Secret FISA court issues stunning, highly unusual public rebuke of FBI for “serious and repeated ” mistakes

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The country’s top secret court capable of issuing surveillance orders issued an unprecedented report Tuesday; accusing the FBI of presenting “misleading” intelligence to spy on at least one senior Trump campaign advisor.

The FBI’s submission to the court made assertions that were “inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation,” the report said.

“A secretive federal court accused the F.B.I. on Tuesday of misleading it about the factual basis for wiretapping a former Trump campaign adviser and ordered the bureau to propose changes in how investigators seek permission for some national security surveillance,” reports the New York Times.

“The frequency with which representations made by F.B.I. personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other F.B.I. applications is reliable,” Judge Rosemary Collyer wrote.

Secret FISA court issues highly unusual public rebuke of FBI for mistakes

The criticism comes after a report by the DOJ inspector general that found “so many basic and fundamental errors.”
By Pete Williams, NBC News, December 17, 2019:

WASHINGTON — The secret federal court that approves orders for conducting surveillance on suspected foreign terrorists or spies issued a strong and highly unusual public rebuke to the FBI on Tuesday, ordering the agency to say how it intends to correct the errors revealed last week by a Justice Department report on one aspect of the FBI’s investigation of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said the FBI made serious and repeated mistakes in seeking under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, to conduct surveillance of Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.

The FBI’s submission to the court made assertions that were “inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation,” the report said.

Rosemary Collyer, presiding judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, said in the unusual public order that the report “calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable.” She ordered the FBI to explain in writing by Jan. 10 how it intends to remedy those problems.

Collyer said the FBI’s handling of the Page case “was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor” required by the law that established the surveillance court. Judges on the court rely entirely on the government’s submissions. Because they are the only documents the court sees, the government has a heightened duty of candor, she said.

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