Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)

September 18, 2019 – Judicial Watch files a FOIA lawsuit for the records of FBI Special Agent Michael Gaeta

Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) for records about FBI Special Agent Michael Gaeta, who was the Legal Attaché in Rome who helped circulate the Steele dossier (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-02722)).

The suit was filed after the Justice Department and FBI failed to respond to an August 10, 2018, FOIA requests seeking:

  • All records of communications, including emails (using [his or her] own name or aliases), text messages, instant chats and encrypted messages, sent to and from former FBI Legal Attaché in Rome, Special Agent Michael Gaeta, mentioning the terms “Trump”, “Clinton”, “Republican”, “Democrat”, and/or “conservatives.”
  • All SF50s and SF52s of SA Michael Gaeta.
  • All expense reports and travel vouchers submitted for SA Michael Gaeta.

On August 28, 2018, Bruce Ohr testified before a joint task force of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees that Christopher Steele, author of the Clinton funded dossier, gave two reports from the dossier to Gaeta.

In the July 30 meeting, Chris Steele also mentioned something about the doping — you know, one of the doping scandals. And he also mentioned, I believe — and, again, this is based on my review of my notes — that he had provided Mr. Gaeta with two reports…”

The only thing I recall him mentioning is that he had provided two of his reports to Special Agent Gaeta.

Gaeta reportedly was authorized by then Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland to meet with Steele at his office in London to receive reports from the dossier

The purpose of the London visit was clear. Steele was personally handing the first memo in his dossier to Gaeta for ultimate transmission back to the FBI and the State Department.

For this visit, the FBI sought permission from the office of Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. Nuland, who had been the recipient of many of Steele’s reports, gave permission for the more formal meeting. On July 5, 2016, Gaeta traveled to London and met with Steele at the offices of Steele’s firm, Orbis.

“The FBI is covering up its role in the Russiagate hoax,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Judicial Watch has had to fight the FBI ‘tooth and nail’ for every scrap of information about the illicit targeting of President Trump.” (Read more: September 18, 2019)

September 17, 2019 – Trump directs ODNI, DoJ and FBI to immediately declassify materials

The White House Press Secretary released the following statement on September 17, 2019:

At the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency, the President has directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to provide for the immediate declassification of the following materials: (1) pages 10-12 and 17-34 of the June 2017 application to the FISA court in the matter of Carter W. Page; (2) all FBI reports of interviews with Bruce G. Ohr prepared in connection with the Russia investigation; and (3) all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Carter Page FISA applications.

In addition, President Donald J. Trump has directed the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr.

(whitehouse.gov/briefing, 9/17/2019)

September 14, 2019 – Opinion: Scott Ritter probes Russian informant, Oleg Smolenkov’s role as a CIA asset and the use of his data by Brennan

Reports that the CIA conducted an emergency exfiltration of a long-time human intelligence source who was highly placed within the Russian Presidential Administration sent shock waves throughout Washington, D.C. The source was said to be responsible for the reporting used by the former director of the CIA, John Brennan, in making the case that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered Russian intelligence services to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election for the purpose of tipping the scales in favor of then-candidate Donald Trump. According to CNN’s Jim Sciutto, the decision to exfiltrate the source was driven in part by concerns within the CIA over President Trump’s cavalier approach toward handling classified information, including his willingness to share highly classified intelligence with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a controversial visit to the White House in May 2017.

On closer scrutiny, however, this aspect of the story falls apart, as does just about everything CNN, The New York Times and other mainstream media outlets have reported. There was a Russian spy whose information was used to push a narrative of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election; this much appears to be true. Everything else that has been reported is either a mischaracterization of fact or an outright fabrication designed to hide one of the greatest intelligence failures in U.S. history — the use by a CIA director of intelligence data specifically manipulated to interfere in the election of an American president.

The consequences of this interference has deleteriously impacted U.S. democratic institutions in ways the American people remain ignorant of — in large part because of the complicity of the U.S. media when it comes to reporting this story.

Oleg Smolenkov (Credit: public domain)

This article attempts to set the record straight by connecting the dots presented by available information and creating a narrative shaped by a combination of derivative analysis and informed speculation. At best, this article brings the reader closer to the truth about Oleg Smolenkov’s role as a CIA asset; at worst, it raises issues and questions that will help in determining the truth.

(…) Every Russian diplomat assigned to the United States is screened to ascertain his or her susceptibility for recruitment. The FBI does this from a counterintelligence perspective, looking for Russian spies. The CIA does the same, but with the objective of recruiting a Russian source who can remain in the employ of the Russian government, and thereby provide the CIA with intelligence information commensurate to their standing and access. Turning a senior Russian diplomat is difficult; recruiting a junior Russian diplomat like Oleg Smolenkov less so. Someone like Smolenkov would be viewed not so much by the limited access he provided at the time of recruitment, but rather his potential for promotion and the increased opportunity for more essential access provided by such.

The responsibility within the CIA for recruiting Russian diplomats living in the United States falls to the National Resources Division, or NR, part of the Directorate of Operations, or DO — the clandestine arm of the CIA. In a perfect world, the CIA domestic station in Washington, D.C., would coordinate with the local FBI field office and develop a joint approach for recruiting a Russian diplomat such as Smolenkov. The reality is, however, that the CIA and the FBI have different goals and objectives when it comes to the Russians they recruit. As such, Smolenkov’s recruitment was most likely a CIA-only affair, run by NR but closely monitored by the Russian Operations Group of the Agency’s Central Eurasia Division, who would have responsibility for managing Smolenkov upon his return to Moscow.

The precise motive for Smolenkov to take up the CIA’s offer of recruitment remains unknown. He graduated from one of the premier universities in Russia, the Maurice Thorez Moscow State Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages, and he married his English language instructor. Normally a graduate from an elite university such as Maurice Thorez has his or her pick of jobs in the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Defense or the security services. Smolenkov was hired by the Foreign Ministry as a junior linguist, assigned to the Second European Department, which focuses on Great Britain, Scandinavia and the Baltics, before getting assigned to the embassy in Washington.”  (Read more: Consortium News, 9/14/2019)

September 12, 2019 – US attorney recommends proceeding with charges against McCabe; DOJ rejects last-ditch appeal

Andrew McCabe (Credit: Lancaster Dems)

“U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu has recommended moving forward with charges against Andrew McCabe, Fox News has learned, as the Justice Department rejects a last-ditch appeal from the former top FBI official.

McCabe — the former deputy and acting director of the FBI — appealed the decision of the U.S. attorney for Washington all the way up to Jeffrey Rosen, the deputy attorney general, but he rejected that request, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The potential charges relate to DOJ inspector general findings against him regarding misleading statements concerning a Hillary Clinton-related investigation.

A source close to McCabe’s legal team said they received an email from the Department of Justice which said, “The Department rejected your appeal of the United States Attorney’s Office’s decision in this matter. Any further inquiries should be directed to the United States Attorney’s Office.” (Read more: Fox News, 9/12/2019)

September 09, 2019 – The Justice Department seeks McCabe’s text messages on FBI probe; former FBI agent Jeffrey Danik filed a FOIA two years ago for same communications

Jeffrey Danik and Robert Mueller (Credit: public domain)

“The Department of Justice is seeking former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s text messages and according to government sources, those will play a significant role in understanding the FBI’s probe into both President Donald Trump’s campaign and the bureaus’ handling of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server to send government emails.

Lawmakers unsuccessfully attempted to get the text messages during the litany of Congressional investigations that have culminated in Attorney General William Barr appointing Connecticut prosecutor John Durham to investigate the FBI’s handling of the election probe. Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes, R-CA, said his committee was stymied by the FBI when they attempted to retrieve McCabe’s communications.

“The House Intelligence Committee tried to get the McCabe texts in the last Congress, but we were stonewalled,” Nunes told SaraACarter.com on Monday. “This is the kind of issue that really needs more transparency. There’s been too much unnecessary secrecy surrounding the entire Russia investigation- the American people deserve to know exactly what happened.”

The text messages between FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and his then lover FBI attorney Lisa Page were regarded as a trove of information for congressional investigators. Page and Strzok’s text messages were turned over and for the most part – other than the details of the pairs private romantic relationship- to lawmakers during the congressional probes. The lawmakers were able to read the texts as part of the ongoing investigations either in-camera or when certain portions were declassified and made public.

(…)  Judicial Watch also sought the text messages earlier this year. The government watchdog group filed a motion in May to obtain McCabe’s text messages on behalf of FBI supervisory special agent Jeffery Danik.

Danik, who served 28 years in the FBI, filed a motion against the Department of Justice last year for refusing a Freedom of Information Act Request to turn over the texts, as well as McCabe’s FBI emails. Danik had originally filed a FOIA to obtain the communications two years ago.” (Read more: SaraACarter, 9/09/2019)

January 6, 2017 – The DOJ OIG report on Comey’s memos details plans to ambush Trump with Moscow sex allegation

(L-R) James Comey, John Brennan, James Clapper, and Adm. Michael Rogers testify about “worldwide cyber threats” during an open hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on September 10, 2015. (Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(…) “On Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, Comey, along with CIA head John Brennan, national intelligence chief James Clapper, and NSA Director Mike Rogers, met with Trump in Trump Tower in New York. Together, they briefed the president-elect on the findings of the intelligence community investigation into Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 election.

But the group, and especially Comey, had bigger plans than that. Before the meeting, they agreed that after briefing Trump on Russian efforts, the others would leave and Comey would stay to brief Trump alone about the Steele Moscow sex allegation.

Comey and top FBI officials prepared meticulously for the moment. The IG report says Comey had a planning meeting with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, chief of staff James Rybicki, general counsel James Baker, and “the supervisors of the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.” (It is unclear who was in that last group, although the now-famous FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page played large roles in the investigation.)

The IG report says the group “agreed that the briefing needed to be one-on-one so that Comey could present the ‘salacious’ information in the most discreet and least embarrassing way.” But however it was presented, the FBI leaders worried that Trump might “perceive the one-on-one briefing as an effort to hold information over him like a ‘Hoover-esque type of plot.'” That was a reference to the FBI’s notorious founding director J. Edgar Hoover, who relished keeping (and using) embarrassing secrets on top political leaders.

The group discussed how Trump might react. In particular, they considered whether he would “make statements about or provide information of value to the pending Russia interference investigation” known as “Crossfire Hurricane.”

Perhaps Trump would say something incriminating. The FBI officials made plans for Comey, immediately after leaving the meeting, to write down everything he could remember about whatever Trump said. Comey also wanted to discuss Trump’s reactions with top aides immediately. Comey told the inspector general it was “important for FBI executive managers to be ‘able to share in [Comey’s] recall of the salient details of those conversations.'” Bureau officials also wanted to be able to respond if Trump publicly “misrepresent[ed] what happened in the encounter.”

So, preparations were made. “Comey said he had a secure FBI laptop waiting for him in his FBI vehicle and that when he got into the vehicle, he was handed the laptop and ‘began typing as the vehicle moved,'” the report says. He worked on his account as the FBI car took him to the New York field office, where aides had set up a secure video teleconference with Rybicki, McCabe, Baker, and the “Crossfire Hurricane” supervisors. Comey continued to work on his memo after that and sent the group a final version the next day, Saturday, Jan. 7.

In his memoir, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, Comey wrote that at the Trump Tower briefing he assured the president-elect, “We are not investigating you, sir.” At the moment Comey said those words, he had the “Crossfire Hurricane” team ready for a secure video conference on Trump’s response to the Steele dossier allegation.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 8/29/2019)

August 30, 2019 – Flynn attorney Sidney Powell walks through the history of the DOJ, FBI and intelligence apparatus weaponization against Mr. Flynn

“In an explosive response filing today, which includes the phrase ”sunlight is the best disinfectant,” attorney Sidney Powell has outlined the soup-to-nuts construct of the malicious government action taken during their targeting her client Michael Flynn.

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

Clip from Attorney Sidney Powell’s filing on behalf of Lt. General Michael Flynn.

In the 19-pages (full pdf below), Ms. Powell walks through the history of the DOJ, FBI and intelligence apparatus weaponization against Mr. Flynn and lays out the background behind everything known to have happened in 2016, 2017 through today.

From the corrupt DOJ lawyers who were working with Fusion-GPS and Chris Steele, including Mr. Weissmann, Mr. Van Grack and Ms. Zainab Ahmad; to the 2015/2016 FISA database search abuses; to the CIA and FBI operation against Flynn including Nellie Ohr; to the schemes behind the use of DOJ official Bruce Ohr; to the corrupt construct of the special counsels office selections; to the specifics within the malicious conspiracy outlined by hiding FBI interview notes of Mike Flynn,… all of it…is a stunning filing that many CTH readers are well prepared to understand.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 8/30/2019)

 

August 28, 2019 – The DOJ OIG report on Comey’s memos is released; the substance within the report shows a two-tiered Justice system

“Having just completed a first review of the IG Report on James Comey, with numerous highlights for further overlay and research, here are my thoughts upon initial review.

First, there is absolutely no doubt James Comey used his memos akin to FD-302 investigative reports from an FBI agent. Meaning, from beginning-to-end he considered himself an investigative agent against the President-elect and then President Trump.

Note: The recording of his encounter with the target, President-elect Trump should be “treated like FISA derived information in a counterintelligence investigation.”  During this January 6th operation, Comey was the active FBI agent gathering evidence for later use.  The collected intelligence would be shared with the team via memo #1.

Remember the Lisa Page Texts from the same date?

The FBI redacted almost all of that text because it outlines the distribution of the evidence Comey was collecting.   Comey’s memos were essentially FD-302 reports, and the officials within the DOJ and FBI didn’t want that exposed.  Lisa Page text was heavily redacted because it would have shown the January 6th encounter was an operation against Trump.

Every encounter and every aspect of every action within that encounter was conducted in what Comey perceived as an official investigative capacity.

President Trump was the target of Comey’s operations and he wrote his memos as investigative notes therein. Example: Comey ran the, operation:

So the “small group”: Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Baker, Priestap, Rybicki, et al, were running a counterintelligence operation against the incoming administration.

There are parts of the IG report highlighting a stunning amount of self-interest.

Example:  Who made the decision(s) about what “was” or what “was not” classified?  Or, put another way: who was making the internal decisions about Comey’s exposure to legal risk for sharing his investigative notes (memos) outside the department?

The answer is the same “small group” who were carrying out the operation:

James Baker, Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe, James Rybicki and Lisa Page were determining what parts of James Comey’s investigative notes needed to be classified.

The corrupt FBI was in position to police itself.   This is not a conflict of interest, it is better described as a profound conflict of self-interest.

The information the ‘small group‘ wanted to use to frame the target would be visible, not classified; however, any material that would outline the construct of their corruption in targeting the target would be hidden, classified.  You can’t make this stuff up folks.

The “small group” WAS the sources and methods they were protecting.

Everything needed to understand that level of corruption is outlined in the way the IG report discusses the handling of James Comey’s investigative notes (ie. memos).  AND the fact that James Comey kept them hidden, yes hidden.  Read this stuff!

First, “no hard copies of any of the memos were found in Comey’s FBI office.”:

So, if the memos were not held in Director James Comey’s official FBI office, the next logical question is where were they?

Well, when Special Agents went to James Comey’s house, he still kept them hidden and never informed the agents:

If Mr. Altruism, James Comey, was simply fulfilling the duty of a concerned and dedicated FBI Director, why not tell the FBI agents -picking up FBI records- that he had copies of FBI investigative notes in his “personal safe” while they were there?

What honorable justification exists for keeping them hidden from valid investigators?

Obviously me, you and God are not the only ones able to see the sketchy nature of this construct.  In fact, an internal FBI whistleblower came forward soon after that search of Comey’s home to request official “whistleblower status protection” from the IG.

Think logically…. What would prompt someone inside the FBI; who at some point gained access to the Comey memos; to request ‘whistleblower protected status’?

Doesn’t the “whistleblower request” indicate the requesting FBI official saw something nefarious in the way this was all going down?

Who was that ‘whistleblower’?

Well, first, Captain Obvious would tell you it has to be someone who actually gained possession of those memos right?…. this is not a big group.  Second, you only need to read a few more pages of the IG report to see who it was:

The “whistleblower” was the Supervisory Special Agent described in page 38 as above.

The memos were “stored” in a “reception area“, and in locked drawers in James Rybicki’s office.  [“Drawer safes” are silly FBI legal terms for fancy locked drawers]  Also note…

Reception area“?  “May 15th“?

Well, (#1) apparently no-one wanted to be the one holding the hot potato of investigative evidence (Comey memos); that ownership would outline them as participatory members in carrying out the targeting of then President Trump.  Oh, yeah, those investigative notes were not in “the office of the FBI Director” on May 10th, when you were here searching the last time,… for some mysterious reason.. they, uh,… well, they were discovered…  in the “reception area“… yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket!   Right under the four month old copy of People Magazine, n’ stuff.

….ARE YOU FRIGGIN’ KIDDING ME WITH THIS?

…AND (#2) the very next morning, GUESS what happened?…

Now we see why the FBI Supervisory Special Agent in charge of inventorying Comey records asked the IG for official “whistleblower status.”

Sketchy warning flares surrounded the SSA agent right there in the FBI executive suites.

Of course the SSA gave the Inspector General the seven memos, asked for whistleblower protection, and likely told the IG the way they were produced stinks to high heaven.   Good grief. (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 8/29/2019)

August 28, 2019 – Jeff Carlson: Highlights from the IG Report on Comey’s Memos

(Credit: Lazaro Gamio/Axios)

Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz has released a report on former FBI Director James Comey’s leaking of personal memos to his attorneys, a personal friend, and the media.

Comey had told the IG that he believed the memos shared with his attorneys did not contain any classified information.

However, the IG noted that specifically: “Memos 1 and 3 contained information classified at the ‘SECRET’ level, and that Memos 2 and 7 contained small amounts of information classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level—although Comey redacted all classified information in Memo 7 before sending to his attorneys.”

The IG report also noted that “Comey considered Memos 2 through 7 to be his personal documents.”

Comey maintained copies of Memos 2 through 7 at his personal residence—a fact that he failed to report to the FBI. Comey also provided James Rybicki, his chief of staff, with a copy of these same memos to maintain at FBI headquarters.

On May 14, 2017, Comey provided electronic copies of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to one of his personal attorneys, who subsequently shared the memos with two additional attorneys several days later on May 17, 2017. Memo 2 contained six words, four of which were names of specific countries that the FBI later deemed to be classified.

Leak to the Media

On May 16, Comey provided a copy of Memo 4 to Daniel Richman who was a “close personal friend” in addition to being one of Comey’s attorneys. Comey directed Richman to “share the contents of Memo 4, but not the Memo itself, with a specific reporter for The New York Times.”

Richman did have a security clearance at this time, but there appears to be no demonstrable “need to know” that is also a requirement for gaining access to classified information.

This memo contained information that was deemed by the FBI to be “For Official Use Only” but did not contain any classified information. The IG noted: “We found no evidence that Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the Memos to members of the media.”

The same day that Comey’s two additional attorneys gained access to his memos—May 17, 2017—former FBI Agent Peter Strzok sent a text to former FBI lawyer Lisa Page noting, “F’in Pamela Brown knows there were two phone call memos.” Brown, a reporter for CNN, had reported on the existence of Comey Memos the night prior during a segment with Anderson Cooper but had yet to mention the phone call memos.

The Strzok text regarding Brown is notable for two reasons. One, Strzok was clearly familiar with the contents of Comey’s Memos, and two, Brown had to have learned of the “phone call Memos” from a source other than Richman—who had only received a copy of Memo 4, which detailed a physical meeting and did not mention any “phone call Memos.” It is not known who provided Brown with the additional information.

Notably, the FBI “first learned that Comey had shared Memo 4 with Richman while watching Comey’s public testimony before SSCI [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence] on June 8, 2017.” Nor did Comey inform the FBI that he had shared Memos 2, 4, 6 and 7 with his personal attorneys. It was only after the FBI questioned Richman regarding Memo 4 that the FBI learned that Comey had also provided the additional memos to his attorneys.

Comey Kept Memos at His Home

The June 8, 2017, date is particularly notable because only the day before, on June 7, 2017, did Comey provide the copy of his memos that he kept in his home safe to the FBI at the request of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Although the existence of the Comey Memos were well-known by this time, it does not appear that FBI personnel knew that Comey kept his own memo copies at home—until he turned them over.

The IG report highlighted Comey’s retention of his memos at his personal residence, noting: “We found it particularly concerning that Comey did not tell anyone from the FBI that he had retained copies of the Memos in his personal safe at home, even when his Chief of Staff, the FBI’s Associate Deputy Director, and three SSAs [Supervisory Special Agents] came to Comey’s house on May 12, 2017, to inventory and remove all FBI property.” Why Comey chose to not disclose this information to the FBI remains unknown.

According to the IG report, “[O]n June 7, 2017, Comey provided the SSA who came to his home with Comey’s signed originals of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7, which were the only Memos that Comey said he had retained at his residence.” Notably, the “SSA said he had been advised ahead of time that Comey had Memos to give to him.” The report does not disclose who advised the SSA, but it may have been Special Counsel Mueller.

Comey told the IG that “he voluntarily gave his signed originals of Memos 2, 4, 6, and 7 to the SSA at his house that day, not because he had concerns that they contained classified information, but “because Special Counsel [Robert Mueller] asked for them.”

How the Special Counsel came to learn that Comey had a personal copy of his memos at his house remains unknown, particularly as it appears that no one else within the FBI was aware of this fact until Comey turned the memos over.

Comey had previously viewed the FBI copies of his memos that had already been officially classified by the FBI on June 7, 2017, in preparation for his June 8 testimony. As a result, Comey was now aware of what the FBI deemed “SECRET” or “CONFIDENTIAL.” As the IG report noted, “By not immediately reporting that he had provided Memo 2 to his attorneys when Comey first learned that the FBI had designated a small portion of Memo 2 as classified at the ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ level, Comey violated FBI policy.”

Lisa Page Obtains Memos Ostensibly for McCabe

Others within the FBI also had copies of Comey’s Memos. According to the IG’s report, “Page told the OIG that McCabe also allowed her to look at Memos 2, 3, and 4, but asked her not to share them with anybody. Page told the IG that “she decided to make and keep copies of these Memos because they were ‘just of the nature that [she] felt like there should be one other copy somewhere else.’” Page claimed not to know “if others in the FBI were keeping copies of the Memos.”

However, it appears that Page attempted to hide her possession of Comey’s Memos from other officials within the FBI. On May 10, 2017, Comey’s former chief of staff James Rybicki was contacted by Page who requested “a full set of the Memos.” Rybicki, who told the IG that Page said her request was made on behalf of Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, then made three copies of Comey’s Memos—one for himself, one for Page to pass along to McCabe, and one for FBI General Counsel James Baker. Notably, May 10, 2017, may have been the date that McCabe opened an investigation into President Donald J. Trump.

Page told the IG a somewhat different version of events, noting that “she did not think McCabe had asked her to assemble copies of the memos; she said she thought she did it on her own because she “knew that it needed to get done.” Additionally, Rybicki told the IG “that he was ‘surprised’ when he learned that Page already had copies of some of the Memos because he ‘didn’t think anybody maintained a copy’ other than him, and didn’t know how she got them.”

Comey told the IG that he considered “Memos 2 through 7 to be his personal documents,” but this assertion was roundly dismissed by other FBI officials. According to the IG report, “All of the FBI senior leaders interviewed by the OIG stated that the Memos were official government records.” McCabe told the IG that Comey’s Memos served as a “record of [Comey’s] official engagement with the President.” Baker said the memos were “related to official business” and that “they were discussed in the office in connection with [Comey’s] official responsibilities.” Rybicki said he had “treated the Memos as FBI records.” The FBI’s Director of Counterintelligence Bill Priestap characterized the memos as documents “produced by the Director in his capacity as Director … they’re FBI work product.”

Whistleblower Provided IG Memos

Interestingly, “shortly after Comey’s removal, a set of the seven Memos was provided to the OIG by a Department employee, who claimed whistleblower status,” the IG revealed in the report. The number of individuals within the FBI who had access to Comey’s Memos was comprised of a very small group. The IG noted that the whistleblower “viewed the Memos as extremely sensitive documents and was concerned that there should be a separate set deposited somewhere for safekeeping.” This means that the IG obtained possession of the Comey Memos very early on—since mid-May 2017.

Additionally, the IG revealed that it was then-Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who referred the matter of Comey’s Memos to the Office of the Inspector General for review in July 2017. McCabe may have been unaware that the IG already was in possession of Comey’s Memos via the unknown whistleblower.

Genesis of Comey’s Memos

In regards to the genesis of the Memos, Comey told the IG that it was his Jan. 27, 2017, dinner with President Trump that prompted him to begin the process of maintaining Memos detailing his interactions with the president. However, Comey had already written an earlier memo regarding a meeting with President Trump on Jan. 6, 2017, where Comey provided the president with details of the “salacious” information from the Steele dossier. Comey also told Congress a slightly different story, testifying on June 8, 2017, that he began creating memos from his very first interaction with President Trump, based on a “gut feeling.”

The IG report provides some intriguing details surrounding the Jan. 6, 2017, meeting, and the manner in which that meeting was pre-determined to be fully documented by Comey.

“Witnesses interviewed by the OIG also said that they discussed Trump’s potential responses to being told about the ‘salacious’ information, including that Trump might make statements about, or provide information of value to, the pending Russian interference investigation.

“Multiple FBI witnesses recalled agreeing ahead of time that Comey should memorialize his meeting with Trump immediately after it occurred. Comey told the OIG that, in his view, it was important for FBI executive managers to be ‘able to share in [Comey’s] recall of the … salient details of those conversations.’ Comey also said that an additional concern, shared by the members of his management team, was that if the briefing became ‘a source of controversy’ it would be important to have a clear, contemporaneous record because Trump might ‘misrepresent what happened in the encounter.’”

It appears from the IG’s report that President Trump had no knowledge that Comey was transcribing their interactions. The FBI’s General Counsel, James Baker, told the IG that “it was his understanding that the small group of people who had access to the Memos ‘really didn’t want anyone to know the Director … was recording at this level of detail his interactions with the President’ because any perception that Comey was ‘keeping … book’ on the President would upset any effort to have an effective and ongoing working relationship.”

It should also be noted that Comey failed to keep any memos of his meetings with Obama and other Obama-era officials.

Memo 3 was one of those deemed to contain information classified at the “SECRET” level. In regards to this particular memo, Comey told the IG that he gave one copy to Rybicki, with instructions for Rybicki to show it to McCabe and Baker, while keeping the other copy in his desk drawer—located in his secure office. On May 10, 2017, the day immediately following Comey’s firing, a Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) was assigned to inventory the contents of Comey’s office. As noted in the IG report, “According to the inventory, no hard copies of any of the Memos were found in Comey’s office.”

Five days later, on May 15, 2017, following a conversation with Comey, Rybicki notified the SSA that there “were additional documents belonging to Comey stored in the reception area near the former Director’s office.” Among these documents were six of the original Comey Memos. According to the IG, this was the first time the SSA learned of the existence of the Comey Memos. Rybicki told the SSA that “he did not tell anyone about the Memos during the May 10 inventory because he understood that process to only include Comey’s office.”

Comey Violated FBI Policy

The IG found that “Comey’s actions violated Department or FBI policy, or the terms of Comey’s FBI Employment Agreement” and concluded that “Comey’s retention, handling, and dissemination of certain Memos violated Department and FBI policies, and his FBI Employment Agreement.”

The IG recognized that the “responsibility to protect sensitive law enforcement information falls in large part to the employees of the FBI who have access to it through their daily duties” and pointedly noted that “Comey failed to live up to this responsibility.”

The IG’s report also noted, “By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees—and the many thousands more former FBI employees—who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information.”

The IG provided a copy of his findings to the DOJ for a prosecutorial decision regarding Comey’s conduct. The DOJ declined prosecution. It is not known when the IG’s findings were first submitted to the DOJ. The IG then prepared this more comprehensive report that focused on whether Comey’s actions violated Department of FBI policy.

It was previously reported that the DOJ had declined prosecution of Comey. According to a source for Fox News, “Everyone at the DOJ involved in the decision said it wasn’t a close call,” one official said. “They all thought this could not be prosecuted.”

To underscore the difficulties the DOJ faced in pursuing a successful prosecution is the fact that Comey’s Memos were only classified by the FBI after Comey had leaked them. Additionally, the IG found no proof that “Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the Memos to members of the media.”

A failed prosecution at this juncture would prove problematic to the overall investigation of Spygate. The IG’s pending report on FISA abuse is far more important and potentially significantly more damning. (themarketswork.com, 8/30/2019)

(Republished with permission.)

August 25, 2019 – Carter Page: FBI wanted me to make false testimony about Russians

Former 2016 Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page joined FNC’s Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures” for a conversation about his experience as a government witness:

CARTER PAGE: Great to be with you, Maria.

MARIA BARTIROMO: You had an esteemed career. I want to start there because our viewers know that we’ve covered this story very effectively from the get-go, poking holes in this whole idea of collusion, poking holes in the FISA court situation, but you had worked with the government for a long time before they actually turned on you. Tell me your career as a government informant after you worked at the Pentagon and after in the Navy tell us about it.

CARTER PAGE: Well I got out of the Navy in ’98 and I was on a research fellowship at a foreign policy think tank and that was actually the first time as a civilian (as you mentioned I spent a lot of time doing intelligence tasks in the military) but that was the first time when I actually did stuff as a civilian, and so one of the guys I worked closely with was Chris Stephens, [sic] who was the Iran desk officer at the State Department in ’98-99, and we had a long ongoing dialogue, and so a lot of similarities between what happened with him, and the lack of responsibility by these Democrat administrations. That was during the Clinton administration, but the loss of his life was really a continuation of that.

MARIA BARTIROMO: So the bottom line is you’ve worked as a government informant for what, two decades?

And somewhere along the line, they obviously turned on you, because they wiretapped you.

CARTER PAGE: Yeah.

MARIA BARTIROMO: And somewhere along the line, they obviously turned on you because they wiretapped you. Fast forward to 2013 or so when you are an informant for the government about a spy ring in New York, involving three Russians.

CARTER PAGE: Yeah, well listen. It was something where there was a lot, they did an indictment. I spent time with the FBI in 2013 giving them all of the information they needed.

MARIA BARTIROMO: This is under the Obama administration.

CARTER PAGE: It was under the Obama administration and then a number of top officials, Attorney General Holder, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, and [former Assistant Attorney General] John Carlin in January of 2015, a year before the start of when I joined the– I was a volunteer on the Trump campaign, they had this indictment… of the three Russians. So I was one of the main sources on “Male #1.”

MARIA BARTIROMO: That’s interesting because you were “Male #1” — we’re looking at a timeline in 2013 you’re male number one and they indict these people and the indictment comes down in January 2015 and they name you as Male #1.

CARTER PAGE: Well there’s this big thing about masks and unmasking, and I was very lightly masked and there are a lot of problems in that indictment and they really kind of put me out on a limb.

MARIA BARTIROMO: That’s what I want to ask you because then you start getting death threats your life was in danger… We’re taking a pivot looking at how the government has treated government informants…

I’m back with former Trump campaign foreign policy advisor Carter Page and you were telling us about this case that you helped the government with. Tell me what happened in 2015 after the indictment was handed down on the Russians.

CARTER PAGE: Well really, in March of 2016, they called me in to come to testify in the Southern District of New York on that case.

There were so many falsehoods and misrepresentations in their indictment the prior year. I said I am not going to lie in court. Similar to their false court filings, which the DOJ and the FBI has submitted in this case. So it was a long back and forth with them but I told them, I am a man of my word and I’m not going to, you know, provide false testimony like they’ve done. It is very similar between the false testimony which they did and that case against the Russians, and the false testimony which they did a few months later in October of 2016 with their start of the FISA abuse.

MARIA BARTIROMO: You never actually testified in the spy ring circus in terms of that, but this all goes to government informants and you could look at Patrick Byrne from Overstock.com, right?

CARTER PAGE: Well its basically, the government is taking control of people’s lives I mean, look, I’ve lost tens or hundreds of millions of dollars and he lost a couple hundred million off his market cap just based on these falsehoods.

MARIA BARTIROMO: You mean the stock lost hundreds of millions of dollars, not you?

CARTER PAGE: Well I’ve lost, you know, massive amounts of money.

(RealClearPolitics, 8/25/2019)