WaPo #FISAGate: Obama Administration DID Spy on Trump Campaign

Trump surveillance Carter Page
Carter Page with MSNBC's Chris Hayes (YouTube)

Trump surveillance Carter Page spy campaign
Carter Page with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes (YouTube)

The Washington Post has a blockbuster report:  Obama’s FBI did in fact obtain a secret FISA warrant to surveil Trump adviser Carter Page during the presidential campaign.

The Washington Post report supports the astounding analysis that Mark Levin and Breitbart’s Joel Pollack advanced at the beginning of March, supported by reports in Heatstreet, The New York Times and others, that Obama’s DOJ and FBI spied on a presidential candidate during the 2016 election:

The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said.

The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials.

This supports President Trump’s tweets accusing Obama of spying on him:

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court is a secret federal court concerned with national security.  A FISA wiretap request requires NO SHOWING OF A CRIME, just a showing that one of the targets of the surveillance is an agent of a foreign power.

As Andrew McCarthy explains in National Review, the FISA court has a lower threshold of proof to obtain a warrant which allows for

THE POTENTIAL THAT A ROGUE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR, LACKING SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO OBTAIN A TRADITIONAL WIRETAP, WOULD MANUFACTURE A NATIONAL-SECURITY ANGLE IN ORDER TO GET A WIRETAP UNDER THE 1978 FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT (FISA).

Andrew McCarthy explains in National Review the FISA court threshold requirement is very different from a traditional warrant:

A TRADITIONAL WIRETAP REQUIRES EVIDENCE AMOUNTING TO PROBABLE CAUSE OF COMMISSION OF A CRIME. A FISA WIRETAP REQUIRES NO SHOWING OF A CRIME, JUST EVIDENCE AMOUNTING TO PROBABLE CAUSE THAT THE TARGET OF THE WIRETAP IS AN AGENT OF A FOREIGN POWER. (emphasis added)

According to WaPo, any application to obtain a warrant would have to have been approved at the highest levels of the Obama Administration.

THE JUDGES WHO RULE ON FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT (FISA) REQUESTS OVERSEE THE NATION’S MOST SENSITIVE NATIONAL SECURITY CASES, AND THEIR WARRANTS ARE SOME OF THE MOST CLOSELY GUARDED SECRETS IN THE WORLD OF U.S. LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE GATHERING. ANY FISA APPLICATION HAS TO BE APPROVED AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT AND THE FBI.

APPLICATIONS FOR FISA WARRANTS, [FBI DIRECTOR] COMEY SAID, ARE OFTEN THICKER THAN HIS WRISTS, AND THAT THICKNESS REPRESENTS ALL THE WORK JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ATTORNEYS AND FBI AGENTS HAVE TO DO TO CONVINCE A JUDGE THAT SUCH SURVEILLANCE IS APPROPRIATE IN AN INVESTIGATION.

THE GOVERNMENT’S APPLICATION FOR THE SURVEILLANCE ORDER TARGETING PAGE INCLUDED A LENGTHY DECLARATION THAT LAID OUT INVESTIGATORS’ BASIS FOR BELIEVING THAT PAGE WAS AN AGENT OF THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT AND KNOWINGLY ENGAGED IN CLANDESTINE INTELLIGENCE ACTIVITIES ON BEHALF OF MOSCOW, OFFICIALS SAID.

So, the highest levels of Obama’s Administration, the FBI and DOJ, submitted a narrowly tailored, secret FISA warrant to spy on Page.  To do so, they had to allege just enough evidence to paint Page — an American citizen in Trump’s campaign — as an agent of a foreign power.  Once they obtained the warrant, the Obama Administration could secretly and “legally” spy on Page and presumably any communications and connections he had to the Trump campaign.

This smacks of a fishing expedition by the Obama Administration using the power of the federal government and taxpayer money to spy on an opponent then candidate Donald Trump for political purposes.

This is FISAGate, WaterGate gone nuclear.  Time will tell if it is also Obama’s Waterloo.

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