Friday, May 10, 2019

FBI Unredacts Most of Kathleen Kavalec's Notes Re Steele

That was quick!

Two and a half years unclassified, then 11 days as Classified, and now back to being almost totally unclassified. It appears that Bill Barr was not amused by the Chris Wray FBI's adventures in retroactive classification and redaction of Kathleen Kavalec's notes and write up regarding her discussions with Chris Steele, the Brit ex spook and fabulist. Kavalec originally left her notes and an email based on them Unclassified--that was two and a half years ago. The FBI did their retroactive number on the material just over a week ago, but after a furor in the media has ... rethought things.

CTH, in a longer blog tonight, includes the fact that the FBI has apparently reconsidered its redactions of Kathleen Kavalec's typed up notes regarding her meeting on October 11, 2016, with Chris Steele Tatyana Duran. The handwritten notes are clearly for the most part a precis of material in Steele's famous "dossier." However, there are differences, as can be seen from the typed up--and now mostly unredacted--material. Notably, in Kavalec's notes we find Paul Manafort presented as playing the role of courier between Trump and "the Russians," rather than Carter Page being the courier between Manafort and the Russians on Trump's behalf. Another unique feature is that Manafort is also said to communicate secretly with the Kremlin via the Alfa Bank using Tor software and a "hidden server" managed by Alfa Bank. Page is also said to be involved, but in some unspecified way, although he is said to have met twice (rather than just once) with Igor Sechin of Rosneft--and with no apparent reference to his commencement address in Moscow.

These discrepancies in the various versions of Steele's "dossier" material raise the interesting question of how the FBI decided which version of Steele's stories to use in its FISA application. The most readily available version of the Steele dossier features Manafort as the principal behind the Trump outreach to the Russians, but Carter Page serves as the courier between Manafort and the Russians. The appeal of this version--as opposed to Manafort doing the communications on his own, is that it supports the narrative that the FBI used to open an "enterprise counterintelligence investigation"--Crossfire Hurricane.

According to that narrative, a de facto unit or "enterprise" existed within the Trump campaign to handle the Russian contacts. While the narrative of one person--Manafort--being the go between might work to open a Full Investigation on Manafort alone, the "enterprise" narrative involving several persons opened up the possibility of a broader investigation into the Trump organization. Thus, by going with the narrative of Manafort and Page working together, and drawing Papadopoulos and Flynn into the enterprise, an "enterprise" theory could be presented to the FISA court that, by presenting a variety of persons with a variety of supposed Russian contacts as working in concert, might prove more persuasive to a FISA court judge considering the authorization of a FISA on, for practical purposes, a presidential candidate. But, once again, that raises the question whether the selection of material to be used was made simply on the basis of what sounded more plausible and what might justify the broadest FISA coverage. And that approach is, of course, wildly illegal. Not "according to the book."

Also of note is that Sergei Millian--a mysterious figure who is widely assumed to be Sources D and E in Steele's dossier--figures prominently in Kavalec's notes (this is especially apparent in her rough notes, rather than the write up). To say that Millian is a source of very questionable reliability would be an understatement. Nevertheless, Steele provided Kavalec with a narrative that traces Trump's Russian connections back to 2009, but which appears to be based on claims by Millian that have been largely debunked. Again, one assumes that the FBI--in its normal course of business--would have demanded to know the identity of Steele's sources to vet them. If they had take this basic step with regard to as shady a character as Millian, they could hardly have presented Steele (and by implication, his "sources") to the FISA court in good faith as credible.


  1. I suppose the continuing redactions are to protect the good names of certain Democrat politicians who had absolutely nothing to do with this treasonous business.

    1. Or the recipients, some of whom it appears worked in the NSC.

  2. Kavalec wrote:

    Steele says U.S. congressional contacts confirmed Paige was involved in the effort to have the Republican platform changed with respect to Ukraine/lethal weapons.

    Steele was confirming his yarn with "U.S. congressional contacts". They confirmed to Steele that Carter Page was involved in changing the Republican Party's political platform.

    Have the FBI and Robert Mueller confirmed any of this?

    * Have the FBI and Mueller confirmed that Steele had such contacts, who confirmed this information for Steele?

    * Have the FBI and Mueller confirmed that Page was involved in changing the Republican Party's platform?

    How can Steele's information about Page and the platform not be true? After all, Steele confirmed this particular information with his congressional contacts!

    Were Steele's congressional contacts just mistaken about Page and the Republican platform when they confirmed this information to Steele?

    Or was this particular Steele statement to Kavalec just a total lie?

    1. Comey: "So many questions!" And there will be more. Answer to your question: If they have confirmed any of that, they won't be saying except under extreme legal duress.

  3. Kavalec wrote:

    .... Serge Millian ... may be involved in some way. .... Steele noted Millian had left the U.S. and seemed to have disappeared.

    Millian was Steele's Source D and Source E, but Steele pretends to guess that Millian "may be involved in some way".

    Steele could have simply asked his source(s) Millian whether he was involved.

    Steeele's guess that Millian "may be involved in some way" follows immediately after Steele's assertion that "the Russians have succeeded in placing an agent inside the DNC".

    The idea here seems to be Millian -- Steele's Source D and Source E -- may have been involved in placing an agent inside the DNC.

    * Steele knows for a fact that the Russians placed an agent in the DNC.

    * Steele can only surmise, however, that his own source(s) Millian was involved in placing the agent inside the DNC.

    How does Steele know for a fact that the Russians succeeded in placing an agent inside the DNC? From his source(s) Millian? If so, then Millian certainly must have been involved in placing that agent within the DNC. How else would Millian possibly know?


    Did the FBI warn the DNC that the Russians succeeded in placing an agent inside the DNC?

    Did the FBI ask the DN leadership to cooperate in an FBI investigation to identify that agent?

    What actions did the FBI and Robert Mueller take to investigate whether Russia had placed an agent inside the DNC?

    If the FBI and Mueller began such an investigation, has the investigation concluded?

    If the FBI investigation still continues, then why was this part of Kavalec's report declassified?

    Did the FBI and Mueller investigate, in particular, whether Millian was involved in placing the agent inside the DNC? If so, was a FISA warrant obtained against Millian?


    In this situation, why did the FBI request a FISA warrant against Carter Page, but not against Sergey Millian? (Here I am assumng that the FBI did not request a FISA warrant against Millian.)


    Kavalec's notes name Millian five times. Obviously, Steele mentioned Millian repeatedly -- no less than five times -- while Steele was being interviewed by Kavalec.

    Did the FBI immediately try to find and interview Millian?

    * If so, then what did the FBI learn?

    * If not, then why did the FBI not immediatey try to find him?

    * If the FBI could not find Millian at that time, then where was he at that time?

    1. I think the implication to all these logical questions is that the only real interest the FBI had in Steele was in justifying their actions. Recall, James Baker has said there were different versions of the "dossier" floating around WDC. That's a clue re reliability, isn't it? But they still went ahead and apparently ignored what didn't suit their needs. In a sense, we can view all that as alternate narratives presented to the FBI for their use--take your pick.

  4. Replies
    1. As Don Surber writes today:

      Jerrod Nadler, the buffoon who heads some useless House committee, backed down from subpoenaing Mueller when it dawned on the congressman that Republicans could cross-examine Mueller.

    2. It is even worse than that- the Senate would then also demand Mueller appear where the Democrats have no control over the venue at all. No, I don't think Mueller will ever testify anywhere ever again.

  5. The salience of the unclassified, classified/redacted, and then partial unredaction of Kavalec's notes is that it plainly reveals that Wray (and numerous other 5th Columnists within the FBI) are continuing the corruption that was begun under Comey. The retroactive redaction was done to coverup the reality that the Steele Dossier was known to be bogus prior to submission of the Page FISC application. As such, it is damning evidence of the criminality that existed within the preeminent law enforcement institution of the United States. That Wray felt emboldened to continue the coverup is both shocking and serious. Barr has a Judas on his staff, and that is no trivial matter.

  6. After having written most of his Dossier and spread it around somewhat, why did Christopher Steele contact the State Department in early October 2016 and submit to this interview by Kathleen Kavalec. After all, Steele could have simply handed a copy of his Dossier to Kavalec.

    I speculate that Steele intended to provide to Kavalec important information that was not included in his Dossier.

    I speculate as follows:

    In early October 2016, Steele was frustrated that, to his knowledge, the FBI still had not established an effective investigation of Trump based on Steele's Dossier.

    Steele realized that an FBI effective investigation was impeded by the problem that the Dossier did not identify Steele's supposed sources.

    In order to provide an impetus to the FBI, Steele decided to provide a hint to the identity of his Source D (and E). However, because of some spycraft principle or because of some prohibition in his contract with GPS Fusion, Steele could not reveal that identity directly to the FBI. In Steele's mind, those inhibitions would be resolved satisfactorily if he provided a hint separately to the State Department.

    Steele reasoned:

    * I gave the Dossier to the FBI

    * I gave my hint (but not the Dossier) to the State Department.

    Therefore, Steele reasoned, the information had been compartmentalized. Steele foresaw, however, that the State Department would forward his hint to the FBI, which would combine the hint with the Dossier.

    In other words, Steele's main intention in his Kavalec interview was to hint to her that he had obtained much of his information from Sergey Millian. Then, when this hint was received by the FBI, then the FBI should be able to launch belatedly an effective investigation of Trump based on Steele's Dossier.

    When Steele was interviewed by Kavalec on October 11, 2016, he knew that the FBI would not be able to find and interview Millian quickly. Steele even told Kavalec that Millian seemed to have disappeared. Perhaps Steele knew that Millian was traveling abroad or was hiding for some reason. In any case, Steele felt rather confident that the FBI would not be able to interview Millian -- who might contradict Steele's insinuations -- before, say, the end of October.

    Another possibility is that Steele and Millian were in cahoots. Perhaps Steele (GPS Fusion?) even paid Millian to hide for a few weeks after October 11.

    1. Steele pretty much gives the game away when he he tells Kavalec that he's “managing” four priorities — “Client needs, FBI, WashPo/NYT, source protection.” Client needs, of course, involves helping Clinton win the election--and his clients are the DNC and Fusion GPS, and to that end he's spreading his stories far and wide. The FBI needs are more long term, which is why he can't be content with them--investigations take a long time.

      Here's an interesting question: Why specifically NYT/WaPo? Is it just because he's telling them stories too? That somehow doesn't seem likely since we know for a fact that he's feeding material to David Corn and others. Is he trying to build a relationship with those two lib flagship newspapers?

      And then there's promotion of his own career.

    2. The WaPo/NYTimes thing caught my eye, too. I think Steele felt, and is surely correct, that if WaPo and the NYTimes publish the details of the dossier it would suddenly blossom into a scandal before the election. We do know that pretty much every media operation in the US had the dossier in their hands, but only Isikoff and Corn published anything regarding it.

      I think Steele miscalculated one thing- the dossier's allegations are so outlandish that the editors and owners of WaPo and NYTimes, and even CNN/MSNBC, knew that publishing such allegations with no supporting evidence was very likely to backfire on the Clinton Campaign. I tend to think such a calculation about the blowback is probably right.

    3. And lest we think NYT/WashPo was holding back publication due to some residual journalistic honor, I'd say the better explanation is they felt Clinton was going to win anyway, so the risk-reward ratio just didn't pencil out for them. If Clinton had been down in the polls...well, I don't think it's cynical at all to suggest things would probably have played out very differently.

    4. Far be it from me to suggest that you're being cynical.

  7. The dirty little secret of Christopher Steele is not that he was hired by Fusion GPS/Clinton Campaign to create the phony dossier. It is that he was (and is) a covert operative managing the British interests in the original campaign interference program, and then later the attempted coup. His primary allegiance has always been to MI-6, from whence he takes orders still to this day. That is the big reveal that the British are trying to hide. Stay turned for more developments arising from the Skripal involvement in the dossier.

  8. Many trees will fall....most will never be heard!