Thursday, February 21, 2019

Trisha Anderson Quibbles

What is a "spy"? What is the meaning of the verb "is"? Who knew our high level FBI officials had a taste for such arcane speculation? Jeff Carlson has shared some additional tidbits from Trisha Anderson's House testimony, Testimony by FBI Lawyer Trisha Anderson Reveals Extensive Role in Trump, Clinton Investigations, which reveal that Anderson possessed that penetrating type of mind.

It may be well to refresh recollections regarding exactly who Trisha Anderson is. We previously cited a press release from the DC law firm of Covington & Burling, where she was a protege of Eric Holder, who recruited her to DoJ. Her government legal experience ran like this (most recent first):

* Federal Bureau of Investigation, Principal Deputy General Counsel 
* U.S. Treasury Department, Assistant General Counsel for Enforcement & Intelligence 
* U.S. Department of Justice, Associate Deputy Attorney General; Attorney-Adviser at the Office of Legal Counsel 

When she rejoined Covington, in September, 2018, the press release ran as follows:

Trisha B. Anderson, an experienced national security and cybersecurity lawyer who has held senior positions at multiple federal agencies, has rejoined Covington as a partner in Washington. Ms. Anderson most recently served as Principal Deputy General Counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where she handled complex national security and cyber legal issues.  
Ms. Anderson’s practice will focus on a range of national security and government enforcement matters, including surveillance and law enforcement compliance and litigation, cybersecurity and data privacy, economic sanctions, and CFIUS, with a particular emphasis on clients in the information technology, communications, and financial services industries.   
Ms. Anderson brings more than a decade of high-level government experience. From 2007 to 2014, she held a number of senior positions at the Department of Justice, including Attorney-Adviser in the Office of Legal Counsel and Associate Deputy Attorney General. In 2014, Ms. Anderson moved to the Treasury Department where she served as Assistant General Counsel for Enforcement & Intelligence, overseeing the legal support to the agency’s national security functions. She joined the FBI’s Office of the General Counsel in 2015. Prior to her time in government, Ms. Anderson was an associate at Covington.

As we pointed out in Trisha Anderson Clarifies,

Anderson, as head of the National Security Law Branch (NSLB) at the FBI, was in a key position to know pretty much all there was to know about the Carter Page FISA application ...

So, here's what's new in the leaks of her testimony. Quoting from Jeff Carlson's summary:

Anderson Defines ‘Spy’
Trump on several occasions has made reference to a spy placed within his campaign. We know the FBI used Stefan Halper as “a government informant” in relation to his contacts with Trump campaign advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, but the FBI has denied the use of an actual spy. 
Anderson also stated she had no knowledge of a spy, but was later asked to define her understanding of the word: 
     Mr. Breitenbach: “Does a spy, in your mind, include a human confidential source?” 
     Ms. Anderson: “No.” 
     Mr. Breitenbach: “Does a spy include an undercover FBI employee?” 
     Ms. Anderson: “I don’t know.” 
After more questioning, Anderson provided her reasoning in stating there had been no spy in the Trump campaign. 
     Ms. Anderson: “First, the word ‘spy’ did not seem commensurate with what I understood had been done in this particular case. And the other thing was the verb, the use of the verb ‘place’ a spy or ‘place’ a source within a campaign. To my knowledge, the FBI did not place anybody within a campaign but, rather, relied upon its network of sources, some of whom already had campaign contacts, including the source that has been discussed in the media at some length beyond Christopher Steele.” 
Anderson was referring back to the FBI’s use of Halper. ...

 Please note the disconnects. Carlson leaves us with the impression that this was basically all about Stefan Halper, and it's probable that Anderson was referring to Halper when she referred to "the source that has been discussed in the media at some length beyond Christopher Steele.” But let's examine this more closely.

First, Trump--who admittedly speaks imprecisely at times--several times made reference to a spy placed within his campaign. Now, Anderson takes exception to the idea that a "spy" or "source" was "placed" within the Trump campaign. Rather, she says, the FBI simply used its existing "network of sources, some of whom already had campaign contacts."

So, let's ignore the word "placed," as being imprecise. Instead, let's focus on the word "within" as key for parsing Anderson's testimony. Now, Stefan Halper was an FBI source and would undoubtedly qualify as someone who "already had campaign contacts" by the time the FBI's Crossfire Hurricane investigation was initiated in late July, 2016. But ... Halper was never within the Trump campaign.

Please note. Anderson doesn't deny that the FBI had a source within the Trump campaign. Moreover, she explicitly refers to a multiplicity of sources targeting the Trump campaign:

[a] network of sources [plural!], some [but not all!] of whom already had campaign contacts, including [but not limited to!] the source that has been discussed in the media at some length beyond Christopher Steele.”

So, if we accept that the FBI had a source or "spy" within the Trump campaign--just as Trump claims, and leaving aside the word "placed"--we're left with this: Anderson agrees (or, certainly, doesn't deny) that, yes, the FBI had a "source" within the Trump campaign. Don't let the reference to Halper distract from that point--Anderson cites Halper only as an example of the FBI's use of sources because he is now publicly known but, since Halper wasn't within the Trump campaign, the source within the campaign must be someone else. Who would that be?

As we argued in The Spy In The Trump Campaign, back in October, 2018, there is strong circumstantial evidence that the spy within the Trump campaign was former FBI agent, former Congressman, and former Chair of the House Intel Committee, Mike Rogers (not Admiral Mike Rogers of NSA). This is important. The Russia Hoax was not simply the FBI running amock--it was a highly coordinated Deep State operation that spanned all branches of our Government.

In the interest of keeping the name of Rogers alive in inquiries into the Russia Hoax, here are excerpts from the linked post. Refer to the linked post above for links. Also, this post shows sundance at the top of his game:

Sundance at Conservative Tree House has a fascinating blog up tonight. He begins from a tweet by George Papadopoulos:

George Papadopoulos‏

While I cannot disclose the information publicly, it’s a fact that both me and congress know who the SPY within the campaign was. Congress will likely include it in a report later on. Eyes were everywhere during 2016.
3:05 PM - 28 Oct 2018

Sundance posits that the source was the former US Representative from Michigan, Mike Rogers--not to be confused, as we'll see, with former NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers. Rogers, the former US Rep., was a Special Agent for the FBI in Chicago from 1989 - 1994 (I didn't know him, but recall hearing the office buzz when Rogers resigned to go into politics). More to the point, after leaving the House in 2014, having served as Chairman of the Permanent Select Committe on Intelligence, Rogers joined the Trump campaign in 2016 as national security adviser. Sundance points out Rogers' dodgy role in the Benghazi whitewash and then asks: "So how did Decepticon Rogers come to be an advisor to the Trump campaign?" Unfortunately, he offers no views on that.

Rogers was abruptly terminated within days after the election--much to the dismay of the Washington DC establishment. For example, in the Washington Post David Ignatius reported the dismissal in telling terms:

Just how far the new administration may depart from long-standing U.S. national-security policies was demonstrated by Rogers’s own departure.
You could imagine the jaws dropping Tuesday across the intelligence community when people heard the news of Rogers’s ouster. ... the intelligence agencies literally don’t know what to expect next.

Sundance himself ties Rogers' dismissal to the well known visit of Admiral Mike Rogers to Trump Tower a few days after the election, which led to the move of the Trump transition team headquarters from Trump Tower to a Trump golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey. However, once again, sundance offers no further details.

The question, then, becomes: What would the NSA Director have to do with a human source inside the Trump campaign? Wouldn't that be the purview of the FBI? Would the NSA Director even know of the existence, much less the identity, of such a source? ...

I can only offer speculation. My speculation is that the paperwork flow for FISA orders includes a copy being sent to NSA, since in the modern FISA regime NSA plays a central role even on domestic FISA coverage. If that were the case--if, I repeat--and if the human source in the Trump campaign was used to support the predication for the Carter Page FISA, which was approved in late October, 2016, then Admiral Rogers could have become aware of the existence of that human source and may even have been able to determine the identity of the source from the characterization of the source in the FISA application. That information, of course, would be in the redacted portions of the FISA application which we have yet to see. At this point, all we can do is wait. Interestingly, Mike Rogers (the former Rep.) was one of the persons interviewed for the position of FBI Director after James Comey was fired. However, that interview was conducted at DoJ, so presumably the White House put the kibosh on that move.


Jeff Sessions was chairman of candidate Trump's National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC). Does that answer sundance's question: "So how did Decepticon [former US Representative, Mike] Rogers come to be an advisor to the Trump campaign?" If so, this certainly helps to explain the depths of Trump's obvious feelings of aggrievement against Sessions, the roots of which include other factors than Sessions' recusal. The recusal may, in fact, have been in Trump's view the straw that broke the camel's back--following on from the hiring of Rogers.

Where is Mike Rogers today? He's landed on his feet--among the NeverTrump Deep Staters. From What's So Special About That Relationship?

Well, I have an open mind, so I read Mollie Hemingway's article, How The Media Enable Rep. Adam Schiff’s Russian Bot Conspiracy Theories: For more than a year, Adam Schiff has been hopping to all the TV stations claiming, without benefit of specifics, the existence of a vast conspiracy between President Trump and Russia, and what I found out confirmed Greenwald's characterization of Schiff's disinformation operation as "probably the single most successful media fraud & US propaganda campaign" ever. I won't attempt to duplicate Hemingway's detailed account--do yourself a favor and read it. But here's a passage that really got my attention:

Natasha Bertrand, a reporter who facilitates messages from Fusion GPS, the group that authored the infamous Russia dossier on behalf of the Clinton campaign, wrote a piece headlined “Russia-linked Twitter accounts are working overtime to help Devin Nunes and WikiLeaks.”  
Her story and many others uncritically accept and promote a secretive group’s unverified claim of a Russian conspiracy. The Alliance for Securing Democracy runs an operation called Hamilton 68 that it claims tracks Russian bots, though it’s impossible to assess the claim because of the group’s methodology. The advisory council for the alliance includes NeverTrump stalwarts such as Bill Kristol and David Kramer, the man Sen. John McCain sent to London to pick up the discredited Russian dossier from Christopher Steele.  
Hamilton 68’s claim — later refuted by Twitter and Facebook — formed the entire basis of Schiff’s theory that it was Russian bots, not real Americans, who wanted to learn about FISA abuse by the FBI. Asked to respond to Hamilton 68’s claim, Twitter responded, “Because the Hamilton Dashboard’s account list is not available to the public, we are unable to offer any specific context on the accounts it includes.” 

So let's wrap this thing up by extracting some items of particular interest.

Natasha Bertrand--she facilitates messages from Fusion GPS. Yes, that Fusion GPS, the one that hired Christopher Steele, who wrote the "dossier." And that's the same Christopher Steele who seems connected to Donnelly's neoconnish Institute for Statecraft.

The Alliance for Securing Democracy--who's that? Hemingway is right about the Alliance's Advisory Council. It contains many of the usual Neocon and NeverTrump suspects. Including David Kramer who went to London to get the "dossier" from Christopher Steele--the same Christopher Steele who seems connected to Donnelly's Institute for Statecraft. Did he meet anyone else there? Did he and McCain have any other contacts there?

There are other interesting names on that Advisory Council--in fact, it's a regular Deep State rogues' gallery, even including John Podesta. But for me one name that really jumps out is: Mike Rogers. Yes, that would be the former GOP Congressman, former head of the Intel Committee, and former national security adviser to the Trump campaign. I devoted a blog post to him alone: The Spy In The Trump Campaign.


  1. This is the essential conundrum. The actual attempted coup against an elected United States president involved a huge number of conspirators at the highest levels of the US federal government and also foreign allied governments. It included a former president, nearly all the senior staff and department heads (DOJ/FBI/CIA/NSA/SoS etc) plus many members of Congress, and likely included the complicity of very senior officials in allied governments (Five Eyes).

    Only Barr has the means to blow this wide open and prosecute the perpetrators, but if he goes down that road, it will be massive scorched earth for years to come and dominate all other affairs of government. Conversely, if he enables a whitewash type coverup (mitigated with theatrical outrage and faux rule-based remedies), then Trump acquires massive leverage and get to finish implementing his agenda. Which would you choose?

    1. Unknown, I'm gonna disagree with you here--although I get where you're coming from.

      I agree entirely with your first paragraph, however ...

      Barr won't be alone--he'll have the WH behind him, and that could be a very significant factor when it comes to dealing with "allies." For example, we've already seen that within 3 days of Trump's inauguration Hannigan at GCHQ resigned. That was no coincidence--I'm quite sure Trump demanded and got that resignation. Now, with an effective AG, will Trump demand that other British or "allied" subjects (Chris Steele? Andrew Downer? The list goes on.) be made available? We'll see. The point is, Barr will have significant weight behind him if Trump wants this to go forward. I say: why the hell not?

      Re such a scorched earth approach dominating all else, I'm not so sure. Consider the Russia Hoax. I'm quite sure that a major part of its goal was to completely tie Trump's hands with legal threats. Hasn't happened. In fact, he's been far more effective than other presidents who had no such encumbrances.

      We shall see.

  2. If this scandal leads to prosecutions of some Deep State actors, we can thank many individual citizen journalists who stepped up and did the job that the voluntarily-state run media refused to do. I won't names because I'd slight some deserving individual, but many of these heroes are referenced by you. I love that the internet has brought competition to the dead wood at ABC, CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, etc.

    I am actually hopeful that some of these plotters will face justice. For a long time, I was skeptical. Donald Trump seems too sophisticated to turn a blind eye to this.

    1. I think Trump has to take some scalps--if not for personal reasons, then for the country. I think he gets that.

  3. Should Barr undertake any significant action against the upper echelon of conspirators, the impeachment process will be pushed into hyperdrive. The impeachment indictment from the House is already a lock with Democrats in control, and a conviction in the Senate can be orchestrated via blackmail of compromised senators (although many republican senators are already Deep State). They understand that this will likely trigger a genuine revolutionary reaction in the populace (with uncertain future consequences), but these people will not go to prison, nor give up their wealth and power. I know this sounds like bad fiction, but it is not.

    1. No, I think your explanations are too simple. The reality is more complicated.