Where is the outrage? The evidence is quite clear. It is no longer a matter of informed speculation that during the final year of Barack Obama's Presidency, key leaders of the intelligence and law enforcement bureaucracies conspired and collaborated to destroy Donald Trump. The latest evidence to emerge comes via an email dump of messages sent and received by a senior FBI Agent Peter Strzok. Strzok was not a low level worker bee covering counter intelligence matters. Nope. He occupied a senior position in the world of counter intelligence. This means he was a frequent visitor to CIA Headquarters and regularly dealt with CIA Director John Brennan.
So what? Well, that would be meaningless were it not for the fact that Strzok is a Forrest Gump like character–always present at critical events affecting his candidate, Hillary Clinton, and the object of his bile, Donald Trump. Fox provides a nice little overview:
House Intelligence Committee investigators have long regarded Strzok as a key figure in the chain of events that began when the bureau, in 2016, received the infamous anti-Trump "dossier" and launched a counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the election that ultimately came to encompass FISA surveillance of a Trump campaign associate.
Strzok briefed the committee on Dec. 5, 2016, sources said. But within months of that session House Intelligence Committee investigators were contacted by an informant suggesting that there was “documentary evidence” that Strzok was purportedly obstructing the House probe into the dossier.
Strzok also oversaw the bureau’s interviews with ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn – who pleaded guilty to lying to FBI investigators in the Russia probe.
He also was present during the FBI’s July 2016 interview with Hillary Clinton at the close of the email investigation, shortly before then-FBI director James Comey called her actions "extremely careless" without recommending criminal charges.
Strzok, unlike Gump, was not a passive observer. He was an active participant with the authority and the power to set the course of investigations into both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. In the case of Strzok we now know that Lady Justice in Strzok world is not blind. That's why we get the bizarre decision to grant Clinton aides, Abedin and Mills, immunity in testimony without pre-condition. That's why Hillary gets the kid glove treatment from Strzok and his team despite clear evidence that she had mishandled Top Secret material, including Special Access Program (aka SAP) intelligence. And that is why Strzok played a key role in pushing the sordid, politically suspect Trump dossier as sound intel to justify domestic spying on Donald Trump and his team. All done in the name of saving America.
Strzok was not a lone actor in this sedition. We also have Bruce Ohr, a Deputy Attorney General in the Department of Justice and a man directly tied to the Trump dossier. According to several media reports:
The House Intelligence Committee . . ., “has learned that Bruce Ohr, an associate attorney general, not only spoke with dossier writer Christopher Steele but also met after the election with Glenn Simpson, whose Fusion GPS hired Mr. Steele with Democratic Party money.”. . .
According to Fox News, citing Congressional sources, “Simpson and Ohr met sometime around Thanksgiving last year, when President-elect Trump was in the process of selecting his cabinet, and discussed over coffee the anti-Trump dossier, the Russia investigation and what Simpson considered the distressing development of Trump’s victory.”
And then we learned that Ohr's wife, Nellie, worked for Simpson at Fusion GPS and also worked previously for the CIA on Russian matters:
Contacted by Fox News, investigators for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) confirmed that Nellie H. Ohr, wife of the demoted official, Bruce G. Ohr, worked for the opposition research firm last year. The precise nature of Mrs. Ohr’s duties – including whether she worked on the dossier – remains unclear but a review of her published works available online reveals Mrs. Ohr has written extensively on Russia-related subjects. HPSCI staff confirmed to Fox News that she was paid by Fusion GPS through the summer and fall of 2016.
With this kind of grist one would think that the journalist mills would be grinding in overdrive to get the story and uncover what sure looks like a massive case of malfeasance by intelligence and law enforcement officials. Think again. Cue the big yawn.
Credit Glenn Greenwald at the Intercept for an epic rant bemoaning the failure of journalism on this and other matters related to Trump. He writes:
FRIDAY WAS ONE of the most embarrassing days for the U.S. media in quite a long time. The humiliation orgy was kicked off by CNN, with MSNBC and CBS close behind, with countless pundits, commentators and operatives joining the party throughout the day. By the end of the day, it was clear that several of the nation’s largest and most influential news outlets had spread an explosive but completely false news story to millions of people, while refusing to provide any explanation of how it happened. . . .
To begin with, it’s hard to overstate how fast, far and wide this false story traveled. Democratic Party pundits, operatives and journalists with huge social media platforms predictably jumped on the story immediately, announcing that it proved collusion between Trump and Russia (through WikiLeaks). One tweet from Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu, claiming that this proved evidence of criminal collusion, was re-tweeted thousands and thousands of times in just a few hours (Lieu quietly deleted the tweet after I noted its falsity, and long after it went very viral, without ever telling his followers that the CNN story, and therefore his accusation, had been debunked). . . .
Surely anyone who has any minimal concerns about journalistic accuracy – which would presumably include all the people who have spent the last year lamenting Fake News, propaganda, Twitter bots and the like – would demand an accounting as to how a major U.S. media outlet ended up filling so many people’s brains with totally false news. That alone should prompt demands from CNN for an explanation about what happened here. No Russian Facebook ad or Twitter bot could possibly have anywhere near the impact as this CNN story had when it comes to deceiving people with blatantly inaccurate information.
I encourage you to read the entire piece. Greenwald also provides a handy summary of the various lies the media has pushed on the Russia/Trump story:
Let’s just remind ourselves of how many times major media outlets have made humiliating, breathtaking errors on the Trump/Russia story, always in the same direction, toward the same political goals. Here is just a sample of incredibly inflammatory claims that traveled all over the internet before having to be corrected, walk-backed, or retracted – often long after the initial false claims spread, and where the corrections receive only a tiny fraction of the attention with which the initial false stories are lavished:
- Russia hacked into the U.S. electric grid to deprive Americans of heat during winter (Wash Post)
- An anonymous group (PropOrNot) documented how major U.S. political sites are Kremlin agents (Wash Post)
- WikiLeaks has a long, documented relationship with Putin (Guardian)
- A secret server between Trump and a Russian bank has been discovered (Slate)
- RT hacked C-SPAN and caused disruption in its broadcast (Fortune)
- Crowdstrike finds Russians hacked into a Ukrainian artillery app (Crowdstrike)
- Russians attempted to hack elections systems in 21 states (multiple news outlets, echoing Homeland Security)
- Links have been found between Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci and a Russian investment fund under investigation (CNN)
Trump may be a boor and, at times, an insufferable asshole. But that conduct by him neither excuses nor justifies the FBI, the Department of Justice, the CIA and the NSA from deciding to engage in a deliberate campaign of disinformation. Yes, there was collusion to affect the result of last year's Presidential campaign. But that was done by American citizens who supported Hillary Clinton and collaborated with British intelligence operatives. This was not a diabolical plot hatched by Vladimir Putin. Nope. This was American government officials taking it upon themselves to intervene in the U.S. election in a so far failed attempt to undo the decision voters made on 8 November 2016. Seems to me that pitch forks and torches would be appropriate at this point.