Judge orders review of wiretap applications

The nation’s secretive surveillance court on Friday ordered the government to determine by mid-June whether any of the 29 surveillance applications that the Justice Department’s inspector general recently found were flawed contained “material misstatements or omissions” that could render them invalid.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz, in a memorandum issued Tuesday, found that all 29 applications his office scrutinized as part of a review contained errors, suggesting that problems exposed in a wiretap application during the FBI’s probe of President Trump’s 2016 campaign extend far beyond that case alone.

Horowitz did not determine whether any of the errors would have influenced the government’s decision to apply to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for permission to secretly wiretap a suspect. Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the government must have probable cause to believe the target is an agent of a foreign power.

James E. Boasberg, the FISC chief judge, ordered the FBI and Justice Department, which vets the applications and presents them to the court, to provide him with an assessment by June 15 concerning to what extent the 29 applications contained misstatements or omissions and whether any of the errors should invalidate any of the applications granted by the court.

— Ellen Nakashima


Prosecutor to expunge King's arrest warrant

A county prosecutor in Georgia said he will expunge Martin Luther King Jr.’s record for his trespassing arrest during a 1960 sit-in protesting the segregated dining rooms at an Atlanta department store.

Fulton County Solicitor General Keith Gammage told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he is also interested in erasing the records of all other civil rights workers who were arrested in Atlanta.

But some civil rights advocates said they wouldn’t want their civil disobedience records expunged.

“That is part of my history as a civil rights worker,” Bernard LaFayette, who was arrested 30 times, told the paper.

King biographer Clayborne Carson also was arrested for his work as a civil rights activist.

He told the Journal-Constitution it is a “badge of honor, and it doesn’t change the historical reality that you were arrested.”

Gammage, 48, who also serves on the board of trustees at King’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, said he’s had positive conversations with the King family about his plan and wouldn’t do it without their support.

King joined the Atlanta Student Movement’s campaign of boycotts and sit-ins on Oct. 19, 1960, and was arrested after asking to be served in a whites-only dining room at Rich’s Department Store.

— Associated Press