A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has acted quickly in a case alleging fired FBI chief James Comey obstructed justice by burying an investigation into the mass surveillance of Americans by their government.
As reported yesterday, whistleblower Dennis Montgomery – who worked as a contractor for the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and the director of national intelligence – and his lawyer, Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, filed a request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction late Monday.
By late Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon scheduled a status conference for Friday afternoon in his Washington courtroom.
The lawsuit seeks to stop the nation’s “intelligence agencies” from continuing their “illegal and unconstitutional surveillance.”
Those actions, according to Klayman, were confirmed again recently in a report by Circa News.
The complaint also alleges Comey obstructed justice by “suppressing if not burying an FBI investigation into this illegal mass surveillance, which involved the chief justice of the Supreme Court, other justices, 156 judges, President Trump and his associates before he became president, and other prominent persons.”
Klayman said the “speed with which Judge Leon set this hearing is commendable, as each day that the government continues to conduct unconstitutional spying on Americans without probable cause creates grave harm to not just the victims, but our republic.”
“Judge Leon previously preliminarily enjoined the NSA on two previous occasions from what he ruled was an ‘almost Orwellian’ invasion of privacy, and the defendants ignored his rulings,” he continued.
“I cannot believe he will be pleased about their brazen disregard for the law and the Constitution yet again. As for Comey, he was encharged with investigating this illegal conduct, when Montgomery came forward with proof years ago, and he allegedly buried the investigation because, as the FISC court revealed, the FBI was also conducting illegal surveillance under his direction.
Plaintiffs are also asking the court to preserve this evidence, which Montgomery provided, with his testimony under oath, to the FBI and Comey.”
What Montgomery and Klayman seek from the court is a protection order preventing the destruction of evidence.
They are asking the court to prevent the defendants, including Comey, the FBI and other federal officials mostly under the Obama administration, from continuing “illegally and unconstitutionally spying on and surveilling millions of Americans, including plaintiffs, without probable cause or a warrant.”
Secondly, they are asking the court to prevent the defendants from “destroying evidence of illegal and unconstitutional spying” that Montgomery turned over the Comey based on the promise it was going to be investigated.
These objectives can be reached with a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction, they explain.
The promised “investigation” was buried by Comey, and the evidence now is endangered, they allege.
Defendants in the case include Comey, who famously took with him government records when he was fired recently by President Trump, then turned them over to a friend with instructions to leak them to the media to instigate interest in a special prosecutor over claims of links between the Trump campaign and Russia – an investigation that to date has yielded no evidence.
Other defendants are the FBI, Michael Rogers, the NSA, John Brennan, Mike Pompeo, the CIA, James Clapper, Dan Coats and Obama.
They were accused in the original lawsuit, filed only a few weeks ago, of “illegally and unconstitutionally spying on and surveilling millions of Americans, including plaintiffs, without probable cause or a warrant, and … destroying evidence of illegal and unconstitutional spying turned over to defendant Comey and the FBI by plaintiff Montgomery.”
The defendants, the motion explains, “have engaged in an ongoing conspiracy to illegally and unconstitutionally spy on millions of Americans, including plaintiffs, without probable cause or a warrant.”
The motion alleges the illegal spying continues.
Klayman, in the motion, points out that the same Washington court, in an earlier case, issued two preliminary injunctions, including one that “bars the government from collecting … any telephone metadata associated with these plaintiffs’ Verizon Business Network Services accounts.”
The new lawsuit alleges misbehavior by Comey and others when Montgomery “was induced by Defendants Comey and the FBI and made to turn over 47 hard drives of evidence of the aforementioned illegal, unconstitutional activity, which hard drives alone are valued in excess of $50,000.
“Indeed, counsel for Montgomery, plaintiff Klayman, was told and assured by the former general counsel of the FBI, James Baker, that defendant Comey was taking ‘hands on’ supervision and conducting the FBI’s Montgomery investigation, given its importance.”
Much of the information was classified and Klayman never saw it, “which is why the information was given to defendant Comey and the FBI to begin with,” he explained.
“As a result, on or about December 21, 2015, plaintiff Montgomery interviewed under oath at the FBI field office in the District of Columbia.
There, over the course of an over three-hour interview, recorded on video, with special agents Walter Giardina and William Barnett, plaintiff Montgomery meticulously laid out the NSA, CIA, DNI’s, and the other defendants’ – particularly defendants Clapper and Brennan’s – pattern and practice – of conducting illegal, unconstitutional surveillance against millions of Americans, including prominent Americans such as the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, other justices, 156 judges, prominent businessmen, and others such as Donald J. Trump …”
Klayman explained it is alleged that Comey, “in concert with the other defendants,” buried an FBI investigation into Montgomery’s whistleblower claims, essentially obstructing justice.
“Having asked the intelligence and judiciary committees in Congress to investigate the alleged obstruction of justice, and their having not taken action to date, Mr. Montgomery and I, on behalf of ourselves, had to take matters into our own legal hands.
This mass surveillance, which threatens the privacy of all innocent Americans, must be ordered to cease forthwith, as it endangers our democracy and our republic,” Klayman said.
The latest move comes after Circa News reported, according to Klayman, that the FBI “has illegally shared raw intelligence about Americans with unauthorized third parties and violated other constitutional privacy protections, according to newly declassified government documents that undercut the bureau’s public assurances about how carefully it handles warrantless spy data to avoid abuses or leaks.”
“Once-top secret U.S. intelligence memos reviewed by Circa tell a different story, citing instances of ‘disregard’ for rules, inadequate training and ‘deficient’ oversight and even one case of deliberately sharing spy data with a forbidden part.”
The new motion contends Montgomery’s testimony and evidence documented how the rogue federal officials conducted surveillance and then covered it up.
The filing argues the plaintiffs are entitled to the court’s protection, since courts previously have found that even a minimal deprivation of constitutional rights is a major injury.