The FISA court’s top judge wrote in a secret ruling on January 7 that at least two of the four spy warrants against Carter Page were invalid and not lawfully authorized.
Authority granted to the federal government to secretly wiretap and spy on former Trump affiliate Carter Page was “not valid,” the nation’s top spy court noted in a secret ruling penned earlier this month. The order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), which was created and authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), was initially signed and issued on January 7, 2020, but was not declassified and released until Thursday afternoon.
Judge James Boasberg, the current federal judge presiding over the FISA court, wrote in his order that at least two of the four FISA applications against Carter Page were unlawfully authorized. Additionally, according his order, the Department of Justice similarly concluded following the release of a sprawling investigate report on the matter by the agency’s inspector general that the government did not have probable cause that Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power. The FISA law states that American citizens cannot be secretly spied on by the U.S. government absent probable cause, based on valid evidence, that an American is unlawfully acting as a foreign agent.
“DOJ assesses that with respect to the applications in Docket Numbers 17-375 and 17-679, ‘if not earlier, there was insufficient predication to establish probable cause to believe that [Carter] Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power,’” Boasberg wrote, referring to the final two of the four FISA applications to spy on Page. “The Court understands the government to have concluded, in view of the material misstatements and omissions, that the Court’s authorizations in Docket Numbers 17-375 and 17-679 were not valid.”
Boasberg’s ruling noted that DOJ had not yet taken a position on the lawfulness of the first two applications against Page, but was currently collecting information to assess whether those two spy applications were also invalid. read more