September 18, 2019 – Judicial Watch files a FOIA lawsuit for the records of FBI Special Agent Michael Gaeta
Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Justice (DOJ) for records about FBI Special Agent Michael Gaeta, who was the Legal Attaché in Rome who helped circulate the Steele dossier (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-02722)).
The suit was filed after the Justice Department and FBI failed to respond to an August 10, 2018, FOIA requests seeking:
- All records of communications, including emails (using [his or her] own name or aliases), text messages, instant chats and encrypted messages, sent to and from former FBI Legal Attaché in Rome, Special Agent Michael Gaeta, mentioning the terms “Trump”, “Clinton”, “Republican”, “Democrat”, and/or “conservatives.”
- All SF50s and SF52s of SA Michael Gaeta.
- All expense reports and travel vouchers submitted for SA Michael Gaeta.
On August 28, 2018, Bruce Ohr testified before a joint task force of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees that Christopher Steele, author of the Clinton funded dossier, gave two reports from the dossier to Gaeta.
In the July 30 meeting, Chris Steele also mentioned something about the doping — you know, one of the doping scandals. And he also mentioned, I believe — and, again, this is based on my review of my notes — that he had provided Mr. Gaeta with two reports…”
The only thing I recall him mentioning is that he had provided two of his reports to Special Agent Gaeta.
Gaeta reportedly was authorized by then Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland to meet with Steele at his office in London to receive reports from the dossier
The purpose of the London visit was clear. Steele was personally handing the first memo in his dossier to Gaeta for ultimate transmission back to the FBI and the State Department.
For this visit, the FBI sought permission from the office of Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. Nuland, who had been the recipient of many of Steele’s reports, gave permission for the more formal meeting. On July 5, 2016, Gaeta traveled to London and met with Steele at the offices of Steele’s firm, Orbis.
“The FBI is covering up its role in the Russiagate hoax,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Judicial Watch has had to fight the FBI ‘tooth and nail’ for every scrap of information about the illicit targeting of President Trump.” (Read more: September 18, 2019)
- Bruce Ohr
- Clinton/DNC/Steele Dossier
- Department of Justice
- Department of State
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- FOIA lawsuit
- House Judiciary Committee
- House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
- Judicial Watch
- Michael Gaeta
- Orbis Business Intelligence
- September 2019
- Victoria Nuland
June 3-4, 2019 – IG Horowitz investigators interview Chris Steele
“Comey FBI apologist, Fusion GPS co-conspirator and Lawfare Alliance media narrative engineer, Natasha Bertrand, has an outline published today on the background interview of dossier author Christopher Steele.
From within the article, beyond the sympathetic propaganda, some overarching details are interesting:
♦(1) As expected Mr. Steele would only talk to OIG investigators from Horowitz’s office; Steele would not speak to U.S. Attorney John Durham.
♦(2) The interview took place at the same time President Trump traveled to the U.K (June 3rd-5th) for a state visit. Likely coordinated so FBI officials could travel innocuously without media scrutiny (lots of security officials traveled on behalf of U.S. interests at the time); likely the preferred timing of Steele himself.
♦(3) The interview(s) took place over two days for a total of sixteen hours of conversation. The recent reports of IG delay and follow-up interviews are almost certainly related to the outcome of the investigative findings (ie. Kathleen Kavalec cooperation etc.).
♦(4) Current officials within the DOJ/FBI; with obvious interests related to the corrupt activity surrounding the FBI and DOJ use of Steele (ie. McCabe and Comey apologists); are leaking the content of the investigative interviews to their notorious Lawfare Alliance media cohorts, ie. Natasha Bertrand.
WASHINGTON DC – Christopher Steele, the former British spy behind the infamous “dossier” on President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, was interviewed for 16 hours in June by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The interview is part of an ongoing investigation that the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, has been conducting for the past year. Specifically, Horowitz has been examining the FBI’s efforts to surveil a one-time Trump campaign adviser based in part on information from Steele, an ex-British MI6 agent who had worked with the bureau as a confidential source since 2010.
The extensive, two-day interview took place in London while Trump was in Britain for a state visit, the sources said, and delved into Steele’s extensive work on Russian interference efforts globally, his intelligence-collection methods and his findings about Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, who the FBI ultimately surveilled. The FBI’s decision to seek a surveillance warrant against Page — a warrant they applied for and obtained after Page had already left the campaign — is the chief focus of the probe by Horowitz.
The interview was contentious at first, the sources added, but investigators ultimately found Steele’s testimony credible and even surprising. The takeaway has irked some U.S. officials interviewed as part of the probe — they argue that it shouldn’t have taken a foreign national to convince the inspector general that the FBI acted properly in 2016. Steele’s American lawyer was present for the conversation. (read more)
Steele’s American lawyer is likely Adam Waldman (far left), the same U.S. lawyer/lobbyist who was working to put Steele in touch with SSCI Vice-Chairman Mark Warner in 2017.
Attorney Waldman has interests in alignment with the Lawfare network and direct connection to Daniel Jones, Dianne Feinstein’s former chief-of-staff who also took millions from resistance operatives (more Lawfare and Fusion-GPS allies) to continue funding Steele’s work afer the Trump inauguration.
Attorney Adam Waldman was also the lawyer representing Oleg Deripaska (pictured above on right); who we now know was paying Christopher Steele for research in 2016 while Steele was writing the dossier.
It’s one big convoluted network of allied interests, mixed with current and former DOJ and FBI officials who have a self-interest in hiding their illicit behavior. Almost all of the people within this network have ideological allies in the media, and depending on the subject issue at hand they are described in relative terms:
“Beach friends” (Christine Blasey Ford); “Lawfare Alliance” (Benjamin Wittes et al); FBI Washington Field Office and Main Justice officials are all part of this group and were also the officials within the Mueller probe. This network is all the same people, running in the same circles, meeting at the same parties, vacationing in the same areas and leaking to the same primary media contacts to project their narrative and defend their interests.
The article in Politico by Natasha Bertrand is a singular example. Quite simply this entire network is confident in their outlook that all of their behavior operates above the law.
Unfortunately, if the tone of the article is generally their position, it would appear they feel remarkably confident the investigation by IG Horowitz is nothing to fear. This overall outlook is bolstered by the historic track record of the OIG with regard to the two most recent investigative summaries: (1) Andrew McCabe leaking to media, and (2) DOJ and FBI conduct in the Hillary Clinton investigation.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 7/09/2019)
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.
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.
May 9, 2019 – Alexander Downer defends the FBI tipoff that sparked the Trump-Russia probe
“Calling himself a “warrior for the Western alliance,” former Australian diplomat Alexander Downer defended sending in the tip that sparked the FBI’s investigation of then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign.
In his most extensive interview on the topic to date, Downer gave his version of a conversation he had with Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos in London in May 2016 that would serve as the catalyst for the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe.
Downer, who served as Australia’s top diplomat to the U.K. at the time, provided a memo he wrote following the meeting to the FBI more than two months later. According to Downer, Papadopoulos mentioned that Russia might have information on then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton that they could release before the 2016 election.
Downer disputed claims that the ex-diplomat was part of a conspiracy to entrap the campaign adviser.
“I don’t know why he told me this, but he did, and we reported it. And the rest is history,” Downer said in an interview on Sky News.
“There’s no defense for him saying it’s some sort of weird conspiracy. I mean, it’s what he told me.”
“I have no idea why he was blabbering this, but if you say that sort of thing to somebody who is part of the Five Eyes intelligence community, I mean I would regard myself as a warrior for the Western alliance,” said Downer, who is now out of government.
Five Eyes refers to an intelligence-sharing agreement between the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
While Downer was critical of Papadopoulos, he said that there was no indication from his May 2016 conversation that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia to steal or release any Clinton information.
“There was no suggestion from Papadopoulos nor in the record of the meeting that we sent back to Canberra, there was no suggestion that there was collusion between Donald Trump or Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russians,” Downer said.
“All we did is report what Papadopoulos said, and that was that he thought that the Russians may release information, might release information, that could be damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign at some stage before the election.”
— The Bolt Report (@theboltreport) May 9, 2019
February 24, 2019 – Christopher Steele’s first defamation trial is slated in a London court this Fall
“Anti-Trump dossier creator Christopher Steele will face a London defamation trial later this year, one of two court cases in which he was forced to produce his first and only on-the-record statements on how he investigated and spread Democratic Party opposition research.
A lawyer involved in a lawsuit told The Washington Times that the London trial will start this fall, sometime between mid-October and mid-December.
A half-dozen libel lawsuits have been filed against Mr. Steele and other dossier-related operatives. The one filed in London in 2017 by Russian entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev would be the first to reach trial.
Mr. Steele is a key figure in promoting Trump-Russia conspiracy theories within the Obama administration and the news media. In his final of 17 dossier memos in December 2016, he accused Mr. Gubarev, a large supplier of computer servers, of hacking into Democratic Party computers under pressure from Russian intelligence. Mr. Gubarev, a resident of Cyprus, immediately denied the charge. There has been no evidence he did the intrusion.
Mr. Gubarev sued BuzzFeed in Florida for publishing the discredited 35-page dossier, which listed his name as a criminal hacker. A federal judge dismissed the case, but not because she ruled the charge was true. Rather, she ruled that BuzzFeed had a right to publish since the FBI was using Mr. Steele’s charges to investigate President Trump.
In Britain, libel laws don’t favor the press the way they do in the U.S.
Mr. Gubarev’s lawsuit has avoided the issue of dismissal because Mr. Steele’s defense isn’t that the dossier is true, said Val Gurvits, Mr. Gubarev’s U.S.-based attorney. Mr. Gubarev heads XBT Holdings, which includes the server provider Webzilla.
“They didn’t have a motion to dismiss,” Mr. Gurvits told The Times. “It doesn’t work that way in England. Because they did not allege truth as a defense, they did not have a right to file for summary judgment. That’s a huge issue, by the way, that most of the press conveniently ignored. Christopher Steele is not arguing that the allegations against Gubarev are true.”
Mr. Gurvits said the trial is slated to start between Oct. 21 and Dec. 18. (Read more: Washington Times, 2/24/2019)
November 1, 2017 – In an interview with Italian newspaper la Repubblica, Mifsud says he “acted as a mediator but I am Clinton and left”
From the Italian newspaper, la Repubblica, and translated:
The article is titled: The Russian-Trump contact prof: “It is true, I acted as a mediator but I am Clinton and left”
(…) “Joseph Mifsud is the Maltese lecturer – who according to the Russiagate inquiry – would have approached George Papadopoulos, Trump’s advisor during the electoral campaign, opening the doors of the Kremlin for a meeting between Trump himself and Putin; and offering him the “dirt”, the infamous information, collected by the Russians in the account of Hillary. “Nonsense. Friendship is friendship, but what Papadopoulos said is not true,” says Mifsud. “All I’ve done is foster relationships between unofficial sources, and between official and non-official sources, to resolve a crisis. It is done all over the world. I have put think-tanks in contact with think-tanks”, expert groups with other experts, he says.
Every ten words he mentions an international body to which he belongs, an institution he runs, a congress that they asked him to chair. He collaborates openly with Russian and American, Iranian and Saudi experts and institutions. “I am a member of the European council on foreign relations”, and was among the executives of the London center for international law practice.
“But do you know which is the only foundation of which I am a member? The Clinton Foundation, think a little. Between us, my thoughts are on the left. But I had expected Trump to win as I had foreseen Brexit, and in the I keep my work equidistant. I don’t understand this fury, these stupid accusations: we all want peace. When governments don’t talk, we citizens must keep talking. ”
Well. But the emails stolen from Hillary Clinton? The “dirt” offered to Papadopoulos? “I don’t know anything about it. I absolutely exclude having talked about secrets about Hillary. I swear on my daughter. I don’t know anyone from the Russian government apparatus: I knew only Russian Ivan Timofeev, director of a Moscow think-tank (the Russian International affairs) council) “. Which has its seat in the Russian Foreign Ministry, yes, but this, says the professor, “means nothing”.
Mifsud claims that he and Papadopoulos saw each other three or four times. “He came here to Italy, to Rome, with seven other international relations experts from the London Center of International Law Practice. We were at dinner, and I don’t remember if it was on that occasion that he told me he would enter Trump’s electoral campaign. to converse, by e-mail and on subsequent occasions when we met. But let me be clear: it was not the Russians who asked me for a meeting with Papadopoulos, he asked me for contacts in various areas, I proposed him the Gulf, an afterthought for the cracks that now I am in front of everyone: many diplomats from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Emirates and Oman are my students, then I offer them Latin America, a topic of great interest to Trump who spoke of a wall with Mexico. And I offered him Russia and the European Council. Their choice was Russia. They were interested in sanctions, NATO, Ukraine and the stabilization of the relationship with Russia, a subject on which even the Russians were very sensitive.
The professor says that he understood what the Russians thought of the imminent future while he was in Moscow, during a meeting: “I don’t speak Russian, but the translator helped me and during a break, at the bar where the real themes are usually faced, he realized that they were very skeptical about the possibility of a change, with both Hillary and Trump, and I also talked to the Russian foreign minister, Lavrov, when the EU changed presidency: the new group of commissioners would reopen a window of opportunity that was close with Barroso. I suggested to the Foundations to keep talking, and the way was always Timofeev. He is a friend, he writes books, he is relatively young, I have also invited him to Italy. I have no qualms about speaking well of him. secret agent, eh! Never took a penny from the Russians: my conscience is clean “.
Great. But then he presented to Timofeev “Putin’s niece”, which Putin’s nephew was not. “She is a simple student, very beautiful. As with many other students, I introduced her to the London Center where Papadopoulos was, and I learned that he showed her a very different interest from the academic one. He suggested that she go with him on America. Putin had nothing to do with it, a beautiful and good invention. ” A bit like Mubarak’s niece? Mifsud laughs: “What nonsense, yes. I put my hand on the fire that this girl has nothing to do with the Kremlin or the services. Anyway, I’ve already talked to the FBI, when the State Department invited me to a congress on Capitol Hill ” (la Repubblica, 11/01/2017)
December 2016 – Lisa Page travels to London on official business with Strzok and three other unnamed individuals
“Page noted that she only traveled abroad once while she worked for McCabe, in December 2016, on official business in London. Strzok traveled with her, as did three other unnamed individuals. One individual that Page specified as not being part of the trip was Bill Priestap, the FBI’s head of counterintelligence. Page was prohibited by FBI counsel for detailing the purpose of her visit.” (Read more: Epoch Times, 1/21/2019)
September 2, 2016 – The FBI sends a possible honeypot posing as Stefan Halper’s research assistant, to spy on Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos
“The conversation at a London bar in September 2016 took a strange turn when the woman sitting across from George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser, asked a direct question: Was the Trump campaign working with Russia?
The woman had set up the meeting to discuss foreign policy issues. But she was actually a government investigator posing as a research assistant, according to people familiar with the operation. The F.B.I. sent her to London as part of the counterintelligence inquiry opened that summer to better understand the Trump campaign’s links to Russia.
The American government’s affiliation with the woman, who said her name was Azra Turk, is one previously unreported detail of an operation that has become a political flash point in the face of accusations by President Trump and his allies that American law enforcement and intelligence officials spied on his campaign to undermine his electoral chances. Last year, he called it “Spygate.”
Ms. Turk went to London to help oversee the politically sensitive operation, working alongside a longtime informant, the Cambridge professor Stefan A. Halper. The move was a sign that the bureau wanted in place a trained investigator for a layer of oversight, as well as someone who could gather information for or serve as a credible witness in any potential prosecution that emerged from the case.
A spokesman for the F.B.I. declined to comment, as did a lawyer for Mr. Halper, Robert D. Luskin. Last year, Bill Priestap, then the bureau’s top counterintelligence agent who was deeply involved in the Russia inquiry, told Congress during a closed-door hearing that there was no F.B.I. conspiracy against Mr. Trump or his campaign.
The London operation yielded no fruitful information, but F.B.I. officials have called the bureau’s activities in the months before the election both legal and carefully considered under extraordinary circumstances. They are now under scrutiny as part of an investigation by Michael E. Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general. He could make the results public in May or June, Attorney General William P. Barr has said. Some of the findings are likely to be classified.” (Read more: The New York Times, 5/02/2019)
George Papadopoulos describes in his House testimony, how undercover CIA asset/FBI informant Stefan Halper introduces him to ‘Azra Turk.’ He also suggests she may be from Turkey.
On the same day the NYT article is published, George Papadopoulos appears on the Tucker Carlson Show to respond:
(…) “Email traffic reviewed by TheDCNF shows that Papadopoulos exchanged emails with Turk, Halper and Halper’s wife.
Papadopoulos has described Turk as a “honeypot,” a spy term used to describe a situation where sex is used to lure targets of intelligence operations. Papadopoulos told TheDCNF that Turk, an attractive blonde, flirted heavily with him and attempted to make contact after the London meeting back in the States.
“I’m stunned by the come-hither tone of Azra Turk and her classic honeypot act,” Papadopoulos wrote in his tell-all, “Deep State Target.”
According to Papadopoulos, both Halper and Turk asked him whether he knew about Russian hacks of Democrats. Papadopoulos says he had knowledge of Russian hacking operations, and conveyed that to the two covert agents.
Papadopoulos says that he did not meet again with Turk, in part because he suspected she was working with foreign intelligence agencies. He has recently said he believes that Turk, who spoke little English during the London meetings, has links to the CIA and Turkish intelligence.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 5/3/2019)
August 3, 2016 – Strzok/Page texts debate whether to share details with DOJ on key London meeting
“Text messages between former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page debating how much information to share with the Justice Department about a London meeting — days after the bureau opened its initial Russia investigation — are drawing fresh scrutiny as alleged surveillance abuse and the probe’s origins are investigated by three separate probes, Fox News has learned.
On Aug. 3, 2016, Strzok wrote, “I think we need to consider the lines of what we disclose to DOJ. For example, the last stipulation notes we will not disclose [the] identifies outside the FBI. I think you might argue the unauthorized disclosure might (reasonably) be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to US national security…”
In an earlier discussion on Aug. 2, 2016, Strzok reported he had a “good meeting.” Page warned, “Make sure you can lawfully protect what you sign. Just thinking about congress, foia [Freedom of Information Act], etc. I’m sure it’s fine. I just don’t know how protection of intel-type stuff works in that context.”
Fox News has learned some of the words and names that were redacted in the string of Strzok-Page messages; they are included below.
The New York Times was first to report lengthy details about the 2016 meeting in question, when the FBI “dispatched a pair of agents to London on a mission so secretive that all but a handful of officials were kept in the dark.” The report said this assignment included questioning Australian Ambassador Alexander Downer. Downer’s information about then-Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos helped lay the foundation for the FBI’s counterintelligence probe – which later grew into former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
House Republicans, continuing to probe the texts, have considered August 2016 a pivotal month. They have been looking closely at these exchanges, and how long before the August meeting Downer reported the Papadopoulos information.” (Read more: Fox News, 7/03/2019)
July 31, 2016 – The official beginning of the FBI’s Trump/Russia investigation codenamed “Crossfire Hurricane”
“The FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia was originally known as “Crossfire Hurricane” before it was widely known to the public and even the bureau itself, officials told The New York Times.
The case, named after a Rolling Stones lyric, was used by only the small group of agents sent to interview the Australian ambassador to the United Kingdom, who had evidence of possible collusion between Russia and a Trump adviser.
Five agents embarked to London in the summer of 2016 for a rare interview with the diplomat after deliberations between American and Australian officials, where they gathered information that would provide the basis for the Russia probe that is still ongoing.
The Times previously reported that a young foreign policy aide on the Trump campaign, George Papadopoulos, revealed he knew of hacked Democratic Party emails to Australian Ambassador Alexander Downer over late-night drinks in London.
Downer reportedly notified U.S. intelligence officials of his run-in with Papadopoulos after the emails, which contained damaging information about 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton just as the aide had said, began to leak to the public.
From there, the tight group of FBI agents went forward in interviewing Trump associates, which was kept secret for fear of leaks that could sway the campaign.
The official look into the Trump campaign reportedly began just days after the bureau closed its investigation into Clinton for her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of State.” (Read more: The Hill, 5/16/2018)