Monday, March 6, 2017

The Law and FISA

Do you want a thorough legal analysis of the various criminal pitfalls involved if the Obama administration used FISA court permission to wiretap members of Team Trump? I've found the long, detailed article you need at Law Newz, Robert Barnes has written exactly that. Hat tip to RealClearPolitics for the link.
It seems the FISA-compelled protocols for precluding the dissemination of the information were violated, and that Obama’s team issued orders to achieve precisely what the law forbids, if published reports are true about the administration sharing the surveilled information far-and-wide to promote unlawful leaks to the press. This, too, would be its own crime.

Recognizing this information did not fit FISA meant having to delete it and destroy it. According to published reports, Obama’s team did the opposite: order it preserved, ordered the NSA to search it, keep it, and share it; and then Obama’s Attorney General issued an order to allow broader sharing of information and, according to the New York Times, Obama aides acted to label the Trump information at a lower level of classification for massive-level sharing of the information.
As Barnes notes, even Richard Nixon didn't go to these extremes. If the bugging happened and was subsequently leaked to the media, people should do federal prison time for the crimes.

It's probably too much to hope that Obama would be one of the imprisoned people. However, it would be in the fine tradition of elected state and federal officials from Illinois going more or less directly from office to prison.