ICYMI: There Should be Bipartisan Outrage over the Treatment of Carter Page

Carter Page served as foreign policy advisor to the 2016 Trump campaign and also as a CIA asset.  He is exhibit one in the abuse (or worse) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by the FBI in their efforts to investigate the Trump campaign. Don’t take our word for it- Judge Rosemary Collyer, the Presiding Judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, is furious. 

In a 12/17 letter to the FBI, Judge Collyer first describes how the FISA program is supposed to work:

"Congress intended the pre-surveillance judicial warrant procedure" under FISA, "and particularly the judge's probable cause findings, to provide an external check on executive branch decisions to conduct surveillance" in order ''to protect the fourth amendment rights of U.S. persons."3 The FISC's assessment of probable cause can serve those purposes effectively only if the applicant agency fully and accurately provides information in its possession that is material to whether probable cause exists. Accordingly, "the government ... has a heightened duty of candor to the [FISC] in ex-parte proceedings,"

Then, based on the Department of Justice’s Inspector General Report, Judge Collyer blasts how the FBI handled Carter Page:

The FBI's handling of the Carter Page applications, as portrayed in the OIG report, was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above. 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 Wall Street Journal points out there should be bipartisan outrage over what happened to Carter Page. 

A set of questions flows from this unprecedented rebuke.

Where’s the liberal outrage? After the Horowitz report’s release, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein—presumably the party’s distinguished elders—delivered unequivocal defenses of the FBI’s behavior, with Mrs. Feinstein citing “unsupported attacks on the agency.” I’d say the “justified predicate” for the first FISA application is looking rather paltry, at best.

If Joe Biden or any of the others wins the presidency, would they appoint an attorney general who will pursue the reforms demanded by the FISA court? Or would a Democratic president let business as usual become the “norm”? This is a question voters will have to decide in November. But I’d like to hear a moderator in Thursday’s Democratic debate ask it.

Carter Page was a staffer for the 2016 campaign; he should be an issue in the 2020 campaign.