The chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) blasted the FBI on Tuesday, slamming the bureau’s handling of surveillance applications against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
In a scathing four-page public order, presiding judge Rosemary M. Collyer said the reliability of information coming from the bureau is now suspect.
Wait, you didn’t hear about Judge Collyer’s order?
That’s because ABC’s “World News Tonight,” NBC’s “Nightly News” and CBS’ “Evening News” all skipped the story, according to the Media Research Center (MRC).
“A complete and total blackout. That was how ABC, CBS, and NBC reacted on their Tuesday evening newscasts,” MRC news analyst Nicholas Fondacaro wrote. “Instead of reporting on this damning order by the top FISC judge, the broadcast networks were salivating over impeachment.”
Instead of reporting on this damning order by the top FISC judge, the broadcast networks were salivating over impeachment. NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt eagerly proclaimed President Trump would occupy a “rare and dishonored place in American history.” And ABC and NBC gushed about former Trump campaign staffer Rick Gates getting sentenced to three years of probation.
Meanwhile, Fox News Channel’s Special Report kicked off its broadcast with the breaking news. “Breaking tonight, the FISA court is fighting back not against the critical inspector general’s report, but against the FBI,” announced anchor Bret Baier, skipping past the opening teases.
“This is a stunning rebuke of the FBI by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. In its order of this afternoon, the court chastised the FBI for the FISA abuses brought to light in the recent inspector general’s report,” reported correspondent Doug McKelway.
CNN completely skipped the story during the primetime hours of 8-11 p.m. ET, too, according to a search of transcripts, Fox News reported.
Here’s what Judge Collyer said: “The frequency with which representations made by FBI personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable. The FISC expects the government to provide complete and accurate information in every filing with the Court.
“Without it, the FISC cannot properly ensure that the government conducts electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes only when there is a sufficient factual basis,” the judge wrote.
The judge’s order followed the release of a 434-page report from the Justice Department’s internal watchdog, who found FBI requests to spy on a Trump campaign adviser under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act were rife with errors and omissions — and maybe some flat-out deceptions.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said in the report that a bogus dossier put together by counterintelligence specialist Christopher Steele, a former head of the Russia desk for British intelligence (MI6), played “a central and essential role in the decision by FBI [Office of the General Counsel] to support the request for FISA surveillance targeting Page.
Judge Collyer blasted the FBI, saying “the FISC expects the government to provide complete and accurate information in every filing with the Court. Without it, the FISC cannot properly ensure that the government conducts electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes only when there is a sufficient factual basis.”
She also ordered the government to submit by Jan. 10, 2020 “a sworn written submission of what it has done, and plans to do, to ensure that the statement of facts in each FBI application accurately and completely reflects information possessed by the FBI that is material to any issue presented by the application.”