Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)

September 17, 2019 – Trump directs ODNI, DoJ and FBI to immediately declassify materials

The White House Press Secretary released the following statement on September 17, 2019:

At the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency, the President has directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to provide for the immediate declassification of the following materials: (1) pages 10-12 and 17-34 of the June 2017 application to the FISA court in the matter of Carter W. Page; (2) all FBI reports of interviews with Bruce G. Ohr prepared in connection with the Russia investigation; and (3) all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Carter Page FISA applications.

In addition, President Donald J. Trump has directed the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr.

(whitehouse.gov/briefing, 9/17/2019)

August 14, 2019 – Grassley/Johnson report suggests a mole with Clinton ties was suspected of leaking from IC IG team during email probe

The Intelligence Community Inspector General — whose office performed some of the most important work on the probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server — suspected someone on his team was leaking information, Senate testimony shows. His counsel was tied to the Clintons.

The suspected mole is now working for the Trump administration in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), according to the testimony.

After returning from the State Department, an ICIG investigator noticed a Jeep that began tailing him and his colleagues and even rummaging through recycling, according to testimony in a Senate report by GOP Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Chuck Grassley of Iowa released Wednesday.

ICIG Charles McCullough, an Obama nominee, said he was eventually pushed out of federal service under pressure from California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and others.

Rev. Wogaman with Bill and Hillary Clinton after services. (Credit: public domain)

An investigator for the ICIG, Frank Rucker, told Senate investigators the office suspected their ICIG colleague Paul Wogaman, the son of the Bill and Hillary Clinton’s longtime pastor and adviser, was leaking.

He is the son of Rev. J. Philip Wogaman, who during the Clinton presidency, was pastor of Foundry United Methodist Church, which the Clintons attended.

(…) On Feb. 9, 2016, Clinton’s lawyer David Kendall wrote to Cheryl Mills, another top aide and lawyer: “Just talked to [redacted] — about our favorite son. He’s meeting with OSC today, which is good and a step in the right direction, but nothing yet public. [Redacted] said she’d heard — but second/third hand (and not from son) that IC IG was handing out anti-HRC clips to journalists. Have we gotten any inkling of that happening? I certainly haven’t, and it seems weird.”

A John Podesta email about mole in IC IG / Grassley report.

Mills forwarded the email to John Podesta, Brian Fallon and other Clinton aides.

The Senate report says Rucker told them Wogaman was “the only male employee on leave the following day when a meeting with [redacted] was supposed to take place according to the email. Therefore, he said, it was believed that Mr. Wogerman [sic] was leaking to [redacted].”

“He said that Mr. McCullough made a decision not to confront Mr. Wogerman [sic],” it continued. Mr. Rucker said that he does not believe that ICIG ever did an official assessment on whether Mr. Wogerman [sic] leaked classified information.”

“He said that Mr. Wogerman [sic] pushed very hard to be included on the investigation, but he was NOT part of it. He said that Mr. Wogerman [sic] now works at ODNI in the mission integration department. Mr. Rucker said that to his knowledge, nobody ever confronted Mr. Wogerman [sic] about it. He said that they all signed non-disclosure agreements or NDA’s regarding their work at ICIG.”

(…) Wogaman now works for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in the Trump administration, according to the report.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 8/14/2019)

August 14, 2019 – A Grassley/Graham/Johnson memo suggests the FBI failed to seek access to certain highly classified information potentially relevant to the Clinton email investigation

From left to right, Senators Lindsey Graham, Charles Grassley and Ron Johnson (Credit: public domain)

(…) “Thanks to the relentless investigative work of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), we are learning that the Hillary Clinton email case may not really be settled.

A staff memo updating the two senators’ long-running probe discloses that the FBI — the version run in 2016 by the now-disgraced and fired James ComeyAndrew McCabe and Peter Strzok — failed to pursue access to “highly classified” evidence that could have resolved important questions.

The failure to look at the evidence back in 2016 occurred even though the agents believed access to the sensitive evidence was “necessary” to complete the investigation into Clinton’s improper transmission of classified emails — some top-secret — on her unsecure private email server, the memos show.

To make matters worse, the Trump Department of Justice (DOJ) has known about that decision since at least 2018, thanks to the work of the DOJ’s internal watchdog, Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz, who provided DOJ leaders and Congress with a classified appendix explaining what happened.

But Johnson and Grassley have been unable to get answers for a year, even from Attorney General William Barr, about whether the FBI intends to look at the critical evidence it skipped back in 2016.

The Senate staff memo succinctly lays out just how egregious the FBI’s decision was in 2016.

The inspector general’s “appendix raised a number of serious questions because, as explained on page 154 of the unclassified DOJ IG report, the FBI decided not to seek access to certain highly classified information potentially relevant to the investigation despite members of the FBI case team referring to the review as a ‘necessary’ part of the investigation,” the Senate staff wrote.

“As a result of the findings in that appendix, Senator Grassley wrote a classified letter to DOJ on October 17, 2018, which remains unanswered. On January 15, 2019, at Mr. Barr’s nomination hearing, Senator Grassley asked Mr. Barr if he would answer the letter, if confirmed, to which he attested, ‘Yes, Senator.’ On April 16, 2019, Senators Grassley, Johnson, and Graham sent a letter to Attorney General Barr reiterating the need for a written response to that letter.”

The DOJ’s silence on the road that the FBI willfully chose not to take is all the more deafening given what we already know about the Clinton email case.” (Read more: The Hill, 8/22/2019)

August 12, 2019 – An Intelligence officer files a whistleblower complaint against President Trump over a promise he made to a foreign leader

Retired Vice Adm. Joseph Maguire is sworn in during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing to be confirmed as the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, on July 25, 2018. (Credit: Al Drago/Getty Images)

“Congressional Democrats led by Rep. Adam Schiff are salivating over an August 12 whistleblower complaint by an intelligence officer over a ‘troubling promise’ President Trump allegedly made to a foreign leader during a phone call.

It is not clear which foreign leader Trump was speaking with, or what was promised, according to the Washington Post – however, the complaint itself has given the president’s opponents a brand new ‘gotcha’ to chase in their quest to bring Trump down.

What’s more, acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire has been refusing to share details about the phone call with lawmakers.

Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson determined that the complaint was credible and troubling enough to be considered a matter of “urgent concern,” a legal threshold that requires notification of congressional oversight committees.

But acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire has refused to share details about Trump’s alleged transgression with lawmakers, touching off a legal and political dispute that has spilled into public view and prompted speculation that the spy chief is improperly protecting the president. –WaPo

And as NBC News reports, over the last several days “the secret whistleblower complaint has been the subject of an increasingly acrimonious standoff between the acting intelligence chief and Schiff, who has demanded Maguire’s testimony and a copy of the complaint.”

Maguire has agreed to testify publicly next week, Schiff announced Wednesday, saying in a statement that the Inspector General “determined that this complaint is both credible and urgent,” adding “The committee places the highest importance on the protection of whistleblowers and their complaints to Congress.”

The matter burst into public view Friday when Schiff disclosed that an unspecified whistleblower complaint had been filed with the inspector general of the intelligence community, but was being withheld from his committee. That independent watchdog deemed the matter an “urgent concern” that he was required by law to turn over to the congressional intelligence committees.

But Maguire, after consulting with the Justice Department, overruled him, according to a series of letters between a DNI lawyer and Schiff that have been made public. –NBC News

According to Schiff, withholding the information from the House Intelligence Committee he chairs is illegal – and has raised questions over a potential coverup.

Trump, meanwhile, tweeted on Thursday, [Sept. 19, 2019]:

(Read more: Zero Hedge, 9/19/2019)

CNN analyst Phil Mudd responds following a report from The Washington Post revealing President Donald Trump’s communications with a foreign leader sparked the whistleblower complaint that has led the acting director of national intelligence to agree to testify amid a showdown with Congress.

August 12 – October 11, 2019: A look at IC IG Michael Atkinson’s activities surrounding the hearsay whistleblower

“Last week the Intelligence Community Inspector General, Michael Atkinson, testified behind closed doors to congress. Atkinson testified about his role in bringing the ‘whistle-blower’ complaint forward.  The details of that testimony are now starting to surface and thankfully congress is taking a closer look at the sketchy background of Michael Atkinson.

Michael Atkinson (Credit: public domain)

There are numerous aspects to the whistle-blower (likely CIA operative Michael Barry), and the complaint, that just don’t add up. One of the areas of focus is the backdating of changes made to the ‘whistle-blower’ complaint form.  As Sean Davis notes:

[…] Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general, told HPSCI lawmakers during a committee oversight hearing on Friday that the whistleblower forms and rules changes were made in, even though the new forms and guidance, which were not uploaded to the ICIG’s website until September 24, state that they were changed in August.

Despite having a full week to come up with explanations for his office’s decisions to secretly change its forms to eliminate the requirement for first-hand evidence and to backdate those changes to August, Atkinson refused to provide any explanation to lawmakers baffled by his behavior. (read more)

The CIA ‘whistle-blower’ had no first-hand knowledge; everything was based on hearsay.  The CIA operative never informed the ICIG about prior contact and coordination with the House Intelligence Committee (Adam Schiff).  The CIA operative never disclosed congressional contact on the complaint form, and the complaint forms were changed specifically to accommodate this CIA operative.

On Sunday, October 6th, Ranking Member Devin Nunes also discussed his concerns with the testimony of Michael Atkinson.  Nunes noted the testimony “was a joke.”

Nunes told Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Sunday host Matt Boyle, “[The ICIG is] either totally incompetent or part of the deep state, and he’s got a lot of questions he needs to answer because he knowingly changed the form and the requirements in order to make sure that this whistleblower complaint got out publicly.”

“So he’s either incompetent or in on it, and he’s going to have more to answer for, I can promise you because we are not going to let him go; he is going to tell the truth about what happened,” Nunes added.  (read more)

ICIG Atkinson never reviewed the call transcript and facilitated the complaint processing despite numerous flaws.  Additionally, Atkinson ignored legal guidance from both the director of national intelligence (DNI) and the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel that highlighted Atkinson’s poor decision-making.

President Trump announced Joseph Macguire as the Acting ODNI on August 8th, 2019. (link)  The CIA operative “whistle-blower” letter to Adam Schiff and Richard Burr was on August 12th (link).   Immediately following this letter, the ICIG rules and requirements for Urgent Concern “whistle-blowers” was modified, allowing hearsay complaints. On August 28th Adam Schiff begins tweeting about the construct of the complaint.

Given the nature of Atkinson’s background, it appears his prior work in 2016, during his tenure as the lead legal counsel for the DOJ-NSD, likely played a role in his decision.

Here’s Nunes Sunday Interview (audio):

The center of the 2016 Lawfare Alliance election influence was/is the Department of Justice National Security Division, DOJ-NSD. It was the DOJ-NSD running the Main Justice side of the 2016 operations to support Operation Crossfire Hurricane and FBI agent Peter Strzok. It was also the DOJ-NSD where the sketchy legal theories around FARA violations (Sec. 901) originated.

Michael K Atkinson was previously the Senior Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General of the National Security Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ-NSD) in 2016. That makes Atkinson senior legal counsel to John Carlin and Mary McCord who were the former heads of the DOJ-NSD in 2016 when the stop Trump operation was underway.

Michael Atkinson was the lawyer for the same DOJ-NSD players who: (1) lied to the FISA court (Judge Rosemary Collyer) about the 80% non compliant NSA database abuse using FBI contractors; (2) filed the FISA application against Carter Page; and (3) used FARA violations as tools for political surveillance and political targeting.

Yes, that means Michael Atkinson was Senior Counsel for the DOJ-NSD, at the very epicenter of the political weaponization and FISA abuse.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 10/07/2019)

(Republished with permission)

August 8, 2019 – DNI director Dan Coats who is soon to resign, disrupts meeting to encourage his deputy, Sue Gordon, to resign

“Outgoing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats disrupted a meeting his deputy, Sue Gordon, was holding on election security to urge her to resign from her post.

The abrupt interruption on Thursday, reported by CNN, happened shortly before Gordon submitted her letter of resignation later that day.

She was next in line to be acting spy chief when Coats first announced his intent to retire late last month, but reports indicated the president was going to pick someone else to oversee the U.S. intelligence community until a permanent replacement was approved by the Senate.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 8/09/2019)

August 8, 2019 – The deputy director of national intelligence, Sue Gordon, resigns from her position

President Donald Trump announced on Aug. 8 that the deputy director of national intelligence, Sue Gordon, is resigning her position, leaving a vacuum at the agency that oversees civilian and military intelligence.

The current director of the agency, Dan Coats, announced last month he would step down on Aug. 15. Last week, Trump said he might name Gordon as the acting DNI, which oversees 17 U.S. civilian and military intelligence agencies including the CIA.

“Sue has announced she will be leaving on August 15, which coincides with the retirement of Dan Coats,” Trump said on Twitter.

Sue Gordon (c) arrives to brief members of the ‘Gang of Eight’ on May 24, 2018. (Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“A new Acting Director of National Intelligence will be named shortly,” Trump said.” (Read more: The Epoch Times, 8/09/2019)

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)

February 19, 2019 – ODNI and NSA impede lawmakers review of Obama admin ‘unmasking’ requests

The Director of National Intelligence oversees the 16 federal organizations that make up the intelligence community. (Credit: Linked in)

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Agency still have not granted access to Republican lawmakers to review hundreds of unmasking requests made on Americans by Senior Obama Administration officials, SaraACarter.com has learned.

Despite an order from President Trump more than a year ago, ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-CA, on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence said his committee has been stymied in its investigation into the unmasking requests that rocked Washington D.C. when discovered in 2017.

The ODNI and NSA were ordered by President Trump to make available the highly classified documents for congressional review. In order to make those classified documents available the ODNI needed to set up a secured repository for lawmakers on the committee to review the documents, added Nunes.

Ordinarily, Americans names are redacted or minimized by the NSA before being shared with outside intelligence sources. The names of Americans in these communications with foreign persons are considered highly classified and are rarely unmasked. However, it was discovered that many senior officials in the Obama Administration unmasked more frequently than previous administration. In some cases the names were unmasked, in other cases they were specific enough that the American’s identity was easily ascertained, intelligence sources had told this reporter.

“The NSA and ODNI were to put in safe guards – a repository so we could go and review (the documents)- they have yet to do it,” said Nunes. “The president ordered them to do it more than a year ago. We have yet to see that implemented.” (Read more: Sarah Carter, 2/19/2019)

October 18, 2018 – DNI Declassifies FISA Judge James Boasberg 2018 Ruling – FBI conducts “tens of thousands” of unauthorized NSA database queries

“There is a lot to unpack in a decision today by the Director of National Intelligence to declassify (with redactions) a 2018 FISA court ruling about ongoing unauthorized database search queries by FBI agents/”contractors” in the period covering 2017/2018.

BACKGROUND: In April 2017 the DNI released a FISA report written by Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer that showed massive abuse, via unauthorized searches of the NSA database, in the period of November 2015 through May 2016. Judge Collyer’s report specifically identified search query increases tied to the 2016 presidential primary.  Two years of research identified this process as the DOJ/FBI and IC using the NSA database to query information related to political candidates, specifically Donald Trump.

Judge James Boasberg (Credit: public domain)

Now we fast-forward to Judge Boasberg in a similar review (full pdf below), looking at the time period of 2017 through March 2018.

The timing here is an important aspect.

It is within this time-period where ongoing DOJ and FBI activity transfers from the Obama administration (Collyer report) into the Trump administration (Boasberg report).

It cannot be overemphasized as you read the Boasberg opinion, or any reporting on the Boasberg opinion, that officials within DOJ and FBI are/were on a continuum.  Meaning the “small group” activity didn’t stop after the election but rather continued with the Mueller and Weissmann impeachment agenda.

Remember, the 2016 ‘insurance policy’ was to hand Mueller the 2016 FBI investigation so they could turn it into the 2017 special counsel investigation. Mueller, Weissmann and the group then used the ‘Steele Dossier’ as the cornerstone for the special counsel review.  The goal of the Mueller investigation was to construct impeachment via obstruction. The same players transferred from “crossfire hurricane” into the Mueller ‘obstruction‘ plan.

Within Judge Boasberg’s review of the 2017 activity, he outlines an identical set of FISA violations from within the FBI units and “contractors” as initially outlined by Judge Collyer a year earlier.  Judge Boasberg wrote his opinion in October 2018 and that opinion was declassified today (October 8th, 2019). Boasberg is reviewing 2017 through March 2018.  [Main link to all legal proceedings here]

(Via Wall Street Journal)  The intelligence community disclosed Tuesday that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court last year found that the FBI’s pursuit of data about Americans ensnared in a warrantless internet-surveillance program intended to target foreign suspects may have violated the law authorizing the program, as well as the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.

The court concluded that the FBI had been improperly searching a database of raw intelligence for information on Americans—raising concerns about oversight of the program, which as a spy program operates in near-total secrecy.

(…)  The court ruling identifies tens of thousands of improper searches of raw intelligence databases by the bureau in 2017 and 2018 that it deemed improper in part because they involved data related to tens of thousands of emails or telephone numbers—in one case, suggesting that the FBI was using the intelligence information to vet its personnel and cooperating sources. Federal law requires that the database only be searched by the FBI as part of seeking evidence of a crime or for foreign intelligence information.

In other cases, the court ruling reveals improper use of the database by individuals. In one case, an FBI contractor ran a query of an intelligence database—searching information on himself, other FBI personnel and his relatives, the court revealed.  (more)

As with the Collyer report, I am going line-by-painstaking-line through the Boasberg report (yeah, swamped); and what is clear is that in 2017 the FBI ‘bad actors’ and ‘contractors’ were continuing to try and subvert the safeguards put into place by former NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers.   The 2017 non-compliance rate is similar to the 2016 review.

Judge Boasberg touches on the April 2017 Judge Collyer report.  Here is the carefully worded DNI explanation of the connective tissue (emphasis mine):

(…)  The FISC also concluded that the FBI’s querying and minimization procedures, as implemented, were inconsistent with Section 702 and the Fourth Amendment, in light of certain identified compliance incidents involving queries of Section 702 information.

These incidents involved instances in which personnel either misapplied or misunderstood the query standard, such that the queries were not reasonably likely to return foreign intelligence information or evidence of a crime. Some of these instances involved queries concerning large numbers of individuals.

While stating that the Government had taken “constructive steps” to address the identified issues, the FISC held that these steps did not fully address the statutory and Fourth Amendment concerns raised by the compliance incidents.

(…) Additionally, the FISC considered the scope of certain new restrictions regarding “abouts” communications that were enacted in the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017. “Abouts” collection is the acquisition of communications that contain a reference to, but are not to or from, a Section 702 target. As the NSA explained in April 2017 (see NSA’s April 28, 2017 Statement), the NSA stopped acquiring any upstream internet communications that are solely “about” a foreign intelligence target and, instead, limited its Section 702 collection to only those communications that are directly “to” or “from” a foreign intelligence target.

NSA’s 2018 Targeting Procedures contained the same limitation. Although the Government did not seek to resume “abouts” collection, the FISC, with assistance from amici, reviewed whether the “abouts” restrictions applied to any other types of Section 702 acquisitions currently being conducted. While the FISC held that the “abouts” restrictions apply across Section 702 acquisitions, it found that current Section 702 acquisitions did not implicate the “abouts” restrictions. (read more)

(Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 10/09/2019) (Archive)

Here is the October 2018 Boasberg Opinion: