Here is the bottomline up front–When the tale of the plot to destroy Donald Trump's candidacy and Presidency is told, Jim Clapper will be proven as a key player in the conspiracy. Clapper was not a passive observer. I am told by friends who had direct dealings with Clapper during his tenure as the Director of National Intelligence that he was helping coordinate the activities of the CIA, the NSA and the FBI in the collection and dissemination of information on Trump and his associates.
Clapper is a proven, congenital liar in my opinion. His denial that NSA was spying on Americans is the best known example. Now there may be a new example. Fox News' Catherine Herridge reported this week that Clapper was talking with Peter Strzok in December 2016:
Newly obtained text messages between former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and bureau lawyer Lisa Page reveal a high-level meeting among senior intelligence officials was held weeks before President Trump’s inauguration – during a critical period for the Russia probe.
In a Dec. 12, 2016, text reviewed by Fox News, Page wrote to McCabe: "Btw, [Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper told Pete that he was meeting with [CIA Director John] Brennan and Cohen for dinner tonight. Just FYSA [for your situational awareness]."
Yet, someone who was at that dinner claims Clapper doesn't know Strzok. :
Asked for comment, a former government official characterized the dinner as a routine monthly sit-down held to discuss “ongoing intelligence issues,” adding that it’s “impossible” to recall what was discussed. The former official said the “bottom line” is that Clapper “does not know Peter Strzok beyond possibly receiving a briefing from him years ago, and he certainly never kept him in the loop about anything.” The source also said Clapper “does not know Strzok on a personal level, and has had no professional relationship with him.”
According to the text message sent by Lisa Page to Andy McCabe, the Dinner meeting on 12 December was attended by only three people–Clapper, Brennan and Dave Cohen. Herridge's source comments on what was discussed and not discussed. That means that one of those three gents is her unnamed source.
It is a lie to claim that Clapper does not "know Strzok on a personal level, and has had no professional relationship with him." There is documentary evidence, i.e. the Strzok/Page text messages, showing at that Clapper and Strzok were interacting in August and September 2016. The first mention of contact between Strzok and Clapper is in August 2016 (Saturday the 20th to be precise). Strzok informs Page:
Sorry 1 have 20 minutes to get my shit together for dni. Shouldn't take that log. Let me pull data, should take 10 minutes. Good side effect of briefing this a million times.
On 5 September 2016, Strzok writes to Page:
Gotta figure that out tomorrow. Insider threat perhaps. Maybe Electoral shenanigans. I'm between Clapper and Evanina and another person or two
"Clapper" refers to Jim Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence. "Evanina" is William R. Evanina, "the Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, an organization he has led since June 2, 2014. He serves as the head of Counterintelligence (CI) for the U.S. Government and as the principal CI and security advisor to the Director of National Intelligence." Important to note that Evanina spent most of his government career working at the FBI. He and Peter Strzok almost certainly had a prior professional relationship.
Then there is a text from 15 September 2016, Page tells Strzok:
Honestly, l thought it was weird that he would let you brief clapper before he got a recent update…
Strzok briefing Clapper does constitute a "professional relationship." Right?
In a recent serendipitous conversation with an old friend ( who is still engaged with the intel community) I asked the following question–Was Peter Strzok briefing Clapper in July 2016? The answer from my friend was, "Yes."
To claim that Strzok and Clapper had no contact is ludicrous. We were told by Washington Post reporters in September 2016 that Clapper was coordinating the counter intel project on Russian interference in the Presidential election:
U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are investigating what they see as a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to sow public distrust in the upcoming presidential election and in U.S. political institutions, intelligence and congressional officials said.
The aim is to understand the scope and intent of the Russian campaign, which incorporates cyber-tools to hack systems used in the political process, enhancing Russia’s ability to spread disinformation.
The effort to better understand Russia’s covert influence operations is being coordinated by James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence. “This is something of concern for the DNI,” said Charles Allen, a former longtime CIA officer who has been briefed on some of these issues. “It is being addressed.”
Peter Strzok by virtue of his position as the Deputy Director in the FBI's Counter Intelligence Division most certainly should have been known to Clapper and talking to him and his staff on a regular basis.
The conspiracy against Donald Trump, in my opinion, originated with British intelligence and persons connected with the Clinton Campaign. The provocation/dangle of George Papodopolous was the result of electronic intercepts by GCHQ targeting people working on the Trump campaign. The collection effort generated hundreds of highly classified "SIGINT" messages that were disseminated in the U.S. intelligence community. Those messages led to the unmasking of more than 100 Americans whose names appeared in those reports. And this "intel" dump from the Brits became the predicate for launching a counter intelligence investigation of Donald Trump and his campaign.
I do not believe that Strzok was part of the original conspiracy. In fact, Strzok, who is not very bright, could also be considered a dupe. He accepted the British intel at face value and then was reinforced in his beliefs by the lies of MI6 officer Christopher Steele. That said, Strzok was an important cog in the anti-Trump conspiracy machine and he was in regular contact with Jim Clapper.
When the investigation of this mess is completed I believe Jim Clapper will emerge as a puppet master in pulling FBI strings and putting Trump under a cloud.