Archive for the ‘FBI’ category

FBI Lists “Black Identity Extremist” Terror Threat

October 8, 2017

FBI Lists “Black Identity Extremist” Terror Threat, The Point FrontPage Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, October 8, 2017

The same folks who are very keen on fighting white supremacists urgently want to give black supremacists a pass? And what’s the actual difference between them? Racism, check. Racial supremacism, check. Violence, check. Genocidal fantasies, check.

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Black nationalist terror has been around for some time. But the Obama era, especially post-Ferguson, marked a major upswing in black nationalist violence. And the FBI is belatedly addressing the threat, particularly to law enforcement.

“The FBI assesses it is very likely Black Identity Extremist (BIE) perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence,” reads the report, marked for official use only and obtained by Foreign Policy.

Among the six acts of premeditated violence linked to black identity extremists — it excludes violence toward police carried out in the normal course of their duties — the reports cites the July 2016 shooting of 11 police officers in Dallas. The shooter, Micah Johnson, was reportedly angry at police violence.

“Based on Johnson’s journal writings and statements to police, he appeared to have been influenced by BIE ideology,” the FBI report states. The attack took place during a Black Lives Matter protest of police shootings, though the BLM movement is not mentioned by name in the report.

The FP piece is predictably dedicated to attacking the report. As is the general media reaction. There are accusations of racism. Which are rather backward considering that black nationalist groups tend to be rather racist themselves.

Black nationalist violence is obviously real. The bizarre attempts to argue otherwise are simply… bizarre.

“They are grouping together Black Panthers, black nationalists, and Washitaw Nation,” said the former homeland security official. “Imagine lumping together white nationals, white supremacists, militias, neo-Nazis, and calling it ‘white identity extremists.’”

The FBI is linking the people discussed in the report based only on them being black, rather than on any sort of larger ideological connection, the official said. “The race card is being played here deliberately.”

The race card is being played by black nationalists. If the FBI had grouped together BLM and the Black Chamber of Commerce, there would be reason to object. Black nationalists are being grouped together as white nationalists frequently have been.

Michael German, a former FBI agent and now a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s liberty and national security program, said manufacturing this type of threat was not new. He has criticized earlier FBI reports on “black separatists,” arguing that they conflated radical groups operating in the 1970s with attacks in 2010 and later, even though there was no obvious connection.

The use of terms like “black identity extremists” is part of a long-standing FBI attempt to define a movement where none exists. “Basically, it’s black people who scare them,” German said.

Does this level of dishonesty even need to be commented on? Or what it says about the Brennan Center?

The same folks who are very keen on fighting white supremacists urgently want to give black supremacists a pass? And what’s the actual difference between them? Racism, check. Racial supremacism, check. Violence, check. Genocidal fantasies, check.

Oh right. Some forms of racism are better than others because they’re “reverse racism”.

In 2009, Daryl Johnson, then a Department of Homeland Security intelligence analyst, warned of the rise of right-wing extremism, setting off a firestorm among congressional critics. Johnson, who left the department in 2010, said he could think of no reason why the FBI would create a new category for so-called black identity extremists. “I’m at a loss,” he replied, when asked about the term.

There have been concerns about rising violence among black separatist groups in recent years, he said, but it does not approach the threat of right-wing extremism. “When talking about white supremacists versus black supremacists, there are way more white supremacists,” Johnson said.

There are also more white people than black people. But lately there’s been more black nationalist violence than white nationalist violence.

Why is the FBI stonewalling congressional subpoenas on the Fusion GPS ‘Trump Dossier’?

October 7, 2017

Why is the FBI stonewalling congressional subpoenas on the Fusion GPS ‘Trump Dossier’? American ThinkerThomas Lifson, October 7, 2017

[W]hy not use the power of the executive to require the FBI to comply with congressional subpoenas? In fact, why not start playing hardball, and calculate the cost to date of the Meuller inquiry that has produced no hard evidence? The legal team he has assembled is of a standing where $500 an hour is a fair guess of their cost. Multiply that times at least 8 hours a day, times more than 20 attorneys, and we get a meter ticking at the rate of at least 80 thousand dollars a day, probably substantially more if we count non-attorney staff costs.

And remember that as POTUS, Trump can declassify anything that he wants.

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Could the story behind the “Trump dossier” be the Rosetta Stone of Russian manipulation of our electoral process in 2016? There is a strong and justifiable suspicion that the dossier was the critical bit of evidence that persuaded the FISA Court to reverse itself and permit monitoring of American associates of Donald Trump.  The dossier was originally begun as an opposition research project for Republican rivals of Trump, then funded by Democrats, and allegedly, finally funded by the FBI. We already know that some of the wild accusations in it were demonstrably false.

The House Intelligence Committee long has been looking into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and so far has come up with nothing. As in zero specific evidence. This was admitted by no less than Rep. Jackie Spier, a veteran Democrat member of the House of Representatives,

 

It is obviously worth investigating, then, how that dossier came to be created in the first place, and how it was used by various organs of the United States Government, if there is interest in getting to the truth behind Russia’s attempts to affect our elections. Yet, the FBI is refusing to hand over documents that have been subpoenaed by the House.  Kimberly Strassel explains in the Wall Street Journal

Witness how hard the Federal Bureau of Investigation is fighting to avoid divulging any information about the dossier. More than a month ago the House Intelligence Committee issued subpoenas to the FBI and the Justice Department, asking for dossier-related documents. Lawmakers were told to go swivel.

A little more than a week ago, the committee’s frustrated chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, took the case all the way to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who finally offered to make an FBI official available for a briefing. But the bureau is still withholding all documents. To date, Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Judiciary Committee has not received any paper from the FBI on Russia matters, despite numerous requests, some countersigned by the Democratic ranking member, Dianne Feinstein.

As my friend Mike Nadler, emailed:

It’s hard to believe with a Republican president, House and Senate, that the FBI (with a Director appointed by Trump) is still able to stonewall Congressional investigating committees on information on the dossier.  Why won’t the new FBI Director just order his subordinates to cough up the documents?  Or the Attorney General order him to do it.  No one could claim that ordering release of this would be interfering in any investigation….

Indeed, Strassel avers, “[Senator] Grassley recently announced that Mr. Mueller’s separate inquiry would no longer be considered a legitimate reason for the FBI to withhold information from Congress.”

Ms. Strassel guides our attention toward an intriguing figure:

Increasingly, one name is popping up: Gregory Brower, who leads the FBI’s Office of Congressional Affairs. Mr. Brower is an odd man for the job. These gigs tend to go to more-junior people, since they involve the drudgery of answering calls from grumpy congressional staffers. Yet Mr. Brower is a former U.S. attorney—a job that requires Senate confirmation—and a former Nevada state senator.

Before his latest role, he was the deputy general counsel of the FBI. In that post he was described as a confidant of former FBI Director James Comey. It was Mr. Comey who installed Mr. Brower in the congressional affairs job, just a few days before President Trump fired the director.

Mr. Brower has been shutting down congressional requests and stonewalling ever since. He has even tried appealing directly to House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office to squelch committee demands for documents.

And it looks very much as if a tag team cover-up may be underway, with Special Counsel Robert Mueller taking the key role in keeping inquiring eyes away from the FBI’s role in the Trump dossier’s utility on smearing the man who was to become POTUS:

Reuters reported Wednesday that Mr. Mueller “has taken over FBI inquiries into a former British spy’s dossier” against Mr. Trump. How very convenient. The Mueller team has leaked all manner of details from its probe, even as it had avoided the dossier. But just as Congress is ratcheting up pressure on the FBI, anonymous sources say that it’s out of the bureau’s hands.

Some Republicans might be tempted to cheer news that the special counsel is looking into the dossier. They shouldn’t. A Mueller takeover will make it even harder for Congress to conduct an independent investigation—which may well have been the reason for the move. Mr. Mueller has had months to look into the document, and his lack of curiosity so far speaks volumes. As a friend of Mr. Comey and a former FBI director himself, Mr. Mueller cannot be counted on to examine impartially whether the FBI was duped.

Indeed, there may be evidence of Russian collusion, not with President Trump’s campaign, but with those who seek to discredit him:

Sen. Richard Burr, who leads his chamber’s Intelligence Committee, noted on Wednesday that his dossier investigation has “hit a wall.” Mr. Steele has gone underground. Mr. Simpson won’t hand over relevant documents or say who paid him. The FBI is stiff-arming lawmakers. No one wants to talk about a dossier that Paul Roderick Gregory, a Russia expert at the Hoover Institution, found to read like something “compiled by a Russian, whose command of English is far from perfect and who follows the KGB (now FSB) practice of writing intelligence reports.” No one wants to discuss an array of Russian lawyers, lobbyists and Kremlin officials who may have been involved in its creation.

Mike Nadler’s question remains: why not use the power of the executive to require the FBI to comply with congressional subpoenas? In fact, why not start playing hardball, and calculate the cost to date of the Meuller inquiry that has produced no hard evidence? The legal team he has assembled is of a standing where $500 an hour is a fair guess of their cost. Multiply that times at least 8 hours a day, times more than 20 attorneys, and we get a meter ticking at the rate of at least 80 thousand dollars a day, probably substantially more if we count non-attorney staff costs.

And remember that as POTUS, Trump can declassify anything that he wants.

I hope that the reason Congress and the President are allowing themselves to be stonewalled is a matter of strategy and timing, not a matter of being intimidated.

It Was the Deep State that Colluded with the Russians, not Trump

September 24, 2017

It Was the Deep State that Colluded with the Russians, not Trump, American ThinkerClarice Feldman, September 24, 2017

(Lots of questions that require answers. — DM)

With each leak of his conduct – designed, I suppose, by his team to terrify honest men into lying to redeem the special counsel’s misbegotten efforts — Mueller looks more and more like a petrified enlistee in  the secretive repressive state force — the Stasi — as the wall is coming down and their conduct made public.

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As more and more leaks about the ongoing “Russian collusion” witch hunt by Robert Mueller appear in print, it seems to me that if Russia had been trying to erode our faith in our institutions, the Deep State is accomplishing what Russia failed to do.

The Obama claque’s efforts were initially intended to help Clinton when they thought she would win and no one would know about their crimes. Then they continued the unlawful spying to cover up their role in the worst case of misuse of federal power in our history, to effect the removal or emasculation of the President, and now they are desperate to cover up their illegal actions when all that failed.

A. Where we are today on “Russian collusion”?

Instapundit tweeted the answer succinctly: “The election was hacked!” turns out to mean, “Russia bought some ads on Facebook.”

Facebook is turning over ads presumably purchased by Russians during the campaign. Good — let’s see them. As the article notes:

The announcement that Facebook would share the ads with the Senate and House intelligence committees came after the social network spent two weeks on the defensive. The company faced calls for greater transparency about 470 Russia-linked accounts  — in which fictional people posed as American activists — which were taken down after they had promoted inflammatory messages on divisive issues. Facebook had previously angered congressional staff by showing only a sample of the ads, some of which attacked Hillary Clinton or praised Donald J. Trump.

As Tom Maguire reminds us, it would be unwise to assume this was a one-sided campaign: “Let’s see all the ads and find out whether Russia was winding up both sides. Back in the day it was believed Russia backed anti-fracking groups in Europe. Why not also in the US?”

Best of the Web’s James Freeman thinks that, in any case, the notion that these ads swung the election is ridiculous on its face:

So the spending on fake Russian political ads identified by Facebook amounted to around 1/7,000th of what Mrs. Clinton spent on advertising. And of course these fake ad buys were not material in the context of Facebook’s total advertising revenues, which amounted to nearly $27 billion last year.

Is a $150,000 ad buy even big enough to require sign-off from Mr. Putin? If as some believe, Russian meddling was simply intended to discredit the likely winner, some poor Russian agent may now be headed to Siberia for engineering the election of a U.S. President who seems determined to drive down the price of oil.

Let’s hope Congress gets to the bottom of this. If $150,000 amounts to the entire iceberg, and it still managed to sink the S.S. Clinton, marketing majors will be studying these ads for years to come.

B. Using the Full Force of FISA to spy on a political opponent

Obama has a long history of spying on his opponents and releasing information damaging to them. It’s a lifelong pattern. He got two opponents’ sealed divorce records unsealed in order to use unsubstantiated claims in pleadings by estranged spouses against them. As President, he continued this practice. By way of example, the Obama Administration did that with IRS, collecting information about the activities and donors of conservative and pro-Israel citizen groups while it refused to grant them the tax-exempt status to which they were entitled. The EPA collected private information from farmers and ranchers and released it to environmental groups to help them in their battles against those farmers and ranchers. There’s no reason to suppose that this pattern didn’t carry over to the 2016 election, and plenty of evidence that it did. As Sharyl Attkisson points out, they did it with reporters and Congressmen.

Nobody wants our intel agencies to be used like the Stasi in East Germany; the secret police spying on its own citizens for political purposes. The prospect of our own NSA, CIA and FBI becoming politically weaponized has been shrouded by untruths, accusations and justifications.

You’ll recall DNI Clapper falsely assured Congress in 2013 that the NSA was not collecting “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.”

Intel agencies secretly monitored conversations of members of Congress while the Obama administration negotiated the Iran nuclear deal.

In 2014, the CIA got caught spying on Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, though CIA Director John Brennan had explicitly denied that.

There were also wiretaps on then-Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) in 2011 under Obama. The same happened under President George W. Bush to former Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-Calif.).

Journalists have been targeted, too. [snip]

The government subsequently got caught monitoring journalists at Fox News, The Associated Press, and, as I allege in a federal lawsuit, my computers while I worked as an investigative correspondent at CBS News.

As Attkisson reminds us, other Trump associates General Michael Flynn and Carter Page were also under government surveillance. As bad as that was, it was ”discovered [that] multiple Trump “transition officials” were “incidentally” captured during government surveillance of a foreign official. We know this because former Obama adviser Susan Rice reportedly admitted “unmasking,” or asking to know the identities of, the officials. Spying on U.S. citizens is considered so sensitive their names are supposed to be hidden or “masked,” even inside the government, to protect their privacy.”

She also specifically unmasked Steve Bannon, who met in the transition period with a UAE official so it’s altogether possible they were spying on him generallyas well.

If so, that would mean that four Trump associates had been spied on, multiplying the number of conversations with the President these people were listening in on.

Even more “unmasking”– revealing the names of those innocents scooped up in this broad surveillance — about 300 people had their privacy violated when the dyspeptic-looking UN Ambassador Samantha Power was revealed to have made almost one unmasking request a day, rapidly adding to the list as the inauguration approached.

Samantha Power, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was ‘unmasking’ at such a rapid pace in the final months of the Obama administration that she averaged more than one request for every working day in 2016 — and even sought information in the days leading up to President Trump’s inauguration, multiple sources close to the matter told Fox News.

Two sources, who were not authorized to speak on the record, said the requests to identify Americans whose names surfaced in foreign intelligence reporting, known as unmasking, exceeded 260 last year. One source indicated this occurred in the final days of the Obama White House.

C. The FISA Court surely was misled in order to get information to surveil and to continue surveilling Trump and his associates.

FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) permits blunderbuss intelligence gathering. It’s not designed to gather information on crimes in general, but only to act as a tool of counterintelligence or counterterrorism. And it certainly would be suspicious if efforts were made to misuse it to conduct domestic political spying. There’s only one legitimate reason to conduct surveillance on a U.S. citizen under FISA — to find out more about the activities of a foreign power or terrorist organization. Since in the process of scooping up so much information, other matters might be revealed, “minimization” procedures are used to mask the identities of those caught up in the sweep who are not involved in such activities.

CNN reported — with some obvious omissions and errors of law — that former FBI director James Comey secured secret FISA orders to wiretap Paul Manafort, who briefly served as Trump’s campaign manager, and that having received nothing from that order, then secured another FISA warrant in 2016 (after Manafort joined the Trump campaign) and continued that surveillance into 2017, after the election.

Further, CNN reported that two attempts were made in the summer of 2016 to obtain a FISA order, both of which were rejected, and an order was issued only after the third try. FISA rarely rejects such requests, so I think it fair to assume the court was suspicious of these requests, which smelled like political, not national security matters. I think it almost a certainty that the final request received the personal imprimatur of Comey (as Director of the FBI) and Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

And what, you may ask, was different about the third and ultimately successful third attempt? I suggest it was the phony Steele dossier, which credible reports indicate was partially financed by Comey’s own FBI.

The House Intelligence Committee’s investigation took a sharp and notable turn on Tuesday, as news broke that it had subpoenaed the FBI and the Justice Department for information relating to the infamous Trump “Dossier.” That Dossier, whose allegations appear to have been fabricated, was commissioned by the opposition-research firm Fusion GPS and then developed by a former British spook named Christopher Steele. [Ed: Sources for the most scurrilous allegations in it were from unnamed sources in Russia, most likely Russian government intelligence agents or liars working on a pay for dirt basis.]

The Washington Post in February reported that Mr. Steele “was familiar” to the FBI, since he’d worked for the bureau before. The newspaper said Mr. Steele had reached out to a “friend” at the FBI about his Trump work as far back as July 2016. The Post even reported that Mr. Steele “reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work.”

Who was Mr. Steele’s friend at the FBI? Did the bureau influence the direction of the Trump dossier? Did it give Mr. Steele material support from the start? The timing matters because it could answer the vital question of why the FBI wanted the dossier. Here’s one thought: warrants.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees spying activities, is usually generous in approving warrants, on the presumption law-enforcement agencies are acting in good faith. When a warrant is rejected, though, law enforcement isn’t pleased.

Perhaps the FBI wanted to conduct surveillance on someone connected to a presidential campaign (Carter Page?) but couldn’t hit what was — and ought to be — a supremely high bar for getting such a potentially explosive warrant. A dossier of nefarious allegations might well prove handy in finally convincing the FISA court to sign off. The FBI might have had a real motive to support Mr. Steele’s effort. It might have even justified the unjustifiable: working with a partisan oppo-research firm and a former spook to engineer a Kremlin-planted dossier that has roiled Mr. Trump’s entire presidency.

True Pundit claims that FBI connivance with GPS Fusion to create the dossier was not all it did to secure the final 2016 FISA warrant — it also set up a meeting in Trump Tower and used information gleaned from Britain’s GCHQ in NSA headquarters to unlawfully gather information on U.S. citizens.

From the beginning it was a set up to find dirt on Trump campaign insiders and if possible to topple Donald Trump’s presidential aspirations.

Before and after the 2016 election. And while this operation had many moving parts and alternating players, the mission to unseat Trump never changed. And it remains ongoing.

And none of it was very legal.

[snip]

Six U.S. agencies [the FBI, NSA, CIA, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Treasury financial crimes division under DHS, Justice Department]created a stealth task force, spearhead by CIA’s Brennan, to run domestic surveillance on Trump associates and possibly Trump himself.

To feign ignorance and to seemingly operate within U.S. laws, the agencies freelanced the wiretapping of Trump associates to the British spy agency GCHQ.

The decision to insert GCHQ as a back door to eavesdrop was sparked by the denial of two FISA Court warrant applications filed by the FBI to seek wiretaps of Trump associates.

GCHQ did not work from London or the UK. In fact the spy agency worked from NSA’s headquarters in Fort Meade, MD with direct NSA supervision and guidance to conduct sweeping surveillance on Trump associates.

[snip]

The Justice Department and FBI set up the meeting at Trump Tower between Trump Jr., Manafort and Kushner with controversial Russian officials to make Trump’s associates appear compromised.

Following the Trump Tower sit down, GCHQ began digitally wiretapping Manafort, Trump Jr., and Kushner.

After the concocted meeting by the Deep State, the British spy agency could officially justify wiretapping Trump associates as an intelligence front for NSA because the Russian lawyer at the meeting, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was considered an international security risk and prior to the June sit down was not even allowed entry into the United States or the UK, federal sources said.

By using GCHQ, the NSA and its intelligence partners had carved out a loophole to wiretap Trump without a warrant. While it is illegal for U.S. agencies to monitor phones and emails of U.S. citizens inside the United States absent a warrant, it is not illegal for British intelligence to do so. Even if the GCHQ was tapping Trump on U.S. soil at Fort Meade.

The wiretaps, secured through illicit scheming, have been used by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 election, even though the evidence is considered “poisoned fruit.”

Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who spearheaded the Trump Tower meeting with the Trump campaign trio, was previously barred from entering the United Sates due to her alleged connections to the Russian FSB (the modern replacement of the cold-war-era KGB).

Yet mere days before the June meeting, Veselnitskaya was granted a rare visa to enter the United States from Preet Bharara, the then U.S. Attorney for the southern district of New York. Bharara could not be reached for comment and did not respond the a Twitter inquiry on the Russian’s visa by True Pundit.

(More on the unusual visa granted to Veselnitskaya here. More on GCHQ operating from NSA headquarters here.)

In July, Bharara’s former associate US Attorney Andrew Goldstein was added to Mueller’s army of largely Clinton backers and contributors to the special counsel’s enormous team.

In sum, the contention by True Pundit is that the government first spied on Trump and then concocted a national security ruse and desperately sought a FISA warrant to cover up the political spying which occurred before the FISA warrant was ever issued.

The editors of the Wall Street Journal also suspect that the dossier was used to obtain the FISA warrant, and, if so, that requires a congressional investigation:

The FISA court sets a high bar for warrants on U.S. citizens, and presumably even higher for wiretapping a presidential campaign. Did Mr. Comey’s FBI marshal the Steele dossier to persuade the court?

All of this is reason for House and Senate investigators to keep exploring how Mr. Comey’s FBI was investigating both presidential campaigns. Russian meddling is a threat to democracy but so was the FBI if it relied on Russian disinformation to eavesdrop on a presidential campaign. The Justice Department and FBI have stonewalled Congressional requests for documents and interviews, citing the “integrity” of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

But Mr. Mueller is not investigating the FBI, and in any event his ties to the bureau and Mr. Comey make him too conflicted for such a job. Congress is charged with providing oversight of law enforcement and the FISA courts, and it has an obligation to investigate their role in 2016. The intelligence committees have subpoena authority and the ability to hold those who don’t cooperate in contempt.

I agree with Daniel Greenfield. Based on what I’ve read and observed, while the initial surveillance was to stop Trump and help Clinton, Obama used FISA to provide a “national security” cover for politically spying on Trump right up to the inauguration. As he notes, the first 2016 application was made the month after Trump obtained the nomination and the second in October, the month before the election.

As the unmasking picked up pace after the election, the reasonable assumption is that its purpose was to undo the results of the election or hamstring the incoming President.

Now Obama and his allies are or should be terrified that the scope of the illegal surveillance is revealing their criminal acts.

This is why I believe Mueller is growing increasingly desperate to find one crime by one person he can force by threat of jail to provide any shred of anything that might be used to justify their illegal espionage. Greenfield’s conclusion is apt: “The left is sitting on the biggest crime committed by a sitting president. The only way to cover it up is to destroy his Republican successor. A turning point in history is here. If Obama goes down, the left will go down with him. If his coup succeeds, then America ends.”

Why do I say that Mueller seems increasingly desperate? How else does one explain a middle-of-the-night pick-lock armed entry (and the search of his bedclothes-garbed wife) into the home of a man who by all accounts had been fully cooperating and turning over all requested documents? How else to explain requesting a court grant such a necessary special warrant on the ground that otherwise documents evincing a purported eleven-year-old crime would suddenly be destroyed? How else to explain the effort by Mueller to find out client information from the Skadden Arps and Akin Gump law firms, materials probably covered by attorney-client privilege? With each leak of his conduct – designed, I suppose, by his team to terrify honest men into lying to redeem the special counsel’s misbegotten efforts — Mueller looks more and more like a petrified enlistee in  the secretive repressive state force — the Stasi — as the wall is coming down and their conduct made public.

‘Big fish’ Debbie Wasserman Schultz watches as ‘small fish’ start to cut deals

September 7, 2017

‘Big fish’ Debbie Wasserman Schultz watches as ‘small fish’ start to cut deals, American ThinkerThomas Lifson, September 7, 2017

It’s starting to look as though Imran Awan and his wife Hina Alvi are making plea deals and incriminating people above them in the food chain.  Both of them were I.T. staffers for Democrats in the House of Representatives, earning substantial multiples of customary wages, raising intense suspicions of blackmail.

Ms. Alvi reportedly has already made a deal and will be returning to the U.S. from her native Pakistan, where she earlier fled.  Her husband was arrested at Dulles Airport, attempting to do the same.  Todd Shepherd reports in the Examiner:

A document filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia indicates that federal prosecutors have struck a deal with Alvi that would allow her to return to the U.S., but would also require her to surrender her passport and afterwards not book any international travel. The deal only surrounds how Alvi will turn herself in, and is structured so that she can avoid being arrested in front of her children when she returns to the U.S., “during the last week of September 2017.”

Alvi, and Awan in particular, are the focus of investigations by the FBI and Capitol Police regarding irregularities for purchases of some computers and other equipment which was later discovered to be missing. The pair, and their associates, could have had access to sensitive government information over the years.

We don’t know if Awan has made a deal yet, but his wife would not be returning if that were unlikely.  In fact, thanks to the work of Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller, we have to consider the possibility that Awan has been playing a double- or triple-game since last April.

A laptop that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has frantically fought to keep prosecutors from examining may have been planted for police to find by her since-indicted staffer, Imran Awan, along with a letter to the U.S. Attorney.

U.S. Capitol Police found the laptop after midnight April 6, 2017, in a tiny room that formerly served as a phone booth in the Rayburn House Office Building, according to a Capitol Police report reviewed by The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group. Alongside the laptop were a Pakistani ID card, copies of Awan’s driver’s license and congressional ID badge, and letters to the U.S. attorney. Police also found notes in a composition notebook marked “attorney-client privilege.”

This happened four months after Awan had been banned from the House I.T. network, so he had realized he was in trouble for quite some time, even if DWS kept paying him his salary and he was able to get access to the network via her office.  It was enough time for him to plot and plan.  And it does look as if the material was intended to be discovered, not somehow accidentally left behind:

The laptop was found on the second floor of the Rayburn building – a place Awan would have had no reason to go because Wasserman Schultz’s office is in the Longworth building and the other members who employed him had fired him. (snip)

Leaving important items there accidentally would seem extremely unlikely, according to Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, former prosecutor, and member of the House Judiciary Committee.

“Imran Awan is a calculating person who made great efforts to cover his tracks, both electronically and physically,” Gohmert told TheDCNF. “Placing that laptop with his personal documents, which may well incriminate him, those he worked for, or both, in the dead of night in a House office building, was a deliberate act by a cunning suspect, and it needs to be investigated.”

If Awan thought he was better off with his crimes documented, that suggests he feared something worse than prison, that this was a matter of life insurance.

There are signs that DWS is panicking.  Wasserman Schultz first claimed that the laptop was hers and notoriously harangued the Capitol Police to return it to her on that basis.

Now she is claiming that it was Awan’s and that she had never seen it.  Yet:

Wasserman Schultz has hired an outside counsel, William Pittard, to argue that the laptop not be examined. Pittard argued that the speech and debate clause – which only protects a member’s information directly related to legislative duties – should prevent prosecutors from examining the laptop’s contents, TheDCNF has learned. Pittard did not respond to requests for comment.

Pittard, a partner with KaiserDillon, is the former acting general counsel of the House. Hiring an outside counsel to argue the speech and debate clause on behalf of Wasserman Schultz is highly unusual, because the general counsel of the House offers opinions on speech and debate issues for free.

That can’t be cheap. There must be material on that laptop that that is incriminating.  Very incriminating.  Perhaps of DWS, perhaps of some of the other House Democrats who hired the Awan gang.

Debbie is already distancing herself from Awan:

House Intel Committee Subpoenas FBI, DOJ Over Trump Dossier

September 6, 2017

House Intel Committee Subpoenas FBI, DOJ Over Trump Dossier, PJ MediaDebra Heine, September 6, 2017

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., . (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

The House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed the FBI and the Justice Department for documents relating to the Trump “dodgy dossier,” the Washington Examiner reported Tuesday evening. The committee is seeking information regarding the FBI’s relationship with dossier author Christopher Steele and its possible role in funding what started out as an opposition research project by shady lefty research firm Fusion GPS.

While it has been widely reported that “a wealthy GOP donor” originally funded the anti-Trump dossier, the managers of the Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich campaigns have all told the Examiner’s Byron York that they knew nothing about a GOP-funded oppo-research project on Trump. Meanwhile, Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson has refused to answer the question about who bankrolled the dossier.

The House Intel Committee is one of several congressional committees looking into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Additionally, Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller is leading a separate investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The subpoenas to the FBI and DOJ are a sign of the GOP’s frustration with the lack of cooperation they are getting from even the Trump Justice Department.

“I’m sure you’re noting with the same irony I’m noting the difficulty that a Republican Congress is having getting information from a Department of Justice run by Jeff Sessions,” Gowdy told York.

The committee issued the subpoenas — one to the FBI, an identical one to the Justice Department — on August 24, giving both until last Friday, September 1, to turn over the information.

Neither FBI nor Justice turned over the documents, and now the committee has given them an extension until September 14 to comply.

Illustrating the seriousness with which investigators view the situation, late Tuesday the committee issued two more subpoenas, specifically to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, directing them to appear before the committee to explain why they have not provided the subpoenaed information.

The subpoenas are the result of a months-long process of committee investigators requesting information from the FBI and Justice Department. Beginning in May, the committee sent multiple letters to the FBI and Justice requesting information concerning the Trump-Russia affair.

“We got nothing,” said committee member Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who is taking a leading role in the Russia investigation. “The witnesses have not been produced and the documents have not been produced.”

In a telephone interview Tuesday, Gowdy said the FBI has said it needed more time to comply, and also that complying might interfere with the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller. Whatever the reason, the documents haven’t been produced.

“A subpoena is a tool of last resort in Congress,” Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, said.

Like investigators with the Senate Judiciary Committee, who are also pursuing information about the dossier, the House committee wants to know the origin of the FBI’s involvement in the creation of the document. They are particularly interested to know whether the FBI or Justice Department ever presented information from the dossier — unverified, possibly from paid informants — to a court as a basis for obtaining a surveillance warrant in the Russia investigation.

“I want to know the extent to which it was relied upon, if at all, by any of our intelligence agencies or federal law enforcement agencies,” Gowdy said, “and to the extent it was relied upon, how did they vet, or either corroborate or contradict, the information in it?”

The House intelligence panel, like the Senate Judiciary Committee, has had so-called “de-confliction” discussions with Mueller’s office and believes the special counsel does not object to the House seeking information on the dossier.

The committee believes that seeking information on the origin of the FBI’s role in the dossier, and the bureau’s relationship with dossier compiler Steele, a former British spy, will lead to a better understanding of the FBI’s entire counter-intelligence probe on the question of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

“Several of our lines of questions centered on the dossier, or, if you don’t like the word ‘dossier,’ just insert ‘the origin of the Russia investigation,'” said Gowdy.

The former prosecutor seems determined to get to the bottom of the Trump dossier mystery.

“Congress created the FBI, we created the Department of Justice, we’re the ones who passed the laws that set the boundaries of their jurisdiction, and and we’re the ones that fund them,” he said. “It is not illegitimate for us to ask what prompted this investigation, and it is certainly not illegitimate for us to test and probe the reliability of that underlying information, particularly if, in theory, there are either charging decisions and/or court filings that relied upon that information.”

According to CNN, the reason the Justice Department has been been refusing compliance with the subpoenas is because they don’t want to interfere with the Mueller investigation.

 

James Comey, Hillary’s Real Campaign Manager

September 1, 2017

James Comey, Hillary’s Real Campaign Manager, Front Page MagazineMatthew Vadum, September 1, 2017

Of course, critics savaged Trump’s rationale for axing Comey at the time, claiming as the supremely silly Russian collusion conspiracy theory was gaining traction in the media, that the president was obstructing justice to save his own skin.

Exploding in huge, scary fireballs of anger visible from orbit, they ridiculed him, calling him a budding dictator. They claimed he had created a dire constitutional crisis. They demanded his impeachment and imprisonment – or worse.

But once again it appears Trump was right about a media-saturated, manufactured matter of public controversy, one in a series that over the president’s brief time in office has whipped the yet-to-exhausted Left into a frenzy.

Hillary thought she was above the law. Apparently, the new evidence shows Comey thought she was, too.

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The insufferable, morally preening former FBI Director James B. Comey Jr., intentionally gave Hillary Clinton’s campaign a boost last year by deciding to sabotage the email investigation by exonerating the then-candidate before key witnesses had even been interviewed, new evidence suggests.

Citing Comey’s bungling of the Clinton email investigation, President Trump unceremoniously fired him by press release on May 9, three-and-a-half years into his 10-year term. Trump was attacked in the media for not caring about Comey’s presumably hurt feelings. He based his decision on a U.S. Department of Justice memo authored by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein that found Comey had, among other things, usurped then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s authority by taking it upon himself to unilaterally clear Clinton.

Rosenstein excoriated Comey, whose side of the story has long been championed by the media. “I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.”

Comey’s endless posturing and palace intrigues damaged the FBI, causing morale to plummet. As a result, “the FBI’s reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage, and it has affected the entire Department of Justice,” Rosenstein asserted. “That is deeply troubling to many Department employees and veterans, legislators and citizens.”

Of course, critics savaged Trump’s rationale for axing Comey at the time, claiming as the supremely silly Russian collusion conspiracy theory was gaining traction in the media, that the president was obstructing justice to save his own skin.

Exploding in huge, scary fireballs of anger visible from orbit, they ridiculed him, calling him a budding dictator. They claimed he had created a dire constitutional crisis. They demanded his impeachment and imprisonment – or worse.

But once again it appears Trump was right about a media-saturated, manufactured matter of public controversy, one in a series that over the president’s brief time in office has whipped the yet-to-exhausted Left into a frenzy.

Upon Comey’s dismissal, Trump said the FBI “is one of our nation’s most cherished and respected institutions and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement.”

Exactly right.

As Americans are now painfully aware, the congenitally devious Clintons had created a hacker-friendly, slap-dash private email system while she headed the U.S. Department of State to frustrate Freedom of Information Act requesters, shield Hillary’s correspondence from congressional oversight, and steer money to the international cash-for-future-presidential-favors clearinghouse known as the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. The “homebrew” email servers Mrs. Clinton used are at the heart of the scandal over her mishandling of an Islamic terrorist attack in militant-infested Benghazi, Libya on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 that left four Americans, including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens, dead.

Hillary thought she was above the law. Apparently, the new evidence shows Comey thought she was, too.

The case that the handwringing, sanctimonious Comey was thoroughly corrupt, exquisitely marinated in the swamp waters and flesh pools of decadent official Washington, was already fairly solid but with these new revelations it seems even more obvious that he was less top cop than grand inquisitor. He thought of himself as judge and jury, justice be damned. As long as he ended up looking good, all was well, in his eyes.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Judiciary subcommittee chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reportedly sent a letter to current FBI Director Chris Wray yesterday about Comey’s conduct as head of the FBI.

“Conclusion first, fact-gathering second—that’s no way to run an investigation,” read the correspondence. “The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy.”

From reading redacted transcripts of interviews conducted last fall with senior aides to Comey – his chief of staff James Rybicki and Trisha Anderson, the FBI’s principal deputy general counsel of national security and cyberlaw – Grassley’s committee discovered that as FBI chief Comey prematurely drafted a letter clearing Clinton of email-related wrongdoing.

The testimony appears to establish that Comey started working on a public statement giving Clinton a clean legal bill of health before the FBI had gotten around to speaking with 17 witnesses in the probe, including Clinton and two of her senior aides, Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson. The two senators noted that Comey began working on his exculpatory communique even before Mills and Samuelson brokered what the lawmakers called a “highly unusual” limited immunity deal with the Justice Department that prevented officials from looking into communications between the two aides and Colorado-based Platte River Networks, which oversaw Clinton’s unusual email system after she left Foggy Bottom to run for president.

“According to the unredacted portions of the transcripts, it appears that in April or early May of 2016, Mr. Comey had already decided he would issue a statement exonerating Secretary Clinton,” the letter by Grassley and Graham stated.

That was long before FBI agents finished their work. Mr. Comey even circulated an early draft statement to select members of senior FBI leadership. The outcome of an investigation should not be prejudged while FBI agents are still hard at work trying to gather the facts.

As Daniel Greenfield freshly opined:

There was never any serious possibility that Hillary Clinton would have been indicted. And we know that. But throughout the process, Comey pretended that he was dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s. But it was all a show. Comey and his top people knew what the outcome would be ahead of time. They were just going through the motions.

Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, told Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson last night that the new evidence “shows the investigation truly was a sham.”

Fitton added that the FBI also appears to have helped to pay for opposition research against Trump. He was referring to the Russian “piss-gate” dossier published by cat-video website BuzzFeed. “They started paying, it looks like, the expert behind the dodgy dossier … during the campaign.”

“We asked the FBI for documents about any payments they made to the author of the Trump-Russia dossier and they came back to us and they said we can’t even confirm or deny whether any such documents exist.”

The FBI is not being run, Fitton said, by “someone with the interest of the American people [in mind] in terms of getting some transparency about the misconduct of the FBI during the Obama administration as they were working to, really, nail Trump through this really awkward – and let’s put it this way – conspiratorial relationship with the authors of the Trump dossier.”

By now politics junkies don’t need to be reminded it was at an unusual, much-watched presser on July 5, 2016, that Comey acknowledged the massive body of evidence that was accumulating against Clinton and described it at some length. He stipulated that the former secretary of state probably broke the law when she used hacker-friendly private email servers to conduct official business.

But after airing this very dirty laundry, Comey inexplicably gave Clinton a pass. “Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

Guided by politics, not the law, Comey pontificated that Clinton and her aides were “extremely careless” in their handling of classified documents but that there was no evidence of criminal intent. He made this statement even though the relevant national security statute does not actually require intent: mishandling intelligence, even inadvertently, is enough to land people with less pull than Hillary has, in hot water.

As former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy wrote at the time, “the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require.”

So, as it turns out, Comey was ripped from his powerful perch in the nick of time.

Some critics say the media-savvy, morally preening Comey presided over a J. Edgar Hoover-like reign of terror while he ran the FBI.

Comey was far more powerful than an FBI director ought to be. When the president fired Comey, Brit Hume observed, “For better or worse, no FBI director since J. Edgar Hoover had taken so large a role in the political life of this country as James Comey.”

Around the same time Tucker Carlson was positively scathing in his assessment of Comey’s tenure. He said lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were intimidated by Comey – and for good reason.

Just how powerful was James Comey? Let’s put it this way: He was feared in a way that no appointed bureaucrat should ever be feared in a free society. Time and again elected lawmakers on both sides came on this show and expressed worry and concern about his behavior, but they did so only during commercial breaks with the cameras off. Why? Because they were terrified at the prospect of criticizing him in public. They certainly don’t have that fear of the sitting president of the United States and that tells you everything you need to know about Jim Comey.

That sounds about right.

OPINION | Byron York: FBI fights public release of Trump dossier info

September 1, 2017

OPINION | Byron York: FBI fights public release of Trump dossier info, Washington ExaminerByron York, August 31, 2017

Grassley and the Judiciary Committee seem determined to uncover the full story of the dossier. To do so, they’ll have to use all the powers of Congress, because, when it comes to ordinary citizens, the Justice Department believes they have no right to know.

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Senate investigators have had problems getting the FBI to reveal information about the Trump dossier. They’re not the only ones. Outside groups filing Freedom of Information Act requests are running up against a stone wall when it comes to the dossier.

On March 8, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA request for documents regarding the bureau’s contacts with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who dug for dirt in Russia on candidate Donald Trump in the months before the 2016 presidential election. Steele’s effort was commissioned by the oppo research firm Fusion GPS, which at the time was being paid by still-unidentified Democrats who supported Hillary Clinton. Just weeks before the election, the FBI reportedly agreed to support Steele’s oppo project — an extraordinary action in the midst of a campaign which Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said raised “questions about the FBI’s independence from politics.”

So Judicial Watch asked the Justice Department for:

Any and all records of communications between any official, employee, or representative of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Mr. Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer and the owner of the private firm Orbis Business Intelligence.

Any and all records regarding, concerning, or related to the proposed, planned, or actual payment of any funds to Mr. Steele and/or Orbis Business Intelligence.

Any and all records produced in preparation for, during, or pursuant to any meetings or telephonic conversations between any official, employee, or representative of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Mr. Christopher Steele and/or any employee or representative of Orbis Business Intelligence.

Any and all records produced in preparation for, during, or pursuant to any meetings or telephonic conversations between any official, employee, or representative of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Mr. Christopher Steele and/or any employee or representative of Orbis Business Intelligence.

The idea was that the records would shed light on the basic questions regarding the dossier. Just what did the FBI do? Why? And — this is very important to Grassley — did the FBI ever use the “salacious and unverified” (the words of former FBI Director James Comey) information in the dossier as a basis for applying for warrants to put Americans under surveillance?

The Justice Department’s response to Judicial Watch was simple: No. And not just no: The Department would not even confirm or deny whether any such documents or communications even existed.

So on May 16, Judicial Watch filed suit, seeking to force release of the information. In response, the department told Judicial Watch to forget about it. “Plaintiff’s claims are moot,” Justice lawyers wrote, “because Defendant has notified Plaintiff of its decision to neither confirm nor deny the existence of any responsive records, and the reasons for that decision.”

The reasons the department referred to were contained in nearly identical letters sent to Judicial Watch on March 29 and May 16. “The nature of your request implicates records the FBI may or may not compile pursuant to its national security and foreign intelligence functions,” a Justice Department FOIA official wrote. “Accordingly the FBI cannot confirm or deny the existence of any records about your subject as the mere acknowledgment of such records existence or nonexistence would in and of itself trigger harm to national security interests.” The letter cited legal exemptions to FOIA based on national security.

“Moreover, as a federal law enforcement agency,” the letter continued, “a confirmation by the FBI that it has or does not have responsive records would be tantamount to acknowledging the existence or nonexistence of a pending investigation it has not previously acknowledged.”

The problem, of course, is that the FBI has already acknowledged the existence of a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump-Russia affair. Comey himself did it in Hill testimony on March 20, noting that it is not the Justice Department’s usual practice to confirm such things, but the Trump-Russia matter was of such great public importance that Comey decided to go ahead:

As you know, our practice is not to confirm the existence of ongoing investigations, especially those investigations that involve classified matters, but in unusual circumstances where it is in the public interest, it may be appropriate to do so as Justice Department policies recognize. This is one of those circumstances.

I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts. As with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.

As for the dossier itself, in public testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, Comey specifically discussed briefing President-elect Trump on its contents in January.

And of course, the dossier, in all its “salacious and unverified” glory, was published in full by Buzzfeed.

Finally, the Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller to serve as the special counsel in the case. The department announced the appointment publicly and released the document outlining Mueller’s responsibilities.

These were not low-key, hush-hush actions. But apparently no one told the Justice Department’s FOIA bureaucracy that the department and the FBI had, in a very big way, confirmed the existence of the Trump-Russia investigation.

In addition, there are indications that Mueller himself does not object to the public release of information regarding the dossier. The Senate Judiciary Committee has held so-called “deconfliction” meetings with Mueller’s office in which officials discussed whether this or that aspect of the committee’s investigation might interfere with Mueller’s probe. (Such discussions are mostly a matter of courtesy, since the Senate can ultimately do what it wants.) It appears Mueller’s office did not object to the Senate interviewing Fusion GPS chief Glenn Simpson, with the full knowledge that all or part of that interview might be publicly released. While it’s not clear what Simpson told the committee — the public should hope it is released in full — given the committee chairman’s concerns, it’s guaranteed that Simpson was asked about Steele’s interactions with the FBI.

But when it comes to the Freedom of Information Act, the FBI is resisting the release of even the most basic information. “They’re fighting us on everything,” Judicial Watch chief Tom Fitton told me recently. “They’re fighting us tooth and nail.”

Grassley and the Judiciary Committee seem determined to uncover the full story of the dossier. To do so, they’ll have to use all the powers of Congress, because, when it comes to ordinary citizens, the Justice Department believes they have no right to know.