BY: FRANCEY HAKES, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR, The Hill
When I worked at the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review at the Department of Justice (DOJ), the procedure for obtaining a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant was an object lesson in checks and balances. Given the near-daily revelations about the underpinnings of the various investigations into President Trump and his inner circle, those checks and balances weren’t just ignored — they were thrown permanently out the window in the name of securing his election defeat or later removal from office.
We are privileged to live in a country where the rule of law and our tradition of professional law enforcement protect us from the kind of corruption rife in many other countries. But the conduct of the FBI and the Department of Justice in opening multiple investigations into President Trump and his inner circle calls that professionalism into question in a way that should concern us all, regardless of our political leanings.
In 1975, the Church Committee was formed by Congress to investigate whether the intelligence community was using its various surveillance technologies to target political enemies. Three major agencies — National Security Agency (NSA), CIA, and FBI — were all found to be illegally targeting Americans such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali without court supervision, permission or warrants as required by the Constitution. In response to this shocking finding, Congress in 1978 passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which was designed to impose strict controls on the use of clandestine surveillance tools against Americans to ensure they were never again used for political purposes.
There were strict guidelines and procedures in place for obtaining a FISA surveillance warrant when I was on special detail to the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review inside the Department of Justice in 2004 and 2005. Before the FBI brought an application to me as the department attorney who would swear to it and present it to the FISA Court, the application went through a series of reviews inside the FBI. These reviews are designed to ensure that a neutral person agrees there is sufficient evidence that the target of the warrant is an agent of a foreign power engaging in espionage or terrorism.
Generally, these warrants are never intended for use in criminal courts. They largely are used to gather intelligence that will aid in protecting national security. They also mostly are used to target foreign nationals in this country. If the target is a U.S. person, the department attorney must establish in the application for a warrant that the person is acting as the agent of a foreign power and, additionally, that he or she likely engaged in conduct that violates U.S. criminal statutes. As with criminal warrants, the factual assertions made to support the allegation that the target is an agent of a foreign power engaged in possible criminal activity must be reliable. That is, a bare assertion is not enough; it must be supported by reliable information and evidence.
Once the review is complete at the FBI, the agent presents the application to a department attorney for review and submission to the FISA Court. At this stage, the attorney must verify every paragraph of the application. This is done in consultation with the agent. I was trained to ask the agent how he or she knew each “fact” asserted in every paragraph. Importantly, I would be swearing to the application’s accuracy before the court, so I had a critical incentive to ensure the facts were accurately portrayed. My license, my reputation were on the line.
But, I had to rely upon the representation of the agent, and the FBI, CIA or NSA, to give me accurate information. I certainly couldn’t go out and verify the assertions myself. Once I was confident that each paragraph was accurate, and that the requirements of the statute were met, that application then went through several more people above me, supervisors who also were professional DOJ career attorneys, before it reached the final level of approval by the deputy attorney general. Only then, after purportedly neutral review inside the FBI and DOJ, would a FISA application be submitted to the court for approval.
We now know that the unverified allegations in the so-called Steele dossier were asserted as reliable facts in the original FISA warrant and three renewals against former Trump campaign volunteer adviser Carter Page. Former FBI director James Comey admitted as much in testimony long after the FISA warrant was issued. How could this happen? That is what the new attorney general must find out.
How could all the controls in place to protect Americans from clandestine surveillance fail so miserably? It is important to note that many more Americans beyond Carter Page likely were surveilled by the FBI. Every person with whom Page communicated had their emails or text messages captured and reviewed, potentially going back years.
The Obama administration was unveiling the names of Americans captured in FISA surveillance at record rates. This spider web of captures and potential invasion of privacy is exactly why it is so serious to utilize clandestine surveillance tools against Americans. And, it is why there are so many steps required to surveil Americans using those tools. Regular criminal warrants against criminal suspects have disclosure requirements so targets eventually know they have been surveilled. In contrast, clandestine surveillance may go undisclosed forever. So, many Americans may never know — and likely don’t to this day in the case of those with whom Page communicated — that they have been surveilled by government agents.
Why do we care that Page and many other Americans had their emails or other messages intercepted and reviewed based upon unverified allegations? If you think President Trump and his associates are dangerous, evil, stupid, or unqualified, then you might not care. The ends justify the means to you. But what if this supposedly dangerous, evil, stupid, unqualified president uses those same failures to his advantage and against his own enemies?
The new attorney general must investigate how this happened by tracing each person in the chain of the Page FISA warrants. Each must be asked about the factual assertions made under oath. Someone is accountable. Someone inside the Justice Department must answer for the abuse of our surveillance assets and sworn misrepresentations to the FISA Court. If they don’t, it will happen again. And again.
Francey Hakes was a prosecutor for 16 years and now consults on national security and the protection of children. As a former assistant U.S. attorney, she appeared before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, presenting applications for counterterrorism and counterespionage warrants on a special detail to the Department of Justice Office of Intelligence Policy and Review. She served as the first National Coordinator for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction from January 2010 to March 2012. Follow her on Twitter @FranceyHakes.
A staged or simulated crime scene is the physical manifestation of deception. It involves the deliberate alteration of the physical evidence by the offender to simulate events or offenses that did not occur for the purpose of misleading authorities or redirecting the investigation (Geberth, 2006; Turvey, 2008)
Now back to James.
Appendix 11 Motive.
From Dictionary.com and Wikipedia:
In the United States criminal law, a frame-up (frameup) or setup is the act of framing someone, that is, providing false evidence or false testimony in order to falsely prove someone guilty of a crime. While incriminating those who are innocent might be done out of sheer malice, framing is primarily used as a distraction.
Post, Sean; Schumm, Jeanne Shay (1997). Executive Learning: Successful Strategies for College Reading and Studying. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Distraction is the process of diverting the attention of an individual or group from a desired area of focus and thereby blocking or diminishing the reception of desired information. Distraction is caused by: the lack of ability to pay attention; lack of interest in the object of attention; or the great intensity, novelty or attractiveness of something other than the object of attention.
What is the DOJ, FBI, CIA and NSA hiding?
Where is the FBI and Director Wray? Where is the Secret Service? Where is DOJ?
SUA has proprietary intel concerning the greatest crimes ever committed against the American people.
From: Rick Collins, Attorney at Law
highlights an important case and its legal implications – and gives important lessons in detecting and dealing with a “rogue informant” – and how to establish a client’s innocence, clear a name – and preserve justice.
COLLINS GANN McCLOSKEY & BARRY PLLC
138 Mineola Boulevard
Mineola, New York 11501
Law-abiding citizens can be “set up” and framed for criminal acts. In criminal law today, the topic of framing is a very real issue particularly when it has to do with the role that “informants”, and particularly a deceitful informant, can play in setting up a totally innocent person to best serve their own interests.
Fox News host Jeanine Pirro made unsubstantiated claims Sunday that President Trump has been “framed” amid special counsel Robert Mueller’s federal Russia investigation.
by Naomi Lim | September 02, 2018 04:07 PM
“I’ve been in law enforcement for over three decades. This guy was framed,” Pirro told John Catsimatidis on AM 970 New York’s ” The Cats Roundtable.” “The crisscrossing and the incestuous nature of our government in an attempt to prevent the outsider president that we wanted from getting elected is frightening.”
Pirro, a Trump ally and former Westchester County Court judge in New York, made the charge as she alleged connections between Mueller, the Justice Department, the FBI, and Democrats like Hillary Clinton as the special counsel investigates whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
She also evoked the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act warrant application filed by the FBI seeking permission to gather information on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, who had questionable ties to Russia. The application was based on, in part, the controversial, salacious dossier compiled by ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.
“Nobody is looking at the corruption,” Pirro continued. “It’s all one-sided, the corruption on the part of the Democrats.”
Justice Department official Bruce Ohr reportedly testified to lawmakers that he told various colleagues at DOJ and the FBI about his relationship with Steele, as well as the fact his wife Nellie Ohr worked as a contractor for Fusion GPS, the firm that commissioned the anti-Trump dossier.
The Associated Press
After a trying week of tumult and setbacks, Trump delivered a stemwinder Saturday that extended beyond two hours and hardly left him winded
In a slashing, rambling speech packed with braggadocio and grievance, U.S. President Donald Trump denounced Democrats as the party of “the socialist nightmare,” relitigated his crowd sizes back to the inauguration and took on “sick,” lunatic” and “dirty” foes at every turn, earning him the unvarnished adoration of cheering conservatives.
After a trying week of tumult and setbacks, Trump delivered a stemwinder Saturday that extended beyond two hours and hardly left him winded.
Trump let loose against House Democrats, who are broadening their investigations of him, predicted he would win re-election by a greater margin than his 2016 victory, taunted his potential White House challengers and sounded themes that are staples of his rallies. He complained often of getting “no credit” for his achievements as he proudly drifted “off script” at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
His remarks capped a week that saw his nuclear summit with North Korea’s leader collapse without an agreement, his former lawyer deliver damaging congressional testimony about his character and business practices and Congress take action to nullify his emergency declaration to secure money for the border wall that lawmakers have denied him.
On the stage, he was a prideful and at times profane figure as he complained that past political appointments had allowed a situation where political foes were trying to take him out with “bullshit.”
Trump reached back to old criticisms of his ex-attorney general, mocking Jeff Sessions’ Southern accent and calling him “weak and ineffective.”
It took him more than an hour to get to the message that Republicans and members of his administration have been emphasizing in recent weeks as they try to brand Democratic policy ideas as socialism.
“America will never be a socialist country,” he said. “Socialism is not about the environment, it’s not about justice, it’s not about virtue.” He said it’s about “power for the ruling class.”
For every prepared line like that, there were multiple improvisations from a president on policy and personality.
“That’s how I got elected — by being off script,” Trump said early in his speech as the crowd roared its approval.
He took particular delight in going after the Democrats’ Green New Deal, brought forward by some liberal Democrats in Congress and backed to varying degrees by several of the party’s 2020 presidential candidates.
“I think the New Green Deal or whatever the hell they call it — the Green New Deal — I encourage it,” Trump said mockingly as he wound up for a round of exaggeration. “I think it’s really something that they should promote. They should work hard on it. … No planes, no energy. When the wind stops blowing that’s the end of your electric. Let’s hurry up. Darling, is the wind blowing today? I’d like to watch television, darling.”
He returned to the topic again and again, and jokingly kicked himself for doing so, saying it would give the Democrats time to back away from it. He also turned the topic into an attack of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and one of the top Democratic contenders for president.
“I’m going to regret this. This speech should have been delivered one year from now, not now, damn it.” Trump said. “I should have saved the Pocahontas thing for another year because that destroyed her political career and now I won’t get a chance to run against her. I don’t want to knock out all of the good stuff and wind up with somebody who’s actually got talent.”
Trump also went after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, essentially accusing him of being a drag on the economy.
“We have a gentleman that likes raising interest rates in the Fed. We have a gentleman that loves quantitative tightening in the Fed. We have a gentleman that likes a very strong dollar in the Fed,” Trump said. ”…With all of that, we’re doing great. Can you imagine if we left interest rates where they were?”
Trump defended his declaration of a national emergency to obtain wall funding beyond the $1.4 billion that Congress approved for border security. He said the order doesn’t set a bad precedent for future administrations because Democrats are “going to do that anyway, folks. The best way to stop that is to make sure I win the election.”
Trump continued to bask in his 2016 victory and the crowds that attend his events. He talked of how few gave him a chance to win.
“I think we’re going to do even better in 2020,” Trump said.
When he made his prediction of a second term, the crowd responded with chants of “USA, USA, USA.”
He also took a lengthy detour back to the inauguration, claiming that an enormous if not unprecedented crowd showed up, contrary to the thorough video and photo coverage that showed otherwise.
Trump revisited his meeting with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, calling their summit “very productive.” He also took another crack at explaining his remarks that he didn’t believe Kim knew about or would have allowed the death of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who was held prisoner in North Korea, then sent home in a vegetative state. His remarks were widely criticized and led the Warmbier family to say they held Kim and his regime responsible for their son’s death.
“I’m in such a horrible position because in one way I have to negotiate. In the other way, I love Mr. and Mrs. Warmbier and I love Otto. And it’s a very, very delicate balance,” Trump said.
With special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation seemingly approaching its end, Trump spoke of the “collusion delusion” and lashed out at newly empowered House Democrats who are opening new inquires involving him.
“This phony thing,” Trump said of the Russia probe, “looks like it’s dying so they don’t have anything with Russia there, no collusion. So now they go in and morph into ‘Let’s inspect every deal he’s ever done. We’re going to go into his finances. We’re going to check his deals. We’re going to check’ — these people are sick.”
House Democrats are undertaking several broad new investigations that reach far beyond Mueller’s focus on Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Russians and the Trump campaign. So far, Mueller has not brought any public charges alleging a criminal conspiracy between the campaign and Russia; the investigation continues.
Their efforts increased this past week after Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, appeared before two House committees and a Senate committee. In his public testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Cohen called the president a “con man” and a “cheat” and gave Democrats several new leads for inquiry.
Rep. Brooks Blasts Socialist & Media Use of “Big Lie Propaganda Theory” in Russia Collusion Scam
WASHINGTON — Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama read quotes from Adolf Hitler aloud on the House floor Monday in an attempt to denigrate his Democratic colleagues and members of the media.
Brooks spent the portion of his nearly five-minute speech quoting from Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and applying its lessons to how he believes certain groups have behaved toward President Donald Trump as it related to the now-closed special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
“For more than two years, socialist Democrats and their fake news media allies — CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, Washington Post, and countless others — have perpetrated the biggest political lie, con, scam and fraud in American history,” Brooks said.
Brooks, who previously ran for Senate in Alabama before losing the primary race, added that allegations of Trump colluding with the Russians “are nothing but a Big Lie!” pointing to the summary of the Mueller report authored by Attorney General William Barr.
Barr’s summary said that Mueller had concluded that there was no coordination between the president’s 2016 campaign and the Russian government.
Brooks added that those opposed to Trump “will double down and propagate even more big lies because doubling down is essential to ‘Big Lie’ theory.”
“In that vein, I quote from another Socialist who mastered ‘Big Lie’ propaganda to maximum, and deadly, effect,” Brooks added before directly quoting Hitler.
“In the big lie, there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods,” he said, reading Hitler’s words.
“It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously,” Brooks continued, still quoting Hitler. “Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation.”
Brooks, who later uploaded the remarks to his office’s official YouTube channel, then warned against Hitler’s words and said, “America can either learn from history or be doomed to repeat it.”
“When it comes to ‘Big Lie’ political propaganda in America, as the Mueller report confirms, America’s socialists and their fake news media allies are experts and have no peers,” he said. “Regardless, America must reject their ‘Big Lies’ or succumb to the danger that lurks, and horrific damage that results.”