July 10, 2019 – FBI’s Chris Wray is going to court to fight against the release of State Dept. official Kathleen Kavalec’s memos
“The FBI is going to court to fight the public release of a small number of documents the State Department sent to agents from Christopher Steele, the British intelligence operative and Hillary Clinton-paid political muckraker, during the 2016 election.
Normally, such Freedom of Information Act cases don’t merit public attention. This one does.
To hear the FBI tell it, the release of former Deputy Assistant Secretary Kathleen Kavalec’s documents is tantamount to giving up the keys to President Trump’s nuclear briefcase, aiding the enemy or assisting terrorists.
“We know that terrorist organizations and other hostile or foreign intelligence groups have the capacity and ability to gather information from myriad sources, analyze it and deduce means and methods from disparate details to defeat the U.S. government’s collection efforts,” an FBI assistant section chief swore in an affidavit supporting the request to keep the documents secret.
The FBI can’t afford to “jeopardize the fragile relationships that exist between the United States and certain foreign governments,” the FBI official declared in another dramatic argument against the conservative group Citizens United’s request to release the memos.
And if that wasn’t enough, the bureau actually claimed that “FBI special agents have privacy interests from unnecessary, unofficial questioning as to the conduct of investigations and other FBI business.”
In other words, agents don’t want to have to answer to the public, which pays their salary, when questions arise about the investigative work, as has happened in the Russia case.
The FBI’s July 10 court filing speaks volumes about Director Christopher Wray’s efforts to thwart the public understanding of what really happened in the FBI’s now-debunked Russia collusion probe.
Steele’s contacts at State can’t possibly be equated to the nation’s most sensitive secrets. The same research he provided to State and the FBI in fall 2016 was being provided to Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, and to the media. (Read more: The Hill, 7/30/2019)
June 23, 2019 – Nunes threatens ninth criminal referral, says Trump-Russia conspiracy peddlers are ‘possessed’
“Rep. Devin Nunes threatened to send a ninth criminal referral regarding the Trump-Russia investigation to the Justice Department if he does not receive information he requested about British ex-spy Christopher Steele, and accused those who still push the Russian collusion conspiracy of being “possessed.”
The California Republican sent letters Friday to FBI Director Christopher Wray and U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is conducting a review of the origins of the Russia inquiry. He asked about records the Bureau received in October 2016 that show a top official at the State Department undermining Steele’s credibility. Steele authored a dossier, filled with salacious and unverified claims about President Trump’s ties to Russia, that was used by the FBI to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or FISA warrants to wiretap onetime Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
In a Fox News interview on Sunday, Nunes said someone at the FBI appears to have been “determined to hide” then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec’s notes from both the FISA court and Congress. In the last session, when Nunes was chairman, the House Intelligence Committee conducted its own investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“So they have until Friday to get it to us, and if they don’t, we will make our ninth criminal referral,” Nunes told host Maria Bartiromo. “Basically, we won’t know exactly who at the FBI obstructed justice, but — Durham or the Department of Justice should be able to figure it out because there’s e-mails that went around, and somebody decided not to give it to the Congress.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 6/23/2019)
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.
- 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:)
- Carter Page
- Christopher Steele
- Clinton/DNC/Steele Dossier
- Cody Shearer
- DNC hack
- FBI Counterintelligence Division
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- FISA application
- Kathleen Kavalec
- May 2019
- Moscow pee tape
- Paul Manafort
- payments to hackers
- Peter Strzok
- Ritz-Carlton Moscow
- Russia collusion
- Russian Miami Consulate
- Source E
- Stephen Laycock
- Trump campaign
March 19, 2019 – Trump pulls ambassador nomination of State Department official who communicated with Steele and Ohr
“A State Department official who was awaiting confirmation to be U.S. Ambassador to Albania communicated with the former British spy Christopher Steele and supplied information to a senior DOJ official after and before the 2016 presidential election.
Former State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Kathleen Ann Kavalec’s nomination was withdrawn recently by President Trump, according to a Senior White House official who spoke to SaraACarter.com.
Kavalec was awaiting to be confirmed as Ambassador to Albania, but information surfaced that she had personally met and was in communication with Steele before and after the 2016 presidential election. Kavalec, a long time State Department employee, worked under Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. She was also a supporter of former President Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, giving a small donation of $250 in 2012 to the Obama Victory Fund and another $250 to Clinton in 2016.
(…) Kavalec, as well as her colleague Jonathan Winer, a former assistant to former Secretary of State John Kerry, supplied information they had collected from Steele to Bruce Ohr, said sources familiar with the congressional investigations. Ohr is a senior Department of Justice official who was used as a backchannel for the FBI after Steele was removed from the bureau for shopping his dossier to the media in 2016. His wife, Nellie Ohr, was working in 2016 as a contractor for Fusion GPS, who was hired by the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC to compile the anti-trump dossier.
(…) Emails obtained by this news site reveal Kavalec and Ohr had been in contact with Steele prior to and after the 2016 presidential election. The two had also communicated through email and meetings about Steele’s research on the anti-Trump dossier, according to the documents.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 3/19/2019)
February 14, 2017 – State Dept official, Kathleen Kavalec, forwards a HuffPo article to Nellie Ohr that touts the Clinton/Steele dossier, Ohr then forwards to the FBI
On February 14, 2017, former-Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Kathleen Kavalec forwarded Ohr a Huffington Post article touting the Steele Dossier’s claim that an alleged deal between Russian oil company Rosneft and Trump supporter Steve Schwarzman constituted a “high crime of treason worthy of impeachment.” Ohr forwarded the article to the FBI’s Washington Field Office the same day.
Four months prior to this exchange, Kavalec had found Christopher Steele not credible because of factual inaccuracies that he had relayed to her in October 2016, as uncovered by Judicial Watch.
October 13, 2016 – The State Department sends a red flag on Christopher Steele to an FBI official, who then immediately forwards it to Peter Strzok
In all Washington investigations, the essential questions become who knew it and when did they know it.
In the case of FBI informant Christopher Steele and the credibility of his now-disproven Russia collusion allegations against Donald Trump, we have some important clarity: Government officials confirm that an October 2016 email revealing that Steele met with State Department officials – a breach of protocol for an informant if it was unauthorized – was sent to an FBI counterintelligence supervisor.
Multiple sources confirm to me that the recipient of the State Department email was Special Agent Stephen Laycock, then the FBI’s section chief for Eurasian counterintelligence and now one of the bureau’s top executives as the assistant director for intelligence under Director Christopher Wray.
The email to Laycock from Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec arrived eight days before the FBI swore to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that it had no derogatory information on Steele and used his anti-Trump dossier to secure a secret surveillance warrant to investigate Trump’s possible ties to Moscow.
Officials tell me that Laycock immediately forwarded the information he received about Steele on Oct. 13, 2016, to the FBI team leading the Trump-Russia investigation, headed by then-fellow Special Agent Peter Strzok.
Laycock was the normal point of contact for Kavalec on Eurasian counterintelligence matters, and he simply acted as a conduit to get the information to his colleagues supervising the Russia probe, the officials added.
The officials declined to say what the FBI did with the information about Steele after it reached Strzok’s team, or what the email specifically revealed. A publicly disclosed version of the email has been heavily redacted in the name of national security.” (Read more: The Hill, 5/14/2019)
October 13, 2016 – A Strzok/Page text references “I just want to know who’s playing games,” “scared/covering” and “totally get it will never be provable” – names hidden beneath redactions are confirmed
“A previously revealed text message conversation between Strzok and Lisa Page, meanwhile, has come into focus.
The text referencing “who’s playing games” and “covering” was released last year, but Fox News recently confirmed the names hidden beneath redactions. They included a senior FBI lawyer, as well as the FBI agent “Gaeta” — believed to be a principal handler for the dossier and its author, British ex-spy Christopher Steele.
The Strzok-Page text was sent on Oct. 13, 2016, during a tense period eight days before the FBI and DOJ secured a surveillance warrant for Page. Hours earlier, on Oct. 12, texts exclusively obtained by Fox News showed Page complaining to her boss, then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, about the apparent reluctance of a Justice Department official to approve the Page surveillance application.
And, within hours of that exchange, a senior state department official, Kathleen Kavalec, had emailed her FBI counterpart about information provided to her by Steele — an apparent breach of the former spy’s work as a confidential human source for the bureau. Confidential human sources ordinarily do not reach out to multiple government agencies.
In the Oct.13 text to Page, Strzok wrote: “We got the reporting on Sept 19. Looks like [Gaeta] got it early August. Looking at [Clinesmith] lync [internal messaging service] replies to me it’s not clear if he knows if/when he told them. But [Steve] and [Kate] talked with [Spencer] they’re both good and will remember. It’s not about rubbing their nose in it. I don’t care if they don’t know. I just want to know who’s playing games/scared covering. totally get it will never be provable.”
Based on Lisa Page’s 2018 closed-door congressional testimony, Gaeta is believed to be the FBI agent who met with Steele in the summer of 2016 obtaining the first memos in early July. “Clinesmith” is believed to be then-FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith.
It was not clear from the texts whether “Steve” and “Kate” refer to FBI or State Department employees.
“Spencer’s” identity is unknown but has remained of significant interest to congressional investigators who have questioned whether he operated outside of the FBI and DOJ, potentially as part of the intelligence community.” (Read more: Fox News, 5/29/2019)
October 11, 2016 – DOJ and FBI officials hide a State Dept email that memorializes Christopher Steele’s political motives
“If ever there were an admission that taints the FBI’s secret warrant to surveil Donald Trump’s campaign, it sat buried for more than 2 1/2 years in the files of a high-ranking State Department official.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec’s written account of her Oct. 11, 2016, meeting with FBI informant Christopher Steele shows the Hillary Clinton campaign-funded British intelligence operative admitted that his research was political and facing an Election Day deadline.
And that confession occurred 10 days before the FBI used Steele’s now-discredited dossier to justify securing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and the campaign’s ties to Russia.
Steele’s client “is keen to see this information come to light prior to November 8,” the date of the 2016 election, Kavalec wrote in a typed summary of her meeting with Steele and Tatyana Duran, a colleague from Steele’s Orbis Security firm. The memos were unearthed a few days ago through open-records litigation by the conservative group Citizens United.
Kavalec’s notes do not appear to have been provided to the House Intelligence Committee during its Russia probe, according to former Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). “They tried to hide a lot of documents from us during our investigation, and it usually turns out there’s a reason for it,” Nunes told me. Senate and House Judiciary investigators told me they did not know about them, even though they investigated Steele’s behavior in 2017-18.
One member of Congress transmitted the memos this week to the Department of Justice’s inspector general, fearing its investigation of FISA abuses may not have had access to them.
Nonetheless, the FBI is doing its best to keep much of Kavalec’s information secret by retroactively claiming it is classified, even though it was originally marked unclassified in 2016.
The apparent effort to hide Kavalec’s notes from her contact with Steele has persisted for some time.
State officials acknowledged a year ago they received a copy of the Steele dossier in July 2016, and got a more detailed briefing in October 2016 and referred the information to the FBI.
But what was discussed was not revealed. Sources told me more than a year ago that Kavalec had the most important (and memorialized) interaction with Steele before the FISA warrant was issued, but FBI and State officials refused to discuss it, or even confirm it.” (Read more: The Hill, 5/07/2019) (Kavalec Memo)
“On May 10, 2019, against the backdrop of documents from the state department, Senator Lindsey Graham sends a letter to both OIG Michael Horowitz and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seeking additional information about State Department contact with Christopher Steele. (Source Link – Senate Judiciary)
Apparently the Russian “mole” in the DNC didn’t warrant the investigative curiosity of the FBI. Instead, they took the sketchy dossier info and called Carter Page an “agent of a foreign power”…. Go figure.” (Conservative Treehouse, 5/10/2019)
October 11, 2016 – State Dept. official Kathleen Kavalec’s notes also mention Alfa Bank, Sergei Millian and Carter Page
“The final item covered in Kavalec’s notes from the Oct. 11, 2016, meeting with Steele concerns Sergei Millian, who has been reported as being a source in the dossier. Kavalec specifies that “Per Steele, Millian is connected to Simon Kukes (who took over management of Yukos when Khodorkovsky was arrested).”
On Nov. 21, 2016, Kavalec would reference Millian again in a follow-up email that was sent to DOJ official Bruce Ohr:
“Just re-looking at my notes from my convo with Chris Steele, I see that Chris said Kukes has some connections to Serge [misspelled] Millian,” she wrote.
The mentions of Alfa Bank, Millian, and Carter Page were particularly noteworthy because of ongoing and concurrent events.
Alfa Bank Allegations
On Sept. 19, 2016, FBI General Counsel James Baker met with Perkins Coie partner Michael Sussmann. Baker told congressional lawmakers in an Oct. 3, 2018, testimony that Sussmann presented him with documents and electronic media.
The information that Sussmann gave to Baker was related to alleged communications between Alfa Bank and a server in Trump Tower. These allegations, which were investigated by the FBI and proven false, were widely covered in the media.
Baker’s testimony also shows that Sussmann was speaking with the media about Alfa Bank at the same time he had approached Baker, who noted that Sussmann told him that “The New York Times was aware of this.” Several significant articles regarding Alfa Bank would be published on Oct. 31, 2016.
Carter Page Reveals Steele in Letter to FBI
The more fascinating sequence of events concerns Carter Page. On Sept. 23, 2016, Michael Isikoff of Yahoo News published his infamous article “U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump adviser and Kremlin,” concerning Page.
Steele was the source for Isikoff’s article, but nowhere in that article is Steele referenced.
Two days later, on Sept. 25, Page sent a letter to FBI Director James Comey:
“I am writing to request the FBI’s prompt end of the reported inquiry regarding my personal trip to Russia in July 2016 – an investigation which has been widely mentioned in the media.”
In the letter, Page noted that “the source of these accusations is nothing more than completely false media reports.” Page closed with an offer to meet with the FBI:
“Although I have not been contacted by any member of your team in recent months, I would eagerly await their call to discuss any final questions they might possibly have in the interest of helping them put these outrageous allegations to rest.”
Page had previously met with the FBI on March 2, 2016, in relation to the case of Russian spy Evgeny Buryakov. Page was assisting in the case and met with FBI and SDNY prosecutors just nine days before Buryakov pleaded guilty. Page would not meet with the FBI again until March 2017, in a series of five meetings. He has never been charged with any crime.
On Oct. 28, 2016, Page sent another letter. By this time, he was under active surveillance, as the FISA warrant had been obtained on Oct. 21, 2016. Page references the Isikoff article and refers to it as being “almost entirely attributable to the ‘Hillary for America’ campaign.”
A bit later in his letter, Page dropped this bomb:
“I have learned from a reliable source that a law firm close to the Clinton campaign has hired a London-based private investigator to investigate my trip to Russia.”
Page was aware that DNC law firm Perkins Coie had hired—through Fusion GPS—Christopher Steele. What happened next is particularly interesting. On Oct. 31, 2016, Mother Jones’ David Corn published an article headlined “A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump.”
In that article, Corn noted that “in recent months,” Steele had “provided the bureau with memos based on his recent interactions with Russian sources.” Corn also stated that he had “reviewed that report and other memos this former spy wrote.”
Steele, who was not actually named, was referred to as “a former senior intelligence officer for a Western country who specialized in Russian counterintelligence.” A bit later in the article, Corn got more specific:
“In June, the former Western intelligence officer—who spent almost two decades on Russian intelligence matters and who now works with a US firm that gathers information on Russia for corporate clients—was assigned the task of researching Trump’s dealings in Russia and elsewhere, according to the former spy and his associates in this American firm.”
This is the first public reference to Steele, and with hindsight, the description is obvious. It also falls directly in line with the description provided by Page in his Oct. 28, 2016, letter.
All of which raises a question: Why did Steele decide to effectively go public at this time? Corn’s article outed Steele’s existence and led to his termination as a source for the FBI in the first days of November 2016. (Read more: The Epoch Times, 5/14/2019)
October 11, 2016 – State Dept. official Kathleen Kavalec’s notes reveal Christopher Steele identifying Russian sources
“Dossier author Christopher Steele identified a former Russian spy chief and a top adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin as being involved in handling potentially compromising information about President Donald Trump, State Department notes show.
In her notes, State Department official Kathleen Kavalec also referred to the two Russians — former Russian foreign intelligence chief Vyacheslav Trubnikov and Putin aide Vladislav Surkov — as “sources.”
The references to Trubnikov and Surkov, which have not previously been reported, are not definitive proof that either were sources for Steele’s dossier or that they were involved in an effort to collect blackmail material on Trump.
But the notes are significant because they are the first government documents that show Steele discussing potential sources for the information in his dossier, which the former MI6 officer provided to the FBI.
Trubnikov also has links to Stefan Halper, an FBI informant who collected information from Trump campaign aides George Papadopoulos and Carter Page. Halper arranged for Trubnikov to visit intelligence seminars at the University of Cambridge in 2012 and 2015. He also tapped Trubnikov to contribute to a Pentagon study published in 2015.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 5/16/2019)