Wednesday, March 4, 2020

A Closer Look At The FBI's Carter Page Investigation (Part 1)

Carter Page remains at the heart of the Russia Hoax--which is natural, given that the FBI's investigation of Page served as the vehicle for obtaining a FISA order that encompassed much of the Trump campaign. The OIG FISA report, or Horowitz Dossier, devotes several pages to tracing the origins of the investigation of Page that was initiated by the FBI's New York Field Office (NYFO). A closer look at this section of the report is worthwhile because I believe it will expose the weakness of the Russia Hoax generally, including the probability that the rationalizations offered by the FBI exhibit bad faith. At the same time we will also see that those rationalizations do pose difficulties for the Durham investigation.

In what follows, I have inserted the full text of the reports treatment of the origination of the Carter Page investigation. Redactions are indicated by asterisks: "***" and the footnotes from the report are included, but are placed at the end of the text excerpt. I have inserted my own comments in a "quote" format. There are also further relevant selections from the report appended which I have labeled as an Appendix. As for identifying the page numbering, I have adopted a format that presents first the page number as it appears in the text, followed by a slash and a number that represents the page number in a PDF viewer--which may be easier to use for anyone looking at the original.

Page 61/94 and following.

C. The Pre-Existing FBI New York Field Office Counterintelligence Investigation of Carter Page

The OGC [Office of General Counsel] Unit Chief told us that of all the individuals associated with the Trump campaign best positioned to have received the alleged offer of assistance from Russia, Carter Page "quickly rose to the top" of the list because of his past connections to Russian officials and the FBI's previous contacts with Page. As reflected in the FISA applications described in Chapters Five and Seven, as well as in other FBI documents, NYFO had an interest in Carter Page for several years before August 2016 and had interviewed him on multiple occasions because of his relationships with individuals the FBI knew to be Russian intelligence officers.

The NYFO first came in contact with Page in 2009. They developed a formally documented relationship with Page that continued until March, 2016. This is standard Counterintelligence (CI) practice--the FBI seeks persons who are in contact with foreign officials and uses their relationships with those officials to monitor the activities of the officials as well as to attempt to learn of any vulnerabilities that might make those officials susceptible to 'recruitment' by the FBI. In that sense persons like Page are a Godsend to the FBI. The identities of such individuals comes to the attention of the FBI on a regular basis through FISAs that routinely target the foreign officials--just as Michael Flynn's contacts with the Russian ambassador were. There is normally no need to use FISAs to target Americans, because their contacts with (in this case) Russian officials are routinely acquired through FISAs directed against the Russians. 
The OGC Unit Chief's observations actually refer to the preceding pages, which are documented in the Appendix: 51/84 - 59/92. There Horowitz documents that top FBI officials maintain that they opened the Crossfire Hurricane investigation based solely on the report from a Friendly Foreign Government (FFG) official that George Papadopoulos had told the FFG that 'the Russians' had offered to help the Trump campaign. The opening EC therefore listed no actual subjects, and the FBI then began searching for a likely recipient within the Trump campaign who would have been contacted by 'the Russians'. Thus, the OGC Unit Chief claims that Carter Page rose to the top of that list of possible Russian contacts, due to his long history of known contacts with Russian officials. Thus, while Crossfire Hurricane was opened based on information passed on from Papadopoulos, the focus shifted almost immediately to Carter Page. 
It all sounds plausible enough and even fully justified when presented like that. But there's a real problem with that narrative from a CI perspective. The flurry of activity at FBIHQ surrounding the opening of Crossfire Hurricane occurred at the end of July, 2016. As we will see, months before that the NYFO knew that the Russians regarded Page as 'an idiot'. Further, the FBI also regarded Page as 'an idiot' because Page told the FBI that he had told Russian officials that he was 'Male-1' named in the prosecution against a Russian official in New York. In other words, Page had told the Russians that he was cooperating with the FBI. The Russians would have had that information months before Papadopoulos ever spoke with the FFG. Therefore the question arises: Why would the Russians turn to Carter Page as their contact with the Trump campaign when they would have every reason to expect Page to turn around and inform the FBI of what they supposedly hoped to do: Help Trump and harm Hillary. Viewed from that perspective, the FBI's explanation for its focus on Carter Page becomes very implausible. It would rest on the assumption that Russian intelligence officials are quite stupid.

An FBI counterintelligence agent in NYFO (NYFO CI Agent) with extensive experience in Russian matters told the OIG that Carter Page had been on NYFO's radar since 2009, when he had contact with a known Russian intelligence officer (Intelligence Officer 1). According to the EC documenting NYFO's June 2009 interview with Page, Page told NYFO agents that he knew and kept in regular contact with Intelligence Officer 1 and provided him with a copy of a non-public annual report from an American company. The EC stated that Page "immediately advised [the agents] that due to his work and overseas experiences, he has been questioned by and provides information to representatives of [another U.S. government agency] on an ongoing basis." The EC also noted that agents did not ask Page any questions about his dealings with the other U.S. government agency during the interviews. [180]

We see from this and what follows that Page was entirely honest with the FBI. Indeed, Page must have an excellent memory to go with his honesty because, despite being extensively interrogated by the FBI without the benefit of legal advice, Page was never indicted for making false statements. 
Note that nothing in Page's contacts with 'the Russians' was either illegal or a threat to the national security of the United States. Not only is it not illegal for US citizens to speak with Russian intelligence officers, the FBI routinely encourages citizens who might have a plausible pretext for initiating such contact to do so. We can assume that at no time from 2009 until 2016 did the FBI demand that Page break off contact with any Russians with whom he was in touch--indeed, the FBI's routine FISA coverage undoubtedly apprised the FBI of most if not all of such contacts. To have done so, in any event, would have enraged the officials of 'another US government agency', i.e., the CIA, who were also using Page's services as an asset. 
Nor was the fact that Page provided the Russian intelligence officer with "a non-public annual report from an American company" illegal. Again, we have no reason to suppose that the FBI told Page, 'Hey, knock that off!' Of course the FBI would realize that 'the Russians' would hope that this could lead Page to provide them with sensitive information, but Page had no security clearance so the the likelihood of that was remote. 
Finally, Page was completely up front with the FBI in informing them that he was--and had been for years--a CIA asset. In all this, there was nothing remotely nefarious about Page's activities.

NYFO CI agents believed that Carter Page was "passed" from Intelligence Officer 1 to a successor Russian intelligence officer (Intelligence Officer 2) in 2013 and that Page would continue to be introduced to other Russian intelligence officers in the future. [181] In June 2013, NYFO CI agents interviewed Carter Page about these contacts. Page acknowledged meeting Intelligence Officer 2 following an introduction earlier in 2013. When agents intimated to Carter Page during the interview that Intelligence Officer 2 may be a Russian intelligence officer, specifically, an "SVR" officer, Page told them. he believed in "openness" and because he did not have access to classified information, his acquaintance with Intelligence Officer 2 was a "positive" for him. In August 2013, NYFO CI agents again interviewed Page regarding his contacts with Intelligence Officer 2. Page acknowledged meeting with Intelligence Officer 2 since his June 2013 FBI interview.

Two points arise here. The first is simply further confirmation that Page was completely candid with the FBI--more candid, in fact, than Andrew McCabe was with OIG investigators. The second point is that the FBI was clearly monitoring the Russian officials with whom Page was in contact--when the report coyly states that "NYFO CI agents believed" what it really means is "NYFO CI agents knew"--trust me on that. Since the Russians do not appear to have made any effort to hide their contacts with Page--and the Russians would therefore assume that the FBI was aware of those contacts--we can safely assume for our part that the Russians did not consider Page to be an important or sensitive contact. Certainly not the kind of contact with whom they could initiate an undercover operation in collusion with the Trump campaign.

In January 2015, three Russian intelligence officers, including Intelligence Officer 2, were charged in a sealed complaint, and subsequently indicted, in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) for conspiring to act in the United States as unregistered agents of the Russian Federation. [182] The indictment referenced Intelligence Officer 2's attempts to recruit "Male-1" [Page] as an asset for gathering intelligence on behalf of Russia.

Again, two points. The indictment for conspiring to act as unregistered agents of Russia--nickel dime stuff. As for the reference to Russian attempts to recruit Page to gather intelligence, note this: It's perfectly legal for Russians to gather 'intelligence' in the US, and it's also legal for US citizens to provide Russians with 'intelligence.' Recall that "non-public annual report from an American company". That was 'intelligence.' You can count on it that if the the Russians had attempted to direct Page to obtain classified materials, we would have heard about that in the indictment.

On March 2, 2016, the NYFO CI Agent and SDNY Assistant United States Attorneys interviewed Carter Page in preparation for the trial of one of the indicted Russian intelligence officers. During the interview, Page stated that he knew he was the person referred to as Male-1 in the indictment and further said that he had identified himself as Male-1 to a Russian Minister and various Russian officials at a United Nations event in "the spirit of openness." The NYFO CI Agent told us she returned to her office after the interview and discussed with her supervisor opening a counterintelligence case on Page based on his statement to Russian officials that he believed he was Male-1 in the indictment and his continued contact with Russian intelligence officers.

Excuse me? Why would the FBI open a CI case against a US citizen for any of that? No US citizen is required to be an asset of the FBI. If Page had broken a law by informing the Russians that he was cooperating with the FBI against 'the Russians,' fine--prosecute Page. But they didn't, because as annoyed as I'm sure the FBI was with Page, he was acting within his rights. Also note--there is no claim made by the FBI that Page had disregarded any instruction in doing what he had done. Moreover, the Russians had read the complaint in the case--it wouldn't have taken rocket science to figure out who Male-1 was. The FBI should have assumed that the Russians already knew and that Page was blown as an asset. He had served his purpose, and the case wasn't jeopardized in any way by the Russians learning for absolute sure that Page had cooperated with the FBI.
As for opening a CI investigation on Page for "his continued contact with Russian intelligence officers", I'm at a complete loss as to what that would accomplish. Since the Russians already knew Page couldn't be trusted by them, that he was--as far as they were concerned--a loyal American, they would hardly try to use him for any sensitive intelligence purpose. I can only assume that the NYFO CI Agent was simply really annoyed with Page. Maybe she had been berated by the prosecutor for failing to control Page. Some things you need to just laugh off.

The FBI's NYFO CI squad supervisor (NYFO CI Supervisor) told us she believed she should have opened a counterintelligence case on Carter Page prior to March 2, 2016 based on his continued contacts with Russian intelligence officers; however, she said the squad was preparing for a big trial, and they did not focus on Page until he was interviewed again on March 2. She told us that after the March 2 interview, she called CD's [Counterintelligence Division] Counterespionage Section at FBI Headquarters to determine whether Page had any security clearances and to ask for guidance as to what type of investigation to open on Page. [183] On April 1, 2016, the NYFO CI Supervisor received an email from the Counterespionage Section advising her to open a *** investigation on Page. The NYFO CI Supervisor said that *** . In addition, according to FBI records, the relevant CD section at FBI Headquarters, in consultation with OGC, determined at that time that the Page investigation opened by NYFO was not a SIM, but also noted, "should his status change, the appropriate case modification would be made." The NYFO CI Supervisor told us that based on what was documented in the file and what was known at that time, the NYFO Carter Page investigation was not a SIM.

What nonsense! The NYFO "should have opened a counterintelligence case on Carter Page prior to March 2, 2016 based on his continued contacts with Russian intelligence officers"? If the NYFO really cared about concealing Page's cooperation from the Russians, the last thing they would have done would have been to tell Page to break off his regular contacts with Russians! That would have immediately raised Russian suspicions. Clearly the FBI is being quite disingenous here. Note too that the NYFO had apparently never checked to see whether Page had any security clearances before. Does that sound like the FBI was in any way concerned about Page as a threat to the national security of the US? What it sounds like is the NYFO was looking for some way to screw Page around for being a knucklehead.  Question: On March 2, 2016, was Peter Strzok still head of the Counterespionage Section?

Although Carter Page was announced as a foreign policy advisor for the Trump campaign prior to NYFO receiving this guidance from FBI Headquarters, the NYFO CI Supervisor and CI Agent both told the OIG that this announcement did not influence their decision to open a case on Page and that their concerns about Page, particularly his disclosure to the Russians about his role in the indictment, pre-dated the announcement. However, the NYFO CI Supervisor said that the announcement required noting his new position in the case file should his new position require he obtain a security clearance.

On April 6, 2016, NYFO opened a counterintelligence *** investigation on Carter Page under a code name the FBI assigned to him (NYFO investigation) based on his contacts with Russian intelligence officers and his statement to Russian officials that he was "Male-1" in the SDNY indictment. Based on our review of documents in the NYFO case file, as well as our interview of the NYFO CI Agent, there was limited investigative activity in the NYFO investigation between April 6 and the Crossfire Hurricane team's opening of its investigation of Page on August 10. The NYFO CI Agent told the OIG that the steps she took in the first few months of the case were to observe whether any other intelligence officers contacted Page and to prepare national security letters seeking Carter Page's cell phone number(s) and residence information. The NYFO CI agent said that she did not use any CHSs to target Page during the NYFO investigation. The NYFO investigation was transferred to the Crossfire Hurricane team on August 10 and became part of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.

To me, opening a code name case on Page is quite suspicious. Why a code name? What was so sensitive about a CI case on Page that was obviously not going anywhere--unless the FBI caught Page in a counterfactual statement. Which they never did. Because it seems clear that that was the whole point of the very limited investigative activity undertaken against Page by the FBI--to try to find that he had had Russian contacts that they hadn't picked up on their Russian FISA and reinterview him, hoping that he'd misspeak and they good indict him for "lying to the FBI." How frustrating it must be for people like that to deal with a scrupulously honest man. However, the suspicion must arise that this degree of focus on Page did in fact have to do with Page's connection to the Trump campaign, because we know that Comey ran over to DoJ to tell Loretta Lynch as soon it was learned that Page had joined the Trump campaign. And we know that the NYFO had been in touch with FBIHQ about Page before then. The timing is suspicious.



180 On or about August 17, 2016, the Crossfire Hurricane team received a memorandum from the other U.S. government agency detailing its prior relationship with Carter Page, including that Page had been approved as an operational contact for the other agency from 2008 to 2013 and information that Page had provided to the other agency concerning Page's prior contacts with certain Russian  intelligence officers. We found no evidence that, after receiving the August 17 Memorandum, the Crossfire Hurricane team requested additional information from the other agency prior to submission of the first FISA application in order to deconflict on issues that we believe were relevant to the FISA application. According to the U.S. government agency, "operational contact," as that term is used in the August 17 Memorandum, provides "Contact Approval," which allows the agency to contact and discuss sensitive information with a U.S. person and to collect information from that person via "passive debriefing," or debriefing a person of information that is within the knowledge of an individual and has been acquired through the normal course of that individual's activities. According to the U.S. government agency, a "Contact Approval" does not allow for operational use of a U.S. person or tasking of that person.

That's a very acute observation. The FBI should have followed up with the CIA, but they were obviously totally focused on getting the Carter Page FISA and didn't want any inconvenient facts to get in the way.

181 CI agents refer to this as "slot succession," whereby a departing intelligence officer "passes" his or her contacts to an incoming intelligence officer.

182 Intelligence Officer 3 pled guilty in March 2016. The remaining two indicted Russian intelligence officers were no longer in the United States.

183 CI agents in NYFO told us that the databases containing security clearance information were located at FBI Headquarters. When a subject possesses a security clearance, the FBI opens an espionage investigation; if the subject does not possess a security clearance, the FBI typically opens a counterintelligence investigation.



51/84 - 52/85

On July 26, 2016, 4 days after Wikileaks publicly released hacked emails from the DNC, the FFG official spoke with a U.S. government (USG) official in the European city about an "urgent matter" that required an in-person meeting. At thmeeting, the FFG official informed the USG official of the meeting with Papadopoulos. The FFG official also provided *** information from *** FFG officials following the M a y 2016 meeting (hereinafter referred to as the FFG information). *** stated, in part, that Papadopoulos

"suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist this process with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Mrs. Clinton (and President Obama). It was unclear whether he or the Russians were referring to material acquired publicly of [sic] through other means. It was also unclear how Mr. Trump's team reacted to the offer. We note the Trump team's reaction could, in the end, have little bearing of what Russia decides to do, with or without Mr. Trump's cooperation."


On July 31, 2016, the FBI opened a full counterintelligence investigation under the code name Crossfire Hurricane "to determine whether individual(s) associated with the Trump campaign are witting of and/or coordinating activities with the Government of Russia." As the predicating information did not indicate a specific individual, the opening EC did not include a specific subject or subjects.


The opening EC describing the predication for Crossfire Hurricane relied exclusively on Papadopoulos's statements to the FFG *** in the FFG information.


On August 1, 2016, Strzok and a supervisory special agent (SSA 1) traveled to the European city to interview the FFG officials who met with Papadopoulos in May 2016. 177 According to Strzok and SSA 1, during the interview they learned that Papadopoulos did not say that he had direct contact with the Russians; that while his statement did not include him, it did not exclude him either; and that Papadopoulos stated the Russians told "us." Strzok and SSA 1 also said they learned that Papadopoulos did not specify any other individual who received the Russian suggestion. Strzok, the Intel Section Chief, the Supervisory Intelligence Analyst (Supervisory Intel Analyst), and Case Agent 2 told the OIG that, based on this information, the initial investigative objective of Crossfire Hurricane was to determine which individuals associated with the Trump campaign may have been in a position to have received the alleged offer of assistance from Russia.


  1. >Page "immediately advised [the agents] that due to his work and overseas experiences, he has been questioned by and provides information to representatives of [another U.S. government agency] on an ongoing basis." The EC also noted that agents did not ask Page any questions about his dealings with the other U.S. government agency during the interviews.<

    This is to me the biggest red flag in this scam.

  2. I recall Carter Page explaining recently that during his interview with FBI prior to the trial of the Russian Intel officer, that he was asked (not sure by whom, but possibly prosecutors if not FBI) to testify to things that he did knot have knowledge of.

    Or, as I recall, the way Page put it was: they asked him to lie in court under oath at the trial. Page told then "no-way!"

    That, I believe, is when NYFO opened the investigation on Carter Page.

    Horowitz report says nothing about this, of course, because Horowitz never interviewed Page, as far as I know.

    If Page's characterization of what they asked him to testify to is true, this entire scam is all the more damning, as they basically sought to screw him, via the CI investigation, for refusing their attempts to suborn perjury from him.

    1. Yes, he's said that several times, but I forget the details off the top of my head.

    2. Details on Carter's March 02 meeting including his video-taped allegations of solicited "false testimony" by FBI at link below. Also note: Carter claims that the Buryakov affidavit itself contains contains "false pleadings"...

    3. Merci, Monsieur! I don't do Twitter or I would have thanked you for the links. BTW, I greatly appreciated J. E. Dyer's comment in the other thread, however she repeated a very common misconception about FISA.

    4. If I recall, Horowitz never interviewed Page, because he had no authority to do so.

  3. I suggest that you get the US Justice Department's complaint against Evgeny Buryakov and search for the word casino.

    The FBI assigned a confidential source (CS-1) to propose to Buryakov -- more generally to the Russian bank in Manhattan that employed Buryakov -- a project to develop casinos in Russia. Buryakov suspected that this casinos-in-Russia proposal was an FBI trap.

    CS-1 invited Buryakov to his office in Atlantic City to discuss his proposal to develop casinos in Russia. Buryakov subsequently met with CS-1 in Atlantic City on August 8, 2014.

    CS-1 told Buryakov that his proposed casino project might be impeded by sanctions that the US Government had imposed on the Russian Government and on several Russian individuals.

    This mention of the the US Government's sanctions seems to me to be an element of the "trap" that Buryakov suspected was being laid.

    I suspect that, already in August 2014, the FBI was setting a trap also against Donald Trump -- a developer of casinos in Atlantic City and elsewhere. I suspect that the motive was to punish Trump for compelling President Obama to belatedly release his birth certificate to the public in 2011.

    I suspect that CS-1 was an associate of Trump.


    The complaint's Paragraph 33 makes it blatantly obvious that Russian Intelligence knew that Male-1 was Carter Page. When Page confirmed this blatantly obvious fact to his Russian contacts he did not expose any secret.

    1. Right--I wrote about the complaint what seems almost like another life ago. As you say, the Russians would have to have been terminally stupid to have not figured out that Page was Male-1.

      Re the casino project, I seem to have some recollection that someone may have approached Page in that regard and he told them he didn't know anything about that business--he was an oil and gas guy. Could it have been Felix Sater. I'll try to do some checking on that later today.

      There is a fishy element to the FBI's narrative here, one that works better with your suggestion of a very early trap.

  4. In the US Justice Department's complaint, the passage that involves Carter Page (Male-1) is Paragraphs 32-34.

    Nothing in those three paragraphs suggests that Page did anything wrong. Page attended an energy symposium in New York City in January 2013. There, Page happened to meet Viktor Podobnyy, also attending the symposium. In the following months, Page and Podobnyy communicated about the energy business in Russia. Page expressed a desire to involve himself in that business as a consultant and investor.

    The FBI intercepted some of Podobnyy's e-mails. Some of Podobnyy's e-mails with a Russian Intelligence colleague indicated that Podobnyy intended to recruit Page to be an informant/agent.

    The complaint does not indicate that Page ever worked on behalf of the FBI or of Russian Intelligence. Rather, Page simply was trying overtly to become involved in the Russian energy business.

    How many Americans tried to become involved in the Russian energy business? Hundreds? Thousands?

    1. All totally true. You can be sure that the FBI assured Page that they were fine with his business ventures, that they just wanted his cooperation.

  5. According to the US Justice Department's complaint against Evgeny Buryakov, the FBI trapped Buryakov into accepting two documents that were not publicly available.

    In late July 2014, an FBI confidential source (CS-1) introduced himself to Buryakov and proposed a project to develop casinos in Russia. This proposed project would be financed in part by the Russian bank that employed Buryakov in Manhattan.

    CS-1 invited Buryakov to visit his office in Atlantic City. There, on August 8, CS-1 gave Buryakov a tour of the local casinos. During that visit, CS-1 told Buryakov that the proposed project might be impeded by US Government sanctions on the Russian Government and on several Russian individuals.

    In those circumstances, CS-1 gave Buryakov a document that listed such Russian individuals. The document was labeled "Internal Treasury Use Only".

    Then on August 28, CS-1 and Buryakov met again. On this occasion, CS-1 gave Buryakov another document, which listed Russian banks with locations in the USA. CS-1 explained that the US Government was using this list in its effort to determined which Russian banks in the USA should be subjected to sanctions.

    The fact that Buryakov accepted these two documents, which had been offered to him on the FBI confidential source's own initiative was a major ground for the complaint. However, Buryakov did not ask CS-1 for either document.

    The complain itself says that Buryakov suspected that the casino proposal was an FBI effort to trap him. For sure, Buryakov's suspicion was correct.

    What was the purpose of the FBI's trap? I think that the FBI's purpose was to recruit Buryakov into cooperating in a plot to implicate Donald Trump. Eventually, Trump was supposed to try -- at Buryakov's behest -- to persuade the US Government to ease some sanctions that might impede an effort by Trump to develop casinos in Russia.

    Who was CS-1, and what was his relationship to Trump?

    Keep in mind that in 2011, Trump had embarrassed President Obama by compelling Obama to release belatedly his long-form birth certificate to the public. Also, Trump had hinted that he might run for the Presidency against Obama in 2012.

    By 2014, Obama and his supporters and DOJ/FBI felt that the time had come to get even by causing trouble for Trump.

    1. Again, Felix Sater might be the CS-1.

    2. Russia knows who CS-1 is, because CS-1 communicated often with Buryakov and even hosted Buryakov in his Atlantic City office.

      Some day -- at the right moment -- Russia will be happy to inform the world who CS-1 is.

      Indeed, CS-1 probably is Felix Sater.

    3. Which, I believe, supports your view that the targeting of Trump/Russia goes back to 2014. A possibility is that the Dems/Clinton Org became aware that Trump was researching a presidential run--such research, involving polling, etc. could hardly remain secret in the world of political consulting. As I've said before, I was told that Trump was regarded as a serious electoral threat by the Clintons, who knew him. For that reason, counter measures would have been developed. Thus the casino project, use of Sater, and other things you point out, can probably be traced to the Clinton camp with their contacts in both DoJ and FBI.

    4. Respectfully, this idea is a bridge too far... with a cart before the horse riding on top of it! You guys have it backwards...

      As laid out directly in the sworn affidavit, both the CS-1 and the "wealthy investor" (who was also present at all those meetings with Buryakov) were "acting at the direction of the FBI"... thus, if we are to presume Trump is connected in ANY manner to this case, it is a SHIELD for him and reveals his counterintel bonefides (and/or those of his 'associates' Felix & Carter).

      And lo and behold, is this not EXACTLY what has come to pass? The FBI CI unit targeting "known" assets? Then getting undressed by Horowitz after the fact?

      Felix's Moscow Tower deal in late 2015 and Carter's jaunt to Russia in 2016 are LITERALLY carbon copies of the same roles/acts they played in Buryakov: 1) a far-fetched Russia deal to be financed by sanctioned Russian banks so crazy it even SOUNDS like a scam/bait/trap, and 2) Page "clumsily" exploring the limits of his 1st amendment protected activities, shooting the shit with Russians...

      So who was baiting who here?

    5. It's not clear to me that Mike actually suggested that Trump was directly involved. Nor was Page anywhere close to "the limits of his 1st amendment protected activities."

  6. In the first half of July 2016, Michael Gaeta, an FBI official based in Rome, Italy, received two Dossier reports (80 and 94) from Christopher Steele. At the end of July, Gaeta sent those two reports to the FBI's New York Field Office. Those reports remained there, unknown to the Crossfire Hurricane team at FBI Headquarters until September 19, when Andrew McCabe arranged the belated delivery of the reports to that Headquarters team.

    Report 80, dated June 201, 2016, says that Russian Intelligence had begun to support Trump five years previously -- in about the summer of 2011. Although the Dossier report does not mention the birth-certificate, Trump began in about July 2011 to pressure Obama to release his long-form birth certificate and also mentioned that he himself might run against Obama in the 2012 election.

    This situation suggests that Steele perhaps intended to develop an idea that Russian Intelligence was involved in Trump's raising the birth-certificate issue.

    Report 94 is about Carter Page's efforts to involve himself in the Russian energy business.

    The Horowitz report does not tell what the New York Field Office did with this Report 94 during August and most of September 2016.

    Of course, Steele's Report 94 was the real reason why the NYFO thought that Page should be subjected to a counterintelligence investigation. Horowitz understood that perfectly well but did not mention it.

    1. There's also Bruce Ohr's testimony that he went and personally talked to McCabe and Lisa Page after his late-July breakfast with Steele, that he told him all that stuff that Steele told him. That was right before the CH opening. FBI isn't being candid in all this narrative--there's more being hidden.

  7. @Mike Sylwester

    Mike - I enjoy your posts which are very thought provoking.

    Carter Page is an enigma. As much as I do acknowledge that the FBI has tried to trap him and has screwed him, there is still much about Carter Page that doesn't add up...

    You wrote: "...Page and Podobnyy communicated about the energy business in Russia. Page expressed a desire to involve himself in that business as a consultant and investor."

    Did Carter Page know that Podobnyy was a Russian agent when he approached him? Shouldn't Carter Page have at least considered whether any Russian he meets in Moscow is an agent? Which gives rise in my mind to the question whether Carter Page has not -- since Day 1 -- been acting for CIA? Wouldn't this also explain why Page would solicit Podobnyy?

    1. I see two possibilities:

      1) Carter Page simply was trying to involve himself in Russia's energy business, happened to meet Podobnyy at the energy symposium and then innocently communicated with Podobnyy about Russia's energy business.

      2) Page was involved wittingly in an FBI effort to prove that Podobnyy worked for Russian Intelligence. For that purpose, Page introduced himself to Podobnyy and communicated with him for months.

      I think that the first possibility is likely and that the second possibility is unlikely.

      The US Justice Department's complaint identifies Page merely as "Male-1" -- NOT as a confidential source (CS-X).

    2. @Mike

      Re 2) --

      Is it possible that Page was always working for CIA even if he was not 'wittingly' involved in an 'FBI effort'?

      Does FBI always know what CIA is up to?

    3. Is it possible that Page was always working for CIA even if he was not 'wittingly' involved in an 'FBI effort'?


  8. The Horowitz report gives its readers a false impression that Carter Page maliciously spoiled the FBI's investigation of Evgeny Buryakov by revealing to Buryakov that he himself, Page, was Male-1.

    However, if you read the US Justice Department's complaint against Buryakov (paragraphs 32-34), then you should recognize that that impression is false.

    Page was not aware of the FBI's investigation and did not participate actively in that investigation. Page became aware of the investigation only after his Russian contacts showed him an early charge document against Buryakov. It was blatantly obvious to the Russians and to Page that the "Male-1" mentioned in that document was Page. Therefore, Page casually confirmed that blatantly obvious fact to the Russians.

    Afterwards, on June 13, 2014, the FBI interviewed Page about this matter for this first time. During that interview, Page said that, of course, he had confirmed to the Russians that blatantly obvious fact.

    Page never helped the FBI investigate Buryakov, was not aware of that investigation, and did not say anything to Buryakov that spoiled the investigation.

    Rather, what happened is that the US Justice Department gave the Russians a charging document, which the Russians then showed to Page, and then Page remarked to the Russians that -- it's blatantly obvious! -- he himself, Page, was "Male-1" in the document.

    1. Or at least that's the FBI narrative--which Horowitz repeats without critical comment. But that narrative doesn't really pass the laugh test.

  9. If you were a crook, and wanted to hide your criminal behavior and acts; what better training is there than to have formerly been a crime fighting investigator in law enforcement? You would know how the system works in order to identify you as a criminal. You would know how they conduct surveillance and gather evidence against. You would know these things and more, and thereby be forewarned and forearmed so as to defeat these measures.

    As such, dirty cops are the lowest of the low because they are extremely well suited to get away with murder. And that is the Occam's Razor in the Page FISA caper.

    1. Also why Durham's job is as difficult as it is.

  10. Ya know, if the FBI were forced to record their interviews, interrogations, and interactions with citizens, this would have had a hard time to get off the ground, that is, if the recordings were not "lost" like some of the written recollections.

    The Patriot Act formalized the transition from a criminal fighting organization to an internal, US Intelligence organization that targets US citizens all in the name of 9-11.

    1. If there is only one reform resulting from the Russia hoax/coup imbroglio, it better be that the FBI must video record all interviews--whether Mirandized or voluntary.

    2. And, how about if ALL interviewees are automatically entitled to copies of all such videos, before any charges, discovery, etc.

  11. Two parts stick out, at the outset of the post, we have this:
    -->The OGC [Office of General Counsel] Unit Chief told us that of all the individuals associated with the Trump campaign best positioned to have received the alleged offer of assistance from Russia, Carter Page "quickly rose to the top" of the list because of his past connections to Russian officials<--

    And at the very end, this:
    -->the initial investigative objective of Crossfire Hurricane was to determine which individuals associated with the Trump campaign may have been in a position to have received the alleged offer of assistance from Russia.<--

    The FBI is investigating people, not a crime. Never once does the FBI attempt to verify or confirm that a credible offer was made. Now there's more narrative to the story, i.e. PapaD was set up by the FBI/CIA through use of asset Mifsud. And they were using Halper and Downer for more of the same.

    The pregnant question is: What is this "alleged offer of assistance from Russia"?

    The allegation is not verified.
    What the offer consisted of is not determined.
    What the assistance offered is indeterminate.
    Who is actually making the offer on behalf of Russia is unknown.

    The child's game of telephone looms large in the massive investigatory undertaking to pursue some gossip passed over barroom cocktails--which was a set-up from day 1. And massive amounts of resources have been tied up in this exercise for four years. The Russians needn't lift a finger--the US is participating in a circle jerk without the slightest provocation from them. They must be laughing their asses off.

    1. The missing element, the quid pro quo, is supplied explicitly by Steele: dirt on Hillary in exchange for sanctions relief. This is why I don't believe that the FBI only learned about Steele's dossier in September.

    2. "...massive amounts of resources have been tied up in this exercise for four years."

      Something that should be remembered and brought up often. For at least 4 years the full weight and power of the most powerful government in the history of mankind has been searching high and low for some evidence of criminality or disloyalty on the part of one Donald J Trump to no avail. They have even gone to lengths to manufacture wrong doing on his part and still can't come up with anything convincing. Yet they persist. At this stage their increasingly desperate attempts at "tagging" him are actually burnishing his reputation. That no substantive dirt has been dredged up, regardless of the vast resources mobilized in an age when government can scrutinize every part of a persons life, is possibly proving him to be the most honest and patriotic person to run for President since Calvin Coolidge. Who among us, much less 70+ y.o. man who became a billionaire in real-estate, could experience such sifting of the minutiae of our lives and walk away virtually unscathed.
      Tom S.

    3. Two things:

      1. re: Steele's info on Russian dirt on Hillary, and the FFG info on what PapaD supposedly told him -- the plural of "second-hand rumor" is not "evidence."

      2. second the motion on Coolidge. His brutal honesty is exemplified by teh story of him riding in a car with a friend, who pointed out to Coolidge a flock of sheep in field adjacent to the road, by saying: "Say, Cal; those sheep sure are shorn kinda close this year..."

      Coolidge replied, in his typical Vermonter fashion: "Ayup; they are on this side."

      That's brutally clean observational honesty. The man could have been a fine scientist.

    4. Mark--Two points, in reverse order.

      As the FBI approved Steele as an informant/source (CHS?) in early Feb 2016, they surely were briefed by him before September--or got his "work product" before September. Steele had breakfast with Bruce & Nellie Ohr at the Mayflower Hotel on Sat July 30. Ohr briefed McCabe and Lisa Page following the Steele meeting.

      The quid pro quo supplied by Steele is/was opposition research, and from secondary sources, and not obtained in the first person, so it's unverified hearsay. Its evidentiary value is zero--except as a hint. But then it's no different than groundless accusations.

      But as it's opposition research, it should have had a second dose of skepticism poured all over it. Instead, they accepted it as genuine--and off they went on the wild goose chase, because that was the agenda, to dirty-up Trump and get stories of "questions being asked/investigated" into the media. The rest would be history--or so they thought.

      My point is simply, they took groundless accusations as a basis to investigate the target (Trump), and took no efforts to substantiate the veracity of the accusations before launching an investigation. Surely, this is non-standard practice, outside guidelines, and no one sought to rein them in--as in, "Who watches the watchers?"

    5. Yes it is non-standard practice, but the whole process was being run by a cabal at or near the top.

    6. OK, I'm beating a dead horse, so...

      -->Yes it is non-standard practice, but the whole process was being run by a cabal at or near the top.<--

      Which should be prima facie evidence of corruption--if only because manipulation of the investigatory process by intervening bosses is unlikely to be challenged by underlings. In fact, it coerces underlings to comply with the corruption out of fear over job security. The alternative--become a whistleblower--is usually the death knell to a continued career.

      Investigators investigate and supervisors supervise. It's the "checks and balances" of government in practice. It's also Management 101. When that's not followed, dysfunction is sure to follow. And it is the way that excuses of exigent circumstances are used to justify exceptions to standard practices in order to paper over corruption.

      Cheers, and thanks for your patience!

    7. I don't think you can call it "prima facie" evidence, but it is evidence. To build your case you'd want to look at how the procedures were followed normally, whether the non-standard practices were repeated--in this case there were four FISAs. Whether objections were raised. Rather than call it "corruption" I would call it evidence of a conspiracy to violate guidelines for an illegal purpose.

      I believe they do have additional evidence that would carry weight. Obviously Clinesmith's forgery, although at this point we don't know who else knew about it. However, the text exchanges of Strzok/Page complaining about Stu Evans @ DoJ obstructing their designs could be very strong evidence that this was not sloppiness or mistake. And of course we don't know what else Durham has learned.

      So, yes, your general point is correct. This is how cases are made. It's time consuming, but establishing that certain procedures that were normally followed were flouted in a case where extreme bias was expressed can go a long way to making the case.

    8. Just to repeat--this is a time consuming process, because the prosecutors need to try to anticipate possible defenses and do the investigation to beat those defenses down. Lots of docs to review, lots of people to talk, lots of planning for those interviews, etc.