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Developing: FBI Under Fire for “Widespread” Spying on Americans

Sekulow Radio Show / Jay Sekulow & Jordan Sekulow
The Truth Network Radio
May 5, 2021 1:00 pm

Developing: FBI Under Fire for “Widespread” Spying on Americans

Sekulow Radio Show / Jay Sekulow & Jordan Sekulow

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May 5, 2021 1:00 pm

Developing right now, the FBI is under fire for the "widespread" surveillance of Americans. A declassified opinion from the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court states that the FBI "has been seriously and systematically abusing its warrantless electronic surveillance authority." Jay, Jordan, and the rest of the Sekulow team discuss the details of these violations of the civil liberties of American citizens.

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Developing now, the FBI under fire for widespread surveillance of American citizens. Live from Washington, D.C., Sekulow Live. Phone lines are open for your questions right now.

Call 1-800-684-3110. And now, your host, Jordan Sekulow. Welcome to Sekulow.

This is developing right now. According to a recently released opinion, now this is an opinion that was declassified from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. You know, you typically hear that called like the FISA Court.

It's really the FISC. The FBI has been seriously and systematically abusing its warrantless electronic surveillance authority, focusing on American citizens, even though the provision of the law that they are utilizing to conduct this surveillance is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, that's FISA. And the section of that law, let me just read it to you.

It's very, very brief. Who is supposed to, who is the FBI allowed to surveil or query under this program, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act? Authorization, not with other, not withstanding any other provision of law. The Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence may authorize jointly for a period of up to one year from the effective date of the authorization, the targeting of persons reasonably believed to be located, one, outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information.

So that's part two. So you have to be outside the U.S. and it's about foreign intelligence information. You may not intentionally target any person over the time, not just to be a U.S. citizen, but who is inside the U.S. Because when you're inside the U.S., you are then protected by the laws of the United States.

The problem here is this is an ongoing and, listen, the court's word were systematic, widespread violations of the civil liberties of American citizens. Now, we're gonna get into the details on this and what they were actually doing. And what they were actually doing was using 702 data for people that were signed up, for instance, for this, there's a civic group that's part of the FBI, it's their academy. They were using 702 database information for people that went to that. It's one thing, you know, people say, well, isn't that like a background check?

No, it's not like a background check. This is foreign intelligence information, but they shouldn't even be running them through that database. They have been warned on this. The FISA court has warned them on this. The FIS court has warned them on this. They even, and this court now that this opinion has been declassified says, well, we're gonna still allow it. We're gonna allow you to continue, but you gotta fix it because of COVID last year, we couldn't do proper oversight. That's a scary statement coming from our governmental leaders that because of COVID, they could not supervise the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications by the FIS court.

Harry, I've never heard of anything like that in my life. It is amazing and it raises a serious question or a series of serious questions including whether or not the FBI can read a clearly written statute, whether or not they can read their own rules. And there are a series of additional important questions. Did the FBI follow the law? Did it follow its own procedures? Did the FBI target foreign nationals located outside of the United States? Did the FBI minimize the names of American citizens as required? And did the FBI actually entrap American citizens intentionally? Those are the questions.

But the answer to that is, of course, yes. And they've been warned by the inspector general. They have been warned by the court, but you know, Wes, we only got seconds here, but they continue to do it. Anyway, this is the second year in a row that the FISA court has admonished the FBI. And like you said, it's especially damning in light of the fact that in 2019, Inspector General Horowitz pointed this out to begin with. And it still continues to this day. Now, Jordan, it's unbelievable.

We've got a lot to get into here. Yeah. I mean, we're talking about if you called in a tip to the FBI, they were running you through the system. The person calling in the tip.

You called it a tip about a crime. They asked you to do that. They were going to run you through the system and then surveil you.

And not just any system, the foreign intelligence database. Think about that as we go into a break. Yep. We'll take your phone calls. 1-800-684-3110 to talk to us on air. What do you think should happen to the FBI?

1-800-684-3110. We'll be right back. The challenges facing Americans are substantial at a time when our values, our freedoms, our constitutional rights are under attack. It's more important than ever to stand with the American Center for Law and Justice. For decades now, the ACLJ has been on the front lines protecting your freedoms, defending your rights in courts, in Congress, and in the public arena. And we have an exceptional track record of success.

But here's the bottom line. We could not do our work without your support. We remain committed to protecting your religious and constitutional freedoms.

That remains our top priority, especially now during these challenging times. The American Center for Law and Justice is on your side. If you're already a member, thank you. And if you're not, well, this is the perfect time to stand with us at ACLJ.org, where you can learn more about our life-changing work.

Become a member today. ACLJ.org. Only when a society can agree that the most vulnerable and voiceless deserve to be protected is there any hope for that culture to survive. And that's exactly what you are saying when you stand with the American Center for Law and Justice to defend the right to life. We've created a free, powerful publication offering a panoramic view of the ACLJ's battle for the unborn.

It's called Mission Life. It will show you how you are personally impacting the pro-life battle through your support. And the publication includes a look at all major ACLJ pro-life cases, how we're fighting for the rights of pro-life activists, the ramifications of Roe v. Wade 40 years later, play on parenthood's role in the abortion industry, and what Obamacare means to the pro-life movement. Discover the many ways your membership with the ACLJ is empowering the right to life. Request your free copy of Mission Life today online at ACLJ.org slash gift.

Welcome back to Secular. We are taking your phone calls to 1-800-684-3110. So you have, again, Congressman Jim Jordan, Congressman Andy Biggs, and they are writing to the FBI director. It's saying this, listen, in November 2020, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reported the FBI violated the querying standard following a Department of Justice audit of the government's compliance with the Section 702. That is the section, again, that allows the warrantless surveillance of non-American citizens not on US soil. That's what it actually allows. Let me read the title of the act for everybody, Jordan, and then finish up. It's called procedures for targeting certain persons outside the United States other than United States persons.

That's what it's designed for. And now Jordan is explaining that they've gone after civilians with this. They've gone after people that have signed up for the academies, the civilian academies. They have gone after victims of crimes that reported those crimes to the FBI.

They have then run them through this database. They said the targeting of Americans and using this query process was more pervasive than previous believed that the FBI official responsible for quote limited background investigations conducted over 100, this is just one official, conducted over 120 queries of Section 702 acquired data using names and other identifiers of individuals who requested to participate in an FBI Citizens Academy. So 120 people who said, I want to participate in this FBI outreach program to American citizens were run through the 702 query process like a foreign spy would be. Now, a foreign spy who's on US soil, still this process shouldn't apply to.

Of course not. But this is only supposed to apply to people who are foreign and overseas, so not on US territory. And they did this, one individual at the FBI ran 120 people's names through this database who are American citizens who were volunteering to attend an FBI program for Americans. Think about that, if that was just one individual.

Now let me take that further. We know the FBI is corrupted by politics. Jim Comey was horrendous. Kate McCabe, horrible, struck, disastrous people, the worst of the worst kind of human beings. They get power and they abuse it. I think that's the definition of the worst kind of public servant. Getting power and abusing it because you don't like someone's politics.

Getting power and abusing it just because you have the power, that's even a different step. And I believe the FBI is out of control. I think the names should be removed. I think every director should be fired.

I think the FISA court needs to no longer exist because I don't think this warrantless wiretapping should exist anymore. They've abused it. If they try to tell us, well, this will make America less safe, that's their fault. Not our fault, their fault. And they need to rebranding and redo.

It's been done before. That's why we opened up the Department of Homeland Security under the Bush years to rebrand some of the agencies that were under DOJ. Obviously, I think also the Department of Justice can't handle the FBI. The fact that it's like a deputy agency within, if this is as powerful as it is, and we know it is, he needs to stand alone and needs a new name and needs to get away from the days of being associated with another abuser of American data, which is Hoover. Yeah.

The fact that the name is on the wall tells you a lot about the organization. Here's the real question you have to ask yourself in a situation like this. And that is, is this institution capable of self-correcting or taking it a step further? Is it capable of correcting itself even under court supervision? And what continuously appears to be the case, the answer to that, Wes, is no, it can't. It cannot please itself.

That's obvious. And what we basically have is a law enforcement agency that acts as if they're above the law. And you go back to just the history of the last three years with the court trying to get the FBI to change their policies and procedures and practices. In 2018, this presiding judge, Busberg, ruled that the FBI's procedures were inadequate to meet Fourth Amendment privacy standards. He required them to put it in writing.

How do you do this? And the next year, 2019, the same judge scolded them for improperly searching people's records. For example, in 2019, in August, an FBI analyst made a query for thousands of U.S. citizens.

Only seven of them had a connection to an investigation. But they can't be making these queries. Look, the law is clear. This is for non-United States persons outside the United States. So my questions, I've got two questions. One is, I think what Jordan said, we should clip and send out all our social media applications because that was a very important statement. But then you've got two members of Congress, unfortunately, it's a minority party. So the question is going to be, is there going to be any action on this at all?

Well, there certainly better be, Jay. And look, I mean, I think the question that Jordan asked is the one that they're asking as well, which is how in the world can we continue to reauthorize this? And quite frankly, Jay, I'm not sure that there's going to be a patience to let the current authorization, which runs through the end of 2023 expire because you just can't let this continue.

Look, I would put it this way. I mean, here's the problem, the court did let it continue and they acknowledged all these problems, said we couldn't really check last year because of COVID, which I can't even believe they put that in writing. That the United States, I mean, COVID is a serious problem.

No one's doubting that. That the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and the FBI could not determine whether they were following the appropriate procedures under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act because of COVID. Okay, that's not the way it works in a constitutional republic.

Go ahead and finish up, both of you. Well, it's clear beyond any doubt, Jay, that they are not capable of course correction. In my view, this takes it to a whole new level. We've known conclusively that they were not capable of refraining from gathering information on people, but they shouldn't. But Jay, once they have that information, when it is used against people who are trying to help them solve a crime or were a victim of a crime and those people are US citizens, Jay, the court has exceeded its use. So it's not just the court because you can still get warrants through the regular US district court system where you actually get advocates on both sides and you get to argue it. I'm kind of done with the star chamber, Harry. I think that these private courts where you have one side represented, the other side is not represented.

I'm not sure. I think the usefulness of that is probably, and I was a supporter of the FISA court, but the abuse that I witnessed in representing the President, the 45th President of the United States and continue today to see in this order that is just released from the FISA court tells me that it's like the IRS. We said they were institutionally incapable of self-correcting. So they had to dismantle the whole tax exempt division to get it back into some kind of functioning thing. I think the FBI, what Jordan said is absolutely right, totally out of control.

Absolutely. And it raises this question, has Peter Strzok, has Lisa Page, has James Comey been rehired? And somehow the FBI has kept it a secret because what we have right before our own eyes is a swamp and this swamp needs to be cleaned up. And so now we have basically the multiplication of deep state swamp creatures who continue to violate the fourth amendment of the constitution. They engage in warrantless searches in violation, direct violations of the law.

Then take it a step further. They have been warned repeatedly by the office of inspector general within DOJ. They have been warned by the FISA court and even the FBI director himself, Christopher Ray said this. In December, the inspector general's office released its report on the 2016 crossfire hurricane investigation and certain related FISA applications. The failures highlighted in that report are unacceptable.

Period. They don't reflect who the FBI is in an institution and they cannot be repeated. Well, apparently it does because it has been repeated and they were doing that against a Presidential nominee. At that point, Presidential candidate crossfire hurricane was the operation targeting the Trump campaign.

Remember that. Jordan and I on this table among some of our other colleagues handled a lot of this. We saw the abuse firsthand. I could tell you stories that would have your hair stand up, what these agencies were doing, including the lawyers. It was outrageous what was going on and is going on now. And I'm sorry, it's not acceptable to me that the FISA court says this is all terrible, but we're going to approve it because well, COVID and maybe you've fixed the problem, but we're going to call COVID and maybe you've fixed some of this. So we're looking right now at what kind of legal action, Jordan, we can take at the ACLJ. We're filing a suit, I think today on another matter. And we're looking at what legal action the ACLJ could take to find out what is going on here, why this court is still operating this way and letting the FBI operate this way. Yeah, it's still always letting them off the hook. Reauthorizing the program.

You're horrible. You ran in one instance, you took people who were going to an FBI community outreach program and ran all 123 of them through this process, which is illegal because it's only for foreigners who are overseas. So clearly if they were going to your field office class, there was no legal authorization.

Now, why does that person still have a job? Why weren't we told at least by the FBI and their response filing that that person had been terminated? Not just like a slap on the wrist, terminated.

Or is this just normal operating practice? That's what scares me, that the FBI has gone to normal operating practice where everybody gets queried through this program. And that leads to, again, for me to believe that in an age where we're all getting a little sick of government interference, how about we abolish the FBI, come up with a new organization that carries out the functions it should without these secret courts. No secret courts in the United States of America.

How about that? We'll be right back on Sekulow. Only when a society can agree that the most vulnerable and voiceless deserve to be protected is there any hope for that culture to survive. And that's exactly what you are saying when you stand with the American Center for Law and Justice to defend the right to life. We've created a free, powerful publication offering a panoramic view of the ACLJ's battle for the unborn.

It's called Mission Life. It will show you how you are personally impacting the pro-life battle through your support. And the publication includes a look at all major ACLJ pro-life cases, how we're fighting for the rights of pro-life activists, the ramifications of Roe v. Wade 40 years later, a play on parenthood's role in the abortion industry, and what Obamacare means to the pro-life movement. Discover the many ways your membership with the ACLJ is empowering the right to life.

Request your free copy of Mission Life today online at ACLJ.org slash gift. The challenges facing Americans are substantial at a time when our values, our freedoms, our constitutional rights are under attack. It's more important than ever to stand with the American Center for Law and Justice. For decades now, the ACLJ has been on the front lines protecting your freedoms, defending your rights in courts, in Congress, and in the public arena.

And we have an exceptional track record of success. But here's the bottom line, we could not do our work without your support. We remain committed to protecting your religious and constitutional freedoms.

That remains our top priority, especially now during these challenging times. The American Center for Law and Justice is on your side. If you're already a member, thank you. And if you're not, well, this is the perfect time to stand with us at ACLJ.org, where you can learn more about our life-changing work. Become a member today. ACLJ.org. So let's say you decide to go to the FBI Citizens Academy.

This is what it is. The Citizens Academy programs are engaging six to eight week programs that give business, religious, civic, and community leaders an inside look at the FBI. Classes meet in the evenings at FBI field offices around the country. The mission of the FBI Citizens Academies is to foster a greater understanding of the role that the federal law enforcement in the community through frank discussion and education. Candidates are nominated by FBI employees, former Citizens Academy graduates, and community leaders.

And guess what? 120 of those people by one FBI agent were put through a foreign intelligence surveillance query, something that a judge didn't approve, a warrantless investigation. Those were people that were nominated or chosen by the FBI as American citizens to attend one of their own programs. This wasn't running a background check to make sure everybody that was coming into the building was okay. That's different. We're talking about law enforcement queries that go way past background checks, that pick up metadata, that pick up every phone call you've made, every text message you've sent.

Who are you sending it to? And it is, we already knew it was being abused. But if they will go after the President of the United States and they'll go after top White House officials, top executive branch officials, and they did and abused this, then why don't you think they're going to go after you? Why would they be worried about going after you? So I think that's why as a country, I mean, have they done a great job at preventing mass shootings?

No. Have they done a great job? When the writing's on the wall, why do they always know those guys who commit the mass shootings, but they didn't put them through the right surveillance, but they put the 120 people who were nominated for the program that they're running through a foreign intelligence surveillance? And unfortunately, the FISA court really let them get away with it.

And here's my question to you. We've got Jim Jordan now on top of this and the ranking member of the committee, and you've got a very detailed letter about the abuse. We've got the opinion about the abuse, but what really can happen up at Congress? I mean, the letter, in the letter, Jim Jordan and Andy Biggs asked the FBI director, Chris Wade, to please explain why almost a year after the OIG's report about FISA abuse, the FISC found the FBI still abusing its warrantless surveillance authority. Please provide detailed accounts of every instance since December 2019 in which the FBI has queried, assessed, or otherwise used information obtained pursuant to Section 702 for purposes unrelated to national security. I feel like making our own request, by the way, turning this into a Freedom of Immigration Act request to the FBI, which they'll deny, will go to court over. Please explain what actions you've taken in the wake of this November 2020 memorandum preventing the FBI from using 702 authorities to surveil, investigate, or otherwise examine U.S. citizen. And for the second time, I'm going to read the headline of, or the title of the code, which is the Section 702 that we talk about. It's codified in Section 50 USC 1881. Procedures for targeting certain persons outside the United States other than United States persons. So what is, we know what's going on here.

We know the FISA court, unfortunately, is letting them get away with it using COVID as an excuse, which is frankly pathetic. We know Christopher Wray said it was inappropriate. It should never happen again. It did. It does.

It is. Congress does what here? Well, first of all, as we look at making that query, Jay, one of the exceptions they will not be able to use is that it's related to national security because clearly these requests, these queries against the data were not related to national security. Jay, I think the second bullet from that letter that you read is the important one here. Jim Jordan and Andy Biggs are asking for every instance that a query was made against this FISA gathered intel since December of 2019 that was not related to national security. Jay, every single one of those queries would have been in violation of the authorizing statute. So they should get that information. But look, even the information we have in front of us, I think what Congress should do, Jay, is refuse to reauthorize it. And if you need a program like this, you're going to have to rebuild it from the ground up.

And I can go a step further, Harry. I think right now it's dangerous. I mean, I think this is a dangerous program, a dangerous procedure. The FBI is running roughshod on the ground up. Roughshod over the law, including due process. The FISA court acknowledges the problem, yet doesn't, but allows it to continue. So I think this is a systematic, systemic problem that has to be handled on a different basis, like we did with the IRS. I think that is true, but I also think that Congress unfortunately has emasculated itself and allowed itself essentially to be cowed by the FBI on grounds of national security. We now know beyond question that the FBI cannot cure itself. I think it is systematically corrupt with respect to the application of the Fourth Amendment. I also think in this particular instance, the court has allowed itself to be emasculated.

Why? Because it's saying that we cannot engage in sufficient oversight because of a pandemic. During a pandemic, the Fourth Amendment is not suspended. And so I think at the end of the day, we need to encourage the American people to rise up legally and peacefully and ask Congress to do its job. Congress has not done its job for decades. I think what Jordan said, Wes, is everybody in this panel in this studio is legally trained. And FAN, of course, has been doing government affairs for decades now, so effectively legally trained too.

Here's the truth. They have a system, they have a law, they're abusing it systematically. The IRS was doing that also, systematically abusing conservative organizations. Here, they're abusing civilians. They're taking data gathered through a law that does not apply to these citizens and using it, and they consistently do it despite being warned by the FISA court to not do it because they know the FISA court at the end of the day, Wes, isn't going to stop it.

Exactly. What we have is the nation's premier law enforcement agency breaking the law. And what we discovered is this Horowitz report, the IG in 2019, the FBI has continued even more so to violate this law. You look back at that report from Horowitz, he said at the time there were 17 significant errors of omission.

What is that? That's deceiving the court. And of 51 unsupported factual assertions. What is an unsupported factual assertion?

It's a lie. The FBI lied to the FISA court. They misled the FISA court. The FBI had a lawyer that changed an email and submitted that as an affidavit to the FBI, and this court allows it unfortunately to continue like this.

I think you're right. Well, I think this court, it's a powerless court that is involved with a bunch of actors who all know each other. It's secret only from everyday Americans. It is not secret to the circuit court judges who serve on it and are appointed by the chief justice. And I think that the sense that we have a secret court in America in 2021 is kind of hair raising.

Most people don't understand it. That's how they like it. They don't like this attention, but yet every time there's been attention on them, it's been proven that they are committing widespread violations of their own rules. They are violating the constitutional rights of Americans and violating the laws that are in place even to protect non-citizens of this country when they're in the United States. So I think it's time to abolish the FBI and abolish the foreign intelligence surveillance court.

They've had their chances. We do need a law enforcement agency, but sometimes your name is too sullied, is wrong. The people that were running it and the bureaucrats at the top, Christopher Wray is no better than anybody else who's run the FBI, is no better than Comey. They're doing the same thing over and over again. And they are political actors, which makes it just like the IRS targeting, it's the worst. When bureaucrats and law enforcement agents become politicians, they are the worst of the worst.

We'll be back in the second half hour coming up. For decades now, the ACLJ has been on the front lines, protecting your freedoms, defending your rights in courts, in Congress, and in the public arena. The American Center for Law and Justice is on your side. If you're already a member, thank you. And if you're not, well, this is the perfect time to stand with us at ACLJ.org, where you can learn more about our life changing work.

Become a member today, ACLJ.org. Live from Washington, D.C., Sekulow Live. And now your host, Jordan Sekulow. Welcome back to Sekulow.

We are taking your phone calls to 1-800-684-3110. Just to reset for a second, so what we're talking about here is that we've got a declassified FISA court order really chastising the FBI for its use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, FISA, against American citizens, a process where, in just one case, they saw an agent who ran 120 Americans through the system who had been nominated to attend the FBI's Citizens Academy. So they didn't do a background check on them. Or this has become the de facto way they do background checks, which would be even more scary. Well, it does sound like it because they do this to janitors also. So staff, maintenance staff that came into their office were being run through this system. Not a regular background check of criminal records and past, but they were running the person who comes in to change the light bulb was going through a FISA review, like Carter Page.

You know who warned about this years ago? I don't know if many people remember a Congressman from Georgia, Bob Barr. He was a former US attorney. He was a Congressman from Georgia. I've been on this program probably back in the 90s and early 2000s. He was on this program a lot.

We worked with him a lot. He warned that when you have a surveillance state that has no checks and you purportedly have a court that's checking them, but they can't function because they had COVID. So we know there are all these problems, but there's nothing we can do about it. This sets up, sets the stage for abuse. And this abuse is out of control. It's no different than the IRS. The question here is, I go to fan on the congressional fix.

Is there, I mean, obviously I think it's bigger than that. I think we're going to have to take some legal action here, but then looking at it from your perspective, but looking at it from the perspective of someone that deals with Congress, knowing the makeup of the Congress right now, I know it's very close. What happens here? Well, the reason that the only fix is abolishment and rebuilding Jay is because the underlying statute that actually authorizes this has the limitations that you're talking about in it. So Congress initially said you cannot do this and they're doing it anyway. So Jay, if Congress wants to be taken seriously, I go back to what Harry talked about just a minute ago. They said, he said that they've abdicated their authority. Well, if they don't enforce what they wrote and was signed into law as recently as 2018 was the last reauthorization, then he's absolutely correct.

They have no worth there. Now, the likelihood of something changing before the authorization comes up in 2023, Jay, that would only happen if the American people do again, what Harry said, rise up and insist on it. That's the only way it's going to happen, Jay. Yeah.

I think, look, I think the reality, I agree. I think the problem here is systemic and it's an institutional problem, Harry. That's what I'm concerned with here. Just like the IRS situation, we had to go to court against the IRS.

This is different. I mean, citizens could claim abuse here. I mean, individual citizens may have claims, but we got to get to the bottom of this and we'll figure out our way and the Congress is trying to do it too, but this is systematic.

Absolutely. And it's very, very serious. We have set the stage for either soft or hard totalitarianism.

And I think it's very, very important to keep that in mind because we also live in an era wherein the so-called cancel culture is rising. Therefore, individuals are being selected as targets arbitrarily and capriciously, for instance, by the FBI and other officials. And so I think Congress, as I've indicated before, has neutered itself. It's emasculated itself, but I think there is an additional solution to put on the table and that is to create a private right of action by citizens when and if their constitutional rights have been violated. And here I am not talking simply about a civil action.

In some jurisdictions, private citizens can bring a privately financed criminal action against officials who violate the law. And I think that is what's necessary so long as we continue this particular regime. You know, Jordan, they just continue to ignore what the court has said since 2019. They have noted this and they don't do anything.

And we've got 10 seconds. And the court doesn't force them to do anything. Of course not.

It's a slap on the wrist. They keep violating our rights. And by the way, are they really protecting us? The challenges facing Americans are substantial at a time when our values, our freedoms, our constitutional rights are under attack. It's more important than ever to stand with the American Center for Law and Justice. For decades now, the ACLJ has been on the front lines protecting your freedoms, defending your rights in courts, in Congress, and in the public arena. And we have an exceptional track record of success.

But here's the bottom line. We could not do our work without your support. We remain committed to protecting your religious and constitutional freedoms.

That remains our top priority, especially now during these challenging times. The American Center for Law and Justice is on your side. If you're already a member, thank you. And if you're not, well, this is the perfect time to stand with us at ACLJ.org, where you can learn more about our life changing work.

Become a member today. ACLJ.org. Only when a society can agree that the most vulnerable and voiceless deserve to be protected is there any hope for that culture to survive. And that's exactly what you are saying when you stand with the American Center for Law and Justice to defend the right to life. We've created a free, powerful publication offering a panoramic view of the ACLJ's battle for the unborn.

It's called Mission Life. It will show you how you are personally impacting the pro-life battle through your support. And the publication includes a look at all major ACLJ pro-life cases, how we're fighting for the rights of pro-life activists, the ramifications of Roe v. Wade 40 years later, a play on parenthood's role in the abortion industry, and what Obamacare means to the pro-life movement.

Discover the many ways your membership with the ACLJ is empowering the right to life. Request your free copy of Mission Life today online at ACLJ.org slash gift. Go to some phone calls to 1-800-684-3110. If you want to talk to us on air, 1-800-684-3110, you can call us now. Jerry's calling from Rhode Island on line one. Hey, Jerry, welcome to Jay Sekul. You're on the air.

Hello, team. We started this discussion four years ago talking about the seventh floor. We could defend a few of them. Now we can't, and they're using COVID.

Some of these violations happened before COVID, lack of supervision, they're not doing their job, non-season, but yet we can let somebody like Fang Fangs flip in. You're correct. And let me have Wes Smith break down for you exactly, Jerry, how this works, okay? Because this data is not what you think it is. It's much deeper. I mean, it's not just like general surveillance. Who did you talk to? Who's your neighbor? Much deeper was.

Oh, yeah. This is not a routine background check that the FBI does. All of this raw data, the surveillance itself is not even conducted by the FBI. It's conducted by the National Security Agency, the NSA. They gather all the information. Once they gather it, there are only three entities that have access to it. And that's the CIA, the National Counterterrorism Task Center, and the FBI. But of those three, the FBI is the only one of those that is a law enforcement agency. They can arrest you or they can raid your home at six o'clock in the morning.

And they have every text message, every email, and every phone call, the raw data of everything you've ever done. So, I mean, you got to understand the scope and nature of what we're talking about here. So, when the FISA Court says there's been these abuses and all these people were surveilled, it wasn't just like, you know, who do you work for?

And they had no basis to do it. And the FISA Court, and this is what I don't understand, says that what they did is widespread, said it's a problem, and yet, and yet does nothing, does nothing to correct it, saying, well, we'll give them another pass. I'm done with the, I'm with Jordan. I'm done with the pass. I'm done with the secret courts in the United States. It doesn't work, obviously.

Okay. Obviously, we had a whole Presidential attempt to take down because of what was going on in the FISA courts. And they felt like they were abused and they have misrepresentations. But who was held accountable?

The one lawyer that changed the video. Well, I think this too is that the American people, the American people can't trust these, this kind of an entity. It's not doing, its job is domestic. It's not the CIA. And I think the FBI became like the CIA. That is, that is, the CIA is when you start getting into much grayer areas of the law. But they also don't have law enforcement ability.

They can't come arrest you like you're talking about. CIA surveillance often, most of the time, can't be used in court. So it's used to protect America as a country and its citizens. It's not used to prosecute Americans. The FBI, on the other hand, is a gatherer of facts for prosecutors.

And yet they are acting like the CIA at home. And that's when you get to the police state and you have to wonder if the court will never stop them. So if you go back to the FISA court for the third time and they actually didn't give you your warrant, they'll give it to you on the third time. You just got to add a little bit more info.

Of course, not suspicious that possibly you don't end up being totally invalid, totally made up, totally discredited. And the court says, oh, we got abused, but we'll let you do it again. But I think the culture there, Christopher Wray is a good example.

He comes out, he's not from that culture and he gets sucked right into it. And he defends him. They defend the institution. It's just like those, we were dealing with these chief counsels of the IRS or the commissioners of the IRS. That's where I say, I go back here and say, it's really not, they're really not institutionally capable of self-correcting here.

I think that's precisely correct. And so one of the first questions is the one that you have addressed, Ajay, will the courts stop the FBI? And I think the answer is no.

Why? Because I think the court enjoys the power, even though the power means that there will be violations of the fourth amendment. So if the court likes the power, then there basically is no one who is stopping the FBI from doing what? Engaging in selective investigations and selective prosecutions. That is a threat to our democracy. So I think another idea that I've come up with is that maybe we should hold the FBI director personally responsible, personally liable for every single violation of the FISA law. Because up to this point in time, nothing has stopped the FBI from engaging in arbitrary and capricious misbehavior. I know I completely agree with Harry and Jordan on this. And I know Wes shares the same concerns. This is an out of control bureaucracy. It really is. This leadership adrift.

Yeah. And they've gone so far from the intent of the law, which actually goes back to 1978 and then section 702 in 2008. It was supposed to be related to national security. If it's not related to national security, they couldn't go there. Also, it could not be spying on a US citizen. And if the citizen was incidentally caught up, you protect their identity. And so originally this law was put in place in issues of national security.

If the agencies had to act quickly, almost in an emergent situation, you could not go through the regular process. You went to the FISA court. Now they're using it over and over thousands of times routinely. I think the whole FISA court system is almost like a joke. Now listen to what Jim Jordan said, drawn the analysis to the IRS.

This is important. Ten years ago, the IRS was targeting people who, conservatives, people who view your show. Five years ago, as you pointed out, the FBI abused the FISA process to target President Trump's campaign to spy on President Trump and his campaign. And now we find out there is widespread abuse in the FISA process.

Yeah. I mean, it's going to take a lot more as we all knew. Four years was not enough time to drain the entire swamp.

In fact, all we saw was it kind of festering to the top. We saw the worst of the worst from the IRS to the FBI targeting of Americans, this targeting of Americans over and over again. But if you look back historically, these agencies have had trouble with this.

And that's because I think they're human beings. So to put them in this kind of massive amount of power, but to say, you know what, when you walk through these walls, we're going to give you all this power, but put your politics aside in a place like Washington, DC, where you only get promotions because of politics. And you only move up because of political victories wins losses. I mean, the bureaucracy, though they're not political appointees, they get their jobs from an elected Congress. They get their promotions from an elected Congress. So no, they're not put in by the President themselves, but they, again, they exist because of Washington. They exist because of politics. And they have shown that because of human nature alone, they shouldn't have this power. And there's not enough checks in the world to give them this power. It doesn't matter if you have a secret court, it doesn't matter.

Holding anybody responsible, they don't get, you know, the worst they get is fired without the pension. Remember John Durham? Remember the Durham report? He's still around, right?

He's still employed, right? So 10 years from now, we'll know what abuses took place then. What other abuses? Because we already know what happened to Carter Page. Right.

I mean, this is where it's ridiculous. Because too many of those individuals, they're all part of the same system. The US attorneys, they use the FBI FO to prosecute. So they're not going to be anti FBI. And really, in their mind, they hope they could get rid of some bad apples. The problem is you see these reports, you realize it's not all seventh floor Washington DC.

It's field offices all over the place. Obviously, DC not doing enough. And if they were, again, I just feel like you see a lot of FBI failings in the real law enforcement world. And it's a time where I think America can probably say we shouldn't have a secret court. That no one can, it has no accountability. And it never holds the institution they're supposed to be looking at accountable. So there's no accountability either way. Even when they say there's a violation, which they acknowledge here. I mean, if you went to the Citizen Academy, your name is drawn into a FISA court 702 database that's used for foreign intelligence surveillance.

And this is how bad this was. The court acknowledged that they did it. The FBI, of course, had to acknowledge they did it. The court said it's wrong. The FBI says it's wrong.

And what do they get? A reauthorization to do it again. Oh, don't do that particular thing, but we're going to reauthorize the court to engage in its activities.

How many times do you do this? And then you finally say, like Jordan said, in the year 2021 in the United States of America, enough's enough. No secret courts anymore. No courts with no lawyers on the other side. Have to have lawyers on the other side. Have to know what's going on. You know what? If they didn't want to do an individual lawyer, this is what I never understood.

Harry, I know we only got a minute and a half here. They didn't want to notify the target of the investigation, but shouldn't have they at least then appointed like a ProPublica representative, someone that was representing the interest of that person, even though they didn't know they were being targeted. Absolutely. But they never did that. They could have appointed effectively a guardian ad litem to protect the interest of the subject of the investigation. But I think both the court and the FBI at the end of the day are lazy. They love authoritarianism. They love secret courts.

They love abusing power. And I think that fundamentally is the problem. So let me tell you, at the ACLJ, we're instructing our team, our FOIA team, which is growing as you can imagine, and we'll continue to look into this to see what angles we can take.

And we only got 30 seconds here, but that's an important part of this. We can take some action here to find out what's going on, who's hiding the ball, so to speak. We can take action. And by the way, Jay, we did recommend what you just did to Congress the last time around. They didn't follow through. They should have. Yeah, we did recommend it and they did not.

All right, we're going to be back from the break in just a minute. Yeah, check out ACLJ.org. As always, we'll tell you your phone call is 1-800-684-3110. of the ACLJ's Battle for the Unborn.

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Become a member today, ACLJ.org. All right, folks, welcome back to SECU. We're taking your phone calls 1-800-684-312. Yeah, we will. Let's go to a Zelda in Minnesota line two.

Hey, Zelda. Hi, I just wanted to thank you. I listen to you daily and I appreciate ACLJ and keeping us informed and standing up for the truth. And I just wanted to encourage people to give even small amounts what you can't afford, that it all adds up.

I'm retired and I do contribute as I am able. I think this is so important. Look, we appreciate it. Zelda, we appreciate you calling in and saying that. And let me just say this again, because we owe it to the people.

And that is the fact of the matter is, without your support, none of this happens. But I have to say that our March and April matching challenge response was incredible. I mean, just incredible. So from all of us, everybody that you're seeing on the set here or Washington, DC, or anybody you're seeing, you don't see behind the glass here, or our lawyers around the world, lawyers and government affairs people in Washington, DC, thank you.

We could not do it without you. It's incredible. I'm amazed. We're all amazed. We're humbled by it. Your support has been incredible. Thank you. That's all really we can say.

I mean, it's just been tremendous. Let me go back to Tan Bennett for a minute here, Jordan, on the issue of congressional action. It's clear that now that you got a letter from the ranking member, Jim Jordan has written this letter to the FBI about this abuse.

Here's my question. Do you think the FBI will respond? I mean, or are we going to get the usual, this is an investigative matter and we're not going to discuss it? You know, I mean, are they going to respond and say, yeah, we're investigating this and obviously this is wrong.

It's the same kind of thing. This is not acceptable action by the FBI. I feel like that's what they're going to keep saying.

And that's it. So what does Congress, I mean, so what is Jim Jordan expecting to get here, Than? Well, I think he's planning on getting a response that's a non-response and here's what his response to Christopher Wray needs to be. Well, you knew about this report in November of 2020, it's now May of 2021 and we're just finding out about it.

In those intervening months, what have you done to stop it? And if there's not a satisfactory response, which I can't imagine there would be Jay, then it just has to be terminated because think about this. How are you going to get victims reporting crimes or tips reporting crimes?

If what you're going to do with that information is run the very people who brought you that information through the surveillance data, it will completely eliminate your ability to do your job. I want you to, I want to, this is Jim Jordan. Now, Jim's a friend of ours. He's done a lot of our briefs. We've got a great relationship with him. He's been a friend of ours for a long time. He's been on this broadcast many times. Listen to what he's saying, exactly what we're talking about, about the Foreign Surveillance Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the misuse here.

Listen. It's the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It's the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

What are they doing spying on Americans? That is the thing that troubles us so much. And this is why we should have hearings. But Jerry Nadler is yet to have a full committee hearing this entire Congress. I bet he's probably not going to do the first one on this issue. But boy, they should, because this really crosses all of the lines.

I mean, completely crosses all of the lines. And that's what I'm concerned about here, Wes. This is a matter of trust and the American people deserve to be able to trust their chief law enforcement agency.

The other thing too, Jay, that I think about, you know, I'm retired Army. In the military, when a unit's performance or the command climate goes south, the commander of that unit is held responsible. And I think Christopher Wray needs to be forced to step down. He has not corrected the FBI. He has not changed course. And I think he needs to go because ultimately he might have not been the one personally doing these things.

He's in charge and he has, I think, abdicated his responsibility. But Dan points out something quickly, Than, here that's important. We got to know about HR1. This is something we got to be very concerned about. Well, Congressman Jordan compared it to the IRS scandal.

It's a great comparison. We got solid reforms there, but again, Congress is proposing eliminating, repealing the Lois Lerner rule. We're going to win on that one in the end, Jay, but they're trying to repeal that one too. Is that got a chance of getting through the Senate or do you think we can beat it back? It's going to come up in the Senate. It's all going to be tied to the debate over the filibuster, but S1 has already had hearings over there. It is definitely a priority for them.

All right, we got to keep our eye on that in a lot of different ways. Joining us right now is our special counsel, Craig Parshall, who handles a lot of media law issues and issues involving media, social media, and specifically there's the news out of Facebook today regarding the President. We actually represented, Craig did the work on this, represented the President in this appeal on Facebook.

Craig, there's a lot of information out there. The President said he's not happy about the ban continuing. Obviously, he made that statement just moments ago. It's a strange ruling in that they said that it was justified to take him down, but you can't keep him off, but they threw it back to Facebook to decide. What's your take on it after now reading this opinion? Yeah, it is a confusing decision. First of all, don't believe the headlines that say that they supported the ban, they affirmed it, but they did say that on January 6th and January 7th, Facebook erred on the side of suppressing him because of the Capitol Hill incident and that they were right in doing that, but everything that followed that they said was improper, that they didn't follow their own rules and guidelines, and that's of course what we asked them to rule.

So they agreed with us on that, but then somehow kept him in the probation cell for the next six months saying, even though the indefinite suspension was wrong, somehow under international principles, they think that Facebook has the right to continue reviewing the policies and practices appropriate for a national leader like President Trump. Very confusing, very misleading. They punted it back. Yeah, they punted it back. In fact, they didn't give half a loaf to each side. They cut it up into three pieces and none of it makes sense. One fact that has to be accentuated and that is that they alleged that it wasn't enough for President Trump to say, go in peace, don't be violent, be law abiding. He needed to call out the violence more vehemently than he did to meet international standards. Well, how do you measure that?

There's no objective standards for that. So Craig, this idea though, that it goes back in six months, Facebook has to do something. Is there something positive here in the sense that this review board that they put in place is at least not predisposed to the idea of just outright banning someone indefinitely? Because a lot of people are worried about themselves too and how this might impact them, even though they might not be as high profile.

If they get on the Facebook radar, it's even tougher sometimes if you're not high profile. Yeah, I think the good news here is that they made Facebook go back, and by the way, they did criticize the vagueness of some of the rules. And they said, look, there are a patchwork of rules that even lawyers have a hard time following. So they said, you know, make your rules cohesive, figure out a way in which you can make this suspension process more logical and fair with due process notice to your users. So maybe something positive will come out of that. But I think the issue that needs to be stressed is rather than international standards, it's unfortunate the Facebook oversight board didn't use the First Amendment principles, which we outlined in our brief.

Yeah, and it's a US-based company. You would think that would be the standard, but nevertheless, they have to come back. We'll see what happens in six months. Thanks, Craig, for your work on this. A lot of people across the political spectrum are very concerned about this deplatforming issue. And I said we've had a great relationship with Facebook. We're pleased with that, but we want to continue to see it open as a free speech vehicle.

That was the idea. Yeah, and the immunity that they receive under Section 302 of the law, this puts it all in jeopardy for them. So I think, you know, for a company that gets a lot of immunity from the law, and again, this is not the best move, and just because it happened on one side, the other side needs to think the same way too, the idea of giving them this power. I guess that's what we're talking about today.

Facebook created this legal system because they don't really want to be subject to the actual US legal system, like the constitutional protections, and they're trying to say, oh, we're providing this due process. We will watch that very carefully. We'll talk to you tomorrow. For decades now, the ACLJ has been on the front lines protecting your freedoms, defending your rights in courts, in Congress, and in the public arena. The American Center for Law and Justice is on your side. If you're already a member, thank you. And if you're not, well, this is the perfect time to stand with us at ACLJ.org, where you can learn more about our life-changing work. Become a member today, ACLJ.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-21 22:49:09 / 2023-11-21 23:12:17 / 23

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