Weekly Update: FISA Court Scandal Update
No wonder the Deep Staters plotting the overthrow of Donald Trump were able to get as far as they did. The secret court meant to protect all of us from the government’s massive spy machinery was asleep at the switch. At least, I hope that’s all it was.
In response to our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, the Department of Justice (DOJ) admitted in a court filing last night that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court held no hearings on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) spy warrant applications targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign part-time advisor who was the subject of four controversial FISA warrants.
[National Security Division] FOIA consulted [Office of Intelligence] … to identify and locate records responsive to [Judicial Watch’s] FOIA request…. [Office of Intelligence] determined … that there were no records, electronic or paper, responsive to [Judicial Watch’s] FOIA request with regard to Carter Page. [Office of Intelligence] further confirmed that the [Foreign Surveillance Court] considered the Page warrant applications based upon written submissions and did not hold any hearings.
The warrants were first issued in 2016 and subsequently renewed three times.
In February, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a memo criticizing the FISA targeting of Carter Page. The memo details how the “minimally corroborated” Clinton-DNC dossier was an essential part of the FBI and DOJ’s applications for surveillance warrants to spy on Page.
We recently filed a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking the transcripts of all hearings related to the surveillance of Carter Page.
It is disturbing that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance courts rubber-stamped the Carter Page spy warrants and held not one hearing on these extraordinary requests to spy on the Trump team.
Perhaps the court can now hold hearings on how justice was corrupted by material omissions that Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the DNC, a conflicted Bruce Ohr, a compromised Christopher Steele, and anti-Trumper Peter Strzok were all behind the ‘intelligence’ used to persuade the courts to approve the FISA warrants that targeted the Trump team.
This is one for the annals of fake news. A federal agency is blundering around with erroneous but inflammatory data on a major topic of national contention, it gets called out by a government-supported news outlet … and it does nothing about it. Our Corruption Chronicles blog peeks into the window of this fun house.
In an amusing story, a government-funded media outlet notorious for its liberal slant found that the overwhelming majority of school shootings listed in a federal report never occurred. The embarrassing blunder involves Department of Education (DOE) figures stating that schools around the U.S. reported an alarming 235 shootings in one year.
National Public Radio (NPR) launched an investigation and actually contacted every one of the schools included in the DOE data, which was gathered by its Office for Civil Rights. The figures focus on the 2015-2016 school year and reveal that “nearly 240 schools…reported at least 1 incident involving a school-related shooting.”
Three months later, after every school was contacted by NPR, the stats changed drastically. More than two-thirds of the reported gun incidents never happened, according to the news outlet. “We were able to confirm just 11 reported incidents, either directly with schools or through media reports,” the article states. “In 161 cases, schools or districts attested that no incident took place or couldn’t confirm one. In at least four cases, we found, something did happen, but it didn’t meet the government’s parameters for a shooting. About a quarter of schools didn’t respond to our inquiries.” A program director at the nonprofit research organization that assisted NPR in analyzing the bogus government data is quoted in the piece saying: “When we’re talking about such an important and rare event, [this] amount of data error could be very meaningful.”
Even though the DOE is the agency responsible for disseminating the erroneous information, in typical government fashion, it shrugged it off as no big deal. When asked for comment by reporters, the agency said it relies on school districts to provide accurate information. Evidently, the federal agency doesn’t bother checking data before publishing it as fact. In the meantime, the DOE has no plans to correct the errors. The article points out that the confusion comes at a time when the need for clear data on school violence has never been more pressing. Dozens of school safety measures have been enacted nationwide on the heels of high-profile school shootings in Texas and Florida and public districts are allocating large sums to boost campus security. “Our reporting highlights just how difficult it can be to track school-related shootings and how researchers, educators and policymakers are hindered by a lack of data on gun violence,” the NPR piece reads.
This is hardly an isolated incident of government inefficiency, but the seriousness of the matter should inspire the feds to provide the public—and policy makers—with accurate information. Instead, the DOE, a typical bloated agency with a $59 billion budget, passed the buck to the so-called civil rights data collection division which apparently plays fast and loose with facts. In the report with the skewed stats, schools were asked: “Has there been at least one incident at your school that involved a shooting (regardless of whether anyone was hurt)?” The DOE should have known better than to blindly publish the information. All it had to do was check out the easily available figures provided by a reputable group that maintains a reliable gun safety database. For the same school year that the DOE listed 235 shootings, the group had only 29. “There is little overlap between this list and the government’s, with only seven schools appearing on both,” the NPR story says.
There is a dangerous lawlessness among leftist politicians and activists. And, in the case of Portland, it is putting at risk the safety of law enforcement. Here’s the latest outrage from Portland, courtesy of Judicial Watch’s Corruption Chronicles blog:
During aggressive protests by criminal Occupy Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rioters at federal facilities in Oregon, Portland’s Mayor implemented dangerously restrictive police procedures that ordered officers to ignore calls for help from federal law enforcement personnel under attack.
Instead of proactive support, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) were limited to a passive “liaison” role with the Federal Protection Service (FSP). According to records obtained by Judicial Watch, PPB officers were only allowed to respond to life-threatening attacks and 911 calls made by ICE agents and FPS officers. Portland’s Mayor Ted Wheeler also serves as the city’s Police Bureau Commissioner. Wheeler has been a vocal proponent in his commitment to protect criminal illegal aliens, restrict gun rights and support burdensome climate policies. Under his direction, tensions among protestors and federal law enforcement officers started in mid-June with a camp at ICE facilities in the downtown area and ended in late July with piles of trash in the street. ICE Council leadership reported hard-left Antifa members were an active contingent among protestors who besieged the federal immigration processing offices, damaged property and injured officers.
Documents obtained by Judicial Watch indicate an alarming hands-off approach instituted by PPB management. On June 19, FPS Commander Lopez asked PPB Deputy Chief Robert Day for assistance. Day’s refusal in the highly redacted document was clear: “At this time I am denying your request for additional resources from PPB.” Officers were directed “not to proactively patrol the area of the demonstration” and to “only respond to calls at the demonstration site that have an immediate life safety concern.” On June 21, the mayor’s direction was “for PPB to not get involved unless lives are in danger.” ICE agents on the ground reported these were the daily orders given at briefings to rank-and-file PPB personnel.
Mayor Wheeler’s selective enforcement order conflicts with PPB rules. The Biased-Based Policing Policy states, “The Bureau is dedicated to offering courteous and professional service delivery and providing equal protection, a fundamental right under the Constitution, to all members of the community.” Additionally, all employees are expected to “reduce crime and the fear of crime by working with all citizens.” Police officers and managers are mandated to “respond to requests for police assistance.” Law enforcement sources familiar with the situation communicated, “When local police disengage from proactive responsibilities and assistance, one can expect masked, helmeted and shielded protestors to assault and endanger federal officers.” On July 31 the National ICE Council sent a cease and desist letter to the Mayor.
In contrast to the stated commitment of city government to provide equal and effective protection, the owner of the ICE processing building, Stuart Lindquist, was singled out among taxpayers. He received a limited and restrictive law enforcement response during the Occupy ICE demonstrations. Portland Police documents confirmed, “If Stuart Linquist [sic] or any other Linquist [sic] calls for police assistance that doesn’t fit the ‘life safety concern’ criteria, please refer him or her to the Mayor.” Mr. Lindquist told Judicial Watch, “It’s quite an issue and of course we were without service for a month and a half. It’s something. This is a liberal town but even so.” Judicial Watch filed two other public records requests with the PBB to determine if Wheeler’s denial of assistance violates federal contractual or Memorandum of Understanding obligations.
Until next week …