Translation Required

OK, here’s the text to translate …

Source #1 was approached by an identified U.S. Person, who indicated to Source #1 that a U.S.-based law firm had hired the identified U.S. Person to conduct research regarding Candidate #1’s ties to Russia. (The identified U.S. Person and Source #1 have a long-standing business relationship.) The identified U.S. Person hired Source #1 to conduct this research. The identified U.S. person never advised Source #1 as to the motivation behind the research into Candidate #1’s ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. Person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign.

Could that be more opaque? It’s buried in a footnote in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant application to wiretap Carter Page. It’s the part of the warrant application the FBI and far too many Democrats have pointed to and said in effect ‘See? We didn’t hide anything!’ … riiight. That’s crystal clear … not.

Here’s the plain-speech translation of that paragraph:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign paid $12 million dollars, through a series of cutouts to insure anonymity, to hire Christopher Steele, an unregistered foreign agent. In turn, he bought unvalidated information from a variety un-named Russian sources and assembled it into what the head of the FBI described as an “unverified, salacious” dossier. 

Didn’t hide anything? They could not have been more clever in hiding the information in that pile of verbiage. Plus they left out the little $12 million dollar detail, and they didn’t mention the fact that the dossier was “unverified” and “salacious”. People are screaming about foreign interference in our elections … I give you the man who put more Russian election propaganda into circulation as truth than anyone before or since, Christopher Steele …

christopher steele.png

Note that the FBI knew all of the facts in the translation above at the time they presented the dossier to the FISA court. They could have been honest and said all of that … but then they wouldn’t have gotten the warrant. So instead of telling the truth, they put in the nonsense quoted above …

Seriously, James Comey publicly described the Steele Dossier as being “unverified” and “salacious” … and despite that, at the same time he told the FISA court that the dossier should be part of the warrant application. Comey said the dossier was believable because Steele was “reliable”. How can that be? The dossier is unverified and salacious but the source is reliable? Heck, even Steele himself has said his dossier is unverified … but the FBI used it just the same. Shameful.

There are more problems. Comey told the court that Steele was reliable … but that was never the issue. The question was not whether Steele was reliable—it was whether his sources were reliable. Steele could be pure as driven snow, totally reliable, and still be being fed total rubbish … and as far as anyone can tell, Steele bought pure garbage from his sources. Nor has he ever publicly identified his sources … so how could the FBI know if either the sources or their information was gold or dross?

In addition, before applying for the warrant, the FBI had found that Steele was lying to them. He told them they were the only ones getting the dossier, but in fact he was shopping it all over Washington … think the FBI told the FISA Court that the man they described as “reliable” was lying to them? Heck, the FBI paid Steele for the dossier, then they fired him for lying … reliable? Hardly.

Next, why were they so desperate to get a warrant for Carter Page?


Under the FISA rules, once Page is the subject of spying, the FBI can also spy on anyone within “two hops” from the “target”, Carter Page. This meant that every one of Page’s friends, plus all of Page’s friends’ friends, could be spied on “legally” … and that, of course, included everyone in the Trump campaign, including the President. People laughed at Trump when he said that Obama “wiretapped” him … but in fact, the President was totally correct—Obama’s secret police did indeed spy on Trump and everyone else in his campaign.

This is using the “Deep State”, the intelligence apparatus, for underhanded partisan political purposes, and the implications of that are truly terrifying. I sincerely hope that all of the DOJ and FBI people who are proven to be involved in this misuse of power get tried, convicted, and thrown into durance vile, to discourage anyone from ever trying that again. The use of the secret police to spy on your enemies is a huge danger to democracy, and it was a vile underhanded act for the Obama Administration to engage in.

Another problem—Strock and Page, the two FBI lovers who were married … to other people … both knew the FISA judge, and they discussed in their emails how they could meet with him to secretly discuss the FISA warrants without people getting suspicious. And Strock headed up the Foreign Intelligence Desk of the FBI, so all FISA warrant requests had to cross his desk. It is worth noting that immediately after ruling on Flynn the Judge was forced by the FBI to recuse himself from the case. At the time no one knew why, but now it is obvious. It was because of his conversations and friendship with Strock and Page … and the fact that he had a huge conflict of interest a week after the ruling means he had the conflict of interest before the ruling …

One piece of good news is that this is greatly to Mike Flynn’s benefit. The FBI knew that their Chief Investigator Strock and the FISA Judge were friends, and they did NOT tell Flynn’s defense team about it. That is a clear “Brady Violation”, and generally results in the verdict being overturned.

I gotta say, I don’t understand how all this is supposed to work. The Obama Administration had a surfeit of liars. John Brennan lied under oath to Congress. James Clapper lied under oath to Congress. Hillary Clinton lied to the FBI about whether there were government secrets on her garage server, although somehow they neglected to put her under oath. James Comey lied under oath to Congress. Lois Lerner lied under oath to Congress. Eric Holder lied under oath to Congress, and he is the only Attorney General to ever be cited for Contempt of Congress. McCabe lied under oath to the FBI. Strock and Page and Rod Rosenstein and Comey all lied under oath to the FISA court.

And the only one charged with lying is poor benighted Mike Flynn, who has had to sell his house to defend himself from bogus charges … heck, no less a personage than James Comey himself said that what Flynn did wasn’t lying, that instead he’d made an honest mistake about a date of a meeting. But they wanted to nail him to the wall, and when the secret police want to do that to someone, they will do it …

There is, however, some other good news. First, I wake up every morning and think “Thank heavens, we dodged a bullet. If Hillary had been elected, we would never have heard one word about these crooks at the head of the FBI and the DOJ. They would have gotten away clean with their crimes, and they would be primed and ready to do more spying to guarantee Hillary the next election.”

Upon reflection, we didn’t dodge a bullet … we dodged an endless nightmare.

Next, Andrew McCabe, who was Deputy Director of the FBI under Comey, has been fired from the FBI on the recommendation of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility, and that’s making the rank-and-file FBI agents very happy. They know if they’d done what he did they would be fired, and unsurprisingly they want the same rules to apply to the bosses.

The other good news is that the rats are starting to turn and bite each others’ throats. In McCabe’s crazy rant after he was fired, he made an interesting claim. He said that he wasn’t responsible for leaking to the media. He said it was discussed on the 7th Floor of the FBI Building, and that James Comey himself had personally approved the leak.

Here’s the fun part. When James Comey was head of the FBI, he testified under oath to Congress that he had neither leaked to the media, nor had he ever approved of such a leak … oopsie … either McCabe or Comey is lying about this. And given the hierarchical nature of bureaucracies in general and the FBI in particular, and Comey’s history of lies, and the fact that McCabe was Comey’s Deputy, my money is on Comey being the liar in this case.

Early on I heard people saying this was going to be worse than Watergate, and I laughed it off. But when the Director and the Deputy Director of the FBI are shown to have been lying to Congress, lying to the FISA Court, and using the full power of their secret police to spy on Obama’s political opponents, that is a hundred times worse than Watergate. That is the kind of secret police action that we expect in Russia or Cuba, not Washington.

Anybody willing to take odds on whether President Obama knew about this? … me, I wouldn’t bet against that proposition at any odds.

Anyhow, that’s where it stands as of today. And we’re far from the end of all of the revelations in this case. The circle of corruption keeps widening out.

This is not a new problem. The Romans had a lovely epigram for this situation:

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

meaning “Who watches the watchmen?”. But the good news is, the Inspector General is looking at this, the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility is looking at this, and there is at least some hope that there might be a Special Counsel to investigate the criminals in high places … we’ll see how it all plays out.

Meanwhile, outside my window the plants are luxuriating in the spring rain, and as always the earth abides. The good part about living in the forest is that I can go out and talk to the trees, and they just laugh at us fast-moving creatures with all of our frantic crises and our momentary worries … of course to the trees, anything less than a decade is “momentary” …

My regards to everyone, Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, young and old, atheists and believers, saints and sinners, all colors, all races, all the flavors of humankind alike, I wish each of you the very best



29 thoughts on “Translation Required

  1. It’s all extremely murky. I don’t know enough to comment, but The Conservative Treehouse / The Last Refuge has a lot of good articles on all this. I really like your mention of the different timescale of trees, and it made me think you might like one of my favourite novels by my favourite SF writer: “The Algebraist”, by the late Iain M. Banks. One of its themes is, on a galactic scale, the difference between Quick species and the Slow, especially The Dwellers, a species that lives in gas giant planets. Give it a try: if you like it, there are many more great SF novels by him, as well as normal novels with the name Iain Banks. He died in 2013 of pancreatic / gall bladder cancer; when he received the diagnosis, he proposed to his long-term partner, Adele, with these words: “Will you do me the honour of being my widow?” Best wishes from Guadalajara (to your ex-fiancée too).


  2. Typo “Under the FISA rules, once Page is the subject of spying, the FBI can also spy one anyone within “two hops” from the “target”, Carter Page. ” Should be “can also spy on anyone”

    Good article Willis. Thank you


  3. The facts you recount are indeed far worse than what Nixon and his cronies did. Far, far worse!

    If your speculations turn out to be fact, then it’s hard to see how those our government can clean itself up. The list of prosecutions would have to be breathtaking…possibly reaching Obama himself. There are many who would give their lives to prevent that, even if Comey or Hilary were only the “ultimate” targets.

    But, if these allegations are not seriously and fully investigated and prosecuted, it says our system of government is permanently broken. Those in appointed positions of power in our justice system would realize they can pursue political objectives and, if sufficiently careful, can do so without risk.

    We desperately need a President, Attorney General, and FBI head (and possibly Congressional investigation/ action with respect to the FISA court) who are willing and able to pursue this to its proper conclusion. We may have 3 of the 4 needed (I’m skeptical about Sessions)…but maybe Congress for only another 10 months and the other 3 for maybe only another 2 1/2 years. Will that be enough time even if the will is there?



  4. making lieing to federal officials a felony is one of the stupidest laws ever, tailor made for entrapment.

    That said, if they are going to use it against the people around Trump, it should be used much more against those in the FBI who were lieing.

    McCabe needed to not only be fired, but he needs to be charged, convicted, and go to jail. The only reason to spare him jail is if he has good evidence to topple enough others to make it worth sparing him (and he’s a pretty big fish to start with)


  5. I can’t read the paper anymore without becoming nauseous. Not because of what they write but what they’re ignoring (the facts you present here for example). Liberals have a world view of relative moralism. If they do it, it’s for the “good”. Unfortunately, their favorite haunts have become the axis of power in this country: Government, Academia, and Media.

    “Who watches the watchmen?” is right. And who watched the FISA court? Not even peer reviewed rulings /sarc. Star Chamber much?

    This isn’t the first time someone used the “lying to the government” to entrap someone. Remember Scooter Libby? Two years in jail for that when it could well have been a misremembered event. The abuse of Special Prosecutors has become intolerable. Fishing expeditions to entrap someone into testifying against their targets or to at least smear them.

    On the other hand, the Obama administration controlled the DOJ so how could the Congress have gotten prosecution for Brennan et al? These were blatant lies. Even now, why aren’t they being prosecuted? Is Sessions such an insider that he won’t go after his compatriots? Just incompetent? Giving Rosenstein control of the Russian investigation could support either contention. Oh, and besides lying we’ve got destruction of evidence by Lois Lerner, and Hilary Clinton. In the latter, the FBI gave immunity to the people who BitBleached her server without any proffers identifying who authorized it!


  6. The incredible nuance for me is the certitude and noble manner of the perps here. Hillary never loses a step (figuratively) blaming everyone while insisting doing no wrong. Comey, much the same. It speaks of a surety of protection far stronger than apparent. As if this episode is a bump in a very long road that has traveled through time for many, many generations. The sobering quality of that notion is so unimaginable it is lost to the greater part of the population. It is as if we need to have someone actually explain to us what the definition of equal under the law is after they have given us how they determine to interpret the word “equal”.
    As I get older I become increasingly uncomfortable with the base beliefs that are the foundation one is given to grow from. Be it love of clan, religion, family, country, or whatever, the love of it is more an obscuring lens than clarifying. The only essence of any of those nouns that matter is their quality of goodness, not their innateness. The better good is as corrupting as evolution, always striving for an edge and always mutating to beat the odds, but the “better good” is so intoxicating it will always be there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “it depends on what the meaning of is is” to quote a former president.

      Or as the Fabians said about Stalin’s atrocities: ” you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet”

      Ideologues are dangerous because they are sure of their beliefs so anything to further them is ok.


  7. We live in times of changing semantics. The word “marriage” does not mean what it meant 15 years ago. The notion of “free speech” does not mean what it meant six years ago. Elections became just a glorified nonbinding poll; you lose it – resist, resist, resist. Corollary: The word “democracy” does not mean what it meant when Obama was elected President. Strangely enough, this erosion of democracy is spearheaded by the Democratic Party. What a shame.


    • The Left has always twisted the meaning of words to gain acceptance of what they’re after. Think of how many leftist dictatorships use the word “Democratic” in the name of their country. They’ve found out that if you repeat a lie often enough people will think it’s the truth. The true danger is that they’ve gained enough control of government bureaucracy, media and academia to drown out other voices or to drive them out. Climate Science being a prime example.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I believe Jefferson was asked if they had created a democracy when the Constitution was finished, to which he basically replied that “democracy” was the second worst form of government, where half the people can enslave the other half., or words to that effect. I have always accepted Jefferson’s idea as correct and was just waiting for the time when his “prophecy” of one half enslaving the other half would come true. We are nearly there.

        He also said the Republic would last as long as there was an educated and informed citizenry. As I look at people that can’t spell, only do math if they have a calculator or calculator “app,” and can’t read beyond 2nd or 3rd grade level; then look at a “media” that can’t tell what truth is or what is fact or fiction, it is clear that we have long ago lost the Republic. And since the government has been sold to the highest bidder for years, we really don’t have much hope, do we?

        Oh well, if the push to have the nuclear war with Russia continues much longer, it probably will come to pass and we won’t have to worry after that.


        • Yes, true democracy can be just a form of mob rule. In a pure democracy 50 percent plus one person could enslave the others. Majority rules right? That’s why we place limits on it and also why we have a republican form of government which assumes that the educated and informed citizenry will make the laws and run the country for the rest of us. Or at least that’s what the founders tried to create. We’re losing that with the bureaucracy and the professional politicians.

          I don’t think we’ll have a war with Russia. Putin isn’t that stupid. Iran and N. Korea however… Pakistan might be another one too, though they’ll go after India or sell something to the islamists.


  8. I still want to know why Mr Steele was so abruptly separated from British intel service. Their Russia House has been in shambles since the 1960s, and the current situation between them and the Putinistas is beyond alarming.

    As for Strock and Page, both should have been summarily dismissed and charged with criminal misconduct as soon as their extramarital affair was discovered. That is strictly forbidden for any employee of the FBI and doubly so for anyone involved in intelligence anywhere in DoJ or DoD. Sweet Bleeding Jebus! People go to prison for far less in USG employ every day and these two still have security clearances, full salaries and benefits! Corruption, it riddles the entire Dept Justice and people’s asses need to fry for this sh*t!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Been following this closely out of both political and legal curiosity. The McCabe firing because ‘lacking candor—including under oath’ should mean perjury charges are coming. McCabes statement post firing means Comey committed perjury to Congress, as Trump and several law professors pointed out this weekend. Hillary’s ‘exhoneration’ by Comey was not only procedurally wrong—a Lynch, not Comey, call, it was legally wrong because violated clear US law concerning handling of classified info. No intent to ‘leak’ is required. You mess up, you go to jail for 1 year, period. 18USC798. The laws written that way on purpose as a deterrent. Trumps pardon of the Navy submariner over a few photo keepsakes is a recent example.
    The Comey perjury is an avenue to reopen and go after HRC concerning her private server. The FISA abuse using the Dossier is another way to criminally go after Comey, Yates, and Lynch, under theories of obstruction and perjury. (Two angles: 1. McCabe told congress no dossier no FISA warrant (IIRC in sworn testimony). 2. FBI longstanding Walker rules require the factual basis for a FISA warrant application be verified info, attested to both by FBI (head or deputy) and DOJ (head or deputy). This happened four times (original warrant application and three extensions, all apparently criminal violations of 18USC1018) since Comey testified to Congress the dossier was unverified and salacious. And we know from the Nunes memo that the Fisa court was not told the dossier was bought for $12 million by the DNC and Clinton campaign via Fusion GPS, even though the FBI knew this. Nor that Steele admitted to FBI’s Ohr in London that he was rabidly antiTrump, and Ohr reported this in writing to the FBI.
    The only question is whether this mess reaches to Obama. The Susan Rice CYA email to self concerning the Jan 5 2016 WH meeting (written as Trump was being sworn in) suggests that via Comey and Lynch and probable priors to that meeting the answer may be yes.


  10. The unfolding of this whole saga is quite bitter fruit. It has cast a pall over our entire form of government –
    esp. the justice side which probably won’t be lifted for a long time – mainly because probably half of the country either doesn’t know what happened, doesn’t care or won’t believe it anyway. I have family members that believe this is all a Republican concoction and is all made up. So in today’s world it seems to depend upon what reality you live in, fact or fiction. I hope it gets resolved but I’m not placing any bets on it.


    • RVS, I am much less pessimistic than you. This is playing out in real time, just like ‘climate change’. Must take a multiple years perspective, as Rome was neither won nor lostnin a year. In both cases, a well organized, extremely well funded ‘movement’ (ok, read mafia like conspiracy) ran up against a rag tag guerrilla internet ‘insurgency’, and is losing like Rome to the Visigoths.
      Climate guerrillas include Willis here, WUWT, Steve Mc at Climate Audit (since mostly retired except on Twitter), Susan Crockford on polar bears, Judith Curry’s Climate Etc (semi retired), and so forth. In re newer ‘war’ Trump v Swamp, include Congressman Devin Nunes on talking head weekend programming repeated via internet, ‘Sundance’ at Conservative TreeHouse, and again Willis.
      Thing is, Internet is forever. As hard as one tries, archives and Wayback Machine can ‘remember’. So Sir Walter Scotts words from his poem Marmion, canto VI, XVII. For reference see my guest post on ‘Totten Glacier’ over at Judith’s Climate Etc. Buck up and be of good cheer.


      • I think there is a growing backlash within FBI against these politicized people in leadership positions. The everyday working agents are the ones who are going to clean this up, because the actions of these individuals are dragging all of them down, and they do have the authority to root out corruption within their own organization.

        Other intel agencies are a different matter. CIA, by its very nature, is susceptible to internal corruption and is vastly more difficult to clean up. It will take individuals inside to clear out corrupt leadership, and it is not going to be pretty. I foresee a wave of “tragic” accidents and “inexplicable” suicides, accompanied by several sudden and terminal illnesses, not to mention unexpected “resignations” in order to spend more time with their families, yadayadayada. Our only hope is the pro-America, anti-leftists are the ones orchestrating the operations, not the corrupt scumbags who are in charge right now.


      • Don’t put too much hope in the Internet. A modern day dictator would ban the Wayback Machine in no time. Maybe China does it already. I wonder how much even the 2nd Amendment might help.


    • I’m as pessimistic as you if not more so. I’ve never seen such corruption of our media, bureaucracy, and judiciary to serve one political view. The DOJ is just one example. You have judges in the 9th circuit that have decided that they can arbitrarily reject an executive order that they don’t like because they don’t like something the president said. Forget the constitution. They are taking the law into their own hands. Secret Service agents that say they won’t protect the president. We don’t even know how deep into the other agencies the “resistance” lies. Listening to legislators rail and foam at the mouth about the president makes me want to puke. If the Dems gain control of the House we’re going to have an impeachment no matter what it takes to come up with trumped up charges. No pun intended.


  11. Some commentators are pessimistic, believing democracy is on the wane here in the US. For me, I am a bit amused at the expose’ and am reminded that: All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. We see that occurring now in China and Russia. I harken back to the Teddy Roosevelt Trust Busting Era when Congress was bought and paid for by industrialists and the role of Yellow Journalism helped a nation cleans itself from slaughter houses to bullying Industrialists. Sunlight is a remarkable cleanser. As much as I wish it weren’t so, the FBI as a vehicle for snooping on citizens in the name of National Security is neither new nor unexpected with Herbert Hoover role modeling for the Civil Servants how it is done, first with gangsters then Communists and extending into Vietnam War Protesters. The techniques learned are currently supporting the politically powerful ideologues. This time the “Fifth Estate”: ie, bloggers and such have replaced the corrupted mainstream “Fourth Estate” for shedding light where there is opaqueness. My belief is that visibility of the depths of the political Washington Swamp have encouraged a new interest in politics and a broader list of candidates coming from many perspectives will emerge: PA 18 as an example. One here and there is not enough. The grip of the current Coastal Elites will decrease as these performers currently in power are replaced. Value ladened topics will again become acceptable to discuss as opposed to the ideologue fervor with its attendant “no-holds-barred” approach now in favor. I see hope for the future of our Democracy.


  12. Today there is a column in the Wall Street Journal written by a retired FBI Special Agent and Legal attache’ that in my opinion lays out the root of this problem.. “What Went Wrong at the FBI” ( by Thomas J. Baker.

    Your statement above caught my attention:

    “This is using the “Deep State”, the intelligence apparatus, for underhanded partisan political purposes, and the implications of that are truly terrifying. I sincerely hope that all of the DOJ and FBI people who are proven to be involved in this misuse of power get tried, convicted, and thrown into durance vile, to discourage anyone from ever trying that again.”

    So how did we get to the point where the Deep State is able to be used for political purposes?

    In my past experience as a CEO my board would constantly remind me that the people’s actions are driven by culture and structure. As a CEO who came in to turn around situations my first priority was to change the culture, and often that meant making structural changes, which then led to ‘if you can’t change the people, then change the people’.

    In the above WSJ article Baker points to the changes made in the FBI after 9/11 .. the agency moved from being solely a law enforcement agency to more of an intelligence agency. So what’s the difference; law enforcement is based on fact and ability to testify in court truthfully, intelligence is based on estimates and guesses and shading the truth to match the leaderships priorities. As a law enforcement agency “candor” is critical to make a case in court.

    The second point Baker makes is the FBI moved major case management from the field offices to headquarters. This brought the investigation management under the direct control of those most politically motivated. It also removed any checks on the investigators.

    These two actions served to corrupt the FBI process. I would not be surprised if other agencies e.g. IRS also brought selected cases from the field to headquarters.

    Your second sentence quoted above regarding punishing the individuals, while necessary, will not dissuade others to do the same until the culture and structure are changed.

    As long as the political appointees directly control rather than provide oversight little will change. Power corrupts, and ultimate power ultimately corrupts.

    Hopefully the firing of McCabe is a harbinger that those in the FBI; the Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility will be the catalyst for this change.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I don’t understand how you were able to get the quoted text attributed to the Page FISA warrant. I was under the impression than even Congressmen could only view important documents in a specified place & could not take notes. Loved the article.


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