(USA Features) The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on Thursday blocked FBI agents who are currently under investigation over their involvement in securing surveillance warrants for a member of the 2016 Trump campaign from participating in new cases involving such warrants.
The order, from Judge James Boasberg, who presides over the court, is the latest fallout from a Justice Department inspector general’s report on FBI and Justice Department abuses of the FISA surveillance process against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
“There is thus little doubt that the government breached its duty of candor to the Court with respect to those applications,” Boasberg wrote.
The IG’s report claimed that at least two of the four FISA warrants obtained against Page were improper. Other reports have noted that the FBI relied on an unsubstantiated “dossier” compiled by a former British spy to obtain the warrants in the first place, which some legal analysts have said amounts to defrauding the FISA Court.
In a 19-page order, Boasberg implemented a new rule noting that any FBI or Justice Department employees under disciplinary or criminal review cannot participate in future surveillance matters.
“FBI personnel under disciplinary review in relation to their work on FISA applications accordingly should not participate in drafting, verifying, reviewing, or submitting such applications to the Court while the review is pending,” the judge said.
“The same prohibition applies to any DOJ attorney under disciplinary review, as well as any DOJ or FBI personnel who are the subject of a criminal referral related to their work on FISA applications.”
The Justice Department’s inspector general said in a report released Dec. 9, 2019, that the FBI made 17 “significant” errors and omissions in applications to conduct electronic surveillance against Page.