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02 February 2018

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Dabbler

Thank you, TTG. Very balanced and thorough. Working off one of your statements: “Unless Trump uses this Nunes memo in a “go for broke” effort to fire all the top DOJ and FBI folks and replace them with newr their personal loyalty to Trump”, I would suggest that the greatest value for Trump and his people would be to act quickly to fire and replace Rosenstein EtCetera. The memo, focusing on Carter Page, who is not significant, and ending with Papadopoulos, appears weak. It’s value as an ignition point for serious action may diminish quite quickly.

Dabbler

Dabbler said in correction to Dabbler: “...with new folks who have pledged their personal loyalty to Trump...”

james

can you tell me why in the run up to the election, there was an investigation on trump, but none on clinton? it sure looks to me like the russiaphobia mindset is very deep in the usa.. now, whether that is the borg, or the msm, or whatever - all guns are firing on a steady take down of russia.. nothing has changed with trump in power either - other then a mean spirited movement to get rid of him since before day 1 of his presidency.. fair is fair and this whole thing looks very wrong on so many levels..

one more step away from the unipolar world that the exceptional nation has become so dependent on..

The Twisted Genius

james,

Did you forget about the Clinton email investigation? How about Gowdy's two year House Select Committee on Benghazi?

rexl

I have gone back and watched numerous interviews of Carter Page with various journalists including Charlie Rose, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, etc. Carter Page is either an idiot, a spook, or a schizophrenic. Today I hear that there is an extension given to a FISA Warrant only if it can be proven that there is product being produced by the Warrant, really? There was product as a result of the warrant on Carter Page? Well, that would certainly come as a surprise, someone listening in to Carter Page's life must be very, very bored.

The Twisted Genius

rexl,

The SVR officers who initially assessed him for recruitment in 2013 came to the same opinion of Page. They said he was an idiot. Given the access he developed with the Trump campaign, perhaps the SVR held their noses and gave it another shot. In order to renew the FISA warrant three times, the operation had to produce worthwhile foreign intelligence.

J

TTG, Colonel,

Russian Federation Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Director Sergey Naryshkin, Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Aleksandr Bortnikov, and Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) Director Colonel-General Igor Korobov, all were in D.C. this past week giving testimony before the DOJ Special Counsel’s Office and spoke directly with Mueller answering Mueller's questions.

rexl

TTG, yes, but he, Carter Page, has not been arrested? Something does not add up, and it is 2018 not 1978. Or perhaps, he just accidentally just set off both sides? Interesting.

Annem

Did Carter Page, aka "the Idiot" ever get a security clearance or was he gone by the time it was being processed or did he never even make it into the WH? Idiot or not, did the SVR find him a useful one or even a potentially useful one? It would seem that someone who had been in the sights of the FBI due to a relationship with one or more members of a spy ring and then ended up in some capacity in the presidential campaign would almost have to be, just as a caution, tracked by the FBI given the "potential" for damage.

The Twisted Genius

rexl,

An attempted recruitment by hostile intelligence, as in 2013, is not a crime. Once a recruited asset is identified, the operation is milked for as much intelligence (counterintelligence) as possible.

What happened in 1978?

The Twisted Genius

J,

I knew all three were here and that they met with Pompeo and Coates for counterterrorism talks. I thought it was a good idea, sanctions or not. I heard nothing about talking to Mueller.

Jose

Did Mueller know about the dossier authenticity? Did he even attempt to verify if had the power to investigate a flake case for the benefit of Democrats?

This is serious threat to our democracy if government officials can attempt to stage a coup against the will of the American people.

VietnamVet


TTG

There are heartfelt attempts to depict that everything is normal in Washington D.C. Not true.

Thousands of US troops and contractors are isolated in the middle of nowhere in Syria and Afghanistan where the wars continue unabated and catastrophic retreats could happen. There is a new Cold War with Russia.

The Nunes memo may be a nothing burger; except, it documents that the dodgy dossier was used to support warrants to surveil the President’s campaign and transition. It provides actual support to proposition that there is a corporate media and intelligence community coup to get rid of Donald Trump. This is a 100-fold more dangerous than Watergate. It is proof that the rule of law is dead.

Scapegoating Russia and the forever wars must be ratcheted down. Mankind’s survival is at stake. Democratic rule by sovereign states must be restored to the West. Nunes memo is a rattle in the Empire's death.

The Twisted Genius

Jose,

Steele and his dossier were old news by the time Mueller was appointed as special counsel in May 2017.

Tim B.

Your citation to that McClatchy article doesn't support your overstated claims. For example, that investigation into what you claim was "the movement of Russian money into the US to pay hackers and influence the election" was really an investigation into "how money may have moved....." Leaving aside the fact that the McClatchy article is based upon anonymous sources, what you are doing is no different that claiming a investigation into whether witches "may" exist is proof for the actual existence of witches.

So far, there is zero, you know, actual "evidence" that the Russians influenced the election for Trump Moreover, there is no evidence Trump is some sort of Russian agent.

Leaving aside those facts, using a pack of slurs provided by a politician's opponents as the basis to start a nation security investigation of that politician is both a crime and a scandal. Your attempt to conflate an investigation into whether so-called Russian influence existed as a justification for investigating that political candidate fails. Trump was investigated because of the Steele dossier, which was composed of complete bullshit and paid for by Trump's political opponents. What you wrote doesn't change that.

Bill H

Just watched ""The Post" today. One of the headlines featured in the movie, related to publication of the Pentagon Papers, was "US Government efforts delay Vietnam elections." Sort of puts "Russian meddling in 2016 election" into perspective.

Alves

@TTG

The memo is about the misuse of the FISA warrant submission process by the FBI and the DoJ. The case for the abuse seems to be pretty solid, unless the house intelligence comitte GOP members are lying.

The fact that there was a previous and justified investigation on another person does not diminish or change the dimension of the wrong doing on the way the warrant was obtained. In fact, the abuse might have been the only way to TRY to instrumentalize and keep the investigation alive... it is something that should be look into.

Regarding why the FBI and DoJ fought the release of the memo, yes, it will have consequences... it always does when something like this comes to light, but come on... at least going by what the press said, looks like one of their main objections was that the memo named the names of their own agents and lawyers, so we better not be disingenuous about the motives of anyone that is playing their part in the circus.

N

No, the operation does not have to produce anything, just like it started with nothing.

And if the previous investigations unearthed something, why start a new one?

OMG, there are Russian money in the US in real estate in New York!!! Of course rich people from all over the world keep money in the US, and if they did not, real estate in New York would not be what it is now.

mariner

The memo just confirms an ongoing and thus far successful Russian operation to play US partisan elites against one another and undermine the US polity. Steele's cover had been blown and he would've been regarded as a potential security risk by his former employer, along with everyone who'd ever worked with him. Why a US Govt agency would pay such a person for information provided by sources who were also aware of his compromised background demonstrates a systemic weakness. While I acknowledge the US way of doing things has in the past worked to maximise the information gathering potential available, and the benefits were regarded as greater than the costs incurred by the weaknesses, I question whether this remains the case. The quicker Mueller concludes this thing and the US begins the process of reviewing it's systemic vulnerabilities to ensure there will be no repeat of this disaster, the better. In the meantime more hyper partisan stuff only serves the interests of Russia.

blue peacock

TTG

I would not dismiss the Nunes memo out of hand. It is narrow in scope and focuses on FISA abuse. In particular the FISA Title I warrant on Carter Page, a bit player and volunteer in the Trump campaign.

It makes 4 important allegations. One, content from the Fusion GPS dossier played a significant role in the FISA warrant application and McCabe has apparently testified that without the dossier content the warrant would not have been approved. Two, Nellie Ohr's work product on the dossier was passed through her husband DOJ Deputy Attorney, Bruce Ohr to the FBI. Three, FISC was never informed about the provenance of the evidence in particular that the dossier content was paid opposition research of the Clinton campaign and unverified by the FBI. Four, top officials including Comey, McCabe, Yates & Rosenstein signed off on the FISA application knowing that the dossier evidence was not verified and that it was paid for by the DNC and the Clinton campaign.

I don't believe your characterization of the Mueller investigation is accurate. I recall Mueller's appointment was precipitated by Trump firing Comey and Comey leaking through his professor buddy that Trump was "obstructing justice". Mueller was appointed to investigate and prosecute the collusion of Trump with the Russians to steal the election.

The allegation in the Nunes memo are very serious, IMO, as it alleges that top officials knowingly deceived FISC and violated the rights of Carter Page, a US citizen. When these specific allegations are evaluated in the context of surveillance of the Trump campaign & transition the magnitude is much larger. Also, this deception of FISC by the leadership at the FBI & DOJ is significantly graver than Flynn's perjury.

IMO, FISC should rescind this warrant and they should investigate why the FISC judge did not verify the evidence presented by the DOJ in their FISA application.

aleksandar

1 - "In order to renew the FISA warrant three times, the operation had to produce worthwhile foreign intelligence."
Well, they were so desesperate to renew the FISA warrant that they have to rely on Steele dossier at the end.
2 - The whole story can be redacted differently.
Someone from the Borg and IS ask friends from Estonian IS to provide "intel about Russian medling" and the estonian IS give him what he want.
(I will not discuss Estonian IS reliability and seriouness, it's below zero )
Having such a good intel , this guy, ask other IS agency to collect intel about "figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russians."
Here comes GCHQ , so rabidly russophobic that then can assert that Pearl Harbour attack was in fact made by russian pilots disguised as japs.
Then ask other IS agencies.
This will persuade them that something is in the making from the russians and give some credentials to your story.
They will provide stuff, even far from related to the case, but that will help to make up the case.
Then persuade other agencies that you are aware of " Russian government was planning to funnel funds aimed at influencing the US election ".
And set up Interagency Working Group from the FBI, CIA, NSA, DOJ, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and representatives of the DNI to begin an inquiry.
End of phase, We've come full circle.  
If there is an IO operation related to 2016 election, here you have. ( AJP 3-10 anyone ? )
Out of hatred for Trump and russophobia.
From ordinary intel collect done by all IS agencies on earth, this story drift to « influence election ».
Clearly a projection of american mindset on others.

SR Wood

TTG - your thoughtful analysis is appreciated.

Harry

Yes, very much so.

English Outsider

TTG,

Most of us don't have the background to follow let alone to examine what the Intelligence Community was doing when these investigations were under way.

Nevertheless it is clear from what you write and from what is written elsewhere that there was contact between various Intelligence Services relating to these investigations well before the Trump inauguration. In particular there was contact between the UK and the US:-

"GCHQ became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russia. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information."

The best case scenario is that this was a routine investigation by professionals working to established procedure. The professionals may have slipped up on some elements of that procedure - so what? No organisation is perfect. Some of them may have held opinions that were hostile to Trump - again, so what? They're not robots.

In that best case scenario the most to be expected is that this case might shine a spotlight on professionals cutting corners or acting unprofessionally but no more. The fact that it might have been a blemished investigation in no way alters the fact that it was a legitimate and necessary investigation.

That best case scenario also looks to an outsider like the most reasonable and normal scenario. Big organisations do usually have weak spots and it's just the bad luck of those involved that a few possible weak spots have been put under the microscope as a result of political infighting. That doesn't mean that the organisation wasn't getting on with what it's there for, in this case looking after the security of the United States.

I'll buy all that willingly except for one thing. Steele.

TTG, there's no way that what Steele was doing in 2016 can be fitted in to a best case scenario of Intelligence professionals getting on with the job. They seem to have disavowed Steele later but whoever heard of a freelance operator being allowed to run wild as part of a serious Intelligence operation?

As an ex-MI6 officer Steele was bound by restrictions that apply to all ex-officers.
Therefore he was acting with the knowledge and consent of his former superiors. If procedure was so sloppy that no one in the UK knew what Steele was doing then why was he not prosecuted or disciplined when they did know? Why did the UK authorities support Steele to the hilt when it became publicly known what he had done? Our side did know and did approve of what Steele was doing and that knowledge and approval could not have been given without the US authorities also knowing and approving.

Never mind who paid Steele or what his motives were. I don't believe that even someone as experienced as you in intelligence work will get to the bottom of this until it is known who in the UK authorised Steele and who in the US OK'd that. And why.

LeaNder

Germany, Poland and possibly the French DGSE also passed on SIGINT.

TTG, I am a rather undisciplined reader/observer, but yes France surfaced too to the extend I looked at it on my own home ground, as far as I remember lead somewhere else ultimately, East, further East ...

Poland? France? can you give me some hints.

*****
As longtime observer of SST, I recall we had a "US expat" that brought up to be expected hacking not from outside but from the inside by the democrats.

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