The first point was the importance of the date that the two FBI assets--the "flirty" Azra Turk (possibly an undercover agent - UCA), posing as Stefan Halper's assistant, and Halper himself--made contact with George Papadopoulos in London: September, 2016. The date is important because it means this contact was putatively legal, pursuant to an open and authorized Full Investigation: Crossfire Hurricane, opened on July 31, 2016. Of course, we know that Halper was making approaches to Trump campaign associates months before that, but I confidently expect that that will be covered by the revelation of a Preliminary Investigation of some sort. You can see from this why Barr keeps mentioning the "predication" for these "investigations." It's key.
The second point I made was that the most important purpose of this leak is probably to give the appearance that FBI targeting of the Trump campaign didn't really begin until they had open investigations going. This is probably another in a long line of falsehoods, and it's what I want to explore a bit more.
When did the FBI begin targeting Trump?
In February, 2015, it became known that Trump was considering a run for the presidency. The formal announcement of Trump's candidacy came on June, 16, 2015. Undoubtedly the Dems were checking Trump out during those intervening months, but once he declared things began to happen.
One of the very first people to join the Trump campaign was Mike Rogers, probably brought on board by Jeff Sessions. No, not Admiral Mike Rogers, former head of NSA. Our Mike Rogers is a former FBI agent who turned politician, was elected to the House from Michigan and ended up as head of the House intelligence committee, before leaving the House in 2014. He's now a very prominent NeverTrumper. Really. And here's a fun fact--if you look Mike Rogers up on Wikipedia you will find no reference whatsoever to his time on the Trump campaign. We'll return to our Mike Rogers in a bit.
Shortly thereafter, in "late summer" of 2015, Felix Sater--former (?) Russian mobster and long time FBI informant--began contacting the Trump organization, urging a Trump Moscow deal. Sater's attempt to push this deal on candidate Trump, who showed no interest, continued for nearly a year, until June, 2016 (h/t Mike Sylwester):
Why was Felix Sater the one repeatedly identified pushing to arrange deals with the Russians and yet did not face any subsequent charges by the Mueller team? Sater had been working as part of the Trump team since 2003. Why is it that the proposed deals and travel to Moscow came predominantly from Felix Sater? As I noted in my previous piece — The FBI Tried and Failed to Entrap Trump — Sater was an active FBI undercover informant. He had been working with the FBI since 1998. When he agreed to start working as an undercover informant aka cooperator in December 1998 guess who signed off on the deal? Andrew Weissmann, a member of Mueller’s special counsel team.You can see the deal here. It was signed Dec. 10, 1998.
Our trail of activity goes a bit cold for some months, but toward the end of December, 2015, we read in a text between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page about something called "OCONUS lures" being approved. Here's how I explained that (Is It Time To Rethink Some Things?):
The Obamagate "community" is buzzing this morning over newly unredacted Strzok/Page texts that have been made public through the Senate. One of the texts features Strzok asking
"Did you get all our OCONUS lures approved?"
In the original public release "lures" was redacted. It has now been unredacted.
Translation: "OCONUS" = Outside the Continental US; "lures" = sting op, trap.
So, this means that Strzok was seeking authorization for informants of one sort or another--or possibly undercover (UC) agents--to approach a target OCONUS.
Now here's the kicker: this text was from 12/31/15! The FBI was already targeting someone close to Trump way back then! Since this is months before Papadopoulos and Page got near the Trump campaign, the betting is that it was Michael Flynn they were targeting. Which makes sense, because we know that the Obama Administration had it in for Flynn from his days with Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), when he wrote a paper blaming the US for the rise of ISIS.
Now, this business of "OCONUS lures"--that's exactly what the NYT article is talking about: the use of FBI informants/agents to operate overseas to entrap targets. That's exactly what was going on with Papadopoulos and Page in London--as confirmed by the NYT today.
Were there other, similar, ops going on, targeting Trump? Maybe. Why not? I've speculated in the past that the famous Trump Tower meeting was a bit like this, only in reverse--special DoJ authorization was obtained to allow a prohibited person to enter the US (Natalia Veselnitskaya) and approach the Trump campaign. In that case, however, because the targeting was so closely connected to Trump himself, the FBI would have worked through Fusion GPS--for deniability. Well, it's a theory!
The point is this: it appears at least highly probable that the FBI--probably in collusion (!) with the CIA and the Obama/Clinton organizations--began targeting Trump with dirty tricks almost immediately after Trump declared his candidacy. And this would have been coordinated with the exploitation of NSA databases through the FBI by private contractors--in violation of FISA. This is the operation that Admiral Mike Rogers of NSA put a stop to, but it ran through March of 2016. These are all government resources being used, illegally, for political purposes.
What was Mike Rogers--national security adviser to the Trump campaign--up to while all this was going on? We don't know for sure. My guess, however, is that he would have had a say in bringing advisers on board the campaign in the field of national security and foreign policy. But don't take my word for that. Rogers himself says so:
“It was a privilege to prepare and advise the policy, personnel and agency action teams on all aspects of the national security portfolio during the initial pre-election planning phase,” Rogers said.
Now consider this: Is it possible that Mike Rogers was The Spy In The Trump Campaign? If so he would have been in a position to bring unwitting persons with Russian connections on board as foreign policy advisers--someone like Carter Page, for example. They would be the patsies to be set up as the evil colluders with Russia, the cutouts between Trump and Putin.
This is speculation, of course. Maybe it's all coincidence. But this seems to be a telling detail (The Spy In The Trump Campaign):
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.
And just to round out that picture:
Bloomberg News, citing two unnamed sources familiar with the matter, reported Rogers departed “at the request of team officials.”
And for good measure, I noted recently in re a Victoria Toensing TV appearance:
Interestingly, in referring to Admiral Mike Rogers of NSA, Toensing seems to make a point of twice referring to the Admiral as "GOOD Mike Rogers." Does she mean by emphasizing the word "GOOD" that there's a BAD Mike Rogers? It sure sounded that way.
So, what's the bigger picture on the Azra Turk leak? This leak has all the appearances of a first, well, maybe a second, line of defense. Offer up the "flirty" Azra Turk and even Halper, neither of whom would likely be in any legal jeopardy. Divert attention from all the stuff that came before.
If so, this suggests that FBI Director Chris Wray is part of the problem, not part of the solution that Bill Barr is seeking.
ADDENDA: Paul Sperry is totally on fire this evening--a sample:
Funny how Mueller cites numerous email exchanges Papadopoulos had in 2016 in the footnotes of his report, yet he cites not a single one of Papadopoulos' emails with one "Azra Turk." Hmm. Wonder why. Another example of how Mueller's probe was really designed to protect the FBI/DOJ
(2/2) ...& the NYT's bylined trio is equally disingenuous when they write in describing Carter Page, that he "had interacted with a Russian intelligence officer." In fact, Page testified against that Russian intelligence officer. The MSM just can't come completely clean, can they
If Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham subpoenas the following FBI agents to testify under oath -- Gregory Monaghan, Joseph Pientka, Michael Gaeta & John Robertson -- it would blow wide open the whole scandal of the FBI/DOJ's corrupt investigations of Hillary & Trump
Barr's right--the spying had to be much broader than just 1 informant & 1 FISA. In the end,we'll find that Papadopoulos, Flynn, Manafort, Page, Clovis & many other Trump advisers--as well as Trump himself plus his family--were spied on by the Obama FBI/DOJ. Mother Of All Scandals
They're all in on it--Comey, Mueller, McCabe, Rosenstein, Yates, Strzok, the MSM, establishment Republicans like McCain. All in on plot to deny you YOUR vote for POTUS. Your choice. Your democratic right. Trust no one. Demand justice. Demand the decision-makers be held to account
Funny how Mueller completely skips over the month of Sept in the 2016 narrative on Papadopoulos in his report. Sept is the month FBI sent informant Halper, aka "The Walrus," and honey-pot undercover FBI spy to set him up as Russian collaborator. Neither ref'd even in redactions