Part I – The FISA Court Grants The Authority, Not The Ability…


There is a meeting scheduled tomorrow between key congressional oversight committee heads (Nunes, Gowdy etc.) and leadership of the FBI (Director Wray), DOJ (Edward O’Callaghan) and ODNI (Dan Coats).  The meeting was set up by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, and the purpose of the meeting is to come to some agreement on access to documents being withheld by the DOJ, DOJ-NSD and FBI.

However, amid the ongoing debate over spies and informants used by the CIA and FBI to conduct political surveillance, there’s an aspect of the ongoing investigation that seems to be entirely overlooked.

On January 7th, 2016 the Inspector General of the National Security Agency, George Ellard, submitted a mandatory compliance report outlining the status of the NSA’s ability to monitor the access of users within the NSA database.

I’m including the full report below in pdf format because it is important to understand what the NSA inspector general said.  I strongly urge you to read it (despite the redactions) because the larger issues remain visible within the report:

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/379947972/content?start_page=1&view_mode=&access_key=key-TIME5AxQlMcwsmxN5D4F

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For those who don’t read it, a quick summary would be: We don’t actually have control over how this massive amount of meta-data is being used, searched, queried, and how the information within it is being filtered, minimized or extracted.

The NSA is essentially admitting to being overwhelmed with the scale of the data being collected, and they are similarly overwhelmed by the number of people who have access to this data. Of course the NSA Inspector General uses use much more techno-terminology like:

“Agency controls for monitoring query compliance have not been completely developed.”

…And: “The Agency has no process to reliably identify queries performed using selectors associated with 704 and 705(b) targets.”

…And more alarmingly: “We identified another [redacted] queries that were performed outside the targeting authorization periods in E.O. 12333 data, which is prohibited by the E.O. 12333 minimization procedures. We also identified queries performed using USP selectors in FAA §702 upstream data, which is prohibited by the FAA §702 minimization procedures.”

In short: There’s a ton of activity that we know is taking place that is not supposed to be happening; and we really don’t know the full scale of the abuse we know to be happening -but can’t get our arms around- because, well, there’s just so damn much of it.

This is a critical part of the Obama-term spying and surveillance issue that is being missed by current media reporting.

Given the highly political nature of the intelligence activity we are seeing lately, who do you think would be exploiting those system-wide database vulnerabilities, and why?

Yep, likely those carrying the most entrenched political agenda and ideology. Vested interests both inside the government (career deep state agency staff writ large), and outside government (all those pesky contractors we keep hearing about).

The FBI and NSA database is essentially a vault of unlimited information; the mother-lode of metadata and electronic record-keeping of everything.  Essentially, the holy grail for political operatives who would like to exploit and leverage the information.

Do you want to conduct opposition research?  Those databases would contain such exhaustive amounts of information you could assign a dozen users per target and still not scratch the surface of what is available.  Bank records, purchases, social media accounts, phone records, GPS locations, travel patterns, vehicle locations, home/work ip addresses, emails, audio-activation, pictures, CCTV captures, the works.

Through electronic surveillance you could spy and surveil anyone; in almost real time if focused, motivated and intended. What stands between this massive surveillance system being used/abused for those political purposes or not?

Nothing.

Really.

Unless you want to define self-restraint and the morality of the person who has access as an impediment.  Extractions or leaks are only unlawful if you are on the wrong ideological side of those who control the political reigns of power…. Just ask James Comey.  If you didn’t intend to break the law, you didn’t.

Do you think such a network could/would be exploited or weaponized for political purposes?   Well, did you think the IRS would be weaponized in 2010?  Think about it…

Now, consider yourself a person motivated by nefarious political intent.  Or perhaps like Lisa Page and Peter Strzok you are motivated by a higher calling to protect our country from outcomes of an election you don’t agree with.  Perhaps you are authorized by willful blindness of those who are suppose to be the gatekeepers. Now, what does going to the FISA Court gain you, that you don’t already have?

Going to the FISA Court gains you “authority“; it doesn’t gain you access.  You already have the access.

There’s a saying: “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness, than permission.”

As you think of that phrase, consider the April 2017 declassified FISA Court ruling we often reference, along with the admissions made to the FISA court by the DOJ, FBI and NSA in October of 2016.  Approximately 85% of all FISA-702(17) “about” queries were unlawful violations.

What was the DOJ, FBI and NSA asking the FISA Court for: ‘forgiveness’, or ‘permission‘?

I don’t want to overwhelm any single discussion article with too much cited information.  It can become overwhelming to try and keep track of it all.  However, I would strongly suggest that based on the intelligence communities own admissions, throughout 2015 and the beginning of 2016 – all of the non-preferred presidential candidates were under electronic surveillance by people in and outside of government who had access to this holy grail of opposition research.

It wasn’t until NSA Director Mike Rogers shut down contractor access to the system in April 2016 that political exploitation of the FBI and NSA databases was impeded.  Not stopped entirely, simply impeded.

(FISA 99-page Opinion – Rosemary Collyer Presiding Judge)

Remember this name: John P Carlin.  It’s going to become much more important as the days and weeks progress.  He plays a key role in part of the activity in 2016 and connects the story of Carter Page to the FBI and CIA surveillance operation. {Preview Here}

On September 26th, 2016, the head of the Department of Justice National Security Division, John P Carlin (pictured above) filed the required certification letter (full pdf below) with the FISA court for the year 2016.

Mr. Carlin DID NOT include the Inspector General report from January 2016; and Carlin did not notify the FISA court of the compliance audit requested by NSA Director Mike Rogers as an outcome of that IG report (March 2016).

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/379950457/content?start_page=1&view_mode=&access_key=key-PEblHg2u9BNmsecVyO7W

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The next day, September 27th, 2016, John Carlin announced his resignation.

From an excellent MarketWatch Timeline:

♦On October 4, 2016, a standard follow-up hearing on the 2016 Section 702 Certification was held (Page 19). Carlin was present at the hearing. Again, Carlin made no disclosure of FISA Abuse. This would be noted by the Court later (see below).

♦On October 15, 2016, Carlin formally left the NSD.

♦On October 20 2016, Rogers was briefed by the NSA compliance officer on findings from the 702 NSA compliance audit. The audit had uncovered numerous “About” Query violations (Senate testimony).

♦On October 21, 2016, Rogers shut down all “About Query” activity. He reported his findings to the DOJ (Senate testimony & inferences from Court Ruling).

♦On October 21 2016, the DOJ & FBI sought and received a Title I FISA probable cause order authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISA Court. At this point, the FISA Court was still unaware of the Section 702 violations.

♦On October 24, 2016, Rogers verbally informed the FISA Court of his findings (Page 4 of Court Ruling).

♦On October 26, 2016, Rogers appeared formally before the FISA Court and presented the written findings of his audit (Page 4, 14 & 19 of Court Ruling & Senate testimony).

The outcome of the October 26th formal filing by NSA Director Mike Rogers was the 99-page ruling from presiding FISA Judge Rosemary Collyer:

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/349542716/content?start_page=1&view_mode=&access_key=key-72P5FzpI44KMOuOPZrt1

FISA Court Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer; Primary Intelligence Oversight Chairman Devin Nunes; Primary Judiciary Oversight Chairman Bob Goodlatte.

I would suggest to everyone following this deeply complex spying and surveillance story, that it was AFTER Mike Rogers initially began blocking use of the databases for unauthorized searches (March 2016), that those political operatives (outside contractors) shifted their spying and surveillance activity.

Following this timeline it was after March 2016 when the use of human assets, CIA and FBI agents, became more of a necessary function within the process.

After March and April of 2016 is where George Papadopoulos, Carter Page, and Stefan Halper become needed by the intelligence apparatus. It was in April 2016 when Fusion-GPS, Nellie Ohr and Chris Steele became more important.

I’ll get to the details of how each of them engage within the larger surveillance operation with greater specificity and citation in Part II.  And I’m pretty sure I can prove this:

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One comment on “Part I – The FISA Court Grants The Authority, Not The Ability…

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