John Carlin

August 23, 2019 – Details behind Patrick Byrne’s allegations of FBI/DOJ “political espionage”

Former CEO Patrick Byrne has given four primary interviews where he outlines his knowledge of a 2015 and 2016 political espionage operation being run by the FBI.

Fox News, MacCallum – Fox Business #1 – Fox Business #2 – CNN, Cuomo

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

After a review of the interviews, and extracting specific points therein, here’s an overview.

The substance of Mr. Byrne’s claims does seem to align with what we already know about the DOJ and FBI activity during the 2016 election cycle, including the FBI operations.

First, Patrick Byrne claims he has spoken to the DOJ on April 5th, 2019, and again on April 30th, 2019.  Mr. Byrne states he told the DOJ all of the information he was aware of during those two interviews covering approximately seven hours of questioning.

The current public statements Mr. Byrne is making are not with the approval of the DOJ or any investigators therein.  His decision to go public with this information comes as a result of conversations with a life-long mentor and confidant, Warren Buffett.  Mr. Byrne states he has known Warren Buffett since Byrne was a teenager and Mr. Buffett was in his mid-forties.

According to his CNN interview Byrne talked to Buffett in about how he could be a witness in the DOJ investigation authorized by Attorney General Bill Barr and being conducted by U.S. Attorney John Durham.  After listening to the details, Buffett recommended Mr. Byrne go public with the story.

However, in order to go public Byrne would need to separate himself from his role as CEO of Overstock, the company Byrne founded.  Mr. Byrne resigned yesterday, August 22nd.

Byrne explains he told Buffett about his April conversations with the DOJ and Buffett said it didn’t matter… Byrne still needed to go public with the story. It sounds like there are several motives for going public; perhaps one is personal safety.

To verify his April DOJ discussion, Byrne points to two references:

♦First, the movement of Maria Butina from harsh isolation in prison on May 9th, ten days after he delivered his testimony to the DOJ.  According to Byrne Ms. Butina was moved to a very different White Collar facility based on his information.

♦The second reference point Byrne highlights is the May 13th DOJ appointment of John Durham to look into the origination of the Russia investigation events. Byrne says this too was a direct result of his two DOJ sessions April 5th and 30th.

If Byrne is accurate; and if his claims of him personally being an operative of the FBI with instructions to engage Ms. Butina inside the political espionage events structured by corrupt FBI officials are genuine; it would appear Special Counsel Robert Mueller facilitated throwing a bag over Ms Butina in an effort to keep the corrupt FBI intelligence operation hidden from the public. This would explain the Mueller demand for strict solitary isolation and confinement.  (The reports are indeed troubling)

Again, if Byrne is correct, it would appear that extremely significant and exculpatory Brady material -evidence that could easily prove an entrapment defense- was intentionally withheld from Ms. Butina’s defense team.   Alarmingly this points to ongoing corrupt officials that still remain inside the current DOJ.  Ms. Butina was collateral damage.


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A review of the time-frame details provided by Patrick Byrne in the four interviews shows his story told four times is consistent each time.

Here’s a brief review of the consistencies aspect:

After a cursory meeting in/around July 2015, Byrne claims in the period of September to December 2015 he reported contact with Russian national Ms. Maria Butina to the FBI as a precaution related to his security clearance.

Byrne claims he was asked to participate in an FBI intelligence operation and to introduce, and/or facilitate the introduction of, Ms. Butina to the campaigns of Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

In December of 2015 Mr. Byrne became suspicious of the FBI motives because he warned FBI officials of a potential that his efforts, his reputation and those who trust him, may result in Butina gaining entry into campaign confidences.  The FBI agents told Byrne that was exactly the intent; people high up in the FBI wanted Ms. Butina to gain deep access into the Trump campaign.  Mr. Byrne became suspicious of a corrupt political motive, but didn’t say anything at the time.

Additionally Byrne’s assistance was requested for an investigation of a high-level government official, he later named as Hillary Clinton.

[Sidebar: It’s noteworthy that during these FBI engagements Byrne was never requested to facilitate Ms. Butina into the Bernie Sanders campaign.  The inference in that omission is the Dem primary was rigged, and the riggers saw no value wasting time on Bernie]

In/around Feb or March 2016 Byrne was told to focus Ms. Butina’s attention to the campaign of Donald Trump and to diminish any attention toward Rubio or Cruz.

The assistance of the investigation of the federal official (Hillary Clinton) ended in late June and early July of 2016.  Immediately thereafter Ms. Clinton was publicly -and unusually- cleared by FBI Director James Comey on July 5th, 2016.

In/around this same June & July time-frame (2016), FBI agents requested Mr. Byrne to focus on developing a closer romantic relationship with Ms. Butina and to use his influence to target her to closer proximity with the Trump family and Trump campaign.

It was within these June and July 2016 engagements where FBI agents were apologetic about the requests and specifically mentioned their instructions were coming from three principle FBI officials Byrne described as “X, Y and Z”.   Later Byrne identified FBI Director James Comey as “Z”.

In the Fox MacCallum interview Byrne named James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Bill Priestap, John Carlin (DOJ-NSD) and Peter Strzok.   Mr. Byrne said the specific instructions were coming to the agents from Special Agent Peter Strzok as he relayed the requests of those above him [X, Y and Z (Comey)].

This FBI contact structure highlights an arms-length operation; perhaps intentionally constructed to create plausible deniability for those above the directly instructing agents.

In essence, these rank-and-file FBI agents were asking Patrick Byrne to be a civilian handler of a Russian national, and instructing him to carry out a covert counterintelligence operation.  The FBI agents were apologetic about asking a civilian to take on such a role.

Maria Butina (Credit: Anton Novoderezhkin/ Zuma Press)

♦ Ms. Maria Butina is described as a young Russian idealist, who had strong connections to high powered Russian oligarchs.

The purpose of Butina coming to the U.S., as explained by Byrne, was for her to engage with influential Americans for contacts that could provide geopolitical value to the oligarchs.

Patrick Byrne was seen as important to Ms. Butina due to his connections to the emerging financial structures of crypto-currency and block-chain.  Byrne is a libertarian who believes in small government, and is somewhat of a disruptor in the business world. Ms. Butina wanted to introduce Byrne to her friends in Russia.

While it was not outlined in any of the four interviews, alternative currency options to the U.S. dollar have been an ongoing effort of Russian interests for a while.  Russia considers global trade attached to the dollar as geopolitical problem; and they have been working for years on alternative currencies for trade (and their own wealth) that can avoid U.S. sanctions and the reach of the U.S. treasury.

♦ As a Russian national with specific Russian interests that are not in alignment with U.S. national interests, Maria Butina would be defined by the U.S. intelligence community as an ‘agent of a foreign power’.   Her status would mean unrestricted monitoring by the U.S. intelligence community would be entirely legal.

However, because of this ‘foreign agent’ status Ms. Butina could also be valuable as a virus to infect anyone the U.S. intelligence apparatus would wish to target domestically.  This motive appears to be the reason for the FBI to tell Mr. Byrne where to send Ms. Butina.

Conducting FISA-702(16)(17) database searches and surveillance on U.S. persons who would meet with Butina would be justifiable and legal.

Extended contact with any U.S. person could likely lead to a Title-1 surveillance warrant through the FISA court.  However, even without the warrant, 702 searches would be valid just from brief contact.

As we have shown FISA-702(“16” to-from) and (“17” about) queries were off the charts during the time-frame of November 2015 through May 2016.  Per the FISA audit conducted by NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers, after the flags noted by the database compliance officer, 85% of the search returns were unauthorized and unmasked.

The time-frames here are too coincidental to be accidental. [Judge Collyer Report]

(Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 8/22/2019)

Update: On August 23, 2019, CNN  includes James Comey and Andrew McCabe’s response to Mr. Byrne’s claims:

Byrne’s story, as told to CNN anchor Chris Cuomo on “Cuomo Prime Time,” and in earlier interviews broadcast on Fox Business News and Fox News, also includes allegations that top officials in the Obama administration, including James Comey, the former FBI director, approved of the bureau’s requests of him.

It has not been verified by the agencies, and spokespeople for the Justice Department and FBI declined to comment. Reached Thursday evening by CNN, Comey called Byrne’s claim “ridiculous.”

“The FBI doesn’t work that way,” Comey said.

Former FBI deputy director and CNN contributor Andrew McCabe said he hadn’t heard of Byrne until the former CEO revealed his relationship with Butina.

“His allegation that his potential cooperation with the FBI was somehow discussed at the highest levels certainly never happened when I was there,” McCabe, who held the No. 2 role at the agency beginning in 2016 until his firing in 2018, said Friday on CNN’s “New Day.”

McCabe said it was “certainly possible” that Byrne volunteered information about Butina to the FBI, but disputed the claim that agents would have told Byrne to “engage in a romantic relationship with a suspected Russian intelligence agent.”

“That is simply not the sort of thing that the FBI does,” McCabe said.”

(Read more: CNN, 8/23/2019)

August 12, 2019 – IC IG Michael Atkinson who forwards the hearsay whistleblower complaint against Trump, was Senior Counsel for the DOJ-NSD, the very epicenter of the political weaponization and FISA abuse

Michael Atkinson at his nomination hearing in May 2018. (Credit: public domain)

(…) “It should be emphasized the Inspector General for the Intelligence Community; the guy who accepted the ridiculous premise of a hearsay ‘whistle-blower‘ complaint, who was “blowing-the-whistle” based on second-hand information of a phone call without any direct personal knowledge, is Michael K. Atkinson.

Atkinson’s self-interest:  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). That makes Atkinson senior legal counsel to John Carlin and Mary McCord who were former heads of the DOJ-NSD in 2016 when the stop Trump operation was underway.

[Irony Reminder: The DOJ-NSD was purposefully under no IG oversight. In 2015 the OIG requested oversight and it was Sally Yates who responded with a lengthy 58 page legal explanation saying, essentially, ‘nope – not allowed.’ (PDF HERE) All of the DOJ is subject to oversight, except the NSD.]

Put another way, 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.

Immediately after the Carter Page FISA warrant is approved, in the period where DOJ-NSD head John Carlin has given his notice of intent to leave but not yet left, inside those specific two weeks, the National Security Division of the DOJ tells the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) they have been breaking the law.  The NSD specifically inform the court they are aware of contractors who have been using FISA 702(16)(17) database search queries to extract information on political candidates.

DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz has looked into the FISA application used against U.S. Person Carter Page.  Additionally, U.S. Attorney John Durham is said to be looking at the intelligence communities’ use of systems for spying and surveillance.

If the DOJ-NSD exploitation of the NSA database, and/or DOJ-NSD FISA abuse, and/or DOJ-NSD FARA corruption were ever to reach sunlight, Atkinson -as the lawyer for the process- would be under a lot of scrutiny for his involvement.

Yes, that gives current ICIG Michael Atkinson a strong and corrupt motive to participate with the Schiff/Lawfare impeachment objective.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 9/22/2019)

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)

May 12, 2019 – President Trump Calls Out FBI Director Christopher Wray: “the director is protecting the coup gang”…and then there’s Dana Boente

“President Trump indicates he is well aware of the intents and motives of FBI Director Christopher Wray covering for the illegal coup effort:

President Trump may have been aware of Chris Wray’s corrupt disposition prior to today; however, this is the first visible indication he understands the internecine organization of it.  Hopefully we can start the countdown clock to Wray’s exit.

Next up, Chris Wray’s #1 strategic hire, current FBI Legal Counsel Dana Boente.

In 2015 the DOJ-OIG (office of inspector general) requested oversight of the DOJ National Security Division.  It was Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates who responded with a lengthy 58 page legal explanation saying, essentially, ‘nope – not allowed.’ (PDF HERE) All of the DOJ is subject to oversight, except the DOJ-NSD.

When John Carlin resigned as Asst. Attorney General in charge of the DOJ National Security Division in October 2016 he was replaced by Principal Deputy Asst. Attorney General and Chief of Staff, Mary McCord.  After President Trump took office on January 20th, 2017, Sally Yates was Acting AG and Mary McCord was in charge of the DOJ-NSD.

Yates and McCord were the two Main Justice officials who then engaged with White House Counsel Don McGahn on January 26th, 2017, regarding the General Flynn FBI interview conducted on January 24th.  The Trump-Russia Collusion Conspiracy was the headline.

On January 30th, 2017, Sally Yates was fired for refusing to defend the Trump travel ban from extremist countries.  Yates was replaced on January 31st by the U.S. Attorney from the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA), Dana Boente.

With his shift to Main Justice Dana Boente was Acting Attorney General, and Mary McCord was Asst. AG in charge of the DOJ-NSD.  Boente was in the Acting AG position from Jan 31st, 2017, until Jeff Sessions was confirmed on February 8th, 2017.

When Jeff Sessions became AG, Dana Boente became Acting Deputy AG, a role he would retain until Rod Rosenstein was confirmed on April 25th, 2017.   [Mary McCord remained head of the DOJ-National Security Division]

On March 2nd, 2017, Dana Boente was one of the small group who participated in a conversation that led to the recusal of Jeff Sessions from anything related to the 2016 election.  This recusal included the ongoing FBI counterintelligence investigation known as Crossfire Hurricane, which was later picked up by Robert Mueller.

The other attendees for the recusal decision-making meeting (see above schedule) included Sessions’ chief of staff Jody Hunt; Criminal Chief in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, Jim Crowell; Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG) in the Department of Justice National Security Division Tash Gauhar (FISA lawyer); and Associate Deputy Attorney General Scott Schools.  [Note: Tash Gauhar was lawyer for FBI Clinton case; and Scott Schools was part of drafting Clinton exoneration letter.]

The Main Justice group influenced Jeff Sessions to recuse.

With AG Jeff Sessions recused on March 2, 2017, FBI Director James Comey now reported to Acting Deputy AG Dana Boente.  [Technically, Boente is still EDVA U.S. Attorney and is only ‘acting’ as Deputy AG]  Additionally, on March 31st, 2017, President Trump signs executive order 13787 making the U.S. EDVA Attorney the 3rd in line for DOJ succession.

Question:  If Dana Boente was appointed “Acting Attorney General” on January 31st, 2017 (he was), then why did Don McGahn need to draw up XO 13787 on March 31st, 2017… especially after confirmed AG Jeff Sessions was already in place Feb 9th?

The answer likely has to do with a sign-off needed for FISA.

See the issue?

How does somebody (unknown) advise White House Counsel Don McGahn to draw up an executive order so that Boente can sign a FISA…. without telling Don McGahn the reason why AG Sessions can’t sign off on the FISA?   See the issue now?

In the period between March 2nd and April 25th – With AG Sessions recused, and without a Deputy AG confirmed, Dana Boente is simultaneously:

  • U.S. Attorney for EDVA
  • Acting Deputy AG.
  • Acting AG for all issues related to Sessions recusal.

It is James Comey and Dana Boente who sign the April 2017 FISA renewal for Carter Page.

This dynamic would later become important as notes Boente took from conversations with James Comey became evidence for Mueller’s expanded obstruction investigation. (March 2, 2017 Mary McCord is still head of DOJ-NSD.)

Somehow Acting Deputy AG Dana Boente’s personal and handwritten notes were mysteriously leaked to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/12/2019)

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)

July 13, 2018 – Lisa Page on John Carlin’s role

John Carlin and John Brennan speak at the Center for Strategic & International Studies on September 19, 2016. (Credit: YouTube)

(…) “John Carlin was an assistant attorney general and head of the DOJ’s National Security Division (NSD). He had previously served as chief of staff to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Carlin announced his resignation the day after he filed the government’s proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications. This filing would be subject to intense criticism from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) following disclosures made by then-National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers. Significant changes to the handling of raw FISA data would result.

Carlin was succeeded by Mary McCord–who would later accompany acting AG Sally Yates to see White House counsel Don McGahn about Trump’s national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn.

Page was asked at several points regarding influence from political appointees. At one point in the discussion, she singled out Carlin—and what she had to say proved interesting:

“I do know that at least John Carlin, for example, who is a political appointee, was kept abreast of the sort of investigative activity that was going on. And the only reason I know this is because when there was conflicts between us and DOJ, John might call over to—John Carlin might call over to Andy McCabe, and sort of make his team’s pitch, and then Andy would, you know, sort of the back-and-forth would go on. So it is clear that John had, was getting some sort of briefing, but he was not, it was, it never occurred by the FBI, which is, in my view, atypical.”

In response to a question asking who was McCabe’s direct counterpart at the DOJ on the investigation, Page responded, “it would have been John. It was either John Carlin or George Toscas who would have, who would have reached out to Mr. McCabe.”

The congressional staffer who was doing this particular line of questioning appeared to attempt to mitigate the information just revealed by Page:

“Numerous witnesses have confirmed to us that George Toscas, a career prosecutor, was in charge of the day-to-day operation of DOJ on this investigation. And that Carlin and other political folks above him had briefings certainly, so they had knowledge but didn’t have input in the investigation.”

“Do you have any personal knowledge of John Carlin, Loretta Lynch, Sally Yates, or other political appointees at the DOJ issuing orders on how to conduct the Midyear investigation?” Page was asked.

Page answered that she had “no personal knowledge of that.” Despite the attempts to shift the conversation, these admissions are notable.

Carlin was a very senior official within the DOJ. He was also Toscas’s boss. It was Toscas who was contacted by New York prosecutors (possibly former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara) involved in the Anthony Weiner investigation regarding the Clinton emails found on Weiner’s computer. In response, Toscas contacted McCabe, his counterpart at the FBI, ultimately forcing McCabe to inform Comey of the existence of Clinton emails on Weiner’s laptop.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/21/2018)

July 13, 2018 – Lisa Page testimony on FISA briefings, Brennan, and White House knowledge

(…) “At several points, Page noted a frustration on the part of the FBI in relation to the speed with which the DOJ was moving in the FISA spy warrant-application process.

When questioned about the need to move swiftly, Page noted, “There was an operational reason that we were pushing to get the FISA up, which I am not at liberty to discuss.” Upon further questioning, Page tried to provide slightly more clarity: “We had an operational reason that we wanted to get this thing up quickly with respect to the subject himself.”

According to Page’s testimony, she first learned of plans to obtain a FISA warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page approximately a month before the FISA was granted on Oct. 21, 2016.

Stuart Evans testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss the reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance on June 27, 2017. (Credit: CSpan)

Page disclosed that Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stu Evans was the person within the DOJ who was in charge of the entire FISA process, but notably, the FBI chose not to tell Evans that they had opened a counterintelligence investigation:

“We were so concerned about the fact that we were opening this investigation and we were so concerned about leaks that we were literally individually making decisions about who to tell and who not to tell, because we were trying to keep it so closely held.”

According to Page, the only DOJ official they told was Toscas, the deputy assistant attorney general in the National Security Division. Without forewarning to the FBI, Toscas informed Evans in August 2016—possibly earlier—of the FBI’s newly opened investigation.

The text in question was from Aug. 10, 2016, and was paraphrased by one of the congressional representatives:

George Toscas (Credit: Fox News)

“I remember what it was, Toscas already told Stu Evans everything. Sally called to set up a meeting.”

“Sally” is affirmed in the conversation as referring to Deputy AG Sally Yates.

Page was emphatic that this discussion didn’t have anything to do with the actual FISA but instead reflected the FBI’s concern that increasing numbers of people were learning of their investigation.

Notably, Toscas reported to Carlin, the head of the NSD, whose actions before the FISA court in relation to his presentation of the government’s proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications, strongly suggest he was also aware of the FBI’s investigation. Carlin appears to have been aware of the FBI’s later FISA preparations, as well.

The congressional representative then asked the following question:

“What you’re saying is when the director briefed the White House 2 days prior to that, on August the 8th, or prepared for it, actually briefed him on the 10th, that it had nothing to do with any campaign. Even though George Toscas and Stu Evans knew about it.”

Normally, when a member of the FBI uses the word “director,” they would be referring to the FBI director. In this case, while not made absolutely clear in the transcript, it appears “director” refers to CIA Director John Brennan, who had been discussed in the preceding comments relating to Brennan’s briefing of Reid.

From Brennan’s congressional testimony, we know that he had briefed the White House at some point in early August 2016, prior to Aug. 11:

“In consultation with the White House, I personally briefed the full details of our understanding of Russian attempts to interfere in election to congressional leadership, specifically Senators Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr; and to Representatives Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Devon Nunes and Adam Schiff between 11 August and 6 September.”

Page responded to the question: “Sir, I would be shocked. I would truly be stunned to discover that the director had briefed the president on the substance of our investigation or even the existence of our investigation. I would be—I can’t say it didn’t happen, I wasn’t there, but I would be stunned to discover that.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/11/2019)

June 5, 2018 – Priestap’s testimony reveals the composition of the Mid-Year Exam team

(…) “Priestap revealed a surprising level of detail regarding the composition of the team involved in Mid-Year Exam. As Priestap described it, the team comprised three differing but intertwined elements: the filter team, the primary team, and the senior leadership team.

Rick Mains (Credit: Linked In)

Below Strzok and Moffa was a day-to-day investigative “filter” team of approximately 15 FBI agents and analysts that was overseen by Rick Mains, a supervisory special agent who reported directly to Strzok and Moffa. Joining the team were two DOJ lawyers from the Eastern District of Virginia and two attorneys from the DOJ’s National security Division (NSD) who, according to Priestap, were “heavily engaged.” According to testimony from Page, John Carlin, who ran the NSD, was receiving briefings on both investigations directly from McCabe.

The primary team was small, consisting only of Strzok, Moffa, Mains, and, to varying degrees, Moyer. Mains reported to Strzok and Moffa, who, in turn, along with Moyer, provided briefings to Priestap.

The senior leadership team was more fluid, consisting of higher-level officials who provided briefings and updates to Comey, McCabe, or both. In addition to Priestap, Strzok, and Moffa, frequent attendees included Moyer (“sometimes, but not always”); Page (“usually included”); deputy general counsel Trisha Anderson (“sometimes, but not always”); Comey’s chief of staff, Jim Rybicki (“most, if not all of these”); and general counsel Baker (“often in those meetings”).

According to Priestap, Mains was never involved in the senior leadership meetings. Priestap described Mains’ role as being “in charge of the investigative team, the working level, all the day-to-day stuff.”

“[While] we asked his opinion on all kinds of things, we didn’t want him to be tied up in all those other meetings because he needed to advance the investigation. Somebody’s got to ride herd on all the people doing the work,” he said.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 1/29/2019)

October 20, 2016 – The Uncovering – Mike Rogers’ Investigation, Section 702 FISA Abuse & the FBI

Dr. George Ellard (Credit: National War College)

(…) “On January 7, 2016, the NSA Inspector General, George Ellard, released a report on NSA Controls & FISA compliance. Starting on page ii:

Agency controls for monitoring query compliance have not been completely developed.

The Agency has no process to reliably identify queries performed using selectors associated with 704 and 705(b) targets.

The rest of the highlights are fully redacted. But more information lay within the report (pages 6-7):

We identified another [redacted] queries that were performed outside the targeting authorization periods in E.O. 12333 data, which is prohibited by the E.O. 12333 minimization procedures. We also identified queries performed using USP selectors in FAA §702 upstream data, which is prohibited by the FAA §702 minimization procedures.

Downstream collection involves the government acquiring data from the companies providing service to the user – like Google or Facebook.

However, some Section 702 collection is obtained via “upstream” collection.

In simple parlance, upstream collection means the NSA accesses the high capacity fiber optic cables that carry Internet traffic and copies all the data flowing through those cables.

The agency is then supposed to filter out any “wholly domestic” communications that are between Americans located in the U.S.

Data collected “incidentally” on U.S. Citizens is generally not destroyed. It is minimized. As we will see later, this became a problem.

Intelligence Agencies can then search the data using “To”, “From” or “About” queries on a target of Section 702 collection.

“About” queries are particularly worrisome.

They occur when the target is neither the sender nor the recipient of the collected communication – but the target’s selector, such as an email address, is being passed between two other communicants.

For more information see, FISA Surveillance – Title I & III and Section 702.”

(…) “About” queries were abruptly halted by NSA Director Mike Rogers on October 20, 2016. This was formally announced by the NSA on April 28, 2017.

The events leading to this decision are described in this post.

Which brings us to a table from the Inspector General’s Report.

Table 3 (page 7) shows four types of violations. The most frequent violation – 5.2% of the total – came from Section 702 upstream “About” queries.


The Inspector General’s Report is heavily redacted – but even a casual reading indicates there were significant compliance and control issues within the NSA regarding the use of Section 702 data.

It’s unclear if NSA Director Rogers discovered the 702 violations and reported them in early 2015, or if it was the Inspector General who found them. Either way, Rogers became aware of Section 702 violations sometime in 2015.

Admiral Mike Rogers (Credit: public domain)

Following NSA Inspector General Ellard’s report, Rogers implemented a tightening of internal rules at the NSA.

However, the NSA Inspector General’s report and Roger’s tightening of internal rules did not halt the Query Compliance Problems.

Outside Agencies – specifically the DOJ’s National Security Division and the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division – were still routinely violating Section 702 procedures.

In 2015, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz (not to be confused with NSA IG Ellard) specifically requested oversight of the National Security Division. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates responded with a 58 page Memorandum, that effectively told the Inspector General to go pound sand.

As noted earlier, John Carlin was the Head of the DOJ’s National Security Division and was responsible for filing the Government’s proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications.

This filing would be subject to intense criticism from the FISA Court following disclosures made by NSA Director Rogers. Significant changes to the handling of raw FISA data would result.

Bill Priestap remains the Head of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division – appointed by FBI Director Comey in December 2015. See: FBI Counterintelligence Head Bill Priestap – A Cooperating Witness.”

(…) “On October 20 2016, Rogers was briefed by the NSA compliance officer on findings from the 702 NSA compliance audit. The audit had uncovered numerous “About” Query violations (Senate testimony).

On October 21, 2016, Rogers shut down all “About Query” activity. He reported his findings to the DOJ (Senate testimony & inferences from Court Ruling).

On October 21 2016, the DOJ & FBI seek and receive a Title I FISA probable cause order authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISA Court. At this point, the FISA Court is unaware of the Section 702 violations.

On October 24, 2016, Rogers verbally informed the FISA Court of his findings (Page 4 of Court Ruling). (Read more: themarketswork, 4/05/2018)

(Timeline editor’s note: Jeff Carlson at themarketswork.com, has done a remarkable job of reading the fine print and highlighting key details from Senate testimony, the NSA Inspector General’s report, and the FISC report that followed NSA Director Mike Rogers disclosure of 702 violations. This is a snippet of Carlson’s very informative piece and he has been kind enough to allow me to post far more than what Fair Use would normally allow. Please don’t miss the rest of his easy to understand, in-depth report.)

October 15, 2016 – John Carlin, Justice Department top national security official, resigns

John Carlin (Credit: Heratch Photography)

“The Justice Department’s top national security official is leaving his position next month, the department announced Tuesday.

John Carlin, who has led the department’s national security division since 2014, will be leaving government on October 15.

The department did not reveal what Carlin, 43, plans to do next, but it said he would take some time off and spend time with his family.

“John Carlin has been a trusted and tireless leader of the Justice Department’s National Security Division,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “He is wholly devoted to the department’s most important mission — protecting our country against acts of terrorism and other national security threats — and he has set a high standard by relentlessly pursuing those who seek to harm our people and threaten our assets.”

Carlin’s exit leaves the Obama administration without one of its most vocal advocates for publicly identifying and blaming foreign government hackers for cyber attacks on American institutions. His departure comes as the administration weighs whether and how to respond to a Democratic National Committee cyberbreach that U.S. officials believe was committed by the Russians. (Read more: CBS News, September 26, 2016)