My hypothesis of the Weiner-Abedin emails affair: The set-up and the frame-up by the pro-Trump faction of the FBI
The details, incongruencies, and many questions raised in this article seem to lend the additional credence and support, in my humble opinion, to my hypothesis of the Weiner-Abedin emails affair, namely that it was skillfully arranged and executed by the pro-Trump faction of the FBI centered in NY field office (which apparently suffers from its own mysterious maladies for quite a long time, as reported) and closely allied with Trump’s campaign through the Giuliani and Kallstrom circles.
How can you “arrange” the exhibitionistic behavior, you might ask? I think that exhibitionism, at least in some cases, can have a strong compulsive (similar to the “irresistible impulse“, component), and the pro-Trump FBI performers might have been well aware of this in their preparations to set Anthony Weiner up and to frame him up.
Girl in Weiner sexting case lied to damage Clinton, reports The Hill. “The website suggests [in a letter published by BuzzFeed], this could mean that Weiner was the target of a politically motivated plot… “Seeing that Weiner is both a repeat offender — his sexting addiction cost him his job in Congress as well as a shot at becoming mayor of New York — and associated with one of the most important people in Clinton’s inner circle, it is conceivable that this was a set-up from the beginning, with the objective of embarrassing the Clinton campaign,” the WhoWhatWhy report reads.” A. Weiner reportedly had the same impression himself.
The October 28, 2016, Letter to Congress changed the course of the Elections, as many people think, and this line of thought is based on the good, including the statistical aspects, reasons. This letter was the product of the very strange and suspicious, in terms of illegal FBI activity (“permitted” to them by Law?! and unreported for the Election year!!!, see the previous posts on this subject also), Weiner’s “sexting” case, and subsequent “discovery” of the official emails on the laptop used by him and Abedin.
Of course, this interpretation (Weiner’s set-up and frame-up hypothesis) of the events remains just the (journalistic) investigative hypothesis at this point, but the grave importance this issue has for the correct understanding of the events, necessitates, again in my humble opinion, their vigorous, independent, objective, and scrupulous investigation.
Do not assume that we know the whole truth at this point yet. The most troubling aspect is that this described above “sex cum politics” scenario might have been conceived within the Kremlin (or other, related) walls: they have great experiences and a knack for these types of the shows (see Skuratov affair) and they use them as their favorite, efficient, and well-tested tools from their infamous Cookbook.
Abedin herself said that she does not know how these “hundreds of thousands, (about 650,000) emails, ended up on her computer, and the likelihood of these emails been dumped into her laptop, possibly by the hostile, and/or foreign players, is very high. I do not think that the origin of these emails was explained sufficiently and satisfactorily at this point yet.
“In another twist to the investigative saga over Hillary Clinton’s private emails, CBS News has learned that Huma Abedin, a top Clinton aide and longtime confidant, says she has no knowledge of any of her emails being on the electronic device belonging to her estranged husband, disgraced ex-congressman Anthony Weiner.”
Investigate the investigators! Save America! Reform the FBI now!
Weiner-Abedin Emails Affair is the FBI Plot – 5.21.18
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Trump campaign, FBI informants, and their outing
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- 5.18.18 – Why is the FBI Outing Stefan Halper As Their Informant In the Trump Campaign?
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- 5.16.18 – Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation – The New York Times
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- 6:34 AM 5/20/2018 – Outing FBI informants: when is it legal and when is it illegal, and why? | Why is the FBI Outing Stefan Halper As Their Informant In the Trump Campaign? | FBI News Review
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- Plot Thickens: Search Warrant for Anthony Weiner’s Laptop Unsealed – Google Search
- Search Warrant for Anthony Weiner’s Laptop Unsealed | The Epoch Times
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|Search Warrant for Anthony Weiner’s Laptop Unsealed | The Epoch Times|
Search Warrant for Anthony Weiner’s Laptop Unsealed
May 19, 2018 14:40, Last Updated: May 20, 2018 11:04
District Judge Denise Cote unsealed the search warrant for the laptop and other devices of former Congressman Anthony Weiner on Wednesday, May 16.
Weiner was sentenced by Cote in September to 21 months in prison for sending obscene material—including sexually explicit images and directions to engage in sexual conduct—to a 15-year-old girl through messaging and video chat apps.
New York City Police obtained a search warrant on his laptop, iPad, and iPhone on Sept. 26, 2016, approved by Magistrate Judge Ronald Ellis.
The laptop soon became the center of a major controversy. However, the search warrant suggests the controversy may run deeper still.
On Nov. 4, 2016, former Navy SEAL and CIA contractor Erik Prince said “a very well-placed source” at the NYPD told him the NYPD found “damning criminal information” about then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Weiner’s laptop and threatened to release it if the FBI tried to sweep it under the rug.
The FBI later obtained its own search warrant and looked at the laptop in connection with its investigation into Clinton’s mishandling of classified information as State Secretary.
But there was a notable difference between the FBI warrant and the NYPD one.
The one obtained by NYPD read, in part: “Depending on circumstances, a complete review of the seized [electronically stored information] may require examination of all of the seized data to evaluate its contents and determine whether the data is responsive to the warrant.”
The FBI one read, in part: “Law enforcement personnel will make reasonable efforts to restrict their search to data falling within the categories of evidence specified in the warrant.”
That would suggest the NYPD could look at everything, while the FBI investigators worded its warrant in a way that restricted them to look only at data regarding the mishandling of classified information.
Here’s what we know about how Clinton’s emails ended up on Weiner’s laptop and what repercussions their discovery meant:
Weiner shared the laptop with his estranged wife, Huma Abedin, a close aide to Hillary Clinton since 2000.
Hundreds of thousands of emails were stored on the laptop, including thousands from Clinton.
“Huma Abedin appears to have had a regular practice of forwarding emails to [Weiner] for him,” then-FBI Director James Comey testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on May 3, 2017. “I think, to print out for her, so she could then deliver them to [Clinton].”
[M.N.: Abedin herself said that she does not know how these “hundreds of thousands, about 600,000, if I remember correctly, emails ended up on her computer, and the likelihood of these emails been dumped into her laptop, possibly by the hostile, and/or foreign players, is very high. I do not think that the origin of these emails was explained sufficiently and satisfactorily at this point.]
The existence of the emails was also confirmed in texts between senior FBI attorney Lisa Page and former head of counterintelligence at the FBI, Peter Strzok.
Peter Strzok. (FBI)“Got called up to Andy’s earlier … hundreds of thousands of emails turned over by Weiner’s atty to sdny, indudes a ton of material from spouse,” Strzok texted (pdf) Page on Sept. 28, 2016, only two days after the search warrant: “Sending team up tomorrow to review … this will never end ….”
The text suggests that then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, referred to as Andy, knew of the emails. Strzok noted that a team would go to “review” the next day, Sept. 29, 2016.
But this timeline seems to conflict with a Chicago Tribune story, which said that law enforcement officers first seized the laptop on Oct. 3, according to “federal officials familiar with the investigation.”
The text suggests McCabe knew about the emails on Sept. 28 because Weiner’s attorney himself delivered the emails to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. It is not clear why.
Then acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 11, 2017. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
It was McCabe who led a small group at FBI headquarters on the Clinton investigation. Both Strzok and Page were in that group. Comey announced the conclusion of the investigation on July 5, 2016.
The Hill reported on Nov. 6 that Strzok changed key language in that conclusion from “grossly negligent,” which would have been a crime, to “extremely careless.” Changing the phrase may have exonerated Clinton.
The Weiner laptop turned out to have a trove of Clinton’s emails containing classified information and emails from the first three months of her term as State Secretary—emails that the FBI had not obtained before, Comey said.
But, Comey said it took until Oct. 27, 2016, for their small team to come to him and tell him about the significance of the emails. The group was only looking at the emails’ metadata—such as subject, sent date, and addressee—according to Comey, and asked him whether they should get a search warrant to look at the emails themselves, which Comey approved.
Comey told Fox News’ Bret Baier he didn’t know why it took a month for McCabe to come to him, especially given the significance of the discovery only a few weeks before the presidential election.
Former FBI Director James Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on June 8, 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)“I think what actually drove it was the prosecutors in New York who were working the criminal case against Weiner called down to headquarters and said, ‘Are we getting a search warrant or not for this?’ That caused, I’m sorry, Justice Department Headquarters, to then call across the street to the FBI and poke the organization; and they start to move much more quickly. I don’t know why there was, if there was slow activity, why it was slow for those first couple of weeks,” Comey said on April 26.
Indeed, at least one high-ranking Justice Department official prodded the team about the Weiner trove.
On Oct. 21, 2016, Strzok texted, “[redacted] called [because] Toscas [is] now aware NY has [Clinton-Abedin] emails via [W]einer invest[igation]. Told him we knew. Wanted to know our thoughts on getting it.”
Strzok was referring to George Toscas, deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department’s National Security Division.
“George wanted to ensure info got to Andy,” Strzok wrote.
It was also Toscas, who, according to The New York Times, criticised Comey for caving to Attorney General Loretta Lynch in calling the Clinton probe a “matter” instead of an investigation back in 2015.
“I guess you’re the Federal Bureau of Matters now,” Toscas said.
But it’s not clear why the New York prosecutors would call Justice Headquarters about a search warrant. They’d had a search warrant for their investigation since Sept. 26. There’s no sign they had anything to do with the Clinton investigation because that was run by the team at the FBI headquarters.
It is also not clear whether Toscas’ call was motivated by the NYPD threat of disclosure Prince talked about. Prince said the NYPD received strong pushback from Obama’s Justice Department—a threat to push charges against the NYPD in an unrelated civil rights case.
Meanwhile, the Strzok texts reveal the team had another contingency on its hands. On Oct. 24, 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported that after the Clinton probe started in July 2015, McCabe’s wife, Jill, received some $675,000 for her Virginia State Senate campaign from Clinton associate Gov. Terry McCauliffe’s political entities.
On Jan. 29, 2016, Comey appointed McCabe deputy director, putting him in charge of the Clinton investigation.
On the day Comey was briefed by the team on Oct. 27, 2016, his chief of staff, Jim Rybicki, wanted McCabe to recuse himself, the Strzok texts suggest, apparently because the public learned McCabe’s wife was getting money from the Clinton camp.
The texts also suggest Page, who was McCabe’s legal counsel, was to recuse herself too, which she apparently wasn’t thrilled about.
“I obviously don’t have to tell you how completely INFURIATED I am with Jim [Rybicki] right now,” she texted.
Later that day she added, “I Just walked in on Jim to force the issue. Me: ‘I’m not recused, but I’m not sitting in on this meeting.’” It’s not clear which meeting she was referring to.
On Oct. 28, 2016, Comey sent a letter to Congress members sitting on oversight committees informing them the Clinton investigation had resumed. The information quickly reached the media, infuriating Democrats.
The team obtained a search warrant for the laptop on Oct. 30, 2016, allowing them to retrieve it from the FBI New York Field Office.
A day later, McCabe recused himself from the investigation, codenamed “Mid Year.”
“Thanks to the wizardry of our technology, we’ve only had to personally read 6,000 [of the emails],” the team told Comey on the night of Nov. 4, he later testified before Congress. “They said, ‘we found a lot on new stuff. We did not find anything that changes our view of [Clinton’s] intent.’”
The lack of intent in being “extremely careless” with classified information was Comey’s justification for not charging Clinton back in July, 2016.
On Nov. 5, 2016, Comey sent another letter to Congress saying all the newly discovered Clinton emails had been reviewed and the previous decision stood—no charges.
|Plot Thickens: Search Warrant for Anthony Weiner’s Laptop Unsealed – The Epoch Times|
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|Code Name Crossfire Hurricane: The Secret Origins of the Trump Investigation – The New York Times|
WASHINGTON — Within hours of opening an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia in the summer of 2016, the F.B.I. dispatched a pair of agents to London on a mission so secretive that all but a handful of officials were kept in the dark.
Their assignment, which has not been previously reported, was to meet the Australian ambassador, who had evidence that one of Donald J. Trump’s advisers knew in advance about Russian election meddling. After tense deliberations between Washington and Canberra, top Australian officials broke with diplomatic protocol and allowed the ambassador, Alexander Downer, to sit for an F.B.I. interview to describe his meeting with the campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos.
The agents summarized their highly unusual interview and sent word to Washington on Aug. 2, 2016, two days after the investigation was opened. Their report helped provide the foundation for a case that, a year ago Thursday, became the special counsel investigation. But at the time, a small group of F.B.I. officials knew it by its code name: Crossfire Hurricane.
The name, a reference to the Rolling Stones lyric “I was born in a crossfire hurricane,” was an apt prediction of a political storm that continues to tear shingles off the bureau. Days after they closed their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, agents began scrutinizing the campaign of her Republican rival. The two cases have become inextricably linked in one of the most consequential periods in the history of the F.B.I.
[Read our briefing on secret government code names]
This month, the Justice Department inspector general is expected to release the findings of its lengthy review of the F.B.I.’s conduct in the Clinton case. The results are certain to renew debate over decisions by the F.B.I. director at the time, James B. Comey, to publicly chastise Mrs. Clinton in a news conference, and then announce the reopening of the investigation days before Election Day. Mrs. Clinton has said those actions buried her presidential hopes.
Those decisions stand in contrast to the F.B.I.’s handling of Crossfire Hurricane. Not only did agents in that case fall back to their typical policy of silence, but interviews with a dozen current and former government officials and a review of documents show that the F.B.I. was even more circumspect in that case than has been previously known. Many of the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.
Agents considered, then rejected, interviewing key Trump associates, which might have sped up the investigation but risked revealing the existence of the case. Top officials quickly became convinced that they would not solve the case before Election Day, which made them only more hesitant to act. When agents did take bold investigative steps, like interviewing the ambassador, they were shrouded in secrecy.
Fearful of leaks, they kept details from political appointees across the street at the Justice Department. Peter Strzok, a senior F.B.I. agent, explained in a text that Justice Department officials would find it too “tasty” to resist sharing. “I’m not worried about our side,” he wrote.
Only about five Justice Department officials knew the full scope of the case, officials said, not the dozen or more who might normally be briefed on a major national security case.
The facts, had they surfaced, might have devastated the Trump campaign: Mr. Trump’s future national security adviser was under investigation, as was his campaign chairman. One adviser appeared to have Russian intelligence contacts. Another was suspected of being a Russian agent himself.
In the Clinton case, Mr. Comey has said he erred on the side of transparency. But in the face of questions from Congress about the Trump campaign, the F.B.I. declined to tip its hand. And when The New York Times tried to assess the state of the investigation in October 2016, law enforcement officials cautioned against drawing any conclusions, resulting in a story that significantly played down the case.
Mr. Comey has said it is unfair to compare the Clinton case, which was winding down in the summer of 2016, with the Russia case, which was in its earliest stages. He said he did not make political considerations about who would benefit from each decision.
But underpinning both cases was one political calculation: that Mrs. Clinton would win and Mr. Trump would lose. Agents feared being seen as withholding information or going too easy on her. And they worried that any overt actions against Mr. Trump’s campaign would only reinforce his claims that the election was being rigged against him.
The F.B.I. now faces those very criticisms and more. Mr. Trump says he is the victim of a politicized F.B.I. He says senior agents tried to rig the election by declining to prosecute Mrs. Clinton, then drummed up the Russia investigation to undermine his presidency. He has declared that a deeply rooted cabal — including his own appointees — is working against him.
That argument is the heart of Mr. Trump’s grievances with the federal investigation. In the face of bipartisan support for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, Mr. Trump and his allies have made a priority of questioning how the investigation was conducted in late 2016 and trying to discredit it.
“It’s a witch hunt,” Mr. Trump said last month on Fox News. “And they know that, and I’ve been able to message it.”
Congressional Republicans, led by Representative Devin Nunes of California, have begun to dig into F.B.I. files, looking for evidence that could undermine the investigation. Much remains unknown and classified. But those who saw the investigation up close, and many of those who have reviewed case files in the past year, say that far from gunning for Mr. Trump, the F.B.I. could actually have done more in the final months of 2016 to scrutinize his campaign’s Russia ties.
“I never saw anything that resembled a witch hunt or suggested that the bureau’s approach to the investigation was politically driven,” said Mary McCord, a 20-year Justice Department veteran and the top national security prosecutor during much of the investigation’s first nine months.
Crossfire Hurricane spawned a case that has brought charges against former Trump campaign officials and more than a dozen Russians. But in the final months of 2016, agents faced great uncertainty — about the facts, and how to respond.
Anxiety at the Bureau
Crossfire Hurricane began exactly 100 days before the presidential election, but if agents were eager to investigate Mr. Trump’s campaign, as the president has suggested, the messages do not reveal it. “I cannot believe we are seriously looking at these allegations and the pervasive connections,” Mr. Strzok wrote soon after returning from London.
The mood in early meetings was anxious, former officials recalled. Agents had just closed the Clinton investigation, and they braced for months of Republican-led hearings over why she was not charged. Crossfire Hurricane was built around the same core of agents and analysts who had investigated Mrs. Clinton. None was eager to re-enter presidential politics, former officials said, especially when agents did not know what would come of the Australian information.
The question they confronted still persists: Was anyone in the Trump campaign tied to Russian efforts to undermine the election?
The F.B.I. investigated four unidentified Trump campaign aides in those early months, congressional investigators revealed in February. The four men were Michael T. Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said. Each was scrutinized because of his obvious or suspected Russian ties.
Mr. Flynn, a top adviser, was paid $45,000 by the Russian government’s media arm for a 2015 speech and dined at the arm of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. Mr. Manafort, the campaign chairman, had lobbied for pro-Russia interests in Ukraine and worked with an associate who has been identified as having connections to Russian intelligence.
Mr. Page, a foreign policy adviser, was well known to the F.B.I. He had previously been recruited by Russian spies and was suspected of meeting one in Moscow during the campaign.
Lastly, there was Mr. Papadopoulos, the young and inexperienced campaign aide whose wine-fueled conversation with the Australian ambassador set off the investigation. Before hacked Democratic emails appeared online, he had seemed to know that Russia had political dirt on Mrs. Clinton. But even if the F.B.I. had wanted to read his emails or intercept his calls, that evidence was not enough to allow it. Many months passed, former officials said, before the F.B.I. uncovered emails linking Mr. Papadopoulos to a Russian intelligence operation.
Mr. Trump was not under investigation, but his actions perplexed the agents. Days after the stolen Democratic emails became public, he called on Russia to uncover more. Then news broke that Mr. Trump’s campaign had pushed to change the Republican platform’s stance on Ukraine in ways favorable to Russia.
The F.B.I.’s thinking crystallized by mid-August, after the C.I.A. director at the time, John O. Brennan, shared intelligence with Mr. Comey showing that the Russian government was behind an attack on the 2016 presidential election. Intelligence agencies began collaborating to investigate that operation. The Crossfire Hurricane team was part of that group but largely operated independently, three officials said.
Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said that after studying the investigation as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he saw no evidence of political motivation in the opening of the investigation.
“There was a growing body of evidence that a foreign government was attempting to interfere in both the process and the debate surrounding our elections, and their job is to investigate counterintelligence,” he said in an interview. “That’s what they did.”
Looking back, some inside the F.B.I. and the Justice Department say that Mr. Comey should have seen the political storm coming and better sheltered the bureau. They question why he consolidated the Clinton and Trump investigations at headquarters, rather than in a field office. And they say he should not have relied on the same team for both cases. That put a bull’s-eye on the heart of the F.B.I. Any misstep in either investigation made both cases, and the entire bureau, vulnerable to criticism.
And there were missteps. Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy F.B.I. director, was cited by internal investigators for dishonesty about his conversations with reporters about Mrs. Clinton. That gave ammunition for Mr. Trump’s claims that the F.B.I. cannot be trusted. And Mr. Strzok and Lisa Page, an F.B.I. lawyer, exchanged texts criticizing Mr. Trump, allowing the president to point to evidence of bias when they became public.
The messages were unsparing. They questioned Mr. Trump’s intelligence, believed he promoted intolerance and feared he would damage the bureau.
The inspector general’s upcoming report is expected to criticize those messages for giving the appearance of bias. It is not clear, however, whether inspectors found evidence supporting Mr. Trump’s assertion that agents tried to protect Mrs. Clinton, a claim the F.B.I. has adamantly denied.
Mr. Rubio, who has reviewed many of the texts and case files, said he saw no signs that the F.B.I. wanted to undermine Mr. Trump. “There might have been individual agents that had views that, in hindsight, have been problematic for those agents,” Mr. Rubio said. “But whether that was a systemic effort, I’ve seen no evidence of it.”
Mr. Trump’s daily Twitter posts, though, offer sound-bite-sized accusations — witch hunt, hoax, deep state, rigged system — that fan the flames of conspiracy. Capitol Hill allies reliably echo those comments.
“It’s like the deep state all got together to try to orchestrate a palace coup,” Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, said in January on Fox Business Network.
Cautious Intelligence Gathering
Counterintelligence investigations can take years, but if the Russian government had influence over the Trump campaign, the F.B.I. wanted to know quickly. One option was the most direct: interview the campaign officials about their Russian contacts.
That was discussed but not acted on, two former officials said, because interviewing witnesses or subpoenaing documents might thrust the investigation into public view, exactly what F.B.I. officials were trying to avoid during the heat of the presidential race.
“You do not take actions that will unnecessarily impact an election,” Sally Q. Yates, the former deputy attorney general, said in an interview. She would not discuss details, but added, “Folks were very careful to make sure that actions that were being taken in connection with that investigation did not become public.”
Mr. Comey was briefed regularly on the Russia investigation, but one official said those briefings focused mostly on hacking and election interference. The Crossfire Hurricane team did not present many crucial decisions for Mr. Comey to make.
Top officials became convinced that there was almost no chance they would answer the question of collusion before Election Day. And that made agents even more cautious.
The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said. That has become a politically contentious point, with Mr. Trump’s allies questioning whether the F.B.I. was spying on the Trump campaign or trying to entrap campaign officials.
Looking back, some at the Justice Department and the F.B.I. now believe that agents could have been more aggressive. They ultimately interviewed Mr. Papadopoulos in January 2017 and managed to keep it a secret, suggesting they could have done so much earlier.
“There is always a high degree of caution before taking overt steps in a counterintelligence investigation,” said Ms. McCord, who would not discuss details of the case. “And that could have worked to the president’s benefit here.”
Such tactical discussions are reflected in one of Mr. Strzok’s most controversial texts, sent on Aug. 15, 2016, after a meeting in Mr. McCabe’s office.
“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office — that there’s no way he gets elected,” Mr. Strzok wrote, “but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
Mr. Trump says that message revealed a secret F.B.I. plan to respond to his election. “‘We’ll go to Phase 2 and we’ll get this guy out of office,’” he told The Wall Street Journal. “This is the F.B.I. we’re talking about — that is treason.”
But officials have told the inspector general something quite different. They said Ms. Page and others advocated a slower, circumspect pace, especially because polls predicted Mr. Trump’s defeat. They said that anything the F.B.I. did publicly would only give fodder to Mr. Trump’s claims on the campaign trail that the election was rigged.
Mr. Strzok countered that even if Mr. Trump’s chances of victory were low — like dying before 40 — the stakes were too high to justify inaction.
Mr. Strzok had similarly argued for a more aggressive path during the Clinton investigation, according to four current and former officials. He opposed the Justice Department’s decision to offer Mrs. Clinton’s lawyers immunity and negotiate access to her hard drives, the officials said. Mr. Strzok favored using search warrants or subpoenas instead.
In both cases, his argument lost.
Policy and Tradition
The F.B.I. bureaucracy did agents no favors. In July, a retired British spy named Christopher Steele approached a friend in the F.B.I. overseas and provided reports linking Trump campaign officials to Russia. But the documents meandered around the F.B.I. organizational chart, former officials said. Only in mid-September, congressional investigators say, did the records reach the Crossfire Hurricane team.
Mr. Steele was gathering information about Mr. Trump as a private investigator for Fusion GPS, a firm paid by Democrats. But he was also considered highly credible, having helped agents unravel complicated cases.
In October, agents flew to Europe to interview him. But Mr. Steele had become frustrated by the F.B.I.’s slow response. He began sharing his findings in September and October with journalists at The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker and elsewhere, according to congressional testimony.
So as agents tried to corroborate Mr. Steele’s information, reporters began calling the bureau, asking about his findings. If the F.B.I. was working against Mr. Trump, as he asserts, this was an opportunity to push embarrassing information into the news media shortly before the election.
That did not happen. Most news organizations did not publish Mr. Steele’s reports or reveal the F.B.I.’s interest in them until after Election Day.
Congress was also increasingly asking questions. Mr. Brennan, the C.I.A. director, had briefed top lawmakers that summer about Russian election interference and intelligence that Moscow supported the Trump campaign — a finding that would not become public for months. Lawmakers clamored for information from Mr. Comey, who refused to answer public questions.
Many Democrats see rueful irony in this moment. Mr. Comey, after all, broke with policy and twice publicly discussed the Clinton investigation. Yet he refused repeated requests to discuss the Trump investigation.
Mr. Comey has said he regrets his decision to chastise Mrs. Clinton as “extremely careless,” even as he announced that she should not be charged. But he stands by his decision to alert Congress, days before the election, that the F.B.I. was reopening the Clinton inquiry.
The result, though, is that Mr. Comey broke with both policy and tradition in Mrs. Clinton’s case, but hewed closely to the rules for Mr. Trump. Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said that alone proves Mr. Trump’s claims of unfairness to be “both deeply at odds with the facts, and damaging to our democracy.”
Spying in Question
Crossfire Hurricane began with a focus on four campaign officials. But by mid-fall 2016, Mr. Page’s inquiry had progressed the furthest. Agents had known Mr. Page for years. Russian spies tried to recruit him in 2013, and he was dismissive when agents warned him about it, a half-dozen current and former officials said. That warning even made its way back to Russian intelligence, leaving agents suspecting that Mr. Page had reported their efforts to Moscow.
Relying on F.B.I. information and Mr. Steele’s, prosecutors obtained court approval to eavesdrop on Mr. Page, who was no longer with the Trump campaign.
That warrant has become deeply contentious and is crucial to Republican arguments that intelligence agencies improperly used Democratic research to help justify spying on the Trump campaign. The inspector general is reviewing that claim.
Ms. Yates, the deputy attorney general under President Barack Obama, signed the first warrant application. But subsequent filings were approved by members of Mr. Trump’s own administration: the acting attorney general, Dana J. Boente, and then Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general.
“Folks are very, very careful and serious about that process,” Ms. Yates said. “I don’t know of anything that gives me any concerns.”
After months of investigation, Mr. Papadopoulos remained largely a puzzle. And agents were nearly ready to close their investigation of Mr. Flynn, according to three current and former officials. (Mr. Flynn rekindled the F.B.I.’s interest in November 2016 by signing an op-ed article that appeared to be written on behalf of the Turkish government, and then making phone calls to the Russian ambassador that December.)
In late October, in response to questions from The Times, law enforcement officials acknowledged the investigation but urged restraint. They said they had scrutinized some of Mr. Trump’s advisers but had found no proof of any involvement with Russian hacking. The resulting article, on Oct. 31, reflected that caution and said that agents had uncovered no “conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government.”
The key fact of the article — that the F.B.I. had opened a broad investigation into possible links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign — was published in the 10th paragraph.
A year and a half later, no public evidence has surfaced connecting Mr. Trump’s advisers to the hacking or linking Mr. Trump himself to the Russian government’s disruptive efforts. But the article’s tone and headline — “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia” — gave an air of finality to an investigation that was just beginning.
Democrats say that article pre-emptively exonerated Mr. Trump, dousing chances to raise questions about the campaign’s Russian ties before Election Day.
Just as the F.B.I. has been criticized for its handling of the Trump investigation, so too has The Times.
For Mr. Steele, it dashed his confidence in American law enforcement. “He didn’t know what was happening inside the F.B.I.,” Glenn R. Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, testified this year. “And there was a concern that the F.B.I. was being manipulated for political ends by the Trump people.”
Assurances Amid Doubt
Two weeks before Mr. Trump’s inauguration, senior American intelligence officials briefed him at Trump Tower in Manhattan on Russian hacking and deception. They reported that Mr. Putin had tried to sow chaos in the election, undermine Mrs. Clinton and ultimately help Mr. Trump win.
Then Mr. Comey met with Mr. Trump privately, revealing the Steele reports and warning that journalists had obtained them. Mr. Comey has said he feared making this conversation a “J. Edgar Hoover-type situation,” with the F.B.I. presenting embarrassing information to lord over a president-elect.
In a contemporaneous memo, Mr. Comey wrote that he assured Mr. Trump that the F.B.I. intended to protect him on this point. “I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook,” Mr. Comey wrote of Mr. Steele’s documents. “I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the F.B.I. had the material.”
Mr. Trump was not convinced — either by the Russia briefing or by Mr. Comey’s assurances. He made up his mind before Mr. Comey even walked in the door. Hours earlier, Mr. Trump told The Times that stories about Russian election interference were being pushed by his adversaries to distract from his victory.
And he debuted what would quickly become a favorite phrase: “This is a political witch hunt.”
|The FBI Informant Who Monitored the Trump Campaign, Stefan Halper, Oversaw a CIA Spying Operation in the 1980 Presidential Election|
An extremely strange episode that has engulfed official Washington over the last two weeks came to a truly bizarre conclusion on Friday night. And it revolves around a long-time, highly sketchy CIA operative, Stefan Halper.
Four decades ago, Halper was responsible for a long-forgotten spying scandal involving the 1980 election, in which the Reagan campaign – using CIA officials managed by Halper, reportedly under the direction of former CIA Director and then-Vice-Presidential candidate George H.W. Bush – got caught running a spying operation from inside the Carter administration. The plot involved CIA operatives passing classified information about Carter’s foreign policy to Reagan campaign officials in order to ensure the Reagan campaign knew of any foreign policy decisions that Carter was considering.
Over the past several weeks, House Republicans have been claiming that the FBI during the 2016 election used an operative to spy on the Trump campaign, and they triggered outrage within the FBI by trying to learn his identity. The controversy escalated when President Trump joined the fray on Friday morning. “Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president,” Trump tweeted, adding: “It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a “hot” Fake News story. If true – all time biggest political scandal!”
In response, the DOJ and the FBI’s various media spokespeople did not deny the core accusation, but quibbled with the language (the FBI used an “informant,” not a “spy”), and then began using increasingly strident language to warn that exposing his name would jeopardize his life and those of others, and also put American national security at grave risk. On May 8, the Washington Post described the informant as “a top-secret intelligence source” and cited DOJ officials as arguing that disclosure of his name “could risk lives by potentially exposing the source, a U.S. citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI.”
The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, who spent much of last week working to ensure confirmation of Trump’s choice to lead the CIA, Gina Haspel, actually threatened his own colleagues in Congress with criminal prosecution if they tried to obtain the identity of the informant. “Anyone who is entrusted with our nation’s highest secrets should act with the gravity and seriousness of purpose that knowledge deserves,” Warner said.
But now, as a result of some very odd choices by the nation’s largest media outlets, everyone knows the name of the FBI’s informant: Stefan Halper. And Halper’s history is quite troubling, particularly his central role in the scandal in the 1980 election. Equally troubling are the DOJ and FBI’s highly inflammatory and, at best, misleading claims that they made to try to prevent Halper’s identity from being reported.
To begin with, it’s obviously notable that the person the FBI used to monitor the Trump campaign is the same person who worked as a CIA operative running that 1980 Presidential election spying campaign.
It was not until several years after Reagan’s victory over Carter did this scandal emerge. It was leaked by right-wing officials inside the Reagan administration who wanted to undermine officials they regarded as too moderate, including then White House Chief of Staff James Baker, who was a Bush loyalist.
The NYT in 1983 said the Reagan campaign spying operation “involved a number of retired Central Intelligence Agency officials and was highly secretive.” The article, by then-NYT reporter Leslie Gelb, added that its “sources identified Stefan A. Halper, a campaign aide involved in providing 24-hour news updates and policy ideas to the traveling Reagan party, as the person in charge.” Halper, now 73, had also worked with Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and Alexander Haig as part of the Nixon administration.
When the scandal first broke in 1983, the UPI suggested that Halper’s handler for this operation was Reagan’s Vice Presidential candidate, George H.W. Bush, who had been the CIA Director and worked there with Halper’s father-in-law, former CIA Deputy Director Ray Cline, who worked on Bush’s 1980 presidential campaign before Bush ultimately became Reagan’s Vice President. It quoted a former Reagan campaign official as blaming the leak on “conservatives [who] are trying to manipulate the Jimmy Carter papers controversy to force the ouster of White House Chief of Staff James Baker.”
Halper, through his CIA work, has extensive ties to the Bush family. Few remember that the CIA’s perceived meddling in the 1980 election – its open support for its former Director, George H.W. Bush to become President – was a somewhat serious political controversy. And Halper was in that middle of that, too.
In 1980, the Washington Post published an article reporting on the extremely unusual and quite aggressive involvement of the CIA in the 1980 presidential campaign. “Simply put, no presidential campaign in recent memory — perhaps ever — has attracted as much support from the intelligence community as the campaign of former CIA director Bush,” the article said.
Though there was nothing illegal about ex-CIA officials uniting to put a former CIA Director in the Oval Office, the paper said “there are some rumblings of uneasiness in the intelligence network.” It specifically identified Cline as one of the most prominent CIA official working openly for Bush, noting that he “recommended his son-in-law, Stefan A. Halper, a former Nixon White House aide, be hired as Bush’s director of policy development and research.”
In 2016, top officials from the intelligence community similarly rallied around Hillary Clinton. As The Intercept has previously documented:
So as it turns out, the informant used by the FBI in 2016 to gather information on the Trump campaign was not some previously unknown, top-secret asset whose exposure as an operative could jeopardize lives. Quite the contrary: his decades of work for the CIA – including his role in an obviously unethical if not criminal spying operation during the 1980 presidential campaign – is quite publicly known.
And now, as a result of some baffling choices by the nation’s largest news organizations as well as their anonymous sources inside the U.S. Government, Stefan Halper’s work for the FBI during the 2016 is also publicly known
Last night, both the Washington Post and New York Times – whose reporters, like pretty much everyone in Washington, knew exactly who the FBI informant is – published articles that, while deferring to the FBI’s demands by not naming him, provided so many details about him that it made it extremely easy to know exactly who it is. The NYT described the FBI informant as “an American academic who teaches in Britain” and who “made contact late that summer with” George Papadopoulos and “also met repeatedly in the ensuing months with the other aide, Carter Page.” The Post similarly called him “a retired American professor” who met with Page “at a symposium about the White House race held at a British university.”
In contrast to the picture purposely painted by the DOJ and its allies that this informant was some of sort super-secret, high-level, covert intelligence asset, the NYT described him as what he actually is: “the informant is well known in Washington circles, having served in previous Republican administrations and as a source of information for the C.I.A. in past years.”
Despite how “well known” he is in Washington, and despite publishing so many details about him that anyone with Google would be able to instantly know his name, the Post and the NYT nonetheless bizarrely refused to identity him, with the Post justifying its decision that it “is not reporting his name following warnings from U.S. intelligence officials that exposing him could endanger him or his contacts.” The NYT was less melodramatic about it, citing a general policy: the NYT “has learned the source’s identity but typically does not name informants to preserve their safety,” it said.
In other words, both the NYT and the Post chose to provide so many details about the FBI informant that everyone would know exactly who it was, while coyly pretending that they were obeying FBI demands not to name him. How does that make sense? Either these newspapers believe the FBI’s grave warnings that national security and lives would be endangered if it were known who they used as their informant (in which case those papers should not publish any details that would make his exposure likely), or they believe that the FBI (as usual) was just invoking false national security justifications to hide information it unjustly wants to keep from the public (in which case the newspapers should name him).
In any event, publication of those articles by the NYT and Post last night made it completely obvious who the FBI informant was, because the Daily Caller’s investigative reporter Chuck Ross on Thursday had published an article reporting that a long-time CIA operative who is now a professor at Cambridge repeatedly met with Papadopoulos and Page. The article, in its opening paragraph, named the professor, Stefan Halper, and described him as “a University of Cambridge professor with CIA and MI6 contacts.”
Ross’ article, using public information, recounted at length Halper’s long-standing ties to the CIA, including the fact that his father-in-law, Ray Cline, was a top CIA official during the Cold War, and that Halper himself had long worked with both the CIA and its British counterpart, the MI6. As Ross wrote: “at Cambridge, Halper has worked closely with Dearlove, the former chief of MI6. In recent years they have directed the Cambridge Security Initiative, a non-profit intelligence consulting group that lists ‘UK and US government agencies’ among its clients.”
Both the NYT and Washington Post reporters boasted, with seeming pride, about the fact that they did not name the informant even as they published all the details which made it simple to identify him. But NBC News – citing Ross’ report and other public information – decided to name him, while stressing that it has not confirmed that he actually worked as an FBI informant:
There is nothing inherently untoward, or even unusual, about the FBI using informants in an investigation. One would expect them to do so. But the use of Halper in this case, and the bizarre claims made to conceal his identity, do raise some questions that merit further inquiry.
To begin with, the New York Times reported in December of last year that the FBI investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia began when George Papadopoulos drunkenly boasted to an Australian diplomat about Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton. It was the disclosure of this episode by the Australians that “led the F.B.I. to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump’s associates conspired,” the NYT claimed.
But it now seems clear that Halper’s attempts to gather information for the FBI began before that. “The professor’s interactions with Trump advisers began a few weeks before the opening of the investigation, when Page met the professor at the British symposium,” the Post reported. While it’s not rare for the FBI to gather information before formally opening an investigation, Halper’s earlier snooping does call into question the accuracy of the NYT’s claim that it was the drunken Papadopoulos ramblings that first prompted the FBI’s interest in these possible connections. And it suggests that CIA operatives, apparently working with at least some factions within the FBI, were trying to gather information about the Trump campaign earlier than had been previously reported.
Then there are questions about what appear to be some fairly substantial government payments to Halper throughout 2016. Halper continues to be listed as a “vendor” by websites that track payments by the federal government to private contractors.
Earlier this week, records of payments were found that were made during 2016 to Halper by the Department of Defense’s Office of Net Assessment, though it not possible from these records to know the exact work for which these payments were made. The Pentagon office that paid Halper in 2016, according to a 2015 Washington Post story on its new duties, “reports directly to Secretary of Defense and focuses heavily on future threats, has a $10 million budget.”
It is difficult to understand how identifying someone whose connections to the CIA is a matter of such public record, and who has a long and well-known history of working on spying programs involving presidential elections on behalf of the intelligence community, could possibly endanger lives or lead to grave national security harm. It isn’t as though Halper has been some sort of covert, stealth undercover asset for the CIA who just got exposed. Quite the contrary: that he’s a spy embedded in the U.S. intelligence community would be known to anyone with internet access.
Equally strange are the semantic games which journalists are playing in order to claim that this revelation disproves, rather than proves, Trump’s allegation that the FBI “spied” on his campaign. This bizarre exchange between CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and the New York Times’ Trip Gabriel vividly illustrates the strange machinations used by journalists to justify how all of this is being characterized:
Despite what Halper actually is, the FBI and its dutiful mouthpieces have spent weeks using the most desperate language to try to hide Halper’s identity and the work he performed as part of the 2016 election. Here was the deeply emotional reaction to last night’s story from Brookings’ Benjamin Wittes, who has become a social media star by parlaying his status as Jim Comey’s best friend and long-time loyalist to security state agencies into a leading role in pushing the Trump/Russia story:
Wittes’ claim that all of this resulted in the “outing” of some sort of sensitive “intelligence source” is preposterous given how publicly known Halper’s role as a CIA operative has been for decades. But this is the scam that the FBI and people like Mark Warner have been running for two weeks: deceiving people into believing that exposing Halper’s identity would create grave national security harm by revealing some previously unknown intelligence asset.
Wittes also implies that it was Trump and Devin Nunes who are responsible for Halper’s exposure but he almost certainly has no idea of who the sources are for the NYT or the Washington Post. And note that Wittes is too cowardly to blame the institutions that actually made it easy to identify Halper – the New York Times and Washington Post – preferring instead to exploit the opportunity to depict the enemies of his friend Jim Comey as traitors.
Whatever else is true, the CIA operative and FBI informant used to gather information on the Trump campaign in the 2016 campaign has, for weeks, been falsely depicted as a sensitive intelligence asset rather than what he actually is: a long-time CIA operative with extensive links to the Bush family who was responsible for a dirty and likely illegal spying operation in the 1980 presidential election. For that reason, it’s easy to understand why many people in Washington were so desperate to conceal his identity, but that desperation had nothing to do with the lofty and noble concerns for national security they claimed were motivating them.
|Stefan Halper – Google Search|
Newsweek–1 hour ago
Stefan Halper has been identified by multiple media outlets as the source tasked by the FBI with collecting information about the Russian …
Stefan Halper named in Donald Trump spy row
The Times–12 hours ago
Cambridge professor outed as FBI informant inside Trump campaign
The Sun–3 hours ago
The FBI Informant Who Monitored the Trump Campaign, Stefan Halper …
International–The Intercept–21 hours ago
Is this the FBI informant who ‘spied’ on the Trump campaign? US …
In-Depth–Daily Mail–17 hours ago
|F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims – The New York Times|
WASHINGTON — President Trump accused the F.B.I. on Friday, without evidence, of sending a spy to secretly infiltrate his 2016 campaign “for political purposes” even before the bureau had any inkling of the “phony Russia hoax.”
In fact, F.B.I. agents sent an informant to talk to two campaign advisers only after they received evidence that the pair had suspicious contacts linked to Russia during the campaign. The informant, an American academic who teaches in Britain, made contact late that summer with one campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, according to people familiar with the matter. He also met repeatedly in the ensuing months with the other aide, Carter Page, who was also under F.B.I. scrutiny for his ties to Russia.
The role of the informant is at the heart of the newest battle between top law enforcement officials and Mr. Trump’s congressional allies over the F.B.I.’s most politically charged investigations in decades. The lawmakers, who say they are concerned that federal investigators are abusing their authority, have demanded documents from the Justice Department about the informant.
Law enforcement officials have refused, saying that handing over the documents would imperil both the source’s anonymity and safety. The New York Times has learned the source’s identity but typically does not name informants to preserve their safety.
Democrats say the Republicans’ real aim is to undermine the special counsel investigation. Senior law enforcement officials have also privately expressed concern that the Republicans are digging into F.B.I. files for information they can weaponize against the Russia inquiry.
Over the past two days, Mr. Trump has used speculative news reports about the informant, mostly from conservative media, to repeatedly assail the Russia investigation.
“Reports are there was indeed at least one FBI representative implanted, for political purposes, into my campaign for president,” he wrote on Twitter on Friday. “It took place very early on, and long before the phony Russia Hoax became a ‘hot’ Fake News story. If true — all time biggest political scandal!”
No evidence has emerged that the informant acted improperly when the F.B.I. asked for help in gathering information on the former campaign advisers, or that agents veered from the F.B.I.’s investigative guidelines and began a politically motivated inquiry, which would be illegal.
But agents were leery of disrupting the presidential campaign again after the F.B.I. had announced in a high-profile news conference that it had closed the case involving Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, according to current and former law enforcement officials.
After opening the Russia inquiry about a month later, they took steps, those officials said, to ensure that details of the inquiry were more closely held than even in a typical national security investigation, including the use of the informant to suss out information from the unsuspecting targets. Sending F.B.I. agents to interview them could have created additional risk that the investigation’s existence would seep into view in the final weeks of a heated presidential race.
F.B.I. officials concluded they had the legal authority to open the investigation after receiving information that Mr. Papadopoulos was told that Moscow had compromising information on Mrs. Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails,” months before WikiLeaks released stolen messages from Democratic officials. As part of the operation, code-named Crossfire Hurricane, the F.B.I. also began investigating Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his future national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.
Details about the informant’s relationship with the F.B.I. remain scant. It is not clear how long the relationship existed and whether the F.B.I. paid the source or assigned the person to other cases.
Informants take great risks when working for intelligence services, Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, testified before Congress on Wednesday. Their identities must not be exposed, he said, hinting at congressional efforts to obtain the name of the source. “The day that we can’t protect human sources is the day the American people start becoming less safe.”
One of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Rudolph W. Giuliani, acknowledged on Friday that neither the president nor his legal team knew with certainty that the F.B.I. had implanted a spy in the Trump campaign, as he and the president had alleged.
“I don’t know for sure, nor does the president, if there really was one,” Mr. Giuliani said on CNN. “For a long time, we’ve been told there was some kind of infiltration.”
The informant is well known in Washington circles, having served in previous Republican administrations and as a source of information for the C.I.A. in past years, according to one person familiar with the source’s work.
F.B.I. agents were seeking more details about what Mr. Papadopoulos knew about the hacked Democratic emails, and one month after their Russia investigation began, Mr. Papadopoulos received a curious message. The academic inquired about his interest in writing a research paper on a disputed gas field in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, a subject of Mr. Papadopoulos’s expertise.
The informant offered a $3,000 honorarium for the paper and a paid trip to London, where the two could meet and discuss the research project.
“I understand that this is rather sudden but thought that given your expertise it might be of interest to you,” the informant wrote in a message to Mr. Papadopoulos, sent on Sept. 2, 2016.
Mr. Papadopoulos accepted the offer and arrived in London two weeks later, where he met for several days with the academic and one of his assistants, a young woman.
Over drinks and dinner one evening at a high-end London hotel, the F.B.I. informant raised the subject of the hacked Democratic National Committee emails that had spilled into public view earlier that summer, according to a person familiar with the conversation. The source noted how helpful they had been to the Trump campaign, and asked Mr. Papadopoulos whether he knew anything about Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Mr. Papadopoulos replied that he had no insight into the Russian campaign — despite being told months earlier that the Russians had dirt on Mrs. Clinton in the form of thousands of her emails. His response clearly annoyed the informant, who tried to press Mr. Papadopoulos about what he might know about the Russian effort, according to the person.
The assistant also raised the subject of Russia and the Clinton emails during a separate conversation over drinks with Mr. Papadopoulos, and again he denied he knew anything about Russian attempts to disrupt the election.
After the trip to London, Mr. Papadopoulos wrote the 1,500-word research paper and was paid for his work. He did not hear again from the informant.
Mr. Page, a Navy veteran, served briefly as an adviser to Mr. Trump’s campaign until September 2016. He said that he first encountered the informant during a conference in mid-July of 2016 and that they stayed in touch. The two later met several times in the Washington area. Mr. Page said their interactions were benign.
The two last exchanged emails in September 2017, about a month before a secret warrant to surveil Mr. Page expired after being repeatedly renewed by a federal judge. Mr. Trump’s congressional allies have also assailed the surveillance, accusing law enforcement officials, with little evidence, of abusing their authority and spying on the Trump campaign.
The informant also had contacts with Mr. Flynn, the retired Army general who was Mr. Trump’s first national security adviser. The two met in February 2014, when Mr. Flynn was running the Defense Intelligence Agency and attended the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar, an academic forum for former spies and researchers that meets a few times a year.
According to people familiar with Mr. Flynn’s visit to the intelligence seminar, the source was alarmed by the general’s apparent closeness with a Russian woman who was also in attendance. The concern was strong enough that it prompted another person to pass on a warning to the American authorities that Mr. Flynn could be compromised by Russian intelligence, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Two years later, in late 2016, the seminar itself was embroiled in a scandal about Russian spying. A number of its organizers resigned over what they said was a Kremlin-backed attempt to take control of the group.
|Virginia Senator Mark Warner warns against outing FBI sources|
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|Why is the FBI Outing Stefan Halper As Their Informant In the Trump Campaign?|
The FBI and Department of Justice has been fighting tooth and nail to not tell Congress the identity of the informant they used to gather intelligence on the Trump campaign. And their allies in Congress and elsewhere have chimed in with all manner of ridiculous and bullsh** threats directed at Devin Nunes…though not at Trey Gowdy who is working with Nunes to identify this FBI source. A reflexively leftwing law professor (but I repeat myself) made this astonishing statement tonight:
This is just stupid. The law clearly defines who it covers as employees of an intelligence agency. This does not cover informants or sources and intelligence agencies are forbidden by law from collecting information on US persons. And the very idea that the Department of Justice is going to okay a grand jury investigation and indictment of a member of Congress when the FBI has leaked the same information to multiple media outlets is simply insane.
The ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee made a similar threat today:
If Warner were truly concerned about irresponsible or illegal he’s be worried about the FBI and Justice because they have effectively outed their informant. Last week, there was speculation that the informant was a US academic teaching at Cambridge named Stefan Halper. He had a connection to US intelligence. He had a friendship with a retired head of MI6. He contacted George Papadopoulos out of the blue and paid for his flight to London in addition to several thousand dollars for a “research paper.” Papadopoulos broke off contact with Halper started asking about Clinton emails. Halper struck up a friendship with Carter Page.
Today, the FBI and Justice go back the the leak well and give us enough information that we can say pretty conclusively that Halper is the man.
Here the FBI claims that they are trying to protect this guy’s identity but they give it to the Washington Post who then calls people to ask them about their contacts with the source.
And apparently Trump’s tweet today on the subject acted like catnip for the New York Ties because this
The identity of the informant could not be more clear. And the identification didn’t come from a leak by Congress, it came from multiple leaks by the FBI and DOJ who are burning Halper to the ground for their own reasons And I think those reasons will be come abundantly clear as the DOJ IG finishes up his investigations.
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007 : James Bond : Theme
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|12:01 PM 5/19/2018 – Operation “Crossfire Hurricane”: The Need For Counterintelligence Reform – Selected Articles Review | Global Security News|
The Operation Crossfire Hurricane
It looks like the subject of separation of the Counterintelligence Services from the FBI, for a number of the important reasons, some of which were listed by Schindler comes up periodically and persistently, and this subject might be at the height of priorities in the light of the present situation. If the FBI concentrates on the Criminal Justice issues and lets the highly trained, highly professional, elite service of Counterintelligence specialists do their job properly and in more insulated fashion, it might be good for both. Apparently, the issues are complex, and who am I to dispense advice? However, I agree with the major thrust of Shindler’s article wholeheartedly. The need for reforms in this field appears to be apparent, urgent, and probably critical. Mr. Evanina appears to be quite skilled and suitable for the job, with its enormous challenges. I wish our new Intelligence chiefs Good Luck, we need it.
The need for the urgent CounterIntelligence Reform is underscored harmoniously by the perturbations and the vicissitudes of the “Operation Crossfire Hurricane” itself. Apparently, it happened to be somewhat more than just “Jumping Jack Flash”, as everyone was so sure, and somewhat more and more substantive than just “a gas”, lyricized in the song.
And now someone has to clean the fan or to buy a new one.
“Historically, most of the criticism of the FBI has come from civil libertarians and the Left, whereas more recently attacks on the Bureau have shifted to stemming from the Right, specifically fans of the Trump administration, who in an unhinged fashion have compared the FBI to Nazis and the KGB”, Schindler writes.
The interesting point is that keeping the domestic intelligence services and the law enforcement services “under one roof”, in a centralized hierarchical fashion, was a structural feature of the KGB, and now FSB, with its newly adopted branching out into foreign intelligence services; and it is a feature of the authoritarian regimes. This combined structure makes them very powerful but somewhat clumsy, slow, and inefficient, due to the centralized bureaucratic pressures. This arrangement might be “an accident of American history”, indeed:
“As both the leading federal law enforcement agency and our top domestic intelligence agency, the FBI occupies a uniquely powerful position in our country. This situation is frankly anomalous, an accident of American history, and may not be healthy or conducive to good governance in the 21st century. There’s a reason that most Western democracies split law enforcement duties and spying on their own citizens between different agencies. Both those missions include a great deal of bureaucratic power, and placing them under one roof seems like an invitation to abuse if the institution is not monitored very carefully.”
Some authors on this subject are apt to stress the inherent cultural contradiction between the principles and moda operandi of the domestic intelligence service cum secret, political and moral police, which the FBI is de facto, and the psychological and moral foundations of the American national character and the spirit of the nation, which are not the secondary issues from any viewpoints, and the biopsychosocial one in particular.
The nature of the FBI activities and work in the Criminal Justice vs. Counterintelligence fields are very different, and they might benefit from different organizational structures, hierarchies, personnel, approaches, etc., etc.
Counterintelligence Reform – Links
The “Crossfire Hurricane”: Counterintelligence Reform
Selected Articles Review
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Adele – Skyfall (Lyric Video)
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The Rolling Stones – Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Lyrics)
|The Rolling Stones Crossfire Hurricane – clip 9 – YouTube|
The Rolling Stones Crossfire Hurricane – clip 9
|FBI Trump-Russia investigation codename: Crossfire Hurricane|
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|crossfire hurricane – Google Search|
New York Times–May 16, 2018
WASHINGTON — Within hours of opening an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia in the summer of 2016, the F.B.I. …
Just in case the FBI wants to rebrand its ‘Crossfire Hurricane …
<a href=”http://AdAge.com” rel=”nofollow”>AdAge.com</a> (blog)–May 16, 2018
The FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation had a secret codename based …
Business Insider–May 16, 2018
What Is “Crossfire Hurricane“? The FBI Trump & Russia Probe Got Its …
Bustle–May 16, 2018
Spinning a Crossfire Hurricane: The Times on the FBI’s Trump …
International–National Review–May 17, 2018
Rolling Stones song inspired ‘Crossfire Hurricane‘ codename for …
International–Fox News–May 16, 2018
<a href=”http://Vogue.com” rel=”nofollow”>Vogue.com</a>–May 18, 2018
This week, as ever, we did not get what we want, and the perpetual crossfire hurricane that swirls around us alit with particular ferocity.
Lawfare (blog)–May 16, 2018
Israel kills dozens of protesters in Gaza as the US opens a new embassy in Jerusalem. President Trump wants to save jobs at ZTE, the Chinese …
CNN–May 16, 2018
… Russian election interference and President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign called “Crossfire Hurricane” just 100 days before Election Day.
Splinter (blog)–May 16, 2018
The New York Times’ latest dive into the FBI’s Russia investigation introduces us to “Crossfire Hurricane,” the inquiry’s early code name.
Consequence of Sound (blog)–May 16, 2018
In the early, pre-election days of the investigation, it was known by an internal code name, Crossfire Hurricane, a phrase you might recall from …
New York Times–13 hours ago
As part of the operation, code-named Crossfire Hurricane, the F.B.I. also began investigating Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, …
After year of investigation, Trump can rightly claim some vindication
International–The Hill–27 minutes ago
Yahoo News–May 17, 2018
Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos triggered the FBI’s Russia probe, which was named “crossfire hurricane” after a Rolling Stones …
BizPac Review–May 17, 2018
Here’s Kim Strassel’s tweetstorm breaking down “Hurricane Crossfire,” where the Obama FBI privately wasted taxpayer money to rig a public …
Just WOW: Kimberley Strassel’s thread on NYT ‘Hurricane Crossfire …
International–Twitchy–May 17, 2018
|The Ten Commandments of Counterintelligence — Central …|
The foreign intelligence … I would like to offer some personal observations in the form of “The Ten Commandments of Counterintelligence … The FBI is making …