By Jon Dougherty @TheNatSent
(TNS) By now, it should be obvious that the FBI doesn’t break laws during investigations. They only make ‘errors,’ you peon citizen, you.
Bad judgment. Miscalculations. Mistakes. Things done…’improperly.’
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Now, of course, if you or I did the same things, FBI agents would be all over us like stink on an outhouse. Then and only then are such activities ‘against the law.’
So it was that time when the FBI was “improperly spying” on 2016 Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, after “improperly” acquiring and then utilizing a very bogus Russia dossier that was “improperly” paid for by the rival campaign of Hillary Clinton.
We’ve known for some time now that the spying was “improper,” but as investigative reporter John Solomon of Just The News noted Thursday, the improper spying also included the improper collection of photos from Page’s cellphone:
In addition to filing inaccurate Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants, hiding evidence of innocence from the courts and falsifying a government document, the bureau collected inappropriate cell phone photos during two secret premises searches in summer 2017 while spying on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The revelations surfaced belatedly this week when the government declassified once-redacted footnotes from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigative report on the bungled Russia case.
Footnote 379 revealed that in 2019, nearly two years after the inappropriate pictures were gathered, the Justice Department’s National Security Division (NSD) self-reported two violations notifying the FISA court that FBI personnel conducting two premises searches violated rules designed to protect Americans from unnecessary privacy invasions.
The rules are known as Standard Minimization Procedures (SMPs) and require FBI agents not to collect, gather or store privacy information about an American target that isn’t germane to the investigation, according to current and former FBI officials familiar with the procedures.
The footnote lays out in detail the concerns disclosed to the court, saying the ->improper<- actions occurred after the fourth and final FISA warrant against Page was issued in summer 2019 and FBI employees conducted two secret premises searches.
“On May 10, 2019, NSD sent a second letter to the FISC concerning the Carter Page FISA applications, advising the court of two indicants in which the FBI failed to comply with the SMPs applicable to physical searches conducted pursuant to the final FISA orders issued by the court on June 29, 2017,” the footnote said.
“According to the letter, the FBI took and retained on an FBI‐issued cell phone photographs of certain property taken in connection with a FISA‐authorized physical search on July 13, 2017, which NSD assessed did not comport with the SMPs,” the footnote from Horowitz added.
“In addition in a separate incident on July 29, 2017, the FBI took photographs in connection with another FISA‐authorized physical search and transferred the photographs to an electronic folder on the FBI’s classified secret network.”
So far, there have only been firings of some FBI officials we know to have been involved in ‘improperly’ running Spygate. But there have been no indictments for these blatantly illegal activities. No one’s been found guilty and sent to prison, which is the only way to really ensure that this kind of “improper” conduct will not happen to a future presidential candidate, let alone an ordinary citizen.
Because if there aren’t any prosecutions after years of investigations of actions that very obviously constitute violations of the law, such ‘improper’ conduct will become the norm at the FBI, rather than the exception.
Oh, wait. It already is.
The Justice Department’s inspector general revealed Tuesday that in each of more than two dozen cases his office reviewed, the FBI routinely failed to document evidence for claims made in secret surveillance court requests.
The significant findings indicate problems extend beyond those identified last year by the office of IG Michael Horowitz, which concluded that FBI agents had made significant errors and omissions in applications to eavesdrop on a former Trump campaign adviser during the early months of the Russia investigation.
‘Improper’ — the FBI’s new descriptor to excuse its routine flouting of the law.
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