FISA application

August 12 – October 11, 2019: A look at IC IG Michael Atkinson’s activities surrounding the hearsay whistleblower

“Last week the Intelligence Community Inspector General, Michael Atkinson, testified behind closed doors to congress. Atkinson testified about his role in bringing the ‘whistle-blower’ complaint forward.  The details of that testimony are now starting to surface and thankfully congress is taking a closer look at the sketchy background of Michael Atkinson.

Michael Atkinson (Credit: public domain)

There are numerous aspects to the whistle-blower (likely CIA operative Michael Barry), and the complaint, that just don’t add up. One of the areas of focus is the backdating of changes made to the ‘whistle-blower’ complaint form.  As Sean Davis notes:

[…] Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general, told HPSCI lawmakers during a committee oversight hearing on Friday that the whistleblower forms and rules changes were made in, even though the new forms and guidance, which were not uploaded to the ICIG’s website until September 24, state that they were changed in August.

Despite having a full week to come up with explanations for his office’s decisions to secretly change its forms to eliminate the requirement for first-hand evidence and to backdate those changes to August, Atkinson refused to provide any explanation to lawmakers baffled by his behavior. (read more)

The CIA ‘whistle-blower’ had no first-hand knowledge; everything was based on hearsay.  The CIA operative never informed the ICIG about prior contact and coordination with the House Intelligence Committee (Adam Schiff).  The CIA operative never disclosed congressional contact on the complaint form, and the complaint forms were changed specifically to accommodate this CIA operative.

On Sunday, October 6th, Ranking Member Devin Nunes also discussed his concerns with the testimony of Michael Atkinson.  Nunes noted the testimony “was a joke.”

Nunes told Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Sunday host Matt Boyle, “[The ICIG is] either totally incompetent or part of the deep state, and he’s got a lot of questions he needs to answer because he knowingly changed the form and the requirements in order to make sure that this whistleblower complaint got out publicly.”

“So he’s either incompetent or in on it, and he’s going to have more to answer for, I can promise you because we are not going to let him go; he is going to tell the truth about what happened,” Nunes added.  (read more)

ICIG Atkinson never reviewed the call transcript and facilitated the complaint processing despite numerous flaws.  Additionally, Atkinson ignored legal guidance from both the director of national intelligence (DNI) and the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel that highlighted Atkinson’s poor decision-making.

President Trump announced Joseph Macguire as the Acting ODNI on August 8th, 2019. (link)  The CIA operative “whistle-blower” letter to Adam Schiff and Richard Burr was on August 12th (link).   Immediately following this letter, the ICIG rules and requirements for Urgent Concern “whistle-blowers” was modified, allowing hearsay complaints. On August 28th Adam Schiff begins tweeting about the construct of the complaint.

Given the nature of Atkinson’s background, it appears his prior work in 2016, during his tenure as the lead legal counsel for the DOJ-NSD, likely played a role in his decision.

Here’s Nunes Sunday Interview (audio):

The center of the 2016 Lawfare Alliance election influence was/is the Department of Justice National Security Division, DOJ-NSD. It was the DOJ-NSD running the Main Justice side of the 2016 operations to support Operation Crossfire Hurricane and FBI agent Peter Strzok. It was also the DOJ-NSD where the sketchy legal theories around FARA violations (Sec. 901) originated.

Michael K Atkinson was previously the Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General of the National Security Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ-NSD) in 2016. That makes Atkinson senior legal counsel to John Carlin and Mary McCord who were the former heads of the DOJ-NSD in 2016 when the stop Trump operation was underway.

Michael Atkinson was the lawyer for the same DOJ-NSD players who: (1) lied to the FISA court (Judge Rosemary Collyer) about the 80% non compliant NSA database abuse using FBI contractors; (2) filed the FISA application against Carter Page; and (3) used FARA violations as tools for political surveillance and political targeting.

Yes, that means Michael Atkinson was Senior Counsel for the DOJ-NSD, at the very epicenter of the political weaponization and FISA abuse.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 10/07/2019)

(Republished with permission)

August 8, 2019 – Bruce Ohr documents undercut FBI claims In Carter Page’s FISA applications

Christopher Steele, Bruce Ohr and Glenn Simpson (Credit: public domain)

“Transcripts of Justice Department official Bruce Ohr’s interviews with the FBI could open the bureau to new scrutiny over claims government officials made in applications to spy on Carter Page.

During a Nov. 22, 2016 interview with the FBI, Ohr discussed meetings between dossier author Christopher Steele, Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson and Yahoo! News reporter Michael Isikoff, who two months earlier had published an article that alleged that Page was under FBI investigation for contacts in Russia.

The potential problem for the FBI is that the bureau said in four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications against Page that investigators did not believe that Steele was a source for Isikoff’s story.

The FBI relied heavily on Steele’s unverified dossier to argue to the FISA court that Page was working as an agent of Russia. The applications also cite Isikoff’s article and at least one other news report about Page.

“OHR met [redacted] in Washington, D.C. in late September, possibly close to the time when the Yahoo news article was published on September 23, 2016,” read the heavily-redacted Ohr notes, which were released on Thursday.

“Simpson and [redacted] could have met with Yahoo or Michael Isikoff jointly, but OHR does not know if they did.”

In four FISA applications — which the FBI submitted in October 2016, January 2017, April 2017, and June 2017 — the FBI “does not believe that Source #1,” who has been identified as Steele, “directly provided this information to the identified news organization that published the September 23rd News Article.”

It is unclear if the redacted portion of the footnote adds further context to possible contacts between Steele, Simpson and Isikoff.

July 28, 2019 – Rep. John Ratcliffe says it is clear crimes were committed by government officials in the Obama administration

“With the Justice Department conducting a review of that operation, Rep. John Ratcliffe said during a Fox News interview Sunday that he trusts Attorney General William Barr and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to provide answers.

And while Ratcliffe said he does not want to prematurely accuse any specific person of a crime — as Democrats have done with President Trump — he stressed that it is clear crimes were committed by people during the Obama administration, including government officials.

“I think the first thing we need to do is make sure we don’t do what the Democrats have done,” the Texas Republican told host Maria Bartiromo on Sunday Morning Futures. “They accused Donald Trump of a crime and then they try and reverse engineer a process to justify that accusation. So I’m not going to accuse any specific person of any specific crime, I just want there to be a fair process to get there. What I do know as a former federal prosecutor is that it does appear that there were crimes committed during the Obama administration.”

(…) Ratcliffe recommended three leads for the “investigation of the investigators.”

The first related to former national security adviser Michael Flynn. “You talked earlier about Michael Flynn. His phone call with the Russian ambassador was a highly classified NSA intercept. Someone in the Obama administration leaked that call to the Washington Post. That’s a felony,” he said.

Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed in February 2018 that the Justice Department was investigating that leak, and that he was overseeing the inquiry himself. “I am directing it personally and we’re pursuing it aggressively,” Sessions said at the time.

Ratcliffe suggested investigators also look into conflicting congressional testimony between Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. Fusion GPS was the opposition research firm behind British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s dossier, which was full of unverified claims about Trump’s ties to Russia and was used extensively by the FBI in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to justify surveillance of Page. Ohr acted as an unofficial back channel between Steel and the FBI. “Glenn Simpson from Fusion GPS in talking about the Steele dossier, said under oath that he and Bruce Ohr did not meet until after the election. Bruce Ohr said under oath that they met three months before the election. One of them is not telling the truth. We need a process to identify that,” Ratcliffe said.

The third area of interest, Ratcliffe said, is former FBI Director James Comey’s memos on his interactions with Trump before he was fired in May 2017. “Where it all started, Jim Comey. He admitted that he leaked his confidential conversations with the president to a reporter. Did that include classified information? We need a fair processes to find out answers to that,” Ratcliffe said.” (Read more:  Washington Examiner, 7/28/2019)

May 24, 2019 – Southeastern Legal Foundation files FOIA request for FISC records on Carter Page

Southeastern Legal Foundation logo (Credit: public domain)

“Southeastern Legal Foundation filed a Motion for Publication of Records with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) on behalf of award-winning investigative reporter John Solomon and itself, seeking rulings, orders and opinions issued by the Court finding any of the attorneys associated with the Carter Page FISA applications violated rules of the Court or rules governing professional conduct by attorneys.

Southeastern Legal Foundation successfully pursued Bar sanctions against sitting President Bill Clinton, ultimately resulting in the surrender of his law license on the last day in office and disbarment by the U.S. Supreme Court (1998-2001) as part of the Agreed Order of Discipline from Independent Counsel Robert Ray.  Click here for more information on the Clinton matter.

“We face a serious crisis of public confidence in our judicial system.  Our nation’s highest law enforcement officers and government attorneys are suspected of lying, misleading and withholding information from the FISC in order to obtain permission to conduct surveillance on U.S. citizen Carter Page,” said Todd Young, SLF executive director.  “If true, even in part, one of the most profound ways to help re-establish public trust in the rule of law is to hold these attorneys professionally and publicly accountable for their alleged grievous violations of the law and public trust.”

Click here for FISC Motion for Publication of Records filed by SLF)

Click here for FOIA request to DOJ

Click here for FOIA request to FBI

(Southeastern Legal Foundation, 5/24/2019)

May 19, 2019 – Trey Gowdy says he has seen exculpatory transcripts of FBI spies engaged with Papadopoulos

“In September 2016 the FBI used a longtime informant, Stefan Halper, to make contact with George Papadopoulos, pay him $3k and fly him to London for consulting work and a policy paper on Mediterranean energy issues.

As part of the spy operation the FBI sent a female intelligence operative (a spy) under the alias Azra Turk to pose as Halper’s assistant and engage Papdopoulos.  A month later the FBI used Papadopoulos as a supplemental basis for a FISA warrant against Carter Page.

Former Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Trey Gowdy, tells Maria Bartiromo that he has seen transcripts of the Halper/Turk operation, and those transcripts exonerate Papadopoulos.

(Transcript)

Bartiromo: I’m really glad you brought that up; the FBI agents’ discussion with George Papadopoulos. Because when the FBI sends in informants to someone they’re looking at, typically those conversations are recorded right? Those people are wired?

Gowdy: Yeah, I mean if the bureau is going to send an informant in, the informant is going to be wired; and if the bureau is monitoring telephone calls there’s going to be a transcript of that.

And some of us have been fortunate enough to know whether or not those transcripts exist; but they haven’t been made public and I think one in-particular is going – it has the potential to actually persuade people.  Very little in this Russia probe I’m afraid is going to persuade people who hate Trump, or who love Trump, but there is some information in these transcripts that I think has the potential to be a game-changer if it’s ever made public.

Bartiromo: You say that’s exculpatory evidence and when people see that they’re going to say: wait, why wasn’t this presented to the court earlier?

Gowdy: Yeah, you know, Johnny Ratcliffe is rightfully exercised over the obligations that the government has to tell the whole truth to the court when you are seeking permission to spy, or do surveillance, on an American.  And part of that includes the responsibility of providing exculpatory information, or information that tends to show the person did not do something wrong.  If you have exculpatory information, and you don’t share it with the court, that ain’t good.  I’ve seen it, Johnny’s seen it, I’d love for your viewers to see it.
(End Transcript)



(Page FISA Application)

(HPSCI Memo)

(Downer Operation Link)

(The Conservative Treehouse, 5/19/2019)

May 16, 2019 – The “Steele” dossier source who falsely claimed there was a Russian Consulate in Miami was ALSO  a source for the Moscow “pee tape”

A partial Twitter thread by independent researcher, Undercover Huber @JohnWHuber:

“The “Steele” dossier source who falsely claimed there was a Russian Consulate in Miami was ALSO  a source for the Moscow “pee tape” AND **the key source** alleging an “extensive conspiracy” between the Trump campaign & Russia involving Manafort and Page ?

Christopher Steele tells State Dept. Official Kathleen Kavalec on Oct 11 2016 that a “human/technical operation run out of Moscow targeting the election” is “hacking” and “recruiting” and “payments to those recruited are made out of the Russian Consulate in Miami.”

Kavalec (likely after a cursory search) says “It is important to note there is no Russian Consulate in Miami.” ?

This is critical to the credibility of Steele’s source for this “payments to hackers” allegation: if they’re wrong about “Miami” what *else* are they wrong about? ?

N.B: Kavalec was right: at the time, the Russian Consulate in Florida was 450 km away from Miami, in Tampa (apparently in the same building as the US Commerce Dept.) – literally a 60 second Google search would have shown that this allegation about payments from “Miami” was false.

(FYI: These notes from Kavalec are immediately forwarded to Stephen Laycock in FBI Counterintelligence, who then passes them on to Peter Strzok (note: the Page FISA is generated out of the Counterespionage section [CD4] of the Counterintelligence division, which Strzok supervises.)

Here is the part of Steele’s dossier about the “Miami” payments to “cyber operators” (i.e. hackers) “based in the U.S.” and it is attributed to…

…”SOURCE E” ?

(“Miami” is not mentioned anywhere else in the dossier except attributed to Source E)

Source E  also “confirms” the Trump/hookers “pee tape” allegations and provides an introduction to a Ritz-Carlton hotel employee for validation of this kompromat allegation.

Steele even tells Kavalec that he’s only “persuaded the story about the prostitutes is accurate” *BECAUSE OF SOURCE E*. The same guy who doesn’t know where the Russian Consulate is in Florida? Yep, he’s the Pee Tape confirmation.

Reminder: Intel sources called Steele “meticulous” with a “formidable record.”

Back to Source E. He is *also* the primary source for “Steele’s” explosive claim of a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation between [Trump] and the Russian leadership”, which is managed by Paul Manafort via @carterwpage, including the DNC hacking/release to Wikileaks. ?

 

 

That allegation of a conspiracy involving Page and members of the Trump campaign to interfere in the election in “coordination” with Russia is what the FBI/DOJ swore they believed to the FISA court. “Conspiracy” is also the exact word needed to implicate potential federal crimes.

 

Some conclusions:

  • The FBI should have known there was no Russian Consulate in Miami *themselves*, when they attempted to verify the dossier claims
  • Even if the FBI didn’t try and properly verify the dossier (likely), Kavalec told the FBI this fact explicitly *BEFORE THE FISA*
  • So, Steele’s SOURCE E for the “Miami” payments is giving Steele FALSE information, either mistakenly, or worse: deliberately
  • The next logical source verification step once the FBI realizes this is to check all of the *other* allegations made by SOURCE E as they’re also suspect

There is no evidence that the FBI/DOJ even tried to verify the dossier before the FISA, and no evidence they even informed the FISC that SOURCE E was potentially unreliable after the first FISA was sought.

And it gets worse… (Read more: Undercover Huber, 5/16/2019)

(Timeline editor’s note: We believe there are several timeline entries that suggest Cody Shearer could be Source E. You can find his tag archive HERE:)

April 20, 2019 – The FISA Court, Woods Procedures and Carter Page

(…) “So, what are the Woods Procedures? They were instituted in April 2001 and require the FBI to vet and support the facts it presents to a FISA court when it seeks a warrant to eavesdrop on a U.S. citizen. The individual who knows this process best is none other than the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller. In a response to questions from Sen. Leahy back in August of 2003, then FBI Director Mueller explains the significance of the procedures highlighting that they were instituted in order to “minimize factual inaccuracies in FISA packages.”

Mueller continues, “specifically, the goal of the procedures is to ensure accuracy with regard to: (1) the facts supporting probable cause; (2) the existence and nature of any related criminal investigations or prosecutions involving the subject of the FISA; (3) the existence and nature of any prior or ongoing asset relationship between the subject and the FBI.”

Testimony

Starting in 2003, field offices were required to follow an eight page FISA request form when eliciting information about a targets status as well as the facts and circumstances that establish probable cause to believe the target is an agent of a foreign power.

Reading the testimony from Mueller a decade and a half ago is truly stunning as it shows just how hypocritical the “Special Counsel” was in both his actions and inactions by failing to investigate, let alone acknowledge, the violations of the Woods Procedures he once so vehemently defended. This may come back to bite the government as Department of Justice court records from 2015 have provided details about how Carter Page previously cooperated with FBI agents in exposing and helping to catch Russian spies working inside the United States.

If Page’s prior asset work was not included in the FISA application or the three renewals, then what is the point of the Woods Procedures to begin with?”

(Read more: Politically Short/4/20/2019

April 14, 2019 – Release this material and the entire corrupt construct is exposed

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

♦ Prove the July 31st, 2016, Crossfire Hurricane operation originated from fraud by exposing the CIA operation that created the originating “Electronic Communication” memo. Declassify that two-page “EC” document that Brennan gave to Comey.

♦ Release and declassify all of the Comey memos that document the investigative steps taken  by the FBI as an outcome of the operation coordinated by CIA Director John Brennan in early 2016.

♦ Reveal the November 2015 through April 2016 FISA-702 search query abuse by declassifying the April 2017 court opinion written by FISC Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer. Show the FBI contractors behind the 85% fraudulent search queries. [Crowdstrike? Fusion-GPS? Nellie Ohr?]

♦ Subpoena former DOJ-NSD (National Security Division) head John Carlin, or haul him in front of a grand jury, and get his testimony about why he hid the abuse from the FISA court in October 2016; why the DOJ-NSD rushed the Carter Page application to beat NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers to the FISA court; and why Carlin quit immediately thereafter. Squeeze this bastard’s nuts in the proverbial legal vice.

♦ Prove the Carter Page FISA application (October 2016) was fraudulent and based on deceptions to the FISA Court. Declassify the entire document, and release the transcripts of those who signed the application(s); and/or depose those who have not yet testified.

♦ Release all of the Lisa Page and Peter Strzok text messages without redactions. Let sunlight pour in on the actual conversation(s) that were taking place when Crossfire Hurricane (July ’16) and the FISA Application (Oct ’16) were taking place.

♦ Release all of Bruce Ohr 302’s, FBI notes from interviews and debriefing sessions, and other relevant documents associated with the interviews of Bruce Ohr and his internal communications. Including exculpatory evidence that Bruce Ohr may have shared with FBI Agent Joseph Pientka. [And get a deposition from this Pientka fella]

♦ Release the August 2nd, 2017, two-page scope memo provided by DAG Rod Rosenstein to special counsel Robert Mueller to advance the fraudulent Trump investigation, and initiate the more purposeful obstruction of justice investigation.

Yes, they were spying.

(Conservative Treehouse, 4/14/2019)

March 31, 2019 – In an interview with Sharyl Attkisson, Carter Page states he “helped the FBI and CIA over many years”

“After two years of rumors and allegations, the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation found no Americans colluded, after all.

This week on Full Measure, a fascinating interview that could make you question much of what you’ve been told.

In secret court documents, the FBI said Carter Page was the nexus of Donald Trump’s Russia collusion scheme. As such, the FBI wiretapped Page four times.

In the end, Page was never charged with anything, let alone being a Russia spy. And believe it or not, Page says to this day, he’s never met nor spoken to Trump. But the way wiretaps work, the FBI could have captured Trump in the Page wiretap dragnet, anyway.

And wait until you hear about the relationship Page says he did have with our intelligence agencies over the past two decades.”

(Read more: Sharyl Attkisson, 3/31/2019)

January 21, 2019 – Lindsey Graham to continue oversight of the FBI investigation into Clinton’s private email server and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications

Lindsey Graham (Credit: Fox News Sunday)

“New tensions are flaring on the Senate Judiciary Committee over plans by newly minted Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to dig into Obama-era scandals.

Graham, a close ally of President Trump’s, has outlined several areas he wants to probe now that he has the Judiciary Committee gavel.

They include the FBI’s handling of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications targeting former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

(…) Graham told reporters earlier this month that he would do a “deep dive into the FISA issue” as chairman of the Judiciary Committee. And he told Fox News last month that he believed the FBI “phoned in” the Clinton probe and were “in the tank” for the Democratic presidential nominee.

“There’s a certain unevenness here about how you investigate campaigns,” Graham said, adding that he believed there was “100 percent” a double standard between how the bureau handled the investigation into Clinton compared to investigating the Trump campaign.

Graham also said late last year that he would “totally” investigate the FBI’s handling of its investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and Clinton’s email. He added separately last month that he would “get to the bottom of” the FISA warrant applications against Page and that he wanted to have “an in-depth discussion” with former FBI Director James Comey.

Asked about his investigation plans and the criticism from Democrats, a spokeswoman for Graham pointed to a pair of tweets from the GOP senator on Friday where he doubled down.

Graham described as “stunning” a Fox News report that Justice Department official Bruce Ohr discussed his views on a controversial research opposition dossier on Trump with individuals now on special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

“These purported revelations will NOT get a pass in Senate Judiciary Committee,” Graham added.” (Read more: The Hill, 1/21/2019)