On April 26, 2017, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) Judge Rosemary Collyer issued a 99-page ruling, spelling out the conditions under which American citizens could be placed under electronic surveillance and the records retained by the FBI, the CIA, the NSA and the NCTC (National Counter-Terrorism Center). 

According to former NSA official William Binney, the document goes well-beyond former provisions for tracking of American citizens whose email or phone records were obtained in authorized surveillance of foreign national targets of American counterintelligence operations. 

While the FISC ruling was originally classified TOP SECRET/SI/ORCON/NOFORN, it was declassified some time after its original release.  The ruling has taken on special significance as it appears to be part of the file of classified material reviewed by Representative Devon Nunes, which led him to write his own classified summary of the evidence that the Obama Administration, the FBI, the CIA and other agencies of government conspired against Donald Trump, from before he won the Republican nomination for President, through his campaign, the post-election transition and into his first year as President. 

Indeed, the ruling by Judge Collyer was the culmination of the prolonged court proceeding dating back to November 6, 2015, when the initial application was filed with the FISA Court for authorization to capture and retain records on specific American citizens.  The publicly released copy of the 99-page ruling was redacted to remove all references to specific individuals, but was based on affidavits filed with the Court by NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director William Brennan and NCTC Director Nicholas Rasmussen. 

In the coming days, a critical fight will play out in Congress, where House Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Nunes is attempting to win Congressional approval to declassify his four-page summary memo, reportedly detailing the collusion among law enforcement and intelligence officials to stop Donald Trump from assuming the presidency—what star-crossed FBI lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page called “the insurance policy” in one of their now infamous text messages. 

The FISC ruling has been blown out of proportion by some of the more extremis alt-right allies of President Trump, who claimed it had been leaked (the redacted text is posted on the website of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence) exclusively to Alex Jones.  But the content, as analyzed by William Binney, speaks for itself and clearly forms part of the backdrop to the unfolding war of narratives between Rep. Nunes and the ranking Democrat on the HSCI, Adam Schiff.  It stands on its own and is worthwhile reading for anyone who is closely following this political battle royal. 


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  1. LeaNder says:

    Thanks Harper, not following this closely but, whatever FISC ruling argument looked interesting. 😉

  2. I’m not sure what the Nunes memo contains, but he refuses to let the FBI, DOJ and the Republican chairman of the Senate Intel Committee see it. How is he going to make this public and keep these entities from seeing it? I was under the impression that the Nunes memo referred to specific FISA warrants issued targeting Trump associates and that warrant’s dependence on the Steele dossier. Maybe not. I think the true value of the memo is to create breath taking innuendo surrounding the Mueller investigation as part of the overall goal of stopping the investigation. The actual release will be an afterthought.
    Here’s a description of how the FBI use of Section 702 collection really works by a former FBI CI Division Special Agent. She’s clearly not a Trump acolyte, so keep that in mind.

  3. Anna says:

    Paul Craig Roberts’ word for Americans:
    “Many Americans say they don’t need the House Intelligence Report, because they don’t believe the Russiagate BS in the first place. They miss the point. They need the report, because those responsible for this attempt at a coup must be identified, charged, and prosecuted for their act of high treason.
    This is not minor stuff. This goes to the heart of whether any form of liberty will exist. We all know that the ability of the people to hold government accountable is not assured by democracy. However, there is no prospect of holding government accountable if it is a police state, a road that the US has been going down for some time. The audacious coup attempt against President Trump is our opportunity to stop the momentum to a police state.”

  4. Jack says:

    From what I have read every member of the House has access to the memo. The Democrats have chosen not to see it. Most Republicans have seen it. Of course the DOJ & FBI don’t want it released as it will show massive corruption and they are using the classic technique of hiding malfeasance by claiming disclosure of national security secrets.
    In an interview Rep. Gaetz said that Nunes is looking into what corroborating evidence can be disclosed along with the memo. He also said the committee would vote to declassify the memo and then the White House has 5 days to give a thumbs up or down. If they agree then it would be released to the public.
    I think the strategy here is simple. The Democrats and the media and of course the agencies will scream that the memo is partisan and does not reflect the evidence. This will then set the stage for the declassification of the evidence of the conspiracy. My suspicion is that the Republicans are driving towards the appointment of another special counsel to investigate the conspiracy.
    It seems to me rather interesting that Mueller has not invited Admiral Rogers to an interview. And if he is going to interview Trump then it would imply he is wrapping up his investigation.

  5. VietnamVet says:

    David Habakkuk post #67 below in the Afrin Update is also a must read. This is getting serious. To paraphrase. There are two contradictory stories; Donald Trump won because of Russian meddling or the meritocracy is so frightened of the Trump accession that he was bugged using the doggy dossier to try to get incriminating evidence plus General Michael Flynn was caught in a FBI perjury trap in order to place one of their own as National Security Advisor. If there was a shred of evidence that the Russians did it, the Washington Post would have published it long ago. Evidence is leaking that the FBI tried to negate the 2016 election and high level officials are part of the ongoing media moguls’ counter coup to make VP Mike Pence President.
    I agree with Paul Craig Roberts that the Republicans financed by the security state and the VP’s supporters dare not let the truth come out. The last thing the Establishment needs is the restoration the Constitution and rule by law. That would end the forever wars and the looting of the Deplorables by corporate monopolies.

  6. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Regarding the statement in the FISC document (Section I.A, page 4) that

    On October 24, 2016, the government orally apprised the Court of significant noncompliance with the NSA’s minimization procedures involving queries of data acquired under Section 702 using U.S. person identifiers.
    The full scope on non-compliant querying procedures had not been previously disclosed to the court.

    some may wonder just who “orally apprised the Court”, and what backstory there was behind that.
    I cannot answer those questions with certainty,
    but it seems very possible that the answers to those questions are contained in
    the post by “sundance” on 2018-01-04:
    “Understanding The Context of Devin Nunes Requests –
    Obama’s 2016 DOJ/FBI Spying Operation…”

    It seems to me that the collection of links listed under “RESOURCES” in the post linked to above,
    and the more current links found at
    are doing a great job of providing a comprehensive view of “Russiagate”.
    It seems evident to me that “sundance” has deep ties to the Republicans on Capital Hill,
    in particular Chairman Devin Nunes and/or his committee’s staff.
    For evidence of that, see
    One final administrative comment:
    Should not this post, and the one linked to below,
    be categorized under “Russiagate”?

  7. j2 says:

    The doc in question was declassified Apr 2017 by DNI Coates, obtained and released by Judicial Watch 23 May 2017.
    The DNI only recently made the doc public on the ODNI website. No idea why it took so long.
    The dissemination of fake news seems to be endemic lately, which is one reason why this site is so highly prized. Many thanks for all of your public thoughts and opinions.

  8. blue peacock says:

    Harper & TTG,
    Devin Nunes has the unredacted FISC ruling. This is a crucial element in the evidence trail. Admiral Rogers reported the FISA violations to FISC after he had a compliance review done at the NSA, spurred by discovery of these violations. The DOJ when they got wind of the compliance review at the NSA, also went to FISC to report these violations. There are two elements to the violations. One, is that there were no national security purposes to the queries and second, raw data acquired from these queries were shared with unauthorized subcontractors. Nunes since he has the unredacted ruling knows who made those queries and who these subcontractors were.
    Nunes also has the FISA applications, and so he knows the DOJ justification and if the Steele dossier was used in part.
    Nunes has also seen the PDBs. So, he knows what Obama saw. He has stated that there was information about US persons but no Russia related information.
    Nunes also knows about the unmasking of the US persons.
    His memo is the first step in laying charges of the conspiracy and corruption at the highest levels of law enforcement and the IC. I suspect he does not want to share this memo with the DOJ & FBI until it’s release because he does not want them to use their leverage with other Deep State actors in Congress and the media to prevent these charges from being seen by the public.
    The memo, IMO, serves an important purpose. To lay out publicly for the first time, a set of charges of criminal activity at the highest levels of law enforcement. This will be countered by the Democrats, the media and the apologists for the Deep State with claims that Nunes’ analysis of the evidence is wrong and it is just a partisan attack on our law enforcement agencies who work so hard to keep Americans “Safe”. This is exactly the response that Nunes wants, because it leads to two thrusts. One, declassify the evidence and two, appoint an independent counsel to probe & prosecute any criminal activity. My gut sense is that if his memo gets released to the public, it will likely name names and Comey, McCabe, Rosenstein, Carlin, Priestap, Baker will be accused of criminal activity.

  9. blue peacock says:

    David Habakkuk,
    I am responding to your post #67 in the Afrin Update thread here as it is a more relevant thread.
    First, thanks for what you posted. I have to admit my knowledge of the whole Russia angle among the cast of characters in the Steele dossier is rather limited. Would you have suggestions for some background material so that I can get a sense of who these people are?
    IMO, the main people focused on unraveling the conspiracy at the highest levels of law enforcement are Nunes, Goodlatte and Grassley. I believe they are coordinating as each seem to be focused on certain aspects of the conspiracy. I think they are primarily focused on two things. One, to unravel the conspiracy to spy and frame Donald Trump as both a presidential candidate and as president. Two, to prove that the Clinton probe was a farce, as it did not meet the basic requirements of how a national security investigation is routinely handled by the FBI, and the outcome of the probe was a political decision to exonerate.
    My feeling is that they are not going to get into the details of the Russian connections in the Steele dossier and what was disinformation by Russian intelligence. I think they would like to show the DOJ/FBI, Fusion GPS, Clinton campaign connections and how most of the allegations in the dossier were never verified by the IC. They would also like to know what role if any the dossier played in the FISA applications. What is interesting to note is that Sen. Grassley’s criminal referral of Christoper Steele to the DOJ is really calling the FBI’s bluff. In that referral he has asked the DOJ to reconcile the discrepancies between the FBI’s characterization of their interactions with Steele and Steele’s version. Sen. Grassley is essentially saying either Steele lied or the FBI did and wants to know who did.

  10. robt willmann says:

    Former U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova talks in this 30-minute interview about this issue and refers to the opinion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), and the conduct, or the lack of it, by the Justice Department, FBI, and others–
    Earlier this week, I heard U.S. Representative Ted Poe (Repub. Texas) say in a radio interview that there is a procedure that the Congress can do that can declassify material unilaterally without the approval of the president or executive branch. He said it takes about 19 days. He did not go into any detail about what the procedure is or its legal basis. I have not had time to try to research that point.
    Even though an executive order is not supposed to create any new rule, regulation, or law, the executive order 12333, signed by president Reagan in 1981 and changed at least three times since then, is apparently used to “justify” the collection, acquisition, interception, storage, retrieval, and dissemination of all types of communications and data–
    EO 12333 is probably mixed in with this problem as well.

  11. robt willmann says:

    I did not put the link in correctly to executive order 12333 that is on the American Bar Association website. I hope this one works; if not, I will try again–

  12. Flavius says:

    Where is Jeff Sessions, “the whole world wonders?”
    It ain’t goin’ away, Jeff, and that swirling sound you’re hearing is the reputation of the Department for which you’re responsible going down the drain.

  13. LeaNder says:

    Thanks, Robert

  14. Latest report is that most of the missing emails that the FBI “lost” have been recovered using forensic methods and the effort is ongoing.
    Apparently the FBI doesn’t know to permanently delete its own documents. Maybe they should have asked their Cyber Division how to do that properly. 🙂

  15. blue peacock says:

    Jeff Sessions has recused himself from Russiagate. So he has to stand aside as the Deep State obstructs the Congressional investigations. He has to let the process play out without any interference from a purely political perspective and wait until the Republicans in the House make their allegations public and the IG report is made public.
    If Nunes and Ryan can get the first Nunes memo made public and then the IG report comes along and highlights partisan and/or potential illegal activity, then Sessions can act to appoint a special counsel and start an internal review of procedures & personnel at the FBI & DOJ.
    At this point we have to just sit back and watch the cat & mouse game between Nunes, Goodlatte, Grassley and the Deep State actors in Congress, the media and in law enforcement & the IC.

  16. blue peacock says:

    Sundance is a must follow, if you want the perspective of the Republicans leading the Congressional investigations as well as the connection of the dots from information becoming public.

  17. blue peacock says:

    I’m not sure what the origins for the “legal” basis for the mass surveillance and data collection of all domestic communications are but in my research on this topic, I have noted stories around Admiral Poindexter’s Total Information Awareness project.
    I believe the post-9/11 legal basis is the Patriot Act and FISA. What I find disconcerting is the role the courts have played in this. It seems mass surveillance and collection of every American’s electronic communication is a straightforward violation of the Fourth Amendment. FISC, which is a secret court, also seems to be a direct violation of the Fifth & Fourteenth Amendments. It seems to me anyway that the courts interpret the Constitution always to the benefit of increasing governmental power and away from the original intent of the framers of the Constitution that the inalienable rights of the people flow from their Creator and are not privileges enacted by law.

  18. Flavius says:

    I appreciate your point in re the recusal but I’m nor sure the recusal should be controlling given developments since the recusal.
    I would argue that there are two distinct issues, the alleged collusion between the Trump campaign/transition and the issue of the DOJ/FBI and possibly the CIA putting their fingers on the scals of the election. There is more than reason to suspect that at minimum Strzok and Page were, and reason to suspect that both Comey and McCabe either knew or should have known.
    Recusals are not cast in stone. I would argue that Sessions should be addressing in public what the Department intends to do to deal with the mounting evidence that officials in both the Department and FBI were complicit in undermining the integrity of both as well as the election itself. This latter investigation, in my opinion, should preempt Mueller’s because latter developments have undermined the integrity of Mueller’s.
    If Mueller’s investigation of Trump should result in some kind of actionable finding against Trump, we can be sure that the Trump administration will argue, correctly I believe, that Mueller’s inquiry itself may well have been grounded corruptly. A real mess.
    Sessions needs to get out front on this.

  19. Jack says:

    Congressman Matt Gaetz is calling it a “criminal conspiracy” and using words like “cabal”, “worse than Watergate”. He says Nunes’ memo will be released in 2 weeks. This follows words like “heads will roll”, “jail” by the other Republican members of the House who have read the memo.
    These are strong words. If and when the Nunes memo comes out it would seem it will contain some extremely serious allegations of criminal conduct by the very top officials at the FBI and DOJ. It will be fascinating to see how the media and the establishment who have invested so much in the Trump Russia collusion narrative will respond. Further doubling down after having doubled down after losing the election??

  20. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Well worth reading:
    “Hours After FBI Director Chris Wray Reviews House Intel Memo,
    Asst. FBI Director McCabe Resigns….”
    by “sundance”, 2018-01-29
    The highlight of the article for me
    is this fairly conclusive evidence on just who is leaking:

    The Black Hat operatives within the DOJ and FBI
    are desperate to get out ahead of the stories.
    Think about it.
    The Nunes memo was available to congress for over a week, and not a single -substantive- material leak came out.
    Yet, within HOURS of the Justice Department having access to the memo,
    the New York Times is writing about specific details contained within the memo: …

    Might I also request again that this post by Harper,
    and the post by PT
    get the “Russiagate” tag?

  21. turcopolier says:

    What is “sundance?” pl

  22. Mark Logan says:

    I strongly suspect there are actually three issues at work.
    The history of organized crime attempting to launder money through real estate is long, and has resulted in laws which require developers to verify the sources of their funding. Failure to do so can get one convicted of money laundering, a big time crime, and a crime that can even be served with a RICO special sauce.
    A speculation:
    I can’t explain the actions of the Trumps throughout all this. He is not stupid and neither are his lawyers, so I think their primary fear has always been the investigation branching into his personal finances, hence the constant lying about connections with Russians, which his lawyers would have strongly discouraged. That lying is strong probable cause in itself. However, IF the Trumps engaged in money laundering prior to running for POTUS it seems to me they might feel they had no choice but to attempt to stone-wall..and stonewall everything.
    The collusion stuff is nebulous and probably not something that can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt as a crime, but money laundering, to the sort of forensic accountants which Mueller has at his beck and call, most definitely is, and is all but impossible to brush under a rug at Justice.
    IOW: The Trumps protesteth too much. At least to my eye they do, FWIW.

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