Monday, June 17, 2019

UPDATED: Barr And Durham Are Focused On The CIA

At this point in the Russia Hoax investigation it has become increasingly apparent that former CIA Director John Brennan was at the very heart of the whole Russia Hoax. For that reason I've tried to focus on the significance of the Task Force that Brennan--in cooperation with Obama and his top staff--assembled in summer of 2016. The Task Force was ostensibly to focus on Russian "meddling" in the election, but there is little to no doubt that the Task Force was driven by what is known as the "Steele dossier". We won't quibble over the authorship--the main point is simply the made-up character of the dossier, that it was a false narrative put together for political purposes and then weaponized through the US Intelligence Community (IC) against candidate Trump and, later, against President Trump by Team Mueller. In that sense Team Mueller can be viewed as an extension of the Task Force, both in an offensive sense (targeting the POTUS) and in an defensive sense (attempting to ward of investigation of Obama administration and IC criminality).

I've been a champion of AG Bill Barr and his avowed purpose of getting to the bottom of the Russia Hoax. However, in recent weeks commenters have expressed frustration that there has not been massive declassification and publication of relevant documents and that there have been no indictments. I believe the reason for this is relatively straightforward.

Hitherto, attention has largely focused on the FBI criminality, and in particular on the fraudulent FISA that was opened and renewed three times against Carter Page. Of course, that FISA followed upon the dossier-driven opening of the Crossfire Hurricane Full Investigation, and the FISA itself was therefore undoubtedly dossier-driven as well. Given that background, the Team Mueller operation could only have been also dossier-driven--as I've argued at great length over the months. That view has, I think, been totally vindicated. In a sense, therefore, the focus on the FBI has been the easy part of the Russia Hoax investigation, simply because the opening of investigations, the applications for FISA coverage, all involve the creation of extensive paper trails. There can be no doubt whatsoever that, if Barr wished to, he could indict a fair number of former FBI officials today.

However, that would not insure getting to the "origins" of the Russia Hoax, as Barr is determined to do. FBI involvement in the Russia Hoax was necessary because the FBI, as our lead counterintelligence (CI) agency, must be the agency to open investigations and apply for electronic surveillance of US persons via FISA. But, as we have seen, the FBI wasn't the true originating and driving force behind the Russia Hoax. That honor goes to John Brennan of the CIA and the inner circle of the Obama Administration and its State Department. To get to that level Barr will need to work up from the level of the FBI.

Even so, we can get some idea of what Barr will be looking at, and why it will take more time than we observers might wish. Consider--while the FBI's overseas role has expanded considerably since 9/11, the CIA remains the key overseas operator for the USIC. We speak of the FBI's use of "OCONUS lures", assets, informants, such as Steele, Halper, Downer, and Mifsud, and others, but the reality is that Brennan's CIA probably approved the FBI use of these persons who were in all likelihood primarily CIA and MI6 sources. You won't find that in FBI files, but it will probably have been the reality. That means Barr--probably with the active assistance of Trump--will need to secure the cooperation of several foreign intelligence services. Thus we have the interesting phenomenon of Obama meeting privately with former Italian PM Matteo Renzi in Italy at the same time that Matteo Salvini, Italian Deputy Prime Minister of Italy and Minister of the Interior, is in Washington for meetings with the Trump administration. As George Papadopoulos has tweeted, this surely has to do with Italian involvement in the Russia Hoax.

Again, at a very fundamental level back at home, the difficulty involved in working up the ladder is that at the higher levels the paper trail will not have been as clear as was the case with the FBI. For all Rosenstein's and Wray's stonewalling, the FBI criminality is clear enough and documented, but investigation of CIA and State personnel is only now beginning and the collection of necessary documents is also at an early stage--that was the point of Trump's executive order granting full declass authority to Barr but also, importantly for purposes of this post, requiring full IC cooperation with Barr's investigation. We should all expect that the CIA, under Gina Haspel, will resist Barr every step of the way. Barr will win, I think, but Trump's executive order will not be self executing--it will require all Barr's deterimination.

Despite the lack of leaks, there can be no doubt that this investigation has begun in earnest and that Brennan and the CIA are feeling the heat. We're hearing about the Deep State's increasing anxiety from their usual media outlets, and especially the NYT. I've covered some of all this in three posts (beginning with the most recent):

Assessing The Assessment

Brennan's Task Force--The Heart Of The Russia Hoax

About that IC Assessment: Paul Sperry Has Good News

As further confirmation, I offer some extensive quotes from an article by a certified former Deep Stater, Jed Babbin--The CIA Is Running Scared: Barr’s bloodhounds are sniffing up Langley’s skirts. Babbin is very confident in the direction Barr is taking.

Babbin begins by noting the recent NYT article we discussed, in which "current and former American officials” expressed alarm and dismay that DoJ is seeking to question CIA analysts about their work on the ICA--why, they want to know, should their work be investigated? Well, we all know why. Babbin continues:

... From the Times report, we can easily deduce the fact that those who ran the spy op — including CIA Director Gina Haspel — are running scared from the Durham investigation. 
Start with the sourcing: “current and former American officials.” That includes all of the people who were in the Obama White House, Comey’s FBI, Brennan’s CIA, and everyone else who’s ever held a government job in, for example, the Obama White House. 
The reason the CIA’s “analytical work” is being subjected to a federal prosecutor’s scrutiny is that there is a lot of evidence of criminal conduct by the CIA and FBI. That’s one of the fundamental differences between the Barr/Durham investigation and the Mueller investigation into the imaginary conspiracy between candidate Trump and his campaign and the Russians. 
... Haspel and her people are going to drag their feet, and probably hide evidence and lie to protect themselves from the investigators. 
[The investigators] will be intensely interested in the facts and opinions that drove the IC’s judgment. The January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment concluded that the Russians interfered to benefit Trump. ... either John Brennan, Obama’s CIA director, or then-FBI director James Comey insisted on using the unverified information from the Steele Dossier (the opposition research paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign) in the ICA to reach that conclusion. 
The January 2017 ICA has been used by the media incessantly to prove their assertion that Trump conspired with the Russians to rob the election from Clinton. Durham will find out who insisted on using the Steele Dossier — when it was known to be unverified — to make a devastating conclusion on behalf of the entire intelligence community. 
The senior CIA officials Durham’s investigators will question will obviously include CIA Director Gina Haspel, ... She and several (many?) other current and former CIA and FBI officials have just as much at risk. 
There’s more, so much more, for Durham’s team to dig into at the CIA, the FBI, and, probably, the NSA. They’re going to be very busy for the rest of this year and probably into 2020. 

UPDATE: George Papadopoulos reminds us why Gina Haspel has every reason in the world to drag her feet rather than cooperate with Barr and Durham:

George Papadopoulos‏


America: do not forget that that current CIA director, Gina Haspel, was running the CIA desk in London in 2016 while Alexander Downer (Australia) Joseph Mifsud (Italy) Stefan Halper (CIA), Azra Turk (CIA) and the US embassy were spying on me and trying to sabotage Donald Trump.
1:07 AM - 18 Jun 2019

I've written about this previously, but if as I said above:

while the FBI's overseas role has expanded considerably since 9/11, the CIA remains the key overseas operator for the USIC. We speak of the FBI's use of "OCONUS lures", assets, informants, such as Steele, Halper, Downer, and Mifsud, and others, but the reality is that Brennan's CIA probably approved the FBI use of these persons who were in all likelihood primarily CIA and MI6 sources. You won't find that in FBI files, but it will probably have been the reality.

then the identity of the CIA Station Chief in London at the time all this was going down becomes a matter of absorbing interest. Which is why Gina Haspel finds herself in the Barr/Durham crosshairs.

Also, check out comments by Joe, below. Following the provided links I came across Sue Gordon:

"Pompeo and Coats had a really good relationship. I think Pompeo and Haspel get along exceptionally well."

It should be clear how complicated a minefield the Russia Hoax is, and why Barr/Durham will need to proceed in a very methodical manner, never presuming that cooperation is complete.


  1. Why should the Task Force members' identities be secret? Exactly who were ....

    * the CIA members?

    * the FBI members?

    * the NSA members?

    * the DNI members?

    If they are named publicly, will "sources and methods" be endangered?

    How many members from each agency were included in the Task Force?

    Who was the Task Force's chairman?

    When did the Task Force come into existence?

    Does it still exist? If not, when was it dispersed?

    How many assessments did the Task Force publish?

    What were the publications' titles and dates?

    Why is such basic information so secret?

    1. I'm not sure how that works for classification purposes. During the various interviews of mostly FBI personnel, which we've seen, it appeared that identities of CI personnel were classified, although SES identities weren't (as I understand it). So it's rules. Same or similar would go for other IC agencies.

      There was a dispute about that when Mark Meadows (I think) revealed Kevin Clinesmith's name saying, hey, he works for the General Counsel so he's not CI.

  2. I wonder if they talked to Admiral Mike Rogers. How about Judge Collyer?

    1. I'd be very surprised if they haven't talked to Rogers. Re Collyer, that's tricky because she's a judge. The fact is, she probably has nothing to add to what Rogers would have to say.

    2. But don't hold your breath waiting for anyone to announce that.

    3. Rogers has to know the DNC server being "hacked" with zero proof was a screaming red flag. It was central to the entire hoax. Was Seth Rich the insider who stole the emails and "russian hacking" was the concocted story to cover that up ?

    4. Since this is central to the whole Russia Hoax narrative, hopefully Barr will be digging into this, along the lines that Roger Stone's team is.

  3. I just read the following self-description on Johnny Boy's Twitter Page.

    "Nonpartisan American who is very concerned about our collective future."

    Now, if he posted this on April Fool's Day, I would laugh and get the joke.

    I think he isn't so much concerned for "our collective future" as much as he's concerned about his own future.

  4. I am not a betting man. But if I were, I would not bet against Bill Barr. I don't think Haspel, Coats or anyone else will outsmart or outplay him. Same for John Durham.

    I also count Sue Gordon as a member of the Deep State. For those who don't know, Gordon is the Deputy to Coats.

    1. I didn't know that name, but I'll keep it in mind.

      These people are used to having the weight of the federal government behind them. Now they're gonna find out what it's like to be targeted.

  5. Mr. Wauck,

    She is the former Deputy Director at NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency) and she was appointed to be Coats' deputy 8/7/19.

    I may be being unfair to her but she is beloved by all the right people.

  6. Here's a link to a Politico article about her responding to Pencil Neck. Also, one from the Cipher Brief.

    1. "Pompeo and Coats had a really good relationship. I think Pompeo and Haspel get along exceptionally well."