Skip to comments.This May Be the Most Important Federal Judge You’ve Never Heard Of
Posted on 02/05/2018 2:22:05 AM PST by markomalley
Judge James E. Boasberg ruled Friday against making public former FBI Director James Comeys seven memos describing his conversations with President Donald Trump. And by doing so, the jurist protected at least for now a key potential witness in special counsel Robert Muellers investigation of allegations of collusions between the presidents 2016 campaign and agents of the Russian government.
Boasberg is a member of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) the judicial body created in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
A Yale and Oxford graduate, Boasberg is hardly known to the American public despite deciding cases of immense political significance recently. His father worked in the Office of Economic Opportunity, the central agency in President Lyndon B. Johnsons Great Society deluge of federal programs.
Comey wrote the memos because, he told the Senate Intelligence Committee last year, he feared Trump might lie about the nature of our meeting, so I thought it important to document. Four of the memos contain classified information; three of them do not.
Trump fired Comey on May 9, 2017, a fact that could be significant if Mueller brings obstruction of justice charges against the chief executive. Comeys memos could provide insight into Trumps intent in removing the FBI chief.
Boasberg ruled against an ideologically diverse coalition of journalists and transparency advocacy groups who had filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for copies of the Comey memos.
Boasberg agreed with Department of Justice (DOJ) attorneys who argued releasing the memos would compromise an ongoing criminal law enforcement investigation namely, the Mueller probe. Exemption 7 of the FOIA permits documents to be withheld under such circumstances.
There is no doubt Mueller is using the Comey memos in some fashion because, as Boasberg observed in his opinion, the special counsel has gathered or used each of the Comey memos for his investigation.
But the memos wont remain hidden from public examination forever. At some point in the future, the Mueller operation and related litigation it may initiate will end. If anybody at that point still cares, it will be difficult for federal officials to keep the documents under wraps.
Boasberg was appointed to the FISA panel by Supreme Court Chief Justice but it was in his capacity as a U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which hears FOIA cases. Boasberg was appointed to the District Court by President Barack Obama in 2011.
The Comey memo decision isnt Boasbergs first handling of a controversial public disclosure case. He ruled against Judicial Watch, which is also among the plaintiffs in the Comey case, and kept photographs of the slain Osama bin Laden out of public view.
In another case involving Judicial Watch, Boasberg ruled in the nonprofits favor, ordering the Department of State to release more than 14,000 emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clintons private email server.
And in a fourth recent case that drew intense public interest, Boasberg ruled against another non-profit transparency advocate, the Electronic Privacy Information Centers request that Trumps federal tax returns since 2010 be made public.
There is a fifth case of major significance that may involve Boasberg. When the DOJ and FBI asked the FISC court to approve a warrant enabling comprehensive surveillance of Carter Page, a volunteer Trump adviser, in 2016, a FISC judge approved the request.
Three subsequent government requests to continue the Page surveillance were also approved. Was Boasberg the judge in any of those four decisions? Applications and decisions of the FISC court are by definition classified and thus exempt from disclosure, so the answer to that question will probably never be known.
And as if there werent enough twists and turns in the Comey memo saga in which Boasberg figures so prominently, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley has reviewed the documents.
In a Jan. 3, 2018, letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Iowa Republican is demanding answers from DOJ and the FBI about Comeys sharing at least some of the memos with a friend, Columbia University Law School Professor Daniel Richman.
Among Grassleys questions are these three, the answers to which could determine the legal fates of multiple figures in the Russia scandal, including most especially Comey:
Have you initiated an investigation into the matter of whether Mr. Comey improperly disclosed classified information by providing these memoranda to Professor Richman? If so, what is the status of the investigation? If not, why not?
Has there been any review of whether the disclosure of the memoranda by Mr. Comey was otherwise improper, such as whether it violated his employment agreement or any Department rule or policy? If so, what is the status of the review? If not, why not?
When did the FBI mark the four memoranda as classified, and who made the classification decision?
As with so many other congressional requests for documents sandbagged by DOJ and the FBI, Grassley has not commented publicly about responses to his letter.
But he has read the Comey memos and that may make Grassley a guy who could shape the ultimate outcome of the Russia scandal.
One of the known CORRUPT CROOK’s WIFE is an attorney that FIGHTS FOIA requests....can’t remember her name.
Anyone else ntice a change in the Rats PR? For a solid year they have been proclaiming that Mueller would get Trump but all of a sudden it is all we want to now from the Russia investigation is what happened so we can stop it. Seems curious to me. Not that I believe them for a moment, they are after Trump as much as ever but it seems suddenly they cant say so anymore.
I believe you are referring to Lisa Barsoomian, Rod Rosenstein’s wife.
THAT’S the one!! Rod Rosenstein’s WIFE, Lisa Barsoomian, FIGHTS FOIA requests!!!
We live in a nation where the Director of the FBI writes a memo for himself recording a conversation with another person (the president). There is classified information in those memos. His recollections are his own and he does not advise the other party of the existence of the memos or allow the other party to review the memos for accuracy. It is possible these memos are pure fiction, are incomplete, or are purposefully crafted to create a false impression.
The Director, Mr. Comey, then gives the memos to a third party (a friend) with the express understanding some or all of the information in the memos will be leaked to the press. The friend is not cleared to receive classified information. In addition, the memos themselves may legally be government documents which Mr. Comey is not authorized to release without approval. The unauthorized, and possibly illegal, transfer of these memos to a third party and the press set in motion a series of events which have resulted in a constitutional crisis. Central to that constitutional crisis is a claim the election of the current president of the United States, by the people of the individual states, is not legitimate.
Subsequently the memos have been seen by a variety of public officials including the special prosecutor, Mr. Mueller, politicians from both political parties, members of the media, and likely many other people including foreign governments through their spying operations. Yet a federal judge rules the American people cannot see these memos central to the claims the election was rigged and illegitimate.
How does one individual, a federal judge, have the audacity to deny the people access to government documents which are freely accessible to hundreds of people, including the press, and which can be freely shared by any of those with access to them. Perhaps it is long past time the people bring out the tar, feathers, and pitchforks to challenge the arrogance of the ruling class. We certainly can’t count on our elected representatives in the people’s legislature (Congress) to do their job and reign in the black robed tyrants on the federal bench.
is this mope THE FISA warrant judge? Just might be.
The answer is the corrupt “Judge” was appointed to cover
up crimes. The “Judge” and every other corrupt
one must be impeached, removed, and indicted.
STARTING WITH THIS ONE.
Great post. This should be shouted from the rooftops. If we didn’t have a complicit media hiding this, they would be asking exactly these questions. Imagine if the parties were reversed. This would be covered 24/7.
I would love to see Judge Jeanine Pirro layout the family connections between so many media folks and high level Government employees and polticos.
She clearly lays her cases out in the opening segment of her shows. She could show why the media hide so much info from the public.
I didn't give them to a "friend".
I’ve only heard one name...Rudy Contreras.
It was recently reported that the leaking “friend” was in a privileged position as Comey’ attorney.
So, he either violated attorney client privilege or just another co-conspirator.
How about this! Dissolve the FISA Court! It invites corruption. Secret is NEVER GOOD in a Free Society. It;s long past time we started on the road back to being one.
Actually, if he was Comey's attorney and used the documents on behalf of his client the other side [all other sides] has/ve a right to the documents.
Two Words :
0bama & appointed .
Clyde Shelton is on Line 1.....
While it is serious enough that the FBI used tainted evidence and arguments to get a spying warrant and the FISA judge may have been truly in the dark about its sources. But this brazen move by Boasberg, himself a FISA judge, begs the question: “Is it possible that FISA judges KNEW the application was tainted, but for malice toward Candidate, and later POTUS Trump, they approved and granted the warrant anyhow, for their own political reasons?” I submit, as Exhibit-A, the fact that the taint of the warrant app has been revealed, and there is nothing but crickets’ chirping being heard from the direction of the FISA Court!
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