We now have substantial evidence going back years — well before its illegal misuse of the FISA court — that the Obama administration and officials in its FBI and Justice Department misused National Security Agency (NSA) databases to illegally spy on its political opponents.
The article at the link is very long and detailed, but this is necessary to unpack the history that not only documents that spying before 2016, but why Justice and FBI high officials felt compelled then to use a fake dossier paid for by the Clinton campaign to get a warrant from the FISA court. Once they lost access to the NSA databases that year, they needed something that would allow them to continue that spying.
During the time-frame of December 2015 through April 2016 the NSA database was being exploited by contractors within the intelligence community doing unauthorized searches. On March 9, 2016, oversight personnel doing a review of FBI system access were alerted to thousands of unauthorized search queries of specific U.S. persons within the NSA database.
NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers was made aware. Subsequently NSA Director Rogers initiated a full compliance review of the system to identify who was doing the searches; & what searches were being conducted. On April 18, 2016, following the preliminary audit results, Director Rogers shut down all FBI contractor access to the database after he learned FISA-702 “about”(17) and “to/from”(16) search queries were being done without authorization.
In other words, the NSA database of phonecalls between Americans, an illegal database in its own right (the Constitution forbids such indiscriminate spying on Americans without a warrant), was being used by unauthorized individuals to gain information on Americans. From the article it becomes clear that those individuals were Obama administration operatives, and the Americans they were digging dirt on were their political opponents.
When Rogers shut down access to this keyhole, it was then necessary to instigate an unjustified warrant from the FISA court to allow these same Obama officials the right to continue their spying. At the same time they also instigated an effort to get Rogers fired.
What infuriates me about this is that even now, years later, no one has been indicted for any of these clearly illegal acts, despite substantive and documented evidence. We get reports, we get leaks, we get outraged Congressman on cable networks, and we get Trump tweets ranting about how terrible it is. What we don’t get is anyone behind bars.
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