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29 December 2017

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Huckleberry

On McCain: This traitor's overlords will claim that patriotism motivated his treason.

Account Deleted

Thanks for the update PT. If Steele comes out of this with nothing more than a libel judgement against him, he should consider himself extremely fortunate. The Comey & McCain similarly so, if they avoid criminal charges.

Interesting that the affidavit seems to clearly throw Steele under the bus by stating that he prepared the confidential December memorandum "on his own initiative" (section 19). I'm guessing MI6 and UK Govt. had some input there. The previous section also seems to attempt to head off allegations of Orbis being under paid employ for the last memo by rather laughably stating that the memo was prepared based only on "unsolicited intelligence" - what a wonderful phrase.

Another oddity: Section 21b says Steele sent the memo to Kramer "by enciphered email" - to Fusion - despite making it clear in section 18 that Orbis' assignment from Fusion was at an end.. Section 38 then seems to imply that the involvement of Fusion was necessary for security - i.e. that the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee is apparently incapable of receiving encrypted email.

Section 37 is astonishing too. In what way could a private UK intelligence firm be under a "duty" of any kind to a US Senator - unless he was indeed a client of Orbis. Does the UK usually handle highly sensitive matters of "national security" in this way?

The affidavit just digs a bigger hole for all parties involved IMO.

TV

Like Investors Business Daily just said - it's not a swamp, it's an ocean of corruption, waste, thievery all designed to protect and enrich the incumbent establishment.
And it's all covered with a phony patina of patriotism and expertise.
"WE know how to govern. You fools go back to that wasteland (outside the beltway)."

Lefty

Remember that we have not seen the entire dossier. Parts of it were classified. Presume we've seen all the particularly salacious bits.

blue peacock
...it's an ocean of corruption, waste, thievery all designed to protect and enrich the incumbent establishment...

Thanks Publius Tacitus for keeping attention on this lawlessness by the FBI, DoJ and the IC!

What I find interesting is how the NeverTrumpers believe this collusion by law enforcement & the IC to manipulate a presidential election in a partisan manner and when that failed, to attempt a coup against a legitimately elected POTUS, is all par for the course and perfectly acceptable because the actions were against Trump who they hate with a passion. What they don't want to get, is if this type of behavior by law enforcement is given a pass now, it is a high probability, that the tables could be turned quite easily and their sorry "liberal" asses could be getting waterboarded and sodomized just for having their PC views.

blue peacock

A good example of how disinformation is peddled unless countered aggressively.

As David Habakkuk has noted here at SST before, disinformation peddler extraordinaire Luke Harding who acts in his "journalistic" endeavors as a mouth-piece for disinformation and propaganda by the intelligence agencies was "debated" in a short form made for TV interview.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-29/what-happens-when-russiagate-skeptic-debates-professional-russiagater

...Luke Harding is a journalist for The Guardian where he has been writing prolifically in promotion of the Russiagate narrative, and is the author of New York Times bestseller Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win.....The term Gish gallop, named after a Young Earth creationist who was notoriously fond of employing it, refers to a fallacious debate tactic in which a bunch of individually weak arguments are strung together in rapid-fire succession in order to create the illusion of a solid argument and overwhelm the opposition’s ability to refute them all in the time allotted. Throughout the discussion the Gish gallop appeared to be the only tool that Luke Harding brought to the table....
blowback

The Guardian was forced to admit that Luke Harding was a plagiarist for lifting articles written by the one and only Mark Ames for the Exile website. Mention this in a comment on The Guardian website, and your comment will be deleted because it's against the rules. The same happens if you mention that The Guardian credited a news agency called Ahrar al-Sham as a source for a number of reports on the war in Syria.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahrar_al-Sham

An Irish journalist, Danielle Ryan, has a piece up on RT that explains what happens in Moscow:

But Ohr hasn’t lived in Russia for decades either — and she isn’t a spy or a journalist, as Smith notes. This presumably is why much of the ‘reporting’ in the dossier is based on rumor and hearsay; the kind of information that gets bandied around in Moscow’s expat circles where everyone is trying to one-up each other by claiming to have ‘insider’ knowledge.

This phenomenon is actually key to understanding not just Russiagate, but Western reporting on Russia in general. It’s almost a kind of Cold War nostalgia. Journalists are lured by the prospect of appearing to be ‘in on’ the latest Kremlin intrigue or, even better, the appearance that they are so important that the Kremlin is out to get them; that they are truly living on the edge.

It’s why journalists like Luke Harding and Anne Applebaum want their readers to believe they are part of James Bond-style events in Moscow, where KGB agents are breaking in their windows and stealing their purses. More than anything else, those dubious tales are about confirming their own relevance and making sure their readers know how ‘important’ they are: Look at me, I was brave enough to venture into the Russian abyss, please acknowledge my efforts with endless praise and adulation.

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/414372-steele-russiagate-trump-media/

rexl

A funny observation, after hearing numerous times that before the research was funded by an "unknown Republican" really? At this level how does one stay anonymous exactly?

VietnamVet

PT

Thanks. Today’s word is cabal. They are all interconnected. Party affiliation is only for identification. Law and morality are for the little people. As long as, Donald Trump is President; his tweets make this stink hard to hide. That is the allure of Mike Pence for the establishment. He would be assured the blackwater stays hidden.

Augustin L

In the meantime, between front goy and Sayanims no chance to make America great again... What comes of the host when the parasite is done ? http://www.businessinsider.com/us-israel-iran-secret-pact-2017-12

Walrus

After reading some of the dossier, one thing stands out as far as I am concerned. Each detailed allegation in each report contains an explanation, implied or explicit, of why corroboration from other sources is unavailable. There is no second sourcing, not once. To me, that makes it obvious that the documents are fake.

English Outsider


I have watched the video posted above by "Blue Peacock" twice. This is the video of a Guardian journalist, Luke Harding, explaining why he believes Trump to be compromised by the Russians and why he believes the Russians interfered in the American Presidential election.

As far as I could make out the interview consisted of proof by inference. It was proof based on a large number of statements such as:- the Russians are not good people; they are known to do this sort of thing and Trump is the sort of person they do it to; the Russians interfere in elections so they interfered in the American elections; if we spoke to Russians or to intelligence experts that Mr Harding has spoken to we would ourselves be convinced that this was the case.

But if for the sake of argument we agree with all Mr Harding's statements including the last we are still left with no direct proof of Mr Harding's thesis emerging from the interview. Such proof by inference could as well have been used in the interview to prove that any American was compromised by the Russians, or that the Russians interfered in any election.

It was a fairly long interview and Mr Harding was given ample opportunity to put any facts he wished forward. Were there any facts at all put forward that directly proved Mr Harding's thesis, or was this interview indeed all proof by inference?

Richardstevenhack

Meanwhile, evidence has popped up suggesting that it was indeed infosec firm CrowdStrike that planted malware on the DNC servers to prop up its "determination" that Russia hacked the DNC. It appears that several pieces of malware have compile times that are AFTER CrowdStrike was called in and installed their whiz-bang Falcon software which was supposed to keep out hackers and malware. Some DNC emails alleged to be hacked were taken AFTER CrowdStrike was called in.

How CrowdStrike placed malware in DNC “hacked” servers
http://theduran.com/how-crowdstrike-placed-malware-in-the-dnc-server/

This piece is based mostly on this one:

Fancy Frauds, Bogus Bears & Malware Mimicry?!
https://disobedientmedia.com/2017/12/fancy-frauds-bogus-bears-malware-mimicry/

The article also references Thomas Rid's assertion that German Intelligence fingered Russia for the hack of the German Parliament. I posted this comment at The Duran:

One additional point: Thomas Rid and most of the mainstream media keeps saying that German intelligence fingered Russia for the German Parliament attacks. While this is partly true, German intelligence in fact never said directly that APT 29 or "Fancy Bear" WAS DEFINITELY Russian state sponsored. They said they ASSUMED Russia was conducting hacks on Germany.

See here:

Digital Attack on German Parliament: Investigative Report on the Hack of the Left Party Infrastructure in Bundestag
https://netzpolitik.org/201...

Jeffrey Carr made this point early on in his Medium article:

Can Facts Slow The DNC Breach Runaway Train?
https://medium.com/@jeffrey...

Quote

Thomas Rid wrote:

One of the strongest pieces of evidence linking GRU to the DNC hack is the equivalent of identical fingerprints found in two burglarized buildings:a reused command-and-control address — 176.31.112[.]10 — that was hard coded in a piece of malware found both in the German parliament as well as on the DNC’s servers. Russian military intelligence was identified by the German domestic security agency BfV as the actor responsible for the Bundestag breach. The infrastructure behind the fake MIS Department domain was also linked to the Berlin intrusion through at least one other element, a shared SSL certificate.

This paragraph sounds quite damning if you take it at face value, but if you invest a little time into checking the source material, its carefully constructed narrative falls apart.

Problem #1:
The IP address 176.31.112[.]10 used in the Bundestag breach as a Command and Control server has never been connected to the Russian intelligence services. In fact, Claudio Guarnieri, a highly regarded security researcher, whose technical analysis was referenced by Rid, stated that “no evidence allows to tie the attacks to governments of any particular country.”

Problem #2: The Command & Control server (176.31.112.10) was using an outdated version of OpenSSL vulnerable to Heartbleed attacks. Heartbleed allows attackers to exfiltrate data including private keys, usernames, passwords and other sensitive information.

The existence of a known security vulnerability that’s trivial to exploit opens the door to the possibility that the systems in question were used by one rogue group, and then infiltrated by a second rogue group, making the attribution process even more complicated. At the very least, the C2 server should be considered a compromised indicator.

Problem #3: The BfV published a newsletter in January 2016 which assumes that the GRU and FSB are responsible because of technical indicators, not because of any classified finding; to wit: “Many of these attack campaigns have each other on technical similarities, such as malicious software families, and infrastructure — these are important indicators of the same authorship. It is assumed that both the Russian domestic intelligence service FSB and the military foreign intelligence service GRU run cyber operations.”

Professor Rid’s argument depended heavily on conveying hard attribution by the BfV even though the President of the BfV didn’t disguise the fact that their attribution was based on an assumption and not hard evidence.

End Quote

Ingolf Eide

"Why is the 16th report important? Because it was that report that was used as principal justification for the FISA court application to spy on Donald Trump and his people."

I'm puzzled (or perhaps just confused). Weren't the FISA applications made in summer and autumn of 2016? If so, how could the 16th report (dated December 13, 2016) have been used in support of any of them?

plantman

Great report. Thank you.

You say, " Jim Comey is a moron. How could he accept this information without asking about the sourcing and then use it as the justification for a FISA submission."

I disagree. Comey knew the report was bogus from the beginning. Keep in mind, he had already read the other reports (urinating prostitutes etc) But the report created plausible deniability for what he planned to do , that is, seek FISA warrants to spy on Trumps lieutenants.

In other words, if he got caught, he could point to the report and say it sounded credible.
Brennan is in the same boat.
Remember, Brennan prepped Obama on the Russia threat way back when. He merely narrowed his focus when the dossier appeared.
Read some of Brennan's testimony where he very deliberately says, "I have seen intelligence that confirms this or that, instead of saying , "our people have discovered intelligence that such and such" In other words, he is carefully avoiding saying that the CIA generated the intel, rather he saw the Intel that came from a different source (Chris Steele)

Publius Tacitus

There may have been earlier FISA request, but the critical one was made in December is my understanding

Ingolf Eide

PT,

I haven't followed this closely but as far as I can tell one FISA warrant was granted last summer (for Carter Page) and another, somewhat broader one on October 15, 2016.

Very happy to be corrected if you (or anyone) has all the details.

Publius Tacitus

What is your source? The reality is that no one in the public arena has seen the actual FISA warrant. Other reports indicate the first couple of FISA requests were denied.

Ingolf Eide

Wikipedia. Somewhat surprisingly, to me at least, it was the best summary I could find.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Foreign_Intelligence_Surveillance_Court#2016_presidential_election_controversy

It too suggests the first few applications failed. Their tentative conclusions, for what they're worth, are based on reports from the BBC, Washington Post and a website called Heat Street.

I don't know how accurate these conclusions are but they do broadly fit with my (sketchy) recollection. Let's hope someone out there in SST land has a clearer picture.

Jack

Ingolf

Several inter-related matters need to be exposed.

One is the FISA warrant. It would be useful to know the contents of the applications. It is unusual that the law enforcement and intelligence agencies believed that a foreign power was acting in concert with a national political campaign to steal an election, and moved the FISA court to grant it surveillance rights over the national campaign. What did these agencies know and how did they decide to obtain warrants? Why did Clapper and Brennan go on national media to publicly claim our democracy was at threat? How did they come to this judgment?

Then there is the matter of the machinations at the highest levels of the FBI. Who participated in the meeting in McCabe's office where an "insurance policy" was discussed? What was this policy and who managed its execution? Who were on the investigative team on Clinton's mishandled of classified information? What are the contents of the reports? What conclusions did they arrive at? How? Who edited the final public communication? What edits did they make? Why? Were any payments made to Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson? Who were involved in the interactions among the FBI and these individuals? What were they? Were there any discussions between Comey and Lynch on the Clinton investigation and the Trump campaign?

Another matter is the creation of the Trump Dossier. Who paid whom and who wrote what? What was corroborated by the FBI and the IC? What role did Bruce and Nellie Ohr play in this? What is the document trail at Fusion GPS? What role did Christopher Steele play? Who in British intelligence knew about his partisan involvement in a presidential campaign? What did they know?

There is also the decision by Obama to expel Russian diplomats and close some of their facilities ostensibly in retaliation for their intervention in the election. How did he arrive at that decision?

A key thread is to know what is the evidence that caused the Obama administration to claim with near certainty that there was an attack by Russia to manipulate the US election? This is important because there is now a strong suspicion that the threat was hyped up on largely fabricated intelligence allegations in order for certain elements in the administration to interfere as a partisan in the election?

The scale of deceit in these matters is what makes this different? Is there rule of law? The issue of sovereignty is at stake.

LondonBob

From what I have read they were spying from earlier but the first FISA targetting Trump in October with another done, the critical one as you say, in December. It has been reported that a FISA for Carter Page was done in the summer but given how peripheral he was some might be discounting that as from being particularly newsworthy (or even perhaps that it was justified).

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/937831014965153792.html

Either this guy knows what he is talking about, or he does a very good impression of someone who does. Explains why Adm Rogers is still there anyway.

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/946504780414963714.html
https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/941080969825718273.html

Anyway anonymous internet sources are all we have to go on.

Virginia Slim

Let's see here:

- Steele travels to Rome to brief FBI on initial findings
- Steele briefs press
- Steele associate (and former UK Ambassador to RU) dangles Dossier to McCain just after the 2016 election
- Brennan briefs Harry Reid (and others in Congress) on Dossier
- etc.

Maybe I'm a simpleton, but this certainly looks like a plan to saturate multiple channels with disinformation. What's interesting is that the initial attempt to plant the information with FBI appears to have failed (i.e. it did not impact the election, as apparently planned). Thereafter, the urgency to put the (dis)information into as many hands as possible seems to have increased as the focus shifted to hobbling Trump the POTUS (rather than Trump the candidate).

The lingering question is: whence did this plan originate? In Washington? In London? In Moscow?

The Twisted Genius

Walrus,

You should read the Steele reports as raw intelligence information and not as finished analytical products. Any corroboration or refutation will have to come from other sources. Some of the Steele information has proved correct over the last year. Here's a take on that angle.

https://www.justsecurity.org/44697/steele-dossier-knowing/
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39435786

blowback

Various news sources are now reporting that the FBI investigation was opened in July 2016 following the Australian High Commisioner reporting comments made to him in a wine bar by George Popadopoulos:

During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016, George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.

About three weeks earlier, Mr. Papadopoulos had been told that Moscow had thousands of emails that would embarrass Mrs. Clinton, apparently stolen in an effort to try to damage her campaign.

Exactly how much Mr. Papadopoulos said that night at the Kensington Wine Rooms with the Australian, Alexander Downer, is unclear. But two months later, when leaked Democratic emails began appearing online, Australian officials passed the information about Mr. Papadopoulos to their American counterparts [what an unusual idea! –ed.], according to four current and former American and foreign officials with direct knowledge of the Australians’ role.

The hacking and the revelation that a member of the Trump campaign may have had inside information about it were driving factors that led the F.B.I. to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump’s associates conspired.

What puzzles me is why would the Russians tell anyone they had collected this material because of the damage that their involvement being made public would cause? Unlike the Steele dossier where Steele wanted to be paid for his work, the Russians would not be looking for payment so all the Russians would need to do, if they actually had them, was to anonymously pass the documents to whoever could make best use of them.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/30/us/politics/how-fbi-russia-investigation-began-george-papadopoulos.html?_r=0

jjc

This NY Times story appears rather sketchy, dependent on the usual anonymous sources and specifically determining that this new information blunts the importance of the Steele dossier to the FBI investigation:

"The information that Mr. Papadopoulos gave to the Australians answers one of the lingering mysteries of the past year: What so alarmed American officials to provoke the F.B.I. to open a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign months before the presidential election?

It was not, as Mr. Trump and other politicians have alleged, a dossier compiled by a former British spy hired by a rival campaign. Instead, it was firsthand information from one of America’s closest intelligence allies."

Why was this Australian connection, deemed the lynchpin to all that followed, never mentioned or even hinted at by FBI officials to the Senate Intelligence committee at the recent hearings? Big media - NY Times, Washington Post, CNN, etc - doubled down on insisting the Russian hack / collusion was certified fact after information of the FBI's handling of the Steele dossier became public. That the Times is now running an anonymously sourced story designed to blunt a serious challenge to the integrity of their pet narrative suggests a bit of panic. Notably, no one beyond the anonymous sources could speak to, let alone confirm, this information.

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