By Mike Whitney
May 13, 2019 “Information Clearing House” – Sometime in the next 4 weeks, the Justice Department’s inspector general will release an internal review that will reveal the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation. Among other matters, the IG’s report is expected to determine “whether there was sufficient justification under existing guidelines for the FBI to have started an investigation in the first place.” Critics of the Trump-collusion probe believe that there was never probable cause that a crime had been committed, therefore, there was no legal basis for launching the investigation. The findings of the Mueller report– that there was no cooperation or collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign– seem to underscore this broader point and suggest that the fictitious Trump-Russia connection was merely a pretext for spying on the campaign of a Beltway outsider whose political views clashed with those of the foreign policy establishment. In any event, the upcoming release of the Horowitz report will formally end the the first phase of the long-running Russiagate scandal and mark the beginning of Phase 2, in which high-profile officials from the previous administration face criminal prosecution for their role in what looks to be a botched attempt at a coup d’etat.
Here’s a brief summary from political analyst, Larry C. Johnson, who previously worked at the CIA and U.S. State Department:
“The evidence is plain–there was a broad, coordinated effort by the Obama Administration, with the help of foreign governments, to target Donald Trump and paint him as a stooge of Russia. The Mueller Report provides irrefutable evidence that the so-called Russian collusion case against Donald Trump was a deliberate fabrication by intelligence and law enforcement organizations in the US and UK and organizations aligned with the Clinton Campaign.” (“How US and Foreign Intel Agencies Interfered in a US Election”, Larry C. Johnson, Consortium News)
Bingo. Attorney General William Barr has already stated his belief that spying on the Trump campaign “did occur” and that, in his mind, it is “a big deal”. He also reiterated his commitment to thoroughly investigate the matter in order to find out whether the spying was adequately “predicated”, that is, whether the FBI followed the required protocols for such spying, or not. Barr already knows the answer to this question as he is fully aware of the fact that the FBI used information that they knew was false to obtain warrants to spy on the Trump campaign. Having no hard evidence of cooperation with the Kremlin, senior-level FBI officials and their counterparts at the Obama Justice Department used parts of an “opposition research” document (The Trump Dossier) that they knew was unreliable to procure warrants that allowed them to treat a presidential campaign the same way the intelligence agencies treat foreign enemies; using electronic surveillance, wiretapping, confidential informants and “honey trap” schemes designed to gather embarrassing or incriminating information on their target. Barr knows all of this already which is why the Democrats are doing everything in their power to discredit him and have him removed from office. His determination to “get to the bottom of this” is not just a threat to the FBI, it’s a threat to multiple agencies that may have had a hand in this expansive domestic espionage operation including the CIA, the NSA, the DOJ, the State Department and, perhaps, even the Obama White House. No one knows yet how far up the political food-chain the skulduggery actually goes, but Barr appears to be serious about finding out.
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Here’s Barr again: “Many people seem to assume that the only intelligence collection that occurred was a single confidential informant….I would like to find out whether that is in fact true. It strikes me as a fairly anemic effort if that was the counterintelligence effort designed to stop the threat as it’s being represented.”
In other words, Barr knows that the Trump campaign was riddled with spies and he is going to do his damnedest to find out what happened. He also knows that the FISA warrants were improperly obtained using the shabby disinformation from an opposition research “hit piece” (The Steele Dossier) that was paid for by Hillary Clinton and the DNC, just like he knows that government agents had concocted a strategy for leaking classified information to the media to fuel the public hysteria. Barr knows most of what happened already. It’s just a matter of compiling the research in the proper format and delivering it in a way that helps to emphasize how trusted government agents abused their power by pursuing a vicious partisan plot to either destroy the president’s reputation or force him from office. Like Barr said, that’s a “big deal”.
The name that seems to feature larger than all others in the ongoing Trump-Russia saga, is James Comey, the former FBI Director who oversaw the spying operations that are now under investigation at the DOJ. But was Comey really the central figure in these felonious hi-jinks or was he a mere lieutenant following directives from someone more powerful than himself? While the preponderance of new evidence suggests that the FBI was deeply involved, it does not answer this crucial question. For example, just this week, a report by veteran journalist John Solomon, showed that former British spy Christopher Steele admitted to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec that his “Trump Dossier” was “political research”, implying that the contents couldn’t be trusted because they were shaped by Steele’s political bias. Kavalec passed along this information to the FBI which shrugged it off and then, just days later, used the dossier to obtain warrants to spy on members of the Trump campaign. Think about that for a minute. The FBI had “written proof …. that Steele had a political motive”, but went ahead and used the dossier to procure the warrants anyway. That’s what I’d call a premeditated felony.
But evidence of wrongdoing is not proof that Comey was the ringleader, he was just the hapless sad sack who was left holding the bag. The truth is, Comey was just a reluctant follower. The real architect of the Trump-Russia treachery was the boss-man at the nation’s premier intelligence agency, the CIA. That’s where the headwaters of this shameful burlesque are located, in Langley. More on that in a minute, but first check out this excerpt from an article at The Hill which sums up Comey’s role fairly well:
(There) “will be an examination of whether Comey was unduly influenced by political agendas emanating from the previous White House and its director of national intelligence, CIA director and attorney general. This, above all, is what’s causing the 360-degree head spin.
”There are early indicators that troubling behaviors may have occurred in all three scenarios. Barr will want to zero in on a particular area of concern: the use by the FBI of confidential human sources, whether its own or those offered up by the then-CIA director. …
In addition, the cast of characters leveraged by the FBI against the Trump campaign all appear to have their genesis as CIA sources (“assets,” in agency vernacular) shared at times with the FBI. From Stefan Halper and possibly Joseph Mifsud, to Christopher Steele, to Carter Page himself, and now a mysterious “government investigator” posing as Halper’s assistant and cited in The New York Times article, legitimate questions arise as to whether Comey was manipulated into furthering a CIA political operation more than an FBI counterintelligence case.” (“James Comey is in trouble and he knows it”, The Hill)
Why is the Inspector General so curious as to whether Comey “was unduly influenced by political agendas emanating from the previous White House and its director of national intelligence, CIA director? And why did Comey draw from “a cast of characters “…. that “all appear to have their genesis as CIA sources”??
Could it be that Comey was just an unwitting pawn in a domestic regime change operation launched by former CIA Director John Brennan, the one public figure who has expressed greater personal animus towards Trump than all the others combined? Could Trump’s promise to normalize relations with Russia have intensified Brennan’s visceral hatred of him given the fact that Russia had frustrated Brennan’s strategic plans in Ukraine and Syria? Keep in mind, the CIA had been arming, training and providing logistical support to the Sunni militants who were trying to overthrow Syrian president Bashar al Assad. Putin’s intervention crushed the jihadist militias delivering a humiliating defeat to Generalissimo Brennan who, soon after, left office in disgrace. Isn’t this at least part of the reason why Brennan hates Trump?
Regular readers of this column know that I have always thought that Brennan was the central figure in the Trump-Russia charade. It was Brennan who first referred the case to Comey, just as it was Brennan who “hand-picked” the analysts who stitched together the dodgy Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) (which said that “Putin and the Russian government aspired to help…Trump’s election chances.”) It was also Brennan who persuaded Harry Reid to petition Comey to open an investigation in the first place. Brennan was chief instigator of the Trump-Russia fiasco, the omniscient puppet-master who persuaded Clapper and Comey to do his bidding while still-unidentified agents strategically leaked stories to the media to inflame passions and sow social unrest. At every turn, Brennan was there guiding the perfidious project along. According to journalist Philip Giraldi, the CIA may have even assisted in the obtaining of FISA warrants on Trump campaign aids as this excerpt from an article at The Unz Review indicates:
“Brennan was the key to the operation because the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court refused to approve several requests by the FBI to initiate taps on Trump associates and Trump Tower as there was no probable cause to do so but the British and other European intelligence services were legally able to intercept communications linked to American sources. Brennan was able to use his connections with those foreign intelligence agencies, primarily the British GCHQ, to make it look like the concerns about Trump were coming from friendly and allied countries and therefore had to be responded to as part of routine intelligence sharing. As a result, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Gen. Michael Flynn were all wiretapped. And likely there were others. This all happened during the primaries and after Trump became the GOP nominee.” (“The Conspiracy Against Trump”, Philip Giraldi)
Can you see how important this is? The FBI was having trouble getting warrants to spy on the Trump campaign, so Brennan helped them out by persuading his foreign intelligence allies (the British and other European intelligence services) to come up with bogus “intercepted communications linked to American sources,” which helped to secure the FISA warrants. We have no idea of what these foreign agents heard on these alleged intercepted communications, all we know is that they were effectively used to achieve Brennan’s ultimate objective, which was to acquire the means of taking down Trump via a relentless and expansive surveillance campaign.
According to a report in The Guardian (where the story first appeared.): “GCHQ (British Government Communications Headquarters) played an early, prominent role in kickstarting the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, which began in late July 2016. One source called the British eavesdropping agency the “principal whistleblower”. (“British spies were first to spot Trump team’s links with Russia “, The Guardian)
Okay, so Brennan twisted a few arms and got his foreign Intel buddies to make uncorroborated claims that got the investigative ball rolling, but then what? If there was any meat to Brennan’s foreign intel, then Mueller would have dug it up and used it in his report, right? But he didn’t. Why?
Because there was nothing there, the whole thing was a sham from the get go. Brennan probably “sexed up” the intelligence so it would sound like something it really wasn’t. (Think: WMD) Again, if there was even a scintilla of hard evidence that Trump’s campaign assistants were in bed with Russia, Mueller would have shrieked it from every mountaintop across America. But he didn’t, because there wasn’t any. There was no cooperation, no conspiracy and no collusion. Trump was falsely accused. End of story.
Here’s more from the same article:
“The Guardian has been told the FBI and the CIA were slow to appreciate the extensive nature of contacts between Trump’s team and Moscow ahead of the US election.” (Guardian)
“The extensive nature of contacts between Trump’s team and Moscow”???
Really? This is precisely the type of hyperventilating journalism that fueled the absurd conspiracy theory that the president of the United States was a Russian agent. It’s hard to believe that we’re even discussing the matter at this point.
There was an interesting aside in John Solomon’s article that suggests that he might be thinking along the same lines. He says: “One legal justification cited for redacting the Oct. 13, 2016, email is the National Security Act of 1947, which can be used to shield communications involving the CIA or the White House National Security Council.”
Why would Solomon draw attention to “to shielding communications involving the CIA or the White House”, after all, the bulk of his article focused on the State Department and the FBI? Is he suggesting that the CIA and Obama White House may have been involved in these spying shenanigans, is that why Kavalec’s damning notes (which stated that Steele’s dossier could not be trusted.) have been retroactively classified?
Take a look at this email from the FBI’s chief investigator in the Russia collusion probe, Peter Strzok, to his fellow agents in April 2017.
“I’m beginning to think the agency (CIA) got info a lot earlier than we thought and hasn’t shared it completely with us. Might explain all those weird/seemingly incorrect leads all these media folks have. Would also highlight agency as source of some leaks.” -Peter Strzok.
Ha! So even the FBI’s chief investigator was in the dark about the CIA’s shadowy machinations behind the scenes. Clearly, Brennan wanted to prevent the other junta leaders from fully knowing what he was up to.
All of this is bound to come out in the inspector general’s report sometime in the next month or so. Both Attorney General William Barr and IG Horowitz appear to be fully committed to revealing the criminal leaks, the illegal electronic surveillance, the improperly obtained FISA warrants, and the multiple confidential human sources (spies) that were placed in the Trump campaign. They are going to face withering criticism for their efforts, but they are resolutely moving forward all the same. Bravo, for that.
Bottom line: The agents and officials who conducted this seditious attack on the presidency never thought they’d be held accountable for their crimes. But they were wrong, and now their day of reckoning is fast approaching. The main players in this palace coup are about to be exposed, criminally charged and prosecuted. Some of them will probably wind up in jail.
“The wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.”
Mike lives in Washington state. He can be reached at email@example.com.