Saturday, April 20, 2019

Papadopoulos And The Enterprise

One aspect of the Russia Hoax that may appear puzzling at first glance is the amount of effort the FBI put into framing George Papadopoulos--overseas travel, cooperation with foreign intel services, possibly borrowing assets for use in the entrapment schemes that were designed to ensnare Papadopoulos in the Russia Hoax narrative. By comparison, Carter Page seems to have fallen right into their laps--which is exactly the case.

I think this will make more sense if viewed from the perspective of what the FBI was attempting to accomplish within their administrative framework--into which everything had to fit.

It appears that a decision was made early on that trying to label a single person--or even two more or less unconnected persons--associated with the Trump campaign as a Russian spy would not be sufficient. If that had been tried, the failure to warn and brief Trump would have been utterly implausible. What was needed was to present a plausible case that the supposed Russian connection to the Trump campaign was systemic. For that what was needed was a network of individuals that was active in a key part of the campaign--the foreign policy shop. If such a de facto network of Russian agents working within the Trump campaign could be plausibly claimed, then the FBI could do what it actually did do with Crossfire Hurricane--open an "enterprise counterintelligence investigation," with the de facto network being the targeted "enterprise."

As I explained in Mueller's Enterprise Witchhunt, an "enterprise investigation" is defined in the FBI's guidelines (DIOG) as follows:

Enterprise defined: An enterprise is a group of persons associated together for a common purpose of engaging in a course of conduct. The term “enterprise” includes any partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity, and any union or group of individuals associated in fact, although not a legal entity.
Associated in fact defined : The term "associated in fact" means the persons have an ongoing organization, formal or informal, and that the persons function together as a continuing unit. (DIOG 8.2)

The problem for the FBI, then, was to establish such an "enterprise", an informal group of persons functioning as a unit in fact, although not a legal entity. Who would be the members?

Manafort, with his long years of Russian and Ukrainian involvement was a perfect fit--and I remain curious whether Manafort may have been cleverly steered to the campaign. Flynn, on the other hand, while possessing Russian connections was more of a singleton, a free agent rather than a member of the team. Carter Page, of course, was manna from heaven--so much so that, again, I wonder whether he was somehow steered to the campaign by persons working against Trump. And as if his past Russian connections weren't enough, his trip to Russia to give a commencement address was almost too much to hope for (which again causes one to wonder about how that invitation came about--really).

And then there was Papadopoulos, who had no Russian connections at all. It would have been easier to dispense with him, but an enterprise with only two members--Manafort and Page--would not have been terribly compelling. This, I believe, is why Papadopoulos' true if unwitting function in the Russia Hoax--for the FBI--was simply to serve as a member of the bogus enterprise, an extra body to present a more compelling case. This explains the remarkable lengths that the FBI went to to entrap Papadopoulos in Russian related conversations, including the Hillary email angle. Ultimately, Papadopoulos declined to be entrapped, but all that undercover activity surrounding him had served its purpose. At that point, the FBI lost interest in Papadopoulos for a few months, because the focus had shifted to getting the FISA and, for that, Papadopoulos was of no help.

Of course, when Trump actually won, the FBI had a Papadopoulos problem. The fix was to quickly frame him and get him to plead guilty. It didn't matter how ridiculous the case of "lying" that was brought against him was--the 14 day sentence that he received speaks volumes--as long as he could be pressured to shut up. This, to the benefit of all, he has refused to do.

My reason--and not just my reason, but that of most others, including the House investigators and the IG--for focusing on Carter Page is because Page was made the vehicle for obtaining a FISA on the Trump campaign (for practical purposes). I believe that FISA abuse represents the most likely avenue for bringing criminal charges against the Russia Hoax conspirators.

However, the importance that the whole Papadopoulos episode now takes on is becoming more apparent every day. It exposes the formation of the Russia Hoax plot as far more than a spur of the moment, opportunistic undertaking. We can now see that the plans for it must have stretched back much further than most people have suspected. John Solomon wrote, last week, that the Russia Hoax was strategized and planned as early as January 2016. He also states that evidence will be forthcoming to show that the planning took place in the Obama White House, as appears to be confirmed in the Strzok/Page text: "this is being run by the WH."

Should be an interesting week coming up. If even half of this pans out--and thus far, it all has--then the Dem/Media combine's collective Barr induced pro-obstruction hysteria balloon is about to be deflated.

ADDENDUM: Techno Fog has a tweet that plays right into some of my obsessions. In this post I mention that evidence that this whole Russia Hoax was planned months before the first steps were taken. I've also repeatedly stated that I suspect FBI involvment somewhere in connection with the Trump Tower meeting, that was nominally run by Fusion GPS. Now read Techno Fog:

Techno Fog

Isn't it curious that Fusion GPS and former FBI informant Steele would look into Trump/Russia after the FBI/IC started that same inquiry?
What are the odds?
Are the basic assumptions all wrong- was Fusion not retained for campaign research, but to bolster the FBI investigation?
4:40 PM - 20 Apr 2019


  1. Well, the one person who could answer this question is Mifsud- he is the one person who will know the answer to this question in regards to Papadopoulos.

    It really would be interesting to get the actual details about how all three of these men ended up being chosen by the Trump Administration. In addition, I have always been interested in the media push on Trump to identify for them a foreign policy advisement team at that time- was that all coincidence, or were the reporters asking these questions directed to do so by someone? And, of course, I have always been interested in who exactly invited Page to the Russian conference- remember, there was the addition story, from Page himself, that Madelaine Albright had encouraged him to be more "public" at that conference.

    1. Yes, the Madeline Albright story doesn't get a lot of play, but I thought it was significant.

  2. I keep coming back to the fact that Carter Page was described as an FBI undercover employee in the Evgeny Buryakov case. Page previously worked in naval intelligence but then moved to the energy field and started making Russia friendly noises to attract attention and get picked up. It's straight out of "The Spy Who Came In From The Cold". Later, when they wanted to spy on the Trump campaign, they could just direct him to volunteer. Instant FISA. He may be a deep cover agent still, unable to come in from the cold.

    1. I do wonder, too, whether he was a CIA asset. They probably figured he could be used to get the FISA and he'd never find out. The problem was, Glenn Simpson started leaking the Steele stuff all over DC and Page heard and was outraged. And then Trump was elected.

  3. The four members of the Enterprise were Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.

    I think that the FBI obtained a FISA warrant against Flynn in about December 2015, when he attended a dinner honoring the RT television company in Moscow. The idea of that warrant seems to have been that he was receiving lots of Russian Intelligence money secretly through RT.

    In addition, Flynn would be said to be receiving sexual favors from a Russian women in exchange for his services to Russian Intelligence.

    As the Enterprise grew, Flynn would be characterized as the real brain of the operation.


    Papadopoulos thinks that he was included in the Enterprise primarily because of his work on the issue of whether petroleum pipelines should be built through Turkey.

    Flynn too was involved particularly with Turkey. Flynn advocated for Turkey, whereas Papadopoulos advocated against Turkey.

    I assume that Papadopoulos's attitude against Turkey aligned closely with Russia's attitude against Turkey.

    The FBI's initial idea about Papadopoulos might have been that he volunteered to become a foreign-policy advisor to Donald Trump's campaign staff with an intention to influence Trump against Turkey. Trump's general criticism of Moslems opened Trump's mind to anti-Turkey policies. Trump might even start questioning Turkey's membership in NATO.

    In this situation, Papadopoulos can be suspected of working secretly as an agent of influence for Russia.

    This situation might explain also why Papadopoulos was brought into contact with Joseph Mifsud, a citizen of Malta. Papadopoulos advocated transporting petroleum through Mediterranean islands rather than through Turkey. Mifsud might have been described to Papadopoulos as an influential representative of Mediterranean islands.


    Speculating further, I wonder whether Flynn was supposed to be portrayed ultimately as a double agent in relation to Turkey. Flynn pretended to be advocating pro-Turkey positions, but he secretly (unknown to Turkey) was working for Russia to undermine Turkey.

    1. Mike, I like a lot this analysis, so feel free to also provide links. Knowledge is good.

      For our purposes, of course, the bottom line is that a FISA warrant/order is supposed to be applied for and granted on the basis of probable cause--which is a significantly higher standard than suspicion or speculation--even reasonable suspicion. It appears that the IC was determined to whack dissenters or mavericks. I'm not defending Flynn's or Papa-d's policy views as such, as you know, but trying to uphold the rule of law within our intel community that has been dangerously politicized.

      This is a situation in which, unfortunately, these agencies need to be turned inside out to get the full truth. Nothing less is sufficient.

  4. The Spygate OP was conceived in 2015 as a contingency plan and then green-lighted after Trump started trouncing the other GOP candidates in the early primaries. Brennan was tasked with fleshing out the details using CIA assets and also recruiting the assistance of UK and Ausy assets. Comey's FBI was pulled into the caper because the CIA is legally prohibited from taking action against citizens located within the US.

    The FISA abuse is the most practical avenue of exposing this criminality within the legal venue, but there are better ways of blowing this wide open in the media war. At least two foreign intelligence services have incriminating audio/video and digital evidence that is quite damning. They would prefer to hold onto it for future leverage, but that shelf-life is dissipating rapidly.

  5. The first paragraph sounds about right. I've said before, I was told early on that Clinton/Dem polling showed that Trump actually did have a chance--despite what the media was trumpeting (!).

    As for the Foreign IS, do you mean incriminating or maybe exculpatory? Who would be incriminated?

  6. Incriminated. Start with Nellie. Also, at lot of the Uranium One deal was recorded.

    1. "At least two foreign intelligence services have incriminating audio/video and digital evidence that is quite damning."

      "Start with Nellie."

      So, this comes back to your claim that Nellie was meeting her Brit controller in a DC safe house? But what was the ham radio for, if not to obviate the need for face to face?

  7. I have been reading you, CTH and just about everyone I can get my hands on. The one question I have is Why? I really haven’t seen anyone even ask yet. I divide this scandal into before and after the election. The development and use of the dossier seems to me almost half hearted before the election. They were positive Hillary would win, so they didn’t do too much with it. I followed the election campaign closely, and don’t remember hearing a tremendous amount about Russia, Russia, Russia. Then Trump wins and the “deep state” attempts to remove the President using this nutty dossier. Because why? When you strike the king you must kill him. So for these folks to take such a risk, they had to have been covering up something mighty big. Then boom, there it is: I finally see that something big that might qualify. Clarice Feldman’s piece in American Thinker “Things the Media Ignored in the Mueller Report”. See the last few paragraphs. Maybe this all got started to shut up Michael Flynn? I am an avid reader of your blog, you seem to be a straight shooter and very knowledgeable. Why do you think they tried overthrow Trump?

    1. Since you read CTH, I hope you've read the latest long piece re Flynn. There's no doubt that the Deep State was out to silence Flynn, and the most effective way would have been to convict him of a crime. The conviction they thought they had may now be in jeopardy due to investigative and prosecutorial misconduct. A lot has been written about that, but just this morning I was thinking of adding something quite brief, from my favored viewpoint, namely, administrative guidelines governing FBI investigations.

      Re the Flynn material as presented by Clarice this morning, I know people I respect on both sides: some respect him for his work in Afghanistan, others regard him as a loose cannon who's sometimes right, sometimes wrong. My view is that what led the Deep State to regard (as I wrote somewhere recently) as "an existential threat," was the report he did at DIA which called out Obama for basically creating ISIS. The reason that posed an existential threat to the Deep State was because ISIS was part of a broader strategy. To have examined that more closely would have dragged in much, much more. So, despite his more or less conventional views in other areas, Flynn had to be neutered.

      The same applies to Trump. Trump was too open to "revisionist" or "non-orthodox" foreign policy views that conflicted with the established Deep State policy. This is why he was perceived as such a threat. In fact, Trump's revisionism probably was viewed as running far deeper than Flynn's.

      As things stand, I would rate Trump's success in furthering his views against the Deep State as only moderate to this point, largely because he's had his hands full fighting off Team Mueller and GOP Deep Staters.

    2. To be clear, I wouldn't say that Team Mueller was ALL about Flynn. If that were the case they could have declared victory, closed up shop, and gone home. Instead they've continually delayed sentencing to try to coerce Flynn into lying about Trump. So clearly Team Mueller was also VERY MUCH about Trump, not just Flynn. That said, yes, of course Flynn was VERY important to the Deep State.

  8. Hi, Mark, and thanks again for another installment of great reading. I've been very well read on all things Russiagate for at least a year and half, and I have to say that over the year or so I've been following this site I've found your posts to be not only the most densely packed with one gem of an insight after another, but to be the most effortless and enjoyable reads, as well.

    As for this specific post, I'll make three quick points. The first is that it makes all the sense in the world - now that you've explained it, of course - that the schemers would need some sort of "critical mass" of supposed conspiracy and conspirators to provide the predicate for an enterprise investigation. Everything had to seem like it was happening on a grand scale so as to justify the extraordinary measures taken, and there being only one or two players just wasn't going to get them there. That this dynamic was present is an important piece of the puzzle, I think, and it's always nice to see the puzzle becoming ever more complete.

    The second point is that I'd like to take your words about FISA abuse representing "the most likely avenue for bringing criminal charges against the Russia Hoax conspirators" and go a step further: it should then provide opportunity to squeeze one or more of the guilty into singing (something you in fact already alluded to when talking about the AAG in your previous post). This whole thing is a house of cards of the shakiest variety, and it shouldn't take many songbirds at all to get the chain reaction going that eventually brings it all down. If both AG and POTUS are truly committed (fingers crossed!) to taking no prisoners in getting to the bottom of all this, I just don't see how the transparent FISA abuse could fail to provide sufficient leverage to start loosening some lips in earnest.

    Lastly, regarding Techno Fog's point about Fusion GPS' and Steele's originating purpose being one of "bolster[ing] the FBI investigation": I've always assumed not only that but that everyone else assumed it, as well. I mean, I've always assumed this has been a single, coherent, top-down operation - Fusion GPS and Steele included. How do you see it: is it really the case that the basic assumption among those who follow this closely has been that the government and Fusion/Steele initiated their operations independently – each not knowing what the other was up to – and only began working together after Steele approached Bruce Ohr? Call me a cynic, but this whole operation has always seemed *way* too meticulous for these two parties to have come together through sheer happenstance. I mean, did each Ohr really not know what the other Ohr was doing? And by extension, didn't their respective employers also have to know?

    Sorry, that ended up being a lot less "quick" than advertised, but thanks again for this site - many thumbs up.

    1. Thanks a bunch, Brad. It's good to know the effort is appreciated.

      Two responses, starting from the end. Yeah, I found the idea that the two Ohrs never spoke about their common interests to be completely unconvincing. "BS" as Trump might say. Which makes Nellie's false statements about the date of her ham radio license all the more interesting.

      Re FISA abuse, I wrote that more or less off the top of my head. That's a straightforward path to prosecution, and an important one. But there are other possibilities, including prosecutorial abuse. The Flynn case seems ripe for close examination in that regard, but Papa-d as well.

  9. The shortwave radio link was a fallback communications channel, to be used only in case something went terribly wrong or an immediate rendezvous was necessary. All the important stuff was passed in person, followed by a recorded debriefing. Standard tradecraft for the Brits.

    1. I'm not sure I buy that. In a friendly country in which the CI service (FBI) is in collusion with what Nellie and her husband are doing, I don't see the point. Why would the FBI--our CI service--be videotaping Nellie meeting with Brits? The point of the ham radio link, so I would assume, would be to elude a potentially unfriendly NSA, under Adm. Mike Rogers.

  10. Wonderful analysis. Have been reading for several months. Please keep up the good work!

  11. Replies
    1. I'll bite--if not them, then who? What other agency is doing that kind of CI work within the US?

    2. I guess that's my mistake, re the FBI. You clearly said the surveillance was being conducted by "At least two foreign intelligence services."

      So the questions become:

      Who were those foreign intel services (FIS)?
      Who were they targeting--Nellie or Brit safe houses known to the FIS?
      How do we know about this, who knows about this?

  12. I agree with Brad. I really appreciate your work. My three main source are you, Jeff Carlson and CTH. You bring a good perspective since you are retired FBI.

    Secondary sources for me are the Americans: Thinker, Greatness and Spectator, Powerline, Fox News, The Federalist, The Daily Caller, Byron York, Paul Sperry, John Solomon, Real Clear Investigations and Gateway Pundit.

    Tertiary sources are Red State, PJ Media, Town Hall, Breitbart, Joe DiGenova, Dan Bongino, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Lee Smith and Drudge. Rush gets a special shout out because he has been doing this for 30 years and has endured so much. He has never bowed down to his opponents.

    I speak for many when I say the following. Let's see at least one Deep State member charged by the end of May. Andrew McCabe was referred about one year ago. This could be limited to his leaking, for now, as he has more exposure. This would send a real shot across the bow.

    I'm sure that some of these men are nervous. This would ratchet up the pressure. I have read that some of these conspirators are turning against each other. I believe it. McCabe said in an interview that he has no relationship with Comey.

    Throw us some red meat.