November 2015 – Employment of Nellie Ohr by Fusion GPS Raises New Questions
“One of the bombshell admissions from a closed-door testimony by DOJ official Bruce Ohr was that his wife, Nellie Ohr, was working for opposition research firm Fusion GPS already in late 2015.
Previously, it had been reported that Nellie Ohr was hired to find dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump in the spring of 2016.
“Ohr testified that Fusion approached his wife for a job and that she began working for the research firm in late 2015,” the Daily Caller reported.
In addition to the new time-frame for Nellie Ohr’s employment, Bruce Ohr also confirmed that former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, FBI Agent Peter Strzok, and FBI Special Counsel Lisa Page all knew he was talking to former British MI6 spy, Christopher Steele, who compiled the now-infamous opposition research dossier on Trump, which was used as the core evidence of an application for a [Title 1] Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to surveil Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.
More importantly, Ohr also informed Justice Department prosecutor Andrew Weissmann about his dossier-related work and interactions with Steele. Ohr made these internal disclosures before Weissmann joined special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The Mueller Team has known of Ohr’s involvement with the Steele Dossier from the start of their formal investigation.
These events are likely intertwined. To understand why, we need to revisit an April 26, 2017, unsealed FISA Court Ruling, that was declassified by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.
There is a staggering amount of information contained within the ruling, including these two disclosures:
“NSA estimates that approximately eighty-five percent of those queries, representing [Redacted] queries conducted by approximately [Redacted] targeted offices, were not compliant with the applicable minimization procedures.”
“The FBI had disclosed raw FISA information, including but not limited to Section 702-acquired information, to a [Redacted] … is largely staffed by private contractors … the [Redacted] contractors had access to raw FISA information that went well beyond what was necessary to respond to the FBI’s requests.”
The Court said these practices had been going on since at least November 2015 and noted that “there is no apparent reason to believe the November 2015-April 2016 period coincided with an unusually high error rate.”
The FISA Court also pointed out that the government could not say how, when, or where the non-compliant information was used. Once an individual had access to the information, it could no longer be traced or tracked.
What the FISA Court disclosed is alarming in its simplicity.
Illegal NSA Database searches were endemic. Private contractors, employed by the FBI, were given full access to the NSA Database. Once in their possession, the FISA Data could not be traced.
Which brings us back to the original question: What was Nellie Ohr doing in 2015? And who were the FBI’s private contractors? (Much more: themarketswork, 9/02/2018)
- Andrew McCabe
- Andrew Weissmann
- Bruce Ohr
- Christopher Steele
- Clinton/DNC/Steele Dossier
- Dan Coats
- Department of Justice
- FISA Title-1 surveillance warrant
- Fusion GPS
- Jeff Carlson
- Lisa Page
- Mueller team
- Nellie Ohr
- November 2015
- NSA database queries
- Peter Strzok
- private contractors
- Trump opposition research
- U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC)
May 10, 2016 – George Papadopoulos, Alexander Downer & the Opening of the FBI Investigation
By: Jeff Carlson (themarketswork.com)
“The New York Times provided us an introduction to FBI reasoning in launching the Trump-Russia Inquiry – drunken comments from George Papadopoulos:
During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016, George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton.
About three weeks earlier, Mr. Papadopoulos had been told that Moscow had thousands of emails that would embarrass Mrs. Clinton, apparently stolen in an effort to try to damage her campaign.
The information that Mr. Papadopoulos gave to the Australians answers one of the lingering mysteries of the past year: What so alarmed American officials to provoke the F.B.I. to open a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign months before the presidential election?
The Papadopoulos/Downer meeting has been portrayed as a chance encounter in a bar. That does not appear to be the case. Papadopoulos was introduced to Downer through a chain of two intermediaries. Papadopoulos knew an Israeli embassy official in London named Christian Cantor who introduced Papadopoulos to Erika Thompson. Thompson was a counselor to Downer and served in Australia’s London embassy.
On May 4, 2016, Papadopoulos gave an interview to the London Times in which he stated then-UK Prime Minister David Cameron should apologize to Trump for negative comments. The interview was not well-received. According to the Daily Caller, Thompson reached out to Papadopoulos two days after the story appeared and said Downer wanted to meet with Papadopoulos. The meeting between Papadopoulos and Downer took place on May 10, 2016. Downer reportedly told Papadopoulos to “leave David Cameron alone.”
We know Papadopoulos mentioned “thousands of emails” in his FBI Interview regarding his April 26, 2016 meeting with Mifsud. That comment is noted in the July 28, 2017 Affidavit and the October 5, 2017 Statement of the Offense. However, there is nothing regarding comments made to Alexander Downer in either document.
What does Alexander Downer have to say about the May 10, 2016 meeting. From a news.com.au article:
“We had a drink and he (Papadopoulos) talked about what Trump’s foreign policy would be like if Trump won the election.”
He (Trump) hadn’t got the nomination at that stage. During that conversation he (Papadopoulos) mentioned the Russians might use material that they have on Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the election, which may be damaging.
“We didn’t know anything about Trump and Russia and we had no particular focus on that,’’ Downer says of the Papadopoulos meeting. “For us we were more interested in what Trump would do in Asia” Downer told The Australian. “He [Papadopoulos] didn’t say dirt; he said material that could be damaging to her. No, he said it would be damaging. He didn’t say what it was.”
“By the way, nothing [Papadopoulos] said in that conversation indicated Trump himself had been conspiring with the Russians to collect information on Hillary Clinton. It was just that this guy, [Papadopoulos], clearly knew that the Russians did have material on Hillary Clinton — but whether Trump knew or not? He didn’t say Trump knew or that Trump was in any way involved in this. He said it was about Russians and Hillary Clinton; it wasn’t about Trump.”
Interestingly, the Schiff Memo appears to back this account up. From page two:
“Papadopoulos’ disclosure occurred against the backdrop of Russia’s aggressive covert campaign to influence our elections, which the FBI was already monitoring. We would later learn in Papadopoulos’ plea that the information the Russians could assist by anonymously releasing were thousands of Hillary Clinton emails.”
Despite initial reporting to the contrary, it appears neither “political dirt” nor Clinton emails were ever mentioned at the Papadopoulos/Downer meeting. Notably, Papadopoulos didn’t mention anything to indicate Trump knew of the Clinton information, or had any role in its collection or potential distribution.
There’s been some confusion over how Papadopoulos’ comments made their way to the FBI. Downer stated in his interview that he reported the conversation back to Australia almost immediately…” (Read much more: themarketswork.com, 8/15/2018)
October 20, 2016: The Uncovering – Mike Rogers’ Investigation, Section 702 FISA Abuse & the FBI
(…) “On January 7, 2016, the NSA Inspector General, George Ellard, released a report on NSA Controls & FISA compliance. Starting on page ii:
Agency controls for monitoring query compliance have not been completely developed.
The Agency has no process to reliably identify queries performed using selectors associated with 704 and 705(b) targets.
The rest of the highlights are fully redacted. But more information lay within the report (pages 6-7):
We identified another [redacted] queries that were performed outside the targeting authorization periods in E.O. 12333 data, which is prohibited by the E.O. 12333 minimization procedures. We also identified queries performed using USP selectors in FAA §702 upstream data, which is prohibited by the FAA §702 minimization procedures.
Downstream collection involves the government acquiring data from the companies providing service to the user – like Google or Facebook.
However, some Section 702 collection is obtained via “upstream” collection.
In simple parlance, upstream collection means the NSA accesses the high capacity fiber optic cables that carry Internet traffic and copies all the data flowing through those cables.
The agency is then supposed to filter out any “wholly domestic” communications that are between Americans located in the U.S.
Data collected “incidentally” on U.S. Citizens is generally not destroyed. It is minimized. As we will see later, this became a problem.
Intelligence Agencies can then search the data using “To”, “From” or “About” queries on a target of Section 702 collection.
“About” queries are particularly worrisome.
They occur when the target is neither the sender nor the recipient of the collected communication – but the target’s selector, such as an email address, is being passed between two other communicants.
For more information see, FISA Surveillance – Title I & III and Section 702.”
(…) “About” queries were abruptly halted by NSA Director Mike Rogers on October 20, 2016. This was formally announced by the NSA on April 28, 2017.
The events leading to this decision are described in this post.
Which brings us to a table from the Inspector General’s Report.
Table 3 (page 7) shows four types of violations. The most frequent violation – 5.2% of the total – came from Section 702 upstream “About” queries.
The Inspector General’s Report is heavily redacted – but even a casual reading indicates there were significant compliance and control issues within the NSA regarding the use of Section 702 data.
It’s unclear if NSA Director Rogers discovered the 702 violations and reported them in early 2015, or if it was the Inspector General who found them. Either way, Rogers became aware of Section 702 violations sometime in 2015.
Following NSA Inspector General Ellard’s report, Rogers implemented a tightening of internal rules at the NSA.
However, the NSA Inspector General’s report and Roger’s tightening of internal rules did not halt the Query Compliance Problems.
Outside Agencies – specifically the DOJ’s National Security Division and the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division – were still routinely violating Section 702 procedures.
In 2015, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz (not to be confused with NSA IG Ellard) specifically requested oversight of the National Security Division. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates responded with a 58 page Memorandum, that effectively told the Inspector General to go pound sand.
As noted earlier, John Carlin was the Head of the DOJ’s National Security Division and was responsible for filing the Government’s proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications.
This filing would be subject to intense criticism from the FISA Court following disclosures made by NSA Director Rogers. Significant changes to the handling of raw FISA data would result.
Bill Priestap remains the Head of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division – appointed by FBI Director Comey in December 2015. See: FBI Counterintelligence Head Bill Priestap – A Cooperating Witness.”
(…) “On October 20 2016, Rogers was briefed by the NSA compliance officer on findings from the 702 NSA compliance audit. The audit had uncovered numerous “About” Query violations (Senate testimony).
On October 21, 2016, Rogers shut down all “About Query” activity. He reported his findings to the DOJ (Senate testimony & inferences from Court Ruling).
On October 21 2016, the DOJ & FBI seek and receive a Title I FISA probable cause order authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISA Court. At this point, the FISA Court is unaware of the Section 702 violations.
On October 24, 2016, Rogers verbally informed the FISA Court of his findings (Page 4 of Court Ruling). (Read more: themarketswork, 4/05/2018)
(Timeline editor’s note: Jeff Carlson at themarketswork.com, has done a remarkable job of reading the fine print and highlighting key details from Senate testimony, the NSA Inspector General’s report, and the FISC report that followed NSA Director Mike Rogers disclosure of 702 violations. This is a snippet of Carlson’s very informative piece and he has been kind enough to allow me to post far more than what Fair Use would normally allow. Please don’t miss the rest of his easy to understand, in-depth report.)
December 29, 2016 – March 30, 2017: A timeline of General Michael Flynn events
December 29 2016 – General Michael Flynn speaks to the Russian Ambassador. The conversation takes place the same day that outgoing President Barack Obama imposes sanctions against Russia for suspected hacking of Democrats’ emails during the election.
The conversation is recorded by intelligence agencies and later reviewed by the FBI. Recording or releasing Americans’ conversations is prohibited without written approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA). The existence of recorded conversations and the contents of the conversation are barred from public release by classification rules and privacy laws.
December 29 2016 – Obama announces sanctions on Russia.
December 30 2016 – Russian leader Vladimir Putin addresses Obama’s sanctions by not expelling any U.S. officials. Putin’s lack of retaliatory action prompts some to later conclude that Flynn relayed a message regarding the sanctions in his December 29th conversation with the Russian Ambassador.
January 3 2017 – Loretta Lynch signs Section 2.3 of Executive Order 12333 – Procedures for the Availability or Dissemination of Raw Signals Intelligence Information by the NSA – into effect. This order is significant. As I note in, The Suspicious Timing of Obama’s NSA Data-Sharing Order:
Prior to the formal signing of Section 2.3 it appears that there existed more latitude within the White House in regards to collection of information on the Trump Campaign. However, once signed into effect, Section 2.3 granted broad latitude in regards to inter-agency sharing of information. By the time the new order was signed, the information was already in the Obama White House’s possession.
The new order, had it been implemented earlier, might have restricted White House access to information regarding the Trump Team. Once signed, it granted broad latitude to inter-agency sharing of information already held.
Importantly, the transcript of Flynn’s call was already in the possession of the Obama White House.
January 4 2017 – Mike Flynn informs transition White House Counsel Don McGahn that he is under federal investigation for work as a paid lobbyist to Turkey.
Jan 12 2017 – Mike Flynn’s Dec 29 2016 call is leaked to Washington Post. The article portrays Flynn as undermining Obama’s Russian sanctions.
Jan 15 2017 – VP Pence appears on Face the nation to defend Flynn’s calls – five days before the inauguration of President Trump.
January 19 2017 – The New York Times reports, on the eve of Inauguration Day, that several agencies — the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the Treasury Department are monitoring several associates of the Trump campaign suspected of Russian ties.
January 19 2017 – Obama’s top intelligence and law-enforcement deputies meet to talk about Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak, according to a Feb 13 article in the Washington Post.
January 20 2017 – Inauguration.
January 23 2017 – Acting Attorney General Sally Yates increases pressure on FBI Director Comey regarding Mike Flynn – telling Comey that Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail.
January 23 2017 – The Washington Post reports that the FBI intercepted a conversation in late December 2016 between Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The intercept is supposedly part of routine spying on the ambassador.
January 23 2017 – The FBI reports nothing unlawful in content of Flynn call. Having listened to the tapes, the FBI clears General Michael Flynn of any wrongdoing in his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn did not violate the Logan Act by attempting to influence US foreign policy.
January 24 2017 – Mike Flynn is interviewed at the White House by the FBI. It is during this interview that Flynn supposedly lies to the FBI – despite having his calls already cleared by the FBI. The surprise – and unscheduled – interview is conducted by Peter Strzok.
January 25 2017 – The Department of Justice receives a detailed briefing on Flynn from the FBI.
January 26 2017 – Yates contacts White House Counsel McGahn who agrees to meet with Yates the same day.
January 26 2017 – Sally Yates meets with McGahn. She also brings Mary McCord – Acting Assistant Attorney General – and Head of the DOJ’s National Security Division.
Yates later testifies the meeting surrounds General Flynn’s phone calls and his FBI Interview. She also testifies that Flynn’s call and subsequent interview “was a topic of a whole lot of discussion in DOJ and with other members of the intel community.”
January 27 2017 – McGahn calls Yates and asks if she can come back to his office.
January 27 2017 – Yates returns to the White House without McCord. McGahn asks to examine the FBI’s evidence on Flynn. Yates says she will respond by Monday.
To my knowledge, Yates fails to provide McGahn with the FBI’s evidence on Flynn.
Sally Yates became Acting Attorney General on January 20, 2017, after Loretta Lynch left office upon President Trump’s inauguration. On January 30, 2017, President Trump fired Yates for refusing to enforce the Travel Ban.
January 27 2017 – (evening) President Trump has dinner with FBI Director James Comey. President Trump asks Director Comey if he is under investigation, BUT President Trump does not ask about the Flynn investigation at this meeting.
January 30 2017 – President Trump fires Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to enforce the Travel Ban.
February 2 2017 – Details of conversations between President Trump, the Australian Prime Minister, and the Mexican President are leaked – portraying the calls as contentious. Both Australia and Mexico denied the calls were contentious.
February 8 2017 – In an interview with the Washington Post, Michael Flynn denies having discussed sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
February 8 2017 – Jeff Sessions is confirmed as Attorney General.
The articles are confusing and some details contradictory.
February 13 2017 – The Washington Post reports that Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned the White House in January that General Michael Flynn may be vulnerable to Russian blackmail, due to his conversations with Ambassador Kislyak.
February 13 2017 – Mike Flynn resigns as National Security Advisor after it was revealed he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about phone conversations he had with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States.
February 14 2017 – The New York Times reports that members of the Trump campaign had “repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials” – according to four anonymous sources. The Trump campaign denies the claims – and the Times admits that there is “no evidence” of cooperation or collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
February 15 2017 – Former intelligence officer John Schindler, now a journalist, tweets about escalating hostility in the Intelligence Community to Trump’s Presidency.
Now we go nuclear. IC war going to new levels. Just got an EM fm senior IC friend, it began: “He will die in jail.”https://t.co/e6FxCclVqT
— John Schindler (@20committee) February 15, 2017
March 1 2017 – the NYT inadvertently reported on why the Obama Administration wanted a last minute January 3, 2017 rule change that allowed for intra-agency sharing of globally intercepted personal communications. In a piece titled “Obama Administration Rushed to Preserve Intelligence of Russian Hacking“, it was made clear that the Obama Administration was sharing information broadly and at low levels of security classification:
In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians — across the government.
For more on this important detail, see: The Suspicious Timing of Obama’s NSA Data-Sharing Order.
March 30 2017 – Mike Flynn offers to testify in exchange for immunity. He makes the offer to the FBI and the House and Senate intelligence Communities. There are no takers of his offer.
Per Flynn’s lawyer:
General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit.
The Washington feeding frenzy was stunning at this point in time. The Obama/Clinton Russia-Trump narrative was in full swing.
Fast-forward to today so we can add a further twist to the whole mess:
— The Hill (@thehill) December 2, 2017
This was immediately scoffed at – but ask yourself, why would the White House risk making this statement without proof.
Then this video from January 13, 2017, suddenly surfaced:
Obama State Dept: We have no problem with General Flynn and the incoming administration contacting foreign officials pic.twitter.com/FwZDaHU8lO
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) December 2, 2017
Flynn knew his calls were being recorded. He engaged in nothing illegal on these calls. Flynn knew he had done nothing illegal.
Flynn had no legal obligation to speak with the FBI.
But he did so anyway.
(Reposted with special permission.)
November 29, 2018 – A Clinton Foundation donor is charged for defrauding military contracts, illegal commerce and money laundering
(…) “In a Nov. 29 DOJ press release, three executives including Abul Huda Farouki were charged “for their roles in a scheme to defraud U.S. military contracts in Afghanistan, engaging in illegal commerce in Iran, and laundering money internationally.” Farouki was the CEO of Anham, a defense contractor based in the United Arab Emirates
This wasn’t the first time Farouki or his company have been involved in allegations of misconduct. In a 2013 article by The Daily Caller, headlined “Clinton Donors Get a Pass on Shady Contracting,” Farouki and his company were highlighted:
“In June 2011, the Defense Department’s Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) released a scathing report on a defense contracting company called Anham. The title of the report and its conclusion were the same: ‘Poor Government Oversight of Anham and Its Subcontracting Procedures Allowed Questionable Costs to Go Undetected.’”
The article then asked a simple question: Given prior violations, how was Anham able to secure an $8 billion contract in Afghanistan that “allowed it to illegally ship supplies through two Iranian border crossings and a seaport controlled by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard?”
The $8 billion contract, along with the illegal shipment of supplies, being cited in the 2013 article appear to be exactly the same violations being alleged in the 2018 DOJ indictment. So why weren’t Farouki and his company charged with these same, known violations back in 2013?
The answer may lie within Farouki’s many connections to the Democratic Party. The Daily Caller notes that Farouki is a longtime donor to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and donated to Obama for America in 2008. But Farouki’s closest ties lie with the Clintons and their Foundation.
Farouki, a member of the now-shuttered Clinton Global Initiative, participated in annual CGI meetings since the group’s formation in 2005 through at least 2010 and made multiple donations to the Clinton Foundation. Farouki also made donations to Terry McAuliffe and has been photographed with Huma Abedin. (Read more: The Epoch Times/Jeff Carlson, 11/30/2018)