In Camera Review [Updated]

This last week HPSCI Chairman Devin Nunes (R, CA) issued an ultimatum to the FBI and DoJ in a letter to Director Wray (FBI) and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein:

House Intel Chairman Threatens Legal Action Against FBI, DOJ Over Russia Records

By Chuck Ross, the Daily Caller

Nunes and other Republicans have pressed the FBI and DOJ for answers about the decision to open the investigation into the Trump campaign as well as investigators’ reliance on the unverified Steele dossier to obtain FISA warrants to spy on Page. The counterintelligence probe was reportedly opened on July 31, 2016, based on information about then-Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos.

The EC would seemingly contain information pertaining to Papadopoulos and his contacts with Russia-linked operatives.

The FBI and DOJ have provided some of the documents sought by the Intelligence Committee, though Nunes says they are heavily redacted.

“On March 14, 2018, Committee investigators were given access to a still heavily redacted version of the EC, which — as I informed Director Wray the next day via phone — was unsatisfactory,” Nunes writes.

 

There are two likely explanations for the delay.  If the cover up is continuing, then this is just kicking the can down the road.  If there is a criminal investigation based on these documents, the prosecution wants to keep them tightly held and proof against leaks for as long as possible, preferably until indictments are handed down.

I am of the opinion that U. S. Attorney Huber has been working closely with I. G. Horowitz since July or August of last year.  I’m now convinced that we will indeed see the first batch of indictments sooner as opposed to later.

DOJ Will Allow House, Senate Intel Committees Access To Carter Page FISA Documents

By Chuck Ross, the Daily Caller

The Department of Justice says it will allow members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to view surveillance warrants granted against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in what the agency is calling an “extraordinary accommodation.”

DOJ is allowing the access to the four warrant applications in response to demands from California Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

“The Department and the FBI agree to permit all members of the Committee to review the FISA applications and renewals in camera at the Department,” reads Friday’s letter, which assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd sent to Nunes. [Emphasis added]

“The Department considers this an extraordinary accommodation based on unique facts and circumstances. We are also extending this review opportunity to the members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence,” the letter continues.

This indicates to me that there is information in the documents that the DoJ does not want finding their way into the press at this time.

As for the implications:

BREAKING: Dept of Justice Grants House and Senate Intel Committee Full Access To Review FISA Application…

By sundance, the Conservative Treehouse

♦This will be the first opportunity for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes to see the underlying highly classified documentary evidence that underpins his FISA Memo. Previously only one majority member (Gowdy), and one minority member (Schiff), from the HPSCI was permitted to review the heavily classified and unredacted FISA application.

♦Allowing the full House and Senate intelligence committee to review the FISA application is the first step in getting the application declassified. It would be enormously interesting if the public could see the full application as submitted by the FBI and DOJ. There is a significant public interest in knowing exactly how strong the underlying evidence was for the FISA Court to grant such extensive surveillance authority.

♦There has been some discussion of a possibility the FISA application held by the Department of Justice, and used to structurally create the Nunes memo, may not be the same FISA Title-1 application held by the FISA Court per Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer. Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte has requested the FISA Court application. That issue remains unresolved.

If, and this is a big “if”, there are actually two versions, the consequences are astronomical. Almost immediately Loretta Lynch, Sally Yates, James Comey and Andrew McCabe would be indicted.

It seems to me that the ball is in the FIS Court, and that much rides on Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer.  If the version held by the court varies from the version produced by the DoJ we shan’t see it until the charges have been brought, and perhaps not until trial.

 

[Update]

Interesting:

Interesting Tweets From President Trump Draw Attention To Chairman Goodlatte, House Judiciary Committee and FISA Investigation…

By sundance, the Conservative Treehouse

As we previously discussed the DOJ allowing expanded congressional oversight over the FISA application, against the backdrop of a previously announced IG review of this specific FISA application, would indicate Inspector General Michael Horowitz and Federal Prosecutor John Huber signed-off on, or perhaps directed, last night’s approval.

In my opinion, part of the reason why FBI Director Christopher Wray doubled the size of the staff assigned to the congressional fulfillment is specifically because there’s a phase in the OIG process where initial statements of fact go through an exhaustive OIG draft vetting process within the targeted agency.  The “source vetting” or “referencer” phase is part of the target response -and internal review audit- prior to the final draft and ultimately publication.

I don’t think all 54 of those FBI staff Director Wray assigned to this task are simply vetting for declassification needs.  Think about it, and contrast against the formal process. More likely a significant number of these staff are vetting the underlying evidence that’s noted in Horowitz’s draft notification document.  Remember, many of these elements are also potentially criminal actions individually; and quite likely, in the aggregate, also the broad outlines of a criminal conspiracy amid all of the participants.

Should be very interesting reading.

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