University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Page v. Comey NS-DC-0144
Docket / Court 1:20-cv-03460 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) National Security
Special Collection Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- All Matters
Case Summary
This case is related to the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse's coverage of the Carter Page Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants. For more information on litigation to disclose the warrants that inspired this case, please see ... read more >
This case is related to the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse's coverage of the Carter Page Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants. For more information on litigation to disclose the warrants that inspired this case, please see this link. For a summary of the warrants and information on ongoing efforts by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to protect the confidential information in them, see this link.
The FISA requires the government to obtain a warrant from the FISC before it may conduct any domestic electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information. The warrant applications are made ex parte and must include a sworn statement by a federal officer of the facts and circumstances relied upon to justify the government's belief that the target of surveillance is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. Once a FISC judge receives a warrant application, the judge can order approval of the surveillance only if the judge finds that there is probable cause to believe that the target of the electronic surveillance is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. Because the orders only authorize surveillance up to 90 days, the government must file an application for an extension that meets the same requirements as the initial warrant application and obtain a renewal order from the FISC for continued surveillance. For the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse collection of FISA matters, see our special collection.

On November 27, 2020, an informal foreign policy advisor to the Trump 2016 presidential campaign, represented by private counsel, filed this complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He sued the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States, and former DOJ officials that sought the warrant against him in their individual capacities. He alleged violations of his right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures due to improperly filed FISA warrants against him. He sought $75 million in compensatory damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief to amend government records about him, and attorneys' fees for both this case and a previous, failed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request related to the suit. Page filed this case under FISA (50 U.S.C. §§ 1801-1812) for each FISA warrant and renewal sought against him, Bivens, the Federal Tort Claims Act (28 U.S.C. § 2674), and the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a). The plaintiff added that, at the time of filing, he had an active administrative claim under the Patriot Act pending before the DOJ, and if this claim was unsuccessful, he would add that to this complaint.

In his complaint, the plaintiff alleged that the government did not have probable cause to obtain a FISA warrant against him, because the information upon which the warrant was based came from one unreliable confidential source. He argued that the FBI and all of the agents involved in procuring this warrant were aware, either in an investigative or supervisory capacity, of the deficiencies in the source's testimony and did not follow up with relevant sub-sources to confirm the source's allegations. The plaintiff stated that the defendants still sought the warrants anyway, even after interviews with the plaintiff in connection to the warrant failed to establish probable cause that he was acting on behalf of a foreign power to sabotage the United States, the key preliminary findings needed to grant a FISA warrant. He added that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and subsequent FBI investigations found that the FISA warrant against Page and each of its renewals were unlawfully obtained.

The case was assigned to Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson on November 30, 2020. It is ongoing as of December 16, 2020.

Ellen Aldin - 12/16/2020

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Unreasonable search and seizure
Records Disclosure
Search policies
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Ex Parte Young (Federal) or Bivens
Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. § 2674
FISA Title I Warrant (Electronic Surveillance), 50 U.S.C. §§ 1801-1812
Defendant(s) Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
U.S. Department of Justice
United States
Plaintiff Description Carter W. Page, an informal advisor to the Trump 2016 presidential campaign
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 11/27/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing NS-DC-0127 : In re Carter W. Page: A U.S. Person [FISA dockets 16-1182, 17-52, 17-375, 17-679] (FISC)
NS-DC-0138 : In re Accuracy Concerns Regarding FBI Matters Submitted to the FISC (FISC)
NS-DC-0126 : FISA Court Matters relating to disclosure of Carter Page surveillance records: Four FISC cases [FISC Misc. 18-01, Misc. 18-02, Misc. 18-03, and Misc. 19-01] (FISC)
NS-DC-0143 : Page v. U.S. Department of Justice (D.D.C.)
NS-NY-0024 : N.Y. Times Co. v. United States DOJ (S.D.N.Y.)
NS-DC-0131 : Judicial Watch, Inc. v. United States DOJ (D.D.C.)
NS-DC-0146 : James Madison Project v. U.S. Department of Justice (D.D.C.)
NS-DC-0147 : Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Justice (D.D.C.)
Additional Resources
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Court Docket(s)
NS-DC-0144-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Jury Trial Demanded [ECF# 1]
NS-DC-0144-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Jackson, Ketanji Brown (D.D.C., D.C. Circuit) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Gordon, Leslie McAdoo (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0144-0001 | NS-DC-0144-9000
Parlatore, Timothy C (New York) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0144-0001 | NS-DC-0144-9000
Pedigo, Kerry Lawson (Texas) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0144-0001 | NS-DC-0144-9000
Pierce, John M (California) show/hide docs

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