December 26, 2019 – Judicial Watch sues the CIA and DOJ for the communications of Eric Ciaramella
“Judicial Watch announced today that it filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against both the DOJ and CIA for communications of CIA employee Eric Ciaramella, who reportedly worked on Ukraine issues while on detail to both the Obama and Trump White Houses.
The lawsuit against the DOJ was filed after it failed to respond to November 2019 FOIA requests seeking communications between Ciaramella and former FBI agent Peter Strzok, former FBI Attorney Lisa Page, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and/or the Special Counsel’s Office (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-03809)).
Judicial Watch filed suit against the CIA after it failed to respond to FOIA requests seeking all of Ciaramella’s emails from June 1, 2016, to November 12, 2019 (Judicial Watch v. Central Intelligence Agency (No. 1:19-cv-03807)).
Ciaramella’s name appears in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the 2016 presidential election, in reference to two emails Ciaramella sent to then-Chief of Staff John Kelly and other officials, describing a meeting between President Trump, Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Foreign Minister Sergey Kislyak:
In the morning on May 10, 2017, President Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office.468
468… (5/9/17 White House Document, “Working Visit with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia”) … (5/10/17 Email, Ciaramella to Kelly et al.). The meeting had been planned on May 2, 2017, during a telephone call between the President and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the meeting date was confirmed on May 5, 2017, the same day the President dictated ideas for the Comey termination letter to Stephen Miller…. (5/10/17 Email, Ciaramella to Kelly et al.).
Information about this phone call was subsequently leaked to The New York Times.
Ciaramella is widely reported as the person who filed the whistleblower complaint that triggered the impeachment proceedings. His name reportedly was “raised privately in impeachment depositions, according to officials with direct knowledge of the proceedings, as well as in at least one open hearing held by a House committee not involved in the impeachment inquiry.”
“There is significant public interest, thanks to the Obama Spygate scandal and the related abusive impeachment of President Trump, in what Eric Ciaramella was up to,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “CIA operative Ciaramella is documented to be involved in the Russia collusion investigation and was a key CIA operative on Ukraine in the both the Obama and Trump White Houses. Our lawsuits are designed to break through the unprecedented cover-up of his activities.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 12/26/2019) (Archive)
- Andrew McCabe
- Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
- Comey firing
- December 2019
- Department of Justice
- Donald Trump
- Eric Ciaramella
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- FOIA lawsuit
- hearsay whistleblower
- John Kelly
- Judicial Watch
- Lisa Page
- media leak
- Mueller Report
- Peter Strzok
- Robert Mueller
- Sergey Kislyak
- Sergey Lavrov
- Stephen Miller
December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report notes James Comey’s inconsistencies in his statements re Carter Page
(…) “Comey also told the IG that “he did not recall himself having any knowledge of Carter Page’s existence until the middle of 2016.” But, as the IG report stressed, Comey’s statements are called into question by “internal email communications” that reflect that in April 2016, the New York Field Office “prepared summaries of the information that ultimately led NYFO to open a counterintelligence investigation on Carter Page on April 6, 2016.” Those were provided to officials at headquarters “for a ‘Director’s note; and a separate ‘Director’s Brief’ to be held on April 27, 2016.”
Notwithstanding these inconsistencies, the IG report stressed, that the IG “was unable to question Comey further using classified details Lynch described to us because, as noted in Chapter One, Comey choose not to have his security clearances reinstated for our interview.”
The IG report then stresses twice more Comey’s lack of a security clearance as a reason investigators were unable to assess Comey’s level of knowledge of the facts misstated in the FISA applications. In discussing “the extent of FBI leadership’s knowledge as to each fact stated incorrectly or omitted from the FISA applications”—seven significant inaccuracies and omissions in total—the IG stressed that multiple factors made it difficult to assess the knowledge of the FBI hierarchy.
“These factors included, among other things,” the IG report noted, “limited recollections, the inability to question Comey or refresh his recollection with relevant, classified documentation because of his lack of a security clearance, and the absence of meeting minutes that would show the specific details shared with Comey and McCabe during briefings they received, beyond the more general investigative updates that we know they were provided.
However, while noting the IG’s inability to determine the “extent of FBI leadership’s knowledge,” the report highlighted reasons to believe such knowledge existed: “As the FBI’s senior leaders, Comey and McCabe would have had greater access to case information than Department leadership and also more interaction with senior [Counterintelligence Division] officials and the investigation team. Further, as described in Chapter Three, [Counterintelligence Division] officials orally briefed the Crossfire Hurricane cases to FBI senior leadership throughout the investigation. McCabe received more briefings than Comey, but both received oral briefings of the team’s investigative activities.” (Read more: The Federalist, 12/09/2019) (Archive)
December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report writes McCabe pushed the “Golden Showers” hoax and Comey approved its inclusion in the intel report
“An email proves disgraced ex-FBI Director James Comey personally approved an FBI effort to have the wild and unsubstantiated “golden showers” claim about President Trump included in the material to be considered for publication in the U.S. Intelligence Community’s official report on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The Comey email, which has not received media attention until now, was revealed inside the Justice Department’s recently released 476-page Inspector General report on the FBI’s Russia collusion investigation.
The IG report further discloses a separate email in which Andrew McCabe, who served under Comey as the FBI’s deputy director, specifically wanted dossier author Christopher Steele’s unverified “pee” charges against Trump to be included in the body of the January 6, 2017, U.S. Intelligence Community report, known as the ICA, assessing alleged Russian interference efforts.
McCabe opposed a CIA compromise to only reference Steele’s controversial dossier in an appendix of the ICA report, with McCabe arguing for it to be included in the body of the report where it would clearly get more attention.
(…) In an email to Strzok, McCabe and others, Comey described a phone call he had with then Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, writing that he told Clapper to include the Steele reports.
“Looks okay to me,” Comey wrote, approving of the FBI submission that encompassed Steele’s dossier charges.
Comey’s email continued:
FYI: During a secure call last night on this general topic, I informed the DNI that we would be contributing the [Steele] reporting (although I didn’t use that name) to the IC [Intelligence Community] effort. I stressed that we were proceeding cautiously to understand and attempt to verify the reporting as best we can, but we thought it important to bring it forward to the IC effort.
Comey went on to document that he vouched for Steele’s so-called sources while admitting that he didn’t tell Clapper about FBI efforts to verify the claims. The FBI at the time could not verify the charges.
I told him the source of the material, which included salacious material about the President-Elect, was a former [REDACTED] who appears to be a credible person with a source and sub-source network in position to report on such things, but we could not vouch for the material. (I said nothing further about the source or our efforts to verify).”
December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report reveals James Comey and Loretta Lynch contradictions
(…) “The IG report also stressed Comey’s lack of a security clearance in discussing inconsistencies between his and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s statements to the IG. The report noted that “Lynch told the OIG that after one of her weekly security meetings at FBI Headquarters in the spring of 2016, Comey and McCabe pulled her aside and provided information about Carter Page, which Lynch believed they learned from another member of the Intelligence Community.”
Lynch further stated that Comey and McCabe informed her that “Russian intelligence reportedly planned to use Page for information and to develop other contacts in the United States, and that they were interested in his affiliation with the campaign.” According to the IG report, Lynch’s “understanding was that this information from Comey and McCabe was ‘preliminary’ in that they did not state that any decisions or actions needed to be taken that day.”
Lynch added that “they discussed the possibility of providing a defensive briefing to the Trump campaign, but she believed it was ‘preliminary’ and ‘something that might happen down the road,’” but that “she did not recall receiving any further updates on this issue following this conversation.”
The IG report noted that “Lynch’s recollection of what Comey and McCabe told her is consistent with information referenced in connection with the 2015 [Southern District of New York] indictment and subsequent conviction of a Russian intelligence officer referenced earlier in this chapter.” However, “Comey told the OIG that he did not recall having such a conversation with Lynch and that he did not think it was possible for such a conversation to have occurred in the spring of 2016 because the FBI did not receive the [Friendly Foreign Government] information concerning Papadopoulos until late July.” (Read more: The Federalist, 1/06/2020) (Archive)
December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report reveals Baker, Comey, Strzok and Bruce Ohr contradictions
(…) “For instance, according to the IG report, Baker said “he obtained more information regarding Ohr’s interactions with Steele during a Crossfire Hurricane leadership meeting with Comey and McCabe in spring 2017.” Baker further stated that “he learned that Ohr was providing to the FBI information that Ohr had received from Steele,” and, in Baker’s view, “this [was] not good.”
But Comey told the IG “he had no knowledge of Ohr’s communications with members of the Crossfire Hurricane investigative team and only discovered Ohr’s association with Steele and the Crossfire Hurricane investigation when the media reported on it.” Comey’s claims, though, conflicted with both Baker’s statements, and “notes taken by Strzok during a November 23, 2016 Crossfire Hurricane update meeting” that Comey attended.
Those notes referenced “a discussion at the meeting concerning ‘strategy for engagement [with Handling Agent 1] and Ohr’ regarding Steele’s reporting.” Strzok also told the IG that “he believed he informed FBI leadership that Ohr approached the FBI concerning his relationship with Steele and that Ohr relayed Steele’s information regarding Russia to the team.”
However, as the IG report explained, “because Strzok’s notes of the meeting were classified at the time we interviewed Comey, and Comey chose not to have his security clearances reinstated for his OIG interview, we were unable to show him the notes and ask about the reference in them to Steele and Ohr.” (Read more: The Federalist, 1/06/2020) (Archive)
December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report reveals Brennan lied to the House Intelligence Committee
“The new report from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz confirmed former CIA Director John Brennan lied to Congress about whether the dossier authored by Christopher Steele was used in the Obama administration’s Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA).
The ICA, a report conducted by intelligence officials in 2016 on Russian election interference, was used to brief President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump in January 2017. According to the IG report, there was significant discussion by top intelligence officials as to whether the unverified Steele dossier should be included in the main body of the ICA report, summarized in an appendix, or even included at all.
Ultimately, the ICA included a short summary and assessment of the dossier, which was incorporated in an appendix. “In the appendix, the intelligence agencies explained that there was ‘only limited corroboration of the source’s reporting’ and that Steele’s election reports were not used ‘to reach analytic conclusions of the CIA/FBI/NSA assessment,’” the IG report states.
A few months later, on May 23, 2017, when testifying before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Brennan categorically denied that the CIA relied on the Steele dossier for the ICA report. Here is the full exchange with former Rep. Trey Gowdy: (Video is cued to begin at the appropriate time)
November 8, 2019 – Lawfare founder, Benjamin Wittes, tweets “he is proud to know Lisa Page and call her a friend”
Lawfare founder Benjamin Wittes sent a curious tweet appearing to defend former DOJ lawyer Lisa Page; who was previously assigned to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. The tweet comes out of the blue; and there’s nothing currently in the public sphere or headlines about Ms. Page. It seems rather odd:
My hunch is Ms. Page may have spoken honestly to Horowitz or Durham about her experience as part of the ‘small group’. If accurate, and considering McCabe threw Page under the bus to protect himself against an internal investigation about his media leaks, Ms. Page’s current disposition may very well be adverse to the interests of the coup plotters. [Additionally, Ms. Page had no involvement with the FBI FISA construct.]
Michael Bromwich is Andrew McCabe’s attorney. Bromwich is a Lawfare member.
Perhaps the former Deputy Director is being positioned as the ‘fall guy’. (Conservative Treehouse, 11/08/2019)
October 30, 2019 – Andrew McCabe refuses to discuss FBI verification of the Clinton/DNC/Steele Dossier
“Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe refused to say Wednesday what parts of the Steele dossier the FBI verified before using the salacious document in surveillance warrant applications to spy on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
McCabe, a CNN analyst, appeared on a panel with former CIA officials John Brennan, John McLaughlin and Michael Morell to discuss the intelligence community’s role in the 2020 election.
A journalist asked McCabe during a Q&A session to describe what parts of the dossier, authored by former British spy Christopher Steele, the FBI verified before using it in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications to spy on Page.
“Would you be able to say with specificity what the FBI verified in the Steele dossier before using it in FISA applications?” Jerry Dunleavy, a reporter at the Washington Examiner, asked McCabe.
“Specifically, what was verified in the dossier before it was used?” Dunleavy added.
McCabe was succinct and abrupt.
“So the answer to your first question is ‘no,’” he said, “I will not go into specificity about what the FBI verified prior to the FISA or after.”
October 29, 2019 – Judicial Watch obtains emails between Bruce Ohr, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page —DOJ is still withholding a majority of these communications
“Judicial Watch announced today it received through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit 13 pages out of 42 responsive pages of communications between former FBI official Peter Strzok and DOJ official Bruce Ohr that the DOJ claimed previously it could not find.
(…) In the lawsuit, Judicial Watch challenged the DOJ’s extraordinary claim that there were no records of communications between Strzok and Ohr in light of the preeminent role both individuals played in the anti-Trump collusion investigation. In addition, Ohr himself testified before Congress that he did, in fact, meet and communicate with Strzok.
The documents show contact between Ohr and Strzok in the weeks after the 2016 presidential election, during the presidential transition, and in the days following President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page arranges a November 21, 2016, meeting from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at FBI headquarters. “Required attendees” include Ohr, Strzok, and FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Jonathan Moffa.
On November 29, 2016, Ohr attempts to arrange a meeting between Strzok, Page, himself, and Deputy Assistant Attorney General (Criminal Division) Bruce Swartz.
Ohr writes to Strzok and Page under the subject Meeting with Bruce Swartz: “Thanks again for taking the time to chat today. As I mentioned, I would like to set up a short meeting for us with Bruce Swartz. Would next Monday at 5:30 p.m. work? Also, is there any chance you guys could come over to our building?”
Page responds: “Unfortunately, Pete is briefing HPSCI [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] from 5-6:30 on Monday. Just about any other time that day would work. And we’re happy to come to you (especially because Bruce S. always has good snacks…)” [smile emoticon]
Ohr responds to Page: “No problem – is 6:30 (or later) that day too late? Otherwise we may be into the next week. I will ensure the snacks are up to snuff!”
Page writes to Ohr at 5:46 p.m.: “Unfortunately, it is. Have a flight later that night. Sorry about that.”
Ohr responds at 6:32 p.m.: “Got it. I’ll find a few dates/times for the week after and shoot them to you.”
A meeting with importance classified as “high” is scheduled for December 5, 2016. Strzok, Ohr and Swartz are scheduled to meet from 5:30 to 6 p.m. at Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) 2213, and later is canceled.
On January 4, 2017, a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) official in the Office of Special Measures [a unit within FinCEN set up to sanction foreign and domestic financial institutions] forwards to Ohr an unclassified but fully redacted FinCEN document, which Ohr then forwards to Strzok on February 1, 2017.
Ohr writes to Strzok: “Pete – As we discussed. I will forward the classified document as well, as well as one more unclassified document.”
January 30, 2017, FinCEN sent protected information and its password to [Redacted].
On February 1, 2017, at 2:11 pm Lisa Holtyn, Ohr’s assistant, sends to members of Bruce Ohr’s former team at Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) password protected information from FinCEN, saying “I’ll send the password separately.” Minutes later, she sends the same email to Bruce Ohr. Seconds after that, Ohr forwards the email to Strzok, followed by the password.
“Ohr and Strzok clearly were working regularly with each other during the time the illicit Spygate operation heated up against President Trump,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It speaks volumes that Judicial Watch was forced to drag the DOJ and FBI into court in order to force the agency to admit to documents they’ve obviously had all along.” (Read more: Judicial Watch, 10/29/2019) (Archive)
Sarah Carter writes in August 2018:
(…) “Ohr stated during his hours-long testimony that the FBI failed to disclose this pertinent information to the nation’s secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) when it sought an application to spy on Page. The FBI also failed to disclose that when it sought the application, it was using senior Justice Department official, Bruce Ohr as a cut-out for a source the bureau had terminated.
Ohr had also communicated with senior members of the FBI, including former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, FBI attorney Lisa Page, and former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, at the bureau but stated that his superiors at the Justice Department were not aware that he was being used as a source for the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign, according to sources who spoke to SaraACarter.com.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 8/31/2018)
- Andrew McCabe
- Bruce Ohr
- Bruce Swarz
- Department of Justice
- DOJ Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF)
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- FOIA lawsuit
- Jonathan Moffa
- Judicial Watch
- Lisa Holtyn
- Lisa Page
- mishandling classified information
- October 2019
- Peter Strzok
- Secure Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF)
- Trump Russia Investigation
October 25, 2019 – Lee Smith: Deep State used ‘criminal conspiracy’ to stop Flynn’s audit of intelligence agencies
“A multifaceted “criminal conspiracy” to destroy former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was launched by persons across the national security state apparatus to prevent audits of intelligence agencies’ operations, said Lee Smith, author of The Plot Against the President: The True Story of How Congressman Devin Nunes Uncovered the Biggest Political Scandal in U.S. History, in a Friday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with host Rebecca Mansour and special guest host Rick Manning.
“General Flynn’s lawyer, Sydney Powell, has done a fantastic job of unearthing a whole bunch of new information which clarifies what we’ve known — what we’ve suspected — for quite a long time, that large parts of the intelligence community targeted General Flynn,” Smith stated.
Smith added, “Sydney Powell has brought forth a whole bunch of important information … about how they tinkered with the FBI’s interviews. They also ambushed General Flynn in the White House for an interview, and we know how that went down. It was James Comey who asked his deputy director Andy McCabe to send agents down there to go after General Flynn.
Smith remarked, “Keep in mind, this is a very, very large operation against General Flynn that started long before Donald Trump was elected, and this was the other terrific thing that Sydney Powell has done with her work.”
“Stefan Halper, who was identified by the Washington Post and the New York Times as the confidential human source who was sent to spy on the Trump campaign,” noted Smith. “Now, what Sydney Powell has found, is that he had a handler at the Pentagon. So we’re talking about the Department of Justice, we’re talking about the FBI, but we’re also talking about the Pentagon. We are talking about a number of different agencies involved in targeting General Flynn.” (Read more: Breitbart, 10/25/2019)