The New York Times, Friday, January 20, 2017

Original post:

by John M. Peterson III


GIVENS (what I know)

FISA is a law – The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), amended multiple times, 50 U.S.C. §§ 1801-11, 1821-29, 1841-46, 1861-62, 1871. In accordance with it, a special secret court and judge, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) approves a warrant which authorizes the requesting federal agency, normally the FBI, to conduct and use intelligence gathering technologies and tools in a cases involving foreign nationals or governments, but where at least one party is a U.S. citizen (thereby entitling them to / protecting their civil rights against unlawful search & seizure under the 4th Amendment)

– FISA is designed as an investigative tool by our DOJ and IC for cases involving national security, usually executed by the FBI National Security Branch in either counter-terrorism (CT) or counterintelligence (CI, foreign espionage on US soil) cases. The FISA warrant does not just apply to “wiretapping” or “electronic eavesdropping,” but also to searches of physical premises, acquisition of records, and other forms of evidence needed to support an investgation.

– Many FISA warrants are specific to multi-party communications and is requested for, and is very specific in its target, not random collection. There is always a stated objective and intent. It is a very structured, highly regulated process. Multiple attorneys are involved.
– Everything about a FISA warrant is classified, usually up to the level of Top Secret / Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI). Releasing any of the collected information, sources, or methods to anyone not having clearance plus official need to know is a felony.

– The type of TS/SCI level intelligence collection platforms (technologies, how they eavesdrop / wiretap) cannot be disclosed to nor talked about publicly by any current or former government employee, troop, or contractor for any reason for the rest of their lives, sworn to under penalty of law via a Classified Information Non Disclosure Agreement.
– I once received a lengthy briefing while a federal employee on everything about FISA, given by the FBI. Based upon that, there is just about no way that those involved will be able to escape being identified. They will be caught so long as there is no obstruction of justice. The FISA, NSA, and other investigative & intelligence capabilities are great tools that are vital to protecting our country and overall national defense. But, they cannot be abused.

– The DNI, nor any other cleared person current or former, is under no legal obligation to tell the truth in a public or other uncleared setting about any classified intelligence collection capability, report, or analysis that comes from that. This includes TV interviews. They would be breaking the law if they did. They are required to lie in order to protect those capabilities and the intelligence collected from them. The same goes for members of Members of Congress and their staffs cleared to know about intelligence matters.
So, don’t put any weight at all on what former directors or staff of ODNI, CIA, NSA, FBI, or Congress members have to say on TV or anywhere when asked about any type of classified intelligence collection platform, tool, source, or method.

– The POTUS and/or NSC staff are sometimes briefed about the FISA warrants and the intelligence that they produce. Sometimes this is included in the President’s Daily Brief.

– President Trump can order the DOJ to release every single bit of everything connected to both any FISA warrant past or present as well as any surveillance conducted in the US or overseas.

The majority of those commenting on all sides in the media either do not have the needed expertise, are biased, or are speculating to a point where the public really is being improperly informed, confused, and wound up in angst.

Most commentators and media have never read the FISA statute nor know a thing about what the NSA, FBI NSB, DIA, or CIA does. They are people who are in the sidelines and most have never “been there or done that.”

These are the persons/entities that are both qualified to speak about this issue and are very reliable sources of information in helping us to learn the truth:

Anthony Shaffer, London Center for Policy Research, post 9/11 combat veteran intelligence operative and retired Army officer

– Attorney Jay Sekulow, American Center for Law and Justice

– Attorney Larry Klayman, Freedom Watch, Inc.

– Michael Flynn, former DIA Director, retired Army Lt. General

Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin, USA, Ret. Jerry Boykin former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, Commander of all US Army Special Forces, served at the CIA as a deputy director, and over 13 years in our most elite special operations unit

– Honorable Michael Mukasey former Attorney General of the United States and federal judge

Also beware of the cabal of current & former appointees and Members of Congress who are establishment & democrat party members who are against President Trump, some of whom are already conducting very obvious spin campaigns. They are supported by an army of political operative media who parrot coordinated talking points and narratives that are designed to diminish the severity of this situation while attempting to discredit the President. Some of these are the same ones who were talking about impeachment before inauguration day.


Whether or not the leaked classified info and any other electronic surveillance were pursuant to FISA warrants or it was extra-judicial surveillance of a President-Elect, candidate, or their staffs, the fact that it happened is a serious problem for our country. The President was totally in his right to speak out about it. The public outrage is immense and growing by the day. There will be bureaucrats and Trump haters who will try to explain it away. But, there is no escaping the truth.

But, we have an even more serious problem on our hands — federal employees and intelligence collection platforms being used for malicious and illicit purposes.

There was abuse of power and unlawful leaks of classified information, followed by media reporting that made use of it for malicious partisan purposes. Something has gone seriously wrong. Whether via FISA authorized collection, other investigative methods, or even extra-judicial means, a miscarriage of justice appears to have occurred.

Whether or not those involved in the surveillance were “following orders,” one or more federal employees committed at least one felony, ruined a man’s career, have caused tremendous strife and a distraction to the business of governance, and there is a larger, more systemic problem at play.

The federal government is ridden with violators of the National Security Act and security regulations designed to protect classified information and our country. There are also many who bring their politics into the federal workplace. I have seen all of this first hand in more than one workplace. It is everywhere. Very rarely is anyone ever punished. A subculture exists that seems to feel that selective compliance is OK, seeks to avoid accountability, and would rather cover up violations than do what the law requires. Think about it – who better to cover up a breach of security or violation of the law than those that keep secrets and know how to investigate it?

The bottom line is that when Top Secret / SCI level signals intelligence (SIGINT, “eavesdropping”) is handed to the open media, we have a gravely serious problem. Add to that, when it is designed to damage elected officials and government employees. Add to that during election year and then presumably collected between that candidate’s election and inauguration. Add to this the fact that the ‘SA’  falls under the Department of Defense and is staffed.

Why would our military and intelligence community need to spy on a man who just left the military and intelligence community? What threat would they be? Why would they be targeted in lieu of islamic terrorists in our midst that keep avoiding detection?

Hopefully, there may be well deserved indictments / prosecutions coming, as well as an additional investigation by Congress, as they have the oversight and control the budgets of where the unlawful leaks are coming from.

As a result, increased enforcement, policy changes, “house cleaning,” and reforms in the IC and cleared community at the federal level. Perhaps we need to look at the political affiliations and activities of federal employees while in duty, especially their contacts with the media.

This is all needed to both professionalize them as well as improve our information security (INFOSEC) and information assurance ( or IA in gov speak,) as there are obvious law violators and those who think that partisanship and political character assassinations are more important than doing their job. Keep in mind, they misused government resources to do it. You paid for those resources and their salary as they did it, when they could have been doing their assigned job protecting our country. Think about it.

I think that everyone needs to be patient and let this play out. At least some of what happened cannot be made public, as we must preserve the sources and methods used intelligence collection.

But, we must know if a Presidential candidate and his future staff had electronic surveillance conducted them, punish those who were involved, and prevent it from ever happening again.

We all know that abuse of power and misuse of government occurred under Obama.
And that there is a systemic problem in the federal government of mishandling of classified material, spillage, leaks, espionage, and much more that would all make the general public very upset if they knew the types and full extent of the problem.

We went from “loose lips sink ships” to “anything goes,” with unscrupulous government personnel who believe that it is ok to bend the rules, break the rules, use the public’s resources for unauthorized and illicit purposes, and of course, do not believe in accountability but have a habit of conducting cover-ups.

CLOSING – President Trump would not have said what he did about the surveillance unless he was sure. I believe that if they can get the law enforcement and CI personnel in the executive branch to do their job, that they will get the “smoking gun” and make the case against the violators as well as completely repudiated and refute everything that the malicious, deranged democrat party cabal has been claiming about this connection to the Russians all along. This is nothing more than democrat party gutter politics.

PREDICTION – Expect indictments, arraignments, and more investigations that will make watergate look like comparatively someone getting a parking ticket. Expect investigations by the Congress.

After a few violators are punished both publicly and internally, that may staunch the “bleeding” of national security information to their political operative media associates.
And then, lawsuits by those harmed by the leaked intelligence and its subsequent use for character assassination and libel to damage the reputations and careers of the President and his staff.










John Milton Peterson


John Peterson is a former Army Special Forces soldier with service before and after 9/11 overseas both as an SF troop and intelligence contractor. He is the Special Projects Director for the International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals (www.iacsp.com) and served on its advisory board since 1997.

John has also served as a full time firearms instructor at Smith & Wesson Academy and SigSauer Academy for 3 years each, then a tour in Afghanistan as a Special Forces soldier, then serving at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security before becoming a contractor supporting the war effort.

He periodically presents at law enforcement, government, and security conferences and writes for publication.

For additional info refer to John’s main site:

International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals



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