Thoughts on the Nunes Memo – TTG


My first reaction to reading the much ballyhooed Nunes memo was to wonder why the DOJ and FBI fought so vociferously to prevent its release. It didn’t give a lot of what I would consider worthy of a TOP SECRET classification nor did it reveal any FBI transgressions a hundred times worse than Watergate as promised. What it did reveal is the fact that a FISA warrant was granted on 21 October 2016 targeting Carter Page and that it was subsequently renewed three times. 

Typically the DOJ and FBI offer only a Glomar response (neither confirm nor deny) to any inquiry about FISA warrants. I believe this is why they fought the release of this memo. It sets the precedent that the Government acknowledges the issuance of a specific FISA warrant. This will have consequences beyond the Mueller investigation. 

One consequence has already happened. Washington DC national security attorney Mark Zaid and his James Madison Project have had a long standing FOIA lawsuit in Federal Court seeking disclosure of any FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign. The consistent Government position has been a Glomar response. Earlier today Zaid put in a filing in this case taking into account the President’s unprecedented action to declassify the existence of this FISA warrant. The Court’s response was pretty damned quick. This was just tweeted. “Judge Mehta has just ordered DOJ to notify the court by February 14th whether the Nunes Memo requires the reversal of its Glomar Response. If DOJ says it does not, Judge Mehta wants an explanation from DOJ.” 

So, we might all get to see the full, albeit redacted, FISA warrants including the Carter Page one. However, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for those FISA warrants to appear anytime soon. Mark Zaid also got word today that his FOIA lawsuit to get the Comey memos was denied because releasing those memos could effect an open investigation… the Mueller investigation. Perhaps we’ll see all the warrants and memos once the investigation concludes… or is stopped in its tracks.

Unless Trump uses this Nunes memo in a “go for broke” effort to fire all the top DOJ and FBI folks and replace them with new folks who have pledged their personal loyalty to Trump, I don’t see this memo having a tremendous effect on the Mueller investigation. By the memo’s own admission the FBI investigation began in July 2016 with information surrounding Papadopoulis, probably from Australia. 

Prior to this FBI investigation, an interagency working group was established in April 2016  from the FBI, CIA, NSA, DOJ, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and representatives of the DNI to begin an inquiry into the movement of Russian money into the US to pay hackers and influence the election. This action was taken based on info received from the Estonian IS concerning Trump associates meeting RIS operatives in Europe and a recording indicating the Russian government was planning to funnel funds aimed at influencing the US election. GCHQ became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russia. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information. Germany, Poland and possibly the French DGSE also passed on SIGINT.

The existence of neither of these investigations was leaked to the press before the 2016 election. I would think the vast Borg conspiracy would have done this as a vital part of their soft coup. It would have been effective. Instead, they publicly announced the reopening of the Clinton email investigation a week before the election. Is that any way to run a secret society?

The Mueller investigation is not a Borg conspiracy or a leftist conspiracy or a witch hunt. It is a federal counterintelligence and criminal investigation. I have no doubt there have been and will be instances of investigatorial and prosecutorial arrogance, overreach and even errors when this is all over. Whether there will be serious indictments that will permanently hobble or even destroy the Trump presidency is unknown. He may come out of this exonerated and stronger than ever. Only a thorough investigation, with proper oversight, will tell. 


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128 Responses to Thoughts on the Nunes Memo – TTG

  1. Dabbler says:

    Thank you, TTG. Very balanced and thorough. Working off one of your statements: “Unless Trump uses this Nunes memo in a “go for broke” effort to fire all the top DOJ and FBI folks and replace them with newr their personal loyalty to Trump”, I would suggest that the greatest value for Trump and his people would be to act quickly to fire and replace Rosenstein EtCetera. The memo, focusing on Carter Page, who is not significant, and ending with Papadopoulos, appears weak. It’s value as an ignition point for serious action may diminish quite quickly.

  2. Dabbler says:

    Dabbler said in correction to Dabbler: “…with new folks who have pledged their personal loyalty to Trump…”

  3. james,
    Did you forget about the Clinton email investigation? How about Gowdy’s two year House Select Committee on Benghazi?

  4. rexl says:

    I have gone back and watched numerous interviews of Carter Page with various journalists including Charlie Rose, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, etc. Carter Page is either an idiot, a spook, or a schizophrenic. Today I hear that there is an extension given to a FISA Warrant only if it can be proven that there is product being produced by the Warrant, really? There was product as a result of the warrant on Carter Page? Well, that would certainly come as a surprise, someone listening in to Carter Page’s life must be very, very bored.

  5. rexl,
    The SVR officers who initially assessed him for recruitment in 2013 came to the same opinion of Page. They said he was an idiot. Given the access he developed with the Trump campaign, perhaps the SVR held their noses and gave it another shot. In order to renew the FISA warrant three times, the operation had to produce worthwhile foreign intelligence.

  6. J says:

    TTG, Colonel,
    Russian Federation Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Director Sergey Naryshkin, Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Aleksandr Bortnikov, and Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) Director Colonel-General Igor Korobov, all were in D.C. this past week giving testimony before the DOJ Special Counsel’s Office and spoke directly with Mueller answering Mueller’s questions.

  7. rexl says:

    TTG, yes, but he, Carter Page, has not been arrested? Something does not add up, and it is 2018 not 1978. Or perhaps, he just accidentally just set off both sides? Interesting.

  8. Annem says:

    Did Carter Page, aka “the Idiot” ever get a security clearance or was he gone by the time it was being processed or did he never even make it into the WH? Idiot or not, did the SVR find him a useful one or even a potentially useful one? It would seem that someone who had been in the sights of the FBI due to a relationship with one or more members of a spy ring and then ended up in some capacity in the presidential campaign would almost have to be, just as a caution, tracked by the FBI given the “potential” for damage.

  9. rexl,
    An attempted recruitment by hostile intelligence, as in 2013, is not a crime. Once a recruited asset is identified, the operation is milked for as much intelligence (counterintelligence) as possible.
    What happened in 1978?

  10. J,
    I knew all three were here and that they met with Pompeo and Coates for counterterrorism talks. I thought it was a good idea, sanctions or not. I heard nothing about talking to Mueller.

  11. Jose says:

    Did Mueller know about the dossier authenticity? Did he even attempt to verify if had the power to investigate a flake case for the benefit of Democrats?
    This is serious threat to our democracy if government officials can attempt to stage a coup against the will of the American people.

  12. VietnamVet says:

    There are heartfelt attempts to depict that everything is normal in Washington D.C. Not true.
    Thousands of US troops and contractors are isolated in the middle of nowhere in Syria and Afghanistan where the wars continue unabated and catastrophic retreats could happen. There is a new Cold War with Russia.
    The Nunes memo may be a nothing burger; except, it documents that the dodgy dossier was used to support warrants to surveil the President’s campaign and transition. It provides actual support to proposition that there is a corporate media and intelligence community coup to get rid of Donald Trump. This is a 100-fold more dangerous than Watergate. It is proof that the rule of law is dead.
    Scapegoating Russia and the forever wars must be ratcheted down. Mankind’s survival is at stake. Democratic rule by sovereign states must be restored to the West. Nunes memo is a rattle in the Empire’s death.

  13. Jose,
    Steele and his dossier were old news by the time Mueller was appointed as special counsel in May 2017.

  14. Tim B. says:

    Your citation to that McClatchy article doesn’t support your overstated claims. For example, that investigation into what you claim was “the movement of Russian money into the US to pay hackers and influence the election” was really an investigation into “how money may have moved…..” Leaving aside the fact that the McClatchy article is based upon anonymous sources, what you are doing is no different that claiming a investigation into whether witches “may” exist is proof for the actual existence of witches.
    So far, there is zero, you know, actual “evidence” that the Russians influenced the election for Trump Moreover, there is no evidence Trump is some sort of Russian agent.
    Leaving aside those facts, using a pack of slurs provided by a politician’s opponents as the basis to start a nation security investigation of that politician is both a crime and a scandal. Your attempt to conflate an investigation into whether so-called Russian influence existed as a justification for investigating that political candidate fails. Trump was investigated because of the Steele dossier, which was composed of complete bullshit and paid for by Trump’s political opponents. What you wrote doesn’t change that.

  15. Bill H says:

    Just watched “”The Post” today. One of the headlines featured in the movie, related to publication of the Pentagon Papers, was “US Government efforts delay Vietnam elections.” Sort of puts “Russian meddling in 2016 election” into perspective.

  16. Alves says:

    The memo is about the misuse of the FISA warrant submission process by the FBI and the DoJ. The case for the abuse seems to be pretty solid, unless the house intelligence comitte GOP members are lying.
    The fact that there was a previous and justified investigation on another person does not diminish or change the dimension of the wrong doing on the way the warrant was obtained. In fact, the abuse might have been the only way to TRY to instrumentalize and keep the investigation alive… it is something that should be look into.
    Regarding why the FBI and DoJ fought the release of the memo, yes, it will have consequences… it always does when something like this comes to light, but come on… at least going by what the press said, looks like one of their main objections was that the memo named the names of their own agents and lawyers, so we better not be disingenuous about the motives of anyone that is playing their part in the circus.

  17. N says:

    No, the operation does not have to produce anything, just like it started with nothing.
    And if the previous investigations unearthed something, why start a new one?
    OMG, there are Russian money in the US in real estate in New York!!! Of course rich people from all over the world keep money in the US, and if they did not, real estate in New York would not be what it is now.

  18. mariner says:

    The memo just confirms an ongoing and thus far successful Russian operation to play US partisan elites against one another and undermine the US polity. Steele’s cover had been blown and he would’ve been regarded as a potential security risk by his former employer, along with everyone who’d ever worked with him. Why a US Govt agency would pay such a person for information provided by sources who were also aware of his compromised background demonstrates a systemic weakness. While I acknowledge the US way of doing things has in the past worked to maximise the information gathering potential available, and the benefits were regarded as greater than the costs incurred by the weaknesses, I question whether this remains the case. The quicker Mueller concludes this thing and the US begins the process of reviewing it’s systemic vulnerabilities to ensure there will be no repeat of this disaster, the better. In the meantime more hyper partisan stuff only serves the interests of Russia.

  19. blue peacock says:

    I would not dismiss the Nunes memo out of hand. It is narrow in scope and focuses on FISA abuse. In particular the FISA Title I warrant on Carter Page, a bit player and volunteer in the Trump campaign.
    It makes 4 important allegations. One, content from the Fusion GPS dossier played a significant role in the FISA warrant application and McCabe has apparently testified that without the dossier content the warrant would not have been approved. Two, Nellie Ohr’s work product on the dossier was passed through her husband DOJ Deputy Attorney, Bruce Ohr to the FBI. Three, FISC was never informed about the provenance of the evidence in particular that the dossier content was paid opposition research of the Clinton campaign and unverified by the FBI. Four, top officials including Comey, McCabe, Yates & Rosenstein signed off on the FISA application knowing that the dossier evidence was not verified and that it was paid for by the DNC and the Clinton campaign.
    I don’t believe your characterization of the Mueller investigation is accurate. I recall Mueller’s appointment was precipitated by Trump firing Comey and Comey leaking through his professor buddy that Trump was “obstructing justice”. Mueller was appointed to investigate and prosecute the collusion of Trump with the Russians to steal the election.
    The allegation in the Nunes memo are very serious, IMO, as it alleges that top officials knowingly deceived FISC and violated the rights of Carter Page, a US citizen. When these specific allegations are evaluated in the context of surveillance of the Trump campaign & transition the magnitude is much larger. Also, this deception of FISC by the leadership at the FBI & DOJ is significantly graver than Flynn’s perjury.
    IMO, FISC should rescind this warrant and they should investigate why the FISC judge did not verify the evidence presented by the DOJ in their FISA application.

  20. aleksandar says:

    1 – “In order to renew the FISA warrant three times, the operation had to produce worthwhile foreign intelligence.”
    Well, they were so desesperate to renew the FISA warrant that they have to rely on Steele dossier at the end.
    2 – The whole story can be redacted differently.
    Someone from the Borg and IS ask friends from Estonian IS to provide “intel about Russian medling” and the estonian IS give him what he want.
    (I will not discuss Estonian IS reliability and seriouness, it’s below zero )
    Having such a good intel , this guy, ask other IS agency to collect intel about “figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russians.”
    Here comes GCHQ , so rabidly russophobic that then can assert that Pearl Harbour attack was in fact made by russian pilots disguised as japs.
    Then ask other IS agencies.
    This will persuade them that something is in the making from the russians and give some credentials to your story.
    They will provide stuff, even far from related to the case, but that will help to make up the case.
    Then persuade other agencies that you are aware of ” Russian government was planning to funnel funds aimed at influencing the US election “.
    And set up Interagency Working Group from the FBI, CIA, NSA, DOJ, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and representatives of the DNI to begin an inquiry.
    End of phase, We’ve come full circle.  
    If there is an IO operation related to 2016 election, here you have. ( AJP 3-10 anyone ? )
    Out of hatred for Trump and russophobia.
    From ordinary intel collect done by all IS agencies on earth, this story drift to « influence election ».
    Clearly a projection of american mindset on others.

  21. SR Wood says:

    TTG – your thoughtful analysis is appreciated.

  22. Harry says:

    Yes, very much so.

  23. TTG,
    Most of us don’t have the background to follow let alone to examine what the Intelligence Community was doing when these investigations were under way.
    Nevertheless it is clear from what you write and from what is written elsewhere that there was contact between various Intelligence Services relating to these investigations well before the Trump inauguration. In particular there was contact between the UK and the US:-
    “GCHQ became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russia. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information.”
    The best case scenario is that this was a routine investigation by professionals working to established procedure. The professionals may have slipped up on some elements of that procedure – so what? No organisation is perfect. Some of them may have held opinions that were hostile to Trump – again, so what? They’re not robots.
    In that best case scenario the most to be expected is that this case might shine a spotlight on professionals cutting corners or acting unprofessionally but no more. The fact that it might have been a blemished investigation in no way alters the fact that it was a legitimate and necessary investigation.
    That best case scenario also looks to an outsider like the most reasonable and normal scenario. Big organisations do usually have weak spots and it’s just the bad luck of those involved that a few possible weak spots have been put under the microscope as a result of political infighting. That doesn’t mean that the organisation wasn’t getting on with what it’s there for, in this case looking after the security of the United States.
    I’ll buy all that willingly except for one thing. Steele.
    TTG, there’s no way that what Steele was doing in 2016 can be fitted in to a best case scenario of Intelligence professionals getting on with the job. They seem to have disavowed Steele later but whoever heard of a freelance operator being allowed to run wild as part of a serious Intelligence operation?
    As an ex-MI6 officer Steele was bound by restrictions that apply to all ex-officers.
    Therefore he was acting with the knowledge and consent of his former superiors. If procedure was so sloppy that no one in the UK knew what Steele was doing then why was he not prosecuted or disciplined when they did know? Why did the UK authorities support Steele to the hilt when it became publicly known what he had done? Our side did know and did approve of what Steele was doing and that knowledge and approval could not have been given without the US authorities also knowing and approving.
    Never mind who paid Steele or what his motives were. I don’t believe that even someone as experienced as you in intelligence work will get to the bottom of this until it is known who in the UK authorised Steele and who in the US OK’d that. And why.

  24. LeaNder says:

    Germany, Poland and possibly the French DGSE also passed on SIGINT.
    TTG, I am a rather undisciplined reader/observer, but yes France surfaced too to the extend I looked at it on my own home ground, as far as I remember lead somewhere else ultimately, East, further East …
    Poland? France? can you give me some hints.
    As longtime observer of SST, I recall we had a “US expat” that brought up to be expected hacking not from outside but from the inside by the democrats.

  25. JJackson says:

    Many thanks TTG. Your last sentence “Only a thorough investigation, with proper oversight, will tell.” Who could do that?
    They would need amazing access plus the freedom to report and still be credible. Tall ask.

  26. Donald says:

    I have been and continue to be agnostic about Russiagate. To me it seems most likely that both the Borg and the Trumpists are probably lying about something. You could probably be safe in assuming that about every Washington controversy.
    But I wish people would be more precise when they say Russia “ influenced” or “ hacked” the election, because it seems like a melodramatic way of describing some pretty trivial social media activity even if you assume the Russian government was behind it. The one really significant event was the leaking or stealing of emails ( I don’t know which) showing that the Democratic Party was doing its own bit of hacking against Bernie Sanders and that was something we deserved to know. But the Borg never talks about the significance of what the emails revealed, because whatever the truth about Russiagate, it fits the needs of the Borg to demonize Russia while covering up corruption amongst Borgists.

  27. Eric Newhill says:

    EO #24
    Except your best case scenario is unrealistic. We already know what happened here was deliberately crooked.
    1. The FBI (and the IC?) at least violated the civil rights of members of the Trump campaign (and, perhaps, Trump himself, as we may see in time) when they obtained a FISA warrant based on the Steele dossier; a report that Comey himself testified was “salacious” and “unvetted”.
    1a. The Steele dossier must have been the meat and potatoes of the FISA warrant application b/c if they had anything better they would have used that instead and left the “unvetted” dossier out.
    1b. Not only was the Steele dossier “unvetted”, but we know from testimony that the FBI was not honest about its source. The FBI/DOJ deliberately mislead the FISA court as to the source and. probably, the strength of the dossier.
    1c. The FBI applied for a continuation of the FISA warrant, using the Steele dossier, long after they had had ample time to vet the material. Either the material in the Steele dossier is valid or not. I think it has been shown to be not valid. Is someone saying otherwise?
    2. Ironically, the FBI (and IC) is accusing Trump of “colluding” with the Russian govt when the Steele dossier itself, used to jump off a high profile investigation of both candidate Trump’s team and POTUS Trump’s team, is allegedly sourced from the Russian govt. In other words, the FBI/IC colluded with the Russian govt (according to their own story) to bring down Trump.
    Indeed, the prominence of the Steele dossier is extremely problematic for TTG’s hand waving/”nothing to see here. Let’s move along folks” story line.
    Again, if the FBI/IC had any brains and they had any real evidence, they would not have used the Steele Dossier b/c it is such an obvious hunk of garbage. Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that 1. The FBI/IC has no brains 2. They have no real evidence and they know it (which points to a sinister coup for pure political reasons) 3. They have brains to some extent, but no evidence to support a case against Trump. In a desperate move to jump off their sinister coup and they introduced the Steele dossier as a hail Mary that they thought would never be exposed in the aftermath of a successful coup.
    Then we have the Strzok/Page exchanges which lend credence to #3.

  28. Anna says:

    “Did you forget about the Clinton email investigation…?” — Do you really want to compare the Clinton email investigation, highly important for the national security and supported by the wealth of evidence, with the unverified “dossier” concocted by a bunch of partisans? Were Clinton and her staff wired because of the email investigation? Wiener and Awan brothers anyone? By the way, how do you like CrowdStrike exclusive access to Clinton’s computers? The FBI should have had hold on them from day one; instead, a certified Russophobe from Atlantic Council (Eliot Higgins and Anne Applebaum come to mind) has been making various pompous statements pleasing the ears of ziocons.

  29. Anna says:

    “Scapegoating Russia and the forever wars must be ratcheted down. … Nunes memo is a rattle in the Empire’s death.”
    Agree. The arrogant alpha males (and females) have been playing with matches like children.

  30. Anna says:

    “So far, there is zero, you know, actual “evidence” that the Russians influenced the election for Trump Moreover, there is no evidence Trump is some sort of Russian agent.”
    Thank you. This statement is like garlic and wooden cross for the war-mongers.

  31. Fred says:

    “GCHQ became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russia. This intelligence was passed to the US …”
    Prime Minister Teresa May fired the head of GCHQ. Is that the normal thing for doing “routine exchanges of information” or an indication that this political skullduggery was a “routine” occurrence? I suspect we need a special prosecutor to investigate all the FISA warrants issues prior to elections in 2012, 2008, 2004, etc. Any chance some rouge state tried to influence an election to the House or Senate? Naw, who would ever think they could get away with that.
    Another fact from the Nunes memo is that the investigation of George Papadopoulos was started by Peter Strzok as a “counter intelligence” investigation and was used as probable cause for the investigation Carter Page, and Strzok was subsequently removed from his job. I’m sure that was probably for some completely innocent reason; I’m sure that happens all the time in the senior ranks of the FBI. I for one would also like to know if that great patron of saloons, Australia’s Ambassador to Great Britain, had heard any other drunk guy – in a bar – talking about who was paying whom to influence the US election. I’m sure all our readers will agree that drunk guys in bars are credible.
    BTW isn’t Great Britain home of GCHQ, the head of which got fired by the Prime Minister. I wonder why that happened.

  32. Eric Newhill says:

    I should have added to my assessment that we don’t have to extrapolate that the highly problematic Steele Dossier was the meat and potatoes of the FISA warrant application. We know it was b/c McCabe testified that the warrant could not have been obtained w/o it. Thus, the warrant was knowingly obtained based on unvetted assertions in the dossier, paid for by Clinton. There is simply no defense and there is only one reason for this to have happened; a coup. Anyone interested in the security of the country, truth, justice and the American way would not have become interested in Trump/Russia collusion based on the dossier. And they had nothing else, per testimony.

  33. Anna says:

    ” I don’t believe that even someone as experienced as you in intelligence work will get to the bottom of this until it is known who in the UK authorised Steele and who in the US OK’d that. And why.”
    — This angle on Steele’s involvement has not been articulated in the press. Wonder why.

  34. aleksandar says:

    Whatever, blame the russians
    John McCainCompte @SenJohnMcCain
    ” The latest attacks on the FBI and Department of Justice serve no American interests – no party’s, no president’s, only Putin’s. ”

  35. Anna says:

    “But I wish people would be more precise when they say Russia “ influenced” or “ hacked” the election, because it seems like a melodramatic way of describing some pretty trivial social media activity even if you assume the Russian government was behind it.”
    The melodrama looks particularly ridiculous considering the US involvement in the Maidan coup d’etat (was not Nuland-Kagan boasting about $5 billion allocated by the US for “democracy on the march” in Ukraine?) How about Brennan (the former director of the CIA) coming to Kiev during the coup d’etat? — This is indeed Influence! The coup has happened in a country bordering with Russian Federation. The inconvenient truth of neo-Nazi presence in the “liberated” Ukrainian government does not register with the prudes — but for the sake of decency it should:

  36. Jose says:

    But specifically, did Mueller know that it was paid by the Clinton campaign and that the FBI knew information was not verified?
    Also, why didn’t any in tel agency attempt to verify this information before endorsing it as factual.
    Not into conspiracy theories, but this looks like an attempted coup to undermine an election.

  37. GeneO says:

    Thanks TTG!

  38. Stueeeeeeeee says:

    You are having a hard time suppressing your dislike of Trump, and it is seeping into your analysis. The memo details a covert operation to take down Trump as a candidate and then his presidency. I am not naive enough to believe our intelligence apparatus wasn’t internally “weaponized” in the past, but I am stunned that basically all the branches of government played a role in the operation. Even more stunning is the brazenness of their efforts. Their agents, like Farkas, giving TV interviews explaining their operation.
    You dismiss the memo by building a straw man that the mere disclosure of the circumstances surrounding the FISA warrant sets a bad precedence, but fail to explain why. Shouldn’t a US citizen have the right to face his accusers?
    I believe Comey had no choice but to reopen the Clinton email investigation. There were grumbles within the FBI and any potential leak would have been far more dangerous as it would have exposed their on-going operation against then candidate Trump. He was getting ahead of the story and for the most part it worked. The fake investigation went on and the illusion that Clinton was being investigated persisted. They were so confident of a Clinton win.
    Last bit, there seems to be an assumption that the FISC was not aware of the details of the dossier. I am wonder if it is true or if the court cared about its validity. Given the federal court’s peculiar “legal” decisions regarding Trump related case, I would guess the DOJ’s FISA warrants met little or no resistance from the court.

  39. J says:

    On another note, counter-terrorism.
    A ‘new’ terrorism entity has been created in the Mideast IMO, it’s the new civilian so-called Intel entity in the UAE by Brennan and company who have been recruiting former Spooks wet and dry to rival the CIA/DIA/Mossad/SVR/GRU.
    Again this is IMO, but U.S./Russia/Israel/AND China [if they so wish to join] need to hand-in-hand in a combined effort one and all stomp a big mud-hole right in the middle of Brennan’s new Intel problem child before ‘it’ becomes a real problem, and I do mean a real problem.
    I’m sure that in addition to the Arab money being funneled into this new entity is some of that stolen $26 Trillion that was siphoned off by the crooks (some call them Deep state, I call them what they are — crooks and traitors).
    In all seriousness, this new entity needs to be wiped from the face of the earth while it is small and manageable, because at a future point it will become no longer ‘manageable’.
    The U.S. and Russia in particular need to work hand-in-hand to eradicate this new ‘plague’ called Brennan’s new Intel entity.

  40. Fred,
    Did May fire the GCHQ director? Are you referring to Robert Hannigan who announced his eventual stepping down back in January 2017? As for the routine sharing of information, yes, that is normal. That’s what the FVEY relationship is all about. In the USIC, we are required by law and executive order to report any potential violations of law that we uncover in our operations. It got to the point where I had a long standing relationship with an FBI Special Agent to pass along the frequent stuff I was coming across. I just kept our GC in the loop as required. Skullduggery, political and criminal, is an all too common thing in our world. I suspect you are aware of that. And please note, my friend, I said aware of not involved in.
    I agree that FISA warrants and all related collection activities should be reviewed. I was pleased to read the annual FISC review of these activities declassified and released by DNI Coates this year. I was glad to see this is an annual and ongoing process. The HPSCI and SSCI should also be heavily involved in the review. I’m sure Nunes’ ham-handed effort to protect Trump poisoned this process. We really need privacy hawks like Justin Amash and Ron Wyden to keep a stink eye on the IC and LE agencies.
    Strozk was removed from the Mueller team because of his obvious dislike for Trump as voiced in his texts to his extramarital lover. His continued presence on the team would have just added fuel to the “Stop Mueller” crowd. His voicing of his dislike for Trump was probably less problematic than the outing of his extramarital affair as far as FBI rules go. McCabe’s journey was a good example of FBI procedures for avoiding conflict of interest charges in FBI investigations. He initiated the process himself when his wife ran for office.
    Don’t knock the usefulness of drunk guys in bars. I and my coworkers have picked up some very fruitful leads among drunk guys in bars. I was familiar with the watering holes frequented by Russians from their Berlin Embassy and always kept my ears tuned in. If I heard someone like Papadopoulos spouting off like he did in London, I wouldn’t have sat on that information as long as Downer did.
    BTW, I thoroughly enjoyed your recent posting. It was a refreshingly witty and irreverent take on things. I like your style.

  41. JPB says:

    “drunk guys in bars”
    Brings back memories of some old rumors about spying on the Soviet Navy. Back in the 70s the word was that ONI interviewed hookers after visits by Soviet nuclear-powered submarine crews to red light districts. Where they supposedly heard stories of severe radiation burns.
    I kind of doubt that it happened. The Soviets were damned tight about liberty in foreign ports and restricted it to official visits. Maybe it was something out of a Tom Clancy novel or some such?

  42. Bobo says:

    “Only a thorough investigation…….”
    Reality is that the FBI and Justice have had their fingers on the scales for a long time. They had no business getting entangled in investigating political candidates for election. As the vetting of those candidates is done by the American Voters and once elected the only reason FBI/Justice should get involved is when there is documented malfeasance by the elected official.
    There are 166% more FISA Warrants issued annually than their were during the Cold War when we had good reason to believe “the Russians are coming” which means that every workday the heads of Justice and FBI must sign their approval to six FISA Warrants. The Nunes Memo shows that the FBI has a very sloppy process when looking for FISA Warrants as the Dossier, Yahoo article and the Ohr research are all one in the same not distinct.
    The FBI/Justice has been Used as a tool by someone, who, time will tell but JB & JC better get their stories straight.

  43. John_Frank says:

    With respect Twisted Genius, the initial Page FISA probable cause order was not granted in July, 2016, but on October 21, 2016. The FBI obtained three renewals of the original order.
    White House cover letter and FBI Abuse Memo
    Read page 3 of the PDF under the heading Investigation Update.

  44. John_Frank,
    Thank you for pointing out that error. I shall correct my post forthwith.

  45. Boronx says:

    1a. I don’t think a warrant requires vetted evidence. The purpose of the warrant is to vet the evidence.
    1c. Some of the Steele dossier is borne out by other evidence, such as sending oppo research to the Trump campaign, and laundering hacked emails through Wikilieaks. The Carter Page material has been shown to be partially correct by his own admission, though he does not admit to the full deal.
    2. Some of the Steele dossier is also sourced from people near Trump. Since Steele wrote the dossier, we have learned that several members in the Trump campaign lied about meeting Russian officials or agents, and when caught out lied about the purpose of the meetings, with the lies coming from the White House, possibly the president.
    That’s enough justification for the FBI to have followed up on the Steele dossier. It was right about the Russian govt. sending intel on Clinton to Trump.

  46. J,
    Reference your comments at #41 and #43
    I’m not at all surprised at the rise of these private “risk management and consulting” companies run and staffed by former intel officers. I was approached by a representative of Total Intelligence Solutions years ago. That was an Erik Prince company managed by Cofer Black at the time. I don’t like these things at all. But there’s a lot of money to be made in the Gulf by people not wanting to leave their old lives behind. Me? I prefer studying small boat plans to trying to relive my glory days for big bucks. Yes, legislate these companies out of existence and put Sanchez and those like him out to pasture. They need to get hobbies or get laid or both.

  47. Eric Newhill says:

    Come on. The purpose of a warrant is to vet the evidence?
    Actually, I have been using the wrong word. Comey said the evidence/the dossier was “unverified” not “unvetted”.
    The fact is, he knew it was paid for by Clinton.
    So, what you’re proposing is a situation in which a political opponent accuses another of something and that’s all it takes. Let the spying begin. Why is there even judicial review? What possible purpose could that serve if the quality of the evidence is only to be determined after the spying has begun? I think you are confusing the US system with the Soviets or China or something.
    What in the Steele dossier is true? I am not aware that any such determination has been made. “Partly correct”? Are you a lawyer or spin master? What part? That there is someone named Carter Page and that he is a US person? Ok. What other part? Show me something that makes the case. Thx

  48. Eric Newhill says:

    TTG #49,
    Some one near and dear to me who was Navy Intel attached to DIA now works for such a company and is making great money relative to what the Navy paid and relative to other civilian career opportunities for the given demographic and education/experience.
    Seems like it is important work being done to the extent that I know what it is.

  49. SmoothieX12 says:

    Steele and his dossier were old news by the time Mueller was appointed as special counsel in May 2017.
    But it is precisely this very “dossier” which already became, as it was supposed to happen, the pivot of the whole scandal. We may (I personally can’t–I don’t know about US procedural issues that much) discuss here those protocols and procedures whatever we want but the jugular is Steele’s so called Dossier. Plus there are some signs that more, much more is to come. From now on Steele’s Dossier IS the news and will stay THE news, as was the intent of Nunes’ memo. The rest of it are derivatives–important but less scandalous against the background of initiation of a “investigation” based on Dr. Seuss and The Onion level “intelligence”–THAT is the real story.

  50. Sid_finster says:

    And it is abundantly obvious that the email fiasco was intended to find no wrongdoing.

  51. Sid_finster says:

    How do you like the fbu allowing the Clinton legal team to destroy hard drives? The lawyers themselves commemted that this would be grounds for a vontempt sanction, if it were anyone else.

  52. English Outsider,
    reference your comment at #24
    You raise some serious questions that I also have about Steele’s activities. He was out of official government service and worked privately as a founding member of Orbis Business Intelligence. What does MI6 think about their former intelligence officers doing this kind of work? It’s all too common here in the States. Did Steele use any former MI6 sources as his Orbis sources? I would think that would be highly problematic if that was the case. I would expect a knock on my door by several FBI Special Agents if I contacted any of my former sources. So your question about the relationship between Steele’s activities and his former MI6 masters is interesting to say the least. Did MI6 actually support and encourage Steele? Did they merely tolerate his activities after the fact? Or did they privately frown on his activities? Is MI6 now sanctioning him in some quiet way? Perhaps Steele is now cut off from his former employer and coworkers. I’d like to know his present situation.
    Steele was contracted to Fusion GPS, another private entity. I don’t think he knew his ultimate paymaster was the DNC. Nor is there any indication that the DNC knew Steele was the source of the info they received from Fusion GPS. By all accounts Ive seen, the FBI did not become aware of Steele’s dossier-related activities until July 2016. He went to the press with his info after coming to the conclusion that the FBI wasn’t going to do anything with his information. The FBI dropped him after blabbing to the press. It appears to me that Steele was acting very much independently of both the UK and US governments. You are right, though. This is a critical question.

  53. Sid_finster says:

    There has been no evidence that russia funnelled “hacked” emails to WikiLeaks.

  54. Laura says:

    Thank you, TTG — This is a great help to my understanding of this matter.

  55. SmoothieX12 says:

    Back in the 70s the word was that ONI interviewed hookers after visits by Soviet nuclear-powered submarine crews to red light districts.
    Never happened–an urban legend from people who know very little of Soviet Navy. The only theoretical “red light” district which Soviet officer could (they never did)visit, should such district have existed to start with, was in Vietnam in the naval base Kamrahn where some Soviet nuclear powered submarines operating in support of 8th Operational Squadron would stop for replenishment and rest. Plus, there were many free and willing local sluts who would do it for free anyway but this is not how things worked.

  56. SmoothieX12 says:

    Fox just reported that next Nunes memo is about State Department–that is when this whole story will begin to grow meat around bones. US-Russian intelligence royalty meeting in Washington this week: Pompeo-Bortnikov-Naryshkin-Korobov was certainly more than just about coordination in fighting terrorism. This could have been coordinated on the level of Directorate heads. In fact, such a summit:
    1. Is unprecedented in representation;
    2. Couldn’t have been possible even a month ago. This time this was done completely ignoring Dems’ and their media hysteria.
    Let’s not forget, again, the whole thing still is about Russia and is just a part of a much larger scheme. The clue is late 2013-2014 in Kiev.

  57. Fred says:

    I’m aware of the value of what is heard in bars and even of overheard conversations elsewhere. There is no telling just what a broadly cast net will turn up. I distinctly recall one of my shipmate’s spending an enjoyable hour and 45 minutes with NCIS last century as a result of the “broadly cast net”. The best part of that was all the “collateral damage” that happened when a subsequent third party – namely the ship’s XO – jumped to conclusions when he knew nothing other than “so you got called in to talk to NCIS”. The collateral damage being done by the ongoing investigations launched because of the machinations of Clapper, Brennan and the Borg is far more consequential. I’ll have to tell you the tale some time over a cold beer. And mighty bored you’ll be.
    Thanks for the compliment on the writing. I’ll see if I can put another piece together soon.

  58. walrus says:

    ‘Drunk guys in bars?” The Australian High Commissioner. Alexander Downer, is not the sort of person to enter a mere “bar”, nor talk (let alone drink) with anyone he considers below his “station”. i’m afraid the Downer referral has as much credibility as the Steele dossier.

  59. Donald says:

    Anna— I don’t have the background many others have here, which is why I mostly lurk rather than post, but anyway, in my amateur view Russiagate is in large part a Borg operation to justify a new Cold War with Russia. I think that motive is part of the picture whatever the truth about Russiagate turns out to be.
    The irony is that up until a few years ago it was the Democrats who ridiculed Republicans for being paranoid about Russia. Now it is the Democrats and some of their more crazed supporters that see a Russian under every bed.

  60. TTG’s post is mostly hand-waving of the sort he’s been doing here for ages.
    The investigation of movement of Russia money “to influence the election” has zero evidence. It’s dredged up because of the obvious distinction between US influence of foreign elections and the alleged Russian influence of the US election, i.e., use of NGO’s, and vast sums of money. There has to date been absolutely ZERO evidence of Russians of ANY stripe funneling ANY money into the US, let alone to “influence the election.”
    The best the social media investigation produced was a couple hundred thousand dollars worth of ads, more than half of whom ran AFTER election, and almost none of them referenced the election or its candidates per se.
    We have some lame ads alleged to “sow discord in the US” – which is just pathetic as evidence of propaganda. And then we have the DNI report which spends all its time complaining about RT and Sputnik, which the Washington Post itself reported has ridiculously limited viewing within the US media market.
    And then the originators of these ads – The Internet Research Agency – were arrested by Russia as CIA spies!
    So now the Deep State has to launch this lame investigation into “Russian money” – because there was no Russian money.
    And TTG falls for this like he’s fallen for everything else in Russiagate, resorting to hand-waving about “well, this is what intelligence people do” and “trust me, this is all real.”
    And now “drunk guys in bars”…trying to convince us that the nonsense Papadopoulos was spouting somehow rises to the level of hard intel… It’s beyond ephemeral.
    There is zero evidence of Russian influence in the election because Russia knows full well there is NO POSSIBILITY of influencing a US election because the US is not a banana republic like Ukraine and so they would never and have never tried. That’s the bottom line.
    Influence certain persons for certain narrow objectives like the Magnitsky Act? Sure. Influence the outcome of a US election? Ridiculous.

  61. SmoothieX12 says:

    in my amateur view Russiagate is in large part a Borg operation to justify a new Cold War with Russia. I think that motive is part of the picture whatever the truth about Russiagate turns out to be.
    This is not an amateur view, it is very professional–it is at the very heart of this whole Russiagate affair. It has everything to do with Trump’s geopolitical intentions in which Russia plays a central role. Pretty much all of it is in the open, actually.

  62. Jack says:

    I have a question: FBI believed Carter Page was a Russian spy, sometime back but they only got a FISA Title I warrant in October 2016 after he left the Trump team. Why?
    And follow up question: Why did they need the Fusion GPS/Steele/Hillary Clinton opposition research dossier to get that warrant? Didn’t they have anything more substantial on Page to make them believe he was a Russian spy?

  63. Jack,
    Carter Page was the object of a 2013 SVR recruitment attempt by Victor Podobnyy and his two New York compatriots, Sporyshev and Buryakov. Page was unwitting of this attempt. The FBI determined Page did nothing wrong. Podobnyy and Sporyshev left the US under diplomatic immunity. Buryakov was not that fortunate. The FBI arrested him. At Buryakov’s trial, he admitted under oath that Page was an idiot. By the time Buryakov was sentenced, Page joined Team Trump as principle advisor on Russia. He now had access that he didn’t have before and would have remained in the SVR’s sights as a recruitment prospect. Page traveled to Russia inJuly 2016, spouted his pro-Moscow views and met several influential Russians. If I was a Russian intelligence officer in 2016, I would suspect Page was a dangle, and an obvious dangle at that. However, Page’s new access would be hard to resist. He wouldn’t be the first idiot hired by an intelligence service. The FBI was aware of his new access and vulnerability. They would have been negligent not to keep their eye on this potential CI problem that could cause serious harm to a potential new president, especially since many Trump supporters now insist that Page still had connections to the Trump campaign and transition team long after he officially left the Trump team.
    We don’t know the probable cause cited by the FBI in the FISA request on Page. The Nunes memo conveniently omitted this critical piece of information. Nor do we know the range of supporting information cited in the FISA request. The Nunes memo never said that either. Unless we see the actual FISA request, I doubt we will ever know this.

  64. turcopolier says:

    Remind me. Under which US statute is it illegal for a foreign government to establish a relationship with a US citizen who is a private person, does not work for the government or a government contractor, has no personnel security clearance and no access to government information? pl

  65. “Unless we see the actual FISA request, I doubt we will ever know this.”
    Conveniently, given that 99.8% of FISA warrants are rubber stamped. I agree that Nunes should have released any such evidence.
    The fact of a FISA warrant means absolutely nothing without the underlying facts presented in evidence. The fact that it was renewed also means nothing other than someone wanted to continue to pursue Page.
    Based on the 2013 incident, the FBI already knew who Page was and what he was about. That this could be used to justify a probe into the Presidential candidate is ludicrous unless someone had their own angle to chase.
    Trying to turn Page into some sort of “counterintelligence operation” is weak sauce. Much more likely he was a victim of over-zealous anti-Trump FBI operatives.

  66. pl,
    This is from the Southern District of New York US Attorney’s office:
    “BURYAKOV, 41, pled guilty to one count of conspiring to act in the United States as an agent of the Russian Federation without providing notice to the Attorney General, which carries a maximum sentence of five years.”
    Since his two fellow SVR brothers were declared to the USG, they were just deported. As I wrote the previous comment, I realized the FISA warrant for Page could have been primarily a pure CI operation to identify any more SVR officers (legal or illegal) chasing Page rather than an effort just to root out any possible conspiracy involving USPs surrounding Trump.
    BTW, I spent two years as an illegal overseas. It’s not a comforting situation.

  67. turcopolier says:

    ” … conspiring to act in the United States as an agent of the Russian Federation without providing notice to the Attorney General, which carries a maximum sentence of five years.” This is basically a FARA violation and carries the same sentence. Any existing law … Typical. “Illegal?” Ah, a NOC. pl

  68. JPB says:

    Thanx Smoothie!
    I suspected as much.
    Perhaps those rumors were started back in the 60s after the K-19 Jonah boat?

  69. Babak Makkinejad says:

    JStreet, AIPAC, Jewish Agency, etc. are violating US Law, no?
    And so are many members of US Congress as well as Protestant Christians?

  70. Jack says:

    Thank you!
    I am perplexed. If the FBI had all this info why did they tangle with Hillary’s Fusion GPS stuff? Why do you think Rosenstein is so dead set against releasing the FISA application if it will help his case? Even Nunes did not see it as they only allowed one person and Nunes chose Gowdy. It is not that the IC never discloses sources and methods when it is convenient like they informed Moscow that we had tapped their secure communications to nail Flynn for a legitimate discussion with Kisylak.
    Something stinks here!

  71. Babak,
    Reference your comment at #73
    Yes. I agree. And I wish the DOJ would go after the lot of them with all the aggressive zealousness that they do in certain other cases.

  72. Jack,
    We don’t know how much stuff from the Steele dossier was used in the Page FISA application. The Nunes memo and the narrative pushed by Trump supporters wants us to believe it was central to the whole FBI and Mueller investigations. Adam Schiff said it well yesterday in part of his press release:
    “The authors of the GOP memo would like the country to believe that the investigation began with Christopher Steele and the dossier and if they can just discredit Mr. Steele, they can make the whole investigation go away regardless of the Russian’s interference in our election or the role of the Trump campaign in that interference. This ignores the inconvenient fact that the investigation did not begin with, or arise from Christopher Steele or the dossier, and that the investigation would persist on the basis of wholly independent evidence had Christopher Steele never entered the picture.”
    Maybe the Democratic memo will clear this up if the President and the GOP agree to release it. I doubt it. It will still leave room for partisan interpretation. I think the DOJ will eventually feel forced to release at least this FISA application to settle the matter one way or the other. Trump could declassify it today if he wanted to.
    The first part of my post explains why the DOJ doesn’t want it released. They don’t want to establish a precedent for future cases. Colonel Lang has laid out his experience with the DOJ and FBI penchant for withholding such evidence from defendants. This should end and Congress should legislate its end.

  73. Jack says:

    I don’t think Trump could declassify it even if he wanted to as his lawyers would counsel against that. He can’t afford any more hysteria about obstruction of justice in light of the Mueller probe. Rosenstein could however very easily, especially since he is personally implicated in signing the FISA application on Page.
    I believe Schiff’s memo will be released, but in my opinion it will only add to the confusion, as it will raise further questions.
    It would be in the best interests of the country to declassify all the materials surrounding this controversy. Everything relating to the Trump and Clinton investigations. The sooner the better and the best parties to do that will be the DOJ and the IC. There will be more confidence in the institutions if there’s more transparency on these controversies. Their acts of stalling and blocking only makes it look like they’re hiding something. This is not going away as both sides are engaged in combat. Creating precedents for disclosure is good. As I said earlier these institutiona leak constantly sources and methods. Ordinary Americans like me see them withholding information only when they have something to hide, like malfeasance.

  74. Jack,
    Trump is the one person who can declassify all this. I agree with you that eventually it will all have to come out for the good of the country. It will be our truth commission. The alternative is, as you said, continued combat. However, I don’t think Trump wants that. He wants the investigation to go away with no more information about himself or his people becoming public. He has stalled and blocked from day one. Mueller has been very disciplined in keeping his investigation to himself. Nothing I wouldn’t expect from a seasoned prosecutor. Unless Trump declassifies all and/or squashes the investigation, we will remain in the dark and in combat until the investigation draws to a natural conclusion. Even then, there will be plenty of people who will never accept the conclusions if they do not match their deeply held beliefs.

  75. aleksandar says:

    Comment 42
    Yes, but you also know that the ” drunk guy ” can be an asset for foreign IS.
    Can be used to willingly disseminate false intel.
    There have been a lot of cases in the past.

  76. Eric Newhill says:

    This is a tangent from the topic, but I promise you it’s a sincere thought and question; based on your legal theory, if the mayors, governors and other politicians involved in the promotion of sanctuary cities and defiance of federal law have been meeting with members/operatives of foreign govts (say Mexico), could a case not be made against these sanctuary politicians that they are “conspiring to act in the United States as an agent of the [Mexican government] without providing notice to the Attorney General, which carries a maximum sentence of five years.”?

  77. blowback says:

    It is suggested that if the Steele Dossier wasn’t used for the FISA warrant, the FBI/DoJ could have used Papadopoulos’ confession. But what would that have got the FBI/DoJ? Section 702 warrants on a Maltese professor of international relations, a Russian commercial lawyer and Putin’s niece who is not really Putin’s niece. Would they have got a warrant to monitor Papadopoulos’ communications? Is buying damaging information on a political opponent illegal? Not the best foundations for any case. They had to go after Carter Page because he gave them direct access to the Trump campaign.

  78. steve says:

    I though that McCabe’s testimony has not ben released? Could someone link to this as i have not been able to find it.

  79. Fred says:

    “… why the DOJ doesn’t want it released. They don’t want to establish a precedent for future cases.”
    In the Star Chamber all the evidence is kept secret, because the government and its agencies have our best interests at heart. The current outrage from DOJ, along with Rep. Schiff and company, are, to quote Theodore Dalrympole, an example of “The Cartesian point of moral epistemology: I’m angry, therefore I’m right.”.

  80. turcopolier says:

    Whether or not his counselors advise him not to de-classify he has the legal power to do so. pl

  81. Eric Newhill,
    Reference your comment at #80
    Depending on how zealously the USG wants to pursue the issue, I think this “foreign agent” statute could be used if mayors or governors work too closely with foreign governments over sanctuary status, pollution control or even economic promotions. Perhaps this whole sister city movement can be seen as a conspiracy against Trump’s America First policy. Seriously though, the circumstances of any such conspiracy would have to be deliberately blatant in order for such a prosecution not to be immediately laughed into oblivion.

  82. blowback,
    reference your comment at #81
    Buying damaging information on political opponents is opposition research, a widely practiced political activity and lucrative business. It’s not illegal.
    Going after Page did not give the FBI direct access to the Trump campaign. Page left the campaign prior to the granting of the July 2016 FISA warrant.

  83. steve,
    Reference your comment at #82
    The McCabe testimony in question has not been released. The Nunes memo makes an interpretation of what the testimony contains. Others have said that interpretation is wrong. Maybe that testimony will be the next thing released. The release of the Simpson testimony sets a precedence for that.

  84. Eric Newhill says:

    “Seriously though, the circumstances of any such conspiracy would have to be deliberately blatant in order for such a prosecution not to be immediately laughed into oblivion. ” – TTG
    CA Gov Jerry Brown meets w/ the El Presidente (of Mexico) to discuss immigration while doubling down on protection sanctuary cities in his state and you think there is less “there” there than Carter Page, a private citizen, meeting w/ Russians to do some international business?
    While it is indeed a conspiracy against Trump’s vision for America, it is also – far more saliently – a conspiracy against existing US law. Period. Full stop.

  85. Thanks, TTG. I found your article measured and balanced and was grateful you could take the time to reply to a comment of mine on what must be, from your perspective, only a minor element in the debate at present raging in the States.
    It’s late afternoon here, and my domestic affairs are so far from the ordered perfection of the Colonel’s household that if I don’t get out and saw some logs soon it’s going to be a very cold evening. I hope you don’t mind therefore if I write as it comes about how that minor element appears from the UK perspective.
    It’s a wretched mixed-up business that you’re disentangling in your meticulous way, this “Russia-gate” affair. I can follow you when you write on the Ukraine and Syria but, as you’ll have guessed but are too kind to say, for me as probably for most UK citizens the whole mess of investigations and enquiries over in the States is now just a blur; I’ve long since lost track of facts and sequence and if I did have a grasp of them I don’t have the background or knowledge to evaluate them.
    Out of that blur emerges Steele. He can scarcely not be in sharp focus this side of the Atlantic. What on earth is a UK citizen, and ex-Intelligence at that, doing playing such a major part in US politics? A squalid part too; and the Americans are going to have difficulty in getting to the bottom of it because the UK side of the affair will be sealed to them.
    PT set out a timeline recently. As more facts come out I expect it’ll get filled in more. As seen from here the timeline is simpler and it won’t alter much.
    Event one is the American Presidential Election result. For a moment – only a moment – it looked as if a brief Obama-style coming together was on the cards after the frantic infantilism of an American Presidential election. That brief coming together didn’t of course happen this time round. OK, business as usual then. Those of us in the UK for whom Trump represented the advent of Fascism or populism could sit back and wait for the forces of good to restrain him. Those of us – more than one would think, perhaps – for whom Trump represented a way out of the dead end of current Western politics could sit back and see if he was going to make it.
    Event two. We didn’t sit back for very long. Explosive revelations about the new American President were next. Those revelations were in the 30% or so of the Steele dossier that the experts now dismiss as irrelevant. They weren’t dismissed then; and the fact that it was an intelligence product gave them more authority than the usual gutter press or internet scandal. With such revelations it seems that the important thing is to get the story out before it can be examined. Later denials or refutations are never as widely publicised and the scandal remains true for many even when disproved. That scandal undermined the early days of the Trump Presidency. Who can take seriously a man who has been so exposed? Just as Clinton lost his gloss after the Lewinsky scandal, Trump was diminished by the salacious elements in the Steele dossier and the fact that they were not verified made little difference.
    Event 3 was the most disturbing, however. Semi-official sources and the English media backed up Steele. I thought at the time – that’s a great “Special Relationship” if we can do that to a new American President. For me it simply represented a new low point in the depths to which English politics and media spin can sink. Quite an achievement, when you think about it.
    That’s the UK timeline. Only three events and two of them need explaining. If they’re not explained then we English will just have to get used to regarding our ex-intelligence officers as officially approved hit men for this or that faction in American politics. Because a significant part of the Steele saga is what didn’t happen. There’s been no apology for or disavowal of Steele’s activities from the UK Government.

  86. Dabbler says:

    “What I meant to say is not what you thought you read“. My basic point is that the Nunes memo itself is not a strong, sturdy reed. The hype preceding and following the memo’s release gives it a current power, but that power is likely to diminish in the near future. IMO, the memo is not a holy grail. It’s main utility for Trump and the Trumpians may lie in its being used in the very near term as a fulcrum for pushing out those DOJ and FBI people regarded as hostile.
    By the way, Carter Page left the campaign before the FISA warrant issued. The warrant would have had to have been retroactive (!) to give the hostiles direct access to the campaign (I don’t doubt the hostility).

  87. Cvillereader says:

    My understanding is that the FISA warrants are often indeed retroactive. The FBI/DOJ can, in certain circumstances, access electronic communications, and subsequently obtain authorization from FISC for having done so.

  88. Eric Newhill,
    California’s passage of SB 54 (California Values Act) is a clear challenge to the USG effort to pressgang state authorities and resources into the enforcement of Federal immigration laws. California’s ongoing discussions with Chinese officials to further the goals of the Paris Accords in defiance of Federal authorities is another clear challenge to current USG policies. Then there’s the direct challenge to Federal narcotics laws with the legalization of marijuana. This may be much more a soft secession rather than a conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government. I think this issue deserves a separate post and I may do just that. Thanks for bringing up the issue.
    Concerning poor Carter Page, he was the target of at least one recruitment attempt by the SVR. That was established in the Federal trial of Buryakov, the SVR intelligence officer. Carter subsequently put himself in the perfect circumstances for further recruitment attempts and continued to openly express ideas indicating a susceptibility to recruitment. He even billed himself as an advisor to the Kremlin. That’s not just international business.

  89. Eric Newhill says:

    Yes. I aware that Carter Page was the subject of at least one recruitment attempt. IMO, “attempt” should be the emphasized word in the statement.
    As for subsequently putting himself at risk for further recruitment attempts, wouldn’t anyone doing business in Russia at least unwittingly be doing the same?
    Now, the rest of your comment, “openly express ideas indicating a susceptibility to recruitment” I think is the crux of the matter at hand – and the crux is sinister and antithetical to the American ideal.
    Page, like Trump, believes that the US can be more open w/ Russian. In fact, potentially, friendly. This is counter – deeply counter – to the ideology of what we call “The Borg”. That merited page being spied on (in the borgist mind). When Trump expressed similar ideas and then hire Page, The Borg’s collective head must have exploded. It became necessary for the Borg to spy on Page and Trump to learn what they might be up to re; Russian relations, learn how to sabotage and, ultimately, how to stop it; even if that meant getting rid Trump himself. Hence the “collusion” investigation. Collusion = anything other than overt hostility toward Russia.
    You see Russia as an implacable foe more than others here. Thus, you buy into the collusion meme. Those that see the possibility of cooperation w/ Russia see the collusion meme as BS. IMO, that is what this is all really about.

  90. Eric Newhill says:

    Looking forward to your piece on CA – that should be fun

  91. Eric Newhill says:

    TTG, Finally w/ re; to Page’s statement to the publisher that he worked for the Kremlin – that must be a big nothing. Otherwise, Page would have been charged under FARA at least.
    Clearly, The Russians made the proper assessment; the guy is a dimwit.

  92. Rhondda says:

    Perhaps the Russian assessment was that he is/was NOC.

  93. Jack says:

    TTG #78
    I get what you and Col. Lang are saying that Trump has the legal authority to declassify any document classified by the Executive Branch. He also has the legal authority to fire any top official in the Executive Branch. We can’t lose sight of the fact of the hysteria and consequence of Trump firing Comey. The appointment of special counsel Mueller since it was alleged that he obstructed justice in firing Comey. In light of this Trump’s attorneys will counsel him not to do anything that would provide grounds for Mueller to accuse him of obstruction of justice. Of course it probably goes nowhere since it is unlikely that the Senate could muster a two-thirds majority to impeach. But even you have to agree that the media hysteria would be deafening. So for any practical purpose Trump is constrained from declassifying any document relating to Russiagate.
    OTOH, Rosenstein is not constrained at all in declassifying any of the DOJ documents including the FISA application on Page, all the memos, emails, text messages relating to the Trump and Clinton investigations. He can end the controversy tomorrow.
    I don’t know what Trump has blocked and stalled from day one regarding Russiagate. Maybe you can enlighten me. I know that the DOJ has stalled and blocked the Congressional investigators all along. If they want transparency and not hide behind sources and methods they can easily disclose all the material and we’ll be able to move on. Blaming Trump when the allegations are against him is not a strong argument. It is those like the DOJ, FBI, the Democrats and the media who need to prove the veracity of their allegations. It is very easy for the DOJ to shed light on all this. Nothing prevents them to declassify and setting precedents is a specious argument in the current circumstances when there is some evidence of a conspiracy at the highest levels of the FBI and DOJ.

  94. Eric Newhill,
    I assess Page based on my experience as a case officer. If I was an SVR case officer I would see his tempting access as an advisor to a potential President as near irresistible. His actions and utterances clearly show a potential susceptibility to recruitment. His continued dealings with Russian businessmen and travel to Moscow offers the perfect opportunity for a recruitment pitch. The only downside is the previous SVR assessment of Page as an idiot. In fact, this is all so tempting and perfect, I would be leery of Page being an OFCO (offensive counterintelligence operations) dangle. However, his demonstrated idiocy might convince me that OFCO wouldn’t deal with him. I would have gone for a recruitment pitch. The FBI would have made this same assessment.
    I don’t see Russia as an implacable foe. We are potential adversaries and competitors, but there is much we can cooperate on. However, even as we seek this cooperation, we will continue to spy on each other and compete in other ways. This Russian info op surrounding the 2016 election is part of this competition. Again, if I was a Russian intelligence officer and saw a chance to either prevent Clinton from becoming President or severely weaken her Presidency with an elegant and bloodless info op, I would be negligent and unpatriotic not to undertake that info op. It’s just part of how nations deal with each other.

  95. Dabbler says:

    Are you talking only about those restricted circumstances in which electronic intercepts of a noncitizen, resident of a foreign country, etc. incidentally capture conversations with US citizens (which would appear to be inapplicable re carter page), or are you aware of broader circumstances that would perhaps validate DOJ and FBI intentionally intercepting Page’s conversations without a prior warrant and then gaining ratification via a subsequent FISA procedure? Is there a reference for any such broader circumstances? Have there been any allegations that Page was wiretapped prior to the July 2016 FISA warrant?

  96. Rhondda says:

    I had read that Page was ex Navy Intelligence. With all due respect, it seems not very believable to this old mid-western lady that such an organization would have idiots and dimwits in its employ.
    Of course, after seeing the ridiculous (to my eyes) Steele “dossier” sucked up with a straw by people who ought to know better…well, perhaps I have overestimated the intelligence of Intelligence. Or underestimated the power of willful blindness induced by bias confirmation.

  97. turcopolier says:

    Page is an Annapolis graduate and could not resign until he had served five years as an officer. They had to do something with him for that time. He probable did not want to go to sea while he waited to resign. pl

  98. turcopolier says:

    I am not clear on the chronology. Was Page a “an advisor to a potential President” when they made their pitch? IMO, involving a CO under non-official cover and without diplomatic immunity was sloppy and it invited prosecution of that CO. BTW, how did the FBI know they had pitched him? pl

  99. turcopolier says:

    That he was a US NOC working the Russia target? Interesting thought. If that was the case they should have pitched him offshore, maybe in Russia on one of his trips where they would have had him on their turf. I would not have approved a plan for a recruitment pitch in New York. pl

  100. Rhondda says:

    I found the wikipedia entry for Carter Page to be a very interesting starting point for further inquiry, not just in regards to his educational path:

  101. John_Frank says:

    In an informative article, Sharyl Attkisson asks Nunes memo raises question: Did FBI violate Woods Procedures?
    From tweets that Ms. Attkisson posted pushing out her article:
    “The FBI has long been barred from presenting unverified facts to FISA court to wiretap US citizens. These are known as the Woods Procedures.”
    “As such, it makes no difference what they omitted (or what else they submitted.) The FBI was barred from presenting even a single unverified fact to the FISA court, according to strict policy and procedure–according to experts.”
    “There are strict rules requiring that each and every fact presented in an FBI request to electronically spy on a U.S. citizen be extreme-vetted for accuracy — and presented to the court only if verified.”

  102. John_Frank says:

    Transcript of testimony by Carter Page before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

  103. pl,
    The initial grooming of Page was from January to June 2013 by Podobnyy and company. That also involved a mixing of legal and illegal SVR officers. Perhaps Buryakin, the illegal, was not supposed to be that involved in grooming Page. Page apparently didn’t have a clue what was going on. The FBI began monitoring Page in 2014 under a FISA warrant. The Russians were arrested in 2015.
    An ideal time for recruitment would have been during his early July 2016 trip to Moscow when he was Trump’s advisor. I don’t know whether there was a recruitment at that time. That trip obviously rekindled the FBI’s interest in him.

  104. turcopolier says:

    The illegal should not have been involved in anything that could be described in a US court as an approach. Spotting and assessing should have been his maximum role with a hand-off to the recruiters on safe ground. pl

  105. pl,
    Amen to that. I bet somebody in Moscow lost their ass over that.

  106. Rhondda says:

    PL at #103
    “That he was a US NOC working the Russia target?”
    Yes. Or perhaps as TTG puts it in his reply to Eric Newhill just above: “an OFCO (offensive counterintelligence operations) dangle.”
    Page received his PhD at SOAS, which (as I’m sure you know) has an interesting history as, among other things, a “school for spies.” His wikipedia entry goes to great pains to present him as an idiot, just as he’s finishing that SOAS PhD, under the advisement of a notable instructor. Me thinks he (who edited the wiki) doth protest too much. Ladled on, is how I’d characterize it. Un-subtle.
    This anti-Trump/anti-Russia operation seems to have been initiated by Brennan and Clapper, and to my mind that means the Obama White House. I would think that if one wanted FISA access (which I’ve read can — amazingly — be retroactive) one would want to make sure that access was guaranteed. No slip ups. A sure thing. To get that, it might be best to make sure “your guy” — someone decorated with all the necessary hallmarks of Putin-Loving anti-Americanism — was the tripwire.
    To me, Page seems like a perfect tripwire to open the 702 About Query access “legally.” I have always found it odd that he was working for free — a “voluntary” member of the campaign.
    But then maybe I just have a suspicious mind and read too many spy novels 😉

  107. Rhondda,
    If Page was working for USI, there would be no need for any FISA warrants or 702 requests. It would only require Page to sign an authorization for surveillance. I’ve personally seen this done time and time again since the mid-90s. I believe Comey did this on himself.

  108. turcopolier says:

    School smart is not necessarily life smart. He looks like a number of academically brilliant cadets whom I taught at WP. IMO you are over thinking this. TTG is right. If Page had been a US IC asset he would simply have signed a consent for surveillance for them. pl

  109. Eric Newhill says:

    I have to admit that I see where you’re coming from re; Page.
    So is the collusion theory then that Page was the go between Russians/Trump to hack the DNC and maybe some other activities?
    And maybe Trump Tower itself had to be spied on b/c of all the collusion potential within the Trump team?
    Then Steele mentions Page in the dossier, etc. reinforcing the idea that Trump, Russia + Page, Manafort, Papadapolous,and maybe Flynn = one big potential collusion orgy that must be investigated?
    Just one of the problems I have with that is Russia connected people associated with other campaigns were never investigated, at least not publicly. There have been plenty of people in other campaign teams that must have represented a more juicy recruitment opportunity to the Russians that the stupid Page did. Why does Page become so uniquely interesting to the FBI?
    And the fact that Page was never busted under FARA or anything else and that there is still no evidence of Trump working w/ the Russians to undermine Clinton’s campaign. I mean they nailed Flynn for lying to the FBI. Mueller is pretty desperate make something – anything – stick in this investigation. And for all the nefarious potential that Page represents, he wasn’t charged w/ anything.

  110. Eric Newhill,
    I am not fully convinced there was any collusion. I’m pretty damned sure the Russians were looking to hook somebody in the Trump campaign and set their nets wide. I do see a lot of avenues to investigate. Even if the SVR recruited Page, that does not mean collusion beyond Page’s personal involvement. Trump cannot be held responsible for Page’s bad decision. Others may or may not have also made such bad decisions. If Trump wasn’t Trump, he’d want this stuff rooted out and be done with it. Then he could get on with his agenda.
    The three Russian SVR guys originally involved with Page in 2013 weren’t arrested until 2015. The clock’s still ticking on Page.

  111. Cvillereader says:

    I think I may have initially confused the kind of surveillance permitted under FISA Section 702, which permits for warrantless surveillance of foreign individuals involved with a counterintelligence operation, and that under Title I, which permits surveillance of US citizens with a FISA warrant.
    From what I have read, though, a Title I warrant would permit the FBI to obtain electronic communications of the US citizen that had been stored by NSA, including the period of time preceding that date of the warrant. This type of surveillance may also permit law enforcement to go look at the communications of others with whom the individual had communicated with.
    Because there are known abuses that occurred with Section 702 surveillance—and that were reported to FISC by Admiral Rogers— some have speculated that the later FISA warrant obtained for Page was intended to cover-up earlier illegal surveillance under 702b.
    I am a lay person here, so I am only repeating what I have read.

  112. Rhondda says:

    Colonel, TTG — thank you for your responses.

  113. Eric Newhill says:

    Thank you for engaging me on this thread. This is my last comment.
    We’re here today talking about a piss ant like Page only b/c there is a “collusion” investigation into Trump that, at least at one point, threatened his presidency and the legitimacy of a US election. That collusion investigation exists because someone hacked or otherwise entered the DNC and stole material that was then passed to Wikileaks and that showed the Clinton campaign in a bad light and that Clinton said was responsible for her losing to Trump. Clinton then further alleged that Trump colluded w/ Russia to do the hacking. You’d alomost think that she just pulled that out of her ass – and like it might have come out of the ass of the top people at the FBI and maybe out of the asses of the CIA and other agency heads. Except that there was the Steele dossier that alleged all kinds of collusion and mentions Page. The Steele Dossier lent at least some minimal credence to what Clinton et al pulled out of their asses.
    We know now that the Steele dossier is an all purpose/all terrain wonder dossier. In addition to being the key piece of evidence for Mueller to justify his existence as special prosecutor, it even got a FISA warrant against at Page in 2016. It is a good thing that we have professional and impeccable people lie Steele that create dossiers that keep us safe from evil foreign influences and people like Trump. So impeccable that, even if salacious, it doesn’t require verification. We know that Steele is impeccable b/c impeccable b/c MI6 is impeccable and FBI people say so too. That’s hell of a lot of impeccable. Can’t argue w/ it.
    Also, because this is such a serious matter, it is a good thing that the FBI seized the DNC server (or being so serious a matter did the DNC turn the server over to the FBI? I can’t recall at the moment) so as to get the best possible forensics people working on proof of the Russian hack and learning about their methods. No doubt in addition to the top FBI guys, there were top guys on loan from other agencies.I await the outcome of their impeccable forensic investigation. Serious credible threats against our democracy and our sacred election process must be taken extremely seriously. That’s why we have impeccable Mueller on the case too.
    I think I’m all straightened out now.

  114. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg says:

    That anyone is basing anything on the “findings’of Estonian intelligence is a laugh and a half.

  115. Eric Newhill says:

    Sir, Page never met Trump and wasn’t paid by the campaign. He was a fringe volunteer. Per Page’s declassified testimony. He’s a complete patsy.

  116. Ingolf Eide says:

    TTG, all,
    “This Russian info op surrounding the 2016 election is part of this competition. Again, if I was a Russian intelligence officer and saw a chance to either prevent Clinton from becoming President or severely weaken her Presidency with an elegant and bloodless info op, I would be negligent and unpatriotic not to undertake that info op. It’s just part of how nations deal with each other.”
    The principle you’re laying out seems entirely reasonable. Given the Putin administration consistently plays up its respect for sovereignty and commitment to non-interference, and given that Russia under Putin seems unusually committed to building its long-term reputational brand, I do wonder if this principle is applied by Russia more warily than is usual. Certainly, as a practical matter, I’ve thought throughout that Russia probably held back on any such active measures because the risk/reward was lousy. In any event, which of us is right in this instance doesn’t much matter because I think the deeply troubling essence of this business lies elsewhere.
    In your post you wrote: “Unless Trump uses this Nunes memo in a “go for broke” effort to fire all the top DOJ and FBI folks and replace them with new folks who have pledged their personal loyalty to Trump . . . “. You may have been indulging in a bit of playful hyperbole, but I think what you’re touching on here goes to the heart of things and that is the politicisation of American institutions.
    As we all know, Trump’s avowed openness to friendly relations with Russia ran directly counter to the foreign policy consensus built up over decades so the almost hysterical opposition wasn’t a surprise. Nor should it be a surprise that this consensus view was shared by most of the political appointees at the top of the DOJ, the FBI, the CIA and the many other agencies. How could it be otherwise? The issue at stake is whether, in their hatred of Trump and his policy proposals, and more importantly in their deeply ingrained assumption of the rightness of their cause, many of these appointees turned the power they held in trust against a presidential candidate and then, having failed to prevent his election, against a sitting president. The finer details we’re all trying to pin down are to my mind relevant only to the extent that they help to answer that question.
    As many have said, this shouldn’t be a partisan matter. Indeed, in many ways it isn’t since the foreign policy consensus is largely bipartisan. And it’s here, I think, that we come up against the great danger. From the outside, my impression has been that many (perhaps most) Americans long ago tired of endless wars and aggressive international interventions. IMO, Obama won in no small part because of his anti-war stance and I think the same is true of Trump. Each time, the powers that be (the Borg) promptly set about frustrating these wishes. This time, the evidence suggests they went considerably further in trying to do so, so far that they probably broke the law. The powers of the state were used for the pursuit of particular ends, without regard for political legitimacy.
    The Democrats have made this into an apparently partisan issue but the attitudes that created and promoted Russiagate go much deeper. And therein, I think, lies the importance of the current battle. Like him or loathe him, accidentally or not, Trump seems to me mostly on the side of the angels in this one. Truth is, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than a Trump-like character, grotesque as he often seems, having the sheer chutzpah to take on this Augean task. If he wins, he and his administration will need at least as much careful monitoring as should have been occurring with previous ones. The difference, I think, is that the norms of acceptable institutional behaviour will have been reset and it would take a while before the “l’etat, c’est moi” attitudes that seem to have prevailed re-emerge. Who knows, maybe that reset would also encompass some of the media.

  117. blue peacock says:

    TTG, et al
    I have only become interested in this topic over the past couple months. So have more questions than any type of judgment on these legal matters. And I am not a lawyer.
    What intrigues me about the Nunes memo is that it alleges that the DOJ/FBI received a FISA Title 1 warrant on Carter Page in October 2016 and then several extensions. The memo specifically excludes Title 7, which implies it wasn’t about 702 queries.
    In reviewing the FISA Title 1 section, it seems that this is the most intense and broadest surveillance and requires the DOJ to have affirmative evidence that the US person is an agent of a hostile foreign government. Apparently, a Title 1 warrant means that the FBI can look into every aspect of this US person and all communications of this US person, including whomever they have been in contact with and this warrant then applies to all those other US persons. Additionally this warrant also applies retroactively to any surveillance conducted before the issuance of such a warrant by FISC.
    Is this the correct interpretation of a FISA Title 1 warrant? If it is, this leads me to 2 questions: a) Why hasn’t Carter Page been indicted for anything? b) If any unverified information was part of this application then it seems the DOJ had an affirmative obligation to inform FISC – is that correct?
    I wonder if this FISA Title 1 warrant was a backdoor means to conduct surveillance on anyone on the Trump team that Page contacted? Was Page actually an “operative” of the FBI to conduct surveillance on Team Trump? As I understand it Page was an unpaid volunteer for the Trump campaign.
    Does anyone have a legal or practical interpretation of FISA Title 1?

  118. blue peacock,
    Somebody else will have to answer your questions about the intricacies of FISA. I’d be guessing. I can offer some possible answers about Page and his indictment status. Although Page is not under open indictment, he may be under a sealed indictment to be opened at a later time. Also, a common tactic with espionage cases is to let the target go free to continue collecting on the foreign intel officers. Remember, the three SVR officers involved with Page in 2013 weren’t arrested until 2015. At this point I would think the SVR would have dropped Page like a hot potato, but the FBI might still want to see what Page does as he comes under more pressure.

  119. Rhondda says:

    I was wrong to speculate freely and cast aspersions in a public forum. True? Kind? Necessary? No, on three counts. I should know better. I withdraw my comments and I sincerely apologize. I shall endeavor to listen more and speak less. Thank you.

  120. Dabbler says:

    Interesting. If FISA title 1 warrants can do that, it would be a very large door, given the volume and scope of communications that NSA collects.

  121. Rhondda,
    You have posted no comment requiring an apology. On the contrary, you have contributed to the discussion. While listening more and speaking less is good advice for all of us, I encourage you to continue actively participating in our committee of correspondence.

  122. Dabbler,
    Yes, FISA Title VII collection is too powerful a tool to not be under strong oversight. I was disappointed when this Congress abdicated its oversight responsibility when it recently renewed the legislation without adding further restrictions. Trump is just as guilty since he willingly signed off on the renewal. There are only a few in Congress pushing for stronger privacy protections, most notably Justin Amash, Ron Wyden and Rand Paul.

  123. What I find interesting is that Trey Gowdy was tasked with reviewing the source documents and to date has not claimed that the warrant issued on Page was issued illegally.
    He did, however, almost immediately announce his retirement from Congress after the Memo was released..

  124. LeaNder says:

    wisedup, I don’t have any type of knowledge on Trey Gowdy. Would be useless knowledge anyway. I may have looked him up and it went down into less accessible crevices on my mind? But yes, I wondered about that too. Not least since I found his performance in the little I saw of him–when I first encountered him during–the Libya/Benghazi investigation quite impressive.

  125. Bobo says:

    For what it is worth “The Last Refuge” on has an article up claiming Carter Page was an FBI under-cover employee from 2013 through 2016. They go on with speculation but again For What It Is Worth.

  126. Cold War Zoomie says:

    “My first reaction to reading the much ballyhooed Nunes memo was to wonder why the DOJ and FBI fought so vociferously to prevent its release. It didn’t give a lot of what I would consider worthy of a TOP SECRET classification”…
    Good thing they didn’t use portion markings or we would actually know what supposedly justified a TS//NOFORN classification! I wish I had it so easy.

  127. Eric Newhill says:

    I have concluded that you are a voice of reason. The Nunes memo proves nothing about spying on Trump. Page /= Trump.
    It does point to Clinton and Steele trying their best to damage Trump in the public sphere and the FBI collaborating to some extent, but not that Trump was actually spied on (i.e. surveilled). Misinformation in the press, yes (assuming Steele is BS, which I do at this point), but not “spying”.
    What about all the unmasking involved in the Manafort and Flynn cases? Those guys actually met w/ Trump and had offices in Trump Tower, I understand. That seems to me to be where spying on Trump may have occurred? No one is talking about that anymore. Why not?
    Your opinion?
    Genuinely interested. I am told that I am an intellectual midget for pondering that.

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