Wedge: From Pearl Harbor to 9/11: How the Secret War between the FBI and CIA Has Endangered National Security
I can testify that the distrust was a very real thing before 9/11 and the GWOT. Those events, of course, appeared to vindicate Riebling's analysis. As a result we wound up with an "Intelligence Community" that was supposed to do away with those old rivalries and usher in a new era of productive cooperation.
Good idea? Maybe not so much. What we've wound up with instead of an Intelligence Community is more of an Intelligence Cabal, as witness the entire Russia Hoax. The IC, with its close coordination of law enforcement and foreign intelligence, has become something akin to a Praetorian Guard. While initially intended to empower the President by providing him with thoroughly vetted information and enabling swift reaction on the home front to foreign threats, the close coordination under the IC umbrella of the FBI and the CIA--with vastly increased funding, thanks to the GWOT--has instead transformed those two agencies into something like an independent power base that plays off the Executive and Legislative Branches against one another. As we see now with the ongoing Impeachment Theater, they are currently colluding with the House.
Trump appears to have come to an understanding of this problem and is struggling to find a solution. For example, he has floated the idea of drastically reducing in size the bloated ODNI. However, we all know how those reductions usually end up. Only a true restructuring can address the dynamics at play within and among the intelligence agencies. We need coordination, but not at the risk of having the Intelligence Establishment become kingmakers in domestic politics. In other words, rather than eliminating the "wedge" between the CIA and FBI that Riebling decried, maybe that wedge needs to be reinserted.
Enter Bill Barr and his Barr/Durham investigation. The NYT ran an article yesterday that appeared to be largely sourced through current and former FBI/DoJ personnel. The article describes, from that viewpoint, the current status of the Barr/Durham investigation. As I described it yesterday (cf. preceding link), Durham--closely coordinating with Barr--appears to be working his way up the ladder at the FBI, before shifting his attention to the CIA. In other words, he may well be planning to play one agency off against the other.
This makes sense. The FBI's only defense for its coup plotting against a POTUS is that it was misled by John Brennan's CIA--but that defense is unlikely to stand up to the type of close scrutiny that Barr/Durham will subject it to. Ultimately the best, but only partial, defense will be to seek a deal for cooperation against the CIA. Barr may well be open to such an approach (despite his own CIA background), since from an organizational standpoint he already has control over the FBI and is able to force reforms at that agency that will prevent a renewal of coup plotting in conjunction with the CIA.
How does Impeachment Theater figure into this? Impeachment Theater works in different directions, but it seems clear at this point that legislators, including Republicans, were involved in the coup plot. From this vantage point, Impeachment Theater could be--in part--a defense against an ascendant Barr whose lifelong determination to protect the Executive from Congress could lead him to target those legislators. McConnell's seeming openness to an impeachment trial could, from this standpoint, be an opening gambit to come to a more amicable settlement.
We shall see, but at least these are dynamics to keep in mind.
In the meantime, Larry C. Johnson has a long blog at Sic Semper Tyrannis that goes into some of the investigative aspects that the NYT article raised: FBI/DOJ Likely to Throw the CIA and Clapper Under the Bus. Johnson offers a number of shrewd observations. Here I'll excerpt the first part of Johnson's blog, but read it all. It offers backup to my own views. I will single out as particularly important Johnson's observations about the Flynn case. From my point of view, I think we're seeing cooperation between Flynn's legal team (led by the redoubtable Sidney Powell) and Barr/Durham--and the result is a sword at the throat of Team Mueller. I will warn, however, that I'll be surprised if the Horowitz report goes as far Johnson expects. The reason is simply that, as Barr himself has observed, the DoJ IG has strictly limited jurisdiction, which makes the kind of sweeping investigative results Johnson hopes to see unlikely at this point:
Law Enforcement versus the Intel Community. That's the battle we will likely see unleashed when the Horowitz report comes out next week. The New York Times came out Saturday with info clearly leaked from DOJ that can be summarized simply--the FBI was relying on the intel community (products from the CIA and NSA) under the leadership of Jim Clapper. If they relied on bad, unverified information it ain't their fault. They trusted the spies.
"Unfounded conspiracy theories?" What a damn joke. The facts of a conspiracy to take out Donald Trump or cripple him are very clear. Robert Mueller and Jim Comey lied when they claimed that Joseph Mifsud, who tried to entrap George Papdopoulus in London, was a Russian agent. Nope. He worked for western intelligence. Unless Comey and DOJ have a document or documents from the CIA or NSA stating that Mifsud worked for the Russians, they have no where to hide. Plus, prosecutor John Durham now has Mifsud's blackberries. What do you think is the likelihood that Mifsud was in communication with FBI or CIA or MI6 personnel? Very likely.
I will interject here, relative to a comment on Johnson's blog. It seems to me that it would have been the height of foolishness for Mifsud to have in any way compromised those two Blackberries. They are, in effect, his ultimate Get Out Of Jail Free cards. So I think Johnson's high expectations for those Blackberries is well placed.
Then there is Stefan Halper, who played a key role in a sophisticated counterintelligence operation that involved the FBI, the CIA British Intelligence and the media. The ultimate target was Donald Trump. Halper's part of the operation focused on using an innocent woman who had the misfortune of being born in Russia, Svetlana Lokhova, to destroy General Michael Flynn. Halper and Mifsud both were involved in targeting General Michael Flynn. Not a conspiracy?
Halper's nefarious activities included manufacturing and publishing numerous false and defamatory statements. Halper, for example, falsely claimed that Svetlana Lokhova was a “Russian spy” and a traitor to her country. He also circulated the lie that Lokhova had an affair with General Flynn on the orders of Russian intelligence. Not content to use the unwitting Svetlana as a weapon against General Flynn, Stefan Halper also acted with malice to destroy Svetlana Lokhova's professional career and business by asserting that she was not a real academic and that her research was provided by Russian intelligence on the orders of Vladimir Putin.
Thanks to Robert Mueller we have clear evidence of a conspiracy against Trump. Mueller's investigation of Trump "collusion" with Russia prior to the 2016 Presidential election focused on eight cases:
Proposed Trump Tower Project in Moscow—
Veselnetskya Meeting at Trump Tower (June 16, 2016)
Events at the Republican Convention
Post-Convention Contacts with Russian Ambassador Kislyak
One simple fact emerges--six of the eight cases or incidents of alleged Trump Campaign interaction with the Russians investigated by the Mueller team, the pitch to "collude" with the Russian Government or Putin originated with FBI informants, MI-6 assets or people paid by Fusion GPS, not Trump or his people. There is not a single instance where Donald Trump or any member of his campaign team initiated contact with the Russians for the purpose of gaining derogatory information on Hillary or obtaining support to boost the Trump campaign. Not one.
Simply put, Trump and his campaign were the target of an elaborate, wide ranging covert action designed to entrap him and members of his team as an agent of Russia.