Wednesday, January 30, 2019

UPDATED: Nellie Ohr Partial Transcript Leak

Another week, another partial leak of the transcript of testimony by a Russia Hoax insider before the House Intel Committee. This time it concerns Nellie Ohr, researcher for Glenn Simpson's Fusion GPS and wife of then top DoJ career official Bruce Ohr. Fusion GPS, of course, was the oppo research firm for the Clinton campaign, hired through Hillary's and the DNC's Perkins Coie partner, Marc Elias. The partial leak comes to us this time courtesy of the Daily Caller.

At first glance this leak is similar to that of James Baker's testimony: there doesn't appear to be any bombshells, per se, but it does provide confirmation of the role played by the subject.

The obvious takeaway from Nellie's testimony--to the extent that it was leaked--is that she researched travel of Trump's family as well as any links between Trump and Russian "oligarchs":

One area of focus was Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, President Trump’s two oldest children. 
“But in terms of actually performing research, did you begin to break out President Trump’s family in terms of Melania Trump, all of his children? Were you doing independent research based off of each family member?” one lawmaker asked Ohr. 
“I did some,” Ohr said. “As I recall, I did some research on all of them, but not into much depth.” 
“How about Donald Trump Jr.? Did you do more in-depth research on Donald Trump Jr. than some of the others?” she was asked. 
“I’m afraid it was relatively superficial. It was,” adding that, “I looked into some of his travels and you know not sure how much detail I remember, at this point.”
“Ivanka Trump?” 
“I looked into some of her travels,” said Ohr. 
The goal was “to see whether they were involved in dealings and transactions with people who had had suspicious pasts.” 
Nellie Ohr also testified that she investigated any links between Russian oligarchs and the Trump real estate empire. 

I think sundance at CTH hits on the significance of this revelation/confirmation. For most people this type of research seems relatively innocuous, but just ask yourself: Where would you get that kind of information? The answer seems clear: The revelation in this is the implicit confirmation that Nellie was accessing data from the FBI/NSA databases and, therefore, that Fusion GPS--as suspected--had been given private contractor access to those databases by James Comey's FBI. This was the gross abuse that Admiral Mike Rogers warned the Chief FISC Judge about--and also warned Donald Trump about, within days of the election, when he traveled personally to Trump Tower in NYC.

sundance also points out that a central mistake in the Steele "dossier" was the mistake about Michael Cohen's travel to Prague. The assumption has to be that this was Nellie's mistake--since she was doing the travel research--incorporated not only into the dossier but, crucially, into the FISA application itself. What made this crucial was that this happened at a point in time (October, 2016, shortly before the election) when Manafort and Carter Page were no longer active in the Trump campaign and the FBI was frantically trying to find a new and at least superficially plausible link between Trump and Russia.

As I argued in The FBI: Working Hand In Glove With Clinton Operatives, that supposed travel to Prague, usually regarded as an obscure miscue in the dossier, in fact was crucial to obtaining the FISA coverage that was sought. The supposed Cohen to Prague travel allowed the FBI and DoJ to claim to the FISC that they had some sort of concrete verification of information in the dossier's narrative. The FBI claimed to the FISC that Steele's source said Cohen was coordinating Trump/Russia collusion through "clandestine" meetings with Russian intel operatives in Prague--and we verified Steele's source information regarding Cohen's travel through NSA databases. That would surely have appeared to a FISC judge as raising the dossier to the level of something like probable cause, and would have made the FBI appear to have been doing solid investigation--rather than dealing in manufactured narratives funded by the Clinton campaign.

So, not exactly bombshell stuff for those who have been following the Russia Hoax, but solid confirmation of how the Russia Hoax worked. It also presents a picture of the inner workings at Fusion GPS, including the coordination between Steele and Nellie. Finally, we also get a better picture of how the FBI/DoJ fraud on the FISC worked in practice.

UPDATE: Commenter Mike Sylwester reminded me of something I had intended to include. I was disappointed that the partial leak failed to include anything about why Nellie Ohr, Russian history expert, age 55, suddenly obtained a ham radio license in 2016 while she was busily researching Trump travel. Surely they asked her about that? Ham radio is one of the few reliable ways to evade NSA's global dragnet, certainly within a 5-10 mile radius in the DC area. Nor did she need a ham radio license to do her travel research. Here's a great, great article about Nellie and her ham license: Did Fusion GPS’s Anti-Trump Researcher Avoid Surveillance With A Ham Radio? And if you want some more technical details as well as savvy analysis re

Nellie H. Ohr,
Call sign: KM4UDZ
6435 Tucker Ave
McLean, VA 22101

here's the place to go: The Mechanics of Deception. Here's just a small sample of why this aspect of Nellie's life during the election campaign of 2016 should be of absorbing interest:

* Her professional profile does not show her to be the techie type. She doesn’t possess any hacker, computer, or engineering skills (which is what typically motivates people to get an Amateur Radio license).  
* She doesn’t belong to any ARRL radio club in the Fairfax area  
* The radio clubs in her registration area have no records of administering the exam (Ham Radio exams are typically administered by the local ARRL club). 
* Her call sign, KM4UDZ, shows no public activity which is odd, because new Hams are typically very chatty and can’t stay off the air when they first get their license.

The radio class limits would only give her a line of sight range of 5-10 miles. In a repeater mode, she could push the range to 20-200 miles. If you don’t think that a 10-mile range is sufficient, think again. It is likely that Ohr’s rationale for using a Ham radio was a substitution for a cell and landline phones in order to communicate with person(s) nearby. As you can see from the map below, even with a 7.5 radius she was well within the range of the entire downtown Washington D.C. area.


  1. Fusion GPS was looking for Michael Cohen's travels because Cohen was known to be involved in Trump's project to build a hotel in Russia. Fusion GPS was hoping to find that Cohen had traveled to Russia.

    Fusion GPS intended to insinuate that Cohen's travel to Russia for the hotel project was a cover to launder money between Trump Tower and the Kremlin.

    The best that Fusion GPS could find was that a Michael Cohen (but the wrong Michael Cohen) had traveled to Prague.


    In 2014, Carter Page participated in an FBI operation to entrap Evgeny Buryakov, a Russian Intelligence officer who was working as a Russian bank employee in the USA. Page pretended to Buryakov that he was promoting a project to develop a casino in Russia.

    In that same year, 2014, Page was subjected to a FISA investigation by the FBI.


    I speculate that Page was involved in Trump's hotel (casino hotel) project already in 2014. The FBI used its FISA investigation to catch Page in some wrong-doing. Then the FBI compelled Page to help the FBI entrap Buryakov.

    Then the FBI continued its FISA investigation of Page from 2014 to 2017. Thus the FBI was well informed about Cohen's role in Trump's project to build a hotel in Russia.


    The FBI's initial justification for the FISA investigation of Page was that he was involved with Buryakov, a Russian Intelligence officer. The FBI told the FISA court that Buryakov had recruited Page to serve as a secret agent for Russian Intelligence.

    In 2016 the Dossier reinforced this accusation against Page. Supposedly Christopher Steele was told by Russian Intelligence insiders that Page still was working for Russian Intelligence. Page served as a communicator between Russian Intelligence and Donald Trump.

    Trump's hotel project, Michael Cohen and Alfa Bank are mixed into the story.

    When Trump entered the Presidential race in 2015, FBI counter-intelligence went crazy. Trump seemed to be a secret agent of Russian Intelligence!


    That's my speculation.

  2. Nellie Ohr's acquisition of a ham-radio license in May 2016 is puzzling. With whom was she supposed to communicate by ham radio?

    Was she supposed to mostly send or mostly receive information by ham radio?

    I speculate that she was supposed to mostly receive information from a CIA small group that Brennan had formed to develop his fantasy that Trump was a secret agent of Russian Intelligence.

    This CIA small group wanted to be able to guide Christopher Steele through Nellie Ohr.

    Perhaps the ham radio never was used in a significant manner. However, it was a resource that could be used for a quick communication to Ohr (to Steele), if the need ever arose.

  3. Mike, thanks a bunch for reminding me about that ham radio license--I meant to include that as a didn't-they-ask? item, and forgot. I'll add it.

    BTW, I finally figured out how I've been messing up with publishing comments. So it shouldn't happen anymore.

  4. Mike, re the supposed 2014 FISA on Carter Page, I'm firmly convinced that the FISA was on the Russians, NOT on Page. That ELSUR (Electronic Surveillance) coverage of the Russians was how the FBI discovered Page. After that, events moved quickly in terms of gaining Page's cooperation--no need for the time consuming FISA process on an USPER. Remember, this was handled through FBI NY, not FBIHQ.

    As for Page being involved in a Trump casino project, Carter Page: I've never spoken with Trump 'any time in my life'.

    Re the Buryakov case, my recollection of the FISA application is that the FBI hid the full story of Page's cooperation (up to March, 2016) from the FISC.

  5. More of my speculation

    The FBI was conducting an Enterprise CI Investigation that included four suspects, who seem to be Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn. These four are linked somehow.

    Here I will speculate about how Papadopoulos might be included in this "enterprise".


    In 2014 the FBI initiated a FISA investigation of Carter Page. He supposedly was being recruited by Russian Intelligence officer Evgeny Buryakov.

    On May 25, 2016, the US Justice Department issued a press release titled Russian Banker Sentenced in Connection with Conspiracy to Work for Russian Intelligence. The press release says that Buryakov was collecting intelligence about two subjects:

    1) potential US sanctions against Russian banks

    2) US efforts to develop alternative energy resources

    I speculate that Buryakov was using Papadopoulos to collect information about the second subject. Papadopoulos never was involved significantly with Russia, but he was involved in the development of petroleum resources in the Eastern Mediterranean. Papadopoulos himself indicates that he thinks that this real involvement of his caused him to become enmeshed in the RussiaGate hoax.

    In other words, both Page and Papadopoulos seemed to be recruited, separately, at about the same time by Buryakov. That is how Page and Papadopoulos -- who had nothing to do with each other -- happened to be included in one "Enterprise".

    I have speculated that no later than 2104, Page became involved with Trump's project to build a casino hotel in Russia. Therefore it's not surprising that Page became an adviser to Trump's political campaign.

    In contrast, Papadopoulos seems to have been manipulated in early 2016 into volunteering to become an adviser to Trump's political campaign.

    Thus two Americans -- Page and Papadopoulos -- who supposedly had been recruited by Russian Intelligence officer Buryakov became advisers to Trump's political campaign in early 2016.

    Subsequently Papadopoulos was manipulated into meeting with Joseph Mifsud, who told him that Russian Intelligence had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Then Papadopoulos was manipulated into telling Alexander Downer and Stefan Halper that he knew that Russian Intelligence had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

  6. Mike, I can understand Russian interest in Papadopoulos re energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean in the 2014-15 time frame--Wikipedia:

    Papadopoulos was an unpaid intern at the Hudson Institute from 2011 to 2015 specializing in the eastern Mediterranean and later worked as a contract research assistant to a senior fellow at the institute.[8][12]

    He described himself as an "oil, gas, and policy consultant" on his LinkedIn page.[13] In 2014, Papadopoulos authored op-ed pieces in Israeli publications. In one, published in the Arutz Sheva, Papadopoulos argued that the U.S. should focus on its "stalwart allies" Israel, Greece, and Cyprus to "contain the newly emergent Russian fleet"; in another, published in Ha'aretz, he contended that Israel should exploit its natural gas resources in partnership with Cyprus and Greece rather than Turkey.[14] He directed an international energy center at the London Centre of International Law Practice.[15]

    However, I have trouble seeing Buryakov as the one who would be working Papadopoulos. The word that I've seen is that the FBI was working him as a possible Israeli agent and probably had a FISA on him.

  7. The CNN wording is this:

    Page had been the subject of a secret intelligence surveillance warrant since 2014, earlier than had been previously reported, US officials briefed on the probe told CNN.


    The Washington Examiner wording is this.

    Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to during President Trump's campaign, has been the subject of a foreign surveillance warrant since 2014.


    Perhaps I have been calling this mistakenly a FISA investigation.

    Perhaps there is a difference between a FISA investigation and a foreign (or secret) surveillance warrant.

  8. Mike, I think you're entirely correct in your understanding of what CNN says. However, based on my understanding on how these operations typically work, and from reading lengthy reporting on the case from the NYT as well as the criminal complaint that the FBI filed in NY, I think CNN got their account backwards.

    In further support of my contention, I note:

    The CNN sourcing is unusually vague: "US officials briefed on the probe";

    The Washington Examiner cites NO source;

    This "reporting" has not been repeated elsewhere by any credible sources, to the best of my knowledge.

  9. Nellie was using a radio to communicate with agents in the British Embassy in DC. It was provided to her by her handler with very limited training. This is the same technique that was used to communicate with French resistance agents during WWII. And this is one of the "sources and methods" taboos that the Deep State does not want revealed.

  10. Unknown, despite the fact that this aspect has long been known, I've never heard anyone offer a plausible explanation for Nellie's sudden onset ham radio enthusiasm. Yours makes as much or more sense than any that I've come up with. After all, if it was to avoid cell phone or email use with people like Glenn Simpson, etc., those people would have had to get ham licenses, too. So communication with intel operatives makes the best sense, and the Brits are a natural.