FISA Court: Whatever Obama Wanted Obama Got
Liberal judges handed their messiah blatant executive overreach.
I know it’s a stretch for Leftists to understand how Obama could possibly have spied on Trump. The man who declared on a late night comedy show that Trump would never be president? The man who tormented journalists like no other president in history?
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
FISA became a rubber stamp for the Obama administration. Between 2010 and 2015, FISA did not deny even one of the 9,400 applications submitted by the federal government. These applications sought “to conduct electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes,” according to reports filed by the U.S. Justice Department.
Without any real checks and balances, Obama could say, “I saw Trump drinking a Black Russian one night, ergo let’s put him under investigation.”
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The Justice Department’s annual report provides the status of their 2015 FISA requests. The court denied a grand total of zero government FISA applications from 2010 through 2015. However, the court did modify some applications that it approved. And the government withdrew some of those it submitted.
9,391 of the 9,400 applications submitted were approved. The court modified 217 of those it approved. And the government withdrew 9.
This is why finding the truth takes so long.
In July 2013, then-presiding judge Reggie Walton wrote a long-winded letter to then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, (D-VT). The judge explained the court’s phenomenally high approval of Obama’s FISA applications. He claimed it’s because they followed the rules.
Apparently, Walton knew some lawmakers would question the rate at which they approved these requests. Further Walton likely knew the Americans might object to such massive electronic surveillance. In a likely CYA move, Walton wrote a letter about it.
The court granted Obama’s blatant executive overreach without reservation.
A 2014 Congressional Research Service report described the court’s “non-adversarial” vetting process:
“In addition to the judges, the FISC has a staff of five full-time legal advisors with expertise in foreign intelligence issues,” said CRS. “These legal advisers are said to conduct a thorough ‘vetting’ of all applications before the government presents them formally to the FISC judges.
Is that supposed to make me feel better? Who hires this “staff”? In this case all the judges were appointed by Bill Clinton.
“In light of the sensitive nature of its docket,” said CRS, “the FISA courts operate largely in secret and in a non-adversarial fashion.”
Sounds fairly adversarial against conservatives to me. Conveniently, the 2016 report isn’t out yet. We don’t expect different results, and we certainly know that one of those warrants was for Donald Trump.
This annual report—and those going back to 1996—are available at DOJ’s online Freedom of Information Act library.