After a year of stonewalling and political intrigue, Americans – and the world – see the Obama FBI and DOJ were used as tools of the Democratic Party. The Nunes memo release confirms the corruption of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice. Both agencies used to be impartial servants of the people’s government.
Donald F. McGahn, counsel to the president wrote a letter to Devin Nunes informing him of President Trump’s decision.
Even though the released memo answers some questions, it raises many more.
Prior to the memo’s release, the FBI tried one more time to conceal its involvement. The agency said it had “grave concerns” about the accuracy of the Nunes memo. They didn’t say the memo was untrue. They didn’t say it twisted facts. It seems they just wanted to keep the truth hidden. With the truth hidden, Americans – liberals and conservatives – can keep fighting each other, over a non-issue.
Sadly, the FBI didn’t have “grave concerns” about the veracity of the information in the Fusion GPS/Steele dossier when they used it to ask the FISA court to allow spying on Americans. They had no “grave concerns” about concealing material information from the FISA court. If the court received the concealed information, would it have approved the spying applications?
Steele leaked the contents of his fake dossier to the press, to discredit Donald Trump before the election. Steele, a British spy, was desperate to prevent Donald Trump becoming president of the United States. The DNC, the Hillary Clinton Campaign, and a number of top FBI officials were desperate, too.
Neither the FBI nor the DOJ had “grave concerns” that the information used to justify the spying on Carter Page had material omissions. They renewed the FISA warrant four times, yet neither the FBI nor the DOJ informed the court about these omissions.
It appears the DNC, Clinton campaign, FBI and DOJ acted in concert with a foreign agent against an American presidential candidate, and then president.
The same actors tried to prevent this information coming out, but they failed, and the Nunes memo is released.
The memo sets out much of what was already known about who certified the information contained in the application to the FISA Court. It was first certified by Comey and then McCabe. The rules say it can be the Director or a Deputy Director of the FBI. The FBI would not reveal much information, even to Congress which tried to oversee the FBI.
FISA Court applications must be approved by the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General (DAG), or the Senate-confirmed Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division. Now we do know who did that.
A FISA warrant only lasts for 90 days for spying on Americans. There was an initial application and approval, and three renewals. To get a renewal, there should be a separate finding of probable cause, each time.
The Nunes memo leads us to believe the FBI did not inform FISA judges about important material information.
Did the FBI and DOJ rubber-stamp the applications, without thoroughly reviewing the information? If they did thoroughly review the information, why was the court not told about the part of the DNC, Clinton campaign and FBI in paying Steele, and no mention of Steele’s political statements, paying Russians, or Steele leaking information to media?
Seeking to spy on Americans is a serious step for the FBI to take. If Comey and McCabe thoroughly reviewed the case, why did they not realize the application concealed information from the FISA court?
Whoever wrote the FISA applications may have concealed information from Comey and McCabe. But there was so much noise around this case that both should have asked many questions. it is unknown if they did, but if they didn’t, why not?
The FBI does not take FISA renewal applications directly to the court – the DOJ must sign off on every application. The memo shows Sally Yates, Dana Boente, and Rod Rosenstein each signed one or two of those applications. It is unknown what steps they took before signing. Did DOJ just rubber-stamp the applications?
There are only a few things in this memo that were not already known. Some things were known, but most of that was mocked as hearsay. Now all that hearsay, and more, is confirmed. That may be the real reason Democrats did not want this memo out in the open.
The memo confirms that the dossier against Donald Trump was a political document, paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the DNC – which Clinton controlled – and also the FBI. It also confirms the dossier was part of the application to the FISA court.
The memo appears to show that the FBI and the DOJ were not acting as honest brokers. That would mean senior FBI officials and senior DOJ officials acted politically. If true, they willfully besmirched the reputation of the FBI and the DOJ for partisan political purposes.
Senior people in the FBI and DOJ are the face of the FBI and the DOJ. The reputation of two of the premier U.S. law enforcement agencies has been seriously damaged.
Why have the people implicated in this mess not been stood aside while the investigation continues? The FBI and the DOJ, and all of the other 3-letter agencies have been stonewalling against Congressional oversight. Lack of oversight and accountability allows them to become lawless political tools.
Lawless actions turn a country into a banana republic. Action must be taken to prevent that happening.
All Americans should want government agencies to apply the law fairly and equally, at all times. Sadly, some people applaud government agencies acting against their political opponents. At some time in the future, the government will change and they may be on the receiving end of government corruption.
The Nunes memo answers some questions, but many more questions are open. The democrat memo, if released, may answer more questions, but it is sure to raise more questions, too.
Democrats labeled the Nunes memo “partisan.” Obviously, the democrat memo is also partisan. The truth may lie somewhere between.
One really interesting thing is that Democrats fought hard to prevent the Nunes memo being released, but most did not read it first. That is a story in itself.
Nancy Pelosi, trying to prevent the memo’s release, said the memo was a threat to National Security. Then she said the memo was not true. If not true, how could it threaten National Security?
Some media reports said that if Donald Trump declassified and released the memo, it would be unprecedented. They forgot that Barack Obama declassified sensitive CIA information that put some operatives’ lives at risk. Presidents have power over classified documents.
The political haggling continues.
The Nunes Memo
The full text of the Nunes memo is reproduced below. (- in case at some time in the future, it is lost, like Hillary’s emails and Stzok’s texts.)
January 18, 2018
To: HPSCI Majority Members
From: HPSCI Majority Staff
Subject: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation
This memorandum provides Members an update on significant facts relating to the Committee’s ongoing investigation into the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and their use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) during the 2016 presidential election cycle. Our findings, which are detailed below, 1) raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain DOJ and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), and 2) represent a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from abuses related to the FISA process.
On October 21, 2016, DOJ and FBI sought and received a FISA probable cause order (not under Title VII) authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISC. Page is a U.S. citizen who served as a volunteer advisor to the Trump presidential campaign. Consistent with requirements under FISA, the application had to be first certified by the Director or Deputy Director of the FBI. It then required the approval of the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General (DAG), or the Senate-confirmed Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division.
The FBI and DOJ obtained one initial FISA warrant targeting Carter Page and three FISA renewals from the FISC. As required by statute (50 U.S.C. §,1805(d)(l)), a FISA order on an American citizen must be renewed by the FISC every 90 days and each renewal requires a separate finding of probable cause. Then-Director James Comey signed three FISA applications in question on behalf of the FBI, and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed one. Then-DAG Sally Yates, then-Acting DAG Dana Boente, and DAG Rod Rosenstein each signed one or more FISA applications on behalf of DOJ.
Due to the sensitive nature of foreign intelligence activity, FISA submissions (including renewals) before the FISC are classified. As such, the public’s confidence in the integrity of the FISA process depends on the court’s ability to hold the government to the highest standard – particularly as it relates to surveillance of American citizens. However, the FISC’s rigor in protecting the rights of Americans, which is reinforced by 90-day renewals of surveillance orders, is necessarily dependent on the government’s production to the court of all material and relevant facts. This should include information potentially favorable to the target of the FISA application that is known by the government. In the case of Carter Page, the government had at least four independent opportunities before the FISC to accurately provide an accounting of the relevant facts. However, our findings indicate that, as described below, material and relevant information was omitted.
1) The “dossier” compiled by Christopher Steele (Steele dossier) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application. Steele was a longtime FBI source who was paid over $160,000 by the DNC and Clinton campaign, via the law firm Perkins Coie and research firm Fusion GPS, to obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.
a) Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials.
b) The initial FISA application notes Steele was working for a named U.S. person, but does not name Fusion GPS and principal Glenn Simpson, who was paid by a U.S. law firm (Perkins Coie) representing the DNC (even though it was known by DOJ at the time that political actors were involved with the Steele dossier). The application does not mention Steele was ultimately working on behalf of – and paid by – the DNC and Clinton campaign, or that the FBI had separately authorized payment to Steele for the same information.
2) The Carter Page FISA application also cited extensively a September 23, 2016, Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, which focuses on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow. This article does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo News. The Page FISA application incorrectly assesses that Steele did not directly provide information to Yahoo News. Steele has admitted in British court filings that he met with Yahoo News – and several other outlets – in September 2016 at the direction of Fusion GPS. Perkins Coie was aware of Steele’s initial media contacts because they hosted at least one meeting in Washington D.C. in 2016 with Steele and Fusion GPS where this matter was discussed.
a) Steele was suspended and then terminated as an FBI source for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations – an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI in an October 30, 2016, Mother Jones article by David Corn. Steele should have been terminated for his previous undisclosed contacts with Yahoo and other outlets in September – before the Page application was submitted to the FISC in October – but Steele improperly concealed from and lied to the FBI about those contacts.
b) Steele’s numerous encounters with the media violated the cardinal rule of source handling – maintaining confidentiality – and demonstrated that Steele had become a less than reliable source for the FBI.
3) Before and after Steele was terminated as a source, he maintained contact with DOJ via then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, a senior DOJ official who worked closely with Deputy Attorneys General Yates and later Rosenstein. Shortly after the election, the FBI began interviewing Ohr, documenting his communications with Steele. For example, in September 2016, Steele admitted to Ohr his feelings against then-candidate Trump when Steele said he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.” This clear evidence of Steele’s bias was recorded by Ohr at the time and subsequently in official FBI files – but not reflected in any of the Page FISA applications.
a) During this same time period, Ohr’s wife was employed by Fusion GPS to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump. Ohr later provided the FBI with all of his wife’s opposition research, paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign via Fusion GPS. The Ohrs’ relationship with Steele and Fusion GPS was inexplicably concealed from the FISC.
4) According to the head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, Assistant Director Bill Priestap, corroboration of the Steele dossier was in its “infancy” at the time of the initial Page FISA application. After Steele was terminated, a source validation report conducted by an independent unit within FBI assessed Steele’s reporting as only minimally corroborated. Yet, in early January 2017, Director Comey briefed President-elect Trump on a summary of the Steele dossier, even though it was – according to his June 2017 testimony – “salacious and unverified.” While the FISA application relied on Steele’s past record of credible reporting on other unrelated matters, it ignored or concealed his anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations. Furthermore, Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information.
5) The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos. The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok. Strzok was reassigned by the Special Counsel’s Office to FBI Human Resources for improper text messages with his mistress, FBI Attorney Lisa Page (no known relation to Carter Page), where they both demonstrated a clear bias against Trump and in favor of Clinton, whom Strzok had also investigated. The Strzok/Lisa Page texts also reflect extensive discussions about the investigation, orchestrating leaks to the media, and include a meeting with Deputy Director McCabe to discuss an “insurance” policy against President Trump’s election.