Gizmodo Media has sued the Justice Department for any warrants related to the surveillance of President Trump or his associates, an editor with the company said today.
On one of the company's blogs, John Cook, a special-projects editor with the group, wrote that company had filed a request in New York federal court under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for any warrant applications filed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). Those warrants, known as FISA warrants, allow wiretapping for the purpose of intelligence gathering.
The company's premise for the request was President Trump's March 4 tweet alleging that President Obama had his "wires tapped" in Trump Tower.
Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my "wires tapped" in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
"Trump’s claim that Barack Obama had directed surveillance against him was false (there is no legal mechanism for any president to unilaterally order wiretapping)," wrote Cook. "But the FBI was pursuing some sort of counterintelligence mission involving the Trump camp. There is a wealth of reporting that the Trump campaign or its associates were subject to some sort of eavesdropping, authorized by an FISC judge at the request of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division."
Cook alleged that the president confirmed that FISA warrants exist in his tweets, such as this one:
Is it legal for a sitting President to be "wire tapping" a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
FISA warrants are usually classified.
Cook wrote that an attempt by the company last month to secure the warrants through FOIA was unsuccessful: "The Justice Department refused 'to confirm or deny the existence of any records responsive to your request because the existence or nonexistence of any responsive records is currently and properly classified.'"
Gizmodo, a popular tech blog and one of six sites formerly owned by Gawker Media, was sold to Univision in 2016 after Gawker's bankruptcy. Univision organized the sites under a division called the Gizmodo Media Group.