Opinion| Lawrence David|A retired special agent who ran the FBI’s warrantless spy program told investigative journalist John Solomon that he had told the FBI’s former Director James Comey and his successor, Andrew McCabe that the program was ineffective and a waste of money.
Retired Special Agent Bassem Youssef, who ran the FBI’s Communications Analysis Unit from 2004 until his retirement in late 2014, expressed concerns to Comey and McCabe that the program infringed on the civil liberties of American citizens, with little, to no benefit.
(JusttheNews.com) “… Youssef confirmed that the FBI performed an audit of the highly classified program (also known as the NSA program because it searched call records captured by the National Security Agency) after Edward Snowden leaked its existence.
The audit showed that while the program had generated two moderate leads for counterterrorism cases, it had not helped thwart dozens of terrorism attacks as officials had claimed, despite costing tens of millions of dollars per year.
In fact, the program was generating large numbers of “false negatives and positives,” Youssef said.
The audit, he added, also showed “there was collateral damage in terms of civil liberties” of Americans whose phone records were unnecessarily searched or who were falsely identified as connected to terrorism.
Youssef said he discussed the concerns with McCabe both when McCabe served as assistant director for counterterrorism and then when he was promoted to acting executive assistant director, the No. 3 job in the bureau. But his efforts to pause the program and reform it so it could work better, cost less, and infringe less on American privacy fell on deaf ears, he said.
When McCabe was acting executive assistant director, “I explained to him again, the model that I was looking to establish and to let him know that we were not really getting good support from this program, and that maybe we should reconsider this whole thing, unless we can re-tweak it,” Youssef recalled. “And I remember, he was so adamant about, we need this program. We’re keeping it as this, even though we’re not getting anything out of it.” (keep reading)
Youssef told Solomon:
“I have no doubt, or very little doubt, that it was used for political spying or political espionage.”
This is the first brick to fall from the protective wall of silence that surrounds the FBI’s abuse of surveillance against American citizens.
“There is no doubt in my mind now, looking at the backdrop and the information that has come up since 2016 in the media, that the abuses were rampant and not just for the FISA process, the FISA program, but for other programs that were used to spy on the Trump campaign.” – Bassem Youssef
Despite this startling revelation of widespread Fourth Amendment violations, the majority in both Houses of Congress appear poised to renew the FISA process without any change.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham appears to have successfully stonewalled any public airing of the spying abuses prior to the March 15th reauthorization vote, after promising for more than a year to hold hearings on the problems.
Sen. Graham is a major disappointment to those who believed in him but, as we’ve warned many times in the past, he is part of the swamp.
There are some Constitution-based Representatives who are challenging leadership for FISA reform prior to renewal. They include: Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan, Doug Collins, Jody Hice, Devin Nunes and Steve Scalise.
Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul are working their House to force reform or let the current version expire.
Unfortunately, Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell, along with AG Bill Barr, want a clean FISA renewal without public hearings….