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Jeremy Moser | firstname.lastname@example.org
The recent trending hashtag “#releasethememo,” has culminated in the official declassification of the now infamous congressional memo detailing the FISA issued surveillance of the former Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.
FISA stands for, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and it is clear that its use in this situation is a violation of the principles of privacy and due process our executive branch is meant to embody. What’s more interesting, however, are the events, reports, and people involved in its initial approval and subsequent renewals throughout the 2016 Presidential election, and these all hinge the corruption of individual officials within the DOJ and FBI.
To ensure the validity and necessity of prolonged surveillance, it is required that FISA requests stand before the Foreign International Surveillance Court and be approved by higher-ups in both the FBI and DOJ every ninety days. Each of these times requires a separate instance of probable cause. The classified nature of these FISC applications means that accountability is limited to the character of the officials involved, and it is clear that, in this instance, character was lacking.
In 2016, the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton Presidential campaign contracted Christopher Steele to acquire information on then-candidate Trump that could be used against him. What resulted was a completely unverified “dossier” that accused Trump of not only racism and urolagnia but of collusion with the Russian government. This document is a bought and paid for wish list for the Clinton campaign, and it was used as the sole basis of this electronic surveillance ordered on Trump. The nature of its origin was absent from the FISC applications.
Additionally, the only corroborating evidence for Steele’s dossier included in the applications was a Yahoo News article that contained much of the same information. However, Steele himself was responsible for leaking that info to Yahoo News in the first place. The dossier was, as a result, left uncorroborated in the applications, but this was not brought up to the court.
In September 2016, Steele revealed his personal political opinions to Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr. He was paraphrased as saying that he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.”
This was recorded into official FBI files, but it was not mentioned in any of the FISC applications. It was also later revealed that one of the FBI executives that approved one of the FISC applications, Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe, had met with two very anti-Trump FBI officials to discuss an “insurance” policy, should Trump be elected.
So, what we see here is a concerted effort by officials within President Obama’s executive branch to push forward an unnecessary and illegal wire-tapping of a United States citizen based on political motivations. That this is possible at all is nothing new, but this instance reinforces the out of control nature of government expansion.
All it takes is a few questionable actions of people without a sufficient amount of accountability to impact our entire country.