Nunes Demands Copies Of FISA Docs About Steele Dossier Warrants; Court Suggests Taking It Up With The FBI

from the god-I-so-hope-Nunes-takes-it-up-with-the-FBI dept

Having already released the memo purportedly showing surveillance abuses committed by the FBI, the legislators behind the release are now getting around to asking for documents to back up the memo's assertions. Bob Goodlatte and Devin Nunes have both asked the FISA court for the paperwork they probably should have looked at before writing and releasing the memo.

Nunes has asked for "transcripts of relevant FISC hearings" related to the FISA warrants predicated largely on assertions made in Steele dossier. Goodlatte has asked applications and orders for the same warrants. The FISA court has replied with two letters stating basically the same thing: thanks for the weird (and inappropriate) question, but maybe take this up the FBI. (h/t Zoe Tillman)

From the letter [PDF] sent by Judge Rosemary Collyer to Devin Nunes:

The Court appreciates the interest of the House Intelligence Committee in its operations and public confidence therein. Before 2018, the Court had never received a request from Congress for documents related to any specific FISA application. Thus, your requests -- and others I have recently received from Congress -- present novel and significant questions. The considerations involve not only prerogatives of the Legislative Branch, but also interests of the Executive Branch, including its responsibility for national security and its need to maintain the integrity of any ongoing law enforcement investigations.

While this analysis is underway, you may note that the Department of Justice possesses (or can easily obtain) the same responsive information the Court might possess, and because of separation of powers considerations, is better positioned than the Court to respond quickly. (We have previously made clear to the Department, both formally and informally, that we do not object to any decision by the Executive Branch to convey to Congress any such information.)

The response [PDF] to Goodlatte pretty much says the same thing. Both letter close with a little bit of shade-throwing.

I expect that [the DOJ and FBI's] handling of your requests will inform the Court as to how the Executive Branch perceives its interests and will assist us in our consideration of the full range of issues…

This seems to suggest the FISA court has noticed (how could it not) the contentious relationship between the FBI and the White House and wants to see how the DOJ handles its end of the paperwork requested by the legislators before proceeding. It also implies the court thinks the White House will sidestep its obligations to preserve the integrity of national security-related obligations if it thinks it can score some political points. If the court really felt like laying on the snark, it might have mentioned the utility of viewing underlying documents before releasing a "damning" memo, rather than attempting to find justification for the memo's accusations after the fact.


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 20 Feb 2018 @ 9:18am

    Reject a Congressional Request, What Could Happen?

    According to this judge, the House Intelligence Committee has no responsibility over Intelligence. Those folks who might imitate the defunding of FISA courts altogether. While the FISA court might be created by Executive Order, the funding still comes from Congress. Obvious indications of a group who thinks they have more power than they actually have.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      deadspatula (profile), 20 Feb 2018 @ 10:09am

      Re: Reject a Congressional Request, What Could Happen?

      Actually, it did not reject the request. It noted that, due to various legalprinicples involved, the request requires more time then would be considered practical for congress' purposes. That the court is considering the legal concerns, but hey, the executive branch (in the form of the FBI and DOJ) also has these documents, and would be able to provide them in a far more timely manner as the legal issues are not a concern for the executive branch, and it would also help the court to hear what the executive branch states about the release of these documents.

      TL;DR: We are processing your request, but it would be faster, and extremely helpful to us, if you asked the DOJ in the meantime.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 20 Feb 2018 @ 10:34am

      Re: Reject a Congressional Request, What Could Happen?

      Short answer? Nothing. At least not when the legislative has yet to grow a spine.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Coyne Tibbets (profile), 20 Feb 2018 @ 12:23pm

      Re: Reject a Congressional Request, What Could Happen?

      Expect calls to, "Impeach FISC justices!"

      Or not. We all know how slavishly Congress supports national security anything.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Alfred Barna, 21 Feb 2018 @ 5:15am

        Re: Re: Reject a Congressional Request, What Could Happen?

        National Security = protecting the Privilege and misbegotten wealth of the establishment via obfuscation of certain facts.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2018 @ 9:43am

    Wow. Techdirt remains militantly uninformed and denying as though the last month never happened.

    At least Masnick had the awareness to state that he's "underwhelmed" by what Mueller has come up with after a year.

    Well, all I can say is enjoy your illusions!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      deadspatula (profile), 20 Feb 2018 @ 10:13am

      Re: Wow. Techdirt remains militantly uninformed and denying as though the last month never happened.

      Swing and a miss.

      Masnick did not claim quite what you think he did. He claimed the 'big' 13 Russian indictment was underwhelming, mainly because it did not actually reveal anything new. Mainstream media was hype, but the reality did not sell it.

      I don't see anyone denying the last month happened. He is in fact specifically noting flaws in the Nunes memo, which requires him to acknowledge its existence.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2018 @ 10:44am

      Re: Wow. Techdirt remains militantly uninformed and denying as though the last month never happened.

      Well at least you pooped your self in a small manageable amount this time.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2018 @ 11:33am

      Re: Wow. Techdirt remains militantly uninformed and denying as though the last month never happened.

      That is relevant to this article how?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2018 @ 6:42pm

      Re: Wow. Techdirt remains militantly uninformed and denying as though the last month never happened.

      You know, blue, if you really wanted to keep drawing attention to your garbage we could continue flagging it anyway.

      Nobel Prize-winning genius here in the making, folks...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    IMTRUTHBIASED (profile), 20 Feb 2018 @ 10:13am

    Is Techdirt A Hillary supporter?

    Look you can feel whatever way you want, but your skewing the reason they going to court for FISA Docs. Nunes wrote (with Trey Gowdy a DA) the memo based on the FBI and the DOJ internal docs based on their own notes and facts provided by FBI and the DOJ. Nunes is now following up by legal means to continue the investigation. The FBI and DOJ have not been forth comming with any info and until being threatened with contempt only produced the info asked for. FBI and DOJ cannot be trusted and Nunes is right in going to the courts themselves to get the appropriate docs. Instead of deriding what he is doing as a site thats about "truth" you should be happy they are trying to get to the bottom of this. Either way everyone should want to know and let the evidence lead the way to the truth. If Nunes is chasing his tale he will look like a fool if he is really uncovering something then good bring the corrupt politicians and courts to justice.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      deadspatula (profile), 20 Feb 2018 @ 10:17am

      Re: Is Techdirt A Hillary supporter?

      *Citation Needed*

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2018 @ 10:35am

      Re: Is Techdirt A Hillary supporter?

      Is Techdirt A Hillary supporter?

      Does every mention of trump need to be followed by an obligatory mention of her emails?

      The FBI and DOJ have not been forth comming with any info and until being threatened with contempt only produced the info asked for.

      Why would they produce info they weren't asked for?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 21 Feb 2018 @ 5:45am

        Re: Re: Is Techdirt A Hillary supporter?

        Erm, the Trump regime OWNS the DOJ, Jeff Sessions is in charge there. Therefore getting documents off the DOJ shouldn't be a problem.

        I see the dismantling of the rule of law to the applause of the far right continues unabated.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2018 @ 10:47am

      Re: Is Techdirt A Hillary supporter?

      Nunes you should know better than to be publicly commenting on this issue.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      ryuugami, 20 Feb 2018 @ 10:53am

      Re: Is Techdirt A Hillary supporter?

      Is Techdirt A Hillary supporter?

      It seems you didn't notice, but the election was over quite some time ago.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2018 @ 11:35am

        Re: Re: Is Techdirt A Hillary supporter?

        Simple sheeple. Everyone knows that Hillary is running a shadow presidency from her Uranium mine in Canada. She used the Soros money to buy everyone in the FBI and is using them to hypnotize Trump into making all of the Russian connections, thus making him a corrupt president.

        It is very clear when you look at all of the stuff the FBI never talks about.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 20 Feb 2018 @ 11:25am

      Re: Is Techdirt A Hillary supporter?

      FBI and DOJ cannot be trusted

      As opposed to paragon of unbiased honesty Devin Nunes?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 20 Feb 2018 @ 7:19pm

      Re: Is Techdirt A Hillary supporter?

      And here I thought Republicans were firm supporters of the Law Enforcement agencies...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 20 Feb 2018 @ 8:06pm

        "I've got your back... only so long as you've got mine."

        Only when said agencies are going after their enemies and/or people they don't like it would appear.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 21 Feb 2018 @ 12:02am

      Trump and Hillary

      Us and them; And after all we're only ordinary men

      Me and you; God only knows it's not what we would choose to do

      ...

      Black and blue; And who knows which is which and who is who?

      Up and down; And in the end it's only round and round and round

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2018 @ 11:29am

    Nunes = If a Meme Became A Real Boy

    Nunes feels like what would happen if a social media meme wished really hard and became a real boy.

    He just comes across incredibly ignorant of his job and the responsibilities of his position. It really feels like his entire MO is to publish the turd of his prior statements with enough vigor until he finally sees his reflection, thus proving he was the subject of a major conspiracy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2018 @ 11:30am

    This was wrong previously, and it's still wrong

    "Nunes has asked for "transcripts of relevant FISC hearings" related to the FISA warrants predicated largely on assertions made in Steele dossier."

    The FISA warrants were NOT predicated largely on assertions made in the Steele memos. They were predicated largely on information that the FBI already had. The Steele memos simply provided them with independent confirmation of what they already knew. Keep in mind that the FBI has its own sources and methods, plus any SIGINT that was shared with it by other US agencies, plus anything shared with them by the ICs of our allies. I doubt there was anything in the Steele memos -- at least not anything important -- that they weren't already aware of. Not a knock on Steele: Steele's good, and he has good sources, but he doesn't have even a fraction of the resources of the combined ICs of the US and FVEYES.

    Nunes is pounding on this, as a Trump/Kremlin lackey, for the same reason he pounds on the second source of funding for Steele's work and not the first. Please don't support this disinformation campaign by echoing it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2018 @ 11:44am

      Re: This was wrong previously, and it's still wrong

      How is this an echo? The article clearly states this is a novel request from the legislative branch and that while considering the legal implications Nunes could talk to him he doj for the same info, especially since there is already legal precedence established for the transfer of you his information between the two branches. The article clearly doesn't think Nunes is correct on this matter.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2018 @ 12:19pm

        Re: Re: This was wrong previously, and it's still wrong

        "How is this an echo?"

        This is how: "Nunes has asked for "transcripts of relevant FISC hearings" related to the FISA warrants predicated largely on assertions made in Steele dossier."

        That's Nunes' talking point, and it's wrong. There do not exist any FISA warrants predicated largely on assertions made in the Steele memos.

        (And if you think about it, there shouldn't be. From the FBI's point of view, Steele is just some guy -- maybe a smart guy, maybe a guy with a reputation, maybe a guy with a track record of being right -- but he's just some guy. They're not about to go into court asking for a FISA warrant and tell the judge "well, no, WE don't have much, but we know a guy who told us...". That's not how it works.)

        Nunes is hammering away on this point because he knows damn well that the FISA surveillance has some very nasty stuff. He wants to discredit that by discrediting the warrant. He wants to discredit the warrant by discrediting the FBI. He wants to discredit the FBI by discrediting Steele. He wants to discredit Steele by discrediting one of the sources of funding for his work. It's all bullshit designed to protect Trump. Moreover, it's OBVIOUS bullshit, which is a good sign of just how desperate Nunes is.

        One might reasonably wonder why that's so, and one might also reasonably wonder what Nunes is so afraid of.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2018 @ 11:59am

    At this point, what difference does it make?

    With all due respect, the fact is we [elected a president]. Was it because of a [democratic republic] or was it because of [russia] who decided that they’d they go [meddle with the] Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 20 Feb 2018 @ 11:59am

    Paper pushing finger pointing..

    Lets pass the buck and responsibility..

    wouldn't asking SOMEONE WITH ABIT MORE power AND RESPONSIBILITY be worth asking??
    They might be quicker to get the info then going direct.

    Isnt this something our ELECTED officials SHOULD BE ASKING/KNOWING??

    WHO in our elected Gov. is doing THEIR JOBS?? and not fighting against STUPID INFORMATION and laws..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2018 @ 1:56pm

      Re: Paper pushing finger pointing..

      Yes use more all caps that will really get us all to think your point of view is more important than anything else.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ovfuckyou (profile), 20 Feb 2018 @ 1:08pm

    THE CONTINUING BIAS FROM TIM ON THIS SUBJECT IS SAD!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 20 Feb 2018 @ 2:59pm

    "Oh NOW you want to look at the documents..."

    "You know, if you wanted the documents you should have had before writing a political hit-piece, you could always go talk to the agency you tried to stab in the back. I'm sure they'd be thrilled to get you some copies..."

    It's undeniable I've had serious objections to FISA's actions in the past, but the 'maybe you should have thought of that before' on display here is a thing of beauty.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2018 @ 3:08pm

    I am so glad to finally find this forum! I had heard there was a place on the internet where I could post a list of all the people I hated...and if anyone didn't agree immediately, I could call them a sheeple and tell them how much I despised them also....then they would worship me like a god.

    But all the other forums I've posted in, people treat me like dirt. Which is so wrong: I'm supposed to treat them like dirt!

    I am home at last. I hate Bill Gates; everyone who has ever run for president except Vladimir Putin and Rauel Castro; Freddy Hill who made fun of me in kindergarten; members of the Plutocrat, Demagogue, and Irrational Socialite parties; people of Zuni, Khoi-San, and Germanic descent; carpenters, civil engineers, and barley farmers.

    The way this is supposed to work, every future post by anyone has to heap abuse on at least one person on my hate list, right?

    I'm really going to enjoy this. And if you don't hate anyone on my list enough, I can add you to the list. You can never have too many people to hate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Feb 2018 @ 3:22pm

    I hate you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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