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02 February 2018

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Donald

I have been and continue to be agnostic about Russiagate. To me it seems most likely that both the Borg and the Trumpists are probably lying about something. You could probably be safe in assuming that about every Washington controversy.

But I wish people would be more precise when they say Russia “ influenced” or “ hacked” the election, because it seems like a melodramatic way of describing some pretty trivial social media activity even if you assume the Russian government was behind it. The one really significant event was the leaking or stealing of emails ( I don’t know which) showing that the Democratic Party was doing its own bit of hacking against Bernie Sanders and that was something we deserved to know. But the Borg never talks about the significance of what the emails revealed, because whatever the truth about Russiagate, it fits the needs of the Borg to demonize Russia while covering up corruption amongst Borgists.

Eric Newhill

EO #24

Except your best case scenario is unrealistic. We already know what happened here was deliberately crooked.

1. The FBI (and the IC?) at least violated the civil rights of members of the Trump campaign (and, perhaps, Trump himself, as we may see in time) when they obtained a FISA warrant based on the Steele dossier; a report that Comey himself testified was "salacious" and "unvetted".

1a. The Steele dossier must have been the meat and potatoes of the FISA warrant application b/c if they had anything better they would have used that instead and left the "unvetted" dossier out.

1b. Not only was the Steele dossier "unvetted", but we know from testimony that the FBI was not honest about its source. The FBI/DOJ deliberately mislead the FISA court as to the source and. probably, the strength of the dossier.

1c. The FBI applied for a continuation of the FISA warrant, using the Steele dossier, long after they had had ample time to vet the material. Either the material in the Steele dossier is valid or not. I think it has been shown to be not valid. Is someone saying otherwise?

2. Ironically, the FBI (and IC) is accusing Trump of "colluding" with the Russian govt when the Steele dossier itself, used to jump off a high profile investigation of both candidate Trump's team and POTUS Trump's team, is allegedly sourced from the Russian govt. In other words, the FBI/IC colluded with the Russian govt (according to their own story) to bring down Trump.

Indeed, the prominence of the Steele dossier is extremely problematic for TTG's hand waving/"nothing to see here. Let's move along folks" story line.

Again, if the FBI/IC had any brains and they had any real evidence, they would not have used the Steele Dossier b/c it is such an obvious hunk of garbage. Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that 1. The FBI/IC has no brains 2. They have no real evidence and they know it (which points to a sinister coup for pure political reasons) 3. They have brains to some extent, but no evidence to support a case against Trump. In a desperate move to jump off their sinister coup and they introduced the Steele dossier as a hail Mary that they thought would never be exposed in the aftermath of a successful coup.

Then we have the Strzok/Page exchanges which lend credence to #3.

Anna

"Did you forget about the Clinton email investigation...?" -- Do you really want to compare the Clinton email investigation, highly important for the national security and supported by the wealth of evidence, with the unverified "dossier" concocted by a bunch of partisans? Were Clinton and her staff wired because of the email investigation? Wiener and Awan brothers anyone? By the way, how do you like CrowdStrike exclusive access to Clinton's computers? The FBI should have had hold on them from day one; instead, a certified Russophobe from Atlantic Council (Eliot Higgins and Anne Applebaum come to mind) has been making various pompous statements pleasing the ears of ziocons.

Anna

"Scapegoating Russia and the forever wars must be ratcheted down. ... Nunes memo is a rattle in the Empire's death."
Agree. The arrogant alpha males (and females) have been playing with matches like children.

Anna

"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."
Thank you. This statement is like garlic and wooden cross for the war-mongers.

Fred

TTG,

"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 ..."

Prime Minister Teresa May fired the head of GCHQ. Is that the normal thing for doing "routine exchanges of information" or an indication that this political skullduggery was a "routine" occurrence? I suspect we need a special prosecutor to investigate all the FISA warrants issues prior to elections in 2012, 2008, 2004, etc. Any chance some rouge state tried to influence an election to the House or Senate? Naw, who would ever think they could get away with that.

Another fact from the Nunes memo is that the investigation of George Papadopoulos was started by Peter Strzok as a "counter intelligence" investigation and was used as probable cause for the investigation Carter Page, and Strzok was subsequently removed from his job. I'm sure that was probably for some completely innocent reason; I'm sure that happens all the time in the senior ranks of the FBI. I for one would also like to know if that great patron of saloons, Australia's Ambassador to Great Britain, had heard any other drunk guy - in a bar - talking about who was paying whom to influence the US election. I'm sure all our readers will agree that drunk guys in bars are credible.
https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2018/01/australian-ambassador-told-fbi-about-trump-campaign-connection-with-russia/
BTW isn't Great Britain home of GCHQ, the head of which got fired by the Prime Minister. I wonder why that happened.

Eric Newhill

I should have added to my assessment that we don't have to extrapolate that the highly problematic Steele Dossier was the meat and potatoes of the FISA warrant application. We know it was b/c McCabe testified that the warrant could not have been obtained w/o it. Thus, the warrant was knowingly obtained based on unvetted assertions in the dossier, paid for by Clinton. There is simply no defense and there is only one reason for this to have happened; a coup. Anyone interested in the security of the country, truth, justice and the American way would not have become interested in Trump/Russia collusion based on the dossier. And they had nothing else, per testimony.

Anna

" 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."
-- This angle on Steele's involvement has not been articulated in the press. Wonder why.

aleksandar

Whatever, blame the russians

John McCainCompte @SenJohnMcCain
" The latest attacks on the FBI and Department of Justice serve no American interests – no party’s, no president’s, only Putin’s. "

Anna

"But I wish people would be more precise when they say Russia “ influenced” or “ hacked” the election, because it seems like a melodramatic way of describing some pretty trivial social media activity even if you assume the Russian government was behind it."
The melodrama looks particularly ridiculous considering the US involvement in the Maidan coup d'etat (was not Nuland-Kagan boasting about $5 billion allocated by the US for "democracy on the march" in Ukraine?) How about Brennan (the former director of the CIA) coming to Kiev during the coup d'etat? -- This is indeed Influence! The coup has happened in a country bordering with Russian Federation. The inconvenient truth of neo-Nazi presence in the "liberated" Ukrainian government does not register with the prudes -- but for the sake of decency it should: https://www.rt.com/news/417666-german-surrender-stalingrad-75/

Jose

But specifically, did Mueller know that it was paid by the Clinton campaign and that the FBI knew information was not verified?

Also, why didn't any in tel agency attempt to verify this information before endorsing it as factual.

Not into conspiracy theories, but this looks like an attempted coup to undermine an election.

GeneO

Thanks TTG!

Stueeeeeeeee

TTG,

You are having a hard time suppressing your dislike of Trump, and it is seeping into your analysis. The memo details a covert operation to take down Trump as a candidate and then his presidency. I am not naive enough to believe our intelligence apparatus wasn't internally "weaponized" in the past, but I am stunned that basically all the branches of government played a role in the operation. Even more stunning is the brazenness of their efforts. Their agents, like Farkas, giving TV interviews explaining their operation.

You dismiss the memo by building a straw man that the mere disclosure of the circumstances surrounding the FISA warrant sets a bad precedence, but fail to explain why. Shouldn't a US citizen have the right to face his accusers?

I believe Comey had no choice but to reopen the Clinton email investigation. There were grumbles within the FBI and any potential leak would have been far more dangerous as it would have exposed their on-going operation against then candidate Trump. He was getting ahead of the story and for the most part it worked. The fake investigation went on and the illusion that Clinton was being investigated persisted. They were so confident of a Clinton win.

Last bit, there seems to be an assumption that the FISC was not aware of the details of the dossier. I am wonder if it is true or if the court cared about its validity. Given the federal court's peculiar "legal" decisions regarding Trump related case, I would guess the DOJ's FISA warrants met little or no resistance from the court.

J

TTG,

On another note, counter-terrorism.

A 'new' terrorism entity has been created in the Mideast IMO, it's the new civilian so-called Intel entity in the UAE by Brennan and company who have been recruiting former Spooks wet and dry to rival the CIA/DIA/Mossad/SVR/GRU.


Again this is IMO, but U.S./Russia/Israel/AND China [if they so wish to join] need to hand-in-hand in a combined effort one and all stomp a big mud-hole right in the middle of Brennan's new Intel problem child before 'it' becomes a real problem, and I do mean a real problem.

I'm sure that in addition to the Arab money being funneled into this new entity is some of that stolen $26 Trillion that was siphoned off by the crooks (some call them Deep state, I call them what they are -- crooks and traitors).

In all seriousness, this new entity needs to be wiped from the face of the earth while it is small and manageable, because at a future point it will become no longer 'manageable'.

The U.S. and Russia in particular need to work hand-in-hand to eradicate this new 'plague' called Brennan's new Intel entity.

The Twisted Genius

Fred,

Did May fire the GCHQ director? Are you referring to Robert Hannigan who announced his eventual stepping down back in January 2017? As for the routine sharing of information, yes, that is normal. That's what the FVEY relationship is all about. In the USIC, we are required by law and executive order to report any potential violations of law that we uncover in our operations. It got to the point where I had a long standing relationship with an FBI Special Agent to pass along the frequent stuff I was coming across. I just kept our GC in the loop as required. Skullduggery, political and criminal, is an all too common thing in our world. I suspect you are aware of that. And please note, my friend, I said aware of not involved in.

I agree that FISA warrants and all related collection activities should be reviewed. I was pleased to read the annual FISC review of these activities declassified and released by DNI Coates this year. I was glad to see this is an annual and ongoing process. The HPSCI and SSCI should also be heavily involved in the review. I'm sure Nunes' ham-handed effort to protect Trump poisoned this process. We really need privacy hawks like Justin Amash and Ron Wyden to keep a stink eye on the IC and LE agencies.

Strozk was removed from the Mueller team because of his obvious dislike for Trump as voiced in his texts to his extramarital lover. His continued presence on the team would have just added fuel to the "Stop Mueller" crowd. His voicing of his dislike for Trump was probably less problematic than the outing of his extramarital affair as far as FBI rules go. McCabe's journey was a good example of FBI procedures for avoiding conflict of interest charges in FBI investigations. He initiated the process himself when his wife ran for office.

Don't knock the usefulness of drunk guys in bars. I and my coworkers have picked up some very fruitful leads among drunk guys in bars. I was familiar with the watering holes frequented by Russians from their Berlin Embassy and always kept my ears tuned in. If I heard someone like Papadopoulos spouting off like he did in London, I wouldn't have sat on that information as long as Downer did.

BTW, I thoroughly enjoyed your recent posting. It was a refreshingly witty and irreverent take on things. I like your style.

J

TTG,

Sanchez is IMO dangerous to U.S. good health.

https://www.yenisafak.com/en/world/uae-hires-cia-agents-to-build-spy-agency-train-intel-officers-2911254

JPB

"drunk guys in bars"

Brings back memories of some old rumors about spying on the Soviet Navy. Back in the 70s the word was that ONI interviewed hookers after visits by Soviet nuclear-powered submarine crews to red light districts. Where they supposedly heard stories of severe radiation burns.

I kind of doubt that it happened. The Soviets were damned tight about liberty in foreign ports and restricted it to official visits. Maybe it was something out of a Tom Clancy novel or some such?

Bobo

"Only a thorough investigation......."
Reality is that the FBI and Justice have had their fingers on the scales for a long time. They had no business getting entangled in investigating political candidates for election. As the vetting of those candidates is done by the American Voters and once elected the only reason FBI/Justice should get involved is when there is documented malfeasance by the elected official.
There are 166% more FISA Warrants issued annually than their were during the Cold War when we had good reason to believe "the Russians are coming" which means that every workday the heads of Justice and FBI must sign their approval to six FISA Warrants. The Nunes Memo shows that the FBI has a very sloppy process when looking for FISA Warrants as the Dossier, Yahoo article and the Ohr research are all one in the same not distinct.
The FBI/Justice has been Used as a tool by someone, who, time will tell but JB & JC better get their stories straight.

John_Frank

With respect Twisted Genius, the initial Page FISA probable cause order was not granted in July, 2016, but on October 21, 2016. The FBI obtained three renewals of the original order.

White House cover letter and FBI Abuse Memo
https://intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/memo_and_white_house_letter.pdf

Read page 3 of the PDF under the heading Investigation Update.

The Twisted Genius

John_Frank,

Thank you for pointing out that error. I shall correct my post forthwith.

Boronx

1a. I don't think a warrant requires vetted evidence. The purpose of the warrant is to vet the evidence.

1c. Some of the Steele dossier is borne out by other evidence, such as sending oppo research to the Trump campaign, and laundering hacked emails through Wikilieaks. The Carter Page material has been shown to be partially correct by his own admission, though he does not admit to the full deal.

2. Some of the Steele dossier is also sourced from people near Trump. Since Steele wrote the dossier, we have learned that several members in the Trump campaign lied about meeting Russian officials or agents, and when caught out lied about the purpose of the meetings, with the lies coming from the White House, possibly the president.

That's enough justification for the FBI to have followed up on the Steele dossier. It was right about the Russian govt. sending intel on Clinton to Trump.

The Twisted Genius

J,

Reference your comments at #41 and #43

I'm not at all surprised at the rise of these private "risk management and consulting" companies run and staffed by former intel officers. I was approached by a representative of Total Intelligence Solutions years ago. That was an Erik Prince company managed by Cofer Black at the time. I don't like these things at all. But there's a lot of money to be made in the Gulf by people not wanting to leave their old lives behind. Me? I prefer studying small boat plans to trying to relive my glory days for big bucks. Yes, legislate these companies out of existence and put Sanchez and those like him out to pasture. They need to get hobbies or get laid or both.

Eric Newhill

Boronx,
Come on. The purpose of a warrant is to vet the evidence?

Actually, I have been using the wrong word. Comey said the evidence/the dossier was "unverified" not "unvetted".

The fact is, he knew it was paid for by Clinton.

So, what you're proposing is a situation in which a political opponent accuses another of something and that's all it takes. Let the spying begin. Why is there even judicial review? What possible purpose could that serve if the quality of the evidence is only to be determined after the spying has begun? I think you are confusing the US system with the Soviets or China or something.

What in the Steele dossier is true? I am not aware that any such determination has been made. "Partly correct"? Are you a lawyer or spin master? What part? That there is someone named Carter Page and that he is a US person? Ok. What other part? Show me something that makes the case. Thx

Eric Newhill

TTG #49,
Some one near and dear to me who was Navy Intel attached to DIA now works for such a company and is making great money relative to what the Navy paid and relative to other civilian career opportunities for the given demographic and education/experience.

Seems like it is important work being done to the extent that I know what it is.

SmoothieX12

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

But it is precisely this very "dossier" which already became, as it was supposed to happen, the pivot of the whole scandal. We may (I personally can't--I don't know about US procedural issues that much) discuss here those protocols and procedures whatever we want but the jugular is Steele's so called Dossier. Plus there are some signs that more, much more is to come. From now on Steele's Dossier IS the news and will stay THE news, as was the intent of Nunes' memo. The rest of it are derivatives--important but less scandalous against the background of initiation of a "investigation" based on Dr. Seuss and The Onion level "intelligence"--THAT is the real story.

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