Skip to comments.9 Key Points From Newly Declassified Report Details On FISA Abuse
Posted on 04/16/2020 8:22:35 AM PDT by Kaslin
Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell declassified a slew of footnotes from Inspector General Michael Horowitzs report on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse.
Yesterday, Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell declassified a slew of footnotes from Inspector General Michael Horowitzs report on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse. In a cover letter to Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson, the Republican senators who had pushed for the declassification, Grenell noted that transparency is now needed more than ever. Grenell added that Attorney General William Barr concurred in the declassification decision as it relates to DOJ interests.
Wednesdays declassification follows the release last week of newly declassified information in three footnotes: 302, 334, 350. Those footnotes revealed that the FBI had received information that the Steele dossier included Russian disinformation and that Steeles primary sub-source did not have a network of sources. The additional information released this week builds on those revelations and adds some new ones. Here are nine key points.
Christopher Steele, the man behind the Steele dossier that formed the basis of several FISA surveillance applications, cooperated with the IGs investigations with the consent of his government, according to the newly declassified information. (We also now know that although Steele had suggested to the FBI that he had a high-ranking position, his former employer pegged him as holding only a moderately senior position.)
Whether Steeles cooperation was complete and forthright, however, is another question. And whether MI6 and other elements of British intelligence are cooperating with Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durhams probe into the targeting of the Trump campaign and administration likewise remains to be seen.
It was clear even before yesterdays additional declassifications that the Obama Administration Spied on the Trump Campaign Big Time. But now we know that in addition to the electronic surveillance of Trump campaign associate Carter Page, the FBI conducted physical searches targeting Carter Page, which could include physical premises or personal property, and that the FISA court authorized overseas surveillance of Page.
So, in addition to the FBI intercepting Pages communications, including ones with members of the Trump campaign, the FBI also had access to any confidential campaign material that Page maintained at his residences or in hotel rooms, including on computers or thumb drives. We remain in the dark, however, concerning the breath of this intrusion into Trump campaign materials because Horowitz noted that his team did not review all of the material searchedjust that information pertinent to his narrow inquiry related to FISA abuse.
This revelation concerns not just Trump and his campaign, but the constitutional rights of an innocent American citizenCarter Pagewho we now know suffered an even greater infringement of his Fourth Amendment rights than previously known, including physical searches of his property as late as July 13, 2017.
The purported predicate for the launching of Crossfire Hurricane was comments from George Papadopoulos to an Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer, that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Papadopoulos later revealed that Joseph Mifsud was the source of that information.
The IG report had reported that a search of the FBIs database for Mifsud did not reveal any records indicating Mifsud was an FBI source. From yesterdays declassification, we now know that the FBI requested information on Mifsud from another U.S. government agency and received a response from the agency indicating that Mifsud had no relationship with the agency and the agency had no derogatory information on Mifsud.
Thats quite the revelation: Our intelligence community lacked any derogatory information on the supposed Russian asset who fed Papadopoulos the inside skinny on the Kremlins machinations to dump dirt on Hillary right before the election.
The declassification raises even more questions: When did the FBI reach out to the other U.S. government agency? Was it shortly after launching Crossfire Hurricane? If not, why not? Wouldnt that be the first step in any investigation into Papadopoulos concerning comments?
And while there was no derogatory information on Mifsud, what about favorable information on him? Was there any intel on Mifsud?
The IG report provided a sketch of how Papadopoulos comments to Downerthat the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clintonmade their way to the FBI. But the sketch remains sketchy.
The report stated that Downer spoke with a U.S. government official on July 26, 2016, and that that official then called the FBIs legal attaché to share that information during an in-person meeting. We now know that there was a senior intelligence official at that meeting and that it was the senior intelligence official who suggested Papadopoulos comments sounds like an FBI matter.
Who was that senior intelligence official? And why did he think it sounds like an FBI matter?
The declassifications also revealed extensive contacts between Steele and Eurasian oligarchssomething that concerned the FBIs Transnational Organized Crime Intelligence Unit. A 2015 report, the declassification revealed, noted that from January through May 2015, 10 Eurasian oligarchs sought meetings with the FBI, and 5 of these had their intermediaries contact Steele. The footnote further added that Steeles contact with 5 Russian oligarchs in a short period of time was unusual and recommended that a validation review be completed on Steele because of this activity.
Of course, we know that didnt happen until much laterand after Steele already prompted the FISA warrants.
That Steele had such close connections with five Russian oligarchs also raises questions concerning whether the oligarchs were feeding Steele disinformation on behalf of Putin. The three footnotes declassified last week revealed that the Crossfire Hurricane team had received reporting indicating the potential for Russian disinformation influencing Steeles election reporting.
Now knowing that Steele had served as a liaison for five different Russian oligarchs, one must ask what, if anything, did the FBI or the intelligence community do to assess whether any of those oligarchs were feeding Steele disinformation?
And what about the fact that Steeles primary sub‐source told the FBI that the subsource who provided the information about the Carter Page‐Sechin meeting had connections to Russian Intelligence Services (RIS)? That seems a pretty strong suggestion that Russia disinformation permeated the Steele dossier.
Why did the FBI ignore that warning? And why did Special Counsel Robert Mueller ignore the possibility that Russia was interfering in the 2016 election by feeding Steele disinformation?
Footnotes 342 and 347, added to the release last week of details in footnote 350, further suggest Russia disinformation. In footnote 342 we learn for the first time that the Crossfire Hurricane team received information that Russian intelligence services may have targeted Orbis, which was Steeles firm.
That footnote also indicates that while the FBI knew of that fact, there was no concern because the FBI had no information as of June 2017 that Steeles election reporting source network had been penetrated or compromised. That conclusion seems to contradict the primary sub-sources statement that one sub-source had connections to Russian intelligence.
The as of June 2017 date becomes significant, as footnote 347 reveals, because that was when the FBI received information suggesting personal and business ties between the sub-source and Steeles Primary Sub-source and contacts between the sub-source and an individual in the Russian Presidential Administration in June/July 2016. Footnote 347 adds that the sub-source voic[ed] strong support for candidate Clinton in the 2016 U.S. elections. These details suggest both the possibility of Russia disinformation and politically-motivated disinformation were fed to Steele.
Finally, footnote 347 ends with an interesting tidbita statement that the FBI did not have Section 702 coverage on any other Steele sub-source. That statement suggests the FBI had Section 702 FISA surveillance on the sub-source with the connection to the Russian presidential administration.
A one-sentence footnote declassified yesterday further strengthens the case of possible Russia disinformation, as well as raising several additional serious questions. Sensitive source reporting from June 2017 indicated that a person affiliated to Russian Oligarch 1 was possibly aware of Steeles election investigation as of early July 2016, the footnote reads.
Recall that Russian Oligarch 1 was the moniker Horowitz used to refer to Vladimir Putins close confidant, aluminum oligarch Oleg Deripaska. According to the IG report, Deripaskas attorney had hired Steele to work on Russian Oligarch 1s litigation matters. The IG report also noted Steele, who passed his intel to DOJ attorney Bruce Ohr, was advocating on behalf of one of Russian Oligarch 1s companies regarding U.S. sanctions.
If an affiliate of Deripaska knew of Steeles investigation into Trump, one must wonder if Deripaska knew of this fact as well. If so, one must wonder whether he fed Steele any Russian disinformation.
This new detail also raises the question of the identity of the person affiliated with Deripaska. We know from secret, encrypted text messages between Deripaskas attorney Adam Waldman and U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), that during the height of the post-election Russia collusion hoax Waldman attempted to broker access to Steele to the senator.
Might Waldman have known about Steeles election investigation as of early July 2016? If so, how? If not, who else did that was connected to Deripaska?
In obtaining the FISA surveillance orders on Page, the FBI swore that Steele was reliable. One of the many problems with the handling of the Page FISA applications the IG found was that Steeles CHS file omitted information agents had gathered in late 2016 when they spoke with individuals who previously had professional contacts with Steele or had knowledge of his work.
These individuals reported that Steele [d]emonstrates lack of self-awareness, poor judgment, pursued people with political risk but no intelligence value, didnt always exercise great judgment, and it was not clear what he would have done to validate his reporting.
The IG report noted that none of these negative assessments was memorialized in Steeles Delta file and therefore not considered in a validation review conducted by the FBIs Validation Management Unit.
Now we know one possible reason for that omission: FBI Counterintelligence Division Assistant Director Bill Priestap told the OIG that he recalled that he may have made a commitment to Steeles former employer not to document the formers employers views on Steele as a condition for obtaining the information.
Thats quite a promise when agents must rely on the official file to accurately swear out a surveillance application!
Yesterdays declassification added a little more detail as well to footnote 334, which had been released last week. That footnote reveals that when interviewed by the FBI, the Primary Sub‐source stated that he/she did not view his/her contacts as a network of sources, but rather as friends with whom he/she has conversations about current events and government relations.
That the sub-source didnt have a network of sources, but a group of friends is significant because the FISA application falsely presented Steele as having a network of sources based on his prior UK intelligence work. But now we know his primary sub-source didnt even have a network of sources to rely uponjust a bunch of beer drinking buddies. Or maybe Russian vodka?
The big question remains: will anyone go to jail? Remember, they’re Democrats.
- No one arrested
- No one charged
- No one incarcerated (except briefly Jeffrey Epstein, and he "killed himself" according to Bagpipes Barr)
It sounds to me like Steele’s main concern was getting an audience with U.S. officials on behalf of Russian oligarchs. Perhaps the “dossier” was part of an agreement reached between Steele and Clinton/Obama in order to gain access for his oligarch clients.
NO DEMOCRAT will be tried because Black Democrat Juries are PATHETIC.
No one will be tried because Republicans assisted in the violation of the Constitution that was the Kenyanesian Usurpation.
It sounds to me like Steeles main concern was getting an audience with U.S. officials on behalf of Russian oligarchs. Perhaps the dossier was part of an agreement reached between Steele and Clinton/Obama in order to gain access for his oligarch clients.
The entire FISA court system is broke, but Congress is to impotent, short sighted and in some cases self serving (in some cases benefiting from this) to take any action.
Isn’t it about time for us to lecture others about “transparency, democracy, and rule of law” while we have secret FISA courts that are outside the US Constitution, a Patriot Act which is outside the US Constitution, and NSL’s which are outside the US Constitution?
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