Thursday, September 12, 2019

Your FBI In Peace And War

There's an important story out today that illustrates why Sidney Powell, in item #7 of her Motion to Compel in the Flynn case, is demanding:

7. All documents, reports, correspondence, and memoranda, including any National Security letter or FISA application, concerning any earlier investigation of Mr. Flynn, and the basis for it.

The title of the article is pretty self explanatory--Court: FBI Must Destroy Memos Calling a Threat: Ruling comes after a eight-year battle over secret surveillance of the popular website after 9/11.

Obviously, if the FBI was monitoring an innocuous outfit like, one can imagine what might have been going on with regard to someone like General Michael Flynn--regarded as a genuine existential threat to the US-UK Deep State. Powell is absolutely right to suspect that the FBI may retain "documents, reports, correspondence, and memoranda". Nor is it far fetched to suspect that National Security letters (NSL) may have been used to obtain all sorts of records regarding Flynn or that the FBI may have sought (and perhaps obtained) a FISA against Flynn previous to the Carter Page FISA. Anyone who didn't at least suspect a FISA and take the use of NSLs against Flynn would be a fool.

The article also gives readers an opportunity to test their understanding of FBI Guidelines for National Security investigations. The article reveals that the FBI did in fact open a Threat Assessment on and at least sought to open a Preliminary Investigation (PI). A PI, if obtained, would not have allowed for a FISA, but it would have allowed the use of NSLs to obtain financial records and many other records.

I'll copy in the article's account of what the lawsuit was all about. Note that, since this was a national security investigation, became aware only by accident that they were being, or had been, targeted and monitored as a possible national security risk. The same could have been happening to Flynn, without him being aware. I urge you to read the rest of the article (linked above) to get a taste of the puerile, yet dangerous, thinking behind this caper. The same quality of reasoning will likely show up in the documentation associated with the Russia Hoax. Also, note that the absurd resistance to the lawsuit went on for eight years--hey, money's no object for the government, unlike for the rest of us. The Appellate Court opinion can be found here.

In a major victory for, free speech and journalism, a federal appeals court has ruled that the FBI must expunge surveillance memos that agents had drafted about the website’s co-founders Eric Garris and Justin Raimondo in the early years following the 9/11 attacks. 
“It’s been a long fight and I’m glad we had an outcome that could might affect future FBI behavior,” said Garris, who runs, based in the San Francisco Bay area. “I just wish Justin was still here to know that this has happened.” 
Raimondo, 67, passed away in June from a long bout with cancer. He and Garris had sued the FBI in 2013 demanding it turn over all the memos and records it was keeping on the two men and the website, which has been promoting anti-interventionist news and views from a libertarian-conservative perspective since 1995. ... 
They won their case, and in 2017 the FBI agreed to turn over all the memos and settle their legal fees, $299,000, but the final expungement of two key memos involving intelligence gathered on the men and, had yet to be expunged from the agency’s record. 
It all began when an observant reader brought a heavily redacted 2004 memo to’s attention in 2011. It was part of a batch of documents the reader had obtained through FOIA requests. It was clear from the documents’ contents that the FBI had been collecting information and records on Raimondo and Garris for some time. At one point the FBI agent writing the April 30, 2004 memo on recommended further monitoring of the website in the form of opening a “preliminary investigation …to determine if [redaction] are engaging in, or have engaged in, activities which constitute a threat to national security.” 
Why? Because the website was questioning U.S. war policy (for those who do not remember, if you took an anti-war position anytime between September 11, 2001 and 2004 you were considered so far Left you couldn’t see straight, or you had to be a subversive, if not a traitor to your country. It is clear from the memos the agents involved were erring toward the latter in regards to
Agents noted that had, or linked to, published counter-terrorism watch lists (already in the public domain). The FBI noted at least two of Raimondo’s columns and wondered openly, “who are (’s) contributors and what are the funds utilized for?” This, after acknowledging there was no evidence of any crime being plotted or committed.


  1. Has it been noted yet that any other FISA warrants were issued or applied for in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation--or leading up to it?

    I think it is understood that the Carter Page warrant was initially declined--then approved when the Steele dossier was added to the package.

    1. I haven't heard of any other FISAs for Crossfire Hurricane, but that could be part of the reason for the "enterprise" investigation--to scoop up more people in the FISA. It's a bit technical, but the "enterprise" label would probably mean less "minimizing."

      OTOH, it appears to be confirmed that there was a FISA on Manafort both before and after he was in the campaign. Before for sure. We don't know whether there was ever a Full Investigation on Flynn, so can't tell about a FISA. If they had a FI then I'd be quite sure they'd go for a FISA. Apparently the targeting of Flynn went back to 2014.

    2. In wake of Trump's "wiretapped" allegation, Nunes & Schiff made a bipartistan demand for any and all wiretapping applications or warrants on any Trump associates to be turned over to Oversight, of which Carter Page's FISA's were the only docs (alleged) responsive.

      I'd be surprised if they were holding back on this request.

    3. Interesting. As I said, I haven't heard of any FISAs for Crossfire Hurricane, except Carter Page. However ...

      The Nunes request is limited to 2016 and the Manafort FISA that's confirmed is from earlier. Was there also a Manafort FISA after Trump inauguration is another question. Same considerations for Flynn: did they have a FISA on him before 2016? It's possible, but they would've had to have had a Full Investigation open. That seems more doubtful.

      Thanks for the comment.

  2. Mr. Wauck,

    If you could read the dumb comments that I read today on the government blogs that I am privy to, you'd realize that federal employees who take an oath to defend the Constitution advocate for ways to monitor or arrest right-wingers and white supremacists.

    One joker suggested that if they snared a man on wrongful charges maybe they could just go ahead and use the charges in another instance where he may've violated the law. Some of the wrongful things that this man might've done were as innocuous as expressing the wrong opinion. (My unartful paraphrasing of his words, not his verbatim.)

    I'd really like to speak back to these yahoos but it'd be as useful as hitting my head against a brick wall.

    1. I always made a point of telling people: "I'm a government bureaucrat." People had this weird idea that the FBI is fundamentally different than other bureaucratic agencies. It is in terms of its responsibilities, but not from the fundamental bureaucratic viewpoint and motivations.

  3. LOL, I tell people the same thing.

    I guess people look up to the FBI. Or maybe I should day they used to look up to the FBI.

  4. Occam's Razor is really just ancient wisdom, as is Lord Acton's dictum that absolute power corrupts absolutely. What this means is that when a government becomes very large (and consequently very powerful), corruption becomes inevitable because some participants will have weak moral/ethical character (just like the population at large).

    The Constitution envisions the Judiciary weeding out these bad actors as a check & balance in society, which only works if it also applies to bad actors within government (and the Judiciary) as well. This is why it is critical for Barr to hold the coup conspirators accountable (and not just a slap on the wrist). The rot will fester if not pruned, and then the tree dies.

    1. Of course the Deep State and Establishment have a sense for what organs of the state are control nodes, and they seek to take control of them. DoJ is definitely one of those. Barr is faced not only with defeating a plot against the Constitution but also with the task of reestablishing control over the department he nominally controls.

      Patrick Deneen argues persuasively, IMO, that the authors of the Constitution--people like Madison and Hamilton--intentionally constructed a system that would tend over time to increase the power of the central government and lead to indifferentism among the population. Government would be left to a central elite, local government would wither, and the populace would seek to excel in private concerns and leave governing to their betters.

      That's the fundamental idea of Liberalism. So you could say that Trump really is an existential threat to the Liberal state.

  5. Tocqueville suggested that what made American Democracy workable was that the Federal gov't, by design, found it almost impossible to effect the immediate affairs of the individual citizen. The Punitive Clause set that concept on its head.

    Our McBetters seek their position specifically so that they might dictate those "private concerns"; or, as Lenin McBetter said, "The personal is political." To suggest that Madison, much less Franklin, purposefully baked such corruption into the system is to ascribe to them profound ignorance of human nature or a level of cynicism as to make Nietzsche look Pollyannaesque(Hamilton maybe).
    Tom S.

  6. If my recollection of history is accurate, when Bill Clinton was inaugurated in 1993, one of the first things he did was fire all the US Attorneys and replace them with his cronies. He then ordered the FBI to turn over to his AG all of the blackmail files that Hoover and successors had accumulated over the decades. At the time, this was an unprecedented act of consolidating power, and more importantly, control over the apparatus of the DOJ. And Obama took this corruption to a whole nutha level.

    1. True. It's a sign of an intention to change the law, not uphold it. GOP presidents didn't engage in wholesale switches.