There are a couple of new articles out in the past week that merit your attention if you have not already read these. The first is from Fox News–Strzok-Page texts debated whether to share details with DOJ on key London meeting in 2016. I am surprised this has not garnered more attention.
The texts between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page in this release (I’m referring to the documents posted on the Fox website) start in the evening of August 1, 2016. Strzok, responding to Page, comments on a canceled brief for Andy McCabe from FBI Deputy Assistant Director Jonathan Moffa and says it is probably a good thing because “Bill may need a little saving from himself.”
Bill refers to Bill Priestrap, the head of FBI’s counter intelligence operations. Important to remember that Strzok worked for Priestrap at this point. Yet, it appears that Strzok is operating under some other authority.
Lisa Page then writes:
“Also, Andy spoke to ?????. He was out, he has a POC for you over then when you need it.”
Strzok was on his way to London. My informed guess is that the ????? was CIA. POC means Point of Contact. Andy had a name of a CIA officer. The Chief of Station in London was Gina Haspel. I do not have a name for her Deputy. The nature of this case means that at least Haspel would have been witting.
The texts start again around noon Washington time, which means 4pm London time. At 13:36:19 (i.e., 1:36 pm EDT), Lisa writes:
“I worry OGC is making happy to glad changes which are nice to have but not legally necessary and which will derail this thing.”
OGC refers to Office of General Counsel. What did Page fear would get “derailed?”
Strzok then writes:
Interesting fact. Guy we’re about to interview was (BLANKED OUT).
This appears to be a reference to Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer, who had served as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Yeah, that’s helpful. BEN is calling you guys a bunch of dicks right now.
The “BEN” in question may refer to BEN RHODES. If true, shows that the White House was involved in this early on.
Peter Strzok offers a very telling aside:
“Remind me about SCIF and embassy history.”
The SCIF at the London Embassy is more commonly referred to as “The Bubble.” It is were the Ambassador and intel folks go to discuss SECRET and TOP SECRET matters. This means that Strzok was meeting with CIA personnel at the London Embassy. A follow up text from Strzok confirms this:
I think we need to consider the lines of what we disclose to DOJ. For example, the last stipulation notes we will not disclose the identities outside the FBI. I think we and they could live with that. And frankly I think you might argue that the unauthorized disclosure might reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to US national security.
Lisa then asks Peter who was at the meeting. She specifically asks about the Deputy Chief of Mission (the number two US diplomat in the Embassy). Peter replied:
No. Two of them, two of us.
The “them” means, CIA. When you are talking about sensitive sources that involve identities you are dealing with human intelligence.
Lisa then wrote:
Just checked yellow and there are two POCs for you from BOTH OGAs waiting there for you. Both may have already reached out.
Both OGAs? Other Government Agencies. Since there are two in question this is shorthand for CIA and NSA.
We know from a May 2019 piece by National Review, based on the Congressional interview with FBI DAD Jonathan Moffa, who was the section chief over counterintelligence analysis, that the FBI actions involved Confidential Human Sources, which were central to this so-called investigation:
The deputy assistant director at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jonathan Moffa, was involved with the Russia–Trump investigation from the start. He was asked, in a closed-door Capitol Hill interview on August 24, 2018, to describe his role: “I was the section chief over counterintelligence analysis during the period of the election,” Moffa told lawmakers and staff. “And as a result, I had analysts who reported to me who supported the full range of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigations and counterespionage investigations during that period. So in a sense, if there’s a Russian-election-related investigation underway in the division at that point, personnel reporting to me are a part of it.”
If the CIA and NSA had solid, reliable sources on the Russian angle, we would know that by now. Instead, when you look at the weak January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment, you see a dearth of sources. It is all analytical speculation.
Which brings me to the newest piece to drop, CrowdStrikeOut: Mueller’s Own Report Undercuts Its Core Russia Meddling Claims.
Most of the material in this article will be familiar to regular readers of SST because I wrote about it first. Here are the key conclusions:
- The report uses qualified and vague language to describe key events, indicating that Mueller and his investigators do not actually know for certain whether Russian intelligence officers stole Democratic Party emails, or how those emails were transferred to WikiLeaks.
- The report’s timeline of events appears to defy logic. According to its narrative, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced the publication of Democratic Party emails not only before he received the documents but before he even communicated with the source that provided them.
- There is strong reason to doubt Mueller’s suggestion that an alleged Russian cutout called Guccifer 2.0 supplied the stolen emails to Assange.
- Mueller’s decision not to interview Assange – a central figure who claims Russia was not behind the hack – suggests an unwillingness to explore avenues of evidence on fundamental questions.
- U.S. intelligence officials cannot make definitive conclusions about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee computer servers because they did not analyze those servers themselves. Instead, they relied on the forensics of CrowdStrike, a private contractor for the DNC that was not a neutral party, much as “Russian dossier” compiler Christopher Steele, also a DNC contractor, was not a neutral party. This puts two Democrat-hired contractors squarely behind underlying allegations in the affair – a key circumstance that Mueller ignores.
- Further, the government allowed CrowdStrike and the Democratic Party’s legal counsel to submit redacted records, meaning CrowdStrike and not the government decided what could be revealed or not regarding evidence of hacking.
Mueller’s report conspicuously does not allege that the Russian government carried out the social media campaign. Instead it blames, as Mueller said in his closing remarks, “a private Russian entity” known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA).
- Mueller also falls far short of proving that the Russian social campaign was sophisticated, or even more than minimally related to the 2016 election. As with the collusion and Russian hacking allegations, Democratic officials had a central and overlooked hand in generating the alarm about Russian social media activity.
- John Brennan, then director of the CIA, played a seminal and overlooked role in all facets of what became Mueller’s investigation: the suspicions that triggered the initial collusion probe; the allegations of Russian interference; and the intelligence assessment that purported to validate the interference allegations that Brennan himself helped generate. Yet Brennan has since revealed himself to be, like CrowdStrike and Steele, hardly a neutral party — in fact a partisan with a deep animus toward Trump.
I encourage you to read the piece. It is well written and provides an excellent overview of critical events in the flawed investigation.