We now know: FISA court must go (WSJ edition)

Today’s Wall Street Journal carries an unsigned editorial (I’m sure by Kim Strassel) under the headline “Another FISA fiasco.” The editorial covers the same ground and arrives at the same destination as my previous posts on the FISA court’s appointment of one David Kris to serve as amicus curiae in the wake of the Department of Justice Inspector General report and the Department of Justice’s pathetic response thereto. The editorial observes:

Say you’re a secret federal court that signed off on wiretaps of a Trump campaign official based on Russian disinformation financed by the Clinton campaign and midwifed through anti-Trump partisans at the FBI. The court did nothing about this deception for three years despite accumulating evidence presented to it. Once this is all publicly exposed, would your response be to hire a former Obama official and media apologist for the FBI to restore the court’s credibility?

Yet that is exactly what the FISA court has done in appointing David Kris to review changes proposed by the FBI to the court’s surveillance application process. Mr. Kris criticized the Bush Administration’s warrantless wiretaps on suspected terrorists in 2006 and later worked in the Obama Justice Department. Then he defended the FBI’s unjustified 2016 surveillance of Trump adviser Carter Page.

At the Lawfare blog on March 1, 2018, Mr. Kris attacked as “dishonest” the memo produced by Devin Nunes’s House Intelligence Committee Republicans reporting that the FBI had misled the FISA court about the Christopher Steele dossier. That was the James Comey-Adam Schiff party line at the time.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz has since confirmed that Mr. Nunes was right and the FBI had deceived the court. Mr. Kris contributed to public confusion by lending his supposed authority as a legal intelligence expert to justify the FBI’s actions.

Mr. Nunes, President Trump and others have criticized Mr. Kris’s appointment, which proves our point. If the court’s goal is to restore its public standing, the last person to appoint is someone who apologized for the very abuses he is now supposed to fix and will have no credibility with half the country.

Federal Judge James Boasberg, an Obama appointee for the District of Columbia, became presiding FISA judge on Jan. 1. That he would act in such an obtuse fashion is another argument for the FISA court’s abolition.

I don’t think “fiasco” and stupidity (“obtuseness”) do justice to what is going on with the court’s appointment of David Kris. We now know beyond any reasonable doubt that the FISA court has been compromised. It is going through the motions to mitigate the revelation of its own fault now that we know it too is among the institutions corrupted in the Russia hoax.

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