Democrats and special counsel Robert Mueller still have not explained how the unverified, anti-Trump “dossier” funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign ended up as “evidence” to obtain a warrant from the secret Washington FISA court to spy on the Trump campaign.
Republicans in the House were working on prying that information from the D.C. establishment when the Democrats won the majority in the House.
But a new report by investigative reporter John Solomon in the Hill finds Mueller was “once was hauled before the nation’s secret intelligence court to address a large number of instances in which the FBI cheated on sensitive surveillance warrants, according to evidence gathered by congressional investigators.”
He pointed out the events have “escaped public notice because of the secrecy embedded in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.”
It’s come out now because of the testimony of a former FBI lawyer.
“The episode is taking on new significance as Mueller moves into the final stages of his Russia probe while evidence mounts that the FBI work preceding his appointment as special prosecutor may have involved improprieties in the securing of a FISA warrant to spy on Donald Trump’s campaign in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign,” Solomon explained.
He reported FBI agents applying for FISA warrants in counterterrorism and counterintelligence cases simply left out material facts.
“Such omissions are a serious matter at the FISC, because it is the one court in America where the accused gets no representation or chance to defend himself. And that means the FBI is obligated to disclose evidence of both guilt and innocence about the target of a FISA warrant,” Solomon explained.
The lawyer, Trisha Anderson, testified before House investigators that early in Mueller’s time as FBI director, “the FISC summoned the new director to appear before the judges to address concerns about extensive cheating on FISA warrants.”
“It preceded my time with the FBI but as I understood it, there was a pattern of some incidents of omission that were of concern to the FISA court that resulted in former Director Mueller actually appearing before the FISA court,” Anderson told Congress.
Mueller’s office declined to comment on Solomon’s report.
But Solomon said other sources confirmed the court was concerned during the 2002 and 2003 time frame, “shortly after America was stunned by the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks – when the FISC learned the FBI had omitted material facts from FISA warrant applications in more than 75 terrorism cases that dated back to the late 1990s.”
The report said the judges wanted to be assured the “new sheriff in town” was going to halt such “abuses.”
Solomon reported: “Mueller does not appear ever to have publicly addressed his appearance before the FISC. But once, in follow-up written answers to the Senate Judiciary Committee, he acknowledged there was a period in which the FBI was caught filing inaccurate FISA warrants.”
Mueller told senators in 2003, “Prior to implementation of the so-called Woods Procedures there were instances where inaccurate information was provided by FBI field offices and headquarters personnel to the court.”
The report noted that in once case, the FBI sought a FISA warrant but failed to tell the judges their target was their own informant.
The report said: “We now know the FBI, in 2016, omitted significant information from the application for the FISA warrant that allowed it to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in hopes of finding evidence of collusion between Russia and the GOP presidential nominee’s campaign.”
The information omitted was the fact that the “primary evidence,” the dossier, wasn’t evidence at all, but was “political opposition research produced on behalf of and paid for by the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, in hopes of harming Trump’s election chances.”