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Veteran FBI Lawyer Boente Resigns Over Role in Michael Flynn Case

Sputnik – 31.05.2020

Federal Bureau of Investigation lawyer Dana Boente has resigned after 38 years due to pressure from the Justice Department, after facing criticism for his role in the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

“Few people have served so well in so many critical, high-level roles at the Department. Throughout his long and distinguished career as a public servant, Dana has demonstrated a selfless determination to ensure that justice is always served on behalf of our citizens. While it will be difficult to replace Dana, I am committed to ensuring that the next general counsel is experienced, objective, and prepared to lead the men and women who make up this vital part of the FBI’s mission,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement.

Boente, who had also been acting assistant attorney general of the National Security Division and US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, has come under fire for his handling of the case against Flynn.

Flynn pleaded guilty December 2017 to lying to FBI investigators about conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak regarding a United Nations resolution on Israel – Flynn has since rescinded his plea, and the Justice Department is seeking to drop the case.

In late April, a couple of right-leaning news outlets reported Boente had concealed exculpatory evidence related to Flynn. These reports were amplified by Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, who said on his show, “Shocking new reports suggest FBI General Counsel Dana Boente was acting in coordination with FBI Director Christopher Wray to block the release of that evidence that would have cleared Gen. Flynn.”

Wray picked Boente to be the FBI’s general counsel in January 2018, and he went on to play a key role in the agency’s Trump-Russia investigation – Senator Lindsey Graham, chair of the Judiciary Committee, named him as a possible target for subpoena as part of the panel’s probe of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane counterintelligence investigation into potential collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign.

Boente is the last remaining active government official who signed off on a FISA warrant targeting Trump campaign adviser Carter Page – former FBI Director James Comey signed off on the second FISA renewal for the FBI April 2017 – which occurred during his brief stint as acting attorney general. He assumed the role after Sally Yates, deputy attorney general in the Obama administration, was fired in late January 2017 for refusing to defend President Trump’s travel ban. Boente was replaced by Jeff Sessions.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s December report into Crossfire Hurricane criticised the FBI for at least 17 “significant errors and omissions” related to FISA warrants against Page in 2016 and 2017 and for the Bureau’s reliance on former MI6 operative Christopher Steele’s utterly discredited dossier. Recently declassified footnotes show the FBI was aware the document’s content may have been compromised by Russian intelligence and used it anyway..

The report noted Boente and other DOJ officials who signed off on the applications “did not have accurate and complete information at the time they approved them”.

May 31, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , | Leave a comment

EXPLOSIVE transcripts show Flynn wanted to work with Russia against ISIS, Kislyak warned Trump ‘Russiagate’ was targeting HIM

RT | May 29, 2020

Transcripts of conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak show that incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was looking out for US interests and sought Russian help against terrorists, while the FBI framed him.

Flynn and Kislyak spoke several times in December 2016 and January 2017, during the presidential transition. Within days of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the FBI interviewed Flynn with an intent – as shown by recently published documents – to catch him in a perjury trap. After a description of his call with Kislyak was leaked to the Washington Post, Flynn was accused of misleading the White House about the calls and pressured to resign.

Those invested in the ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theory have claimed for years that Flynn discussed easing US sanctions against Moscow.

Actual transcripts of the calls, made public on Friday by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), paint a drastically different picture. They show Flynn asking Moscow to not play the game of “tit-for-tat” escalation triggered by outgoing President Barack Obama’s expulsion of Russian diplomats, that would have “boxed in” the incoming president – and seeking to work together with Russia against “a common threat in the Middle East,” which from the context appears to be a reference to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists.

“Do not allow this administration to box us in, right now, okay?” Flynn tells Kislyak in a call on December 29, 2016, asking Russia to make its response “reciprocal.” He doesn’t want to create a situation where “everybody’s got to go back and forth and everybody’s got to be the tough guy here, you know?”

“We don’t need that right now,” Flynn says. “We need cool heads to prevail, and uh, and we need to be very steady about what we’re going to do because we have absolutely a common uh. threat in the Middle East right now.”

Two days later, on December 31, Kislyak informs Flynn that their conversation “was taken into account” in Moscow. In fact, President Vladimir Putin decided not to retaliate at all, saying he didn’t want to ruin the holidays for American diplomats and their families.

Flynn called this decision “wise.” Kislyak then said something that would turn out to be prophetic – that Russia judged these actions by the Obama administration to be aimed not just against Moscow, but against Trump.

“And I just wanted to tell you that we found that these actions have targeted not only against Russia, but also against the president-elect… and with all our rights to respond we have decided not to act now because, it’s because people are dissatisfied with the loss of elections and, and it’s very deplorable,” the ambassador said.

The events that unfolded proved Kislyak correct. The pretext for the FBI and DOJ to go after Flynn was that he supposedly violated the Logan Act – an archaic law banning ordinary Americans from conducting foreign policy, but which did not apply to him as the incoming presidential adviser anyway. Instead, what the transcripts show is that the outgoing administration was seeking to sabotage the incoming one.

On January 4, 2017, FBI agent Peter Strzok – who had previously vowed to “stop” Trump from getting elected in texts with colleague and lover Lisa Page – improperly ordered the FBI background investigation of Flynn to stay open. The following day, FBI chief James Comey went to the White House and discussed investigating Flynn with Obama personally. On that same day, January 5, the president’s chief of staff sent a request to the NSA to “unmask” Flynn. All of this was revealed only a month ago, in documents presented as evidence in the trial of Flynn for allegedly lying about the calls.

Russia eventually retaliated only in July 2017, when a Republican-majority Congress overrode Trump and passed a toxic sanctions bill based entirely on unsubstantiated ‘Russiagate’ claims of meddling in the presidential election. Just as Flynn feared, this would trigger a chain of “tit for tat” expulsions and closures that left both countries short of diplomatic staff – and cut off all avenues of further cooperation against IS, for peace in Syria, or anything else.

May 29, 2020 Posted by | Deception | , , | 1 Comment

The Case of General Michael Flynn: The Use of Law as a Political Weapon

By Paul Craig Roberts | Institute for Political Economy | May 20, 2020

The audacious corruption of the FBI and the US Department of Justice (sic) is demonstrated by their frame-up of the three-star general, former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and National Security Adviser to President Donald Trump.

US Department of Justice (DOJ) documents that the department was forced to turn over to General Michael Flynn’s attorney reveal that the FBI found no wrongdoing by Flynn in its investigation of him and recommended the investigation be closed. Corrupt FBI official Peter Strzok, a leader of the anti-Trump cabal in the FBI, intervened. Strzok convinced the official managing the investigation not to close the case as it was the wishes of the “7th floor” (top FBI officials) to keep the case open. In the absence of evidence against Flynn, released FBI documents prove that the FBI leadership decided to frame General Flynn. The documents reveal that the FBI’s plan is “to get him (Flynn) to lie so we can prosecute him or get him fired. . . . we should try to frame them in a way we want.” General Flynn was forced to incriminate himself with a guilty plea. Otherwise, the corrupt DOJ prosecutors threatened to indict Flynn’s son.

When this proof of egregious government misconduct came to light, the DOJ had no choice but to drop the case against General Flynn. Otherwise it would be clear that law in the US is a weapon in the hands of government. This would mean that control of government would be a life and death matter for the two political parties as it is in Ecuador and Bolivia where incoming presidents arrest or attempt to arrest outgoing presidents.

But we didn’t hear a word about the frame-up of General Flynn from the corrupt presstitutes. On May 7 the editorial board of the New York Times published the largest and most egregious collection of lies in the entire history of the disreputable organization. The editorial— “Don’t Forget, Michael Flynn Pleaded Guillty. Twice.” —claimed the lies coerced from Flynn proved Flynn’s guilt, and that Attorney General William Barr is a “personal fixer for the president” and used the Department of Justice to protect friends and to go after political enemies.

The New York Times has it backwards. Going after political enemies is precisely what the Obama Regime’s concocted case against General Flynn (and Trump) was all about. Remember, it was General Flynn who said on television that it was a “willful decision” of the Obama Regime to send the mercenary jihadists to attack Syria, a decision Obama made in the face of contrary advice by General Flynn, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. When Flynn revealed this, it blew up the fake news story spread by the Obama Regime and the presstitutes that the Obama-supported invasion of Syria by CIA mercenaries was an uprising by Syrian moderates fighting for democracy. Flynn’s blood is blood that the corrupt Obama Regime wanted very badly.

Obama’s role in the frame-up of Flynn and the orchestration of the Russiagate hoax is now coming to light, making the former president nervous. On May 10 the Wall Street Journal editorial board asked if Obama’s nerves are getting in the way of his judgment:

“Barack Obama is a lawyer, so it was stunning to read that he ventured into the Michael Flynn case in a way that misstated the supposed crime and ignored the history of his own Administration in targeting Mr. Flynn. Since the former President chose to offer his legal views when he didn’t need to, we wonder what he’s really worried about.”

The Democrats’ frame-up of General Flynn and their two attempted frame-ups of President Trump show an extraordinary audacity and a corruptly compliant FBI and DOJ. They thought that they could get away with it, and, of course, they had all the help possible from the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, and the rest of the presstitute scum for whom lies are the currency of their fake news realm. The presstitutes have made clear that the US media is devoid of integrity.

After high officials such as James Clapper, Susan Rice, Samatha Power, and others repeatedly claimed evidence of Trump and Flynn’s guilt, when under oath their story changed 180 degrees. Here is Director of National Intelligence James Clapper:

“I never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting/conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election.”

Susan Rice, Obama’s incompetent National Security Adviser, and Samatha Power, Obama’s Russia-baiting ambassador to the UN, along with the rest of the disreputable Obama cabal, have admitted that they saw no specific evidence of any collusion between Trump and Russia. The entire thing was an orchestrated hoax that proves beyond all doubt that the Democrat Party and the US media are corrupt beyond redemption.

When the case against Flynn was dropped as a result of the damning evidence of egregious government misconduct in framing a senior official of the US government, the corrupt prosecutors who had prosecuted the innocent Flynn all resigned in a huff, pretending that it was Barr, not them, who used the Department of Justice for self-interested political purpose.

Two Georgetown University law professors, Kean K. Katyal and Joshua A. Geltzer, totally discredited themselves and the Obama contingent in the DOJ, by alleging in the New York Times that the dropped charge against Flynn has resulted in the “utter demoralization” of “the law enforcement community.” In other words, for these law professors and “the law enforcement community” for which they claim to speak, dropping a case consisting entirely of an orchestrated frame-up, a contrived perjury trap, and threats against family members is demoralizing. The professors are so thoroughly dishonest that they use the lies coerced from Flynn—the price of his “cooperation with the investigation” in order that his son would not also be framed-up—as “evidence” of Flynn’s guilt and proof of the political use of the Justice Department by Trump and Barr in dropping the contrived case.

The frame-up of Flynn is not acknowledged by the law professors as political use of the Justice Department.

Instead the law professors describe the vindication of an innocent man on the basis of undeniable evidence as political use of the Justice Department.

If this is the kind of law Georgetown University teaches, the law school should be promptly shut down.

The question that demands an answer is how do people as corrupt and devoid of integrity as Comey, Mueller, and Strzok get into top FBI positions?

May 20, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

COMEY urged probe into Flynn by misrepresenting Russian contacts, declassified memo shows

RT | May 19, 2020

Ex-FBI director James Comey pushed to investigate Trump’s incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn despite lacking any evidence Flynn had shared classified info with Russian officials, a newly-declassified memo reveals.

It was Comey who told President Barack Obama and other administration officials that “incoming NSA Flynn is speaking frequently with Russian Ambassador Kislyak” in a meeting documented in the January 2017 memo by National Security Advisor Susan Rice, the unredacted first page of which was obtained by CBS on Tuesday.

The FBI director admits he “has no indication thus far that Flynn has passed classified information to Kislyak,” and no real basis for his insistence that the probe must go on.

The only thing backing his hunch that the meetings between the general and the Russian diplomat “could be an issue”?

“The level of communication is unusual,” Comey tells Obama, according to Rice, hinting that the National Security Council should “potentially” avoid passing “sensitive information related to Russia” to Flynn.

The FBI director did not elaborate on what is supposed to be “unusual” about an incoming foreign policy official speaking with a Russian counterpart, especially in the midst of what was then a rapidly-unraveling diplomatic relationship between the two countries with Obama expelling 35 Russian diplomats and imposing sanctions over alleged-but-never-substantiated “election interference.” Given the circumstances, an absence of communication might have been more unusual. But the timing is certainly auspicious.

Rice, Flynn’s predecessor who authored the memo, relates that the January 5 meeting followed “a briefing by [Intelligence Committee] leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election.”

The previous day, the FBI field office assigned with investigating Flynn attempted to close the case against him, called CROSSFIRE RAZOR, after having found “no derogatory information” to justify continued inclusion in the overarching CROSSFIRE HURRICANE probe (the “Russian collusion” investigation). They were blocked from doing so by Agent Peter Strzok, who added that the orders to keep the investigation going came from the “7th floor” – i.e. agency leadership. The Flynn investigation had been underway since August, beginning the day after Strzok discussed an ‘insurance policy’ that was supposed to keep then-candidate Donald Trump out of office with Comey’s deputy, Andrew McCabe.

While Comey describes his probe of Flynn as “proceeding ‘by the book’” after Obama repeatedly stresses he wants only a “by the book” investigation – both parties presumably hoping to avoid exactly the sequence of revelatory events that are currently unfolding – recently-unsealed documents from the case against Flynn indicate the general was entrapped, with the FBI’s goal being to “prosecute him or get him fired” with an ambush-style interview.

They got both their wishes – after agents tricked him into sitting for questioning without a lawyer present, Flynn was accused of lying about his contacts with Kislyak, fired from his post in the White House, and subsequently pled guilty to lying to a federal agent.

The Department of Justice has dropped its charges against Flynn, citing gross misconduct and abuse of power at the FBI, which it claims had no basis for launching its investigation. However, US District Judge Emmet Sullivan has attempted to block the dismissal, appointing a retired judge as independent prosecutor to both argue against the Justice Department’s move and pursue perjury charges against Flynn – essentially charging him with lying about lying.

On Tuesday, Flynn’s attorney filed a writ of mandamus with the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, urging them to force Sullivan to step aside and allow the dismissal of the charges.

May 19, 2020 Posted by | Deception | , , | Leave a comment

Ghost of J. Edgar Haunts Flynn Investigation

By Coleen Rowley – Consortium News – May 18, 2020

In this time of unprecedented political polarization, it’s disappointing but not surprising to see the Justice Department’s recent request to dismiss its prosecution of retired General Michael Flynn causing yet another media firestorm to swirl around Attorney General William Barr.

Obama Administration former officials, like the hyperventilating authors of this New York Times op-ed, “The Appalling Damage of Dropping the Michael Flynn Case,” go so far as to claim that dropping the case “embeds into official U.S. policy a shockingly extremist view of law enforcement as the enemy of the American people.”

In stark contrast, other former FBI agents, myself included, are appalled at Bureau and other “national security” officials’ numerous suspicious departures from standard FBI/Department of Justice policies that have finally been brought to light, marking this most bizarre investigation aimed at “get(ting) Flynn to lie.”

Flynn was asked to “a friendly chat” with the FBI on Jan. 24, 2017, for which he was told he would not need a lawyer present. The interview was part of the FBI’s Russiagate investigation, a purported scandal that has now all but totally collapsed.

The agents wanted to speak with him about his conversations with Sergey Kislyak, the then Russian ambassador to the U.S., while Flynn was on the Trump transition team as incoming national security advisor. Having already read the transcripts of those intercepted conversations there was nothing the agents could learn from Flynn.

According to FBI administrative notes released earlier this month, an official identified in the press as Bill Priestap, then assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, asked whether the only aim of the upcoming interview with Flynn was to get him to lie about his conversations with Kislyak. “Our goal is to determine if Mike Flynn is going to tell the truth about his relationship with Russians,” said Priestap in a hand-written note. But Priestap was having second thoughts.

“I agreed yesterday that we shouldn’t show Flynn [REDACTED] if he didn’t admit,” he wrote, the redaction presumably meaning the transcript of Flynn’s calls with Kislyak. “I thought about it last night, and I believe we should rethink this. What is our goal? Truth/admission or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?… Protect our institution by not playing games.”

Flynn was indeed formally charged with lying to an FBI agent and on Dec. 1, 2017 pled guilty after Russiagate Special Counsel Robert Mueller reportedly threatened to prosecute his son. Flynn was fired by Donald Trump after Flynn lied to the vice president about the conversations with Kislyak.

Kislyak. (Flickr)

In those conversations, Flynn asked that the Russians not retaliate for the Obama administration sanctions on Moscow imposed for the now debunked Russiagate allegations. Russia eventually decided not to retaliate. Flynn also asked on behalf of Israel that the Russians veto a UN Security Council resolution condemning illegal Israeli West Bank settlements, which Obama was planning to abstain on. Russia refused this request.

Upon release of the FBI documents this month, Flynn sought to undo his guilty plea and last week the Justice Department dropped the case. The judge, however, has not yet agreed and has asked for expert opinion.

Law Rarely Used

Many former FBI agents will probably recall being instructed in FBI training school (as I was) that Title 18 US Code 1001 (lying to an FBI agent) is mainly to caution a suspect not to lie, in order to get him or her to tell the truth to further an investigation.”

We were taught (and later learned by experience) that, for a lot of reasons, violation of this provision of “lying to the FBI” would almost never be prosecuted, especially if it was the sole “crime” committed. One reason for this was, at least in my law enforcement experience, that many, if not most, people who are embarrassed to be suspected of wrongdoing, do lie, or at least partially fudge the truth during initial interviews, as it’s a natural ego-defense.

So “getting” someone to lie, if that’s “the goal” (as admitted in the released FBI administrative notes on the Flynn case), is actually very easy. If the green light is now on to use T 18 USC 1001 law in this manner, the sky’s the limit. The FBI could lock up the world. In one of the released emails, FBI attorney Lisa Page shows how rare prosecution under 1001 is by writing:

“I have a question for you. Could the admonition re 1001 be given at the beginning of the interview? Or does it have to come following a statement which agents believe to be false? Does the policy speak to that? (I feel bad that I don’t know this but I don’t remember ever having to do this! Plus I’ve only charged it once in the context of lying to a probation officer.)”

‘Rewriting’ the 302

Peter Strzok during congressional hearing in July 2018.

Fired FBI Agent Peter Strzok, a zealous Russiagater who took part in the Flynn interview, and (his paramour) Page, appear in the Flynn case to have run roughshod over basic FBI legal policy by heavily editing the 302  form of the interview, as aptly detailed by retired supervisory agent Thomas Baker and other FBI agents. While Strzok asked Flynn the questions, his partner at the interview, Agent Joe Pientka, took the notes, which Strzok and Page, who wasn’t present, edited, according to released text messages between them.

The rules drilled into new agents are about the need to take verbatim notes, to be timely in documenting an interview on the FD-302 form for use in court, and to disallow edits by supervisors or attorneys who weren’t even present at an interview. These policies—all flouted in the Flynn case—were developed and designed to ensure accuracy during the Hoover era, long before tape recording equipment existed.

302s Only

Hoover’s FBI power was such that the Bureau could usually successfully insist, under federal rules of evidence and trial discovery, that only the final, polished FD-302 interview form would ever be handed over and made public at a trial.

The FBI and DOJ would always fight tooth and nail against “open file discovery,” claiming that other rough investigative and “administrative” documents in a file were not “relevant” and could therefore be kept hidden from the defense at trial.

It wasn’t until a few years after Hoover’s death that courts stopped FBI agents from destroying their contemporaneous interview notes and made the “1A envelope” preserved notes discoverable so that defense attorneys could check to see how closely the content of an agent’s FD-302 transcription conformed to his/her contemporaneous notes.

But the art of transcribing from rough notes in one’s own words what a suspect or defendant said does inherently allow even the most conscientious investigators some leeway, enabling the final 302 court document to be not as accurate as an actual recording of the interview.

In a conspiratorial “ends justify the means” situation that Strzok and Page believed themselves to be operating in, or in the case of any hell-bent, prosecution-focused, overzealous rogue agent(s), the old-fashioned FD-302 Hoover way is, and always was, susceptible to outright abuse.

(It may be appropriate to note that similar over-zealousness to benefit trial prosecutors was long practiced in the FBI laboratory until a top FBI agent-scientist and whistleblower blew the lid off related abuse that allowed FBI managers to rewrite and “strengthen” scientific results obtained by the agents who actually performed the forensic laboratory tests and analysis.)

Hoover. (Flickr)

Anyway, that’s why most other state and local law enforcement agencies in the country went (and/or were forced to go) to tape recording of confessions and other important interviews in the 1980’s to 1990’s. However the FBI bureaucracy long resisted the move to recording devices.

Over the decades, as voice and video recording equipment became more and more prevalent and easy to use, defense attorneys and even judges started to hammer FBI agents about why they continued their old-fashioned reliance on individual agents’ note-taking abilities and memories.

Nevertheless, for nearly 40 years FBI directors and special agents in charge (SACs) would continue arguing about the difficulty of using modern technology to record interrogations and interviews. They always contended (at least in internal arguments, but never publicly admitted on a witness stand) that allowing agents to testify and tell juries what a defendant said could always be relied upon as more successful for the prosecution than allowing a jury to hear a tape or video recording of exactly what a defendant said.

It was well known and even proudly pointed out internally that in “he said-she said” disputes, a jury would always tend to believe the FBI agent over a defendant.

The Flynn 302 fiasco illustrates how FBI managers recognized what an advantage the final “written in your own words” 302 is when it’s declared to be the only relevant document (no “administrative documents,” early drafts, etc. need ever be handed over in discovery) when juries will almost always believe the FBI agent over a defendant. It is rare for administrative documents to become public, as they have in the Flynn case.

Of course if Strzok and his fellow FBI agent had asked Flynn for his consent to be tape recorded, Flynn would have undoubtedly quickly realized this was not a friendly interview by agents attempting to actually gain counter-intelligence about Russia.

Not Material

That brings up a whole n’other problem with the Flynn case that again harkens back to Hoover and his pre-Church Committee abuses.

Barr and (former FBI agent, now U.S. Attorney) Jeffrey Jensen concluded, after reviewing the complete file, that Flynn’s “lying to the FBI” was not “material” to a bonafide matter under FBI jurisdiction, but merely predicated upon the entirely specious “Russiagate” counter-intelligence investigation of Flynn that Strzok and Page deliberately kept open on a technicality, even after the FBI ordered it closed because there was no reasonable basis to believe Flynn had ever colluded with the Russian government.

The Flynn case furnishes a sterling example of the post 9-11 “war on terror” having demolished the “wall” that separates intelligence gathering from criminal investigation.

While fraught with problems and contradictory DOJ guidance, the “wall” had existed for a valid reason after Church Committee discovery of abuses under Hoover et. al. who so easily used “national security” and “counter-intelligence” as a pretext to surveil, investigate and use COINTELPRO “disrupt and dismantle” activities to go after America’s national leaders, allowing a way around 4th Amendment protections.

Robert Mueller giving testimony on July 24, 2019. (C-Span screenshot)

I and other former FBI agents believe the egregious plotting to railroad Flynn and “get him to lie,” requires dismissal of these charges. A number of additional significant problems with the Flynn investigation and prosecution are enumerated by attorney and award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald in his excellent 1 ¾ hour-long detailed expose at The Intercept and by Scott Ritter, who focuses on “why innocent people plead guilty given plea bargaining” abuses in our justice “system.”  Neither Greenwald, Ritter nor I happen to be fans of Flynn or Trump. But wrong is wrong.

It’s hardly extremist to realize that FBI and other law enforcement officials have, over the years, made terrible mistakes, and in some cases, engaged in outright wrongful conduct, sometimes in rogue operations and other times more systemically.

I will venture to say that FBI “entrapment” type actions in manufacturing crimes, as was practiced on Flynn, got its early start as a more normalized standard procedure after 9-11 with Robert Mueller’s FBI gravitating to using con-artist type informants to infiltrate Muslim communities in order to identify, coerce and entrap the more emotionally vulnerable members into committing acts that the FBI could take credit for as “preventing” terrorism.

The FBI found it increasingly difficult to prevent real terrorism spurred by successive administrations committing war crimes that killed so many foreign civilians.

Some FBI and other law enforcement wrongdoing has come to light, like the systemic torture operations perpetrated by certain Chicago police officials; the FBI’s decades-long tolerance for employing murderous mobsters as their “top echelon” informants; the Bureau’s spying on and attempted blackmail of Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders, as well as law enforcement’s racial profiling and wrongful shootings.

In all too rare instances, innocent people are exonerated. Rather than being happy that this bit of justice is finally happening in the Flynn case, however, Russiagate proponents and Democratic partisans seem especially incensed since the always-flimsy charges of Flynn’s “lying to the FBI” was about all Special Prosecutor Mueller’s probe could show for their nearly two-year long, $32 million dollar massive effort.

We should pay heed to Scott Ritter’s admonition:

“The Obama national security team abused its power by unmasking Flynn’s identity, then leaked Flynn’s identity to the press, using this press reporting to justify the continuance of a baseless counterintelligence investigation in order to set a perjury trap intended to place Flynn in legal jeopardy. This is not how American justice is supposed to be dispensed, and the fact that Flynn had to undergo this ordeal should send a shiver down every American’s spine, because if left unchecked, there but for the grace of God go us all.”

Coleen Rowley, a retired FBI special agent and division legal counsel whose May 2002 memo to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller exposed some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures, was named one of TIME magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. Her 2003 letter to Robert Mueller in opposition to launching the Iraq War is archived in full text on the NYT and her 2013 op-ed entitled “Questions for the FBI Nominee“ was published on the day of James Comey’s confirmation hearing. Assigned to the Omaha, Jackson, MI, New York City field offices, and to the U.S. embassy in Paris, and consulate in Montreal, Rowley taught constitutional law to FBI agents in Minneapolis. 

May 19, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception | , | Leave a comment

FBI no longer trusted? ODNI says spies will take over US election security briefings

RT | May 15, 2020

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has reassigned the job of counter-intelligence briefings to US political campaigns and candidates from the FBI, presumably over the misconduct during the 2016 election.

Going forward, all intelligence-based threat briefings to “candidates, campaigns and political organizations” will be provided by the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, the acting head of ODNI Richard Grenell announced on Friday.

The announcement went almost unnoticed in Washington until pointed out by filmmaker Mike Cernovich, who said it amounted to “a polite way of saying that the FBI is no longer trusted.”

Donald Trump Junior confirmed that interpretation, saying that the FBI and other institutions has been “corrupted at the top and need a thorough cleaning before they gain back the trust Americans once bestowed upon them.”

The change is but the latest reform Grenell has pushed through at the ODNI since he took over as acting chief in February. It follows last week’s revelations that the FBI sought to entrap President Donald Trump’s first national security adviser Michael Flynn after the 2016 election, first getting him fired from the White House and then improperly prosecuted for perjury.

Previously, the DOJ inspector-general found that the FBI sought to spy on the Trump campaign in 2016 while using counterintelligence “defensive briefings” as cover, and obtained four FISA warrants to do so based mainly on the fraudulent “pee tape” dossier compiled by British spy Christopher Steele on behalf of Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.

At the time, the FBI, CIA and the ODNI provided fuel and cover for Democrat accusations that Trump had “colluded” with Russia to win the election, which have since been shown as entirely unfounded.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security will still work with the intelligence community to “identify and integrate threat information,” but the task of briefing candidates and campaigns will be entrusted to NCSC Director Bill Evanina, overwhelmingly confirmed by the Senate earlier this month.

Evanina “will act swiftly to deliver the timely and thorough assessments to those affected by potential malicious influence,” the ODNI said, describing the change as an “important improvement and simplification” of the current process.

Congressman John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) has been nominated to take over as permanent ODNI director, but his Senate confirmation is still pending.

May 15, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , | Leave a comment

As Another Perjury Trap is Exposed the FBI’s Case Against Trump Collapses

By Scott Ritter – Consortium News – May 14, 2020

It is one of the hottest conversations making the rounds on the internet — Shawn Henry, the retired FBI cyber-sleuth-turned private cyber security consultant, speaking with Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, recorded in transcripts of executive session testimony conducted on December 5, 2017, and only recently released to the public.

Schiff: Do you know the date in which the Russians exfiltrated the data from the DNC?

Henry:  I do. I have to just think about it. I don’t know. I mean, it’s in our report that I think the Committee has.

Schiff:  And, to the best of your recollection, when would that have been?

Henry: Counsel just reminded me that, as it relates to the DNC, we have indicators that data was exfiltrated. We do not have concrete evidence that data was exfiltrated from the DNC, but we have indicators that it was exfiltrated.

Schiff: And the indicators that it was exfiltrated, when does it indicate that would have taken place?

Henry: Again, it’s in the report. I believe — I believe it was April of 2016. I’m confused on the date. I think it was April, but it’s in the report.

Schiff: It provides in the report on 2016, April 22nd, data staged for exfiltration by the Fancy Bear actor. [Note: Fancy Bear is an attribution label used by Henry’s parent firm, CrowdStrike, to identify specific hacking methods and tools which are collectively referred to as an “advanced persistent threat”, or APT. Fancy Bear is also known by other cyber security organizations as APT-28, and is assessed by the U.S. government as being affiliated with Russian Military Intelligence, or GRU.]

Henry:  Yes, sir. So that, again, staged for, which means there’s not — the analogy I used with Mr. Stewart [Congressman Chris Stewart, R-Utah] earlier was we don’t have a video of it happening, but there are indicators that it happened. There are times when we can see data exfiltrated, and we can say conclusively. But in this case, it appears it was set up to be exfiltrated, but we just don’t have the evidence that says it actually left.

Henry’s testimony has been used by many detractors of the “Russia-did-it” narrative promulgated by many congressional Democrats (including Schiff), the U.S. Intelligence Community (including the FBI), and former Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller as clear cut evidence that CrowdStrike had no direct evidence that any data or emails had been stolen from the DNC, and as such the entire narrative used to sustain the allegations that Russia was behind the thefts was, in fact, baseless.

Such a sweeping conclusion, however, is not sustained by either Shawn Henry’s testimony, or the available evidence. While there remain serious questions about the efficacy of the official narrative laying the alleged cyber attacks on the DNC at the feet of Russian intelligence, Henry’s testimony in and of itself does not make that case. Indeed, information subsequently released by the FBI suggests that, Henry’s assertions notwithstanding, data transfers did, in fact, occur on April 22.

“On or about April 22,” an indictment charging Russian military intelligence officers with the hacking of the DNC server alleges, “the Conspirators compressed gigabytes of data from DNC computers, including opposition research. The conspirators later moved the compressed DNC data using X-Tunnel to a GRU-leased computer located in Illinois.” Based on an analysis of the Illinois computer and another in Arizona, Mueller likewise asserts, in his report, that “[T]he GRU also stole documents from the DNC network shortly after gaining access. On April 22, 2016, the GRU copied files from the DNC network to GRU-controlled computers.”  

[In a footnote to his report, Mueller uses the qualifier “appear” to say that GRU “officers appear to have stolen thousands of emails and attachments, which were later released by WikiLeaks in July 2016.” He was never able to establish how the emails got to GRU headquarters.]

What Henry’s testimony does do, however, is dismantle the official predicate used by the FBI to initiate its counterintelligence investigation, known as Crossfire Hurricane, into alleged collusion between persons affiliated with the presidential campaign of Donald Trump and the Russian government to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election in favor of Trump.

The date of the alleged “staging” of data for “exfiltration” — April 22, 2016 — is highlighted by Schiff, during his questioning of Henry.

Schiff:  In your report, when you stated the data was staged for exfiltration on April 22ndof last year, that would have been the first time that you found evidence that the data was staged for exfiltration?

Henry:  I believe that is correct.

Schiff: Did you have a chance to read the information that was filed in conjunction with the George Papadopolous plea? [Note: George Papadopolous was a one-time foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign who pled guilty to lying to FBI agents.]

Henry:  I did not.

Schiff:  In that information, it states that Mr. Papadopolous was informed at the end of April that the Russians were in possession of stolen DNC or Clinton emails. If that information is correct, that would only be days after that data was staged for exfiltration?

Henry:  Yes.

Crossfire Hurricane

Recently declassified Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications submitted by the Department of Justice to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a unique judicial body that approves requests for secret warrants used by law enforcement to conduct covert electronic and physical surveillance of U.S. citizens, reveal that the predicate for the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation into alleged Russian collusion by the Trump campaign was triggered by a May 10, 2016, meeting between Papadopolous and an Australian diplomat, Alexander Downer (who at the time was the Australian Ambassador to the United Kingdom) in a London bar.

According to Downer, Papadopolous revealed that, based upon an April 26 conversation with a Maltese professor named Joseph Mifsud, “he [Papadopolous] 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.”

Downer and a fellow Australian diplomat who was also at the meeting and witnessed Papadopolous’ statement, drafted a cable back to the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Canberra recording the gist of the conversation. “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.”

After the release by WikiLeaks on July 22, 2016, of thousands of emails allegedly sourced from the DNC, Downer, concerned that there might be a link between Papadopolous and the DNC emails, provided a copy of his cable to the U.S. Embassy in London, which forwarded it onto the FBI. This cable was used by the FBI to initiate its Crossfire Hurricane counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign; a derivative investigation into Papadopolous was given the codename “Crossfire Typhoon.”

As far as predicates for sensitive counterintelligence investigations of presidential campaigns go, the Papadopolous conversation with Misfud is transparently weak. A cursory examination of the emails released by WikiLeaks on July 22, 2016, shows that no in-time reference pre-dates May 25, 2016, more than a month after the alleged “data staging” event that Schiff highlighted as the link between the DNC hack and Papadopolous.

In short, regardless of the content of Papadopolous’s conversation with Mifsud, as relayed by Downer, there was no linkage between any emails alleged to be in the possession of Russia at the time of the April 26, 2016, Papadopolous-Misfud meeting and the actual data released by WikiLeaks on July 22, 2016, that the FBI used to justify the opening of both the Crossfire Hurricane and Crossfire Typhoon investigations. As Mueller notes in his report, the information released by WikiLeaks on July 22, 2016, coincides with a separate, alleged cyber attack on the DNC Microsoft Exchange Service between May 25 and June 1, 2016 — an attack that Mifsud could not have known about when he met with Papadopolous in April.

Moreover, the FBI knew before it interviewed Papadopolous on Jan. 27, 2017, that Papadopolous was not involved in any scheme to acquire purloined Russian emails on behalf of the Trump campaign. In September and October of 2016, the FBI made use of two confidential human sources (CHS) to engage Papadopoulos in conversations designed to elicit corroboration into its now-debunked theory.

In a Sept. 15, 2016, meeting between Papadopolous and an FBI-controlled CHS, Papadopolous was asked outright whether or not the Trump campaign could benefit from third-party intervention from the likes of WikiLeaks or Russia. Papadopolous made it clear in his response that no one in the campaign was advocating for this kind of intervention because it was “illegal,” “compromised national security,” and “set a bad precedent.”

“At the end of the day,” Papadopolous said, “it’s an illegal, it’s illegal activity. Espionage is treason. This is a form of treason.” And when asked by a second FBI-controlled CHS on Oct. 29, 2016, about who he thought was behind the hacking of the DNC, Papadopolous responded that it could be “the Chinese,” “the Iranians,” “Bernie supporters,” or “Anonymous” — but not the Russians. “Dude, Russia doesn’t have any interest in it anyways,” Papadopolous said. “They — dude, no one knows how a president is going to govern anyways. I mean… Congress is very hostile to Russia anyways.” It was a prescient, and telling, exchange — one the FBI chose to ignore.

No Connection

In the court filing detailing the facts sustaining Papadopolous’s guilty plea, Mueller declared that “defendant PAPADOPOULOS impeded the FBI’s ongoing investigation into the existence of any links or coordination between individuals associated with the Campaign and the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.”

However, any careful examination of the data used by the FBI to link Papadopolous to the WikiLeaks release of DNC emails on July 22, 2016, clearly shows that there was absolutely no connection. As such, Papadopolous’s conversation with Mifsud had zero material bearing on the FBI’s investigation, a fact known to the FBI prior to its interview of Papadopolous on Jan. 27, 2017.

Indeed, the demonstrative lack of connection between Papadopolous and the hacking of the DNC should have been grounds for shutting down the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. There is only one explanation for the FBI’s actions in continuing to pursue Papadopolous — the interview was a perjury trap, plain and simple, designed to generate a conviction that would politically damage a sitting president and create the impression that the investigation into Russian collusion was more credible than it actually was.

The Papadopolous saga has been overshadowed by the ongoing controversy swirling around the Department of Justice decision to drop its charges against former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn who, like Papadopolous, pled guilty to lying to an FBI agent. The same kind of prosecutorial misconduct, perpetrated by many of the same individuals, that prompted dropping Flynn’s charges infects every aspect of the Papadopolous matter — even more so.

While Papadopolous cannot undo his sentence, or get back the time he served in prison, he can be exonerated by a much-deserved presidential pardon. Anything less would represent a victory by those who have corrupted American justice for political purposes, and a defeat for every American citizen who believes in the foundational principle of impartial justice.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD.

May 15, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

Flynn ‘unmasking’ documents show involvement of senior Obama administration officials, including Joe Biden

RT | May 13, 2020

A newly published list of US officials who were interested in National Security Agency (NSA) records on Trump adviser Michael Flynn includes President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, as well as Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden is listed as requesting the unmasking on January 12, 2017, the same day the Washington Post published a story claiming that Flynn had misreported his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, based on leaked NSA information.

Flynn unmasking documents f… by RT America on Scribd

Yet on Tuesday, Biden told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he “knew nothing” about the investigation of Flynn, and accused the Trump administration of using the former adviser’s case as a “diversion” from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The unmasking log was provided by the NSA to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence last week, and sent by the Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Richard Grenell to two senators who requested it, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin), who published it on Wednesday.

In addition to Biden, the document shows that then-DNI James Clapper made three unmasking requests about Flynn, CIA Director John Brennan made two, and FBI Director James Comey made one.

Biden’s campaign reacted at first by lashing out against the CBS reporter who published the documents, with his rapid response director Andrew Bates calling Catherine Herridge “a partisan, rightwing hack who is a regular conduit for conservative media manipulation ploys.”

Bates later removed the tweet and issued a follow-up, calling the unmasking perfectly normal behavior by US officials concerned “over intelligence reports of Michael Flynn’s attempts to undermine ongoing American national security policy.”

The documents show Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff at the time, made an unmasking request on January 5 – the very day Obama met with all the intelligence principals, and a day after FBI agent Peter Strzok intervened to keep the case on Flynn open despite the lack of any “derogatory” evidence. Strzok would later be sent by Comey to interview Flynn and edit the notes of that interview (the “302”) to imply Flynn had lied to him, resulting in the former general’s prosecution by special counsel Robert Mueller.

What the documents also show is that the Obama administration’s interest in what the NSA might have on Flynn began soon after the November 2016 election, with then-US envoy to the UN Samantha Power filing an unmasking request on November 30. She filed six more after that, the last dated January 11, 2017.

Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak about US sanctions against Russia was on December 29, 2016, after Obama suddenly announced the mass expulsion of Russian diplomats and seizure of two diplomatic properties, citing Moscow’s alleged “meddling” in the presidential election.

Evidence that only recently emerged in the Flynn case showed that the leadership of the FBI and the Department of Justice sought to interview him using the pretext of the Logan Act, an 18th-century law which has never been used to prosecute anyone, and did not apply in this instance since Flynn was not a private citizen, but an official of the incoming administration conducting routine business during the presidential transition. This new evidence led the DOJ to announce last week it was dropping all charges against Flynn.

Between the manufactured pretext to go after Flynn and the prior revelation that four FISA warrants used to spy on the Trump campaign via adviser Carter Page had been entirely based on the discredited ‘Steele dossier’, the Trump administration has argued that they were unfairly targeted by its predecessor in what amounted to an illegal coup.

May 14, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception | , , , , | 1 Comment

FBI Claims China Targeting US Organizations Engaged in Coronavirus Research

Sputnik – May 13, 2020

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have issued a joint statement in which they accuse malicious Chinese actors of trying to steal US coronavirus vaccine research.

“The FBI is investigating the targeting and compromise of US organizations conducting COVID-19-related research by PRC-affiliated cyber actors and non-traditional collectors. These actors have been observed attempting to identify and illicitly obtain valuable intellectual property (IP) and public health data related to vaccines, treatments and testing from networks and personnel affiliated with COVID-19-related research. The potential theft of this information jeopardizes the delivery of secure, effective, and efficient treatment options,” the statement, put out Wednesday, says.

The FBI and CISA urge organizations carrying out research in these fields to “maintain dedicated cybersecurity and insider threat practices” to prevent such thefts, and calls on institutions to watch out for and report any “anomalous” and “unusual” activities and behaviour. The statement also warns that organizations should realize that talking to the press about their COVID-19-related research may result in “increased interest and cyber activity” by possible malicious actors.

The warning comes just days following Sunday’s report by The New York Times citing current and former US security officials indicating that US intelligence was planning to put out an alert about alleged efforts by Chinese spies to access US-based coronavirus research. Officials told the paper that the ‘non-traditional collectors’ involved may include Chinese researchers and students working in the United States who may be interested in ‘infiltrating’ US academic and private laboratories in search of a vaccine. Complementing them are China’s “state-run hacking teams,” the paper claimed.

CISA director Christopher Krebs has alleged that “China’s long history of bad behaviour in cyberspace is well documented, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone they are going after the critical organizations involved in the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” Krebs promised that the US would “defend our interests aggressively,” without elaborating.

Strong Claims From ‘Empire of Hackers’

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian commented on the claims made by NYT on Monday, saying China already leads global research and development on coronavirus vaccines and therapies, and that the hacking claims were an “immoral” and baseless attempt to “smear” his country.

Chinese biotech companies reported recently that they have four different coronavirus vaccines already undergoing clinical trials, with three of them entering the second stage, with pilot production of an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine expected to begin in July. US President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has previously said he expects the US to have a vaccine available by the end of the year.

An anonymous researcher told the Global Times newspaper Monday that in the US’s core research efforts would be of little value to China, because US efforts are DNA and RNA-based vaccines, while China has chosen to focus on inactivated vaccines (i.e. vaccines made from virulent virus by destroying its infectivity while retaining its immunogenicity). Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine is the most famous example of a major inactivated vaccine.

Earlier this year, China called out the United States for being an “empire of hackers” and “the largest state eavesdropper in international cyberspace” following revelations of the extent of the National Security Agency’s global intelligence-gathering operations going back to the Cold War.

May 13, 2020 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

Twin Pillars of Russiagate Crumble

For two and a half years the House Intelligence Committee knew CrowdStrike didn’t have the goods on Russia. Now the public knows too.

By Ray McGovern – Consortium News – May 9, 2020

House Intelligence Committee documents released Thursday reveal that the committee was told two and half years ago that the FBI had no concrete evidence that Russia hacked Democratic National Committee computers to filch the DNC emails published by WikiLeaks in July 2016.

The until-now-buried, closed-door testimony came on Dec. 5, 2017 from Shawn Henry, a protege of former FBI Director Robert Mueller (from 2001 to 2012), for whom Henry served as head of the Bureau’s cyber crime investigations unit.

Henry retired in 2012 and took a senior position at CrowdStrike, the cyber security firm hired by the DNC and the Clinton campaign to investigate the cyber intrusions that occurred before the 2016 presidential election.

The following excerpts from Henry’s testimony speak for themselves. The dialogue is not a paragon of clarity; but if read carefully, even cyber neophytes can understand:

Ranking Member Mr. [Adam] Schiff: Do you know the date on which the Russians exfiltrated the data from the DNC? … when would that have been?

Mr. Henry: Counsel just reminded me that, as it relates to the DNC, we have indicators that data was exfiltrated from the DNC, but we have no indicators that it was exfiltrated (sic). … There are times when we can see data exfiltrated, and we can say conclusively. But in this case, it appears it was set up to be exfiltrated, but we just don’t have the evidence that says it actually left.

Mr. [Chris] Stewart of Utah: Okay. What about the emails that everyone is so, you know, knowledgeable of? Were there also indicators that they were prepared but not evidence that they actually were exfiltrated?

Mr. Henry: There’s not evidence that they were actually exfiltrated. There’s circumstantial evidence … but no evidence that they were actually exfiltrated. …

Mr. Stewart: But you have a much lower degree of confidence that this data actually left than you do, for example, that the Russians were the ones who breached the security?

Mr. Henry: There is circumstantial evidence that that data was exfiltrated off the network.

Mr. Stewart: And circumstantial is less sure than the other evidence you’ve indicated. …

Mr. Henry: “We didn’t have a sensor in place that saw data leave. We said that the data left based on the circumstantial evidence. That was the conclusion that we made.

In answer to a follow-up query on this line of questioning, Henry delivered this classic: “Sir, I was just trying to be factually accurate, that we didn’t see the data leave, but we believe it left, based on what we saw.”

Inadvertently highlighting the tenuous underpinning for CrowdStrike’s “belief” that Russia hacked the DNC emails, Henry added: “There are other nation-states that collect this type of intelligence for sure, but the — what we would call the tactics and techniques were consistent with what we’d seen associated with the Russian state.”

Not Transparent

Try as one may, some of the testimony remains opaque. Part of the problem is ambiguity in the word “exfiltration.”

The word can denote (1) transferring data from a computer via the Internet (hacking) or (2) copying data physically to an external storage device with intent to leak it.

As the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity has been reporting for more than three years, metadata and other hard forensic evidence indicate that the DNC emails were not hacked — by Russia or anyone else.

Rather, they were copied onto an external storage device (probably a thumb drive) by someone with access to DNC computers. Besides, any hack over the Internet would almost certainly have been discovered by the dragnet coverage of the National Security Agency and its cooperating foreign intelligence services.

Henry testifies that “it appears it [the theft of DNC emails] was set up to be exfiltrated, but we just don’t have the evidence that says it actually left.”

This, in VIPS view, suggests that someone with access to DNC computers “set up” selected emails for transfer to an external storage device — a thumb drive, for example. The Internet is not needed for such a transfer. Use of the Internet would have been detected, enabling Henry to pinpoint any “exfiltration” over that network.

Bill Binney, a former NSA technical director and a VIPS member, filed a sworn affidavit in the Roger Stone case. Binney said: “WikiLeaks did not receive stolen data from the Russian government. Intrinsic metadata in the publicly available files on WikiLeaks demonstrates that the files acquired by WikiLeaks were delivered in a medium such as a thumb drive.”

The So-Called Intelligence Community Assessment

There is not much good to be said about the embarrassingly evidence-impoverished Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) of Jan. 6, 2017 accusing Russia of hacking the DNC.

But the ICA did include two passages that are highly relevant and demonstrably true:

(1) In introductory remarks on “cyber incident attribution”, the authors of the ICA made a highly germane point: “The nature of cyberspace makes attribution of cyber operations difficult but not impossible. Every kind of cyber operation — malicious or not — leaves a trail.”

(2) “When analysts use words such as ‘we assess’ or ‘we judge,’ [these] are not intended to imply that we have proof that shows something to be a fact. … Assessments are based on collected information, which is often incomplete or fragmentary … High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong.” [And one might add that they commonly ARE wrong when analysts succumb to political pressure, as was the case with the ICA.]

The intelligence-friendly corporate media, nonetheless, immediately awarded the status of Holy Writ to the misnomered “Intelligence Community Assessment” (it was a rump effort prepared by “handpicked analysts” from only CIA, FBI, and NSA), and chose to overlook the banal, full-disclosure-type caveats embedded in the assessment itself.

Then National Intelligence Director James Clapper and the directors of the CIA, FBI, and NSA briefed President Obama on the ICA on Jan. 5, 2017, the day before they gave it personally to President-elect Donald Trump.

On Jan. 18, 2017, at his final press conference, Obama saw fit to use lawyerly language on the key issue of how the DNC emails got to WikiLeaks, in an apparent effort to cover his own derriere.

Obama: “The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC e-mails that were leaked.”

So we ended up with “inconclusive conclusions” on that admittedly crucial point. What Obama was saying is that U.S. intelligence did not know—or professed not to know—exactly how the alleged Russian transfer to WikiLeaks was supposedly made, whether through a third party, or cutout, and he muddied the waters by first saying it was a hack, and then a leak.

From the very outset, in the absence of any hard evidence, from NSA or from its foreign partners, of an Internet hack of the DNC emails, the claim that “the Russians gave the DNC emails to WikiLeaks” rested on thin gruel.

In November 2018 at a public forum, I asked Clapper to explain why President Obama still had serious doubts in late Jan. 2017, less than two weeks after Clapper and the other intelligence chiefs had thoroughly briefed the outgoing president about their “high-confidence” findings.

Clapper replied: “I cannot explain what he [Obama] said or why. But I can tell you we’re, we’re pretty sure we know, or knew at the time, how WikiLeaks got those emails.” Pretty sure?

Comey briefs Obama, June 2016 (Flickr)

Preferring CrowdStrike; ’Splaining to Congress

CrowdStrike already had a tarnished reputation for credibility when the DNC and Clinton campaign chose it to do work the FBI should have been doing to investigate how the DNC emails got to WikiLeaks. It had asserted that Russians hacked into a Ukrainian artillery app, resulting in heavy losses of howitzers in Ukraine’s struggle with separatists supported by Russia. A Voice of America report explained why CrowdStrike was forced to retract that claim.

Why did FBI Director James Comey not simply insist on access to the DNC computers? Surely he could have gotten the appropriate authorization. In early January 2017, reacting to media reports that the FBI never asked for access, Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee there were “multiple requests at different levels” for access to the DNC servers.

“Ultimately what was agreed to is the private company would share with us what they saw,” he said. Comey described CrowdStrike as a “highly respected” cybersecurity company.

Asked by committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) whether direct access to the servers and devices would have helped the FBI in their investigation, Comey said it would have. “Our forensics folks would always prefer to get access to the original device or server that’s involved, so it’s the best evidence,” he said.

Five months later, after Comey had been fired, Burr gave him a Mulligan in the form of a few kid-gloves, clearly well-rehearsed, questions:

BURR: And the FBI, in this case, unlike other cases that you might investigate — did you ever have access to the actual hardware that was hacked? Or did you have to rely on a third party to provide you the data that they had collected?

COMEY: In the case of the DNC, … we did not have access to the devices themselves. We got relevant forensic information from a private party, a high-class entity, that had done the work. But we didn’t get direct access.

BURR: But no content?

COMEY: Correct.

BURR: Isn’t content an important part of the forensics from a counterintelligence standpoint?

COMEY: It is, although what was briefed to me by my folks — the people who were my folks at the time is that they had gotten the information from the private party that they needed to understand the intrusion by the spring of 2016.

In June last year it was revealed that CrowdStrike never produced an un-redacted or final forensic report for the government because the FBI never required it to, according to the Justice Department.

By any normal standard, former FBI Director Comey would now be in serious legal trouble, as should Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, et al. Additional evidence of FBI misconduct under Comey seems to surface every week — whether the abuses of FISA, misconduct in the case against Gen. Michael Flynn, or misleading everyone about Russian hacking of the DNC. If I were attorney general, I would declare Comey a flight risk and take his passport. And I would do the same with Clapper and Brennan.

Schiff: Every Confidence
But No Evidence

Both pillars of Russiagate–collusion and a Russian hack–have now fairly crumbled.

Thursday’s disclosure of testimony before the House Intelligence Committee shows Chairman Adam Schiff lied not only about Trump-Putin “collusion,” [which the Mueller report failed to prove and whose allegations were based on DNC and Clinton-financed opposition research] but also about the even more basic issue of “Russian hacking” of the DNC.

[See: “The Democratic Money Behind Russia-gate” republished today.]

Five days after Trump took office, I had an opportunity to confront Schiff personally about evidence that Russia “hacked” the DNC emails. He had repeatedly given that canard the patina of flat fact during an address at the old Hillary Clinton/John Podesta “think tank,” The Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Fortunately, the cameras were still on when I approached Schiff during the Q&A: “You have every confidence but no evidence, is that right?” I asked him. His answer was a harbinger of things to come. This video clip may be worth the few minutes needed to watch it.

Schiff and his partners in crime will be in for much tougher treatment if Trump allows Attorney General Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham to bring their investigation into the origins of Russia-gate to a timely conclusion. Barr’s dismissal on Thursday of charges against Flynn, after released FBI documents revealed that a perjury trap was set for him to keep Russiagate going, may be a sign of things to come.

Given the timid way Trump has typically bowed to intelligence and law enforcement officials, including those who supposedly report to him, however, one might rather expect that, after a lot of bluster, he will let the too-big-to-imprison ones off the hook. The issues are now drawn; the evidence is copious; will the Deep State, nevertheless, be able to prevail this time?

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing ministry of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. A former CIA analyst, his retirement he co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

May 11, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Now that Michael Flynn is free, Trump may be tempted to punish the Russiagate conspirators

By Robert Bridge | RT | May 8, 2020

As the Justice Department drops all charges against the former White House adviser, many are hoping the final chapter on Russiagate is closed. However, as the probe against Trump rivals wraps up, the saga is just beginning.

May 7 may go down in the American history books as the day when Donald Trump began to turn the tide against his Democrat opponents and their relentless efforts to have him removed from office. That was the day when the Justice Department declared there was no “legitimate investigative basis” for FBI agents to interview Gen. Michael Flynn over his contacts with Russian diplomats, coming as they did at a time when the lame-duck Obama administration was sabotaging US-Russia relations on its way out the door.

Incidentally, Thursday was notable for another bit of news as well. The House Intelligence Committee released its Russiagate interviews, in which the former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, admitted he “never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign… was plotting/conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election.”

No wonder Intel chief Adam Schiff demanded absolute secrecy during his closed-door inquisition.

Among Trump’s circle of colleagues brought down in the Democrats’ big-game hunting expedition, such as former campaign adviser Roger Stone and businessman Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn was by far the most prized trophy. In hindsight, Trump may have believed that, by firing Flynn just days into his job, the Russia-collusion story would just magically disappear as the Democrats gave up the hunt. If that was the plan, it backfired in spectacular fashion: the Democrats sensed blood and doubled down on their impeachment efforts.

What came next was a three-year political witch hunt against Trump that was never seriously challenged by the predominantly left-leaning mainstream media – even after the US$30 million Mueller probe finally put the conspiracy theory to bed. Today, although the media headlines conceal it, the narrative is slowly beginning to swing in Trump’s favor, as Flynn’s release strongly suggests.

As I discussed in a recent column, many Americans are blissfully ignorant of the fact that, back in May 2019, Trump launched an investigation into the origins of Russiagate. Tracking the scandal leads one into a labyrinthine rabbit hole of intrigue, where it is believed that the Obama-led FBI misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court to spy on the Trump campaign. The potential list of individuals who may eventually be forced to testify for their actions extends to the highest echelons of the Democratic Party. And that would include even ‘untouchables,’ such as former president Barack Obama and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton. In fact, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that has-been politicians like Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton are still being considered as presidential material simply to escape prosecution.

Anyone who doubts the severity of the possible charges would do well to consider recent comments by Attorney General William Barr. In an interview last month with Fox News, Barr said the FBI counterintelligence against Trump served to “sabotage the presidency… without any basis.” That is about as close to the legal definition of sedition as one can get, and I am sure there are many powerful people who have arrived at the same conclusion.

It should be remembered that Donald Trump was voted into office largely because of his pledge to “drain the swamp.” In other words, the Manhattan real-estate developer turned rabble-rousing populist had a very negative attitude about the career politicians who make up Washington, DC long before he entered the Oval Office. Now, after being hounded and harassed for the entirety of his first term, while watching colleagues such as Michael Flynn, Roger Stone and Paul Manafort have their lives and careers senselessly upended, Trump may be expected to take full advantage of Flynn’s exoneration to make those responsible pay a hefty legal penalty. If ever there were a time for such a move, now would certainly be it.

Exactly what the charges against the architects of Russiagate will be, if there are any, will probably be revealed in the next days and weeks, when William Barr and his assistant, John Durham, are expected to make the findings of their year-long investigation public.

I am guessing we have not heard the end of the Russiagate drama yet with the freeing of Michael Flynn, but, instead, are heading into Part II. Fasten your seatbelts – things could get interesting.

Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. He is the author of the book, ‘Midnight in the American Empire,’ How Corporations and Their Political Servants are Destroying the American Dream. @Robert_Bridge

May 8, 2020 Posted by | Deception | , , , | 4 Comments

The Justice Department Drops Flynn Case

By Jonathon Turley | May 7, 2020

Over a week ago, I wrote a column calling for the Justice Department to drop its case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. I have long been a critic of the case but the new evidence undermined not just the legitimacy of the prosecution but of the Justice Department itself. The Justice Department just moved to dismiss the case, a belated but commendable decision. The Flynn case represents one of the most ignoble chapters of the Special Counsel investigation. Notably, the motion itself could lay the foundation for suing on the basis of malicious prosecution.

While Judge Emmet Sullivan could dismiss the charges on the papers (an unopposed motion), I would expect a hearing to be called. There is a great irony here. Sullivan’s last hearing on sentencing led to controversial statements from the bench and a delay in sentencing that resulted in an easier path to dismissal.

James Comey tweeted that “DOJ has lost its way.” Given what this motion and the new evidence says about Comey’s own conduct, I would hope so if Comey is referring to his way of running the DOJ. Comey is implicated in this ignoble effort to bag a Trump official at any cost.

In the motion below, the Justice Department stresses that “the citizen’s safety lies in the prosecutor who … seeks truth and not victims, who serves the law and not factional purposes, and who approaches [the] task with humility.” It also establishes that there was never a satisfaction of the materiality element to the criminal allegation:

“In the case of Mr. Flynn, the evidence shows his statements were not “material” to any viable counterintelligence investigation—or any investigation for that matter—initiated by the FBI. Indeed, the FBI itself had recognized that it lacked sufficient basis to sustain its initial counterintelligence investigation by seeking to close that very investigation without even an interview of Mr. Flynn. See Ex. 1 at 4. Having repeatedly found “no derogatory information” on Mr. Flynn, id. at 2, the FBI’s draft “Closing Communication” made clear that the FBI had found no basis to “predicate further investigative efforts” into whether Mr. Flynn was being directed and controlled by a foreign power (Russia) in a manner that threatened U.S. national security or violated FARA or its related statutes, id. at 3.”

It further notes that key figures like Andrew McCabe “cut off” objections to the overly aggressive pursuit of Flynn. It describes an effort of former Director James Comey, McCabe, and others to skip common protocols to bag Flynn at any cost on any grounds.

While malicious prosecution cases are notoriously difficult to prove (particularly in a case with a voluntary plea), the motion reinforces the view of many of us that the Justice Department was engaged in a campaign to incriminate Flynn — a campaign that now appears entirely detached from both the evidence and legal standards supporting a criminal charge. Such a lawsuit could allow Flynn to pursue discovery into the motivations and actions of figures like McCabe.

The motion relieves President Donald Trump of the necessity of a pardon for Flynn.  However, it hardly ends the matter. Congress has expressed an interest in investigating new and troubling evidence. It has every reason to do so. The new evidence obviously does not comport with the standard narrative of the media from the outset of the Russian investigation. Many will defend this case and its underlying abuses as “standard” practices. I have certainly seen abuses in my career as a criminal defense attorney, but I have never seen a record as troubling as this one in prosecutors seeking the creation rather than the investigation of criminal conduct. Even if such abuse is deemed standard by apologists for Mueller, it is neither an excuse nor a license for such misconduct.

May 8, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , , | 3 Comments