Saturday, December 28, 2019

SSA 1 Joe Pientka And Chris Steele

Jeff Carlson has produced a long and thorough summary of FBI official (aka SSA 1) Joe Pientka's involvment in the FBI's attempt to sabotage the Trump campaign and presidency. Pientka, of course, is probably best known for his role in the FBI's framing of Michael Flynn--he, along with Peter Strzok, interviewed Flynn in the White House. However, as we've discussed, Pientka played a central role in the entire Russia Hoax, serving as Strzok's right hand man, a handler for both Chris Steele and Bruce Ohr. He was also involved, as documented by the OIG report, in selecting the informants to target against the Trump campaign. Carlson also points out that the OIG report documents that Pientka was very well aware of derogatory information regarding Steele as well as information that totally undercut the entire basis for the FBI's FISA applications against Carter Page. For example, Pientka knew that, although Steele characterized Page as the go between for Paul Manafort and the Trump campaign and the Russian government, in fact Page had essentially no contact with Manafort whatsoever--that whole narrative was known to be BS.

Carlson's whole summary is worth reading: FBI Agent Who Interviewed Gen. Flynn Played Critical Role in Trump Campaign Investigation. However, this brief passage gives a flavor for Pientka's MO, and also contains something that I found rather amusing.

There were further concerns regarding Steele’s credibility that were relayed to Pientka relatively early on that were never transmitted to the FISA court. State Department official Kathleen Kavalec met with Steele in October 2016 and was provided with some information from Steele that she knew to be inaccurate. According to the IG report, this information was relayed directly to Pientka:
“The FBI liaison informed SSA 1 and Case Agent 1 via email on November 18 that Kavalec had met with Steele, she had taken notes of their meeting, the liaison could obtain information from Kavalec about the meeting, and, according to Kavalec, the information from Steele’s reporting about a Russian consulate being located in Miami was inaccurate.”
Additionally, the Department of Justice’s Office of Intelligence (OI) questioned the Crossfire Hurricane team on Oct. 12, 2016—prior to the first FISA application on Trump campaign aide Carter Page—asking the FBI team to “articulate why it deems [Steele’s] reporting to be credible notwithstanding [Steele] did the investigation based on [a] private citizen’s motivation to help [Hillary Clinton/Democratic Party].”
Pientka appeared to personally vouch for Steele to the OI, responding “that: (1) the FBI has had an established relationship with the source since 2013; (2) the source was generating reporting well before the opening of Crossfire Hurricane and the leaks concerning the DNC emails, and therefore this was not a situation where a source was attempting to steer an ongoing investigation; and (3) Steele was not a U.S. citizen and therefore had no vested interest in the outcome of the election.”
The IG report also noted that FBI emails made clear that Pientka was fully aware by Jan. 11, 2017, that the investigative firm hired by the DNC was the same firm that had hired Steele to “conduct his election-related research,” and noted that “We found no evidence that this information was shared with OI.”

 In other words, the FBI was fully aware that their jihad against Trump was based entirely on opposition research that had been purchased by the Clinton campaign. How's that for predication?

But it's that #3 that I found priceless:

Steele was not a U.S. citizen and therefore had no vested interest in the outcome of the election.

Imagine a so-called Counterintelligence professional putting something as fatuous as that in writing and sending it to DoJ's Office of Intelligence. Which apparently accepted that evaluation: foreigner's ipso facto couldn't possibly have an interest in the outcome of a US election--just because they're foreigners! One supposes that that would also apply to the narrative of "Russian meddling" as well. The Russians--or Chinese, or any other foreigners you care to name--couldn't possibly have a "vested interest" (as opposed to ... what other type of interest?) in the outcome of a US election because, well, because foreigners just don't have an interest in the outcome of elections in the world superpower. So, according to Pientka, the FBI, and (presumably) DoJ information that comes from such foreigners can be presumed to be disinterested.


  1. Typo alert, 1st para: "Pientka PLAYED a central role".

    "foreigner's ipso facto couldn't possibly have an interest in the outcome".
    Yeah, like we (foreigners) couldn't possibly have an interest, in the sorts of places we so often "meddled", e.g. Italy, Iran (Mossadegh), Chile (Allende), etc.

    On such points did Chomsky rip his fellow Lefties, c. three years ago.

    1. Precisely. Got any Chomsky links, out of curiousity?

    2. , and .

    3. Tx, I'll check those out. Interested to see another lefty take.


    1. Yeah, notice the unspoken assumption--there really was "collusion with Russia". It's still gospel for the left.

    2. It's very disturbing to me that imbeciles such as Sipher, Hennessey, McMuffin, Schindler and the rest of the former-intel "Resistance" were once part of the IC. It makes me wonder what entirely avoidable crises, disasters and harm to innocent lives their official ineptitude, stupidity and dishonesty contributed to.

    3. The upper levels of the IC have been largely politicized for the past decade. The liberal takeover continued apace even through the Bush years. It was a cultural thing and still is.

    4. I just scrolled through Sipher's last 30-40 tweets/retweets. Has he lost his mind?

      On his twitter page he describes himself as "Former CIA Clandestine Service. Sometimes writes and talks about stuff. Good Father, Decent Husband and Excellent dog owner. Much nicer than my picture suggests."

      On his linkedin page he describes himself as "Co-Founder of Spycraft Entertainment". Spycraft Entertainment describes itself as follows:

      "a global production company run by former senior intelligence officers from the US and UK and experienced Hollywood producers.

      We help retired members of the intelligence community turn their ideas and intellectual property into world-class content, and we work closely with them to develop projects across a range of media, from podcasts to television series to feature films.

      We focus on true fiction, emphasizing quality, authenticity, and great storytelling. Our network of 'ordinary people who have done extraordinary things' comprise innumerable untold tales that have the power to inform, inspire, and entertain audiences around the world."

      Imagine that...Sipher started a company which works with 'Hollywood producers' to help retired CIA personnel turn their life experience into 'true fiction' to entertain audiences around the world!

      And one is supposed to believe his tweets?

    5. @Anonymous

      "It's very disturbing to me that imbeciles such as Sipher, Hennessey, McMuffin, Schindler and the rest of the former-intel "Resistance" were once part of the IC."

      Useful idiots?

    6. He seems to be saying that he treats his dog better than his wife and kids.

  3. Why hasn't Wray removed Pientka from his position?

    Does Pientka still enjoy Wray's confidence?

    1. If he'd been removed he wouldn't have been required to speak with OIG. I'm sure that played into it.

    2. Mike, a suggestion: Reread my, admittedly rather long, blog re the Hanssen case, then read the OIG executive summary of that case, which is actually only 32 pages long. Bear in mind as you read that the SSA to whom I expressed my concerns that an espionage case should be opened on Hanssen not only continued in FBI employ for the next 11 years until Hanssen was arrested but actually rose high in the ranks of CI managers. All that time, says OIG, the FBI expended "enormous resources" looking for the mole who turned out to be Hanssen--looking in the CIA. IOW, he had 11 years or so to suggest that the FBI redirect some of its resources to Hanssen. Have you heard of any adverse consequences for that SSA?

      This is the federal bureaucracy we're talking about. Having the confidence of management that you'll do a good job turns out not to be relevant for much of anything, except in the sense that they have confidence that you won't cause them any personal inconvenience. Unless I'm missing something.

  4. If Wray had moved Pientka into, say, the FBI's Human Resources office, then Pientka still would have been required to speak with the OIG.

    Now that Wray has read the OIG report, does he still think Pientka exercises such good judgment that he should continue to act as the FBI's Chief of Counter-Intelligence?

    1. 1. We don't know where Pientka currently sits at FBIHQ--that's been a closely guarded secret for a long time. Even from the Senate.

      2. Again, we don't know what role he's playing in the investigations. They may have cut a deal with him already for his cooperation. He would surely have a lot to say about the upper echelons at both FBI and DoJ.

    2. Thank you for your patient explanations. So many, on so many forums, lacking both facts and your insight, jump to conclusions, speculate, assume. We know nothing about Pientka’s current whereabouts. He has been veiled in silence for some time.

    3. Tx. It may actually more of what I hope is an educated guess than exactly an explanation. As I indicated above, I have more personal reasons to be cynical than most, but I retain hope that justice will come out of this. Maybe I'm naive. I hope not, and I like to think that hope is fact based.

  5. "a closely guarded secret for a long time. Even from the Senate".
    Does this also mean, from the SSCI?
    That would really be brutal, if the SSCI was worth a damn.

    1. LOL! I guess I meant "even from Graham and Grassley." SSCI has probably coordinated his disappearance. The FBI's Joseph Mifsud.

  6. I have never been a detective nor a criminal investigator, but if I were one and it was clear that a massive conspiracy to take out our President had taken place over a prolonged period of time, involving numerous persons - many of them very high level government officiels - and on a number of continents, I don’t believe I’d telegraph everything that was going on as I went along. I would want to scoop up the whole lot at one time and have sufficient hard evidence to nail them good, with no hope for reversal on appeal.

    Two Brit expressions: "It’s early days” and “in due course”...

  7. Carlson's article says that in August 2016 Pientka provided a defensive briefing (quoting the Horowitz report) "to candidate Trump and his national security advisors, including Michael Flynn ..."

    Carlson writes further:


    Horowitz noted in his report that Pientka was specifically selected to “provide the FBI briefings, in part, because Flynn, who was a subject in the ongoing Crossfire Hurricane investigation, would be attending the Trump campaign briefing.” ....

    He [Pientka] further stated [to Horowitz's IG investigators] that the briefing provided him ‘the opportunity to gain assessment and possibly have some level of familiarity with [Flynn]. So, should we get to the point where we need to do a subject interview … I would have that to fall back on.’” When the IG asked Pientka to elaborate on the use of the term “assessment,” Pientka told the IG:

    “[Flynn’s] overall mannerisms. That overall mannerisms and then also if there was anything specific to Russia, or anything specific to our investigation that was mentioned by him, or quite frankly we had an … investigation, right. And any of the other two individuals in the room, if they, any kind of admission, or overhear, whatever it was, I was there to record that.”

    [end quote]

    While Pientka thus was assessing "overall mannerisms" and "overhearing admissions" during his briefing, another person in the room was Donald Trump.