In case you didn’t hear, the FISA court banned officials involved in Carter Page wiretaps from seeking surveillance warrants, the NY Times reports. That’s a temporary measure. It doesn’t do a thing to prevent illegal surveillance in the future.
It does shed light on the egregious nature of Sen. Lindsey Graham”s (R-SC) insistence that the President sign a clean FISA bill with no improvements. Senate Majority Leader McConnell wants the same with changes made later. That’s the later that never comes. The President, for his part, announced he will not sign a clean bill and demands the Republicans and Democrats come up with a bipartisan bill and he will sign it.
Judge James Boasberg issued a 19-page opinion on Wednesday, ordering that “no DOJ or FBI personnel under disciplinary or criminal review relating to their work on FISA applications shall participate in drafting, verifying, reviewing, or submitting such applications to the Court.”
“Any finding of misconduct relating to the handling of FISA applications shall be promptly reported to the Court,” the U.S. District Court judge added.
In December, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a damning report that enumerated 17 significant “errors and omissions” in the spying of Carter Page.
Boasberg said, “The frequency and seriousness” of the errors found by the DOJ independent watchdog “called into question the reliability of the information proffered in other FBI applications.” The judge said the government has been “acknowledging its deficiencies” and “undertaking multiple remedial measures” in response to Horowitz’s report and to court orders but also noted that “the errors the OIG pointed out cannot be solved through procedures alone” and that everyone at the DOJ and FBI “must fully understand and embrace the heightened duties of probity and transparency” in the secret court proceedings.
Boasberg touched on three main areas of the FBI’s internal FISA reforms: improvements to procedures for preparing FISA applications, improvements to training and other efforts to institutionalize the importance of accuracy and completeness, and oversight more broadly.
“While more rigorous procedures for preparing FISA applications should prove helpful, the Court is also mindful that changes in culture will require more than checklists,” Boasberg said.
Is anyone working on the culture?
The justice handed down is to let people like Rod Rosenstein retire with his title and his fat pension.
FBI Director Wray has said they are all under review but nothing has happened. Attorney General Barr has let the former FBI director Comey and the former deputy Andrew McCabe skate so far.
There are other recommendations in the report and it sounds like Wray has done nothing.