(CNSNews.com) -- The government watchdog group Judicial Watch is suing the Department of Justice (DOJ) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for FBI documents about the FISA warrants that were obtained to spy on Trump campaign associates in 2016, the oversight group announced on Feb. 2, after the memo on alleged FISA abuse was released by the House Intelligence Committee.
FISA is the acronym for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, created in 1978. FISC refers to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which approves or denies the warrants for the DOJ/FBI to surveil (spy on) Americans for foreign intelligence purposes.
“Today’s House Russia FISA memo makes a compelling case that the FISA court was misled and severely abused by top officials in the Justice Department and FBI,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement.
“The American people should be able to see for themselves the details of how the Obama administration officials (and Rod Rosenstein of the Trump administration) justified spying on the Trump team," said Fitton.
"From what we know publicly, this may be the worst government abuse scandal in a generation – which makes it urgent the Justice Department stop stonewalling the release of the alleged Trump-Russia collusion FISA documents," he said.
Judicial Watch filed its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia because the DOJ rejected a standard FOIA request from Judicial Watch, which is standard procedure under the FOIA law.
In its lawsuit, Judicial Watch is seeking the following documents:
"Copies of all proposed and all final signed FISA applications submitted to the FISC relating to Russian interference in the 2016 election; allegations of collusion between people associated with the Trump campaign and Russia, and any known Trump associates regardless of context;
"Copies of all FISC responses to the above-mentioned applications in which the Court notified the FBI or Justice Department that it would not grant the proposed applications or recommended changes. If any such FISC responses were provided orally, rather than in writing, please provide copies of FBI or Justice Department records memorializing or otherwise referencing the relevant FISC responses;
"Copies of all FISC orders relating to the above-mentioned applications, whether denying the applications and certifications, denying the orders, modifying the orders, granting the orders, or other types of orders."
The lawsuit can be read here.
The intelligence memo released last Friday showed that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee had paid a law firm that, in turn, paid a political research group, Fusion GPS, which then paid ex-British spy Christopher Steele who, in turn, paid Russians to provide political "dirt" on Donald Trump -- the false and salacious Trump dossier.
That fake document was then used by the FBI and Justice Department -- James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Rod Rosenstein, Sallie Yates, among others -- to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
However, the DOJ and FBI officials did not tell the FISA court about the political background of the dossier or that it ultimately had been paid for by the DNC and the Clinton campaign. (Read the intelligence memo here.)
The memo states, "Deputy Director [Andrew McCabe] testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information." In other words, the FBI could not have spied on the Trump campaign in 2016-17 had it not been for a fake political dossier paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
On Feb. 3, President Trump tweeted, "This memo totally vindicates 'Trump' in probe. But the Russian Witch Hunt goes on and on. Their [sic.] was no Collusion and there was no Obstruction (the word now used because, after one year of looking endlessly and finding NOTHING, collusion is dead). This is an American disgrace!"