The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and Those Trump Tweets.
I previously posted the Trump Tweets accusing President Obama of tapping Trump’s phones during the Presidential campaign. That article also discussed the Breitbart and Heatstreet articles that President Trump apparently based his claims on. Representatives for President Obama have flatly denied any of it happened, and for reasons explained in my prior article, I do not believe it happened either.
Breitbart and Heatstreet claim the surveillance was pursuant to a Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act (FISA) request seeking to determine whether Trump had inappropriate ties to Russians. This article will discuss the implications in the unlikely event any such surveillance was pursuant to a FISA request. In other words, this article is based on the dubious premise that Trump’s tweets were right.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is at 50 U.S.C. 1801 et. seq. Federal District Court judges are appointed to serve on the FISA Court which reviews applications from intelligence agencies for surveillance. The act confines such surveillance to foreign powers and agents of foreign powers. Section 1804 of the FISA Act requires that each application state the target of the surveillance is a foreign power or agent of a foreign power. Further, the United States Attorney General must approve the request after determining it satisfies that criteria. At the time, the Attorney General was Loretta Lynch.
This application is then reviewed by one of the Federal judges of the FISA Court. Section 1805 of FISA requires that this judge determine there is probable cause that the targeted person is a foreign power or agent of a foreign power. Thus, if such a FISA surveillance order was granted, a Federal judge determined there was probable cause that Donald Trump is an agent of a foreign power.
The implications of that are startling to the say the least. Pursuant to Section 1801(b)(2) “agent of a foreign power” when applied to a United States citizen is defined as:
any person who —
(A) knowingly engages in clandestine intelligence gathering activities for or on behalf of a foreign power, which activities involve or may involve a violation of the criminal statutes of the United States;
(B) pursuant to the direction of an intelligence service or network of a foreign power, knowingly engages in any other clandestine intelligence activities for or on behalf of such foreign power, which activities involve or are about to involve a violation of the criminal statutes of the United States;
(C) knowingly engages in sabotage or international terrorism, or activities that are in preparation therefor, for or on behalf of a foreign power;
(D) knowingly enters the United States under a false or fraudulent identity for or on behalf of a foreign power or, while in the United States, knowingly assumes a false or fraudulent identity for or on behalf of a foreign power; or
(E) knowingly aids or abets any person in the conduct of activities described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) or knowingly conspires with any person to engage in activities described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C).
If a FISA order was approved it means both the United States Attorney General and a Federal judge determined there was probable cause that Donald Trump was knowingly assisting a foreign power against this country.
Shouldn’t the American people know the basis for a probable cause determination that their President is an agent of a foreign power? Shouldn’t the American people have had that information before the election?