During the last authorization of the FISA Act, it allowed for what’s known as a two-step wiretap.
In this case, it was Carter Page.
Not only could they tap his calls, but also the calls made or accepted by someone he talks to on the telephone.
The second hop would allow for tapping phones of those people, and anyone to whom they talk.
Now that you understand the concept of the two-hop system, consider this.
Carter Page calls someone working on the Trump campaign.
That person calls candidate Donald Trump. Now, the FBI can legally tap Trump’s phone.
To give you an idea about how intrusive this is, up to 25,000 people could be wiretapped from a single two-step jump. That’s an awful lot of people, the vast majority of whom would be innocent of any wrongdoing.
Both Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell, marginal Republicans at best, are both urging the president to sign a clean reauthorization bill.
He would have to be a fool to do it. In case you haven’t noticed, President Trump is no fool.
“If you ever see the paper trail [for the reverse-engineered wiretaps] it will all look legitimate,” an unnamed intelligence officer told Attkisson. “There will be legal memos from the White House counsel’s office justifying them. It’s all worked out to hide that they are really going after somebody else.”
In fact, the “two-hop” rule makes it easy to legally spy on someone who is not named in the warrant.
As noted in a 2016 report in Spectrum magazine, published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a study by Stanford University’s Computer Security Laboratory revealed that in some cases, as many as 25,000 people could be under surveillance due to a version of “two-hop” rule that involved contacts over a period of 18 months.
That rule applied to the National Security Agency and was imposed after the revelations by Edward Snowden.