A new report released today features both the FBI seeking to launch a surveillance operation against an active US presidential campaign, and the ultra-rare case of the FISA courts actually turning down an FBI request to conduct surveillance against somebody.
The report, originating at the Guardian, claims that the FBI had sought broad surveillance powers over four high-ranking members of President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign during the election, claiming them to have had contact with Russian officials. The FISA court turned the request down, telling investigators they needed to narrow the request.
Though the four are not directly named in the report, it is related to claims in a dossier of Russia having substantial blackmail dirt on Trump, and that dossier centered heavily around accusations against a handful of Trump campaign personnel, including Carter Page, Paul Manafort, and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, along with Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen, meaning some of them may well be among the targets.
Secondary reports speculated that the FBI may well have sought a more narrow application for surveillance, though details on that are even less clear than the previous reports. Though a lot of these reports don’t end up substantiated, if true this could well add to the expected acrimony between the incoming administration and the intelligence community.