Over two years ago we included the following segment in our subscription based podcast service and as yet there has been no indication of any action being taken. The wheels of justice may turn slowly, but this has been stretched well beyond the point of credulity. This is what we said, back in June 2017.
A newly declassified Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) document indicates that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) could have illegally shared “raw intelligence” on Americans with third parties, effectively violating the Fourth Amendment.
On 9th March 2016, an FISC document stated that DOJ oversight personnel conducted a review of the FBI which suggested that the FBI disclosed raw FISA [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] information to a group largely staffed by private contractors and that some of these contractors had access to raw FISA information on FBI storage systems. From the FBI’s perspective the access was granted to these contractors for analytical purposes. However it is understood that the information these contractors had access to was well above their respective pay grades. The FISC document concluded that these practices violated governance procedures.
It is bad enough that this particular incident was brought to light, however it transpires that it is very much the mere tip of the iceberg. A further review of the FBI by the FISC revealed that they granted virtually unrestricted querying of Section 702 data in a way that the NSA and CIA have prevented through their own internal regulations and procedures.
In perhaps the most damning aspect the FBI failed to distinguish between US and non-US persons in terms of those who have access to such information. To put this in further context, back in April the then FBI director, James Comey stated to Congress that the FBI was stringent in how it handled such information ensuring that it was “lawfully collected” and “carefully overseen and checked.”
The obvious question is will these violations be subject to further scrutiny and what are the implications for Comey in this regard. We have to place these revelations in the context of the testimony previously provided to the House of Representatives and to the Senate by leaders of America’s national security services, including James Comey.
We further need to put this in the context of the Trump’s presidency which has exposed and arguably created an extreme politicisation of the US intelligence community. This is further exacerbated by US intelligence agencies leaking sensitive information concerning the US president into the mainstream media. It seems reasonably clear who is likely behind both the politicisation and the leaking of such data.
What is also clear, rather concerning and can be verified via publicly available data is that there has been a huge growth in terms of the Federal government and in that regard the private contractors we have previously referenced in this segment of the podcast. The access to this information has also enriched politicians and others in the process which is hardly a surprise, but noteworthy all the same.
What is also known is that the Obama administration resisted attempts to access such data to address these concerns, even though they had a legal obligation to do so. There is no doubt that there is damning evidence within that data which would implicate those already under ongoing investigations. However there is now a strong believe that the day of reckoning is coming where we will see people indicted for the crimes the previous administration sought to bury under a mire of bureaucracy and subterfuge.
Fast forward to today and how much longer, if at all, will the American people have to wait before justice will be served in this regard and many similar examples? Furthermore let no one be fooled into believing that this is a Democrat issue, it is very much bipartisan and has infested the entire “Beltway” for many decades. When are we going to see significant moves to address these obvious concerns?