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 …
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