This outline is intended to clear up some confusion and answer common questions about the 2016 DOJ and FBI Counterintelligence Operation against candidate Trump. ie. “The Trump Operation”.
Today Byron York attempts to clear up some details about what congressional intelligence committee members have seen regarding the DOJ/FBI FISA-702 surveillance of Donald Trump. However, the FISA information is commonly, and inaccurately, conflated with “Wiretap Warrants”.
As we have explained there were no Title III wiretap warrants against the Trump campaign. Title III warrants are the historic reference to the DOJ or FBI wiretapping a suspect to gather information. Former DNI James Clapper has denied there were any Title III wiretap warrants issued. James Clapper is correct.
♦Here’s where the verbiage used by media doesn’t match with what was occurring. The DOJ and FBI didn’t use Title III wiretaps, because the current system of NSA intercepting and collecting all electronic data is already one big global wiretap.
The DOJ National Security Division and FBI Counterintelligence Division worked around the need for Title III wiretap warrants by using FISA-702 “Queries” to identify their targeted intercepts. FISA-702(16)(17) “Queries” work around the need for domestic Title III wiretap warrants by looking at the intersection of “foreign” contacts with U.S. individuals. Some refer to this approach as “reverse targeting”.
When the investigator at DOJ or FBI, the system ‘user’, interfaces with the NSA data-hub, they use the process of FISA “Queries” to identify their target. If they are picking up a U.S. citizen the 702 part comes in. FISA-702 is ‘incidental collection’ of U.S. individuals.
FISA Example: Where is foreign person “Natalia Veselnitskya‘s” cell phone? (input phone number)…
Oh, she’s in Trump Tower,… OK, great.
FISA-702 Query “all ip addresses and cell phone communication within Trump Tower”.
Review data, fill out FISA query authorization form explaining the reason for the FISA second query. Easy peasy, legal. That query then becomes a valid “FISA warrant”, but “Warrant” is really a misnomer based on traditional lingo.
The second search is actually a legally approved FISA-702 “query”, not really a “warrant”; the FISA-702 (U.S. individual or entity) search query (form required) is a result of a valid search query upon a foreign actor (no form required). The 702 authorization form is what people mistakenly refer to as the “warrant”.
See how that works?
[Also remember all FISA-702 approvals can be given retroactively. The operator doesn’t necessarily need to request approval in advance to search; only to make the search results legal, and then proceed to “unmasking”.]
The DATA already exists. The DOJ/FBI user is only seeking to find legal ways to explore the existing data using foreign entities to locate what they really want; which is domestic surveillance of a U.S. individual or group, perhaps only loosely connected to the foreign subject or entity.
In the example above, Trump Tower ip addresses are now authorized for further and future exploration by the existence of the legally authorized FISA-702 search “Query”. Ms. Veselnitskya leaves the building, but the FISA search query remains upon the U.S. ip addresses and U.S. cell phone numbers present while she was there. Now the DOJ and FBI investigator is just reviewing any additional and ongoing uses of the technology attached to the ip and phone communications. The surveillance has begun.
That’s an example of using FISA-702 to conduct surveillance upon Trump transition officials via their computers and cell phones. That’s appears to be what was happening.
♦SECOND QUESTION. Why would the Trump Transition Team leaving Trump Tower to Bedminister New Jersey stop the FISA-702 surveillance?
Now that you understand how the FISA-702 was conducted, you can see you only need to break the chain of contact. The Bedminister NJ ip addresses and cell towers are not authorized under the previous FISA-702 “Query”. That’s why moving everything to NJ creates new ip addresses, new cell towers, etc. Moving breaks the surveillance chain.
♦THIRD QUESTION. Why was judge Contreras recused from the Flynn case?
Two reasons – each likely. First, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras is a FISA judge. He might have approved one of the FISA-702 search “Queries”, not wiretaps, the results of which might later have been used as evidence against Mike Flynn.
Second, simply because he is a FISC judge Contreras was on the court when NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers informed the full FISA Court of the unlawful 2016 FISA-702(16)(17) queries; and by extension Contreras has no way of knowing if the person in his court is there as an outcome of one of those unlawful queries.