WaPo: How hard is it to get an intelligence wiretap? Pretty hard. by By Ellen Nakashima:
Under the law governing foreign-intelligence surveillance inside the United States, an FBI agent would need to show a federal judge that there is probable cause that the target is an “agent of a foreign power” — and that requires more than just talking to, say, the Russian ambassador.
“Both criminal and foreign intelligence wiretaps have onerous and strict processes of approval that require not only multiple levels of internal Justice Department review, but also require court review and approval,” said Matthew Waxman, an expert on national security law at Columbia University.
The law authorizing wiretaps in terrorism and espionage cases is known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, passed out of reforms recommended by a select Senate committee called the “Church Committee” in the wake of spying abuses by the FBI and the National Security Agency.
The law bars targeted electronic surveillance on U.S. soil unless the government can show that the target was a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power, and that the “facility” — the phone number or email address in question — is being used by the foreign power or agent.
If a FISA warrant had been issued, and that’s really doubtful considering the sources, that’s not good for Trump because it has to be based on already established probable cause. He obviously doesn’t know the implications to brag about that.