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Law & the Courts

FISA Court Confirms Two Carter Page Surveillance Applications ‘Not Valid’

Carter Page in Moscow, Russia, December 12, 2016 (Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters)

A FISA Court order declassified Thursday confirmed that the government had found two of the four FISA applications authorized for the FBI to surveil 2016 Trump-campaign adviser Carter Page to be “not valid,” and will further investigate the validity of the other two.

The order revealed that the government found two of the surveillance application renewals to be “not valid” based on “the material misstatements and omission” used by the FBI, which was found by the Justice Department to have “insufficient predication to establish probable cause to believe that Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power.”

Based on the ordering of the applications, it appears the review found the second and third renewal applications used against Page to be invalid, while the original application and the first renewal remain under investigation. The third renewal was personally signed by James Comey, while the fourth was signed by Andrew McCabe.

The court also said it was still waiting on the Bureau after it “agreed ‘to sequester all collection the FBI acquired pursuant to the Court’s authorizations’” against Page, but so far has not provided an update.

DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz revealed “at least 17 significant errors or omissions” committed by the FBI in his report on the Bureau’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign, but did not come up with any “documentary evidence” that the probe was predicated by political bias.

Among the more egregious violations detailed in the report was the revelation that a top FBI national security lawyer doctored an email for Page’s fourth application to conceal that Page served as a source for the CIA.

In its order, the FISC also outlines five further steps for the government to complete by January 28, 2020, including a review of its “minimization procedures” with “a detailed description of the steps taken or to be taken to restrict access to such information in unminimized form.”

The FISC slammed the FBI in a rare public statement last month following Horowitz’s report.

“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 court wrote.

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