The controversial memo that has been the subject of vast media reports regarding the alleged government surveillance abuse was released on Friday. The unredacted memo, released by the House Intelligence Committee and declassified by President Donald Trump, includes the text from lawmakers regarding the abuses carried out by government officials involving the use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to spy on the Trump transition team.
The memo specifically cites surveillance performed by officials from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Importantly, it stated that the infamous anti-Trump dossier “formed an essential part” of the application to spy on him, according to a report from Fox News. Furthermore, The DOJ and FBI used media reports to lend the much-needed credibility to the dossier in order to further its viability.
The focus of the FISA application is on Page. According to the text of the Memo:
“The FBI and DOJ obtained one initial FISA warrant targeting Carter Page and three FISA renewals from FISC [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court]. As required by statute (50 U.S.C. 1805 (d)(1)), a FISA order on an American citizen must be renewed by the FISC every 90 days and each renewal requires a separate finding of probable cause.”
Three FISA applications were signed by then-FBI Director James Comey. One was signed by then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. Additionally, one or more FISA applications were signed by then-Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Sally Yates, then-acting DAG Dana Boente, and DAG Rod Rosenstein.
Insofar as credible and verifiable information was gathered, many points of misleading advice that led to the furtherance of the Page FISA application have surfaced. According to the Memo, “material and relevant information was omitted.”
The memo states:
“1. The ‘dossier’ complied by Christopher Steele (Steele dossier) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application. Steele was a longtime FBI source who was paid over $160,000 by the DNC and Clinton campaign, via the law firm Perkins Coie and research firm Fusion GPS, to obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.
a) Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials.
b) The initial FISA application notes Steele was working for a named U.S. person, but does not name Fusion GPS and principal Glenn Simpson, who was paid by a U.S. law firm (Perkins Coie) representing the DNC (even though it was known by DOJ at the time that political actors were involved with the Steele dossier). The application does not mention Steele was ultimately working on behalf of – and paid by – the DNC and Clinton campaign, or that the FBI had separately authorized payment to Steele for the same information.”
A significant headline references that officials from DOJ and FBI knew the political origins behind the dossier; thus, were aware of the supposed outcome of the biased ideology. The political bias of the dossier originates not in the methods used to gather information, but how and who paid for them to be cultivated.
The Clinton campaign rigged the the inter-workings of the DNC during the 2016 presidential election to sway the overbearing support for then-candidate Bernie Sanders back to Hillary. Clinton also saw a threat posed by Donald Trump and those working for him. Instead of paying for a false dossier herself, or on behalf of the DNC, the law firm, Perkins Coie, which is the legal representation of the DNC, paid Steele for his work. Fusion GPS, overseen by Glenn Simpson, hired Steele, a former British spy, to produce the highly controversial and mostly discredited anti-Trump dossier.
An August testimony given to the Senate Judiciary Committee by Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS, revealed that, to Simpson, it “makes sense” that the FBI made payments to Steele. In July, Steele rendezvoused with an FBI contact to hand over information that led to the crafting of the dossier, as reported in the testimony.
“2) The Carter Page FISA application also cited extensively a September 23, 2016, Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, which focuses on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow. The article does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo News. The Page FISA application incorrectly assesses that Steele did not directly provide information to Yahoo News. Steele has admitted in British court filings that he met with Yahoo News – and several other outlets- in September 2016 at the direction of Fusion GPS. Perkins Coie was aware of Steele’s initial media contacts because they hosted at least one meeting in Washington D.C. in 2016 with Steele and Fusion GPS where this matter was discussed.
a) Steele was suspended and then terminated as an FBI source for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations – an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI in an October 30,2016, Mother Jones article by David Corn. Steele should have been terminated for his previous undisclosed contacts with Yahoo and other outlets in September – before the Page application was submitted to the FISC in October – but Steele improperly concealed from and to the FBI about those contacts.
b) Steele’s numerous encounter with the media violated the cardinal rule of source handling – maintaining confidentiality – and demonstrated that Steele has become a less than reliable source for the FBI.”
A September 23, 2016 Yahoo News article written by Michael Isikoff details the trip Page made to Moscow to discuss with Russian officials the possibility of lifting economic sanctions. According to the article, “Page met with Igor Sechin, a longtime Putin associate and former Russian deputy prime minister who is now executive chairman of Rosneft, Russia’s leading oil company, a well-placed Western intelligence source tells Yahoo News.” This sentence infers the leaks Steele was providing Isikoff and other new outlets in the Western Hemisphere.
Some say the Isikoff article may have provided credibility for the dossier. However, it was the people behind the dossier who briefed Isikoff, who wrote the story, that led to the FISA application. This is circular reporting which is in no way credible sourcing.
In addition, this shows that the FBI lied to officials about obtaining the FISA application and proves Steele was leaking information later proven further by court testimony in Britain. Since Steele was acting in defiance with FBI practice by leaking vital information about an investigation for which he was being utilized as a spy, he nullifies his credibility as a source for an official organization.
“3) Before and after Steele was terminated as a source, he maintained contact with DOJ via then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, a senior DOJ official who worked closely with Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and later Rosenstein. Shortly after the election, the FBI began interviewing Ohr, documenting his communication with Steele. For example, in September 2016, Steele admitted to Ohr his feelings against then-candidate Trump when Steele said he ‘was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.’ this clear evidence of Steele’s bias was recorded by Ohr at the time and subsequently in officials FBI files – but not reflected in any of the Page FISA application.
a) During this same time period, Ohr’s wife was employed by Fusion GPS to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump. Ohr later provided the FBI with all of his wife’s opposition research, paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign via Fusion GPS. The Ohr’s relationship with Steele and Fusion GPS was inexplicably concealed from the FISC.”
By this measure, the fact that Steele reveals his clear anti-Trump political bias, he should have been discredited further even after his relationship was terminated by the FBI. In a report from the Washington Post, Steele was said to have, “reached an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the election for the bureau to pay him to continue his work, according to several people familiar with the arrangement.”
Nellie Ohr, the wife of Bruce Ohr, began working for Fusion GPS in 2016. Considering she worked for the research form during the time the controversial dossier was crafted, red flags should have been thrown high in the air as a clear conflict of interest exists. However, as stated in the Memo, the relationship was concealed from the FISC and could not be taken into account as a clear conflict of interest between DOJ and a political opposition research firm.
“4) According to the head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, Assistant Director Bill Priestap, corroboration of the Steele’s dossier was in its ‘infancy’ at the time of the initial Page FISA application. After Steele was terminated, a source validation report conducted by an independent unit within FBI assessed Steele’s reporting as only minimally corroborated. Yet, in early January 2017, Director Comey briefed President-elect Trump on a summary of the Steele dossier, even though it was – according to his June 2017 testimony – ‘salacious and unverified’. While the FISA application relied on Steele’s past record of credible reporting on other unrelated matters, it ignored or concealed his anti-Trump financial and ideological motivation. Furthermore, Deputy director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information.”
It is a clear dereliction of duty for Director Comey to brief a sitting president about a false, completely construed item of intelligence that will be part of the commander-in-chief’s plan to govern. Considering McCabe testified that to FISA application on Page would have been filed to the FISA without a dossier, it shows that nothing on the radar regarding collusion between Russian officials and the Trump transition team existed.
Under the guidance of McCabe, the FBI has been subject to allegations, along with officialsfrom DOJ, that operatives are working against the Trump Administration in Washington. Republicans in Congress were made aware of text messages sent between Peter Strzok, former Chief of the Counterespionage Section for the FBI and his mistress Lisa Page, also and agent for the bureau. Language from the texts show a clear anti-Trump bias and language that alleges that there may be a “secret society” working against the Trump Administration.
These allegation were also noted in the memo:
“5) The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos. The Papadolpoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok. Strzok was reassigned by the Special Counsel’s Office to FBI Human Resources for improper text messages with his mistress, FBI attorney Lisa Page (no known relations to Carter Page), where they both demonstrated a clear bias against Trump and in favor of Clinton, who Strzok has also investigated. The Strzok/Lisa Page texts also reflect extensive discussions about the investigation, orchestrating leaks to the media, and include a meeting with Deputy Director McCabe to discuss an ‘insurance’ policy against President Trump’s election.”
On Friday, shortly after releasing the memo, President Trump called it “a disgrace,” according to reporters. “A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves,” he said.
The memo says the committee’s findings, “raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain DOJ and FBI interactions,” with the FISA application process and, “represent a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from abuses related to the FISA process.”
The revelation unearths a clear, unprecedented abuse of process. Public access to the four-page memo follows a vote earlier this week by the House Intelligence Committee to make the document public, even thought congressional Democrats have dissented its made available. In a stunning rebuke from the FBI, officials claimed they had, “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
This confirms the allegations laid on the FBI, DOJ, and Clinton campaign team. It was to get permission from the secret federal court to spy on Trump campaign and transition team.
It is also interesting to take note of a few things missing in the entirety of the controversial memo release and the contents thereof. In the Steele dossier, it is stated that Russian officials have a separate dossier on Hillary Clinton. According to the text, Steele wrote in June 2016:
“A dossier of compromising material on Hillary CLINTON has been collated by the Russian Intelligence Services over many years and mainly comprises bugged conversation she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls…The dossier is controlled by Kremlin spokesman, PESKOV, directly on PUTIN’s orders. However, it has not yet been distributed aboard, including to TRUMP. Russian intentions for its deployment still unclear…a Russian dossier of ‘kompromat’ on Hillary Clinton (being circulated)…focused on things she had said which contradicted her current position on various issues.”
Furthermore, the aforementioned Rod Rosenstein, former deputy attorney general, is presiding over Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation into Russian collusion. Therefore, in light of all the people who signed the Page FISA application, should that not render all of them incompetent, forcing them to resign? Is the Mueller investigation not compromised?
It has become clear that the officials in the highest level of FBI and DOJ are attempting to negatively influence the Trump Administration. The public perception of the supreme law enforcement bodies of the United States cannot be good. As well, the entirely of this investigation and the events leading up it to has been disproportionately, and falsely reported in mainstream media.
There is one last name that has not been mentioned. Throughout 2016, when the FBI was paying for Steele to cultivate his dossier, while government officials were spying on the Trump transition team, and other nefarious federal practices were being carried out, who was the one at the top? Who was technically in charge of all of this?
President Barack Obama.