The truth is that Doss’s cover story was a disgrace.
The FISA warrant applications on Carter Page open a window onto the biggest scandal in American political history. I have embedded them here previously and have embedded them again below. They are the ocular proof of the scandal.
The invaluable Andrew McCarthy has now cracked open the window a little wider in two columns with one theme: FISA Docs Show: Long Before Mueller, Trump-Russia Was an Investigation Without a Crime. The first column (posted yesterday afternoon) is “Reading the FISA redactions.” The second is “In the Russia Probe, It’s ‘Qui S’excuse S’accuse’” (posted this morning — the French expression is to the effect that “he who excuses himself accuses himself”).
These are long, detailed, illuminating and educational columns that draw on McCarthy’s professional expertise. Stick with them — both of them. Do not miss either one.
Andy says he has read the FISA applications so you don’t have to. He has performed a great public service in these columns. Even so, I say you have to review the FISA applications with your own eyes. They are shocking. Drawing from my series on Doss’s Weekly Standard cover story, I want to restate the relevant background in the context of Andy’s linked columns:
• Under Title I of FISA — see this useful House Intel Committee summary — it was the burden of the government to establish probable cause that Page was engaging in espionage, terrorism, or sabotage by or on behalf of a foreign power that involved a violation of a criminal statute. (Doss stated: “Although Page had left the campaign, the FBI feared Russia was using him for its own purposes. The application states that the FBI alleged there was probable cause to believe Page was an agent of a foreign power under a specific provision of FISA that involves knowingly aiding, abetting, or knowingly conspiring to assist a foreign power with clandestine intelligence gathering activities, engage in clandestine intelligence gathering at the behest of a foreign power, or participate in sabotage or international terrorism or planning or preparation therefor.”)
• Doss to the contrary notwithstanding, the allegations cited by Doss in her article don’t make out probable cause that Page is a Russian agent on any fair reading of the facts once the Steele dossier is seen for what it is.
• The FBI relied in substantial part on the allegations of the Steele dossier to obtain the FISA warrant on Page. Although the applications swear otherwise, these allegations were unverified. I observed in my series that Andy was one of the knowledgeable observers who disputes Doss on the propriety of this reliance. Doss simply omitted any acknowledgement of the related issues.
• The FBI nevertheless secured the FISA surveillance warrant on Page in October 2016 and renewed it three more times at 90-day intervals. I held out the possibility that the cited facts together with the redacted material fairly establish probable cause, but we have yet to see it. McCarthy now demonstrates that this is highly unlikely.
• Whether or not the FBI made out probable cause, it must have monitored Page’s every communication by text, email and cell phone for a year. Yet Page remains a free man. No charge of any kind — not even a process crime such the one used against Michael Flynn and George Papadoploulos — has been brought against Carter Page. The circumstantial evidence strongly suggests that Page is not a Russian agent.
• Given the year-long surveillance on him without any resulting charge, Page might not only not be a Russian agent, he might be the cleanest man in Washington.
• Carter Page was a victim of government misconduct whose true object was Donald Trump.
Quotable quote: “[L]et’s dispense with the tired claim that the Obama administration did not really spy on Trump and his campaign. Every one of the four FISA warrant applications, after describing Russia’s cyberespionage attack on the 2016 election, makes the following assertion (after two redacted lines): ‘the FBI believes that the Russian Government’s efforts to influence the 2016 election were being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with Candidate #1’s [i.e., Trump’s] campaign.'”
One more: “For Mueller, the Russia counterintelligence probe was cover to conduct a criminal investigation of Trump in the absence of grounds to believe a crime had occurred.”
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