Since its creation in the security- and secrecy-obsessed days following the attacks of 9/11, the FISA court has operated in the dark, largely without public oversight or accountability. And it’s safe to presume that former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page is far from the first individual to become a target for government surveillance based on the loosey-goosey standards of probable cause in which the court specializes. As detailed in a just-released Justice Department Inspector General’s report, the court is in serious need of reform if not elimination.
It is not, however, a smoking gun that renders null-and-void the FBI’s investigation into Russian efforts to aid Trump’s election in 2016, no matter how desperate the claims by Trump and his Republican enablers in congress. As described in the IG’s report, the probe began and continued for sound reasons of national security, with the FISA court warrants being mistakes made along the way. Politics being politics, though, the incident is the latest straw being grasped by a GOP determined to get their dear leader off the impeachment hook.