FISA Warrants — I Used To Know A Little Bit About The Process



Webb Hubbell: Friends in High Places Book Cover

Dear Readers:

Twenty five years ago, my friends and I were making plans to come to DC. We carried with us the hopes and dreams of a country. Soon, I would find myself to be the only Clinton political appointee at the Department of Justice because the nominated Attorney General had withdrawn her nomination. In addition to searching for a new Attorney General that would breeze through the Senate confirmation process, I was soon knee deep in such events as the World Trade Center bombing and the disaster of a raid on a compound in Waco, Texas.

What seemed insignificant at the time was I also learned a great deal about applications for FISA warrants. I spent a great deal of time with a wonderful person, Mary Lawton, who was head of the DOJ’s Office of Information and Privacy. I had to review every application for a FISA warrant before it went to the Attorney General for her approval. I spent a great deal of time with Mary going over applications taller than her to make sure the application complied with the law and passed the smell test. It was exciting and an important part of my job.

I mention this because there is a lot in the news these days about FISA warrants and what is necessary to obtain a FISA warrant. The process was fairly straight forward back then, and Mary Lawton and the checks and balances in place made sure that no warrant would ever go to a FISA court for approval without careful consideration and vetting of sources by the FBI and the DOJ at the highest levels.

I’m confident that the law and the process must have changed, because all of the articles I read talk only about the FBI’s role in the process. If the FBI is in total control, I find that troubling. Not that I don’t greatly admire the FBI and law enforcement in general, but because I know from personal experience that every branch of government needs checks and balances. I always made Mary Lawton the happiest when I would say, “Mary, I have a few questions about this application.”

I hope this walk down memory lane doesn’t bore you. If you would like to know more please purchase a copy of Friends in High Places from your local bookstore or this website — Better yet, ask me to speak to your organization.

In 2017, my calendar was filled with speaking engagements around the country. I spoke to law schools about special prosecutors, at churches about the life changing and spiritual experience of spending time in prison, to civic organizations about the importance of organ donation, to business groups and colleges about My Journey Without Maps, and literary and library groups about writing novels. It is time to fill up the 2018 calendar for speaking events. Contact Bianca McDown or me at to arrange for me to speak to your organization or institution. Bianca’s email is [email protected]. I also love to talk to book clubs and community groups in the Charlotte area where I live. Contact me by emailing me at [email protected] if your book club would like me to pay them a visit.


Books: There are still plenty of copies available for purchase of the award-winning Jack Patterson Thrillers, including A Game of Inches. They are available for birthdays, thank you gifts, and just to be nice presents. Autographed copies are available at my website, Amazon and Barnes & Noble are also selling hard copies and eVersions, and local independent bookstores either have them in stock or can get books from my publisher, Beaufort Books. If your favorite bookstore has run out, ask them to order your books today.

When Men Betray Book CoverA Favor To Ask. After you read A Game of Inches and if you enjoyed it please write a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s, or Goodreads website even if all you do is award it five stars.

A second way to help is to drop by your local bookstore and suggest they carry all three of the award-winning Jack Patterson Thrillers: When Men BetrayGinger Snaps, and A Game of Inches.


Charitable Organizations.  If your organization is having a silent auction or needs a door prize please let me know. The three book series autographed went for $300 at a silent auction recently. I always set aside a number of my books for charitable events. Don’t hesitate to contact me by emailing me at [email protected].

Questions: Please use the comments section of this website to ask questions or make a comment. I see them all and will try to respond to any reasonable question.

Until my next post all the very best and don’t forget to order and then review A Game of Inches. Have a Happy New Year! Webb

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