Back in February of 2018 when the Nunes memo was released, the left was quick to pronounce it “a joke and a sham.” But roughly two years later, Inspector General Horowitz confirmed the major points of the Nunes memo. More broadly, the IG report concluded the FBI had failed to do its job in the Carter Page warrant application, finding 17 errors, some of which were clearly intentional attempts to deceive the court.
The situation was serious enough that the court itself wrote a letter rebuking the FBI and demanding it propose changes to the process that would prevent a repeat of the multiple failures described in the IG report. Now the court has selected a person who will review those proposed changes. From the Daily Caller:
Judge James E. Boasberg, who presides over the FISC, tapped Kris serve as amicus curiae for a review of the FBI’s handling of the Page surveillance warrants. In that role, Kris will “assist” the FISC in assessing the FBI’s implementation of a series of reforms to address the problems uncovered in the IG report…
Kris is one of eight individuals designated by FISC as eligible to serve as an amicus curiae, which are designed to act as neutral arbitrators in issues involving the FISA process.
Boasberg did not provide a rationale for choosing Kris. None of the other seven potential amici curiae have spoken out publicly about the Page FISA issue or the Trump-Russia probe.
David Kris is a very odd choice because he was one of the voices shouting down the Nunes memo after it was released. This is from a piece he wrote in March 2018:
The central irony of the memo prepared by House intelligence chairman Devin Nunes, we now know, is that it tried to deceive the American people in precisely the same way that it falsely accused the FBI of deceiving the FISA Court. The key question going forward is whether the memo’s authors and sponsors will face any consequences for their dishonesty. If not, we can expect to see more of the same, with potentially dire results.
By now, several days after release of the minority response memo and with so much conflicting noise in the system, many people may have thrown up their hands and moved on to other topics. For that reason, I have kept this post short and focused on essentials. It’s important, in the era of President Trump, to afford hard issues the same, thoughtful, nuanced treatment that we would expect under different circumstances. But it’s also important, when the situation warrants it, to call a spade a shovel.
Kris was firmly convinced that the Schiff memo had proved the Nunes memo was not only wrong but intentionally misleading. He even suggested Nunes could be prosecuted over it. But again, that’s the opposite of what IG Horowitz concluded. Even the Washington Post agreed that Horowitz had confirmed the outlines of the Nunes memo.
All of this raises an obvious question: Why would the FISA Court select someone who was both outspoken and wrong about the very abuse it is trying to correct as the person to oversee changes in the process? That’s a question quite a few people in Washington are asking:
A picture's worth 1000 words. What a big circle jerk this has become:
— Carter Page, Ph.D. (@carterwpage) January 11, 2020
— Devin Nunes (@DevinNunes) January 12, 2020
You can’t make this up! David Kris, a highly controversial former DOJ official, was just appointed by the FISA Court to oversee reforms to the FBI’s surveillance procedures. Zero credibility. THE SWAMP! @DevinNunes @MariaBartiromo @FoxNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2020
The court has chosen someone who was a defender of the court (though he has recently admitted the IG report shows there were serious errors). Why not choose someone who was a bit more skeptical all along as a reviewer of the changes to the process? Here’s Nunes suggesting that maybe the FISA Court is telling Congress it needs to be abolished: