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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

UPDATED: Dumb Strzok

As nearly as I can tell, Mark Steyn coined that moniker, but it's being used with new verve as people read the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) report on Peter Strzok. The OPR report was released in connection with Strzok's wrongful termination lawsuit.

Much of the report simply goes over details that are now well known. The report confirms that Strzok and Lisa Page were reprehensible individuals who applied different standards to themselves while they investigated others (notably, Hillary Clinton) for doing essentially the same things they did on a daily basis.

It's important to note that the OPR investigation did not deal with the whole issue of FISA--we'll be seeing OIG's report on that within about two weeks. Strzok and Page should figure into OIG's FISA report, although probably not to the same extent as people higher up the chain of command.

To me the one aspect of the report that may have significance for the Barr/Durham investigation is the portion of the report that deals with Strzok's Dereliction of Supervisory Duty. That has to do with Strzok's failure to conduct appropriate investigation in the Clinton email case after the NY FBI (NYO) came into possession of the Weiner laptop, containing hundreds of thousands of Clinton emails.

OPR found that Strzok's explanations simply didn't wash. Those explanations come under five of headings:

1) NYO's delay in processing the laptop 
2) A lack of specific Information about what the NYO had discovered on the laptop 
3) A belief that the laptop did not contain significant new information 
4) The team's focus on the Russia investigation 
5) Legal impediments to reviewing the material on the laptop

OPR dismisses all the supposed legal objections as lacking in substance--in fact, they are excuses rather than reasons. The whole point is that Strzok should have acted immediately to obtain a search warrant for the laptop--but didn't. Had he acted promptly the FBI would have been ready to review the material as the NYO completed processing it and would have been in a position to know exactly what had been discovered. The suggestion that he believed the laptop contained no significant new information is obviously absurd, although it does play into Comey's dismissal of Clinton's criminal behavior as "extremely careless."

A reading of the report shows that Strzok's real reason was #4--he regarded the new emails as just another "lead" to be disposed of, probably sometime in 2017, i.e., after Clinton's election. He explicitly states that the "Russia" investigation--which is to say, the Trump investigation, the investigation of the man he elsewhere texted that the FBI would prevent from becoming president--was much more important.

This determination factors into 1) the unwarranted acceptance of the Steele "dossier" as predication for a full CI investigation as well as 2) the determination to focus on the new Trump administration. It goes toward proving that the investigations of Trump and his associates were based on bias and, significantly, led both to certain concrete investigative steps being taken as well as steps not being taken. This could factor into the larger conspiracy theory.

One other matter that I found remarkable. Comey, in footnote #26, states that in retrospect maybe he should have had two separate investigative teams rather than combining the Hillary email and "Russia" investigations on one team under Strzok.

Coming from a highly experienced prosecutor that's dumbfounding. I certainly hope Barr/Durham are paying attention to that and conducting interviews about that decision. Because it stinks.

UPDATE: Since we're on the topic of the Clinton emails, here's a link to an interview with Senator Ron Johnson. At the 1:45 mark Johnson states that his committee had been investigating the Clinton emails but "pretty much dropped it after the election, pretty much at the direction of President Trump, because he said, 'we don't prosecute people that we beat in elections.'"

Sen. Ron Johnson: "INDICATION" that "A NUMBER OF HIGH LEVEL FBI OFFICIALS" held Offsite Meetings


25 comments:

  1. Perhaps the remark by Comey was an attempt at prepping the field for "misjudgement" defense. Pile it all on Strzok as "one bad egg" to cut off the conspiracy trail at the lowest level possible. Just spit-balling here.
    Tom S.

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    1. I don't doubt it was, but he's got a much bigger problem coming up. Actually, several real big problems, starting with FISA.

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  2. Dumb may apply, but not be the most appropriate.

    Elitist, full of hubris, malevolent, antithetical to American sense of law, etc, most definitely.

    The main problem is power.

    From the lowly homeowner association enforcer to municipal beat cops, to local elected and hired officials and administrative, to the same at state and federal level, the most basic human trait is to lord over others when given power.

    It is natural and is evidenced in every species on Earth.

    You put safeguards in place like say the US Constitution, but such things are only effective when others are not of like powe trippin' like mind.

    This is where we are right now with the coup/Russian Hoax/impeachment/emoluments/etc.

    We still have a constitutional republic, barely, and Trump is trying to bring us more back towards one.

    Aftet Trump and both parties go back to form, what's next?

    Trump is not the issue, but the cure, result, of horrible maladministration.

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  3. Mark -- a few more reactions to the OPR letter:

    1. I have been curious for some time why it has been an accepted fact that Strzok and Page were having an extra-marital
    affair. No text message I had seen specifically confirmed this. However, footnotes 17 and 18 are pretty darn, if not absolutely, conclusive on this point. Interestingly, Strzok apparently was not sanctioned by OPR for this aspect of his workplace behavior.

    2. Has the question of Mrs. Clinton's substantive exposure to criminal law violations ever been seriously revisited since the discovery of Six Hundred and Seventy Five Thousand (675,000) emails on Weiner's laptop?

    I know Comey announced on November 6, 2016 that that the FBI had completed its expeditious review of the Weiner laptop and that its conclusions regarding Mrs Clinton's criminal liability were unchanged. I also know that Horowitz's June 2018 Report reviewed the FBI's conduct following the discovery of the Weiner laptop, but, curiously, the Horowitz report doesn't consider whether there was actually evidence relevant to Mrs Clinton's criminal liability on the laptop. Rather, the report focuses on FBI behavior. Here's a link to the report (https://docs.google.com/viewerng/viewer?url=https://www.justice.gov/file/1071991/download).

    In August 2018 Paul Sperry wrote a most compelling article for RealClearInvestigations asking these questions and concluding that most of the emails found on the Weiner laptop had still not (as of August 2018) been reviewed. Here's a link: https://www.theepochtimes.com/despite-comey-assurances-vast-majority-of-weiner-laptop-emails-were-never-examined_2633465.html.

    I think this remains a valid subject for further investigation. I also can't imagine that Mrs Clinton could enter the 2020 race without the question of Weiner's laptop and what's on it becoming a nightmare for her.

    3. Apparently the OPR report, which is utterly damning in its conclusions regarding Strzok's conduct, was only made public as a result of Strzok's impossible lawsuit for wrongful termination. Dumb Strzok indeed!

    Cassander

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    1. 1. In his House testimony the questioners expressed great surprise that the FBI had not made an issue of this, assuming that this was at the least a blackmailable thing--outside of exhibiting a propensity for lying. Strzok dismissed those concerns claiming that, hey, I'm trustworthy--trust me on that. His superior Priestap testified that he didn't think it was any of his business. Really! The bottom line is that, by excluding all standards from public life except the criminal law--and I maintain that that is effectively the state of our society--this is what we end up with. I suppose the same argument can be made re Trump, but that's how we got to this point. I suppose Clinton in the OO set the tone--why should FBI agents be better than the president? It's what the American people have come to.

      2. I'll be interested to see where all that goes, re Clinton emails. Barr told the NYT before he was ever nominated that he thought Clinton's acts were more worthy of investigation than any credible info re Trump. Is it water under the bridge? Is he waiting for the right time?

      Re Horowitz, he has no jurisdiction over non-DoJ persons. His authority only extends to internal DoJ matters.

      3. Not entirely true. While DoJ doesn't normally release internal investigative reports, it does publish summaries of disciplinary actions taken--without names.

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  4. Once again, Occam's Razor.

    Strzok acted as he did, not because of incompetence or lack of moral/ethical fiber; but simply because he is (and was) a dirty cop. And he wasn't (isn't) the only one in the FBI. Everything he did is consistent with a criminal acting in service to criminal ends. He was an active participant in a coup. In for a penny, in for a pound. No have measures when you aim for the King. It's not PC to admit that dirty cops exist, but how do you fix a problem that you cannot recognize exists?

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    1. I would say that lacking moral/ethical fiber is a prerequisite to being a dirty cop.

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  5. Like Cassander above, I think the Weiner laptop was buried in a landfill somewhere and not examined in detail as claimed. I would like one answer right now- where is this laptop?

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    1. As of 8/2018 here is Paul Sperry's reply:

      A final mystery remains: Where is the Weiner laptop today?

      The whistleblower agent in New York said that he was “instructed” by superiors to delete the image of the laptop hard drive he had copied onto his work station, and to “wipe” all of the Clinton-related emails clean from his computer.

      But he said he believes the FBI “retained" possession of the actual machine, and that the evidence on the device was preserved.

      The last reported whereabouts of the laptop was the Quantico lab. However, the unusually restrictive search warrant Strzok and his team drafted appeared to remand the laptop back into the custody of Abedin and Weiner upon the closing of the case.

      “If the government determines that the subject laptop is no longer necessary to retrieve and preserve the data on the device,” the document states on its final page, “the government will return the subject laptop."

      Wherever its location, somewhere out there is a treasure trove of evidence involving potentially serious federal crimes -- including espionage, foreign influence-peddling and obstruction of justice -- that has never been properly or fully examined by law enforcement authorities.

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    2. I would guess the laptop was returned to Abedin, then, and probably the day after the election.

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    3. I know basically nothing about the forensic examination of computers, so FWIW ...

      I do know that the first step is to make an image, following a specified forensic protocol. I believe that the image is certified in some way so that if the original is destroyed it can be used as a true and correct version of the original as it was when it came into the possession of the FBI. The problem arises when an outside party fiddles with the device without following that protocol. That's the issue that Roger Stone tried to raise re Crowdstrike. As it is, since the Weiner laptop was imaged by the NYO of the FBI, that image should still exist, probably at the FBI lab in Quantico. If it doesn't ...

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    4. "Wherever its location, somewhere out there is a treasure trove of evidence involving potentially serious federal crimes...."
      Yes, and a trove of info concerning decisions, mechanizations and connections of the Global-State (we're discovering through "our" diplomats that it is much more than a mere shadow national government). 675,000 yoga routines is a lot of chatter. Who ever has it is probably well aware that Epstein didn't kill himself. The good news is they should be in great shape by now.
      Tom S.

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  6. Of all the House interviews, Strzok was the most disturbing. He kind of tilts and swings his head and purses his lips then smiles.

    I couldn't tell if he was like a naughty little boy who had been caught, contemptuous of the Reps, figured he was a golden boy and safe from punishment, secure in his heart that he did nothing wrong or was crazy.

    But it sure stood out.

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    1. It was indicative of someone who not only believed he did no wrong, but believed his actions were righteous and most everyone else were beneath him, especially those questioning his actions.

      And, yes, also he believed he was a government "made man."

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  7. Mark, on Barr "waiting for the right time?":
    on HRC's emails themselves, or more on FBI etc. obstruction in its pseudo-probe of them?
    Could the Statute of Lts. be extended, if relevant evidence (a laptop) could reemerge?
    Otherwise, when will the SoL expire, or does that vary, with each of the charges at issue here?

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    1. My understanding is that SOL wouldn't expire until 2021.

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    2. There's plenty of time if they want to do this. I understand that she's far from the only one, but Hillary's violations have been especially egregious--systematic and deliberate.

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  8. I could imagine Barr re-opening Midyear Exam on the grounds that the earlier investigation has been thoroughly discredited by the actions of Comey, McCabe, Strzok and Page...and Loretta Lynch, as documented by three Horowitz reports...and criminal indictments filed by John Durham.

    Mrs Clinton certainly wouldn't like that.

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  9. Off thread comment.

    I've been supporting President Trump with regular contributions since the Schiff Investigation began. I bet some of you have, too.

    Now, he and Don Jr., and Erik and Lara and Brad Parscale won't let alone. I get emails and texts several times a day. Some of them accuse me of not supporting the President. Which is only true if not paying up for a few days constitutes non-support.

    I kinda wish they would lay off...just a little bit.

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    1. You must be on the B list. I get personal emails from Melania, and yesterday she sent me a 2020 calendar.

      My wife pointed out that every president's birthday was on it--except Obama's.

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    2. Melania...really?

      I'm jealous!

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