Lawmaker vows consequences for FBI, DOJ FISA abuse

If officials within the FBI and Department of Justice abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to spy on Americans, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) says the House Intelligence Committee will make sure they are prosecuted.

The lawmaker made the promise in an interview with investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson.

Discussing why the wiretapping of Carter Page represented a pivotal moment in considering spying in the United States, Nunes suggested that lawmakers are concerned about how federal officials were prodded into initiating FISA surveillance for political reasons.

“It really boils down to this. You had a campaign. The Hillary Campaign and the Democratic Party went out and paid for dirt,” he said. “They got it from Russians by the way. Then they used that dirt and funneled it into the FBI.”

“The FBI then used that dirt to get a warrant on a U.S. citizen who was part of the other campaign. A limited role, yes. But still, to do that, it’s wrong,” he added.

Nunes said he believes the Obama administration was unmasking the names of Americans being investigated under FISA for “purely political reasons.”

In response to Democrat criticism that GOP investigators had selectively released details about the spying, Nunes said that lawmakers simply tried to reveal the scope of potential abuses without unveiling national security secrets.

“Because we didn’t want to disclose any sources and methods, we tried to reduce the memo down to what we believed the American people needed to know. What was most important? So we put in the memo, the things that were used before the FISA court in order to justify the warrant. Was there other information? Sure. But it wasn’t, it wasn’t important in terms of the justification of the warrant,” he said.

Democrats have also repeatedly claimed that efforts to get to the bottom of FISA abuse related to the Page spying are little more than an attempt by Republicans to lessen American trust in the Russia meddling legislation headed up by FBI special counsel Robert Mueller.

Nunes said Americans should only believe that if they’re also willing to believe that Congress shouldn’t provide oversight of the agencies which it has empowered to spy on Americans.

“FISA abuse has nothing to do with, with the Mueller investigation. As it relates to Department of Justice and the FBI, if they need to be put on trial, we will put them on trial,” he said.

“The reason that Congress exists is to oversee these agencies that we created. DOJ and FBI are not above the law,” Nunes added. “Congress created them, we oversee them, and we fund them. And if they’re committing abuse for a secret court, getting warrants on American citizens, you’re darn right that we’re going to put them on trial.”

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