WASHINGTON (AP) – An interior inspector at the Department of Justice is reviewing allegations by a former Boeing engineer that the FBI conducted an unfair investigation into allegations of spying for China, according to Associated Press-verified correspondence. These are the latest challenges to the covert surveillance powers used in some cases of terrorism espionage.
The Inspector General’s review is undergoing a more detailed examination of the FBI process to seek judicial oversight in national security investigations. Mistakes in applications made during the Russian investigation into Donald Trump’s first presidential campaign, as well as in a larger sample of applications carefully examined by the Bureau of Investigation, have raised bipartisan concerns about the government’s oversight powers; Secret votes in Congress.
At Monday’s confirmation hearing for Attorney General Merrick Garland, the focus was on concerns over the accuracy of the External Intelligence Oversight Act or the FISA-required surveillance applications. Under repeated questioning by Republican senators, Garland reiterated his belief in the need to be “careful” and accurate in submissions.
In this case, the FBI for 2014 is being discussed. A lawsuit filed by the Secret Foreign Intelligence Service over a search of Keith Gartenlaub’s computers as agents investigated whether he had leaked Chinese design plans for a C-17 military transport aircraft.
Gartenlaub has never been charged with espionage, but the Justice Department charged him with child pornography after finding pictures on his hard drive. He was convicted in a California federal court and sentenced to more than three years in prison.
He has long maintained his innocence, claiming that the files are not his, they were never opened, referring to a time in his life when many people used his computer while he lived in a beach house. In any case, he claims that the FBI had no reason to search his computers in the first place, as there was no evidence that he had conspired with China.
After serving his sentence, he sued last year to have his sentence commuted to life imprisonment, claiming that he had been the victim of a flawed investigation and that there was no reason to suspect him of espionage. In the course of the trial, the lawyers of the Department of Justice found out that the Inspector General is examining Gartenlaub’s complaint, acting on the basis of his request.
In a lawsuit filed in January, attorneys said the inspector general predicted that the review of Gartenlaub’s issues would be completed in at least six months. In addition, a letter from the Office of the Inspector General to Gartenlaub’s lawyer stated in August that his allegations were being considered by the Audit and Review Division. Last year, a separate letter to Ted Liu of D-California also revealed a review by the office.
“For me, this is a coal mine case,” said Thor Eckland, Gartenlaub’s lawyer.
The spokesman for the General Inspectorate declined to comment.
Gartenlaub has publicly claimed for at least five years that it was unfairly targeted by the FBI, that the allegations in the original application were false. He said, for example, that the FBI had misjudged its position at Boeing, that it had no information obtained by the Chinese, so it could not disclose it.
“It is quite another to take a national security recommendation and then use it to prosecute a family, criminal offense,” Eckland said. “Without a FISA search warrant, they have no case. That’s not a subsidiary. “
Although Gartenlaub has been convicted of irrelevant crimes, his well-founded allegations of flaws in the FISA process have sparked much interest in recent years after the Inspector General uncovered four significant errors and omissions in four applications for investigation into Trump’s former aide. 2016 campaign “Between Russia”.
In response, the FBI announced dozens of corrective actions designed to ensure the accuracy and precision of FISA’s plans.
Months later, the Office of the Inspector General found that a wider audit of FISA 29 applications revealed problems in each, including obvious errors or inadequately substantiated facts. The FBI said most of the errors were insignificant and would not affect a judge’s decision that there was a probable cause for scrutiny.
“I’m not a Trump fan, but I thank him for this one,” Eckland said. “He turned his attention to the blown up national security apparatus, which is irresponsible.”
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