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10 December 2019

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David Habakkuk

All,

Has anyone seen an iota of evidence that Steele actually had a ‘Primary Sub-Source’, that could be relied upon to survive critical examination, had Horowitz approached questioning both the FBI people and Steele in a manner that might be deemed appropriate with people under suspicion of having colluded in a seditious conspiracy?

turcopolier

jack

IMO Obama must have been fully in the loop for Crosswind Hurricane. Brennan and Clapper and the DoJ/FBI scoundrels would not have dared to attempt the blocking of an election without his approval. He should be prosecuted for this. Also IMO Rosemary Collyer, the chief FISC judge was probably clued in on the bogus nature of the evidence for the warrant on Page. She is a highly political judge and under the thumb of DoJ.

Elmo Zoneball

Glad you asked the question. I just arrived at the conclusion that the Steele "Sourcing" is just a very clever cover story.

I'd bet dollars to donuts that Sergie is fake source for Steele. It all came from FusionGPS, which fed it through Steele, who recycled it back to FusionGPS, attributing it to his "Primary-source, who had a network of sub-sources." Note that Steele refused to tell the FBI who the Primary sub-source was. (FBI figured it out anyway.) Hence, Sergie was the "cut-out" for Steele, isolating him from the putative "true sources" of each story (who do not, IMHO, exist.) When FBI interviews Sergie, he says: "I never told Steele half that shit; it was all barroom boasting from my pals, and I don't recall who they were, or who their sources were." Instant dead end; the FBI can't trace the stories any further, nor do they need to, once it is clear they were not true.

But when you see how the Steele memos curiously deliver very topical intel, like evidence that Page was a Russian asset, at the very moment when the FBI was going to need it for a FISA warrant, you have to wonder how is it that Sergie dished up such a topical story from his friends at that particular moment. The obvious answer is they didn't. But the key piece of evidence is the background info for all the Steele Dossier stories can be checked out and verified -- and were available in OPEN SOURCES AT THE TIME THE MEMOS WERE WRITTEN. "Barroom bullshit" doesn't have that attribute! Ergo, the Dossier stories were well researched using open sources to get the background info correct, over which the fake allegations were then troweled.

Simpson and Company are likely the primary authors, Steele printed it out, and Sergie was a convenient beard to play the role of "Primary Sub-source" in Steele's little theatrical farce, whose putative drunken sub-sources are unknown, and not worth trying to track down once the FBI realized the stories were all bullshit. Sergie and his "barroom buddies" (read: imaginary) are a cover story for the Steele Dossier material, generated by Fusion GPS and recyled back to them by Steele, with his Imprimatur on it, and attributed to his "well-connected Russian born but unnamed Primary Sub-source and his extensive network of Russian operatives," so that the FBI will swallow it hook, line, and sinker and so will the FISA Court -- without actually verifying ANY of it, at least until after the election is over, and Trump wins.

That's when the panic started, and various co-conspirators start going rogue out of desperation.

Keith Harbaugh

I watched most of the 5h30m Horowitz appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Very worthwhile, if you can spare the time.
The GOP highlighted the key points, and you can observe how Horowitz couched his answers.
Watch the whole testimony on C-SPAN here:
https://www.c-span.org/video/?466593-1/justice-department-ig-horowitz-defends-report-highlights-fisa-problems&start=407 ;
just click on the Play triangle to start the video.
That is jiggered to start with Lindsey Graham's fiery opening statement;
if it doesn't, click on Lindsey Graham in the text.

Also, Sydney Powell gave her takeaways from the Horowitz Senate testimony here:
https://youtu.be/BcF1DlnceeM?t=2m10s

Factotum

Questions asked by Conservative Tree House about FISA court application back in Feb 2018 and follow up commentary at that time - what was speculated then and what is known now?
https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2018/02/15/fisa-court-presiding-judge-rosemary-collyer-responds-to-chairman-nunes-and-chairman-goodlatte-request-for-fisc-documents/

Factotum

FISC Judge Rosemary Collyer, coming from a stint on the NLRB, has little in distinction in her online legal biography.

Elmo Zoneball

The $64,000 question is who or what prompted Mifsud to suddenly show an interest in a young Trump volunteer PapaD, who had only been associated with the Trump campaign for a few weeks (he was a foreign policy volunteer on the Carson campaign up until Carson dropped out.)

More to the point, how did anyone have PapaD on their radar such that Mifsud could connect with him, almost before the Trump campaign had even announced PapaD was part of its Foreign Policy Advisory Board?

I have always assumed there was an operation to identify any and ALL GOP campaign personnel who had significant overseas contacts, to have a short list of who could be useful as a means to smear whatever campaign they were with, with allegations of "foreign collusion." I believe this entailed the use of Foreign Intel services, likely GCHQ, to do metadata analyses on all the GOP campaign people talking overseas. This was essentially an end run of the US Constitution, so they could be spied on without a US search warrant.

I'm guessing the PapaD and Page popped to the top of the list of potential smear vectors, because of frequent foreign phone, email, and travel contacts, especially Page's Russian connections.

Once those two joined the Trump campaign, the plotters were "loaded for bear," and then set about setting up the smear.

I suspect Mifsud's TWO Blackberries will be key evidence when all is said and done. My assumption is each operation he was involved in as an intel asset would beget a separate Blackberry -- I thus assume Mifsud was concurrently performing an "op within an op" -- one Blackberry for his handler on the "outer op," and the other for his handler on the "inner op."

The analogy is the one plumber in the Watergate break-in squad who had the key taped to the back cover of a small notebook in his pocket, which the police said he tried to throw away several times while they were interrogating them in the hallway. None of the other plumbers (nor G. Gordon Liddy) knew about the key, and what its purpose was. Only the one plumber, and the person who had told him what the real purpose was of the break-in, knew what the key was for. Read "Silent Coup."

P.S. The key disappeared from the DC police evidence locker, but not before it key number and brand were recorded. The key matched a drawer lock on a single desk in the DNC HQ complex at Watergate, and it wasn't Larry O'Brien's.....

;-)

blue peacock

David,

Maybe the sub-source was Nellie Ohr and Glenn Simpson. The authors of the dossier could very well be Fusion GPS.

The real question is how wide & deep is Durham going with his criminal investigation. Is he going to look at the role of not just key players at DOJ, FBI & CIA but also in Congress and the media?

It should be clear as day that Comey, Brennan and Clapper have committed perjury. Will they get the same treatment that Roger Stone received - an indictment & conviction for perjury?

blue peacock

Jack

You are absolutely correct that the media after perpetrating the Iraq WMD hoax and now the Russia Collusion hoax should have ZERO credibility. I wonder why so many Americans keep using the NY Times & WaPo and CNN, Fox & NBC as their primary source of news?

Makes no sense.

Col. Lang and his guest authors analysis have been so spot on all these years.

bjd

To be precise, Horowitz is saying: it's hard to ascribe these 17 events to 'purely incompetence'. (06:05:40).

bjd

Bruce Ohr is still at the DOJ...

English Outsider

Odd thing is, when I watched the hearing on the report it came out differently.  

I have been reading the articles and comments on this on the Colonel's site, as the article above by Mr Johnson.  Each time I have thought - "Yes, that there was a conspiracy to damage Trump has to be right, but where's the indisputable proof of wrongdoing that can be taken for granted by all, not merely by those who follow a long chain of reasoning and deduction".

That's what Horowitz has provided.  He has limited his investigation to little more than a formal procedural audit.  He has left out questions of motive or intent as much as possible.  He refuses to look outside his brief.  That he has so limited his investigation makes his conclusions all the more incontrovertible.

It's doubtful that all the FBI operatives in any way involved were set as a unit on "Getting Trump".   Some were, most weren't, and those who were slipped the conspiracy past the rest of them as "normal procedure."  There were hints here and there that FBI "normal procedure" when it comes to getting FISA approval is sloppy in any case.

In a "culture" (the word was used several times during the Senate hearing) of sloppiness or of cutting corners, getting defective applications for FISA approval submitted would not be difficult.

So it's quite possible that the initial application was above reproach in a formal sense. Horowitz says as much.  He does not say the same about the "renewals" and in fact makes it clear that those later renewals were "murky". That is, the renewals were formally defective in that they did not disclose to the FISA Court that there was now formal evidence available to show that Steele had turned out to be an unreliable and biased source.

Horowitz has very little evidence proving that such errors were due to malicious intent.  He merely documents the errors and let's us make what we will of them.  

Similarly he has no evidence showing that Comey acted with malicious intent. He therefore does not accuse Comey of malicious intent.  But he is also very clear indeed that he cannot exculpate Comey. Again, he merely documents the errors and oversights.

In short, Horowitz is simply on a fact finding mission.  He establishes to the satisfaction of both sides of the Senate Committee that a series of formal errors occurred.  That established, he refuses to move out of his ground and say why they occurred; he has no formal evidence on that.  The text messages don't count because they were exchanged mostly outside the formal context of the FISA application.

I've been reading on the blogs that Horowitz sold the pass.  That he's part of a cover up.  On the contrary.  He has meticulously uncovered the basic and incontestable facts of what went wrong with those FISA applications.  That, given the mass of unsupported or hitherto unverifiable allegation swirling around "Russiagate", or at least of allegation not hitherto accepted on all hands, is of inestimable value.
 
This has two consequences -

1.  The Democrats as well as Trump supporters now accept that a quite extraordinary chain of errors and failures occurred during the various submissions to the FISA Court.  No argument, no need to go back over it. Horowitz has established common ground.  At no time was there a hint from the Democrats that Horowitz' findings were disputed and they won't be in the future.

2.  By refusing to go outside his brief, and in particular by refusing to speculate on criminal intent, Horowitz has left the field wide open for the matching of further evidence to his findings.

The Horowitz "audit" is therefore a springboard for further investigation and enquiry.  He's done his limited but vital job.  Now one can only wait to see whether subsequent investigators do theirs.


.

Leaves just one question in the back of one's mind.  That FISA Court.  It seems to have ended up passively accepting throughout what the FBI put forward.  But this wasn't in the context of the 98% of bread and butter applications that they routinely approve.  It was in the middle of an all hell let loose political dogfight.  Presumably the judges read the newspapers and knew all that was exploding in the world outside their courtroom. 
 
In such a context it seems strange that when those renewals came up the judges didn't say to the FBI operatives involved - "Are you quite sure all this is on the level?"  But that they don't seem to have done.

Looks even stranger compared with how such  courts are supposed to operate -

https://www.lawfareblog.com/how-fisa-court-really-works

Joe100

Barr's interview with the WSJ is pretty interesting and suggest that Durham is working the real origins, etc. It suggests that Barr gets that there has been considerable criminal activity and he notes that Horowitz's investigation had legal boundaries that precluded accessing information, witnesses etc. that were outside of DOJ and activity earlier than his investigation could consider. And he is clear that Durham can is is following all relevant threads.

It is also of some interest that Durham has a history with Muller and Wiseman who he wanted to indict for crimes related to their framing two people for murder to protect his source, gang boss and murderer Whitey Bolger. Janet Reno did not let Durham proceed with his indictments and the framed gang members eventually sued DOJ, were cleared of their framed crimes (one posthumously, the other released from prison) and won a large financial judgement.

The Barr interview can be seen at https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2019/12/10/ag-bill-barr-one-on-one-with-wall-street-journal/


English Outsider

Yes. He obviously doesn't believe it's "purely incompetence" and doesn't expect us to. But he won't go a inch beyond what he has direct documentary or witness evidence for. What is significant is that his findings were accepted by both sides. That something went seriously wrong with those FISA applications can no longer be dismissed as exaggeration or conspiracy theory.

The BBC has a go at the subject -

 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-50720345

From that one can see that the 'purely incompetence' line will nevertheless be pushed quite hard -

"Democrats said the report undercuts Mr Trump's repeated claims that he was the victim of a "witch hunt".

It was never a witch hunt, Democratic Senator Mark Warner said on Twitter. "It was the men and women of federal law enforcement doing their jobs.""

Factotum

We take WSJ and Sunday LATimes - two polar opposites reporting the same stories.

Factotum

Dan Bongino links the IG report, the "insurance policy" and the FISA applications togther.

He claims Crossfire Hurricane team needed "insurance" their FISA applications to spy on Carter and Papadopolus would not be rejected again, after several tries due to lack of compelling evidence. They needed "insurance" this time they would pass, and they did.

The alleged "Russian" hacking of the DNC appears to be CrossFire's insurance policy, according to Bongino, to make FISA newly concerned now about Russian interference in the 2016 elections. And Trump's alleged Russian connections that would encourage their alleged interference.

And who but our good friends at CROWDSTRIKE provided that necessary insurance ...it was the Russians.

Good read. https://www.redstate.com/elizabeth-vaughn/2019/12/12/dan-bongino-discovers-critical-new-information-ig-report-actions-crossfire-hurricane-team/

fanto

EO, thank you for your view of Horowitz' paper and his oral presentation; I was more inclined to see him as making excuses or hedging, but it makes sense what you say. Thanks also to Larry Johnson, and Col Lang for keeping us informed on SST.

The Twisted Genius

EO, I didn't watch the hearing, but I read the entire 400 plus pages of the Horowitz report. I didn't see any exoneration or indictment. What I did see was cops (FBI) thinking and acting like cops. Cops who are by nature suspicious and become focused on the assumed guilt of whoever their suspicions fall upon. This is evident in the list of 17 errors (and worse) in the four Carter Page FISA applications. Those weren't random errors. They were errors driven by an unflinching belief that Page was guilty. This kind of behavior wasn't unique to the Russiagate investigation. Look at the overbearing FBI persecution of Steven Hatfill during the Anthrax attack investigation or of Richard Jewell during the Atlanta Olympic bombing investigation. Let's face it, the FBI can be miserable dicks... and wrong. That doesn't make them deep state conspiracists, just dicks. And I think, as Horowitz recommended, Congress must fashion legislation to reign in that dickishness.

The FBI focused their ire on four persons of interest in their search for Russia's link to the Trump campaign simply because of their connections to Russian government officials and travel to Russia. In spite of the FBI's aggressive tactics, I note that none of the four were ever indicted for being a conduit between Trump and Putin. The Horowitz report reinforced my belief that there never was any deliberate, active collusion between the Trump campaign and RIS during the 2016 election, just uncoordinated opportunism. There's no crime in being opportunistic. It also reinforced my belief there was no deep state attempt to overthrow Trump. I see no coup attempt.

Of course this relies on my belief that Russia has been consistent in her intelligence, computer operations and information operations since the times I worked every day in confronting those Russian operations. Those who hold that Russia never did any of those things, at least since 2016, can only conclude that a far ranging coup attempt has been underway for the last four years. Opportunism by the never Trumpers, yes, but a coup, no.

Factotum

TG: Why did the Durham/Barr investigation become a criminal investigation, if this was just a hapless di*ks operation, destroying a few lives of innocent citizens along the way.

There is nothing hapless about systemic incompetence, even if they in fact were too hapless to stage a coup. Regardless of multiple corroborated statements made by these hapless di*ks, there was no way they would ever allow Trump to become President.

When 95% of government employees donated to one candidate- Hilary Clinton - there is partisan danger when collectively those di*ks exercise their government endowed powers.

Civil Service Act and Hatch Act need serious updating regarding expected conduct by government employees. Being hapless di*ks at minimum and plotting coup agents a maximum are simply not worth our taxpayer investment in their salaries, perks, and pensions.

Jack

TTG

I’m glad you bring up the Steven Hatfill and Richard Jewell cases. These are examples of not dickishness but malevolence. Destroying people knowing their accusations were based on falsities. How can anyone trust law enforcement with these extraordinary powers when they use the media to character assassinate and use their surveillance and investigatory powers to break innocent people both financially and mentally?

There is a rotten institutional core that permeates to allow such behavior of impunity. They need to be held to a higher standard.

In this case the Mueller investigation and the associated media attacks should never have taken place as they knew the Steele dossier was fiction. The fact that they were willing to go after a duly elected president shows how far they’ve gotten away in the past. Unless there’s serious accountability where will they go next?

English Outsider

TTG - This is familiar territory to you. As you know it's not to me. Am I correct in thinking that there is a distinction to be made between the cyber/media operations you have seen so much of at first hand and the old-fashioned smear campaign that it looks as if Steele was engaged in?

I should say that that Senate Committee hearing was mighty impressive. I've not seen heavyweights like that in action before, and that they could make their points so emphatically and pursue their enquiries so persistently while keeping the proceedings so orderly and dignified - well, there are a few lessons we Europeans could take from that.

I think they were impressed by Horowitz and took it as read that he was genuine. I did - he seemed the sort of man who just likes to get to the bottom of things.

I didn't find those FBI errors that significant. Apart from one or two corners that Horowitz found were cut a little finer than maybe they should have been I imagine that's how it is most of the time. If these people get it wrong bombs go off or security is compromised; so it's front line stuff and I bet in that urgent atmosphere they hustle like hell.

Just the right conditions to get something bogus through, I thought.

Or alternatively, just the right conditions to feed them something bogus.

I thought it to be a possible scenario that that's what Steele did to them.

After all, if you've got people whose job it is to chase down every lead no matter how unlikely, who get the public breathing down their necks if they fail to follow any lead up when that failure leads to disaster, then they are almost certain to bite if they get leads fed to them by a fellow professional.

I hope your renovation work went well. I am feeling decidedly inferior in that respect. I have one or two repairs that are getting urgent but somehow ...

It's the scaffolding. I'm too mean to hire it and too chicken to do without it. One only has to have had a ladder slip once to get to be like that.

akaPatience

I appreciate what English Outsider and TTG have to say about Horowitz's determination regarding political bias. I agree with EO that the IG presented evidence factually and left the door open for further explanation. I agree with TTG that cops can be overzealous and wrongly presume guilt occasionally.

But I find it impossible to believe that withholding exculpatory evidence, forging a supportive email to make it incriminating, and lying to the FISC are mere errors or faulty presumptions of guilt. They are crimes, and committed with such willfulness in a case of tremendous import with international repercussions, as to require some sort of motive beyond incompetence or dickishness.

Terence Gore

Interesting series by John Batchelor interviewing Sveltlana Lokhova.

https://audioboom.com/posts/7450454-searching-for-the-origins-of-russiagate-1-of-4-realslokhova

Does not paint a flattering picture of Halper. Suggests Flynn was original target.

English Outsider


Thanks, Fanto. The things got so complicated now that one can no longer be confident of anything except that that Steele dossier was dodgy and he couldn't have done what he did without getting the OK from his erstwhile superiors. You'll find TTG giving us a very necessary corrective perspective just below.

turcopolier

TTG

One of my long ago students at USMA kindly drove me to the surgical clinic on the 10th and stayed with me to drive me home. She is going to do the same on the 17th for the left eye. Things seems to be going well although swelling in the eye keeps you from having as sharp a focus as will occur when that subsides. Well, this lady assured me on the way home that she sees no benefit whatever from Trump's presidency and that he has nothing to do with the prosperity being experienced in the country. I think that you and she are in the same camp and neither of you will ever see anything good in him or his administration.

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