I'm gonna keep this brief. You've all heard about the search warrant that was executed against Rudy Giuliani this morning, and you may also have heard that Victoria Toensing's telephone was also seized via warrant. Nick Arama has a good article on this:
The search warrant against Giuliani is, at least notionally, predicated on a FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) investigation--a claim that Giuliani was somehow engaged in representing the Ukrainian government without being registered as a foreign agent. That, of course, has become the grabbag national security violation that the FBI and DoJ now deploy against targets of the Deep State--people like, oh, Michael Flynn. It looks like flim flam to me, but the harassment value is very real.
However, a statement by Giuliani's attorney indicated that the FBI/DoJ are looking for communications between Giuliani and John Solomon, which suggests that Solomon is the real target here. Arama points out:
Solomon of course was instrumental in investigating Hunter Biden and the Ukrainian connections. So this is really starting to look retaliatory and perhaps even trying to figure out what was discovered in Solomon’s investigations. This is very concerning, not only going after President Trump’s lawyer and his communications (some of which likely included Trump), but seemingly trying to get the conversations of a journalist who was involved in investigating Joe Biden’s son.
How does Toensing fit in? Well, she represented Solomon back then. She says she was told she wasn't being targeted so, once again, the target appears to be a journalist who hasn't toed the Deep State line. Does that bother you?
Now, FISA. You've all been reading--I'm pretty sure--that the FBI has continued to abuse the 702 search capability under FISA. this was documented in an order written by the FISC Chief Judge, Boasberg, back in November, but released Monday in redacted form. I've been trying to come to grips with this since then.
The thing to understand is that these violations were self-reported by the FBI. The FBI revealed these violations to the FISC, so presumably they believed they could rationalize the violations. The way they did that was basically to attribute the violations to lack of training and confusing internal procedures. Well, that wouldn't be a first.
Shipwreckedcrew has a good, but legally technical, article on this subject: The FBI Continues to Exceed the Limits on Authorized Access to NSA Databases Under Section 702 of FISA. The main issue in all this is that the FBI was conducting 702 queries with regard to investigations of US persons. However, in a sentence that I had to read several times, SWC explains that, in each category of investigation cited, a foreign nexus is very commonly found. Health care fraud is one example, and from my knowledge from people involved in that field I can affirm that SWC is correct (and I'm sure he had experience prosecuting such cases):
Health care fraud is a lucrative business for foreign organized crime organizations. Russian and Eastern European organized crime groups have been heavily involved as a historical matter in Medicare and Medicaid fraud involving durable medical equipment. They set up storefront operations for walkers, orthopedic shoes, and other similar kinds of medical equipment, and bill the crap out of federal programs using participant numbers that they acquire in a variety of ways. Oftentimes these groups will have received hundreds of thousands, and even millions of dollars of payments from the federal programs before the fraud is sniffed out by auditors/investigators, and payments to the phony companies are shut down.
In each investigative category that is cited, SWC notes the probability of a foreign nexus--this should not come as a surprise to anyone.
Now, SWC isn't trying to explain any of this away. The issue he says these violations point to is this:
These are all examples of likely gross negligence and poor training with respect to individuals who lacked the understanding or appreciation of the restrictions placed on access to NSA databases under Sec. 702.
That's exactly what the FBI says. Nevertheless, SWC notes the probable unreasonableness of that argument. He doesn't say so, but the obvious question is: For how many years have similar violations of the 702 rules been taking place, with no action taken. Notice that the reference that follows below to a "Task Force Officer" means that that person was not an FBI employee. The person may have been, for example, an employee of HHS, working on a Health Care Taskforce in FBI space:
It reveals the unreasonable judgment made by the FBI in terms of the extent it allows unsupervised access to the Sec.702 search process to individuals working for or with the FBI who have no reason to conduct such searches. How does a “Task Force Officer” sit down at a classified FBI computer terminal and run searches of Sec. 702 information without needing to get authorization from a senior FBI official to do so? The FBI needs to take immediate corrective steps to limit the number of authorized personnel who can conduct these types of searches.
I don't see this mentioned in SWC's article, but the FBI does claim that it has taken those corrective steps--new procedures and training.
What can I say?
To me the much bigger issue is Boasberg hiring Mary McCord: