February 19, 2020 – What the IG and Mueller reports reveal about the origin of Spygate

In Email Timeline Post-Election 2016, Email/Dossier Investigations by Katie Weddington

A thread by Twitter sleuth,  ghost of daniel parker@seekerOTL:

“On June 6, 2016, a defense contractor met with an FBI special agent working the Hillary Clinton email investigation codenamed Mid-Year Exam.

Thanks to the great work of @walkafyre, we have a good idea what lies behind the redactions in the 302 of that interview.

The defense contractor, Donald Berlin, was contacted by Barbara Ledeen in the summer of 2015.

Ledeen wanted Berlin to determine if Clinton’s server had been breached by a foreign entity. The investigation was to be financed by Judicial Watch.

Barbara Ledeen is on the staff of Senator Chuck Grassley.

She is also the wife of Michael Ledeen. I’ve chronicled several of his numerous intrigues in previous threads.

The defense contractor handed over documents produced as part of his investigation to the FBI. They can be found in the FBI vault here:

Most of the docs concerned an alleged plan by Clinton confidante Sidney Blumenthal to appropriate the hidden assets of deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Also included was possible evidence that the Russians hacked Clinton’s server.

 

So in June 2016, the FBI was aware that Ledeen was searching for HRC’s emails.

Gen Mike Flynn’s “Field of Fight,” co-authored with Michael Ledeen, was published on July 1st, 2016.

In late July, Wikileaks released the DNC emails. On July 26, the Australian government officially notified the US government that they had learned Trump foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos “had some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist this process with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Mrs. Clinton (and President Obama).”

From July 28 to July 31, officials at FBI Headquarters discussed whether to open counterintelligence investigation.

Investigation Crossfire Hurricane officially launched on July 31, 2016.

According to the IG report, Peter Strzok and Case Agent 2 worked on both Mid-Year Exam and Crossfire Hurricane.

So at least some members of the Crossfire Hurricane team would have known that Ledeen was searching for Clinton’s emails and that the Russians were suspected of possessing them.

The Crossfire Hurricane team then tasked Stefan Halper with determining if the Trump campaign was planning an October Surprise, specifically if the Russian government planned on releasing Clinton’s emails in coordination with the Trump campaign and Wikileaks.


Before we go any further, let’s address the most famous October Surprise.

As the presidential election day grew closer in 1980, the campaign of Ronald Reagan feared that the Carter administration would engineer the release of the American hostages from Iran in the weeks prior to the election.

Ironically, this most famous October Surprise actually never happened. The hostages were not released before the election; they were released on the day of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration.

The historical debate is whether or not the Reagan campaign made a deal with the Iranians to delay the release of the hostages until after the election.

You’ve probably read about Stefan Halper’s link to the October Surprise.

What you probably haven’t read are these paragraphs from Robert Parry’s book, “Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq”:

That’s right. Michael Ledeen was neck deep in the October Surprise.

In 1999, the House of Representatives created the October Surprise Task Force to investigate the conspiracy theory.

Perry claims that during his exhaustive research of the October Surprise, he discovered a draft copy of a report from the Task Force that stated Ledeen was an unofficial member of the Reagan campaign’s October Surprise Group.

So Halper and Ledeen were both allegedly part of the Reagan campaign’s “dirty tricks” operations.

So they’re on the same side, right?

Well, no. At some point they had a falling out, if they were ever truly allies.

The Reagan campaign was comprised of two very distinct camps: hard-line defense hawks associated with Ronald Reagan and moderate “realists” associated with George H W Bush.

The Bush team was comprised of a large contingent of current and former CIA employees, which included Halper and his father-in-law Ray Cline.

Ledeen fell squarely in the first camp; Halper in the second.

In 1983, Halper was forced out of the Reagan administration when a New York Times article exposed him as the ringleader of an operation to gather information on the Carter campaign.

Halper had been accused of stealing a copy of Jimmy Carter’s debate prep book.

However, when Halper was outed as an FBI informant in 2018, Craig Shirley, the author of several books on Ronald Reagan, wrote an article for the Washington Post denying that Halper stole Carter’s “debate books.”

An article from UPI reports that according to former Reagan campaign workers the charges against Halper were part of a larger plan to by defense hawks to displace James Baker from the Reagan White House.

James Baker was Reagan’s White House Chief of Staff.

However, he’s more often associated with George H W Bush. Baker was Bush’s Secretary of State during the first Persian Gulf War.

Baker has drawn the wrath of neoconservatives over the years for espousing the use of prudence, restraint and diplomacy in foreign policy decision-making.


So the rivalry between Halper and Ledeen dates wayyyy back and has continued over the years, at least on the level of policy.

In his book, The Silence of the Rational Center, Halper cites Ledeen as a staunch advocate of reckless regime change.

In 2004, Halper was one of the first authors to identify the neocon influence on the presidency of the younger Bush in his book, America Alone: Neo-Conservatives and the Global Order.

There’s yet another person involved in Crossfire Hurricane who’s very familiar with the history of the October Surprise: David Laufman was the Republicans’ senior associate counsel on the October Surprise Task Force.

Yes, Laufman is a Republican.

It’s almost completely forgotten today how vigorously the left opposed George W Bush’s nomination of Laufman for the position of Defense Department Inspector General.

So Laufman was one of the primary individuals involved in both Mid-Year Exam and Crossfire Hurricane and he had knowledge of the 1980 October Surprise as well as the roles Halper and Ledeen played in the Reagan campaign.

I provide this backstory in hopes of providing some context to the August 11 and 12, 2016 meetings between Halper and the members of Crossfire Hurricane.

Note the objective of the initial meeting with Halper was to ask him questions about his experience working on presidential campaigns.

The following day, when Halper and the team met again, “Source 2 provided additional information about the role of a foreign policy advisor in a presidential campaign.”

Did they discuss the October Surprise in 1980?

I think so.

Now, there is no evidence that Halper was told about Barbara Ledeen’s investigation into HRC’s emails.

However, Halper was certainly aware that Michael Ledeen co-authored Flynn’s book “Field of Fight” that was published a couple of months earlier.

Keep in mind that the FBI did not open a counterintelligence investigation into Mike Flynn until AFTER they met with Halper.

Did the CH team based their decision on what they learned in their meetings with Halper?

During their meeting in August 2016, it was Halper who brought up the 1980 October Surprise to Page. The subject is raised again later in their conversation.

The discussion of a possible October Surprise was not incidental; it was exactly what the Crossfire Hurricane Team was searching for.

Later in early September, Halper met with a “high-level Trump campaign official,” Sam Clovis, and the conversation once again turns to a possible October Surprise.

There’s nothing subtle about it either. Halper asks Clovis directly if the Trump campaign was planning an October Surprise.

When Halper meets with George Papadopolous, he doesn’t use the term “October Surprise,” but he’s clearly tasked by the Crossfire Hurricane team with finding evidence of such a plan.

That Halper never attempted to approach Mike Flynn should not come as a surprise. The CH team must have assumed that Ledeen would have tipped off Flynn about Halper’s intelligence background.

The CH team already believed someone had coached PapaD in how to respond to Halper’s questions.

In general, there is little in the IG report about the Flynn investigation beyond noting that SSA 1 (Joe Pientka) attended a strategic intelligence briefing in which Gen Flynn was in attendance.

The open EC for the Flynn investigation states there was “an articulable factual basis” that Flynn “may wittingly or unwittingly be involved in activity on behalf other Russian Federation which may constitute a federal crime or threat to the nation security.”

But there’s scant evidence of a Russia investigation in either the IG report or the Mueller report. (We know, though, a FARA investigation Flynn’s connection to Turkey was opened).

What the Mueller report does reveal is how seriously the FBI took the pursuit of Clinton’s emails (“Flynn subsequently contacted multiple people in an effort to obtain the emails.”)

The Ledeen/Smith investigations are discussed at length.

Perhaps most significant are the footnotes that reveal that in 4 different interviews with the special counsel’s office, Mike Flynn discussed the Ledeen/Smith investigations.

I have some issues with how the Ledeen/Smith investigations are presented in the Mueller report; however, that’s a discussion for another thread.

What I hope to establish in this thread is the importance the FBI placed on Ledeen’s search for HRC’s emails.

It’s telling that when the 4 Crossfire Hurricane cases were divvy upped that Strzok assumed program management responsibilities for the Flynn and PapaD cases.

These cases were the two most likely to have a connection to Ledeen. Flynn, directly. PapaD indirectly, via his Hudson Institute and Israeli connections.

And I have to say the FBI’s suspicion wasn’t without justification. Michael Ledeen has a very long history of such intrigue.

In his memoir of his involvement in the Iran-contra affair, Ledeen explains the role of a “trusted envoy.”

Did the FBI suspect Page and PapaD were being used as trusted envoys, wittingly or unwittingly?

Perhaps.

It should be acknowledged that an October Surprise involving emails did occur when Wikileaks released John Podesta’s hacked emails.

And Peter Smith, who conduct a search for Clinton’s emails, did commit suicide.

So perhaps an investigation was justified. HOWEVER, the results were no evidence was found that Ledeen or Smith or anyone else on the Trump campaign recovered Clinton emails.

When Halper provided the FBI with EXCULPATORY evidence after his final meeting with PapaD, why did the investigation continue?

It was almost immediately after this final meeting between Halper and PapaD when the Crossfire Hurricane team received their first reports from Christopher Steele.

The timing is curious. It’s at the point the investigation seems to go off the rails.

I have no answers as to what happens after this point or why. Any conspiracy theory would have to account for Case Agent 1’s and Kevin Clinesmith’s blatant investigatory misconduct.

I have seen some speculation that Halper was feeding information to Steele.

I dunno. Maybe.

That’s a possibility, but only a theory at this point.

Some readers may want to be told who’s a white hat and who’s a black hat.

Sorry, I can’t give you that, especially when the subject is the world of intelligence and political intrigue. Characters like Halper and Ledeen aren’t so easily labeled.

I admit to possessing a certain sympathy for Mike Flynn. 33 years of honorable military service goes a long way with me.

Flynn’s declaration on Jan 20th is how I’ve always viewed him. There’s no shame in admitting that one’s life has not prepared him for a world without honor, a world in which the ends justify the means.

I have attempted to keep the discussion in this thread narrowly focused on what is revealed in the Mueller and IG reports.

(ghost of daniel parker@SeekerOTL, 2/19/2020(Archive)