House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

July 21, 2018 – The DOJ releases [redacted] Carter Page FISA applications

“In an unprecedented move, the Department of Justice has released 412 pages of top-secret documents related to surveillance conducted against former Trump campaign chairman Carter Page.

The documents include an October 2016 application and three renewal applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants taken out against Page.

The New York Times and other news outlets obtained the applications through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

“The FBI believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government,” reads the FISA application.

“As discussed above, the FBI believes that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government,” reads the initial FISA application, dated Oct. 21, 2016. The Justice Department and FBI obtained three additional FISAs in January, April and June 2017.

The application also says that the FBI had probable cause to believe that Page engaged in “clandestine intelligence activities” and is an agent of a foreign power.

Republican and Democrats on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence previously released highlights from the documents. A memo released by Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has revealed that the Justice Department and FBI relied heavily on the Democratic-funded Steele dossier in the FISA applications.

The dossier is the first piece of evidence cited in the FISA application section laying out the allegations that Page coordinated with Russian government officials on election-related “influence activities.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 7/21/2019) ( Carter Page FISA Docs)

May 10, 2018 – Opinion: About That FBI ‘Source’

Kimberly Strassel (Credit: Wall Street Journal)

By Kimberley A. Strassel

“The Department of Justice lost its latest battle with Congress Thursday when it allowed House Intelligence Committee members to view classified documents about a top-secret intelligence source that was part of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. Even without official confirmation of that source’s name, the news so far holds some stunning implications.

Among them is that the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation outright hid critical information from a congressional investigation. In a Thursday press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan bluntly noted that Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’s request for details on this secret source was “wholly appropriate,” “completely within the scope” of the committee’s long-running FBI investigation, and “something that probably should have been answered a while ago.” Translation: The department knew full well it should have turned this material over to congressional investigators last year, but instead deliberately concealed it.

House investigators nonetheless sniffed out a name, and Mr. Nunes in recent weeks issued a letter and a subpoena demanding more details. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s response was to double down—accusing the House of “extortion” and delivering a speech in which he claimed that “declining to open the FBI’s files to review” is a constitutional “duty.” Justice asked the White House to back its stonewall. And it even began spinning that daddy of all superspook arguments—that revealing any detail about this particular asset could result in “loss of human lives.”

This is desperation, and it strongly suggests that whatever is in these files is going to prove very uncomfortable to the FBI.” (Read more: Wall Street Journal, 5/10/2018)

April 22, 2018 – Devin Nunes: “There Were No Official Intelligence Channels Used To Start Trump Investigation”

On April 22nd, 2018, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes appeared on Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo to discuss the origin of the counterintelligence operation (July 2016) against the Trump campaign.

This interview follows a mid-April FBI release of “some information” about the original “electronic communication” (EC) documents that underpinned the origin of the FBI operation. The first half of the interview contains stunning information about how the raw intelligence product within the EC did not come through official intelligence channels.

The origin of the 2016 counterintelligence operation, which was specifically started by CIA Director John Brennan sharing his ‘raw intelligence product’ with the FBI, was not an official product of the U.S. intelligence community. Brennan was NOT using official partnerships with intelligence agencies of our Five-Eyes partner nations; and he did not provide raw intelligence -as an outcome of those relationships- to the FBI.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/12/2018),

April 19, 2018 – Nunes, Gowdy, Goodlatte Statement on Comey Memos

Devin Nunes (l) Bob Goodlatte (c) Trey Gowdy (r) (Credit: Reuters)

“Today House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Ca.), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) issued the following statement:

“We have long argued former Director Comey’s self-styled memos should be in the public domain, subject to any classification redactions. These memos are significant for both what is in them and what is not.

Former Director Comey’s memos show the President made clear he wanted allegations of collusion, coordination, and conspiracy between his campaign and Russia fully investigated. The memos also made clear the ‘cloud’ President Trump wanted lifted was not the Russian interference in the 2016 election cloud, rather it was the salacious, unsubstantiated allegations related to personal conduct leveled in the dossier.

The memos also show former Director Comey never wrote that he felt obstructed or threatened. While former Director Comey went to great lengths to set dining room scenes, discuss height requirements, describe the multiple times he felt complimented, and myriad other extraneous facts, he never once mentioned the most relevant fact of all, which was whether he felt obstructed in his investigation.” (Read more: House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, 04/19/2018)

Early January 2017 – James Clapper leaks details about dossier to CNN, then lies about it to Congress

James Clapper (Credit: The Federalist)

(…) “In one of the findings within the 253-page report, the House intelligence committee wrote that Clapper leaked details of a dossier briefing given to then-President-elect Donald Trump to CNN’s Jake Tapper, lied to Congress about the leak, and was rewarded with a CNN contract a few months later.

“Clapper flatly denied discussing the dossier [compiled by Steele] or any other intelligence related to Russia hacking of the 2016 election with journalists,’” the committee found.

When asked directly whether he had ever discussed the dossier with any journalists, Clapper replied that he had not, according to a transcript of the proceedings:

MR. ROONEY: Did you discuss the dossier or any other intelligence related to Russia hacking  of the 2016 election with journalists?

MR. CLAPPER: No.

The former DNI later changed his story after he was confronted specifically about his communications with Jake Tapper of CNN.

“Clapper subsequently acknowledged discussing the ‘dossier with CNN journalist Jake Tapper,’ and admitted that he might have spoken with other journalists about the same topic,” the report continued. “Clapper’s discussion with Tapper took place in early January 2017, around the time IC leaders briefed President Obama and President-elect Trump, on ‘the Christopher Steele information,’ a two-page summary of which was ‘enclosed in’ the highly-classified version of the ICA,” or intelligence community assessment.” (Read more: The Federalist, 04/27/2018)

The Justice Department allegedly made immunity side deals that ordered the destruction of key evidence and limited what the FBI could search.

Devin Nunes (Credit: public domain)

Devin Nunes (Credit: public domain)

The chairs of several House and Senate committees write a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, with questions about the limitations the Justice Department placed on the investigation of Clinton’s private server. The signatories of this letter are: House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz (R), Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R), House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte (R), and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes (R).

According to the letter, recently released documents suggest the department, “agreed to substantial and inappropriate limitations on the scope of [the FBI’s Clinton email] investigation.” The restrictions were discovered in the course of the committees’ review of the immunity agreements for former Clinton staffers Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson.

Here are some key excerpts from the letter:

  • “We write to express our concerns about the process by which Congress was allowed to view the [Beth] Wilkinson letters, that the letters inappropriately restrict the scope of the FBI’s investigation, and that the FBI inexplicably agreed to destroy the laptops knowing that the contents were the subject of Congressional subpoenas and preservation letters.” (Wilkinson is the lawyer to both Mills and Samuelson.)
  • “These limitations would necessarily have excluded, for example, any emails from Cheryl Mills to [Platte River Networks employee] Paul Combetta in late 2014 or early 2015 directing the destruction or concealment of federal records. Similarly, these limitations would have excluded any email sent or received by Secretary Clinton if it was not sent or received by one of the four email addresses listed, or the email address was altered.”
  • “Further, the Wilkinson letters memorialized the FBI’s agreement to destroy the laptops. This is simply astonishing given the likelihood that evidence on the laptops would be of interest to congressional investigators.”
  • “The Wilkinson letters raise serious questions about why [the Justice Department] would consent to such substantial limitations on the scope of its investigation, and how Director Comey’s statements on the scope of the investigation comport with the reality of what the FBI was permitted to investigate.”

In closing, so that the committee chairs can better understand the DOJ’s basis for agreeing to these restrictions, the letter includes eleven questions for Loretta Lynch, and answers must be submitted no later than October 19, 2016. (US Congress, 10/05/2016)

May 17, 2016 – A Strzok email says “we know foreign actors obtained access” to some Clinton emails, including at least one “secret” message

Hillary Clinton and Peter Strzok (Credit: Getty Images)

“Foreign actors” obtained access to some of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails — including at least one email classified as “secret” — according to a new memo from two GOP-led House committees and an internal FBI email.”

(…) “The House committees, which conducted a joint probe into decisions made by the DOJ in 2016 and 2017, addressed a range of issues in their memo including Clinton’s email security.

“Documents provided to the Committees show foreign actors obtained access to some of Mrs. Clinton’s emails — including at least one email classified ‘Secret,'” the memo says, adding that foreign actors also accessed the private accounts of some Clinton staffers.

The memo does not say who the foreign actors are, or what material was obtained, but it notes that secret information is defined as information that, if disclosed, could “reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to the national security.”

The committees say that no one appears to have been held accountable either criminally or administratively.

Relatedly, Fox News has obtained a May 2016 email from FBI investigator Peter Strzok — who also is criticized in the House memo for his anti-Trump texts with colleague Lisa Page. The email says that “we know foreign actors obtained access” to some Clinton emails, including at least one “secret” message “via compromises of the private email accounts” of Clinton staffers.” (Strzok Email, 5/17/2016)  (Read more: Fox News, 6/14/2018)