Michael Horowitz

December 20, 2019 – The FISA Court orders a review of all FISA filings handled by FBI lawyer facing criminal investigation

Carter Page, petroleum industry consultant and former foreign-policy adviser to Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential election campaign, in Washington on May 28, 2019. (Credit: Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ordered a review of all Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act filings handled by Kevin Clinesmith, the FBI lawyer who altered a key document about Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

The FISA court confirmed Clinesmith had been referred to the Justice Department for a possible criminal investigation. Judge Rosemary Collyer, who leads the FISA court, ordered the DOJ to bring it up to speed on everything it had learned about Clinesmith’s conduct and to explain why there was a delay between the conclusion of Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigation and the court being told what misconduct had been unearthed.

Specifically, the FISA court ordered the DOJ to “identify all other matters currently or previously before this court that involved the participation” of Clinesmith. The court also ordered the DOJ to “describe any steps taken or to be taken by the Department of Justice or FBI to verify that the United States’s submissions in those matters completely and fully described the material facts and circumstances,” unlike the Page FISA filings. Third, court ordered the DOJ to “advise whether the conduct” of Clinesmith has been “referred to the appropriate bar associations for investigation or possible disciplinary action.”

Several months before its first FISA filing against Page, the FBI was informed Page had been a source of information for the CIA in the past, a fact the bureau failed to include in its initial filing or any of its renewals. A liaison from the CIA reminded Clinesmith, who was a part of the team reviewing the Page FISA filings, about Page’s previous relationship with the agency. But instead of accurately informing the FBI supervisory special agent so that the FISA court could be properly informed, Clinesmith altered the email to falsely state that Page was “not a source.”

This public order follows a scathing letter from Collyer directed at the bureau released earlier this week.

“The FBI’s handling of the Carter Page applications, as portrayed in the [Horowitz] report, was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above,” said Collyer, who approved the initial surveillance warrant against Page.” (Read more: The Washington Examiner, 12/21/2019)  (Archive)

December 18, 2019 – The Horowitz Report & testimony provide historic condemnation of FBI’s surveillance actions—Jeff Carlson

Amidst the media spin about the recent Department of Justice IG report, what is the real bottom line? What does it mean for the FBI and its future?

Did Inspector General Horowitz really find that there was no bias in the opening of the Russia probe?

And, doing a deep dive into the Horowitz report and Horowitz’s testimony in the Senate hearing that followed, what’s the most important information that was revealed?

This is American Thought Leaders 🇺🇸, and I’m Jan Jekielek.

In this episode, we’ll sit down with Epoch Times columnist Jeff Carlson, a key contributor to The Epoch Times who was instrumental in our coverage of the Spygate scandal, and creation of The Epoch Times’ iconic Spygate poster. He is a CFA® Charterholder who worked for 20 years as an analyst and portfolio manager in the high-yield bond market.

CORRECTION: During a discussion (beginning at the 37:35 mark) of the two separate trips to Italy in August and late September 2019, that were made by AG Barr and US Attorney Durham, I mistakenly stated the year as being 2016. Both trips, along with AG Barr’s communications with officials in the UK and Australia, all occurred during 2019.

December 11, 2019 – IG Horowitz testifies he cannot confirm the FBI didn’t act out of any “political bias”

Later in the hearing, IG Horowitz testifies he cannot rule out political bias in the case of FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith doctoring evidence used in a FISA application targeting Carter Page and he confirms that he referred him for possible criminal prosecution.

December 9, 2019 – IG Report: The FBI doctored evidence to falsely paint Carter Page as a Russian spy

Kevin Clinesmith (Credit: public domain)

“A wide-ranging investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general (IG) found that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) deliberately doctored evidence it presented to the nation’s top spy court in order to gain authority to spy on a key Trump affiliate.

The 476-page report from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that the FBI falsely claimed to the FISA Court not only that Carter Page was a Russian agent, but also falsely claimed that an unnamed intelligence agency had told the FBI that Page was “not a source” in their efforts to surveil and curtail Russian intelligence efforts.

Page, who had previously been an informant and witness for the United States in a federal espionage case against a Russian intelligence official, was targeted by the Obama FBI as a Russian spy helping Putin to steal the election from Hillary Clinton in 2016. According to the IG report, before the FBI and DOJ went to the FISA Court to apply for a warrant to spy on Page, an unnamed U.S. intelligence agency had told the FBI that Carter Page had previously assisted that agency’s efforts against Russian spies. Although exculpatory information about potential spy targets is required in spy warrant applications, Obama’s FBI and DOJ deliberately withheld that information from the spy court in order to paint Page in the worst possible light.

Carter Page (Credit: public domain)

The FBI’s malfeasance in the matter did not stop there. Ahead of an application to renew the spy warrant in 2017, a top FBI lawyer doctored evidence from the unnamed agency which confirmed that contrary to FBI claims that he was a Russian spy, Page had in fact assisted the United States in its efforts to counter Russian operations. An e-mail from the agency that clearly stated Page was “a source” for them was doctored by Kevin Clinesmith, a top FBI national security lawyer, to give the opposite impression to the federal spy court.

“The [Office of General Counsel] Attorney altered and sent the e-mail to a [supervisory special agent], who thereafter relied on it to swear out the third FISA application,” the IG report notes. Upon learning that a top FBI lawyer doctored evidence against a former Trump campaign affiliate to justify spying on him, the IG referred the attorney to DOJ for criminal prosecution.

Text messages from that same lawyer after the 2016 election revealed that he was an anti-Trump activist. “Viva la Resistance!” he texted on November 22, 2016, while in the midst of investigating Trump. He would later be terminated from the Mueller probe for conduct which a previous IG report said “brought discredit” to the FBI. Of FBI documents he approved authorizing spying on Trump campaign, Clinesmith wrote: “[M]y god damned name is all over the legal documents investigating his staff.”

“[W]ho knows if that breaks to him what he is going to do,” Clinesmith continued, apparently worried about the ramifications of his illicit behavior against the Trump campaign. It is unclear whether he doctored evidence against Trump to protect his own career and reputation or simply because of anti-Trump animus. At the time, Clinesmith worked under James Baker, the FBI General Counsel who was a close confidant of fired former director James Comey. Baker was one of a slew of former deputies who resigned or were fired as the Russia collusion hoax imploded.” (Read more: The Federalist, 12/10/2019)  (Archive)

December 9, 2019 – IG FISA report footnote 474 – Confidential Human Source w/ Delta file was inside Trump campaign

“CTH was always curious why one specific member of the Trump campaign and transition team was abruptly departed (Nov 15, 2016) immediately after the visit by NSA Director Mike Rogers was scheduled, and two-days prior to their meeting.  It’s a weedy question, likely only considered by those who were watching closely at the time…

However, perhaps Inspector General Michael Horowitz has provided some background on the move. [Page 336, 337, fn #474]

Based on the arc of the post-election timeline described in the segment of the report that touches upon “non-tasked” Confidential Human Sources (CHSs), beginning page 336; and based on other information in/around the specific CHS described; there’s a very strong likelihood we can identify this one.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (l) and the committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (r), on October 8, 2012. (Credit: J. Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press)

From Politico, November 15, 2016:

Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers has resigned from Donald Trump’s presidential transition team.

“It was a privilege to prepare and advise the policy, personnel and agency action teams on all aspects of the national security portfolio during the initial pre-election planning phase,” Rogers said in a statement Tuesday. “Our work will provide a strong foundation for the new transition team leadership as they move into the post-election phase, which naturally is incorporating the campaign team in New York who drove President-elect Trump to an incredible victory last Tuesday.” (Politico, 11/15/2016)

As more Americans are now aware of how deep the intelligence community operates in/around DC politicians, it is worth remembering exactly how this happens.

The modern intelligence apparatus has a history of leveraging/turning compromised politicians into assets for an agenda most Americans are only now starting to grasp. Former HPSCI Chairman Mike Rogers was in place during the 2012 joint CIA/State Department Benghazi operation controlled by Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta, code name: Operation Zero Footprint.

Congressman Rogers was part of the group who covered for Hillary Clinton and Leon Panetta in the outcome of Benghazi. Rogers motives on both fronts (cover Benghazi and surveillance of Trump) are part of the old fashioned motive, money.  Mike Rogers’ wife, Kristi Clemens Rogers, was the president and CEO of Aegis LLC a “security” defense contractor – and her connections delivered a $10 billion contract with the State Dept.

In the height of the scrutiny over Benghazi HPSCI Chairman Mike Rogers and Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger authored a quick, and widely rebuked, intelligence committee report that provided the first line of defense for Clinton, Obama and Panetta.  The media seized on the Rogers/Ruppersberger report to set the narrative.

Immediately following their efforts, Mike Rogers and Dennis Ruppersberger resigned from congress.  Mike and his wife Kristi riding off into the sunset with multi-millions of wealth from the secured Aegis contract. [Oh yeah, and Kristi retired too]

This is how the deep state operates and the Rogers example is a typical highlight for how enmeshed interests of the intelligence community, politicians and the individual can resurface when needed.  With the background explained, you can easily see how the Deep State 2016 presidential election interests would merge with the interests of Mike and Kristi Rogers influence/affluence.

Oh yes, at the time…. the Deep State media was also fully engaged: (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 12/24/2019)  (Archive)

December 9, 2019 – Sketchy changes to IG FISA report covers up major discrepancy in first version

“There was a major discrepancy in the Inspector General report on FISA abuse, that appears to have been overlooked and casts a considerable cloud upon the DOJ Office of Inspector General and Michael Horowitz.

In chapter ten of the report, on page #312 you will find the following information.  The claim is that no-one in the FBI initiated any use of “Confidential Human Sources” into the campaign prior to opening the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.  Read Carefully:

However, in the very next chapter (#11, page #400), in the original IG report as released on December 9th, 2019, you will find the following statement:

The two statements are completely contradictory.

Carter Page and George Papadopoulos started working for the Trump campaign in early March 2016.  The Crossfire Hurricane investigation began on July 28th, 2016.

If the FBI tasked CHS’s before and after they were affiliated with the Trump campaign, that was certainly before the opening of Crossfire Hurricane.   That statement was also included in the original Executive Summary (page xvi) as below:

The IG report was modified after publication to change this paragraph to:

“We determined that the Crossfire Hurricane team tasked several CHSs and UCEs during the 2016 presidential campaign, which resulted in multiple interactions with Carter Page and Papadopoulos, both during and after the time they were affiliated with the Trump campaign”…

However, that still presents an issue with this statement:

“In our review, we did not find any evidence that the FBI used CHSs or UCEs to interact with members of the Trump campaign prior to the opening of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.  All of the members of the Crossfire Hurricane team told the OIG that no investigative steps of any type were taken prior to receipt of the predicating information for the Crossfire Hurricane investigation on July 28, 2016, and we found no evidence to the contrary.

If no investigative steps “of any type” were taken prior to July 28th, 2016, then how does George Papadopoulos run afoul of meeting(s) being monitored in March 2016 with the “overseas professor” Joseph Mifsud (DOJ Statement of Offense – Papadopoulos):

Indeed the original IG report text would indicate that George Papadopoulos was subject to Confidential Human Sources (CHS’s) and/or Undercover Employees (UCE’s) during the earliest part of his activity with the Trump campaign (literally within a week), and would refute the claim “we did not find any evidence that the FBI used CHSs or UCEs to interact with members of the Trump campaign prior to the opening of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation” (July 31st, 2016).

That revelation and conflict is likely why the IG had to modify the text of the report after publishing it.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 1/15/2020)  (Archive)

December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report reveals Glenn Simpson was paying Steele to ‘discuss his reporting’ with the media

Contained within Monday’s FISA report by the DOJ Inspector General is the revelation that Fusion GPS, the firm paid by the Clinton campaign to produce the Steele dossier, “was paying Steele to discuss his reporting with the media.” (P. 369 and elsewhere)

And when did Steele talk with the media (which got him fired as an FBI source)? September of 2016, roughly six weeks before the election.

One of the more damaging articles to result from these meetings was authored by Yahoo News journalist Michael Isikoff, who said in an interview that he was invited by Fusion GPS to meet a “secret source” at a Washington restaurant.

That secret source was none other than Christopher Steele, a former MI-6 Russia expert who fed the Isikoff information for a September 23, 2016 article – which would have had far greater reach and impact coming from such a widely-read media outlet vs. $100,000 in Russian-bought Facebook ads.

Isikoff’s article claimed that former Trump campaign aide Carter Page “has opened up private communications with senior Russian officials – including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Republican nominee becomes president.”

This allegation was found by special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to be false. Moreover, the FBI knew about it in December 2016, when DOJ #4 Bruce Ohr told the agency as much.

(FISA Report, pg. 206)

(Read more: Zero Hedge, 12/10/2019)  (Archive)

December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report reveals Brennan lied to the House Intelligence Committee

John Brennan (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

“The new report from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz confirmed former CIA Director John Brennan lied to Congress about whether the dossier authored by Christopher Steele was used in the Obama administration’s Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA).

The ICA, a report conducted by intelligence officials in 2016 on Russian election interference, was used to brief President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump in January 2017. According to the IG report, there was significant discussion by top intelligence officials as to whether the unverified Steele dossier should be included in the main body of the ICA report, summarized in an appendix, or even included at all.

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said that “he felt strongly that the Steele election reporting belonged in the body of the ICA, because he feared that placing it in an appendix was ‘tacking it on’ in a way that would ‘minimiz[e]’ the information and prevent it from being properly considered.”

Ultimately, the ICA included a short summary and assessment of the dossier, which was incorporated in an appendix. “In the appendix, the intelligence agencies explained that there was ‘only limited corroboration of the source’s reporting’ and that Steele’s election reports were not used ‘to reach analytic conclusions of the CIA/FBI/NSA assessment,’” the IG report states.

A few months later, on May 23, 2017, when testifying before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Brennan categorically denied that the CIA relied on the Steele dossier for the ICA report. Here is the full exchange with former Rep. Trey Gowdy: (Video is cued to begin at the appropriate time)

(Read more: The Federalist, 12/11/2019)  (Archive)

December 9, 2019 – The IG FISA report states John McCain continued to provide Comey with Steele reports after the British intel officer was terminated as a source by the FBI

David Kramer invokes the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying on Steele dossier in December 2018. (Credit: public domain)

“The controversial report from Inspector General Michael Horowitz into the FBI’s investigation into Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign revealed many concerning details. One was that Christopher Steele’s dossier was used in the case to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to secure a wiretap on former Donald Trump campaign official Carter Page after the DOJ found no probable cause to do so. The report also revealed that late Senator John McCain provided former FBI Director James Comey with reports from Steele after the FBI terminated the former British intelligence officer as a source, Breitbart reports.

McCain reportedly gave Comey five new Steele reports that were not previously in possession of the FBI, although it’s not clear if McCain knew at the time that Steele was no longer an FBI source. Regardless, the new reports were allegedly obtained by McCain from Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson. Fusion GPS was notably hired for anti-Trump opposition research by the president’s opponents in the primary.

“Several weeks later, on December 9, 2016, Senator John McCain provided Corney with a collection of 16 Steele election reports, 5 of which Steele had not given the FBI,” the IG report reads. “McCain had obtained these reports from a staff member at the McCain Institute. The McCain Institute staff member had met with Steele and later acquired the reports from Simpson.”

According to Breitbart, the unnamed McCain staffer is David J. Kramer, who reportedly gave the Steele dossier to BuzzFeed News, which published the document in full on January 10, 2017.

(Read more: The Inquisitr, 12/26/2019) (Archive)