On April 26, 2017, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) Judge Rosemary Collyer issued a 99-page ruling, spelling out the conditions under which American citizens could be placed under electronic surveillance and the records retained by the FBI, the CIA, the NSA and the NCTC (National Counter-Terrorism Center).
According to former NSA official William Binney, the document goes well-beyond former provisions for tracking of American citizens whose email or phone records were obtained in authorized surveillance of foreign national targets of American counterintelligence operations.
While the FISC ruling was originally classified TOP SECRET/SI/ORCON/NOFORN, it was declassified some time after its original release. The ruling has taken on special significance as it appears to be part of the file of classified material reviewed by Representative Devon Nunes, which led him to write his own classified summary of the evidence that the Obama Administration, the FBI, the CIA and other agencies of government conspired against Donald Trump, from before he won the Republican nomination for President, through his campaign, the post-election transition and into his first year as President.
Indeed, the ruling by Judge Collyer was the culmination of the prolonged court proceeding dating back to November 6, 2015, when the initial application was filed with the FISA Court for authorization to capture and retain records on specific American citizens. The publicly released copy of the 99-page ruling was redacted to remove all references to specific individuals, but was based on affidavits filed with the Court by NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director William Brennan and NCTC Director Nicholas Rasmussen.
In the coming days, a critical fight will play out in Congress, where House Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Nunes is attempting to win Congressional approval to declassify his four-page summary memo, reportedly detailing the collusion among law enforcement and intelligence officials to stop Donald Trump from assuming the presidency—what star-crossed FBI lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page called “the insurance policy” in one of their now infamous text messages.
The FISC ruling has been blown out of proportion by some of the more extremis alt-right allies of President Trump, who claimed it had been leaked (the redacted text is posted on the website of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence) exclusively to Alex Jones. But the content, as analyzed by William Binney, speaks for itself and clearly forms part of the backdrop to the unfolding war of narratives between Rep. Nunes and the ranking Democrat on the HSCI, Adam Schiff. It stands on its own and is worthwhile reading for anyone who is closely following this political battle royal.