Moments ago FISA Court Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer responded to the requests from the House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte. (full pdf’s below – #1 and #2)
There are nuances in each response specific to the statutory roles of each Chairman and the specific requests made by each committee. Reflected in Judge Collyer’s responses is a need for careful consideration of each unique request.
♦House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes holds primary oversight authority over the aggregate Intelligence Community (IC). Chairman Nunes has requested the transcripts from the FISA Court during the DOJ/FBI Title-1 surveillance application over their target, U.S. person Carter Page.
♦House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte holds primary oversight authority over the Department of Justice -including the FISA court- and has requested the actual FISA Title-1 application as submitted by the DOJ/FBI for surveillance of Carter Page.
Judge Collyer responds to both legislative branch chairman from the position of “never previously receiving such requests.” There are separation of power challenges, but also an understanding inherent in the response to Chairman Goodlatte of the unique statutory oversight his committee holds.
The Legislative Branch created the FISA Court system; however, the secret court resides in the Judicial Branch. Judge Collyer is taking both requests under consideration and asks both Chairman to consider seeking relief from the Executive Branch with requests directly to the DOJ for the majority of the information they seek.
However, there is an underlying issue not being discussed within the communication – yet visible in the corner amid their engagement. That issue is the possibility the DOJ may have modified the FISA documents within its possession in an effort to hide from congress the trail of a conspiracy against a presidential candidate and an incoming administration.
In essence, the FISA documents held by the court *may not be* identical to the FISA documents released by the Department of Justice. Chairman Goodlatte is seeking to rule out that possibility.
Here are the responses.
To Chairman Nunes (seeking transcript):
To Chairman Goodlatte (seeking documents):
As a reminder (for context and discussion). The only people who have actually seen the FISA Title-1 Application are:
♦The officials in the DOJ and/or FBI who assembled it. Those people are unknown but presumed to be from the DOJ – National Security Division. (Possibly: John P Carlin, Mary McCord or similar).
♦The presiding FISC judge who approved the application. (Possibly: Judge Rudolph Contreras – though no concrete evidence therein).
♦The three congressional representatives who have viewed the application as presented by the DOJ for the construction of the various memos:
•HPSCI member Trey Gowdy;
•HPSCI ranking member Adam Schiff;
•and House Judiciary Chairman ¹Bob Goodlatte.
¹Chairman Goodlatte has viewed the FISA application as presented by the DOJ and is requesting to see the same application as presented by the FISA court.