Trump surveillance based on Clinton dossier

LETTER

A MASSIVE scandal is brewing in Washington that will make Watergate look like an episode of the Simpsons.

The House Intelligence Committee, which oversees the United States intelligence community, has been examining a shocking memo detailing systemic and routine abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

The Act 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.

FISA also established the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to oversee requests for warrants by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

It is now clear that the scurrilous and completely false “Steele Dossier” was paid for by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

The American research firm, Fusion GPS was hired to do “opposition research” on Donald Trump. They hired Christopher Steele, a retired British MI6 officer with expertise in Russian matters. The dossier found its way to the FBI where the director, James Comey, was unimpressed by its unfounded and completely unproven allegations.

Nevertheless, it does appear that this dossier was used to sway the FISA court into granting a warrant for the surveillance of Trump and his campaign.

Thus a completely baseless dossier, paid for by Clinton’s presidential campaign, was used by the FBI to obtain a FISA warrant permitting them to surveil the opposition’s campaign.

Ironically, both the Senate and the House of Representatives have just voted in favour of a reauthorisation of FISA.

If the intelligence agencies can’t be trusted to go about their business of protecting the American people in a non-partisan way, were the Senate and the House of Representatives wise to have done this?

Patrick Cooper

A MASSIVE scandal is brewing in Washington that will make Watergate look like an episode of the Simpsons.

The House Intelligence Committee, which oversees the United States intelligence community, has been examining a shocking memo detailing systemic and routine abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

The Act 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.

FISA also established the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to oversee requests for warrants by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

It is now clear that the scurrilous and completely false “Steele Dossier” was paid for by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.

The American research firm, Fusion GPS was hired to do “opposition research” on Donald Trump. They hired Christopher Steele, a retired British MI6 officer with expertise in Russian matters. The dossier found its way to the FBI where the director, James Comey, was unimpressed by its unfounded and completely unproven allegations.

Nevertheless, it does appear that this dossier was used to sway the FISA court into granting a warrant for the surveillance of Trump and his campaign.

Thus a completely baseless dossier, paid for by Clinton’s presidential campaign, was used by the FBI to obtain a FISA warrant permitting them to surveil the opposition’s campaign.

Ironically, both the Senate and the House of Representatives have just voted in favour of a reauthorisation of FISA.

If the intelligence agencies can’t be trusted to go about their business of protecting the American people in a non-partisan way, were the Senate and the House of Representatives wise to have done this?

Patrick Cooper

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Brett SF, Gisborne - 3 months ago
A few points.

The opposition research was originally paid for by the conservative Washington Free Beacon - which makes sense; you want to find any dirt on your guy before anyone else does. When Trump won the GOP primary Mark Elias of Perkins Cole representing the DNC took over funding and Fusion GPS hired Christopher Steele to follow leads in Russia. Regardless, it really doesn't matter who paid for the dossier if the intelligence can be verified.

It's unclear as to what initially started the FBI Trump Russia investigation. in July 2016, about the same time as Steele was reporting his findings to the FBI, an Australian diplomat reported that a Trump campaign foreign policy adviser let slip in May that the Russians had thousands of hacked emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee.

The FISA surveillance warrant granted in October 2016 was for Carter Page, not "Trump and his campaign", who at that point had left the campaign a month earlier. The Steele dossier alleges that Page facilitated the transfer of 19 percent of Russian oil monopoly Rosneft in exchange for lifting sanctions related to the annexation of Crimea. Incidentally, Putin and head of Rosneft Igor Sechin announced the sale of a 19.5 percent share to foreign investors in December 2016.

The current House Intelligence Committee memo alleges the Steele dossier to have been key to the decision to request a FISA warrant. This is supposedly based on the testimony of former FBI Deputy Andrew McCabe. This point is questionable and is disputed by other house intelligence committee members who say the memo mischaracterises McCabe's testimony.

It also says that former FBI Director James Comey described the Steele memo as "salacious and unverified". This was clarified by his public June 2017 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee that he was referring to allegations of a 2013 incident in which Donald Trump engaged one or more Russian prostitutes, thereby providing the Kremlin with compromising material to hold over him. When asked about the actual criminal allegations contained in the memo, Comey replied that it was not a question he could answer in an open setting.

If the whole point of this memo was to highlight abuse of FISA powers by the FBI, I have to ask: "Is that it?"

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