This morning I turned on Fox News only to watch Rep. Peter King of New York trash some in the Republican Party and the so-called “far right,” undoubtedly meaning yours truly, over our outrage over the apparent misuse of the nation’s intelligence agencies to not only wiretap President Trump and his associates, like Gen. Michael Flynn, but also to conduct surveillance on the populace as a whole. Apparently, King has spent too much time in the boudoirs of Washington, D.C., where an “anything goes” attitude prevails if one is a member of the establishment club. Let me reiterate the dangers of this attitude and approach to governance.
Years ago, I had the occasion to meet a former NSA/CIA contractor, Dennis Montgomery, who was then serving as a consultant for Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County in Arizona. Montgomery revealed to me, as he had to Arpaio’s investigators, that these intelligence agencies, then run primarily by James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and John Brennan, the former director of the CIA, had been for years “harvesting” the confidential information of scores of prominent Americans, such as the chief justice of the Supreme Court, other justices, 156 judges, prominent businessmen such as Donald Trump, and even me. Indeed, anyone who was in the public eye or an activist was within the sights of the intelligence agencies.
This surveillance, according to Montgomery, was being carried out without probable cause that there was any connection to communications with terrorists or that a crime was being committed. It was done simply to collect confidential information that could be used to coerce or blackmail or for what other ever purpose the intelligence agencies had in mind, presumably on behalf of others in or outside of government.
This criminal conduct was particularly dangerous when applied to Supreme Court justices and judges, the public servants who are supposed to be free from outside influence and serve are a check to the tyranny of the other two branches of government, the executive and the legislative.
After hearing what Montgomery had to say, I asked him for backup proof of what he had revealed. He then told me that he had left the service of the intelligence agencies with 47 hard drives of material, amounting to over 600 million pages of information, some of which was classified.
At that point, not knowing or wanting to know what specifically was on these hard drives, I contacted one of the few people I really trust in Washington, D.C., the Honorable Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. With Judge Lamberth’s help, I took Montgomery to the general counsel of the FBI, James Baker, who works just under Director James Comey. With Judge Lamberth’s help, Baker then put me in contact with the U.S. Attorney’s office in the District of Columbia, and through Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Curtis I was able to get use and derivative use immunity for Montgomery to come forward and produce his 47 hard drives for FBI investigation. During this time period, I had asked to meet with Director Comey himself, but Baker assured me, even though Comey was “unavailable” to meet, that he was fully informed about this and would “personally” supervise what was going on at the agency.
Later, Montgomery was asked to sit down with FBI Special Agents Walter Giardina and William Barnett and be interviewed under oath about the contents of the 47 hard drives and what Montgomery knows about the illegal surveillance. He did so for nearly three hours in a secret room at FBI Field Headquarters in D.C. The testimony was videotaped, and I have asked the FBI to preserve it as Montgomery has a potentially fatal brain aneurism and could die at any time.
Since that time, I have heard nothing from the FBI, General Counsel Baker, or the two special agents that were supposed to be investigating from a working level. It has now been nearly two years since Montgomery’s interview.
During this interval, with the rise of ISIS and terrorist attacks here and around the world, there had come to be an “acceptance” of the mass surveillance of American citizens, which I had a federal court preliminarily enjoin about three and a half years ago, giving impetus for Congress being forced to enact the USA FREEDOM Act. See www.freedomwatchusa.org. This law now requires that telephonic metadata, the kind revealed by Edward Snowden, remain in the hands of the telephone providers, like Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, when and until they receive a warrant to produce it for law enforcement and anti-terrorism purposes upon a showing of probable cause from the government.
It is now clear that the intelligence agencies are again flouting the law and continuing to violate it, as another fine federal judge, Richard J. Leon, has previously ruled in granting my motions for preliminary injunctions in a landmark case styled Klayman et. al v. Obama et. al., 959 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D.D.C. 2013), Klayman et. al v. Obama et. al., 142 F. Supp. 3d 172 (D.D.C. 2014). Leon held that this criminal conduct amounted to a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and was “almost Orwellian,” that is akin to the police state George Orwell has predicted in his famous book “1984.”
With the recent revelations that the Trump administration, his prior campaign staff and likely the president himself has been illegally and unconstitutionally spied upon, the information revealed and provided to the FBI takes on even greater importance. For that reason, I have gone to Chairman Bob Goodlatte of the House Judiciary Committee to inquire of FBI Director Comey about the status of the investigation. I have also gone back to Judge Leon, asking him to move forward on my cases against the intelligence agencies, allowing for discovery and setting them down for trial.
When Supreme Court justices, 156 judges and others such as President Trump himself are under the sword of the lawless intelligence agencies who have no respect for the constitutional protections of the Fourth Amendment, of the citizenry to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures, our nation faces a threat bigger than even ISIS. As just one primary example, under this Orwellian state, no one can be sure that the decisions of judges are free from influence and that they are not being blackmailed by the powers to be, including but hardly limited to ethically challenged congressmen like Peter King, who not coincidentally sits on the House Intelligence Committee.
In short, our country is in grave danger when its judges in particular are subject to coercion and blackmail. Without a pure system of justice, we are no better than the former Soviet Union and now, ironically, Russia, doomed for eventual extinction at the hands of lawless forces in the intelligence community.