Washington, DC: In a stunning ruling by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), chief judge James E. Boasberg has banned FBI and DOJ officials and attorneys involved in the Carter Page surveillance matter from appearing before or submitting information to the FISC. In 2019, SLF filed a Motion for Publication and Supplemental Motion with the FISC seeking exactly this kind of accountability rulings made by the court on behalf of investigative journalist John Solomon.
As FOX News reports, “The decision by James E. Boasberg, chief judge of the secretive court created under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), comes as Congress faces a March 15 deadline on whether to renew three FBI national-security surveillance and investigative tools that were enacted after 9/11.
“FBI personnel under disciplinary review in relation to their work on FISA applications accordingly should not participate in drafting, verifying, reviewing, or submitting such applications to the Court while the review is pending,” Boasberg wrote. “The same prohibition applies to any DOJ attorney under disciplinary review, as well as any DOJ or FBI personnel who are the subject of a criminal referral related to their work on FISA applications.”
Boasberg also largely approved revisions that the FBI said it would make to its process for seeking wiretaps – in reaction to a damning report from DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz that detailed errors and omissions in applications to conduct surveillance on Page in 2016 and 2017.
Among the problems, Boasberg noted, were that the FBI had “omitted or mischaracterized” various “information bearing on [former British spy Christopher] Steele’s personal credibility and professional judgment.”
It was Steele’s unsubstantiated and largely debunked dossier that played a key role in the FBI’s warrants to surveil Page, but the FBI did not advise the FISC of “inconsistencies” in claims made by Steele’s sub-source and assertions made by Steele himself. The bureau also did not clearly disclose that the dossier was paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee (DNC).”
SLF has also filed lawsuits against the FBI and DOJ for refusing to produce records related to the attorney misconduct in response to a FOIA request.