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02 February 2018

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Rhondda

I found the wikipedia entry for Carter Page to be a very interesting starting point for further inquiry, not just in regards to his educational path: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carter_Page

John_Frank

In an informative article, Sharyl Attkisson asks Nunes memo raises question: Did FBI violate Woods Procedures? http://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/372233-nunes-memo-raises-question-did-fbi-violate-woods-procedures

From tweets that Ms. Attkisson posted pushing out her article:

"The FBI has long been barred from presenting unverified facts to FISA court to wiretap US citizens. These are known as the Woods Procedures."

"As such, it makes no difference what they omitted (or what else they submitted.) The FBI was barred from presenting even a single unverified fact to the FISA court, according to strict policy and procedure--according to experts."

"There are strict rules requiring that each and every fact presented in an FBI request to electronically spy on a U.S. citizen be extreme-vetted for accuracy — and presented to the court only if verified."

John_Frank

Transcript of testimony by Carter Page before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
https://intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/carter_page_hpsci_hearing_transcript_nov_2_2017.pdf

The Twisted Genius

pl,

The initial grooming of Page was from January to June 2013 by Podobnyy and company. That also involved a mixing of legal and illegal SVR officers. Perhaps Buryakin, the illegal, was not supposed to be that involved in grooming Page. Page apparently didn't have a clue what was going on. The FBI began monitoring Page in 2014 under a FISA warrant. The Russians were arrested in 2015.

An ideal time for recruitment would have been during his early July 2016 trip to Moscow when he was Trump's advisor. I don't know whether there was a recruitment at that time. That trip obviously rekindled the FBI's interest in him.

turcopolier

TTG

The illegal should not have been involved in anything that could be described in a US court as an approach. Spotting and assessing should have been his maximum role with a hand-off to the recruiters on safe ground. pl

The Twisted Genius

pl,

Amen to that. I bet somebody in Moscow lost their ass over that.

Rhondda

PL at #103

“That he was a US NOC working the Russia target?”

Yes. Or perhaps as TTG puts it in his reply to Eric Newhill just above: “an OFCO (offensive counterintelligence operations) dangle.”

Page received his PhD at SOAS, which (as I’m sure you know) has an interesting history as, among other things, a “school for spies.” His wikipedia entry goes to great pains to present him as an idiot, just as he’s finishing that SOAS PhD, under the advisement of a notable instructor. Me thinks he (who edited the wiki) doth protest too much. Ladled on, is how I’d characterize it. Un-subtle.

This anti-Trump/anti-Russia operation seems to have been initiated by Brennan and Clapper, and to my mind that means the Obama White House. I would think that if one wanted FISA access (which I’ve read can — amazingly — be retroactive) one would want to make sure that access was guaranteed. No slip ups. A sure thing. To get that, it might be best to make sure “your guy” — someone decorated with all the necessary hallmarks of Putin-Loving anti-Americanism — was the tripwire.

To me, Page seems like a perfect tripwire to open the 702 About Query access “legally.” I have always found it odd that he was working for free — a “voluntary” member of the campaign.

But then maybe I just have a suspicious mind and read too many spy novels ;-)

The Twisted Genius

Rhondda,

If Page was working for USI, there would be no need for any FISA warrants or 702 requests. It would only require Page to sign an authorization for surveillance. I've personally seen this done time and time again since the mid-90s. I believe Comey did this on himself.

turcopolier

Rhondda

School smart is not necessarily life smart. He looks like a number of academically brilliant cadets whom I taught at WP. IMO you are over thinking this. TTG is right. If Page had been a US IC asset he would simply have signed a consent for surveillance for them. pl

Eric Newhill

TTG,
I have to admit that I see where you're coming from re; Page.

So is the collusion theory then that Page was the go between Russians/Trump to hack the DNC and maybe some other activities?

And maybe Trump Tower itself had to be spied on b/c of all the collusion potential within the Trump team?

Then Steele mentions Page in the dossier, etc. reinforcing the idea that Trump, Russia + Page, Manafort, Papadapolous,and maybe Flynn = one big potential collusion orgy that must be investigated?

Just one of the problems I have with that is Russia connected people associated with other campaigns were never investigated, at least not publicly. There have been plenty of people in other campaign teams that must have represented a more juicy recruitment opportunity to the Russians that the stupid Page did. Why does Page become so uniquely interesting to the FBI?

And the fact that Page was never busted under FARA or anything else and that there is still no evidence of Trump working w/ the Russians to undermine Clinton's campaign. I mean they nailed Flynn for lying to the FBI. Mueller is pretty desperate make something - anything - stick in this investigation. And for all the nefarious potential that Page represents, he wasn't charged w/ anything.

The Twisted Genius

Eric Newhill,

I am not fully convinced there was any collusion. I'm pretty damned sure the Russians were looking to hook somebody in the Trump campaign and set their nets wide. I do see a lot of avenues to investigate. Even if the SVR recruited Page, that does not mean collusion beyond Page's personal involvement. Trump cannot be held responsible for Page's bad decision. Others may or may not have also made such bad decisions. If Trump wasn't Trump, he'd want this stuff rooted out and be done with it. Then he could get on with his agenda.

The three Russian SVR guys originally involved with Page in 2013 weren't arrested until 2015. The clock's still ticking on Page.

Cvillereader

I think I may have initially confused the kind of surveillance permitted under FISA Section 702, which permits for warrantless surveillance of foreign individuals involved with a counterintelligence operation, and that under Title I, which permits surveillance of US citizens with a FISA warrant.

From what I have read, though, a Title I warrant would permit the FBI to obtain electronic communications of the US citizen that had been stored by NSA, including the period of time preceding that date of the warrant. This type of surveillance may also permit law enforcement to go look at the communications of others with whom the individual had communicated with.

Because there are known abuses that occurred with Section 702 surveillance—and that were reported to FISC by Admiral Rogers— some have speculated that the later FISA warrant obtained for Page was intended to cover-up earlier illegal surveillance under 702b.

I am a lay person here, so I am only repeating what I have read.

Rhondda

Colonel, TTG -- thank you for your responses.

Eric Newhill

TTG,
Thank you for engaging me on this thread. This is my last comment.

We're here today talking about a piss ant like Page only b/c there is a "collusion" investigation into Trump that, at least at one point, threatened his presidency and the legitimacy of a US election. That collusion investigation exists because someone hacked or otherwise entered the DNC and stole material that was then passed to Wikileaks and that showed the Clinton campaign in a bad light and that Clinton said was responsible for her losing to Trump. Clinton then further alleged that Trump colluded w/ Russia to do the hacking. You'd alomost think that she just pulled that out of her ass - and like it might have come out of the ass of the top people at the FBI and maybe out of the asses of the CIA and other agency heads. Except that there was the Steele dossier that alleged all kinds of collusion and mentions Page. The Steele Dossier lent at least some minimal credence to what Clinton et al pulled out of their asses.

We know now that the Steele dossier is an all purpose/all terrain wonder dossier. In addition to being the key piece of evidence for Mueller to justify his existence as special prosecutor, it even got a FISA warrant against at Page in 2016. It is a good thing that we have professional and impeccable people lie Steele that create dossiers that keep us safe from evil foreign influences and people like Trump. So impeccable that, even if salacious, it doesn't require verification. We know that Steele is impeccable b/c impeccable b/c MI6 is impeccable and FBI people say so too. That's hell of a lot of impeccable. Can't argue w/ it.

Also, because this is such a serious matter, it is a good thing that the FBI seized the DNC server (or being so serious a matter did the DNC turn the server over to the FBI? I can't recall at the moment) so as to get the best possible forensics people working on proof of the Russian hack and learning about their methods. No doubt in addition to the top FBI guys, there were top guys on loan from other agencies.I await the outcome of their impeccable forensic investigation. Serious credible threats against our democracy and our sacred election process must be taken extremely seriously. That's why we have impeccable Mueller on the case too.

I think I'm all straightened out now.


Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

That anyone is basing anything on the "findings'of Estonian intelligence is a laugh and a half.

Eric Newhill

Sir, Page never met Trump and wasn't paid by the campaign. He was a fringe volunteer. Per Page's declassified testimony. He's a complete patsy.

Ingolf Eide

TTG, all,

“This Russian info op surrounding the 2016 election is part of this competition. Again, if I was a Russian intelligence officer and saw a chance to either prevent Clinton from becoming President or severely weaken her Presidency with an elegant and bloodless info op, I would be negligent and unpatriotic not to undertake that info op. It's just part of how nations deal with each other.”

The principle you’re laying out seems entirely reasonable. Given the Putin administration consistently plays up its respect for sovereignty and commitment to non-interference, and given that Russia under Putin seems unusually committed to building its long-term reputational brand, I do wonder if this principle is applied by Russia more warily than is usual. Certainly, as a practical matter, I’ve thought throughout that Russia probably held back on any such active measures because the risk/reward was lousy. In any event, which of us is right in this instance doesn’t much matter because I think the deeply troubling essence of this business lies elsewhere.

In your post you wrote: “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 new folks who have pledged their personal loyalty to Trump . . . “. You may have been indulging in a bit of playful hyperbole, but I think what you’re touching on here goes to the heart of things and that is the politicisation of American institutions.

As we all know, Trump’s avowed openness to friendly relations with Russia ran directly counter to the foreign policy consensus built up over decades so the almost hysterical opposition wasn’t a surprise. Nor should it be a surprise that this consensus view was shared by most of the political appointees at the top of the DOJ, the FBI, the CIA and the many other agencies. How could it be otherwise? The issue at stake is whether, in their hatred of Trump and his policy proposals, and more importantly in their deeply ingrained assumption of the rightness of their cause, many of these appointees turned the power they held in trust against a presidential candidate and then, having failed to prevent his election, against a sitting president. The finer details we’re all trying to pin down are to my mind relevant only to the extent that they help to answer that question.

As many have said, this shouldn’t be a partisan matter. Indeed, in many ways it isn’t since the foreign policy consensus is largely bipartisan. And it’s here, I think, that we come up against the great danger. From the outside, my impression has been that many (perhaps most) Americans long ago tired of endless wars and aggressive international interventions. IMO, Obama won in no small part because of his anti-war stance and I think the same is true of Trump. Each time, the powers that be (the Borg) promptly set about frustrating these wishes. This time, the evidence suggests they went considerably further in trying to do so, so far that they probably broke the law. The powers of the state were used for the pursuit of particular ends, without regard for political legitimacy.

The Democrats have made this into an apparently partisan issue but the attitudes that created and promoted Russiagate go much deeper. And therein, I think, lies the importance of the current battle. Like him or loathe him, accidentally or not, Trump seems to me mostly on the side of the angels in this one. Truth is, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than a Trump-like character, grotesque as he often seems, having the sheer chutzpah to take on this Augean task. If he wins, he and his administration will need at least as much careful monitoring as should have been occurring with previous ones. The difference, I think, is that the norms of acceptable institutional behaviour will have been reset and it would take a while before the “l’etat, c’est moi” attitudes that seem to have prevailed re-emerge. Who knows, maybe that reset would also encompass some of the media.

blue peacock

TTG, et al

I have only become interested in this topic over the past couple months. So have more questions than any type of judgment on these legal matters. And I am not a lawyer.

What intrigues me about the Nunes memo is that it alleges that the DOJ/FBI received a FISA Title 1 warrant on Carter Page in October 2016 and then several extensions. The memo specifically excludes Title 7, which implies it wasn't about 702 queries.

In reviewing the FISA Title 1 section, it seems that this is the most intense and broadest surveillance and requires the DOJ to have affirmative evidence that the US person is an agent of a hostile foreign government. Apparently, a Title 1 warrant means that the FBI can look into every aspect of this US person and all communications of this US person, including whomever they have been in contact with and this warrant then applies to all those other US persons. Additionally this warrant also applies retroactively to any surveillance conducted before the issuance of such a warrant by FISC.

Is this the correct interpretation of a FISA Title 1 warrant? If it is, this leads me to 2 questions: a) Why hasn't Carter Page been indicted for anything? b) If any unverified information was part of this application then it seems the DOJ had an affirmative obligation to inform FISC - is that correct?

I wonder if this FISA Title 1 warrant was a backdoor means to conduct surveillance on anyone on the Trump team that Page contacted? Was Page actually an "operative" of the FBI to conduct surveillance on Team Trump? As I understand it Page was an unpaid volunteer for the Trump campaign.

Does anyone have a legal or practical interpretation of FISA Title 1?

The Twisted Genius

blue peacock,

Somebody else will have to answer your questions about the intricacies of FISA. I'd be guessing. I can offer some possible answers about Page and his indictment status. Although Page is not under open indictment, he may be under a sealed indictment to be opened at a later time. Also, a common tactic with espionage cases is to let the target go free to continue collecting on the foreign intel officers. Remember, the three SVR officers involved with Page in 2013 weren't arrested until 2015. At this point I would think the SVR would have dropped Page like a hot potato, but the FBI might still want to see what Page does as he comes under more pressure.

Rhondda

I was wrong to speculate freely and cast aspersions in a public forum. True? Kind? Necessary? No, on three counts. I should know better. I withdraw my comments and I sincerely apologize. I shall endeavor to listen more and speak less. Thank you.

Dabbler

Interesting. If FISA title 1 warrants can do that, it would be a very large door, given the volume and scope of communications that NSA collects.

The Twisted Genius

Rhondda,

You have posted no comment requiring an apology. On the contrary, you have contributed to the discussion. While listening more and speaking less is good advice for all of us, I encourage you to continue actively participating in our committee of correspondence.

The Twisted Genius

Dabbler,

Yes, FISA Title VII collection is too powerful a tool to not be under strong oversight. I was disappointed when this Congress abdicated its oversight responsibility when it recently renewed the legislation without adding further restrictions. Trump is just as guilty since he willingly signed off on the renewal. There are only a few in Congress pushing for stronger privacy protections, most notably Justin Amash, Ron Wyden and Rand Paul.

wisedupearly Ceo

What I find interesting is that Trey Gowdy was tasked with reviewing the source documents and to date has not claimed that the warrant issued on Page was issued illegally.
He did, however, almost immediately announce his retirement from Congress after the Memo was released..

LeaNder

wisedup, I don't have any type of knowledge on Trey Gowdy. Would be useless knowledge anyway. I may have looked him up and it went down into less accessible crevices on my mind? But yes, I wondered about that too. Not least since I found his performance in the little I saw of him--when I first encountered him during--the Libya/Benghazi investigation quite impressive.

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