Friday, June 14, 2019

Why Is Bruce Ohr Still Working At DoJ

This morning commenter Cassander asked

Why is Bruce Ohr still an employee of the Department of Justice? 

I responded (slightly edited and expanded):

I think that comes down to IG Horowitz's FISA investigation--Ohr is key to that inquiry because he's the person who conveyed the dossier directly to the FBI and was Steele's handler. As long as Ohr remains employed at DoJ he's under Horowitz's thumb, so I think some sort of deal for his cooperation was made at a VERY early date. I'll provide a link to an article that points out that Ohr gets exactly ONE mention in the Mueller report. That one mention is simply a cite to a Trump tweet. In other words, Mueller probably never talked to Ohr, but Horowitz has probably been doing so on an ongoing basis. So here's that article:
Mueller 'Strzok Out' With His Whitewash Report:

"On page 323 of the report, the special counsel acknowledges that he is aware of the origin of the Russia hoax because he quotes the president's Aug. 24, 2018, tweet asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, FBI agent Peter Strzok, Justice Department lawyer Lisa Page, DOJ official Bruce Ohr, and Christopher Steele and "his phony and corrupt Dossier." But somehow neither Sessions, nor Mueller, nor anyone else has been able to put 2 + 2 together and come up with the correct answer. 
"Indeed, if you want to gauge the complete inadequacy of the Mueller Report, consider this: President Trump’s tweet is the only mention in the report of Ohr, whose wife worked for Fusion GPS, the firm behind the dossier. It is the only mention of Strzok. It is the only mention of Page. Considering their central role in framing the president, that is the equivalent of the Warren Report somehow relegating Lee Harvey Oswald to a single footnote." 
I think that also means that when Horowitz is done, Ohr will be talking to Durham.

To that let me add something that's quite speculative but, so it seems to me, ultimately has to be relevant.

You may recall that Joe Pientka was the FBI agent who, along with Peter Strzok, interviewed Michael Flynn. Like Strzok, Pientka believed that Flynn was not lying in the interview. Now recall this: Pientka was also the agent who was the handler for Bruce Ohr. Ohr would meet with Pientka and tell Pientka what Chris Steele had to say. This happened a dozen times between the election in November, 2016, and May 15, 2017. The May date is just before the appointment of Mueller as Special Counsel and at a point in time when Steele was pressing Ohr to get him (Steele) in touch with Team Mueller. Each time Ohr met with Pientka, Pientka memorialized their meeting in an FD-302, report of investigation--except that there may have been a few such meetings in the summer of 2017 for which no 302s are known to exist. Nobody you or I know has seen those "302s", because they haven't been declassified. The whole arrangement between Ohr and the FBI was totally irregular, and Ohr claims he chose not to get the arrangement approved by his DoJ superior, Sally Yates.

It's clear that at some point in time, probably summer 2017, both Pientka and Ohr were caught up in Michael Horowitz's dragnet. How this occurred is unclear, but there were probably multiple irregularities in their conduct that fell under Horowitz's purview. It's likely that those original conversations led from one thing to another--both men should have been founts of information on any number of topics relevant to the Russia Hoax--and that both Pientka and Ohr made some sort of deal with Horowitz. As I said above to Cassander, when Horowitz's investigation is finalized, both will undoubtedly be turned over to John Durham. Conceivably there have already been contacts or sharing of information.

Brian Cates at Epoch Times has a speculative article, Why FBI Special Agent Joseph Pientka Is the DOJ’s Invisible Man. The closing paragraphs are relevant to what I've been saying:

I’ve no doubt that at some time in the past year and a half, the DOJ Inspector General’s office sat Pientka down for extensive and detailed interviews about his dual roles in both the Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn affair (he and Strzok interviewed Flynn), and with the Fusion GPS backchannel to the FBI. What he told them must have been incredibly sensitive, since nobody has publicly seen or heard from Pientka all this time, even though House and Senate committees have requested that the DOJ produce him for testimony.  Whatever Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz’s investigators discovered in their interviews with Pientka, they are keeping a very tight lid on it. 
Peter Strzok, after being held incommunicado inside the FBI’s Human Resources Department for almost a year after being unceremoniously yanked off of special counsel Robert Mueller’s handpicked team, was finally trotted out for a very contentious public hearing back in July, then subsequently fired from the agency at Horowitz’s recommendation. 
As far as is publicly known at this time, Pientka is still employed by the FBI and still working there every day. It appears to me that nobody is going to be allowed to hear what he has to say or see his FD-302 forms until Horowitz is finished with his Spygate report and any ongoing investigations inside the DOJ have reached their conclusion. 
Until we reach that point, Pientka is going to continue to be the DOJ’s “Invisible Man.”

I quote this for the benefit of those who remain skeptical that there will be fireworks down the road. 


  1. I never have grasped the rationale for the arrangement in which Steele informed Ohr, who informed Pientka.

    Was this arrangement necessary because of chain-of-custody considerations?

    I understand that Steele had been "fired" by the FBI because he was informing journalists. So, the FBI had to maintain a "hands-off" relationship with Steele. Frankly, I don't get any of that either.

    This Steele-Orh-Pientka arrangement does not make sense to ordinary people.

    Can you, Mark, explain it?

    1. Good question, and it's puzzled me, too.

      It's not a chain of custody thing because there was no evidence being handled (except for Nellie's thumb drive)--it was just words.

      The hands off thing doesn't really add up, either, because Ohr was acting as the intermediary before that--recall, he was the first to go to McCabe to tell him about Steele. Anyway, what's so hands off when Pientka is writing 302s to a file? That's totally transparent.

      The only thing I can come up with off the top of my head is fear of someone from the FBI being seen with Steele by a journo or GOP oppo researcher (recall, word of the dossier was all around DC) and being IDed. But that would apply to Ohr, too--right?

    2. I think it was a "plausible deniability" ploy. The FBI could say that they had nothing to do with the Steele Intel because they had severed ties with him. On the other hand they would be remiss if they ignored sources developed by non-FBI players, Ohr/DoJ. This mau seem dumb to the person on the street but we're talking about people who think of theselves as the smartest people in the room because they tell each other so. A group that beleives ideological incest, the planting of evidence via a "leak" to justify a warrant for instance, is a mark of intellectual superiority. As the story of CoupGate unfolds it has the goofiness of a Columbo (can't remember the actors name) Mike Hammer spoof from the 1980's. It'a frightening that these maroon's were allowed the power that they wielded.

    3. I dunno. How do you call it plausible deniability if Ohr was an intermediary before Steele was "fired" and remained the intermediary afterwards--and all the contacts were being written up and placed in a file?

      I frankly don't get it. Maybe there's something we don't know.

    4. I think they had lived in an echo chamber so long that they didn't understand that "plausible deniability " has been a running joke in movies for the last 30 yrs. There really is no such thing, but they had operated for so long with out scruples and with a covering press that they believed the thinnest of veneers would be enough. We are talking hubris with a capital "H". They thought that keeping Steele at arms length through Orh the press would vouch for their innocence as to the FBI's connection to dossier info. It was just a plum that fell though the DoJ window.
      I'm not saying it was smart or "plausible ", but they thought it would be enough. I have known a couple of criminals in my time and sometimes it's astounding the really stupid things they will convince themselves of to advance a project. The first thing they do is decide they really want to do the crime. Once they do that they will twist any fact to suit their purpose even if they end up lying to themselves.
      But, really just spitballing here.

    5. I've been inclined to agree with those who believe Nellie was basically compiling/making up the dossier instalments herself and then passed them on to Steele for the 'imprimatur of legitimate foreign intelligence'. Presumably Steele then passed the instalments back to Nellie. So wouldn't it be natural for Bruce -- once Nellie's work product round-tripped back to the Ohr residence -- to hand deliver it to the FBI. Not smart, not professional, but perhaps natural. Bruce and Nellie might well have found themselves a bit over-invested in the prospect of bringing Trump down. This clandestine spy stuff can be intoxicating...

    6. "This clandestine spy stuff can be intoxicating..."

      Yes, you are running history, making sure that you're on the right side of it.

  2. I hope that Pientka has spilled his guts.

    Pientka must have been one of the most knowledgeable people among the schemers -- outside of Clapper, Brennan and Comey.

    1. He appears to have been Strzok's most trusted guy.

    2. Over at CTH, Sundance, way back when, made a rather big deal about the role played by Pientka in all these tawdry shenanigans, implying that he was the one who would reveal, when push came to shove. I get the idea Sundance thought that Pientka was singing like the proverbial canary. I hope this proves to be so, as these rats all need to do jail time, preferably with people they sent to prison.

    3. At first I thought that Pientka was an innocent player who was probably on the up and up.

      Now I'm thinking that he is a dirty cop.

  3. My comment is replying to an earlier post but I'm putting it here, in your most recent post.

    I don't know if indictments will come this month, as Mark Meadows states. But it would be nice to see a strategically timed plea agreement from the Ohrs, Steele, Page, Baker or one of the other small fish. This would really turn up the pressure gauge a notch, or two.