It has been so long since the original 2018 congressional request that many people have forgotten what was included in the “Bucket Five” declassification request.
Bucket Five – Intelligence documents that were presented to the Gang of Eight in 2016 that pertain to the FISA application used against U.S. person Carter Page; including all exculpatory intelligence documents that may not have been presented to the FISA Court.
Bucket Five includes transcripts of the FBI wiretap operations using confidential human sources that were run against members of the Trump campaign; including George Papadopoulos and Carter Page.
One of those transcripts, from the operation against Papadopoulos was declassified on April 1st, and released last night and today.
(…) ♦ A note of caution…the declassification of documents in/around the core issues of Spygate may indicate a more political approach to sunlight, and not any criminal investigation, at least in part, of the overall IC schemes. Whatever U.S. Attorney John Durham is looking into (seems targeted to John Brennan) does not appear to be related to a criminal finding of wrongdoing by the FBI actors. However, don’t be alarmed by that nuance because it has long been visible that the FBI position would boil down to a claim they were hoodwinked by an unknown political agenda within the CIA.
Former FBI Director James Comey has leaned into the “we were duped” approach; but the “we” in that deflection doesn’t necessarily apply to the reality of Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s participation. Comey may have been willfully blind, and incompetent toward his responsibilities, thereby holding plausible deniability as his exit strategy; thus Comey kept all those notes and memos to cover his ass. However, McCabe was not a mere bystander, subject to the manipulation of bad actors within the schemes. McCabe was an active participant, that’s the essential difference between the two.
OK, now on to the transcript as released…
In May 2016 George Papadopoulos was contacted by two members of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Terrence Dudley and Greg Baker, working out of the U.S. embassy in London. Two American spies working in London put Papadopoulos in contact with their ally/counterpart in the Australian Embassy, Erika Thompson. [ie. ‘unofficial channels’] After meeting with Downer’s aide, Erika Thompson on May 6th, she sets up a meeting between George Papadopoulos and her boss for May 10th.
On May 10th, 2016, Ms Erika Thompson and Mr. Alexander Downer then meet with George Papadopoulos. After the meeting, Ambassador Downer reports back to the Australian government on his conversation with Papadopoulos. [document release]. It is from this May 10th, 2016, meeting where communication from Downer, July 26th, 2016, is referenced as the origin of Crossfire Hurricane July 31st.
On August 2, 2016, Special Agent Peter Strzok and another agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation met with Alexander Downer in London to discuss his conversation with Papadopoulos further. Strzok then received reading materials, which he texted about to Lisa Page.
A month later September 2016, the FBI used a longtime informant, Stefan Halper, to make contact with George Papadopoulos, pay him $3k and fly him to London for consulting work and a policy paper on Mediterranean energy issues. As part of the spy operation, the FBI sent a female intelligence operative (a spy) under the alias Azra Turk to pose as Halper’s assistant and engage Papadopoulos.
A month later, October 21, 2016, the FBI used Papadopoulos as a supplemental basis for a FISA warrant against Carter Page.
A few weeks after the FBI received the FISA warrant against Carter Page, they ran another operation against George Papadopoulos using a friend as an asset; a wired asset.
The FBI labeled Papadopoulos as “crossfire typhoon”, and ran a confidential human source (CHS #3) recently identified as Jeffrey Wiseman.
Former Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Trey Gowdy, told Maria Bartiromo in May 2019 that he had seen the transcripts of the FBI’s Jeffrey Wiseman operation and those transcripts exonerate Papadopoulos. WATCH:
(Transcript Video 01:10) Bartiromo: I’m really glad you brought that up; the FBI agents’ discussion with George Papadopoulos. Because when the FBI sends in informants to someone they’re looking at, typically those conversations are recorded right? Those people are wired?
Gowdy: Yeah, I mean if the bureau is going to send an informant in, the informant is going to be wired; and if the bureau is monitoring telephone calls there’s going to be a transcript of that.
And some of us have been fortunate enough to know whether or not those transcripts exist; but they haven’t been made public and I think one in-particular is going – it has the potential to actually persuade people. Very little in this Russia probe I’m afraid is going to persuade people who hate Trump, or who love Trump, but there is some information in these transcripts that I think has the potential to be a game-changer if it’s ever made public.
Bartiromo: You say that’s exculpatory evidence and when people see that they’re going to say: wait, why wasn’t this presented to the court earlier?
Gowdy: Yeah, you know, Johnny Ratcliffe is rightfully exercised over the obligations that the government has to tell the whole truth to the court when you are seeking permission to spy, or do surveillance, on an American. And part of that includes the responsibility of providing exculpatory information, or information that tends to show the person did not do something wrong. If you have exculpatory information, and you don’t share it with the court, that ain’t good. I’ve seen it, Johnny’s seen it, I’d love for your viewers to see it.
Today the transcript of the Wiseman operation was released. This is the transcript where Papadopoulos’s friend Jeffrey Wiseman is wired by the FBI for a meeting in Chicago.
Papadopoulos told Wiseman that he knew “for a fact” that nobody on the Trump campaign was involved in hacking the DNC.
The IG report said the FBI tapped Wiseman, referred to as “Source 3” in the report, due to a previous “connection” with Papadopoulos. The report said Wiseman indicated years earlier during an interview for a separate investigation he would be willing to work with the FBI.
After lunch, Wiseman and Papadopoulos traveled to a casino, where they played blackjack. According to the transcript, in addition to discussing Russia and the Trump campaign, Papadopoulos said he had worked for Israeli businesses, “to lobby for them in Washington.” This conversation appears to be taking place in late October or early November 2016, prior to the election.
Despite all of the surveillance operations against Papadopoulos, the target was not interviewed by the FBI until January 2017. None of the exculpatory information was included in the January FISA renewal or the two subsequent renewals.
It’s likely the FBI will justify not including the exculpatory evidence based on the fact that Carter Page and not Papadopoulos was the primary target of the FISA application.
With the release of the Papadopoulos transcript, this interview from May 2019 also takes on new context.