This letter responds to your unattributed op-ed of Feb. 29 titled “FISA judicial reform a must”. This column, by Andrea Cohen, was published Feb. 28 by the conservative Boston Herald. Cohen’s political bias is all too apparent in the column.
In an opinion piece from The Star Democrat, Ms. Cohen’s columns are said to be “replete with misleading & in many cases deliberate misrepresentations of facts.” The column in the Leader-Herald is just such a case in point.
FISA means Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It is used to surveil foreign governments or agents of foreign governments. It is not true that “no one is safe” as Ms. Cohen states, but only foreign governments or agents thereof.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s 400-plus page report did, in fact, “identify 17 inaccuracies across 3 surveillance applications inflating justification for monitoring Carter Page.” Unlike Ms. Cohen, however, Horowitz’s report states that there was no “documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the FBI’s decision to conduct these operations.” It is not as though Carter Page was completely unknown to the FBI — just some random American citizen surveilled out of the blue. He was brought to FBI attention in 2013 when Victor Podobnyy, a Russian agent, referred to him as a “useful idiot”.
Additionally, there was “no evidence” of any FBI spying on the Trump campaign. Mistakes made with the FISA warrant for Carter Page, did not impact Trump’s campaign. Vilifying the entire FBI investigation into Russian interference to support the Trump candidacy benefits only Mr. Trump.
Ms. Cohen’s use of inflammatory rhetoric drags out all the old and tired Republican tropes she has quoted. There was no attempted coup to overthrow the so called “duly elected” man who lost the popular vote by 2.8 million votes. To use the Inspector General’s report to disseminate Republican lies is, in fact, her “false pretext” for doing exactly what she accuses the news media of doing — spreading lies with no basis in fact.
What does send a chill up my spine is Ms. Cohen’s free and easy misuse of half truths and innuendo to advance a false narrative while, at the same time, attempting to frighten her readers who may not be aware of her agenda or the real purpose of FISA warrants.