Monday, May 27, 2019

BIG BIG UPDATE: Why Did Trump Wait So Long To Declassify?

Many have asked this question, frustrated at the slow pace. Today Jed Babbin offers the answer. He doesn't say so in quite those words, but the elements of the answer are largely there.

The need for declass has been obvious since the very start of the Trump administration. Perhaps Trump initially believed that the problem would go away, but with the start of the Mueller Inquisition the overwhelming need for training a spotlight on the Deep State coup attempt could no longer be denied. Unfortunately, by that point declass had become a practical impossibility.

The reason for this practical impossibility of declass lies in the fact that all the agencies involved--and there are many--get a say in the process. The President has too much going on in his life to ride herd over the process. He needs a strong leader with authority to serve as his proxy. We know that Jeff Sessions betrayed the country by recusing himself. The country was further betrayed by Rod Rosenstein who cooperated with the stonewalling agencies--especially the FBI and CIA--rather than with the President. And, importantly, NeverTrumpers in the Senate also worked against the President--who was vocally frustrated by what was going on. But they had Trump over a barrel, as the two top GOP senators on the Judiciary committee clearly stated:

Republican lawmakers [had] long warned the president against firing Sessions and tried to prevent him from doing so by signaling their refusal to confirm a replacement. Graham himself said a year ago there would be “holy hell to pay” if Trump fired Sessions and stated point-blank: “There will be no confirmation hearing for a new attorney general in 2017. Grassley, too, was adamant he would not clear time on the Judiciary Committee’s schedule for confirmation hearings for another attorney general.

The break came in the late political season of 2018 when the Senate returned to Washington, DC. The Kavanaugh SCOTUS nomination was the main item before the public eye, but something had changed. Kavanaugh was top of the agenda, but Grassley and Graham openly stated that a change was needed:

... top Senate Republicans sent dueling signals about whether it would be safe for President Donald Trump to fire the attorney general, a move he has contemplated with anticipation for almost a year and a half but held back because Republicans senators had warned him they would not confirm a successor. 
That changed on Thursday when Sen. Lindsey Graham touched off a furious debate on Capitol Hill, appearing almost to encourage Trump to send Sessions packing. The South Carolina senator said he was open to confirming another attorney general and that concerns his colleagues once harbored that Sessions’ firing would set off a chain of potentially fatal events for the president, culminating in his dismissal of special counsel Robert Mueller, were no longer operative. 
“Mueller is down the road,” Graham told reporters. “To those who believe that the only way that you can protect Mueller is to keep Jeff Sessions as attorney general forever — I don’t buy it.” 
Earlier in the day, GOP leaders had moved quickly to quell a rebellion against Sessions sparked by Graham’s remarks. Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R.-Iowa) had chimed in to say that he, too, was open to confirming another attorney general.

We still don't know all that went into the decision by Graham and Grassley--their own frustrations with Sessions may well have had more to do with the change than the ongoing travesty of the Russia Hoax, although that certainly had to have played a role. Had they also been influenced by Trump's camp floating Bill Barr's name after Barr sent his famous 19 page legal memo to Rod Rosenstein, excoriating Mueller's bogus obstruction theory and--ipso facto--exposing the true threat of the Russia Hoax to our Constitutional order? It seems plausible, even likely, that Grassley and Graham (and probably McConnell) wanted a say in Trump's choice of a replacement, and Barr would have been a reassuring choice.

Be that as it may, the pushback of NeverTrump senators was overcome. Trump was on course to get a new Attorney General--but that might be strongly affected by the results of the midterm elections, following the Kavanaugh confirmation. Trump hit the road campaigning for the Senate and the rest is history.

The important point is that with Barr confirmed as AG, Trump had a collaborator. Barr quickly dispelled any lingering questions by his deft but forceful handling of both Congressional testimony but also of the whole Mueller inquisition. He forced the result and turned Mueller's machinations to Trump's advantage. The result, no doubt in preparation since the end of Team Mueller, is the President's declass order. Let's have Babbin take up the story (Trump Let the Dogs Out: Those responsible for the coup attempt against the president can run but they can no longer hide.):

The Democrats, stumbling down the road to impeachment, were stunned by President Trump’s executive order on Thursday. 
The order is in two parts. First, it directs the intelligence agencies to cooperate with Attorney General William Barr’s investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia counterintelligence investigation that was the vehicle used to spy on candidate Trump’s campaign and President Trump’s administration when it was new. 
The second part of the order delegates to Barr the president’s authority to declassify — or reduce the level of classification of — anything that the intelligence agencies will give him. 
As I wrote last year (here and here), Nunes demonstrated that what the FBI did in the Trump investigation was worse than Watergate. Nunes also demonstrated conclusively that nothing other than a presidential order to declassify the documents and testimony the FBI was concealing could overcome the FBI’s stonewalling. 
The resignation of Attorney General Sessions who had turned over supervision of the “Russia collusion” investigation to Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, and the confirmation of AG William Barr to his job, solved that problem. Rosenstein, who had discussed wearing a recording device for his conversations with President Trump and possibly removing him using the 25th Amendment, unsurprisingly never insisted that the FBI give Nunes what he needed. Barr’s accession to the AG’s post made him boss of the FBI and able to obtain anything it has. The FBI can’t stonewall Barr. 
But the intelligence community can, or at least could, until Trump’s Thursday order. 
Predictably, the people who are at greatest risk of exposure and danger of indictment erupted at Trump’s order. ...

All of this had to wait for the political groundwork to be laid. Trump's own constant criticism of his own Attorney General--a disastrous pick that nearly torpedoed his administration--was a necessary if, for many, unpalatable part of the process. But it was typical of Trump, who is willing to recognize his own mistakes and move to rectify them. He finally goaded the GOP Senate to action, undoubtedly aided by Sessions' demonstrable fecklessness that was endangering the entire party. The long drive to take control of DoJ was finally won by conservatives and a new campaign--to defang the Deep State--is now underway.

In the rest of his article, Babbin expresses concern that "Trump's appointees CIA Director Gina Haspel, DNI Dan Coats, and NSA Director Gen. Paul Nakasone) should cooperate with Barr. But they — and the Obama sympathizers who work for them — will be no more cooperative with Barr than the FBI was with Nunes." However, I prefer to believe that the breadth of the delegation presidential authority to Barr will lead Barr to prevail--and that more speedily than naysayers believe. I believe Barr has the knowledge, skill, and drive to compel cooperation and will not diddle around asking "pretty please."

Interesting days.

UPDATE: Below is the audio of an interview with Joe DiGenova that's a total must listen to account of what's going on. Joe states flatly: This is full scale war. The FBI and CIA have attempted to stonewall Barr and Barr went to Trump to tell him: If you want me to do the job, you've got to give me the authority. And Trump did.

The FBI and CIA are in full revolt, they're at war with the AG, but here's the problem for the FBI and CIA: They can leak, but Barr has subpoena power. Chris Wray has become an enemy of the people. The IC has met its match in Barr. He's smart, he's a veteran of both the CIA and DoJ, he's a litagator (that is SO important).

Joe also stresses the importance of the fact that the domestic spying goes back to 2012. This is what Dems most fear will come out. Problem for the IC: The FISC has already ruled that they lied about this.

"This is as big as it gets in a democracy."

Re Loretta Lynch: "The dumbest Attorney General in the history of the United States."

Barr needs to put John Carlin in front of a Grand Jury.


  1. I have been studying the Neon Revolt article alleging that Italian Intelligence tried to frame Donald Trump. That article contains a letter that Giulio Occhionero sent to Devin Nunes's and Richard Burr's committees in February 2018.

    In that letter's Page 3 (second paragraph from bottom), Occhionero tells that, since no later than 2011, Italy's National Anti-Crime Center for the Protection of Critical Computer Infrastructure (CNAIPIC) had been obtaining data from Gazprom, Russia's oil company.

    The main thesis of the Neon Revolt article is that CNAIPIC tried to put some data onto two servers located in the USA, creating a false impression that the data somehow was being shared by Donald Trump and some Russian entity. The two servers belonged to a company called Westland Securities, which was controlled by Occhiorero.

    I have speculated that if some Russians indeed were involved in taking files from the DNC servers and/or providing such files to Wikileaks, then those Russians were acting on behalf of the Russian petroleum industry (i.e. Gazprom) -- not on behalf of the Kremlin. After all, Gazprom had an apparent motive to help Bernie Sanders defeat Hillary Clinton or to help him push her toward a more anti-fracking position. Gazprom wanted the next US President to be maximally opposed to fracking.

    In this regard, I speculate that CNAIPIC had discovered on Gazprom computers the DNC files that eventually were published by Wikileaks, which wanted to help Sanders defeat Clinton. This situation did not, however, implicate Trump at all.

    In order to implicate Trump, CNAIPIC intended to create a false impression that Russian Intelligence (actually Gazprom) had provided the DNC files not only to Wikileaks but also to a USA computer that could be linked somehow to Trump or to his associates.

    1. Pray tell, what connection does Westlands Securities, owned by Occhionero and sister, have with Trump?

  2. Mr. Wauck,

    I have only skimmed this column as I am heading out the door but I can see that it is another excellent one.

    How pathetic is it that these punks think they outrank the Constitution? The Deep State is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution. I am federal employee and I took an oath to uphold the Constitution. I never took an oath to defend my agency against leakers, crooks, jerks or self-serving autocrats. I took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.

    It seems that the threat from domestic sources is way more of a concern than the threat from foreign sources.

    It seems to me that the administrative state and the media both need to be cut down to size.

    1. Hopefully the SCOTUS will get involved in this. They've taken some cases that may give them an opportunity to address both the media and the admin state. Both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh have concerns about both areas.

  3. Even if Barr can't get all he wants, there will be enough new revelations to whet our appetites. The process is unstoppable, though I worry that if Trump loses in 2020, the investigations will cease. I don't want the truth out there just to poke fun at the Dems (although who could resist?) but because we have an opportunity to change the ethos in this country from one of unpatriotic irreverence and self-loathing to pride of country and Western civilization. Across Europe, ordinary people want their countries back, too. The Russiagate revelations, by showing Obama for the conniving seditionist he is, can help to transition our country to one that is more prepared to deal with enemies foreign and domestic.

  4. In his letter to Devin Nunes and William Burr, Giulio Occhionero told that Italy's National Anti-Crime Center for the Protection of Critical Computer Infrastructure (CNAIPIC) hacked into his desktop computer in Rome on September 29, 2016, and subsequently into his Wesland Securities computers in the USA on October 5, 2016 (see Page 2). Apparently, the first hack enabled the second hack.

    It seems to me, therefore, that the attempt to plant DNC/Gazprom files onto Westland Security computers in the USA was developed in late September 2016.

    The context was that WikiLeaks' Julian Assange had declared in early June 2016 that he possessed and intended to release a lot of stolen files in order to embarrass Hillary Clinton, but Assange did not actually begin to release them until October 7, 2016.

    In late September 2016, therefore, the release of files seemed to be imminent, but which files would be released remained unknown.

    The CNAIPIC hacks of Occhionero on September 29 and October 5, 2016, prepared for Assange's release of the files. After the files were released, then similar files would be placed onto Westland Security computers, creating a false impression that Westland Security and Trump were involved in the distribution of the files.

    Giulio Occhionero and his sister Francesca Maria (a US citizen who actually owned Westland Security in the USA) were arrested on January 9, 2017 -- four days after President Trump hosted a meeting with James Clapper, John Brennan and James Comey in the White House. During the search of Occhionero's premises, an investigator asked, "Who is your contact in the Trump campaign"?

    On the next day, January 10, BuzzFeed published the Steele Dossier.

    The FBI seized the Westland Security computers on January 9, but never has announced whether the Wikileaks/DNC files were discovered on those computers. Of course, the US Government still keeps much of the technical evidence about Russia's alleged meddling in our 2016 election secret.

    Perhaps William Barr now will reveal much of this story.

    1. It's tantalizing, but speculative. As you say, hopefully Barr will have this on his agenda, too. We tend to think of the Russia Hoax as basically a US thing with a bit of UK involvement. However, there's really no reason to discount the involvement of at least other NATO countries. In addition to Australia, other such countries have been named. Estonia may be the most prominent, but Poland has also been named--and I have seen nothing to explain that. Ukraine's central role has really only recently come to light. So, why not Italy? Some of the details are tantalizing. There's no reason for Barr to assume the conspiracy didn't extend quite broadly.

  5. On January 13, 2017 -- four days after the arrests of Giulio Occhionero and his sister and the seizure of their computers -- Computer World published an article that included the following passage:


    They [the Occhionero siblings] attacked at least 18,000 high-profile targets, including former Prime Ministers Matteo Renzi and Mario Monti, President of European Central Bank Mario Draghi ....

    At least 1,700 of the attacks appear to have been successful. Police investigations netted email passwords, 1,137 credentials for compromised PCs and a trove of 87GB of data spread across a network of several command-and-control and backup servers and computers in Italy and the U.S.


    The Occhionero siblings say they are innocent, so it's possible that these "discovered" files had been planted on their computers.

    Whether or not they indeed are innocent, the investigators would need a long time to study the "87GB of data" and then find the DNC/WikiLeaks that supposedly had been provided to the Occhionero siblings by Russia.

    The FBI seized the Westlands Securities (misnamed in my above comments) computers on January 9, so it was not plausible that the FBI would discover the DNC/WikiLeaks files on those computers fast enough to prevent the inauguration of Donald Trump on January 20, 2017.

    Therefore the FBI would take its time and provide the discovered files later, when Trump would be attacked effectively for collusion with Russia. I speculate that this information was provided to Robert Mueller but has not been released to the public.

    Again, William Barr eventually might reveal much of this story.

  6. Why did Trump wait so long...

    Two reasons. First, I think the considered assumption was that Mueller's investigation wouldn't take very long. He was taking up the on-going FBI investigation into campaign personnel had had been going on for 9+ months. either "collusion" happened, or it didn't.

    Yet, the longer the Mueller investigation played out, the more it became obvious the hoax/coup agenda was the trigger, not any enterprise theory of a conspiracy in concert with Russians. This raised the political stakes, e.g. tempting/egging Trump to fire Mueller, Rosenstein, Sessions, or a process crime entrapment in the SP's requested Trump interview.

    We now know, despite Trump tweeting "witch hunt," that his attorneys were completely cooperating with Mueller, so the WH was fully cognizant of the political, as well as legal stakes.

    In the end, when you hold all the cards, you lay them down when your opponent is played out, and has effectively lost. Patience is its own reward. When you come for the king, you best strike him dead.

    1. Nicely put. It seems Graham and Grassley saw this and IMO probably McConnell too. They were slow coming to the realization but did act resolutely when the time came.

  7. I have been puzzled that the Trump Administration took office in January 2017, but the US Intelligence assessment that the Kremlin meddled in the USA's 2016 election persists to the present.

    Mike Pompeo was the CIA Director for the Trump Administration's first 15 months, but the assessment was not disputed. Even pro-Trump skeptics with access to the entire assessment seem to be convinced by it.

    I speculate that they have been convinced by two factors.

    One factor is the files found on the computers of Westlands Securities in the USA. Apparently the presence of those files there proves that Russians (Gazprom, i.e. the Kremlin) stole those files from the DNC servers and then provided the files to Wikileaks and also to Westlands Securities.

    However, the presence of the files on the Westlands Securities computers failed to implicate Donald Trump or any of his associates. If they had been implicated, the this would have been reported in Robert Mueller's report.

    The other convincing factor has been the CIA's source who claims to know and tell about Vladimir Putin's meddling in our elections. I commented under a previous article of this blog that this source seems to be Vladislav Surkov, who is said to be ....


    ... a shadowy figure in Russian politics, is reported to be an aide of Vladimir Putin and the personal adviser to President Vladimir Putin on Ukraine. He has been referred to as a “political technologist” — one who engages in the shaping and reshaping public opinion.

    [end quote]

    I speculated further that the CIA recruited Surkov as a secret agent, but that the Surkov took the CIA's money and conned the CIA with his yarns about Putin.

    In this situation, the CIA is now trying to sell two new, contradictory yarns to the US public:

    1) The CIA was fooled by a Russian "disinformation operation" -- i.e. by Surkov.

    2) William Barr's investigation endangers a CIA super-secret source who provides valuable, reliable information about Putin's super-secret activities.

    Furthermore, I have speculated that some of Surkov's yarns were passed on from the CIA to Christopher Steele, who wove them into his Dossier. Then the CIA used those parts of the Dossier to confirm -- by means of circular logic -- Surkov's reports to the CIA.

    The CIA will resist William Barr's attempts to tell the US public this part of the RussiaGate story. The CIA will tell scare stories about Surkov -- and therefore all other CIA sources -- being endangered by such revelations.

    1. The last part--the scare stories--is well underway already and seems to be a last line of defense.

      Re the failure to implicate Trump or any of his associates through the Westland op, that does appear to be a problem with the Italian narrative.

      Re Pompeo, that has puzzled me as well. Trump said he moved him from State because he had done such a great job at CIA, but the notion that CIA can be cleaned up in such a short time--and without squelching the damaging narratives of the NIA--seems strained. I have no explanation.

    2. In my above comment at 11:45 am, I apparently omitted a link in the following clause:


      I commented under a previous article of this blog that this source seems to be Vladislav Surkov


      I have inserted the link now.

  8. There were two events that took place in September of 2018 that probably changed Grassley's and Graham's tune- the Democrats slander and libel campaign against Kavanaugh, and the revelation that Rosenstein was likely one of the coup plotters- these two event took place at the same time.

    I think Grassley and Graham realized right then that they were in an existential political battle in regards to the coming Senate elections, and needing Trump to push the Republicans in the tightest races over the finish line- this could only be done by promising to support a replacement for Sessions.

    1. Well put. Graham's outspoken defense of Kavanaugh and attack on the Dems made no bones about his awakening to what was going on. Barr's memo to Rosenstein--which was undoubtedly shared among key players--came on 6/8/18, but that means it shortly preceded the recess and would have been on Graham's and Grassley's minds. In context we can see how these two events--and no doubt other factors--worked together.

  9. One of the core dangers moving forward is information overload. The volume and severity of corruption that occurred during the Obama Administration cannot be overstated. Much of the worst elements are still largely hidden from public knowledge (even speculation) and this wave of revelation could easily overwhelm the cognitive capacity of average citizens. Hence, the story needs to be told in small bites with time spacing between each unique story line. And with each of these scandals, the internet will flood with additional sleuthing, analysis, and connecting of the dots. This scale of expose´will be a first of it's kind, and that is uncharted waters.

    1. Yes. This is part of the importance of putting so much authority in Barr's hands rather than a Special Counsel. Barr as AG is in a much better position to mobilize the necessary resources than any SC would ever be.

    2. Too bad Trey Gowdy can't be brought in on this. He strikes me as something akin to a legal wildcatter. Someone who relishes bring in a well where all the "experts" say the rock is too hard/deep.

  10. Yancey,

    I agree with your thoughts.


  11. I have re-read the letter that Giulio Occhionero sent to Devin Nunez and William Burr. I want to clarify the chronology to my best understanding.

    On September 29, 2016, Occhionero's computer in Rome was hacked, apparently by Italy's National Anti-Crime Center for the Protection of Critical Computer Infrastructure (CNAIPIC).

    On October 5, 2016, his home in Rome was raided by CNAIPIC investigators, who tried to use the hacked data to log into the WestLands Securities computers in the USA. While the investigators were trying in front of Occhionero, he warned them that there might be legal consequences from the US Department of Justice. Occhionero says that this warning seemed to be ignored by the CNAIPIC investigators in his Rome home.

    During this raid, the CNAIPIC investigators failed to take control of the WestLands Securities computers in the USA, and so the investigators left Occhionero's home without arresting him.

    This raid happened on October 5, 2016 -- two days before Julian Assange's Wikileaks began to release DNC files to the public.

    In this situation, I see at least two possibilities:

    1) The CNAIPIC indeed were able to take control of the WestLands Security computers on October 5 or just a few days later, but Occhionero thought they had failed.

    2) CNAIPIC did not take control of the WestLands Securities computers in the USA soon. Therefore, this scheme could not be used to affect the USA's Election Day, November 8, 2016.

    I speculate that after Trump surprisingly won the election, the scheme to use the WestLand Securities computers in the USA to implicate Trump was resumed. At some point, the DNC/Wikileaks files were placed onto those computers, without the knowledge of the Occhionero siblings.

    Then on January 9, 2017, the siblings were arrested, and the WestLands Securities computers were seized by the FBI. This happened four days after President Obama hosted James Clapper, John Brennan and James Comey in the White House and one day before BuzzFeed published the Steele Dossier.

  12. Here is some more chronology, as I understand it from the Neon Revolt article.

    On January 9, 2017, the FBI seized the two WestLands Securities servers, one of which was in Washington State and the other was in West Virginia.

    Apparently, the FBI could not find the DNC/Wikileaks files on either server.

    Therefore, two CNAIPIC officials came to the USA in May 2017 to help the FBI study the two servers. The two officials were Francesco Cappotto and Federico Pereno. They went first to the server in Washington State, arriving on May 9.

    On that day, FBI Director Comey was in Los Angeles, and on that same day, President Trump fired Comey suddenly.

    According to the Neon Revolt article, the two CNAIPIC officials officials could not find any DNC/Wikileaks files on the server in Washington State, so they traveled to the server in West Virginia, arriving there on May 12. There two, the two officials did not find the files they expected to find.

    The Neon Revolt explanation for the unexpected absence of the files on both servers seems to be that sometime after CNAIPIC hacked Occhionero's computer in late September 2016, the FBI "isolated" the WestLands Securities computers, which prevented CNAIPIC from placing the DNC/Wikileaks files onto them. CNAIPIC thought it was putting the files there, but the files were not actually being put there -- unknown to CNAIPIC.

    I myself speculate, however, that it was not the FBI that "isolated" the two WestLands Securities servers. Rather, the NSA "isolated" them somehow.

    In other words, NSA figured out the CNAIPIC plot and prevented it from being accomplished -- unknown to the FBI.

    I speculate further that Comey went to Los Angeles in early May 2017 mainly in order to consult with the two CNAIPIC officials before the two proceeded to Washington State to study the WestLands Securities server there.

    Trump had been informed by NSA what Comey was doing in Los Angeles, and so Trump fired Comey while Comey still was there. (My speculation)

  13. Mike --

    Is it not ironic that Occhionero included Christopher Wray as an addressee -- in the perhaps naive belief that the FBI is a law-enforcement agency and not one of the perpetrators of the crime which Occhionero is complaining of? Or am I missing something?


    1. You're not missing a thing. There's irony in almost any of these DC operators purporting to be part of the solution.

    2. Let's assume for the sake of argument that James Comey met with the two CNAIPIC officials -- Francesco Cappotto and Federico Pereno -- in Los Angeles.

      I figure that Cappotto and Pereno flew from Rome directly to Los Angeles, where they met with Comey on May 8, 2017. On his part, Comey preferred to meet the two CNAIPIC officials away from FBI Headquarters, where the meeting could be kept off of FBI records.

      Then on the next day, May 9, the two Italians flew to Washington State to study the WestLands Securities server. Perhaps soon after their airplane landed, they learned that Comey had been fired while still in Los Angeles.

      Imagine the surprise of those two CNAIPIC officials at the airport in Washington State!

      Imagine the surprise at CNAIPIC Headquarters in Rome!

      Recently the entire leadership of Italian Intelligence was fired in one day. I assume that the mass firing was related largely to that visit in Los Angeles on May 8, 2017.

    3. The way I read the reports is that they were fired for their involvement in the larger scheme--whatever that turns out to have been.

      And interesting aspect of this is Salvini's triumph in yesterday's elections. Salvini has patterned his political approach--both in style and substance--on Trump and has been in contact with Trump. One would have to expect further intel cooperation, especially if Italian intel was involved in the overall Russia Hoax.

    4. Mike --
      The part I don't understand is how the Black Hats intended to connect Trump to the Westlands Securities computers...

    5. According to the Neon Revolt article, Trump could be connected to Westlands Securities through Giulio Occhionero himself, who was known to be a Trump supporter.