In doing so, the US Government has adopted two infuriating positions.
First, it argues that it can abuse the FISA process, spy on American citizens with an invalid warrant, and cannot be held liable.
Remarkably, the US position is that invalid/illegal FISA renewals, secured after US government employees and officials mislead the FISA court, violate its duty of candor to the FISA court, and alter evidence (Clinesmith), “is not a perversion of the judicial process.”
Second, the US claims Carter Page’s lawsuit was filed too late.
For years, the FBI and DOJ obscured from the public and from Congressional investigators the extent of the FISA abuses. FBI Director Wray opposed the contents and release of the Nunes Memo (now proven to be accurate, if not an understatement of the FISA abuse).
The FBI even released a statement on the Nunes Memo, saying it “has grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
And now the US Government says Carter Page should have filed suit based on the Nunes Memo.
In essence, the US Government ran out the clock by hiding the witnesses and documents and evidence. Now it tells the victim of its crimes “tough luck, you’re too late.”
Carter Page also sued Kevin Clinesmith, who was convicted for altering a CIA email to further a FISA renewal. (He also sued James Comey, Joe Pientka, Lisa Page, Andrew McCabe, etc. They each have filed motions to dismiss; we will focus on a point from Clinesmith.)
Clinesmith’s argument in his motion to dismiss? That despite pleading to the crime relating to the FISA warrant, he is entitled to “qualified immunity.”
We’ll be following the developments closely. In the meantime, remember all this when Washington preaches accountability and the importance of the “institutions.”