A federal judge troubled by a lack of probable cause for the FBI’s spying on Carter Page tossed his lawsuit.
U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich opined the FBI’s conduct surrounding their FISA warrant applications was “deeply troubling.” He conceded the feds lacked probable cause for two of their warrants. One of those stemmed from unlawful conduct by FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith, who was busted by Special Counsel John Durham.
The Epoch Times further reported:
U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich issued the ruling on Thursday stating that Page, who was an informal presidential campaign adviser to Trump in 2016, cannot sue the FBI or other former officials involved in the $75 million lawsuit (pdf).
Page filed the suit in 2020 against the FBI, the Justice Department, and multiple former FBI officials for damages stemming from what he called the “unlawful spying” against him over the now disproven allegations that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia.
In the lawsuit, Page accused the federal agencies and ex-officials of violating his constitutional rights and other legal rights by unlawfully surveilling him, noting that the “defendants’ unjustified and illegal actions (including violations of federal criminal law)” had “violated federal statutes enacted to prevent unlawful spying on United States persons, as well as the Constitution.”
Defendants listed in the lawsuit included former FBI director James Comey, former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former top counterintelligence official Peter Strzok, and former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith.
Clinesmith pleaded guilty in 2020 to doctoring an email from the CIA to make it appear as if Page was not an agency asset, without disclosing that Page was an approved operational contact for the CIA who reported on his interactions with Russian intelligence officers.
The email was used to obtain spy warrants to surveil Page.
Friedrich noted that the “FBI’s conduct in preparing the FISA warrant applications to electronically surveil Page was deeply troubling” and that the government itself has “conceded that it lacked probable cause for two of the warrants.”
However, Friedrich, a Trump appointee, ruled that the lawsuit be thrown out because Page had “brought no actionable claim against any individual defendant or against the United States.”
“In part, that is because Page faces at least three statutory roadblocks. First, Congress has not created a private right of action against those who prepare false or misleading FISA applications,” the judge wrote, noting that “both the plain language and the structure of FISA make clear that civil liability under 50 U.S.C. § 1810 attaches only to those who conduct or perform electronic surveillance.”
Secondly, the judge noted that Congress has “not provided for damages claims against federal officers for constitutional violations stemming from unlawful electronic surveillance in the national security context,” and thirdly, “Congress has not waived the United States’s sovereign immunity for this kind of claim.”
The FBI obtained warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to electronically surveil Page as part of its investigation into the alleged connection between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. At the time, the FISA warrant application described Page as an agent of Russia, although he was not charged with any crime.
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