There has been an interesting pendulum swing on the issue of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. After the investigation by Robert Mueller revealed there was no collusion, the spotlight shifted. The issue has now become: How did Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) courts justify issuance of warrants against the campaign's principals? The man assigned to this investigation, U.S. Attorney John Durham, has a history of fairness in conducting investigations for both parties. As his effort continues, two bitter ironies are worth noting.
FISA courts were established by 1978 legislation. Its purpose was to prevent abuse of the procedure for conducting physical and electronic surveillance to collect "foreign intelligence information" between "foreign powers" and "agents of foreign powers," suspected of espionage or terrorism. The legislation sought to centralize the procedure where a foreign or domestic agent might possibly be working against U.S. national security interests, and authorization was needed to expand efforts to conduct additional surveillance to prove it. Thus, a secret one-stop FISA court, authorized to issue such warrants, was sought.
The FISA legislation has been amended over the years, drastically increasing the use of its courts after 9/11 amidst great controversy. It was after 9/11 that the scope of surveillance was greatly expanded to monitor phone calls and email exchanges involving American citizens and people overseas suspected of spying or of terrorism. Ultimately, the Deep State would look to these same FISA courts to obtain warrants for surveillance against Donald Trump's campaign.
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The first irony centers on the member of Congress who sponsored the original FISA legislation. It appears he also was possibly the first congressman to engage in conduct of the nature for which FISA courts were created to authorize surveillance. When he did so in 1983, however, it went undetected. In fact, it was not until nine years later, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, that we would learn he, as a member of the U.S. Senate, illegally tried to influence the 1984 reelection of President Ronald Reagan. But, as a Democratic Party icon, no effort was made to prosecute him or even press him to explain his actions.
The senator involved was Ted Kennedy. Having already made an unsuccessful bid to become his party's 1980 presidential nominee, losing out to Jimmy Carter, decision time was fast approaching about whether he should make a second attempt in 1984. But what Kennedy did at this point by seeking to negatively impact Reagan's reelection bid can only be described as treasonous.
In a May 14, 1983, letter to then-Soviet General Secretary Yuri Andropov, Kennedy proposed a way to "counter the militaristic policies" of Reagan and undermine his 1984 reelection prospects. The senator suggested he would work with the U.S. media to help organize favorable American coverage for Andropov and other Soviet officials, to include bringing media personalities to Russia to conduct favorable interviews. Kennedy also proposed that lower level Soviet officials, particularly from the military, travel to the U.S. for a "series of television interviews" to "appeal directly to the American people about the peaceful intentions of the USSR." To help introduce his proposal, Kennedy sent his trusted confidante, former Sen. John Tunney, D-Calif., to meet with Soviet officials that same month.
Unlike the Trump/Russia collusion claim, determined to be a complete hoax, Kennedy's effort was not. Supporting documentation exists of his effort and, after the KGB files were opened and the "cat was out of the bag," Tunney also verified Kennedy so acted. Yet this act of treason passed with no concern expressed by Democratic Party leaders.
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While we need to await the outcome of an expanding Durham investigation, another ugly irony seems to be coming to light. It is apparent a law, passed to ensure a non-abusive procedure was put into place by which U.S. national security interests could be safeguarded through legal surveillance, was itself abused by the Deep State to effect an illegal act: a silent coup against a president rightly elected to office by American voters.
The 1859 Charles Dickens' novel "A Tale of Two Cities" begins with the famous line:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair …"
Dickens' contrast between the good times and the bad is most descriptive. One hundred and 60 years later, as we confront the evidence of an unraveling Deep State coup, we find ourselves experiencing the worst of times, an age of foolishness and incredulity, a season of darkness and despair. Only by holding accountable those responsible for these illegal actions can we reclaim a "spring of hope."