U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington in 2012.


Diego M. Radzinsky/Presse Associée

Officials of the “Resistance” who never…

Donald Trump

when our president finally performed a useful public service. Together with the judges of the U.S. Court of Oversight of Foreign Intelligence, they showed all Americans how easy it is to use the tools of federal espionage against domestic adversaries.

Even after the Obama-appointed Justice Department inspector general found “at least 17 significant errors or omissions” in a series of approved applications for surveillance warrants to spy on a Trump associate.

Carter Page.

– and even after the criminal conviction of an FBI lawyer who faked an email to pretend that Patriot Page had never helped the U.S. intelligence community – FISA judges have so far refused to impose significant penalties on officials who misled them.

Matt Zapotoski of The Washington Post reports:

A former FBI lawyer who admitted to writing an email that other officials quoted to justify the secret surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser was sentenced Friday to 12 months probation without being put behind bars. Prosecutors asked 38-year-old Kevin Clinesmith for several months in prison for his crime, while Clinesmith’s lawyers said probation would have been more appropriate. Clinesmith pleaded guilty last summer to altering an email used by a colleague to draft a statement about the secret surveillance of Trump’s former campaign adviser, Carter Page … U.S. District Judge

James E. Boasberg

stated that Clinesmith’s conduct undermines the integrity of the Foreign Intelligence Review Court, which upheld the FBI’s false claims regarding Page’s observation. “Courts across the country rely on the government’s statements and expect them to be accurate,” Boasberg said.

But if the perception of Trump’s staff is wrong, don’t expect Judge Boasberg to do anything about it. It was this horrific abuse of the Beltway’s power that led voters to elect Trump in the first place.

Brooke Singman and Jake Gibson of Fox News have more to say about today’s decision:

Washington District Judge James Boasberg said Friday during the hearing that Clinesmith had lost his job and was in the eye of the storm in the media.

Is Judge Boasberg joking when he says the convict was subjected to some kind of media circus? Readers who wonder how often Clinesmith is followed by a group of photojournalists will note that rare stories about her are usually illustrated by an official photograph taken within the year. A few months after her crimes were detailed by the Inspector General of Justice, the story was almost completely glossed over in the mainstream media.

Byron Tau magazine provides additional coverage of the judge’s decision to grant clemency:

“Mr. Clinesmith lost his job in public service that gave meaning to his life,” Judge Boasberg said.

The judge charged with punishing a lawyer who helped the FBI abuse its power to attack a political campaign and then the presidency with a conspiracy that poisoned our politics for years is concerned about a criminal’s personal search for meaning? Instead of giving community service, perhaps Judge Boasberg should have ordered Clinesmith to live, laugh and love.

On the other hand, if the judge had at least wanted to pretend to be concerned with this or that crime directly related to our democratic process, he could have taken a moment to consider the meaning of Clinesmith’s words about “lunatics” supporting Mr. Trump and “resistance” to the government.

As for the victim in this case, Carter Page faced a media hurricane. Pete Williams of NBC News:

Page himself addressed the judge before the sentencing, saying that revelations that he was under investigation had led to death threats. “This scandal and the associated lies led me to adopt the lifestyle of an international fugitive for years,” Page said during a videoconference hearing on the pandemic. “I often felt like I had no life at all. All of my family members have been severely affected. James Boasberg, federal district judge, said that although Clinesmith’s actions were serious, the arrest warrant application likely would have been approved even without his false statement. Boasberg is also the chairman of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The judge is wrong to suggest that Mr. Boasberg did not even bother to read the inspector general’s report. There is a reason why Clinesmith forged the infamous email, and it was only after he forged it that another official signed the latest extension of the surveillance warrant.

Three years ago, this column posed the question:

Could it be that the level of evidence to obtain a federal warrant allowing the government to spy on a party no longer in power is significantly lower than that of a professional news outlet? It seems that either the Obama administration has been guilty of historic abuse, or the FISA court cannot be trusted to protect our freedoms, or both.

We now know that the answer is both. Until the FISA decision is overturned, no American freedom will be safe.


Herr Freeman is de co-auteur van The Price: Trump, China and the American Renaissance.


Follow James Freeman on Twitter and Talk.

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