We May Be in for a Bumpy Ride
Very soon, under mounting political pressure from all sides, special counsel Robert Mueller is going to complete his investigation of alleged collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump. Mueller and his team are reportedly working on the final report now.
There is a large surprise lurking just under the surface that will come out on the heels of the final investigation report—nothing to do with Russia or the president, but everything to do with the investigation itself.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant request that was used to initiate spying on the Trump campaign, and subsequently to justify the special counsel investigation, is going to be fully declassified. At that point, the real importance of the investigation will begin.
Having read the redacted version of the FISA warrant request, it’s clear that the only significant evidence used was from the so-called Steele dossier, which was an opposition research political document that was paid for by the Clinton campaign via Fusion GPS and not based on facts.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, or FISA, is a U.S. federal law that establishes procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of “foreign intelligence information” between “foreign powers” and “agents of foreign powers” suspected of espionage or terrorism. The act also established the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to approve any requests for surveillance warrants by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
FISA was introduced on May 18, 1977, by Sen. Ted Kennedy and was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on Oct. 25, 1978. A FISA warrant request by the U.S. attorney general and director of national intelligence must be certified in writing, under oath, and supported by appropriate affidavits.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was the reviewer and one of the individuals who certified, with his signature and under oath, the FISA warrant that allowed the controversial wiretaps of the Trump campaign.
The FISA request for wiretaps Rosenstein signed used the anti-Trump political opposition research from the Steele dossier to link Trump and his campaign to the Russians.
As has been often reported, one of the claims presented in the dossier was that then-candidate Trump had traveled to Russia and hired prostitutes to urinate on a bed that the Obamas had once used. According to the Steele dossier, Russian intelligence filmed the incident and used the recording to blackmail Trump into doing Vladimir Putin’s bidding.
From the perspective of one of the rare individuals who is actually experienced in intelligence recruitment operations, the whole idea is both stupid and funny in equal portions. If the whole story is ever uncovered and the identity of the person who came up with the bed-wetting idea is discovered, they will surely go to their grave the object of derision.
Regardless, even to this day, nothing of significance in the Steele dossier has been verified, and Rosenstein was reportedly fully aware the FBI didn’t vet the information, as required by law. If true, it means Rosenstein lied under oath when he certified the information in the FISA warrant was true and may have broken other related laws and regulations.
Up until now, Rosenstein has been the person who decides whether to pursue criminal charges against the author of the dossier, former British spy Christopher Steele. Rosenstein was sent a criminal referral against Steele on Jan. 4 by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). To this date, Rosenstein has not taken action.
The problem is, of course, that the Steele dossier was used to get the wiretaps that Rosenstein subsequently got approved. Steele, who also was an FBI source over a period of years, very possibly could provide testimony that would be very problematic for Rosenstein himself and other senior officials.
With the new acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker taking the reins at the Department of Justice, he will be the person who decides whether to act on the criminal referral against Steele. We may be in for a bumpy ride.
Brad Johnson is a retired CIA senior operations officer and a former chief of station. He is president of Americans for Intelligence Reform.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.