We Are Beginning To See What Is Under The Bright Shiny Object

The charges that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians were odd at best. No one ever explained exactly what that collusion looked like or why it was illegal (collusion by itself is generally not illegal). There were also some other odd matters about unmasking, domestic spying, and misuse of foreign information sources. All of that is currently out there, but not necessarily being shouted at this point. Well, The Conservative Treehouse posted an article today that explains some of the reasons for the extreme hype of ‘Russian collusion’ and the reaction when Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election.

The article reports:

Now that we have significant research files on the 2015 and 2016 political surveillance program; which includes the trail evident within the Weissmann/Mueller report; in combination with the Obama-era DOJ “secret research project” (their words, not mine); we are able to overlay the entire objective and gain a full understanding of how political surveillance was conducted over a period of approximately four to six years.

Working with a timeline, but also referencing origination material in 2015/2016 – CTH hopes to show how the program operated.  This explains an evolution from The IRS Files in 2010 to the FISA Files in 2016.

The article details some of the timeline involved:

Early in 2016 NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers was alerted of a significant uptick in FISA-702(17) “About” queries using the FBI/NSA database that holds all metadata records on every form of electronic communication.

The NSA compliance officer alerted Admiral Mike Rogers who then initiated a full compliance audit on/around March 9th, 2016, for the period of November 1st, 2015, through May 1st, 2016.

While the audit was ongoing, due to the severity of the results that were identified, Admiral Mike Rogers stopped anyone from using the 702(17) “about query” option, and went to the extraordinary step of blocking all FBI contractor access to the database on April 18, 2016 (keep these dates in mind).

The article explains that many of the searches carried out were illegal:

The operators were searching “U.S Persons”. The review of November 1, 2015, to May 1, 2016, showed “eighty-five percent of those queries” were unlawful or “non compliant”.

…The [five digit] amount (more than 1,000, less than 10,000), and 85% error rate, was captured in a six month period.

Also notice this very important quote: “many of these non-compliant queries involved the use of the same identifiers over different date ranges.”   So they were searching the same phone number, email address, electronic “identifier”, or people, repeatedly over different dates.  Specific people were being tracked/monitored.

Additionally, notice the last quote: “while the government reports it is unable to provide a reliable estimate of” these non lawful searches “since 2012, there is no apparent reason to believe the November 2015 [to] April 2016 coincided with an unusually high error rate”.

That means the 85% unlawful FISA-702(16)(17) database abuse has likely been happening since 2012.  (Again, remember that date, 2012) Who was FBI Director? Who was his chief-of-staff? Who was CIA Director? ODNI? etc.  Remember, the NSA is inside the Pentagon (Defense Dept) command structure.  Who was Defense Secretary? And finally, who wrote and signed-off-on the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment?

The article explains the role of the Steele Dossier was necessary to continue surveillance:

Fusion GPS was not hired in April 2016 to research Donald Trump.  As shown in the evidence provided by the FISC, the intelligence community was already doing surveillance and spy operations. The Obama administration already knew everything about the Trump campaign, and were monitoring everything by exploiting the FISA database.

However, after the NSA alerts in/around March 9th, 2016, and particularly after the April 18th shutdown of contractor access, the Obama intelligence community needed Fusion GPS to create a legal albeit ex post facto justification for the pre-existing surveillance and spy operations.  Fusion GPS gave them that justification in the Steele Dossier.

That’s why the FBI small group, which later transitioned into the Mueller team, are so strongly committed to and defending the formation of the Steele Dossier and its dubious content.  The Steele Dossier contains the cover-story and justification for the surveillance operation.

Please follow the link above and read the entire article. It is chilling. It paints a picture of an administration that politicized government agencies to spy on Americans and made an attempt to eliminate political opposition by using the force of government. Just for the record, even though the Obama administration is out of office, they are still using the government connections they have to work against the President and against the best interests of Americans.

Is Equal Justice Under The Law Possible?

The Daily Caller is reporting that Attorney General William Barr stated today that an inspector general’s investigation into whether the FBI abused the surveillance court process during the Russia probe will be completed by May or June.

The article states:

Barr also told lawmakers during a House Appropriations Committee hearing that he is reviewing how the FBI handled the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign that began in summer 2016.

…The FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into Trump campaign advisers on July 31, 2016, purportedly based on information from the Australian government about Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos.

Alexander Downer, who then served as Australia’s top diplomat to the United Kingdom, claimed that Papadopoulos mentioned to him during a meeting in London on May 10, 2016 that Russia might release information on Hillary Clinton later in the campaign.

While the FBI has claimed its investigation did not begin until receiving the tip from Australia in late July 2016, a longtime FBI and CIA informant, Stefan Halper, made contact with Page in England earlier that month.

The entire Russian collusion investigation was a scam set up by the deep state during the Obama administration. The question is whether or not President Obama was in on the scheme.

The article notes that the entire basis for the FISA warrants was the rather questionable Steele Dossier, which was simply a piece of political opposition research:

The FBI relied heavily on the Democrat-funded Steele dossier to obtain four FISA warrants against Page. The dossier, authored by a former British spy, alleged that Page acted as a liaison between the Trump campaign and Kremlin during the 2016 campaign. Republicans have argued that the FBI should not have relied on the dossier since its allegations were unverified and because the document was opposition research funded by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.

If this investigation is not handled properly, we can expect political parties in power to use the force of the government against their political opponents in the future. Richard Nixon was impeached for far less. I hope Attorney General Barr has the courage to see this investigation to the end.

An October Surprise That Continues

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit reported that Senator Rand Paul announced Wednesday that according to a high level source, former CIA Chief John Brennan insisted Hillary’s fake Russia dossier be included in the Intelligence Report.

The article reminds us of the series of events leading up to the 2016 election:

In late summer of 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey was notified that former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would be sending him a letter asking him to investigate the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.

Harry Reid’s letter was written a week after he met with John Brennan – raising suspicion that Brennan briefed Reid on the fake Steele dossier — Reid’s letter was then leaked to the New York Times just before election day.

John Brennan said during a February 2018 appearance on “Meet the Press” that he learned about the dossier in December of 2016 and that “it did not play any role whatsoever in the intelligence community assessment that was done that was presented to then-President Obama and then-President elect Trump.”

The article concludes:

John Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee in a May 2017 hearing that the dossier was not a part of the intelligence used to assess Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The dossier, Brennan testified, “was not in any way used as a basis for the intelligence community assessment that was done.”

Former House Intel Chairman Devin Nunes was reportedly investigating whether Brennan perjured himself during his 2017 testimony to the Committee.

Rand Paul is right — it’s time for Congress to drag Brennan in again and question him under oath ASAP.

The total lack of integrity in some of our government officials and elected officials in appalling.

 

Why We Need Total Transparency Of The Mueller Report

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy posted an article at Fox News that brings up a very interesting (and largely unreported) aspect of the Mueller Report. The article asks the question, “How long has Mueller known there was no Trump-Russia collusion?” That questions is important because it is obvious that the two-year long investigation had an impact on the 2018 mid-term elections–it suppressed the Republican vote. It also cast a cloud over the Trump presidency which I am sure had an impact on the President’s ability to govern. Was that intentional? We will probably never know, but the article states some interesting facts.

The article reminds us:

Now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has concluded that there was no criminal collusion, the question arises: When during their exhaustive 22-month investigation did prosecutors realize they had no case?

I put it at no later than the end of 2017. I suspect it was in the early autumn.

By the time Mueller was appointed on May 17, 2017, the FBI had been trying unsuccessfully for nearly a year to corroborate the dossier’s allegations. Top bureau officials have conceded to congressional investigators that they were never able to do so – notwithstanding that, by the time of Mueller’s appointment, the Justice Department and FBI had relied on the dossier three times, in what they labeled “VERIFIED” applications, to obtain warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

And make no mistake about what this means. In each and every application, after describing the hacking operations carried out by Russian operatives, the Justice Department asserted:

The FBI believes that the Russian Government’s efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election were being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with [Donald Trump’s] campaign.

Yes, the Justice Department continued to make that allegation to the secret federal court for months after Trump was sworn in as president.

Notably, in June 2017, about a month after Mueller took over the investigation, while he was still getting his bearings, the Justice Department and the FBI went on to obtain a fourth FISA warrant. Yet again, they used the same unverified information. Yet again, they withheld from the court the fact that this information was generated by the Clinton campaign; that the Clinton campaign was peddling it to the media at the same time the FBI was providing it to the court; and that Christopher Steele, the informant on whom they were so heavily relying, had misled the bureau about his media contacts.

You know what’s most telling about this fourth FISA warrant? The fact that it was never renewed. The 90-day authorization lapsed in September 2017. When it did, Mueller did not seek to extend it with a new warrant.

This is the key:

This means that by autumn 2017 when it would have been time to go back to the court and reaffirm the dossier’s allegations of a Trump-Russia espionage conspiracy, the major FBI officials involved in placing those unverified allegations before the court had been sidelined. Clearly up to speed after four months of running the investigation, Mueller decided not to renew these allegations.

Once the fourth warrant lapsed in September, investigators made no new claims of a Trump-Russia conspiracy to the court. The collusion case was the Clinton campaign’s Steele dossier, and by autumn 2017, the investigators now in charge of the Trump-Russia investigation were unwilling to stand behind it.

The article concludes:

When Special Counsel Mueller closed his investigation last week, he almost certainly knew for about a year and a half that there was no collusion case. Indeed, the indictments that he did bring appeared to preclude the possibility that the Trump campaign conspired with the Kremlin.

Yet the investigation continued. The Justice Department and the special counsel made no announcement, no interim finding of no collusion, as Trump detractors continued to claim that a sitting American president might be a tool of the Putin regime. For month after month, the president was forced to govern under a cloud of suspicion.

Why?

What impact will releasing the entire bundle of background and other information that went into this investigation have? Would it do anything to heal the divide the media has caused by claiming this investigation would result in impeachment (impeachment will probably still happen, but that has nothing to do with this investigation)? Would it undo an election that was influenced by a lie? I think all information that can be released without harming innocent people or compromising national security should be released. However, I don’t think it will change anything. Any member of the government who is still employed by the government who was involved in the creating of the collusion narrative should be fired. The public will judge the media.

A Book I Plan To Read

Sidney Powell’s Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice is a book I plan to read. The American Thinker posted an article today about the book.

The book lists a number of examples where the Justice Department was anything but just:

False charges brought by overzealous prosecutor Andrew Weissmann (Robert Mueller’s right-hand man) in the case against leading accounting firm Arthur Andersen. Although the conviction was subsequently reversed unanimously by the Supreme Court, Andersen was completely destroyed, its 85,000 employees lost their jobs, and the assets of untold investors were wiped out. Weissmann was promoted by the DoJ.

Destruction of the lives of four Merrill Lynch executives. Before they could appeal their fake convictions, they were sent to prison with the toughest criminals in the country. “They did the worst things they could possibly do to these men,” says Powell. The defendants were eventually exonerated on appeal, but it was only after one of them served eight months in solitary confinement.

Frequent failure by the DoJ to disclose evidence favorable to defendants as required by law.

Using the phony Steele dossier, the DoJ and FBI unlawfully obtained FISA warrants for the surveillance of the Trump election campaign. The dossier was then used to justify creation of a special counsel to investigate alleged Trump-Russia collusion. After two years, that investigation is nothing more than a witch-hunt against Trump supporters.

Leaking at the top levels of the FBI and DoJ in the midst of criminal investigations.

Unwillingness of federal judges to discipline the DoJ for its transgressions.

We have seen this sort of questionable behavior by Robert Mueller and Andrew Weissmann in the investigation of Trump-Russia collusion. Paul Manafort is in solitary confinement for no apparent reason, and Roger Stone was arrested in a scenario that would have been appropriate for El Chapo, but not for a sixty-something man with no guns and a deaf wife.

The article at The American Thinker concluldes:

The civil rights of innocent individuals are being violated for no reason other than their political views. Do you think William Barr, our new attorney general, will do something to stop it? Let’s hope he is more effective than his predecessor. Unless the Mueller investigation is terminated and we address the real scandal in our government — corruption at the top levels of the DoJ and FBI — we can kiss the American system of justice goodbye.

Regardless of which side of the political aisle you reside, this should frighten you. If a group of people with a common political philosophy can pervert justice in America, then the tables could turn at any time and another group of people with a different political philosophy could do the same thing.

When Do We Investigate The Investigators?

John Solomon posted an article at The Hill today dealing with some new information about government spying on the Trump campaign during the Obama administration.

The information is contained in some emails that have not as yet been made public.

The article reports:

Sources tell me the targeted documents may provide the most damning evidence to date of potential abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), evidence that has been kept from the majority of members of Congress for more than two years.

The email exchanges included then-FBI Director James Comey, key FBI investigators in the Russia probe and lawyers in the DOJ’s National Security Division, and they occurred in early to mid-October, before the FBI successfully secured a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The email exchanges show the FBI was aware — before it secured the now-infamous warrant — that there were intelligence community concerns about the reliability of the main evidence used to support it: the Christopher Steele dossier.

The exchanges also indicate FBI officials were aware that Steele, the former MI6 British intelligence operative then working as a confidential human source for the bureau, had contacts with news media reporters before the FISA warrant was secured.

The FBI fired Steele on Nov. 1, 2016 — two weeks after securing the warrant — on the grounds that he had unauthorized contacts with the news media.

But the FBI withheld from the American public and Congress, until months later, that Steele had been paid to find his dirt on Trump by a firm doing political opposition research for the Democratic Party and for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and that Steele himself harbored hatred for Trump.

If the FBI knew of his media contacts and the concerns about the reliability of his dossier before seeking the warrant, it would constitute a serious breach of FISA regulations and the trust that the FISA court places in the FBI.

The chain of emails involved has been kept from Congress for two years. It was recently declassified.

The article illustrates how the FBI used the FISA court in an attempt to keep Donald Trump from becoming President and later in an attempt to cripple his presidency.

The article reports:

The bureau, under a Democratic-controlled Justice Department, sought a warrant to spy on the duly nominated GOP candidate for president in the final weeks of the 2016 election, based on evidence that was generated under a contract paid by his political opponent.

That evidence, the Steele dossier, was not fully vetted by the bureau and was deemed unverified months after the warrant was issued.

At least one news article was used in the FISA warrant to bolster the dossier as independent corroboration when, it fact, it was traced to a news organization that had been in contact with Steele, creating a high likelihood it was circular-intelligence reporting.

And the entire warrant, the FBI’s own text message shows, was being rushed to approval by two agents who hated Trump and stated in their own texts that they wanted to “stop” the Republican from becoming president.

If ever there were grounds to investigate the investigators, these facts provide the justification.

It is truly sad that a government agency acted in this way. The even bigger problem is that if the people involved in this are not held accountable, this will happen again in the future.

Who Was Actually Running The Show?

On Friday, John Solomon posted an article at The Hill about the events that led up to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Mr. Solomon reminds us of some of the investigative techniques used to gather information on the mafia.

The article reports:

Back in the mafia’s heyday, FBI and IRS agents had a set of surveillance rules.

If one mobster showed up in town, pay notice. If two arrived, be suspicious. If three or four were in the same vicinity, something was going down.

…Mobsters would always have the same calling card, or excuse, to be in town. Attending a funeral (the mid-1980s mob meeting in Chicago) or a vacation in the sticks (the infamous 1957 gathering in upstate New York) were some of the more memorable ones.

Early in my reporting that unraveled the origins of the Trump-Russia collusion probe, tying it to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and possible Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses, I started to see patterns just as in the old mob meetings: FBI or intelligence-connected figures kept showing up in Trump Town USA during the 2016 campaign with a common calling card.

So exactly who showed up where during the 2016 presidential campaign? The article continues:

  • At least six people with long-established ties to the FBI or to U.S. and Western intelligence made entrees to key figures in the Trump business organization or his presidential campaign between March and October 2016;
  • Campaign figures were contacted by at least two Russian figures whose justification for being in the United States were rare law enforcement parole visas controlled by the U.S. Justice Department;
  • Intelligence or diplomatic figures connected to two of America’s closest allies, Britain and Australia, gathered intelligence or instigated contacts with Trump campaign figures during that same period;
  • Some of the conversations and contacts that were monitored occurred on foreign soil and resulted in the creation of transcripts;
  • Nearly all of the contacts involved the same overture — a discussion about possible political dirt or stolen emails harmful to Hillary Clinton, or unsolicited business in London or Moscow;
  • Several of the contacts occurred before the FBI formally launched a legally authorized probe into the Trump campaign and possible collusion on July 31, 2016.

The people who were approached during that time–Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., Michael Cohen, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, Sam Clovis and Roger Stone, to name a few. Obviously these are the names that form the crux of the Mueller investigation. Can you say entrapment? Can you say Peter Strzok’s insurance policy?

So who was controlling the people approaching members of the Trump team? The article has a few educated guesses:

At least two important bodies in Congress — the House Intelligence and Senate Judiciary committees — demanded to be secretly briefed on payments to “undercovers.” They’ve been pretty tight-lipped since, except to express concerns that the public would be alarmed by what was divulged.

From those members of Congress, we can deduce that some of the contacts that occurred in 2016 were related to the political opposition, anti-Trump research funded by the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign and driven by Steele and his Fusion GPS employer. That work became known as the Steele dossier.

Others of the contacts appear to have been instigated by Western allies, such as an Australian diplomat’s barroom conversation in May 2016 with Papadopoulos.

And the rest are likely to have come from the FBI itself, which clearly dispatched informers, agents and other operatives to gather evidence to bulk up the uncorroborated Steele dossier, so agents could get a FISA warrant in October 2016 to spy on Page, the Trump campaign adviser.

The article concludes:

If this were a mob case, agents would not stop until they knew why each character appeared and who sent them. President Trump can help answer many, if not all, unanswered questions by declassifying the documents as he promised months ago. Congressional leaders and the Justice Department can impose accountability based on what is disclosed.

The American people deserve to know how much of the Trump-Russia probe was the result of agent provocateurs and political muckrakers and FISA cheaters, and how much was legitimate law enforcement work. 

Rumor has it that there will be some answers coming and some justice served this coming week. Frankly, I am getting tired of waiting.

What We Learned From Congressional Hearings Yesterday

This article is based on an article at The Federalist today which lists five things Mollie Hemingway learned from the hearings. I agree with her conclusions.

Here is her list:

1. This Is What DOJ Obstruction Looks Like

2. Strzok Somehow Came Off Even Worse Than He Did In His Texts

3. Democrats Run Interference

4. DOJ Clearly Hiding Its Relationship With Democratic-Funded Smear Group

5. The Mystery Of Why The Investigation Started

The goal of the obstruction seemed to be to minimize where the authorization to spy on the Trump campaign came from. There were a number of questions about how the FBI got hold of the Steele Dossier and the links between the dossier and the Clinton campaign. Generally speaking, those questions were not fully answered. Peter Strzok replied to any substantive questions by saying his lawyers at the Department of Justice told him not to answer questions about an ongoing investigation. Basically he very carefully told us nothing.

Peter Strzok came across as the snotty little kid who lived on the block who simply annoyed everyone with his arrogance and self-righteousness. He could not have been more obnoxious if he had tried.

The Democrats were almost comical in making sure no significant information came out in the hearings. They made sure that the hearings took on the appearance of a rather undisciplined circus. It has become obvious in recent years that the Democrat party is expert at circling the wagons around any Democrat, regardless of what they have done. President Trump was trashed for what he said about women, Bill Clinton was never trashed even when he was believably accused of rape.

The article details the relationship between the DOJ and Fusion GPS (these were questions Peter Strzok generally refused to answer):

But Strzok did admit that Bruce Ohr, husband of Fusion GPS operative Nellie Ohr, funneled documents to the FBI related to the Russia case. He refused to say what those documents were. Yesterday, Sen. Chuck Grassley asked DOJ to declassify the dozen reports summarizing Ohr’s 12 information-sharing meetings with the FBI.

The FBI used Fusion GPS-hired Christopher Steele until the end of October, when he was terminated for lying about his leaks to the media. But Fusion and Steele were able to continue funnelling information to the FBI using colleague Nellie Ohr and her husband Bruce Ohr, a top DOJ official who worked closely with acting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

When the Russia story first broke, Americans didn’t realize that the dossier was a secret Clinton/DNC operation, or that the unverified opposition research was sent to various Obama officials in multiple agencies. Americans didn’t know that a top DOJ official was married to an employee of the group that created the dossier, or that he was used to get information into the government.

The article concludes:

The entire investigation has major problems from start to finish, whether it’s the use of a dossier that Steele created and Bruce Ohr sent to the FBI, or the fact that Strzok ended up having to be removed from the investigation for his obvious and extreme bias. Strzok said Mueller never asked him about his texts, and didn’t seek to find out more from him about what his “insurance policy” or “impeachment” rhetoric meant.

Again, the hearing was less than substantive because of the ongoing obstruction and stonewalling campaign engaged in by DOJ. That was itself instructive.

It will be a miracle if anyone in the DOJ or FBI is ever held accountable for their use of government agencies to influence the 2016 election. Russia is not guilty of election meddling–our own government is.

 

Do You Believe That Any Of These Questions Will Be Answered?

The Conservative Treehouse posted an article today about questions Representative Devin Nunes has submitted to a number of Obama Administration officials about the Clinton-Steele dossier.

The article lists the questions:

Get out the popcorn and stay tuned.