Nunes Memo Details Weaponization of FISA Court for Political Advantage
On Friday, the much anticipated “Nunes Memo” was finally released to the general public. Disobedient Media previously reported on the push to prevent the memo from being released. While there is much contained in the four pages, the most glaring issue contained in the memo is the FBI’s willful concealment of pertinent details of which they were required by law to turn over to the FISA court when seeking the initial surveillance warrant on Carter Page, a former volunteer foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign.
According to the memo, former director James Comey signed three FISA applications on behalf of the FBI. Additionally, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente, and acting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, each signed one or more applications on behalf of the DOJ.
Under 50 U.S.C. § 1805(d)(1), a FISA order on an American citizen must be renewed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) every 90 days. In order to protect the rights of Americans, each subsequent renewal requires a separate finding of probable cause. This means that in order to be granted a renewal, the government is required to produce all material and relevant facts to the court, including any information which may be potentially favorable to the target of the FISA application.
On four separate occasions the Obama administration essentially claimed before the FISA court that Page had betrayed his country by working for a hostile foreign nation, and therefore it was necessary that the government violate his Fourth Amendment rights. However, in this case, the government purposely withheld relevant information from the government not once, but four separate times.
According to the memo, at no time during the initial application process for the warrant to surveil Page, or in any of the three renewals of that application, did the government disclose to the FISA Court the nature of their relationship with Christopher Steele, his relationship with the Democratic National Committee (DNC), or his relationship with the Clinton campaign. Instead, the memo simply, yet vaguely states that, “Steele was working for a named U.S. person.”
Instead, the government purposefully withheld information from the court that the “dossier” compiled by Steele was done so on behalf of the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign. It was further withheld from the court that the DNC had paid Steele over $160,000 for his work in compiling this “dossier”, and that the money was funneled to Steele through the law firm Perkins Coie, which represents both the Hillary Clinton campaign as well as the DNC in legal matters. According to the National Review, the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid at least $9.1 million to Perkins Coie from mid-2015 to late 2016.
The government further held from the court the fact that the FBI had authorized payments to Steele. According to the New York Post, in October 2016 the FBI contracted to pay Steele $50,000 to “help corroborate the dirt on Trump.”
In March of 2017, CNN also reported that the FBI had entered into an arrangement with Steele, whereby they agreed to cover all of his expenses.
While it is extremely disconcerting that the government willfully concealed the existence of their financial relationship with Steele, a foreign national, what is more troubling is the fact that the government used tax payer dollars to do so. In other words, every single American who did not vote for Hillary Clinton, whether they voted for Trump or a third party candidate or did not vote at all – were forced to finance the Clinton campaign-funded opposition research.
In other words, the public’s tax dollars were spent on creating fake “evidence” to tie Trump with Russia, a false narrative that put the planet at heightened risk for nuclear war, for the sake of the Clinton’s hurt feelings.
Why the media refuses to mention or cover this fact, this author does not know. But this is an extremely important fact that every American, whether left, right, up, down, should remember, as it is the perfect example of the corruption which exists within our tax payer-funded institutions, which we are told to have nothing but the utmost respect for.
According to the memo, in an effort to corroborate Steele’s dossier, the FBI extensively cited a September 23, 2016, Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, titled “U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin”, which focuses on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow. However, when presenting this article to the court the FBI falsely assessed that Steele did not provide this information directly to Isikoff. Meaning that the FBI was aware that the article they presented to the court was not corroborating evidence from a separate source, because the information in the article was provided to Isikoff by Steele himself. In fact, as the memo points out, Steele himself has stated in British court filings that in September 2016 he met with Yahoo News, as well as several other outlets including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the New Yorker.
What’s more, in an article published on January 12, 2017, Isikoff reports on a story by the Wall Street Journal in which Christopher Steele is identified as the author of the infamous dossier, and even notes that Steele was an “FBI asset”. However, what is most striking about this article is the fact that despite receiving the information which served as the basis for his own article in September, Isikoff pretends to have not known that Steele was the source of the dossier.
Even more interesting is the close relationship Isikoff had with the DNC during the 2016 Presidential election. According to an email from the DNC released by Wikileaks, Isikoff attended the “Open World Society’s forum” as the guest of DNC official Ali Chalupa. In the email, Chalupa states that she was invited to the forum to speak specifically about Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager for Donald Trump. Chalupa goes on to state that she has been working with Isikoff for the past few weeks and that at the event, she was able to get him “connected him to the Ukrainians.” She adds:
“I invited Michael Isikoff whom I’ve been working with for the past few weeks and connected him to the Ukrainians. More offline tomorrow since there is a big Trump component you and Lauren need to be aware of that will hit in next few weeks and something I’m working on you should be aware of.”
According to the memo, Steele’s relationship with the FBI as a source continued until late October 2016, when he was terminated for what the FBI defines as the most serious violations, “an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI”. This unauthorized disclosure occurred in an October 30, 2016, Mother Jones article by David Corn, the reporter who broke the infamous Mitt Romney “47 Percent” story.
Again, the FBI did not notify the court that Steele was leaking information to media outlets, or that he was terminated by the FBI after doing so for the second time.
Before and after his termination, Steele maintained contact with then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, whose wife, Nellie Ohr, was employed by Fusion GPS. Ohr would later tell the FBI in an interview in September 2016, that Steele had stated that he, “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.”
Lastly, the memo also reveals that the Steele dossier was so crucial to the investigation, that Deputy Director McCabe testified in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information. This admission by the former Deputy Director is damning, as it proves that, if it were not for the Clinton campaign and DNC funded dossier created by a foreign national, there would have been no surveillance of Page, and ultimately there would have never been a special counsel appointed.
At the end of the day, every American, regardless of their position on the political spectrum, should be worried about the fact that the FBI and DOJ sought and were granted a warrant to spy on an opposing political campaign based on a document that the FBI itself had neither verified or corroborated. If the FISA court does in fact employ strict “safeguards” and procedures in order to ensure that the rights of American citizens are not being systematically violated, how is it that the FBI and DOJ were able to obtain a surveillance warrant based on unverified allegations? And why did Congress overwhelmingly vote to reauthorize Section 702?