Court Docs: Govt Used Warrantless, Illegal 'Electronic Surveillance' To Spy On Giuliani Associate
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In their zeal to get President Trump, federal law enforcement operatives loyal to Barack Obama have used every questionable trick in the book regardless of its legality.
There is no longer any question that serious abuses were committed with the abuse of the nation's surveillance apparatus that is ostensibly in place to protect America from our enemies but has been weaponized for political purposes.
The damning report on FISA abuse by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz that was released in December leaves no doubt as to whether this took place and absent reforms, it is safe to assume that such practices are ongoing.
Now, an associate of Trump attorney and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has filed court documents accusing the feds of FISA abuse as well as using the controversial cellphone tracking technology known as stingray.
The bombshell was dropped by lawyers for Andrey Kukushkin, a Ukrainian businessman who was arrested as a part of the deep state counteroffensive to keep the lid on Giuliani and his investigation into Democrat linked corruption in the former Soviet state.
One of the businessmen accused of conspiring with associates of Rudy Giuliani to make illegal campaign contributions argued Thursday in federal court that the government is trying to cover up the "warrantless and unlawful electronic surveillance" it conducted in its investigation, including possible "stingray" technology to track cellphones.
Saying it now "appears to be the case" that the government obtained evidence through the use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and that it was "inconceivable" that no communications were intercepted, lawyers for Andrey Kukushkin sought an explanation as to the "genesis of such evidence and the extent to which it was used."
The bombshell filing comes as the FISA court has sternly rebuked the FBI for submitting false and incomplete materials as part of its investigation into other members of the Trump team. However, the FISA court has not sought a comprehensive review of past FBI filings, and at least one high-level FBI agent apparently involved in FISA misconduct remains at the bureau.
"The government's insistence on complete secrecy is incompatible with the rights of the defendants, particularly in the face of rapidly advancing technology," Kukushkin's attorneys wrote Thursday. "Initially, it was the government's repeated insistence that 'no Title III [wiretap] warrants were used in this investigation,' even when asked whether non-Title III surveillance occurred. This was coupled by the government's refusal to answer direct and repeated questions as to its use of stingray and other electronic surveillance."
The attorneys continued: "Indeed, other than Title III warrants, there is not a single form of surveillance that the government has denied using in the course of this investigation, which makes sense and proves the defense's point."
For those unfamiliar with stingray, an Associated Press story describes the technology:
Civil liberties and privacy groups are increasingly raising objections to the suitcase-sized devices known as StingRays or cell site simulators that can sweep up cellphone data from an entire neighborhood by mimicking cell towers. Police can determine the location of a phone without the user even making a call or sending a text message. Some versions of the technology can even intercept texts and calls, or pull information stored on the phones.
Part of the problem, privacy experts say, is the devices can also collect data from anyone within a small radius of the person being tracked. And law enforcement goes to great lengths to conceal usage, in some cases, offering plea deals rather than divulging details on the StingRay.
Kukushkin's legal representatives are also claiming that he is a victim of a practice known as parallel construction.
More from the Fox News bombshell:
It remained possible, the attorneys argued, that the government was engaging in a prohibited tactic known as "parallel construction" -- meaning that the FBI may have illegally used FISA surveillance, then sought to reobtain that evidence through permissible means. (The government is ordinarily only allowed to use illegally obtained evidence if it can show that it would have found the evidence anyway, without any need for the initial, illegally obtained materials.)
Parallel construction is another concept that many may be unfamiliar with...
According to a 2013 Reuters story, "U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans":
A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.
Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.
The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.
Americans and especially those who believe that the ends justify the means if it results in taking down the duly elected president may one day be shocked to learn that they are living in a police state where citizens are powerless to protect themselves from a rogue government that routinely runs roughshod over their rights.
You won't see this getting much play on CNN or in the New York Times or Washington Post and the ramifications could reverberate through the entire legal system once lawyers for defendants get the idea that such abuses could result in the widespread dismissal of cases.
This is a very important story that has yet to get the attention that it deserves.