Opinion| Lawrence David| John Carlin was the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division who signed off on the first Carter Page FISA warrant.
This is significant because after multiple investigations, that has cast a cloud over the first three years of President Trump’s administration, we now can say with a high degree of confidence that Page was targeted in order to get FISA surveillance authorization of first candidate and then President Trump.
This was a shocking misuse of the surveillance authority the FISA process authorizes to track potential foreign terrorists. When an American citizen is accidentally caught up in the surveillance their identity must be minimized or kept hidden.
If, for example, you’re sitting at a lunch counter and a person suspected of being a terrorist sits down next to you, unless that person engages in a conversation with you about their illegal activity, you cannot be subject to an ongoing investigation.
In other words, without reasonable suspicion of you having committed a crime, investigators have to move on. Without a crime, and something tying you to it, law enforcement has no lawful right to investigate anything about you beyond that chance meeting.
The Constitution and supporting case law is clear on this.
Jeff Carlson has done some terrific work exposing DOJ/NSD Chief Carlin’s role in deceiving the FISC. Carlson’s work first surfaced on May 21, 2018. It’s worth your time to review it at this time.
That was almost twenty months ago yet Carlin is still enjoying life as a partner with the white shoe law firm Morrison Foerster. The Trump associates who were swept up due to Carlin’s misrepresentations to the FISC have not found life nearly as enriching since then.
Carlson tracks a timeline of Carlin’s actions in the months and days prior to his departure from the DOJ that raises serious questions about Carlin’s role in the Russia hoax. These questions demand that Carlin to be put under oath and have the bright lights shone on him.
January 7, 2016: NSA Inspector General, George Ellard, released a report on NSA Controls & FISA compliance. Starting on page ii:
Agency controls for monitoring query compliance have not been completely developed.
The Agency has no process to reliably identify queries performed using selectors associated with 704 and 705(b) targets.
We identified another [redacted] queries that were performed outside the targeting authorization periods in E.O. 12333 data, which is prohibited by the E.O. 12333 minimization procedures. We also identified queries performed using USP selectors in FAA §702 upstream data, which is prohibited by the FAA §702 minimization procedures. (pages 6-7)
We later learn, from an audit ordered by National Security Agency chief Adm. Mike Rogers, that material FISA abuses had become routine.
March of 2016: NSA Director Rogers became aware of improper contractor access to raw FISA data (Page 83 of Court Ruling).
April 18, 2016: Rogers shut down all outside contractor access to raw FISA information – specifically outside contractors working for the FBI. The March 2016 discovery that outside contractors were accessing raw FISA data is probably the event that precipitated Rogers ordering a full compliance review (Page 84 of Court Ruling).
April 18, 2016: Both the FBI and DOJ’s NSD (John Carlin) become aware of Rogers’ compliance review. They may have known earlier but they were certainly aware after outside contractor access was halted.
September 26, 2016: National Security Division Head John Carlin filed the Government’s proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications knowing the general status of Rogers’ compliance review because the NSD was part of the review.
Carlin failed to disclose the January 7, 2016 Inspector General Report and associated FISA Abuse to the FISA Court in his 2016 Certification. Carlin also failed to disclose Rogers’ ongoing Compliance Review.
What other reason could Carlin have had that would justify his failure to disclose those key findings to the FISC, other than to deceive the court? Carlin needs to answer for his misfeasance.
September 27, 2016: The very next day after withholding material evidence from the FISC, Carlin announced his resignation – to become effective on October 15, 2016.
October 4, 2016: A standard follow-up hearing on the 2016 Section 702 Certification was held (Page 19). Carlin was present at the hearing. Again, Carlin made no disclosure of FISA Abuse. This would be noted by the Court later (see below).
October 15, 2016: Carlin formally left the NSD. It appears that Carlin was rushing to get out the door prior to the NSA compliance officer’s audit becoming known to the court.
October 20 2016: Rogers was briefed by the NSA compliance officer on findings from the 702 NSA compliance audit. The audit had uncovered numerous “About” Query violations (Senate testimony).
October 21 2016, the DOJ & FBI sought and received a Title I FISA probable cause order authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISA Court. At this point, the FISA Court was still unaware of the Section 702 violations.
Again, it appears the DOJ and the FBI were rushing to get surveillance authority over a member of the Trump team (Carter Page) before the FISA Court became aware of how severely abused the 702 process for spying on U.S. citizens had become.
October 24, 2016: Rogers verbally informed the FISA Court of his findings (Page 4 of Court Ruling).
The FISC learned, for the first time, that 85% of all searches between November 2015 and April 2016 – when Adm. Rogers shut down all outside contractor inquiries – had not been in compliance.
The FBI and DOJ had been “making” cases by cooking the evidence and, as the head of the NSD where the final signoff on FISA applications took place, John Carlin was in charge the entire time.
Thousands upon thousands of unauthorized searches were performed by outside contractors
As an example of how damaging the DOJ’s misfeasance can be, consider how the “evidence” that President Trump’s then-personal attorney Michael Cohen had met with Russians in Prague originated.
It’s a virtual certainty that an unauthorized search (Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr?) had returned that a Michael Cohen had been to Prague, just not the Michael Cohen who was the president’s attorney.
According to a search of whitepages.com, there are 18,000 Michael Cohen’s in the United States. You’d think that someone looking for the truth would have verified the president’s Michael Cohen’s travel itinerary with the State Department.
Yet, that information was leaked to the media and used to create a firestorm of politically damaging charges against both Cohen and President Trump that had no basis in fact.
We learned from Nellie Ohr’s Congressional testimony that prior to her work for Fusion GPS, Ohr worked for an internal open-source division of the CIA named Open Source Works from 2008 to at least June 2010; it appears likely that she remained in that role until 2014.
While the majority of that time predate John Brennan’s service as CIA director, it’s hard to see how such an experienced spymaster didn’t question Nellie Ohr’s prior work for the CIA with the role she was hired to perform for Fusion GPS.
Fusion GPS is a commercial research and strategic intelligence firm that, among other things, conducts political inquiries that includes opposition research.
Fusion GPS, along with Christopher Steele were being paid by the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to peddle, what we now know to be, garbage against Donald Trump.
Carlin, as an Assistant Attorney General working in the FBI’s Washington Headquarters had to have regular contact with then-Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr (Nellie Ohr’s husband).
As he did with Brennan, Carlin never questioned Nellie Ohr’s prior work for the CIA and the role she was hired to perform for Fusion GPS.
Carlin either never asked Bruce Ohr about his wife’s involvement in the attempt to create a legal case against President Trump to protect his own plausible deniability, or he did but chose to keep hidden the larger scheme so as not to involve CIA Director Brennan.
Carlin should not get to oversee the dumpster fire whose genesis took place under his watch and then walk away to a cushy partnership in a white shoe law firm while the NSD he oversaw attempted to negate the votes of 63 million Americans.
Former Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General and head of the National Security Division John Carlin is a, if not the central figure in the middle of the Spygate conspiracy. He knows too much to give him a pass.
There’s a reason that special counsel Robert Mueller, who Carlin once served as chief of staff, claimed to have never heard of Fusion GPS during Congressional testimony. It’s likely the same reason Carlin ignored Fusion GPS’ involvement.
It’s time for Carlin to be interrogated under oath!!!