NSA database queries

August 8, 2019 – Trump appoints former Admiral Joseph Maguire as acting DNI

Admiral Joseph Maguire (Credit: Tom Williams/Getty Images)

It’s interesting that Joseph Maguire (pictured above), comes from his current position as Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). The NCTC was first organized by John Brennan, and we have suspected this part of the intelligence apparatus ties directly into the 2015/2016 use of the FBI and NSA database search issue.

All of that is laid out inside a 99-page opinion from FISC Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer who also noted that none of this FISA abuse was accidental in a footnote on page 87: “deliberate decisionmaking“:

This specific footnote, if declassified, would be key.  Note the phrase: “([redacted] access to FBI systems was the subject of an interagency memorandum of understanding entered into [redacted])”, this sentence has the potential to expose an internal decision; withheld from congress and the FISA court by the Obama administration; that outlines a process for access and distribution of surveillance data.

Note: “no notice of this practice was given to the FISC until 2016“, that is important.

Here’s the list of material possible for declassification, and the intelligence offices who hold custodial authority over the compartmented documents. This was the original list as outlined in 2018: (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 8/08/2019)

May 2, 2019 – Big puzzle pieces connecting the CIA, FBI, and 2016 political surveillance is merging

“The admissions within the New York Times story today -outlining how President Obama’s intelligence apparatus ran simultaneous intelligence operations against the Trump campaign- are starting to merge the FBI and CIA operations. CTH anticipated this.

With new information about the “U.K. operation” using Stefan Halper (CIA asset and FBI informant); and the details of the contacts by U.S. intelligence operative Azra Turk; we can overlay the timeline and see a clear picture.

(Credit: Conservative Treehouse)

On August 15th, 2016, Lisa Page and Peter Strzok discussed the “insurance policy“:

Two weeks later, September 2nd, 2016, CIA operative Stefan Halper reaches out to George Papadopoulos and introduces him to CIA/FBI asset Azra Turk.

This alignment between the CIA and FBI is not a surprise to anyone who has followed the story behind the 2015/2016 political surveillance issues.  However, there’s a specific connection here many are missing.

Remember, everything AFTER March 9th, 2016, is a cover-story.  Everything after March 9th, 2016, are operations from both the CIA and FBI to hide the political surveillance that was going on before March 9th, 2016.  The surveillance was happening through exploitation of the NSA database through unauthorized FISA search queriesand involved both the CIA and FBI.

This is the point that has not been emphasized enough. However, FISA Judge Rosemary Collyer outlined the connection, albeit with mandatory redactions.  The connective evidence is in a footnote on page #87 of Collyer’s report that few are paying attention to:

Read that carefully and you’ll see an agreement between the CIA and FBI to allow contractors.  Note:

“[CIA] access to FBI systems was the subject of an interagency memorandum of understanding enter into [in ????])”

CTH believes that redacted date is 2012 as a result of another section of the report and the emphasis that Collyer is placing on the time-frame throughout her full report.  Notice also:

“Despite the existence of an inter-agency memorandum of understanding (presumably prepared or reviewed by FBI lawyers) no notice of this practice was given to the FISC until 2016.”

So there was a secret agreement between the CIA and the FBI that was kept hidden from the FISA court until 2016 when Director Mike Rogers exposed and reported it.

The agreement centered around “access to FBI systems“; and, THIS IS IMPORTANT, we know the overarching issue was “deliberate decision-making” that led to “contractor access to the NSA database”, and the fact those contractors were searching “U.S. persons”.

Can you see the process now?

Can you see the potentially layered illegality of the process now?

CIA operatives (contractors) were using FBI portal access (per the secret agreement) to exploit the NSA database and extract search results.  Remember, the CIA is not supposed to be conducting surveillance, aka “spying”, inside the U.S. on American citizens.

In essence the secret agreement, unknown to the court, was the CIA hiding their extraction of U.S. person information by using FBI database access.  [Through the DOJ-NSD (National Security Division)]   Now does it make sense why the DOJ would not allow Inspector General oversight?

In 2015 the Office of Inspector General requested oversight and it was Deputy AG 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.

The secret MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the CIA and FBI was the reason why the DOJ-NSD could never allow inspector general oversight.

In the Obama-era political surveillance programs the lines between the CIA and FBI were blurred. They were working together through contractors. This is why you are noticing blurred lines between the CIA and FBI in the construct of the cover-up.

This is the parallel tracks we previously described, copied below for reference:

Everything after March 9th, 2016, is a function of two intelligence units, the CIA and FBI, operating together to coverup prior political surveillance and spy operations.

Prior to March 9th, 2016, the surveillance and spy operation was using the NSA database to track and monitor their political opposition.  However, once the NSA compliance officer began initiating an internal review of who was accessing the system, the CIA and FBI moved to create ex post facto justification for their endeavors. [Full Backstory]

The evidence for this is found in the documents attached to both operations; and bolsters the original statements by Congressman Devin Nunes as highlighted below.” (Read much more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/02/2019)

April 26, 2017 – The FISC report reveals the Obama administration conducted political surveillance as early as mid-2012

“Former U.S. Attorney to the District of Columbia, Joe diGenova, discusses the declassification of intelligence documents relating to political surveillance; and the origin of the database abuses outlined by FISC Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer.

Given last weeks visit to Main Justice by congressman Mark Meadows; and considering the visit was specifically to review unredacted Page-Strzok-McCabe messages; it could be surmised the first series of declassified documents might be those communiques. Additionally, John Solomon has stated “Bucket Five” is likely the first release prior to the IG report:

Bucket Five – Intelligence documents that were presented to the Gang of Eight in 2016 that pertain to the FISA application used against U.S. person Carter Page; including all exculpatory intelligence documents that may not have been presented to the FISA Court.  Presumably this would include the recently revealed State Dept Kavalac email; and the FBI transcripts from wiretaps of George Papadopoulos (also listed in Carter Page FISA).

Now that we have significant research files on the 2015 and 2016 political surveillance program; which includes the trail evident within the Weissmann/Mueller report; in combination with the Obama-era DOJ “secret research project” (their words, not mine); we are able to overlay the entire objective and gain a full understanding of how political surveillance was conducted over a period of approximately four to six years.

This is why there’s panic.

Working with a timeline, but also referencing origination material in 2015/2016 – CTH hopes to show how the program operated. This explains an evolution from The IRS Files in 2010 to the FISA Files in 2016.

More importantly, research indicates the modern political exploitation of the NSA database, for weaponized intelligence surveillance of politicians, began mid-2012.

The FISA-702 database extraction process, and utilization of the protections within the smaller intelligence community, was the primary process. We start by reviewing the established record from the 99-page FISC opinion rendered by presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer on; and explain the details within the FISC opinion.

I would strongly urge everyone to read the FISC report (full pdf below) because Judge Collyer outlines how the DOJ, which includes the FBI, had an “institutional lack of candor” in responses to the FISA court. In essence, the Obama administration was continually lying to the court about their activity, and the rate of fourth amendment violations for illegal searches and seizures of U.S. persons’ private information for multiple years.

Unfortunately, due to intelligence terminology Judge Collyer’s brief and ruling is not an easy read for anyone unfamiliar with the FISA processes outlined. The complexity also helps the media avoid discussing, and as a result most Americans have no idea the scale and scope of the issues. So we’ll try to break down the language. View this document on Scribd

For the sake of brevity and common understanding CTH will highlight the most pertinent segments showing just how systemic and troublesome the unlawful electronic surveillance was.

Early in 2016 NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers was alerted of a significant uptick in FISA-702(17) “About” queries using the FBI/NSA database that holds all metadata records on every form of electronic communication.

The NSA compliance officer alerted Admiral Mike Rogers who then initiated a full compliance audit on/around March 9th, 2016, for the period of November 1st, 2015, through May 1st, 2016.

While the audit was ongoing, due to the severity of the results that were identified, Admiral Mike Rogers stopped anyone from using the 702(17) “about query” option, and went to the extraordinary step of blocking all FBI contractor access to the database on April 18, 2016 (keep these dates in mind).

Here are some significant segments:

The key takeaway from these first paragraphs is how the search query results were exported from the NSA database to users who were not authorized to see the material. The FBI contractors were conducting searches and then removing, or ‘exporting’, the results. Later on, the FBI said all of the exported material was deleted.

Searching the highly classified NSA database is essentially a function of filling out search boxes to identify the user-initiated search parameter and get a return on the search result.

(…) Search an ip address “about” and read all data into that server; put in an email address and gain everything about that account. Or use the electronic address of a GPS enabled vehicle (about) and you can withdraw more electronic data and monitor in real time. Search a credit card number and get everything about the account including what was purchased, where, when, etc. Search a bank account number, get everything about transactions and electronic records etc. Just about anything and everything can be electronically searched; everything has an electronic ‘identifier’.

The search parameter is only limited by the originating field filled out. Names, places, numbers, addresses, etc. By using the “About” parameter there may be thousands or millions of returns. Imagine if you put “@realdonaldtrump” into the search parameter? You could extract all following accounts who interacted on Twitter, or Facebook etc. You are only limited by your imagination and the scale of the electronic connectivity.

As you can see below, on March 9th, 2016, internal auditors noted the FBI was sharing “raw FISA information, including but not limited to Section 702-acquired information”.

In plain English the raw search returns were being shared with unknown entities without any attempt to “minimize” or redact the results. The person(s) attached to the results were named and obvious. There was no effort to hide their identity or protect their 4th amendment rights of privacy:

But what’s the scale here? This is where the story really lies.

Read this next excerpt carefully.

The operators were searching “U.S Persons”. The review of November 1, 2015, to May 1, 2016, showed “eighty-five percent of those queries” were unlawful or “non compliant”.

85% !! “representing [redacted number].”

We can tell from the space of the redaction the number of searches were between 1,000 and 9,999 [five digits]. If we take the middle number of 5,000 – that means 4,250 unlawful searches out of 5,000.

The [five digit] amount (more than 1,000, less than 10,000), and 85% error rate, was captured in a six month period.

Also notice this very important quote: “many of these non-compliant queries involved the use of the same identifiers over different date ranges.” So they were searching the same phone number, email address, electronic “identifier”, or people, repeatedly over different dates. Specific people were being tracked/monitored.

Additionally, notice the last quote: “while the government reports it is unable to provide a reliable estimate of” these non lawful searches “since 2012, there is no apparent reason to believe the November 2015 [to] April 2016 coincided with an unusually high error rate”.

That means the 85% unlawful FISA-702(16)(17) database abuse has likely been happening since 2012. (Again, remember that date, 2012) Who was FBI Director? Who was his chief-of-staff? Who was CIA Director? ODNI? etc. Remember, the NSA is inside the Pentagon (Defense Dept) command structure. Who was Defense Secretary? And finally, who wrote and signed-off-on the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment?

Tens of thousands of searches over four years (since 2012), and 85% of them are illegal. The results were extracted for?…. (I believe this is all political opposition use; and I’ll explain why momentarily.)

OK, that’s the stunning scale; but who was involved?

Private contractors with access to “raw FISA information that went well beyond what was necessary to respond to FBI’s requests“:

And as noted, the contractor access was finally halted on April 18th, 2016.

(Coincidentally (or not), the wife of Fusion-GPS founder Glenn Simpson, Mary Jacoby, goes to the White House the next day on April 19th, 2016.)

None of this is conspiracy theory.

All of this is laid out inside this 99-page opinion from FISC Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer who also noted that none of this FISA abuse was accidental in a footnote on page 87: “deliberate decisionmaking“:

This specific footnote, if declassified, would be key.  Note the phrase: “([redacted] access to FBI systems was the subject of an interagency memorandum of understanding entered into [redacted])”, this sentence has the potential to expose an internal decision; withheld from congress and the FISA court by the Obama administration; that outlines a process for access and distribution of surveillance data.

Note: “no notice of this practice was given to the FISC until 2016“, that is important.

Summary of this aspect: The FISA court identified and quantified tens-of-thousands of search queries of the NSA/FBI database using the FISA-702(16)(17) system. The database was repeatedly used by persons with contractor access who unlawfully searched and extracted the raw results without redacting the information and shared it with an unknown number of entities.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/24/2019)

July 2016 – Bruce Ohr’s efforts to secretly reshape the Trump probe, starts earlier, long before Trump wins the election

“Within the massive assembly of documents, emails, text messages, congressional testimony and portions of media reports a clear timeline emerged. Part of that timeline was based on the fact that certain events had to have taken place – at specific times – in order to reconcile the downstream activity.

The key point of the graphic, which ran counter to all MSM reporting, was a trail of circumstantial evidence showing Bruce Ohr had to have been in contact with Christopher Steele much earlier than anyone realized.  SEE BELOW:

A new report today from John Solomon backs up this timeline with the first-hand testimony of DOJ Official Bruce Ohr.

(…) For much of the past year, many in Congress have labored under the notion that Ohr, then the No. 4 Department of Justice (DOJ) official, began assisting the FBI’s probe into Russia election collusion only after Trump won the 2016 election.

Lawmakers’ belief was rooted in reports showing Ohr’s first documented interview with FBI agents occurred in November 2016, and in testimony from Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, who mentioned Ohr’s involvement in the probe as starting after Thanksgiving 2016.

But now, based on Ohr’s own account in a closed-door congressional interview and other contemporaneous documents, congressional investigators have learned that Ohr made his first contact with the FBI about Trump-Russia collusion evidence in late July and early August 2016. And his approach was prompted by information he got from his friend, the former British intelligence agent Steele.

Ohr’s account to Congress and his contemporaneous notes show he had multiple contacts with Steele in July 2016. One occurred just before Steele visited the FBI in Rome, another right after Steele made the contact.

A third contact occurred July 30, 2016, exactly one day before the FBI and its counterintelligence official, Peter Strzok, opened the Trump probe officially.

Steele met with Ohr and Ohr’s wife, Nellie, in a Washington hotel restaurant for breakfast. At the time, Nellie Ohr and Steele worked for the same employer, Simpson’s Fusion GPS opposition research firm, and on the same project to uncover Russia dirt on Trump, according to prior testimony to Congress.

(…) “According to my sources, Ohr called then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe the same day as his Steele breakfast and met with McCabe and FBI lawyer Lisa Page on Aug. 3 to discuss the concerns about Russia-Trump collusion that Steele had relayed.

Ohr disclosed to lawmakers that he made another contact with the FBI on Aug. 15, 2016, talking directly to Strzok.

Within a month of Ohr passing along Steele’s dirt, the FBI scheduled a follow-up meeting with the British intelligence operative — and the path was laid for the Steele dossier to support a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to surveil Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

Just as important, Ohr told Congress he understood Steele’s information to be raw and uncorroborated hearsay, the sort of information that isn’t admissible in court. And he told FBI agents that Steele appeared to be motivated by a “desperate” desire to keep Trump from becoming president.” (Read more:The Hill, 9/6/2018)

This account by congressional sources to Solomon about the testimony of Bruce Ohr matches our prior research.  It was the initial chapters of the Steele Dossier, a work product of both Nellie Ohr and Christopher Steele, that were given to Bruce Ohr, who then subsequently relayed that information to the FBI (McCabe, Page and Strzok) without disclosing the conflict within the source material coming from his wife.

Here’s how it comes together:  Nellie Ohr started working for Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS) in/around October or November of 2015.  Nellie Ohr had “contractor access” to the FISA database (NSA and FBI) as a result of her prior and ongoing clearance relationship with the CIA and open source research group.

Nellie, Bruce and Glenn Simpson worked together previously in 2010.

(Page #30 – pdf link)

It was Nellie’s original 2015 political opposition research that Glenn Simpson was pitching and selling as political opposition research to any interested purchaser.

Several months later, when it became clear that Donald Trump was the likely GOP candidate who would win the primary (March/April 2016), Hillary Clinton signed-on to purchase the opposition research from Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS.

Keep in mind, simultaneous to this moment in March and April 2016, NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers intervened to stop contractor access to the FISA-702(16)(17) database.  From the time Nellie Ohr began working for Fusion GPS in November 2015, through April 2016 there were thousands of unlawful database queries and extractions; 85% of them were unlawful.

(FISA Court Document Link)

Now, Nellie and Glenn Simpson had a problem. They needed to have a way to launder unlawfully extracted FISA search results.  Nellie Ohr was familiar with Christopher Steele from her husband Bruce’s prior working relationship with Steele in the FIFA corruption case.

So Fusion GPS (Glenn Simpson and Nellie Ohr) reached out to Christopher Steele.  As a former intelligence officer, and conveniently not in the U.S. (plausible deniability improves), Steele could then receive the Nellie research, wash it with his own research from ongoing relationships with Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska,… here comes the hookers and pee tapes…. and begin packaging it as the “dossier”.

When you understand what was going on, some of the irreconcilable issues surrounding the dossier make sense. [Example Here]  This is the Big Effen Deal.

The unlawful FISA extracted intelligence/research was laundered through the use of the dossier.  The information was then cycled back to Bruce Ohr, thereby using Christopher Steele to remove Nellie’s fingerprints from the origination.  That’s why Bruce Ohr never initially told the FBI -the end user of the dossier- about his wife working for Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson.

Bruce Ohr meets with Christopher Steele, receives the laundered intelligence product within the dossier, informs Andrew McCabe and Lisa Page and then passes the intelligence information along to FBI Agent Peter Strzok.

Does this explain now why Glenn Simpson, Chris Steele, Nellie Ohr and Bruce Ohr were having breakfast together on July 30th, 2016?

Through this process, what few recognize is that much of the material inside the Steele Dossier is actually research intelligence material unlawfully extracted from the FBI and NSA database; most likely in majority an assembly by Nellie Ohr.

This explains why Paul Wood said: “I have spoken to one intelligence source who says Mueller is examining ‘electronic records’ that would place Cohen in Prague.”  Likely Mueller has Nellie’s database research mistake on Michael Cohen, and he got it from Christopher Steele.

Remember the New York Times article, right before the testimony by Bruce Ohr, where the intelligence community was trying to say that Nellie Ohr had nothing to do with the Dossier?   (screen grab below)

(New York Times, 8/27/2018)

Remember that ridiculous attempt to distance Nellie Ohr from the dossier?

Now do you see why the intelligence community needed to try, via their buddies in the New York Times, to cloud the importance of Nellie Ohr?

Kim Strassel – (…) Congressional sources tell me that Mr. Ohr revealed Tuesday that he verbally warned the FBI that its source had a credibility problem … Mr. Ohr said, moreover, that he delivered this information before the FBI’s first application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for a warrant against Trump aide Carter Page, in October 2016. (Wall Street Journal, 8/30/2018)

Of course Bruce Ohr delivered it before October 21st, 2016.  He gained the foundational  material from Chris Steele in June and July 2016, passed it along to Peter Strzok, and his wife was key in providing Steele the source information.

This is also why Bruce Ohr never put his wife’s income source on his annual compliance forms.  Nellie Ohr’s income was an outcome of her database access.

(Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 9/07/2018)

November 2015 – Employment of Nellie Ohr by Fusion GPS Raises New Questions

Bruce and Nellie Ohr (Credit: public domain)

“One of the bombshell admissions from a closed-door testimony by DOJ official Bruce Ohr was that his wife, Nellie Ohr, was working for opposition research firm Fusion GPS already in late 2015.

Previously, it had been reported that Nellie Ohr was hired to find dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump in the spring of 2016.

“Ohr testified that Fusion approached his wife for a job and that she began working for the research firm in late 2015,” the Daily Caller reported.

In addition to the new time-frame for Nellie Ohr’s employment, Bruce Ohr also confirmed that former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, FBI Agent Peter Strzok, and FBI Special Counsel Lisa Page all knew he was talking to former British MI6 spy, Christopher Steele, who compiled the now-infamous opposition research dossier on Trump, which was used as the core evidence of an application for a [Title 1] Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to surveil Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.

More importantly, Ohr also informed Justice Department prosecutor Andrew Weissmann about his dossier-related work and interactions with Steele. Ohr made these internal disclosures before Weissmann joined special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The Mueller Team has known of Ohr’s involvement with the Steele Dossier from the start of their formal investigation.

These events are likely intertwined. To understand why, we need to revisit an April 26, 2017unsealed FISA Court Ruling, that was declassified by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

There is a staggering amount of information contained within the ruling, including these two disclosures:

“NSA estimates that approximately eighty-five percent of those queries, representing [Redacted] queries conducted by approximately [Redacted] targeted offices, were not compliant with the applicable minimization procedures.”

“The FBI had disclosed raw FISA information, including but not limited to Section 702-acquired information, to a [Redacted] … is largely staffed by private contractors … the [Redacted] contractors had access to raw FISA information that went well beyond what was necessary to respond to the FBI’s requests.”

The Court said these practices had been going on since at least November 2015 and noted that “there is no apparent reason to believe the November 2015-April 2016 period coincided with an unusually high error rate.”

The FISA Court also pointed out that the government could not say how, when, or where the non-compliant information was used. Once an individual had access to the information, it could no longer be traced or tracked.

What the FISA Court disclosed is alarming in its simplicity.

Illegal NSA Database searches were endemic. Private contractors, employed by the FBI, were given full access to the NSA Database. Once in their possession, the FISA Data could not be traced.

Which brings us back to the original question: What was Nellie Ohr doing in 2015? And who were the FBI’s private contractors? (Much more: themarketswork, 9/02/2018)

June 2015 – February 2017: James Comey’s unpaid, memo leaking “Special Government Employee” – Daniel Richman

“When considering who were the FBI contractors, with special program access to the NSA database, conducting unauthorized searches and extracting results… there’s a specific type of contractor described by FISA Judge Rosemary Collyer.  One who was able to work around the security protocols: [Page 21] “systems …. that do not interface with NSA’s query audit system“.

In 2018 congressman Jim Jordan made mention of an issue where James Comey had a special employee on assignment ‘off-the-books’.  People started asking questions and Fox News Catherine Herridge detailed how Daniel Richman held special access privileges to the FBI, as an outcome of former FBI Director James Comey authorizing his friend as a “Special Government Employee” or SGE.

(VIA FOX) […] The professor, Daniel Richman, confirmed the special status in response to an inquiry from Fox News, while referring other questions, including on the scope of his work, to the FBI.

“I did indeed have SGE status with the Bureau (for no pay),” Richman wrote in an email.

Richman emerged last year as the former FBI director’s contact for leaking memos documenting his private discussions with President Trump – memos that are now the subject of an inspector general review over the presence of classified material. Sources familiar with Richman’s status at the FBI told Fox News that he was assigned to “special projects” by Comey, and had a security clearance as well as badge access to the building. Richman’s status was the subject of a Memorandum of Understanding. (read more)

Wait, let’s look at something here.

From the article the benefits included: “Sources familiar with Richman’s status at the FBI told Fox News that he was assigned to “special projects” by Comey, and had a security clearance as well as badge access to the building. Richman’s status was the subject of a Memorandum of Understanding.”

A few paragraphs later, this: “Richman’s portfolio included the use of encrypted communications by terror suspects.”

Oh my. Well, well, well… You see what’s being described here. There’s only one way to gain access to “encrypted communications” and that means having access to the FBI and NSA database.

Accepting he obviously had such access…. what would be the probability that Daniel Richman was one of these?

Daniel Richman

(Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 4/23/2019)

March 22, 2012 – The Obama administration announces new rules that will allow millions of U.S. citizens’ government files to be copied and analyzed for terrorism clues

(…) “Within the 99-page opinion from Judge Rosemary Collyer  she noted none of this FISA-702 database abuse was accidental. In a key footnote on page 87: Collyer outlined the years of unlawful violations was the result of “deliberate decisionmaking“:

This specific footnote, is key to peeling back the onion.

Note the phrase: “([redacted] access to FBI systems was the subject of an interagency memorandum of understanding entered into [redacted])”.  This sentence exposes an internal decision; withheld from congress and the FISA court by the Obama administration; and outlines a process for access and distribution of surveillance data. Note: “no notice of this practice was given to the FISC until 2016“.

We feel confident we’ve now found the source of the “memorandum of understanding” that lies at the heart of the issue.

Barack Obama and Eric Holder (Credit: Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)

In March 2012 the Obama administration through Attorney General Eric Holder made changes to the exploitation of intelligence databases as noted in this Wall Street Journal article later in the year:

(December 2012WSJ) Top U.S. intelligence officials gathered in the White House Situation Room in March to debate a controversial proposal. Counterterrorism officials wanted to create a government dragnet, sweeping up millions of records about U.S. citizens—even people suspected of no crime.

Not everyone was on board. “This is a sea change in the way that the government interacts with the general public,” Mary Ellen Callahan, chief privacy officer of the Department of Homeland Security, argued in the meeting, according to people familiar with the discussions.

A week later, the attorney general signed the changes into effect.

The rules now allow the little-known National Counterterrorism Center to examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them. That is a departure from past practice, which barred the agency from storing information about ordinary Americans unless a person was a terror suspect or related to an investigation.

Now, NCTC can copy entire government databases—flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others. The agency has new authority to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, and to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior. Previously, both were prohibited. Data about Americans “reasonably believed to constitute terrorism information” may be permanently retained.

The changes also allow databases of U.S. civilian information to be given to foreign governments for analysis of their own. In effect, U.S. and foreign governments would be using the information to look for clues that people might commit future crimes.  (more)

The 2012 changes, instituted by Eric Holder, permitted files of specific Americans to be generated under the auspices of potential terror threats.  The NSA databases could be exploited by the National Counterterrorism Center to extract content that would be contained within these files on targeted Americans.

Keep in mind this is early 2012, John Brennan is Deputy National Security Advisor and Asst. to President Obama for Homeland Security.

When Attorney General Eric Holder empowered the National Counterterrorism Center with this new authority, the office assigned to the data-collection was the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC).  The founder of the TTIC was John Brennan:

On 1 May 2003, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) opened its doors. Led by its first Director, John Brennan, TTIC filled its ranks with approximately three dozen detailees from across the US Government (USG) and was mandated to integrate CT capabilities and missions across the government. (link)

Also note the date of this DOJ Memorandum is March 2012:

Under the new rules issued in March, the National Counterterrorism Center, known as NCTC, can obtain almost any database the government collects that it says is “reasonably believed” to contain “terrorism information.”  (link)

The March 2012 date is right before the IRS scandal hit the headlines.

The IRS targeting scandal is where the term “Secret Research Project” originated as a description from the Obama team. It involved the U.S. Department of Justice under Eric Holder and the FBI under Robert Mueller. It never made sense why Eric Holder requested over 1 million tax records via CD ROM, until overlaying the timeline of the FISA abuse:

The IRS sent the FBI “21 disks constituting a 1.1 million page database of information from 501(c)(4) tax exempt organizations, to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” The transaction occurred in October 2010 (link)

Why disks? Why send a stack of DISKS to the DOJ and FBI when there’s a pre-existing financial crimes unit within the IRS. All of the evidence within this sketchy operation came directly to the surface in spring 2012.

Here’s how it looks:

♦ In 2010 Eric Holder asked the IRS to send him the records of 501(c) non profit groups and individuals representing conservative voters. [LINK] Lois Lerner sent the DOJ 1.1 million pages of 501(c)(4) tax filing data. Including a very specific set of “33 Schedule B attachment files”. The Schedule B’s were specific to Large Conservative 501(c)(4) groups operating and organized to oppose the agenda of President Obama. The Schedule B’s include the donor lists of specific people and sub-groups attached to the 501(c)(4).

The IRS sent the FBI “21 disks constituting a 1.1 million page database of information from 501(c)(4) tax exempt organizations, to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” The transaction occurred in October 2010 (link)

♦ In 2012 Eric Holder authorizes the use of government databases to search records of Americans and assemble “files” on potential targets. [Link] “The agency has new authority to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, and to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior.”

♦ In the period of 2012 through April 2016According to FISA Judge Rosemary Collyer, there were tens of thousands of illegal (“non-compliant”) search queries of the NSA database targeting Americans.  The search results were unlawfully “extracted” to unknown entities.  Eighty-five out of every hundred searches were illegal (85% non-compliant rate).

Consider purposeful actions, as a political targeting operation, by weaponizing the systems of government.  Steps:

  • First, identify the targets (IRS Database).
  • Second, research the targets (NSA Database).
  • Third assemble files on the targets (DOJ Authorization).
  • Fourth use the files to leverage/destroy your opposition.

We now have evidence of the first three steps; and my hunch is if we apply hindsight a lot of unusual activity will now make sense.  We have been living inside the fourth step for a few years.  We noticed the consequences… but we only had suspicions, until now.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/28/2019)

***

On December 12, 2012, the Wall Street Journal publishes a timeline of events regarding the National Counterterrorism Center controversy:

Dec. 25, 2009 – On Christmas Day, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian man, boarded a flight to Detroit from Amsterdam wearing explosives sewn into his undergarments. His bomb didn’t properly detonate. He eventually pleaded guilty to terror-related charges.

Jan. 7, 2010 – The White House issued a report about the attempted bombing, citing the need to strengthen the watchlisting process.

May 18, 2010 – The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the Christmas Day bombing concluded that “NCTC was not organized adequately to fulfill its mission.”

Feb 24, 2011 – In February 2011, Homeland Security staffers began corresponding about their concerns about the proposed NCTC guidelines, including issues with “oversight/compliance” and difficulty stripping down “what you need to focus on as the problems.”

March 4, 2011 – By March, Justice Department was on its “third round of edits” with NCTC. DHS Associate General Counsel Matthew L. Kronisch encouraged Homeland Security colleagues to submit their comments soon.

March 7, 2011 – In a heated exchange, an official at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence – whose name was redacted – said that several Homeland Security comments “suggest a potential lack of understanding” and “would eviscerate the authorities” of the counterterrorism center.

March 11, 2011 – Homeland Security Associate General Counsel Matthew Kronisch expressed “little expectation of resolving our concerns” but requested a meeting with the Office of Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice.

May 12, 2011 – Homeland Security Chief Privacy Officer Mary Ellen Callahan and Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Margo Schlanger elevated their concerns to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano in a memo titled “How Best to Express the Department’s Privacy and Civil Liberties-Related Concems over Draft Guidelines Proposed by the Office of The Director of National Intelligence and the National Counterterrorism Center.”

June 17, 2011 – Ms. Callahan expressed frustration with the process, stating that she “non-concurred” on “operational examples,” and that the examples were “complete non-sequiturs” and “non-responsive.”

November 8, 2011 – “I’m not sure I’m totally prepared with the firestorm we’re about to create,” Margo Schlanger wrote in an e-mail to Mary Ellen Callahan in November, referring to the fact that the two wanted to push for further privacy protections in the guidelines. Others in the department were willing to agree to the counterterrorism proposal.

March 7, 2012 – Staffers for the Homeland Security Privacy and Civil Rights and Civil Liberties offices’ prepared talking points for the “Deputies Committee meeting” at the White House to discuss the guidelines.

March 22, 2012 – But right after the meeting the guidelines were finalized and quietly released with a statement from the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper who cited the Abdullmutallub failures. “Following the failed terrorist attack in December 2009, representatives of the counterterrorism community concluded it is vital for NCTC to be provided with a variety of datasets from various agencies that contain terrorism information,” said Clapper, “The ability to search against these datasets for up to five years on a continuing basis as these updated Guidelines permit will enable NCTC to accomplish its mission more practically and effectively than the 2008 Guidelines allowed.”

April 2, 2012 – Homeland Security staffers began preparing the terms under which they would hand over the “six DHS datasets associated with the revised NCTC AG Guidelines.”

(Wall Street Journal, 12/12/2012)