Archive for the ‘FBI’ category

Inside Judicial Watch: The Truth Behind Fusion GPS & The Trump Dossier

January 19, 2018

Inside Judicial Watch: The Truth Behind Fusion GPS & The Trump Dossier via YouTube,  January 18, 2018

According to the blurb beneath the video,

In this compelling episode of “Inside Judicial Watch,” host Jerry Dunleavy joins JW Senior Investigator Bill Marshall to discuss Fusion GPS, how the infamous Trump dossier was produced, who paid for it, and how it may have led to the surveillance of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and his inner-circle. Prior to joining Judicial Watch, Bill Marshall worked in the private sector conducting corporate investigations and opposition research for various entities, similar to the kind of work carried out by Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS. You WON’T want to miss out on Bill’s compelling insight into the world of opposition research, Fusion GPS, and the Trump dossier.

Devin Nunes accuses FBI, DOJ of demonstrating ‘abuse’ of government surveillance programs

January 13, 2018

Devin Nunes accuses FBI, DOJ of demonstrating ‘abuse’ of government surveillance programs, Washington ExaminerDiana Stancy Correll, January 12, 2018

House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., told fellow Republicans he has witnessed evidence demonstrating a clear “abuse” of government surveillance programs by FBI and Justice Department officials, according to a new report.

Nunes’ comments were made as he was attempting to garner votes for a bill to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Section 702 permits the intelligence community to oversee foreign communications, but does not authorize the government to oversee Americans. The bill was passed by the House on Thursday.

Ahead of the vote, Nunes said he has not seen evidence to suggest Section 702 was abused to look at foreigners, but that other sections of the law had been misused by the government to oversee Americans, Fox News reported.

Nunes informed other lawmakers he would “read all 435 members of Congress into major abuses with other areas of FISA and will read members in ASAP” on those issues.

No further details were given given concerning the abuses Nunes brought up during the closed-door meetings this week. A report from the Washington Examiner this week said that representatives from congressional panels, including the House Intelligence Committee, viewed Obama-era FISA documents at the Justice Department earlier this month.

That meeting occurred after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray released the documents to lawmakers. Nunes had issued a letter to Rosenstein in December slamming the agencies for their “failure to fully produce” documents concerning the so-called “Trump dossier,” noting “at this point it seems the DOJ and FBI need to be investigating themselves.”

The Washington Examiner previously reported that the committees had the chance to view the documents that pertain to whether the FBI used unverified information from the dossier as a reason to spy on Americans.

Nunes said he will try to allow every member of the House to view the documents and come up with their own conclusions, though some Republicans already believe the dossier played a major role in leading to the authorization of surveillance of Trump officials.

Some aspects of the dossier — like communications between foreign nationals noted in the dossier — have been confirmed by officials. However, the majority of the scandalous allegations included in the document have not been verified.

The dossier came to light publicly after it was published in full by BuzzFeed in January 2017.

Byron York: What the Trump dossier criminal referral means

January 6, 2018

Byron York: What the Trump dossier criminal referral means, Washington ExaminerByron York, January 6, 2018

[T]here has been much speculation that the FBI used information from the uncorroborated dossier to seek court permission to spy on Americans in the Trump-Russia investigation. That would be a big deal, and it is an issue House and Senate Republicans are determined to sort out.

“I don’t take lightly making a referral for criminal investigation,” Grassley said in a statement Friday. “But, as I would with any credible evidence of a crime unearthed in the course of our investigations, I feel obliged to pass that information along to the Justice Department for appropriate review. Everyone needs to follow the law and be truthful in their interactions with the FBI.”

“Maybe there is some innocent explanation for the inconsistencies we have seen,” Grassley continued, “but it seems unlikely.”

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There’s been a lot of confusion about the decision by Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley and crime subcommittee chairman Lindsey Graham to refer Christopher Steele, author of the Trump dossier, to the Justice Department for a possible criminal investigation.

The two senators sent a brief letter Thursday to deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein and FBI director Christopher Wray. The letter, which was unclassified and released to the public Friday, was a cover letter for what Grassley and Graham called a “classified memorandum related to certain communications between Christopher Steele and multiple U.S. news outlets regarding the so-called ‘Trump dossier’ that Mr. Steele compiled on behalf of Fusion GPS for the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee and also provided to the FBI.”

Grassley and Graham said that, on the basis of the classified information laid out in the memo, “we are respectfully referring Mr. Steele to you for investigation of 18 U.S.C. 1001, for statements the committee has reason to believe Mr. Steele made regarding his distribution of information contained in the dossier.” (18 U.S.C. 1001 is the same federal false statements law that special counsel Robert Mueller has used to charge Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos in the Trump-Russia investigation.)

That’s all Grassley and Graham said, or at least all they said that was released to the public. The classified memo, of course, was not released at all.

It was all very confusing. What did the letter mean? Were Grassley and Graham alleging that Steele lied to the Senate Judiciary Committee? To some other congressional committee? To other investigators? If so, to whom?

The move met with skepticism in a number of circles. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, called it an “effort to deflect attention” from the Trump-Russia probe. A former prosecutor called it “nonsense” in an interview with the Washington Post. A law professor speculated that it was “baseless.”

At the same time, few outside the committee seemed to understand what the letter meant. So, here is what appears to be going on:

Steele has not talked to any of the three congressional committees investigating the Trump-Russia affair – the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee, or the House Intelligence Committee. Steele did not make false statements to them because he has not made any statements to them.

Steele has, reportedly, talked to Mueller’s prosecutors, but it seems highly unlikely Grassley and Graham are suggesting Steele lied to Mueller because it is highly unlikely – actually, beyond highly unlikely – that the Mueller office would have shared any of Steele’s answers with the Senate Judiciary Committee. So, what were Grassley and Graham referring to in their letter? What are the “statements the committee has reason to believe Mr. Steele made” that Grassley and Graham believe might be false?

The answer is that Steele talked – and talked a lot – to the FBI. Remember that when he began to compile the dossier in the summer of 2016, Steele reportedly concluded the sensational information he had picked up – allegations of election collusion and Trump sexual escapades in Russia – was so important that he had to take it to the FBI. Steele told the left-leaning magazine Mother Jones that he first took the material to the FBI “near the start of July.”

That began a series of communications between Steele and the bureau in which Steele made certain representations to the FBI about his work. It is a crime to make false statements to the FBI – doesn’t have to be under oath, doesn’t have to be in a formal interview or interrogation setting, it’s simply a criminal act to knowingly make a false statement to the FBI.

As a result of their talks, Steele and the FBI reached a tentative agreement whereby the FBI would pay Steele to continue the anti-Trump work.

All the while, Steele was also working for the opposition research firm Fusion GPS – his dossier was the result of a Fusion anti-Trump project funded by the Clinton campaign. As part of that, Steele briefed reporters on what he had found. In a London court case, Steele’s lawyers said that in September 2016, Fusion GPS directed Steele to brief reporters from the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, the New Yorker, Yahoo News, and, later, Mother Jones. Steele did each briefing individually.

One serious question is whether Steele told the FBI that he was telling reporters the same information – those explosive allegations about Trump and Trump associates – that he was bringing to bureau investigators. If the FBI knew that, would they have agreed to an arrangement to make Steele a paid FBI operative investigating the Trump-Russia affair? That would have been a most unorthodox arrangement, with Steele disseminating his allegations to the FBI and the press simultaneously.

That is not exactly how the FBI operates. So now the question is: When Steele was discussing working for the FBI, did he fully inform the FBI of what his work for the Clinton campaign involved, in particular his briefing the press on the findings he would be reporting to the FBI? To use Grassley’s and Graham’s words, were the “statements the committee has reason to believe Mr. Steele made regarding his distribution of information contained in the dossier” accurate?

One way to find that out is to compare what Steele told the London court with what Steele told the FBI. Some of the London court testimony is public. As for what Steele told the FBI, the Senate Judiciary Committee has examined a lot of dossier-related material from the FBI under an agreement that allows the committee to view materials the bureau has originally produced to the House Intelligence Committee.

It appears that Grassley and Graham are pursuing inconsistencies between what Steele told the FBI and what Steele told the London court. If they conflict, which is true? If what Steele told the FBI was untrue, that’s a problem.

Ultimately, the Steele-FBI deal fell through, for reasons that have never been publicly disclosed.

But there has been much speculation that the FBI used information from the uncorroborated dossier to seek court permission to spy on Americans in the Trump-Russia investigation. That would be a big deal, and it is an issue House and Senate Republicans are determined to sort out.

“I don’t take lightly making a referral for criminal investigation,” Grassley said in a statement Friday. “But, as I would with any credible evidence of a crime unearthed in the course of our investigations, I feel obliged to pass that information along to the Justice Department for appropriate review. Everyone needs to follow the law and be truthful in their interactions with the FBI.”

“Maybe there is some innocent explanation for the inconsistencies we have seen,” Grassley continued, “but it seems unlikely.”

FBI tries to claw back credibility – and maybe get on Trump’s good side

January 5, 2018

FBI tries to claw back credibility – and maybe get on Trump’s good side, American ThinkerMonica Showalter, January 5, 2017

(The Department of Justice Inspector General probably has more to do with getting the Clinton Foundation investigation on track than any staff desires to make nice with President Trump. — DM)

Suddenly, suddenly, the FBI isn’t so blase about the doings of the Clinton Foundation, launching a new investigation into its apparently corrupt activities. Might it really be a quest for its lost credibility?

According to a report from John Solomon of The Hill:

The Justice Department has launched a new inquiry into whether the Clinton Foundation engaged in any pay-to-play politics or other illegal activities while Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State, law enforcement officials and a witness tells The Hill.

FBI agents from Little Rock, Ark., where the Foundation was started, have taken the lead in the investigation and have interviewed at least one witness in the last month, and law enforcement officials said additional activities are expected in coming weeks.

The officials, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, said the probe is examining whether the Clintons promised or performed any policy favors in return for largesse to their charitable efforts or whether donors made commitments of donations in hopes of securing government outcomes.

The probe may also examine whether any tax-exempt assets were converted for personal or political use and whether the Foundation complied with applicable tax laws, the officials said.

More than a year ago, author Peter Schweizer and the New York Times did a sort of joint investigation showing just how bad things were with money flowing into the Clinton Foundation and favors flowing out of Hillary Clinton’s State Department, notably in the case of the Uranium One giveaway to the Russians. The Times and Schweizer are hardly ideological coevals, so the fact that the two could work together and come to the same conclusion says something. The Times utilized a preview of Schweizer’s upcoming blockbuster, Clinton Cash, and then augmented the research with its own reporting. The Times’ editorial page didn’t like it, but seemed to accept that facts are facts and no corrections were issued on the story.

Pay for play was hardly confined to Russians and uranium. A Swiss company called Firmenich reportedly was experiencing a lime shortage for its fragrance industry and somehow got Bill Clinton to get some lime trees (as opposed to other things) planted in Haiti via the Clinton Foundation. After that, a $260,000 check was waiting for him for a brief speech in Switzerland, so the reports say.

There were countless instances of funds rolling in to the Clinton Foundation as favors rolled out, either from State or the foundation leaning on foreign governments.

The Hill reported  that the FBI’s Little Rock office found all sorts of problems in its local investigation but were rebuffed in their findings by headquarters and the highly politicized Obama Department of Justice. The investigation apparently died.

Until, well, now. Which raises questions about just how the FBI does business. Far from fear or favor, it let itself be rolled by positively Chavista-level politicizers from Team Obama. It was so bad the private sector with its far feebler investigative resources was able to show them up. Now they are scrambling to recover some lost credibility, as a law enforcement agency, not an Obama enforcer.

They may also be trying to restore credibility with President Trump, who has berated them for their politicization on Twitter. After all, they are going to have to work with him for the next three or seven years, and there will be resources and prerogatives they will want.

Well, glad they got on it.  Better late than never.

Panic at the Washington Post

December 26, 2017

Panic at the Washington Post, Power LinePaul Mirengoff, December 25, 2017

The Washington Post is worried. The lead headline in today’s paper edition reads: “Mueller criticism grows to a clamor — FBI Conspiracy Claim Takes Hold — Driven by activists, GOP lawmakers, Trump tweets.”

Turnabout is fair play. Last year around this time, an honest newspaper could easily have written: “Trump criticism grows to a clamor — Russia Collusion Takes Hold — Driven by activists, Democratic lawmakers, leaks.”

A year ago, an honest newspaper could not have written that the Trump collusion criticism was driven by the FBI. The facts supporting such a headline were not known. Now we have good reason to suspect that the FBI was, in fact, advancing the collusion claim.

The FBI reportedly offered money to Christoper Steele to continue his work on the anti-Trump dossier (in testimony before Congress Rod Rosenstein refused to say whether the FBI paid or offered to pay for the dossier). The FBI may well have used information in the dossier to secure approval of surveillance efforts from the FISA court.

The FBI also helped push the dossier into the public’s consciousness. Its general counsel, James Baker, reportedly told reporter David Corn about the dossier, thus enabling Corn to write about it just before the election. And FBI director Comey briefed president-elect Trump on the dossier, which led to publication of its contents by BuzzFeed.

We also know about the quest of Peter Strzok, a high-level FBI man, for an “insurance policy” against a Trump presidency.

But let’s return to the Washington Post’s story about growing criticism of Mueller. The three distressed Post writers are less than fully open when it comes to informing readers what — other than activists, GOP lawmakers, and Trump tweets — is causing criticism of Mueller to grow to a clamor.

They acknowledge that it has something to do with Strzok’s role as Mueller’s former top investigator. However, they do their best to make Strzok seem innocuous.

The story introduces him by noting that he called Trump an “idiot” and predicted that Hillary Clinton would win the election in a landslide — statements that don’t distinguish him from tens of thousands of government employees and millions of other Americans. They also quote a former colleague of Strzok who says:

To think Pete could not do his job objectively shows no understanding of the organization. We have Democrats, we have Republicans, we have conservatives and liberals. . . . Having personal views doesn’t prevent us from independently following the facts.

The problem with peddling this happy narrative is that it ignores Strzok’s anti-Trump zeal, his obvious desire to impress his mistress, and his damning statement about the need for an “insurance policy” against Trump becoming president. The Post, in fact, never mentions that statement.

The Post also manages to ignore the hyper-partisan nature of Mueller’s staff, even excluding Strzok, whom he reassigned. There is a passing reference to Andrew Weissmann’s gushing note to Sally Yates praising her for her resistance to Trump, but no discussion of the ideologically one-sided composition of Team Mueller — a marked contrast to Ken Starr’s balanced staff.

Even with that diverse staff, Starr was successfully portrayed as spearheading a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” It’s not surprising that as more and more evidence emerges of bias within Mueller’s team, criticism mounts and takes hold.

Mueller himself is a Republican. But he is also a friend of James Comey, another fact the Post ignores. The steady stream of evidence of Comey’s anti-Trump animus and manipulative conduct has contributed to declining faith in Mueller.

And then, there’s the fact that Mueller appears to have come up empty so far on “collusion” by Trump. A prosecutor investigating a president is bound to lose credibility if, after an extended period of time, he neither produces evidence against the president nor exonerates him of the set of crimes that supposedly underlie the investigation.

A prosecutor who cannot credibly be accused of bias — either personal or within his team — buys himself time and patience from the public. Mueller is not that prosecutor.

In sum, the Post’s account of how Mueller lost the “near-universal support” he enjoyed earlier is shallow.

The Post’s story is significant, nonetheless. Clearly, the Post is concerned that, as it states, the growing criticism of Mueller “threatens to shadow his investigation’s eventual findings.”

It does, indeed. A recent Harvard poll found that 54 percent of voters believe that “as the former head of the FBI and a friend of James Comey,” Mueller has a conflict of interest in the proceedings. Meanwhile, only 35 percent believe that evidence of collusion between Trump and Russia has been found.

I’m sure Mueller believes his own press-clippings, but the public no longer does. The press, it seems, is beginning to realize this.

Modesto Tow-Truck Driver Planned Christmas Attack on S.F.’s Pier 39, Says FBI

December 23, 2017

Modesto Tow-Truck Driver Planned Christmas Attack on S.F.’s Pier 39, Says FBI, PJ MediaBridget Johnson, December 22, 2017

Tourists and visitors walk through the alleyways of Pier 39 at the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco on Sept. 14, 2017. (Alexandra Schuler/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)

“It’s not true. I don’t know what the FBI are trying to pin on him. I don’t know why,” Gordon Jameson said. “He’s never once talked about bombing anything. He’d never hurt a single person. He’s more of a sweet type of person, a gentle kind of person. He’s a peaceful Muslim person.”

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A tow truck driver with Marine Corps training from California’s San Joaquin Valley is accused of plotting to execute a Christmas attack at Pier 39, a popular tourist spot in San Francisco.

Everitt Aaron Jameson, 26, of Modesto, Calif., was arrested today and brought before a magistrate in Fresno on charges of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. The FBI says he was inspired by the Halloween attack on a Manhattan bike path, and soon after offered his jihadi services.

According to the criminal complaint, Jameson “espoused radical jihadi beliefs, including authoring social media posts that are supportive of terrorism, communicating with people he believes share his jihadi views and offering to provide services to such people, including in the form of his presumably employer-provided tow truck in service of the ’cause.'”

The complaint says Jameson communicated with an undercover FBI employee about “his interest in planning and undertaking a violent attack in San Francisco in support of ISIS” and also talked about providing financial support to jihad.

The FBI was originally tipped off about Jameson because of his pro-ISIS “like” and “love” activity on Facebook. He loved with a heart, for example, a recent posterfrom ISIS supporters showing Santa overlooking Times Square with a box of dynamite at his side.

Everitt Jameson

The source who tipped off the FBI began private messaging with Jameson on Oct. 24, the FBI says. Three days later, Jameson allegedly messaged the FBI source that he was “here to beg to join the cause against darul kuffar [land of disbelievers]. I’m ready.” Asked two days later if he was a convert to Islam, Jameson replied he was and “that is what will make me more useful.”

“I can blend in. Or shock and awe,” Jameson reportedly added, telling the source that he took his shahada — profession of belief — two years ago at the Merced Islamic Center. “I am a tow truck driver. So I can make these services available as well,” he said.

On the day of the Manhattan attack, in which Sayfullo Saipov killed eight people with a rented pickup truck, the FBI says Jameson posted a GIF of a crowd giving a standing ovation next to the story. “I’m glad to know we Muslims are finally hitting back,” he allegedly told the FBI source. “Allahu Akbar! The Kuffar deserve everything and more for the lives they have taken.”

On Nov. 3, Jameson submitted a franchise tow truck driver application with Modesto Police. A few weeks later, FBI agents began surveillance of Jameson at the tow company where he worked. An undercover FBI employee began communicating with Jameson via social media on Dec. 11. “I was a soldier in the Kuffar army before I reverted. I have been trained in combat and things of war. In Sha Allah anything of that nature, as well as funding,” Jameson allegedly offered.

The complaint says Jameson graduated from basic training in the Marine Corps in 2009, earning a sharpshooter qualification. He was discharged from the Marines for fraudulent enlistment, failing to disclose his history of asthma.

The undercover FBI employee, who told Jameson that his boss was ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, met up with Jameson on Dec. 16. The tow truck driver said he’d ready the Anarchist Cookbook and could provide $400 per month of his salary to ISIS. Jameson “stated that we need something along the lines of New York or San Bernardino,” the complaint states, and suggested using a combination vehicle/gun attack on Pier 39 with explosives to funnel crowds into an ambush scenario. Jameson allegedly told his contact that he could carry out the attack this week, and that Christmas was the “perfect day” to launch the assault. He said he planned to be killed during the attack, thus didn’t have an escape plan.

Jameson was told to wait until approval came from al-Baghdadi, the FBI said. He allegedly said he’d “prefer an assault rifle” and could get timers, remote detonators, PVC pipe, nails and powder; he told his contact that he’d go up to a remote campground in the mountains to build the IEDs.

After the meeting, Jameson reportedly wrote a page-and-a-half-long attack claim statement for ISIS. He then sent along photos of Pier 39.

On Monday, an FBI employee accidentally called Jameson’s cell phone from a Washington, D.C., 202 area code, the complaint notes. Jameson answered in Arabic and the FBI employee hung up. Jameson called the number and got the voice mail identifying the name of the FBI employee but not the agency. Later that day, Jameson told the undercover FBI employee that he had “reconsidered” the attack.

On Wednesday, the FBI executed a search warrant on Jameson’s house and reportedly found the ISIS letter he’d written with his chosen nom de guerre: Abdallah Abu Everitt Ibn Gordon Al-Amriki. The letter faulted the U.S. for being a “nationalistic, godless society” that “allowed Donald J Trump to give away Al Quds to the Jews.” He said that the “Lions of Islam” had “penetrated and infiltrated your disgusting country.”

Handguns and a rifle were found at Jameson’s residence, but there were few bullets. During the search, the complaint states, Jameson “stated his support of ISIS and terrorism and discussed aspects of the plan to carry out an attack, noting that he would be happy if an attack was carried out.”

Jameson faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The Modesto Bee reported that Jameson graduated from Enochs High School in 2009, and when he was 16 years old wrote a letter that ran in the newspaper in support of U.S. forces remaining in Iraq. “Say Saddam Hussein did have weapons of mass destruction (which he did; they weren’t put together and could’ve been within days). Would you like to have a maniac who waged biological warfare on his own people to walk around with WMD?,” he wrote. “I don’t know what you were taught, but I was raised to finish something you start, and guess what? It’s not finished yet.”

The suspect’s father, Gordon Jameson, told the Merced Sun-Star that he’s a “devout Pentecostal” and discussed religion with his son, who he says grew up Christian and converted to Islam about a year ago.

“We’d talk about Jesus – not argue, just talk – and he’d say ‘yeah, Dad, we all believe in the same God,'” Gordon Jameson said. “He never once spoke about hate or wanting to hurt anything. He never said anything about wanting to blow people up.”

The dad said family members jokingly called Everitt “ISIS” after he converted. He said Everitt Jameson’s two young children had been permanently taken from him by Child Protective Services; the mother is serving prison time in Chowchilla. “He jumped through every hoop they put up for him to get his kids back,” Gordon Jameson said. “They did him pretty well dirty. A dad doesn’t have much rights to try to get his kids back.” The father said he was concerned his son was suicidal over losing custody of his kids.

“It’s not true. I don’t know what the FBI are trying to pin on him. I don’t know why,” Gordon Jameson said. “He’s never once talked about bombing anything. He’d never hurt a single person. He’s more of a sweet type of person, a gentle kind of person. He’s a peaceful Muslim person.”

Inside Judicial Watch: The Politicized DOJ — Mueller, Comey, Strzok, Yates, & More!

December 7, 2017

Inside Judicial Watch: The Politicized DOJ — Mueller, Comey, Strzok, Yates, & More! Judicial Watch via YouTube, December 5, 2017