WTF: VIDEO: FISA selects former Obama admin lawyer, left-wing blogger to oversee FBI’s surveillance reforms


@realdonaldtrump must do a massive purge. it’s not just this, it’s an army – guys like Eric Treene are still at the DoJ. All Obamites must go, they are enemies of individual rights, the Constitution and Americanism.

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VIDEO: FISA selects former Obama admin lawyer, left-wing blogger to oversee FBI’s surveillance reforms

By Gregg Re, January 12, 2020:

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) has stunned court-watchers by selecting David Kris — a former Obama administration lawyer who has appeared on “The Rachel Maddow Show” and written extensively in support of the FBI’s surveillance practices on the left-wing blog Lawfare — to oversee the FBI’s implementation of reforms in the wake of a damning Department of Justice Inspector general report last year.

The development on Friday, first reported by independent journalist Mike Cernovich, has roiled Republicans who have demanded accountability at the FBI. House Intelligence Commitee ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., told The Daily Caller that Kris’ appointment was “shocking” and “inexplicable.”

“It’s hard to imagine a worse person the FISC could have chosen outside [James] Comey, [Andy] McCabe, or [Adam] Schiff,” Nunes said. Speaking to Fox News contributor Sara Carter, Nunes added: “It’s a ridiculous choice. The FBI lied to the FISC, and to help make sure that doesn’t happen again, the FISC chose an FBI apologist who denied and defended those lies. The FISC is setting its own credibility on fire.”

On Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Nunes reminded anchor Maria Bartiromo that Kris had panned the now-vindicated 2018 memo produced by Nunes’ panel, which asserted a series of surveillance abuses by the FBI against former Trump aide Carter Page. DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz later substantiated Nunes’ claims, noting that the FBI had made numerous materially false representations to the FISC.

“Of all the people in the swamp … this is the guy that you come up with?” Nunes asked. “The guy that was accusing me of federal crimes? The guy that was defending the dirty cops at the FBI? … The court must be trying to abolish itself. There is long-term damage.”

President Trump then referenced Nunes’ interview with Bartiromo on Twitter on Sunday afternoon, calling Kris “highly controversial” and slamming the FISC’s decision.


“You can’t make this up!” Trump wrote. “David Kris, a highly controversial former DOJ official, was just appointed by the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] Court to oversee reforms to the FBI’s surveillance procedures. Zero credibility. THE SWAMP!”

Kris argued on Lawfare in March 2018 that Nunes had “tried to deceive the American people in precisely the same way that it falsely accused the FBI of deceiving the FISA Court.”

Additionally, Kris claimed that “had the FBI done in its FISA applications what Nunes did in his memo, heads would have rolled on Pennsylvania Avenue.” He asserted, “It’s disturbing that Page met that legal standard and that there was probable cause to conclude he was a Russian agent.”

“The Nunes memo was dishonest,” Kris chargred. “And if it is allowed to stand, we risk significant collateral damage to essential elements of our democracy.”

Kris was a former assistant attorney general for national security who worked at the DOJ from 2009 to 2011, and served as an associate deputy attorney general under George W. Bush from 2000 to 2003. He later criticized Bush’s justifications for warrantless wiretap surveillance.

But, as the political winds changed, Kris became more of a proponent for government surveillance in other contexts. He appeared on MSNBC’s left-wing “The Rachel Maddow Show” in 2018 to offer a spirited defense of the FBI’s FISA practices.

“FISA applications are typically quite long — they’re big enough that you don’t want to drop one on your foot,” Kris told Maddow. “They contain a lot of information and detail, because the statute is quite exacting in what it requires the government to establish to get the warrant granted.”

Commenting on whether unredacting FISA materials posed a challenge to the FBI’s investigation, Kris remarked that “a lot of water [was] already under the bridge thanks to the back-and-forth precipitated” by Nunes — knocking the key House Republican for pushing to release some of the secretive documents.

Kris added: “These applications already substantially undermine the president’s narrative and that of his proxies, and it seems to me very likely that if we get below the tip of the iceberg and into the submerged parts and more is revealed, it’s going to get worse, not better. And it would potentially be dangerous to disclose additional information because some of this relates to ongoing investigations.”

On Twitter, Kris also insisted the “walls” were “closing in” on Trump — a common refrain on liberal cable news networks during the Russia probe.

Nevertheless, FISC presiding Judge James E. Boasberg, in a Friday order, said that Kris would be an “amicus curiae to assist the Court in assessing the government’s response” to its previous order demanding changes at the FBI.

In December, the FISC ordered the FBI to re-verify all previous warrant applications involving the FBI attorney who falsified evidence against Page. Fox News learned, however, that the court did not order the FBI to double-check warrant applications involving other officials who made key omissions and errors in warrant applications as the bureau sought to surveil Page.

“It’s hard to imagine a worse person the FISC could have chosen outside [James] Comey, [Andy] McCabe, or [Adam] Schiff.”

— House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes, R-Calif.

The FISC’s failure to request a comprehensive evaluation of previous submissions frustrated Republicans who have questioned whether enough is being done to deter future misconduct by the FBI. In the past, the FISC has gone so far as to prohibit some FBI agents from appearing before the court after finding impropriety.

In response to Horowitz’s recent report into FBI surveillance abuses, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that the bureau “embraces the need for thoughtful, meaningful remedial action.”

Also last Friday, the FBI filed a new response to the FISC’s request for more information. In the lengthy filing, Wray outlined some of the new steps the bureau planned to take in the future.

“The FBI has the utmost respect for this court, and deeply regrets the errors and omissions identified by the [Justice Department inspector general],” Wray wrote.  “FISA is an indispensable tool in national security investigations, and in recognition of our duty of candor to the court and our responsibilities to the American people, the FBI is committed to working with the court and DOJ to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the FISA process.”

Wray told the FISC that the FBI would begin teaching a “case study” using Horowitz’s findings, and would ensure that the FISC was “apprised of all information in the FBI’s holdings at the time of an application that would be relevant to a determination of probable cause.”

“Critically, the FBI must also balance the implementation of these actions with its ongoing responsibility to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States, during a time of ever-present threats to our national security,” Wray went on. “The leadership of the FBI has devoted—and will continue to devote—a substantial amount of time, thought and effort to striking this balance, while paying scrupulous attention to its duty of candor to the court and maintaining the trust of the American people.”

The FBI’s response to the FISC on Friday was signed by FBI General Counsel Dana Boente — who also signed onto the discredited Page FISA applications.

Horowitz found specific evidence of oversights and errors by several top FBI employees as they sought to obtain a warrant to surveil Page under the FISA statute. For example, an unidentified FBI supervisory special agent (SSA) mentioned in the IG report was responsible for ensuring that the bureau’s “Woods Procedures” were followed in the Page warrant application.

According to the procedures, factual assertions need to be independently verified, and information contradicting those assertions must be presented to the court. But Horowitz found several instances in which the procedures were not followed.

Horowitz’s report leaves little doubt that the unnamed SSA is Joe Pientka — a current bureau employee. Pientka briefly appeared on the FBI’s website as an “Assistant Special Agent in Charge” of the San Francisco field office late last year, according to the Internet archive Wayback Machine — although Pientka no longer appears on any FBI website. Twitter user Techno Fog first flagged the Wayback Machine’s archive of the page.

The FBI did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for clarification on Pientka’s status.

The inspector general also noted than an unnamed “Case Agent 1,” was “primarily responsible” for some of the “most significant” errors and omissions in the FISA warrant applications and renewals submitted to the FISC to extend the monitoring of Page.

Nevertheless, last December, former FISC presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer (who stepped down for health reasons at the end of that month) ordered the FBI only to identify “all other matters currently or previously before this Court that involved the participation of the FBI OGC [Office of General Counsel] attorney” mentioned in Horowitz’s report.

Additionally, Collyer ordered the FBI to “describe any steps taken or to be taken by the Department of Justice or FBI to verify that the United States’ submissions in those matters completely and fully described the material facts and circumstances” and to advise whether the attorney’s conduct “has been referred to the appropriate bar association(s) for investigation or possible disciplinary action.”


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