Here's the short story--you can get the gist of it from these notes that Kathleen Kavalec, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, sent on Oct. 13, 2016:
Got that? No? Oh, sorry, that's because the FBI redacted the notes and classified them on 4/30/2019. That's right--a week ago. So where have these notes been for the past two and a half years, before a FOIA suit unearthed them? Well, unearthed a few words from it, the rest having been redacted. There's the story. And there are a lot of questions to be answered about this. For example, why did the FBI classify the notes "Secret" last week when for the first two and a half years of their existence they were classified, or not, as "Unclassified"? Boy, that's an interesting question, aina?
Here's a summary of John Solomon's account of what Kavalec's notes are all about.
The notes are Kathleen Kavalec’s written account of her Oct. 11, 2016, meeting with FBI informant Christopher Steele. Steele told Kavalec that his firm, Orbis, had been hired by the DNC--i.e., "at the behest of an institution that he declined to identify that had been hacked." The target of the investigation was the "Trump/Russia connection," presumably relating to the "hack." Orbis got this commission upon the recommendation of Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, i.e., Fusion GPS. In other words, Steele told Kavalec that he was engaged in opposition research for the Clinton campaign, which "is keen to see this information come to light prior to November 8, 2016"--which, coincidentally, was the date of the national election for POTUS.
Now, wouldn't you like to see the rest of the notes? Well, you'll get the chance if you live until 12/31/2041, when they're now due to be declassified.
Interestingly, Solomon points out that this interview between Steele and Kavalec occured 10 days before the FBI used Steele’s dodgy dossier to secure a FISA warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The notes were unearthed a few days ago through open-records litigation by the conservative group Citizens United. Despite the very apparent interest of these notes, Solomon points out that
Kavalec’s notes do not appear to have been provided to the House Intelligence Committee during its Russia probe, according to former Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). "They tried to hide a lot of documents from us during our investigation, and it usually turns out there’s a reason for it," Nunes told me. Senate and House Judiciary investigators told me they did not know about them, even though they investigated Steele’s behavior in 2017-18.
One member of Congress transmitted the memos this week to the Department of Justice’s inspector general, fearing its investigation of FISA abuses may not have had access to them.
Ah, but the FBI, always on the ball, quickly moved to retroactively classify the notes, even though they were originally marked unclassified in 2016.
What's contained in the redacted portions of the notes? Well, that's guesswork, but it's not just speculation in the dark. Here's Solomon again:
Sources tell me there also are handwritten notes from the meeting, with information about Steele’s political ties, that have not been given to Congress. “There’s a connection to Hillary Clinton in the notes,” said one source who has seen them.
The mere three sentences that the FBI allowed State to release, unredacted, show that Kavalec sent an email two days after her encounter with Steele, alerting others.
“You may already have this information but wanted to pass it on just in case,” Kavalec wrote in the lone sentence the FBI and State released from that email. The names of the recipients, the subject line and the attachments are blacked out.
Interestingly, one legal justification cited for redacting the Oct. 13, 2016, email is the National Security Act of 1947, which can be used to shield communications involving the CIA or the White House National Security Council.
Look, not long ago I wrote that Chris Wray is a "Deep State Tool" and has to go. This maneuver that Wray has pulled is a direct challenge to Bill Barr's authority and his determination to get to the bottom of the whole Russia Hoax and what's behind it. Barr cannot allow this to stand. He can order the release of this document, but sooner or later Wray must go.
Wray vs Barr: Excellent...except the logic of hiding this in plain sight, at this juncture, seems questionable. It can be declassified, they must know this. IMHO it seems to be more about delay and preventing public scrutiny, and perhaps (as a long shot) keeping it out of the IG's report.ReplyDelete
I don't see what Wray would gain by direct confrontation with Barr. Not unless he was a short timer and didn't care.
I have two questions. 1) Is there any chance it was classified without Wray's knowledge?; 2) note Solomon's line: "One member of Congress transmitted the memos this week to the Department of Justice’s inspector general" Any chance that will delay the IG's report?
"I don't see what Wray would gain by direct confrontation with Barr."Delete
One would think not, but he did contradict Barr re "spying." He may think he has powerful supporters and that Barr isn't in a position to strike. I admit, that seems desperate.
1. I suppose so, but the buck stops with him. If it was done without his knowledge, he can rectify it.
2. Impossible to say without more knowledge. It would depend on whether there were more leads uncovered. The question, I suppose is: what names did Steele drop?
Of course, there's a papertrail for the classification decision. It's not as if it's an anonymous process.Delete
Deep State and Dem's are two rats in the same corner. They will fight to the death.Delete
The parts redacted no doubt are alerts to people directly responsible for that first FISA- I would be surprised to find that the names are Comey, Yates and/or Lynch, and possibly Kerry.ReplyDelete
It certaily is tantalizing. Solomon's sources, which have been excellent, seem to suggest a connection somehow to both FISA and Hillary. If so, as you suggest, this has to connect right up the ladder.Delete
The redactions in this memo implicate various senior officials on the Obama National Security Council and other West Wing advisors. This is direct evidence that the SpyGate/RussiaGate OP was overseen by the Obama Whitehouse at the highest levels. Lots of damaging information is going to be released over the course of the Summer, most of it in small doses. Lyndsey Graham's Senate Judiciary Committee will become the new hit TV show this Fall.ReplyDelete
It sure looks like we're seeing the beginning of "controlled release," which will inflict maximum political damage over the next year and a half. Dems would've been better served to get everything out quickly, but they thought they could win it all by taking out the president. Whoops! Barr, this morning, is giving Nadler a lesson on executive prerogatives.ReplyDelete
FBI Director Cites Ongoing Investigation in Response to Spying Question, a superb article by Jeff Carlson, defending FBI Director Chris Wray's statements at the Senate hearing.ReplyDelete
I saw that, Mike, but it's actually very limited in scope. The MSM was trying to make it appear that Wray was publicly "refuting" Barr re "spying." All he said was that he wouldn't use the word "spying" to refer to legaly authorized surveillance--a position I can agree with. Based on that defensible distinction, he then declined to state whether he has personal knowledge that the FBI "spied" on Trump or his campaign. Basically, he said he didn't want to get out in front of the IG investigation.Delete
All that is understandable enough, but it doesn't address my concerns. Wray was complicit with Rosenstein in stonewalling Congress and enabling the Mueller inquisition, rather than asserting the necessity for an independent investigative function that wouldn't simply be errand boys for prosecutors. Further, this classification of hitherto unclassified material stinks of more stonewalling. His employment of Dana Boente--who signed off on a Page FISA and has long standing Deep State ties--as his chief legal adviser shows very bad judgment, at the least, as well.
In regard to Dana Boente, Jeff Carlson seems to defend him rather well in his article Dana Boente’s Many Critical Positions Within the Trump AdministrationDelete
I read the article. The Senator's questioning was double talk, careful phrasing to blunt the enormity of what occurred. Wray's responses are cautious and therefore inadequate to the moment.Delete
Contrast that with Barr's, which were carefully delivered but without equivocation. A few calm, uncompromising and pointed statements turned every head in Washington.
IMHO, the political spying probably covered all of the significant Republican campaigns and started earlier than any of them. Think weaponizing the IRS, spying on reporters like Sharyl Attkinson. It's bigger than Washington has an appetite to uncover.
At best, Wray may understand that to be in leadership position in a crisis calls for leadership action. Either step up or step aside.
In regard to FBI Director Chris Wray, my impression is that he has been constrained by his situation. I think he sincerely wants to settle this scandal properly and move on.Delete
However, settling the matter properly will be slow and messy, and he has to wait for proper procedures to work. He will let the chips fall where they may. He will not try to cover up any misdeeds or save any culprits.
I doubt that he ever was involved in the classification of this document. He has to manage the entire FBI.
Maybe it will turn out that he has been doing something wrong in this matter, but I still am giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Mike and Anon,Delete
I read that piece re Boente when it came out. The premise--that Trump had a personal hand in the various positions moves that Boente has gone through--seems dubious to me at best. Below the cabinet secretary level most of the positions are left to the department heads. Rosenstein, for example, a much more important player than Boente, was not personally sought out by Trump and it's unlikely that Boente was a pick that Trump affirmatively sought out. He was another DC insider who was liked by the DC Establishment, like Rosenstein. Trump followed recommendations, and got bit in the ass. As for Obama altering the succession, that was obviously a devious move to try to get his own guy in position, but it doesn't make Boente a good guy. Again, Carlson's reasoning is flawed. Wray is another of the same type. His ties to Weissmann, for example, go back to the Enron case. That is NOT the type of new blood that the DoJ/FBI needs.
At this juncture the FBI needs forceful leadership that will take the swamp draining bull by the horns--not somebody who will sit back and wait till the results of other internal investigations (IG) force his hand. The hiring of Boente was simply a typical defensive DC move. Barr showed the will to accomplish by forthrightly stating that he wants to get to the bottom of it all. Wray could have said, hey, I'm with the AG on this, I see troubling signs, I've started my own investigation that will cooperate with the IG, with the AG, with Congress, we're looking at our internal procedures for FISA approvals, etc. He didn't.
Re Rosenstein and Wray, and so by implication re Boente:Delete
Here's the definition for requiring a classification of secret to be applied to information, ""Secret" shall be applied to information, the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage to the national security."ReplyDelete
It says nothing about causing damage to the reputation, financial well-being or reputation of high-ranking Deep State officials.
Right. And that explains why Kavelec considered her notes "Unclassified." I saw today that Lindsey Graham referenced this incident, so it's got a lot of attention.Delete
I detected some righteous anger on your part and some snark thrown in for good measure.ReplyDelete
Good for you.
Well, after all, it was pretty brazen.Delete
I had a bad feeling about Wray when he told the FBI employees in a town hall that the culture was fine. I am not impugning the rank and file, but his comments were pretty tone deaf. One doesn't cure a corrupt culture with training. One investigates, terminates and prosecutes, assuming those penalties are warranted.ReplyDelete
I was initially favorably disposed toward him, based on a personal recommendation, but that disposition quickly dissipated. Same goes for Rosenstein. I really wanted to believe that he was OK. I'm pretty much disillusioned with the whole bunch--Barr is in a real snakepit.Delete
As for the rank and file and all that jazz, look, there's all kinds and the only way you can tell the good from the bad is by their fruits. At the same time, it's true (I think) that the fish rots from the head. The culture is manifestly not fine, and the tone is set by leadership.