Kash Patel, a former official from the Trump administration, has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI. The lawsuit alleges a “politically motivated” effort by the DOJ and the FBI to obtain a subpoena for Patel’s personal email account data back in 2017.
The lawsuit, lodged in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, raises the question, “Who watches the watchmen?” It emphasizes the importance of oversight, especially in a post-PATRIOT Act era where the U.S. Government has been exposed for spying on its citizens. The lawsuit also bashes the weaponization of federal law enforcement agencies against the American people.
Kashyap “Kash” Patel, who served as Senior Counsel and Chief Investigator for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), was responsible for investigating the questionable actions of the FBI and DOJ. The lawsuit alleges that the DOJ secretly sought a grand jury subpoena to compel Google to turn over Patel’s private email account data, violating the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.
The lawsuit further claims that the FBI and DOJ feared oversight from the HPSCI. Patel had discovered that the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, which looked into President Trump’s campaign, was opened under dubious circumstances.
It was sustained by the Steele Dossier, which was funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Patel alleges that this critical information was not adequately presented to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) when seeking Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants.
The DOJ’s attempt to subpoena Patel’s private accounts was seen as an effort to surveil the individual leading the Legislative Branch’s investigation into the DOJ’s conduct during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. This move was seen as a violation of the separation of powers and an attempt to silence an investigation into the DOJ’s questionable conduct.
The lawsuit also highlights the threat made by then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to subpoena the records of the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee staff, including Patel. This threat was made shortly after the FBI and DOJ previewed the “Nunes Memo,” which outlined significant issues with the FBI’s and DOJ’s handling of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
Further details from the lawsuit reveal that the DOJ and FBI targeted Patel’s personal records due to his official position and actions in furtherance of the United States House of Representatives’ lawful investigation into the DOJ’s handling of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. The lawsuit describes this as a shocking violation of the separation of powers and a clear violation of Patel’s Fourth Amendment rights.
The lawsuit seeks accountability and damages from the FBI and DOJ for the wrongs committed against Patel. It also seeks injunctive and declaratory relief to ensure that such unconstitutional actions are not repeated in the future.
Before joining the Trump administration, Patel worked as a counter-terrorism prosecutor for the Department of Justice. Patel gained significant attention for his work as a top aide to then-Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA), particularly during the Trump impeachment inquiry and the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He played a central role in drafting the Nunes memo, which criticized the FBI’s conduct during the Russia investigation.
Later, Patel would serve in the Trump administration in various capacities including as senior director for counter-terrorism at the National Security Council and as chief of staff to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller.
Kash Patel’s distinguished career includes his tenure as a counterterrorism prosecutor at the DOJ, where he led investigations against terror groups like Al-Qa’ida and ISIS. He also served as the DOJ Liaison Officer to the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), working with elite counterterrorism units.