Monday, April 20, 2020

More Apologies And A Russian Disinformation Must Read

Sundance at CTH has an excellent recap of why conservatives should beware of buying into the narrative that the FBI was fooled by Russian disinformation. Yes, some knuckleheads at the FBI may have been fooled, but the main players--Comey, McCabe, etc.--knew exactly what was going on. Russian disinformation is now their last line of defense--Sure the Russians fooled us, but our intent to defend our democracy was as pure as the driven snow! You can't prosecute us for that!

CTH republishes a long, long post from 2018 that goes into some of the inner workings for that narrative. It's far too long to even quote here, but it's worth rereading and reminding yourselves of some of the things that were going on, and are still pieces on the chess board.

I'm amazed at how gullible some, many, conservatives can be. The good news is that AG Barr has signalled that he doesn't buy it. The signals come in two forms: 1) Barr's statement that Crossfire Hurricane and events after the election were "without a basis." 2) The intense focus of John Durham on the Brennan Dossier (Intelligence Community Assessment).

Here's the CTH piece:

Understanding The Russian Disinformation Defense – As Predicted in 2018…

Thomas Farnan has a much shorter article addressing aspects of the continuing Russia Hoax--continuing as a hoped for Get Out Of Jail Free Card for the coup plotters:

Beware the Russian Disinformation Trope

Last week, the DOJ declassified three footnotes in the Inspector General’s FISA report. They showed the FBI knew Christopher Steele had associations with shady Russian oligarchs and that somebody — whose identity is redacted — suggested in 2017 that parts of the dossier may have included Russian disinformation. 
Some responded as if the footnotes revealed Vladimir Putin and not an FBI-CIA-Clinton conspiracy was responsible for the ridiculous machinations of Russiagate. ... 
Beware especially pundits associated with NeverTrump who assert with ontological certainty that Russia interfered in the election. They would love to believe that when people in Pittsburgh defied them and voted for Trump, we were tricked by Putin. 
The problem with their self-serving ruse is that “Putin-did-it” provides a lifeboat for the Spygate conspirators. Brennan, Comey, McCabe et al. are going to say, “we were fooled by the Russians like everyone else.” In the hysteria they generated, Putin is the matinee villain du jour and Russian disinformation makes them victims of his shenanigans, poor fellas. 
Three years of scrutiny has determined that the dossier was phony. That the FBI, CIA and Clinton campaign used it to orchestrate the biggest political dirty trick in American history is the real scandal, and Putin is a red herring.


  1. The Achilles Heel of the "we were fooled by the Russians" defense is the voluminous documentation and ECs that were left behind during the entirety of the RussiaHoax and subsequent attempted coup. They never thought Hillary would lose and consequently they never did much to cover their tracks. And the number of key players is huge. Keeping everyone in line and willing to commit GJ perjury is damn near impossible. Finally, MI6/GCHQ was involved up to it's eyeballs is this OP and they are perfectly willing to throw Brennan under the bus in order to mend fences with the Trump Administration.

    Back in December, Trump publicly stated that "we caught em, we caught the swamp." That was the turning point when Durham had the key evidence and testimony that he needed. Not surprisingly, it was after that statement that Pelosi reversed course and ordered Schiff to go full speed on the impeachment. In the weeks ahead, the flop sweat will grow into a river and not even COVID-19 will keep this story off the front pages.

    1. I pretty much agree with all of the above. The problem for coup plotters in our system who want to stay under the public's level of awareness is you need too many branches of government involved with too many players--as you point out--to get away with it. But they almost did it. Imagine if Trump hadn't won. I shudder at the thought.

    2. We can thank Jeff Sessions for allowing the Dems to almost get away with it.

    3. I've one quibble with this. The conspirators may have been confident in their anonymity in the eventuaality of a Hillary election win, but once they continued past Jan 20, 2017, they have committed the overt act of admission to their scheme.

      By continuing their efforts to overturn the election, they brought the attention on themselves. This is the corollary outcome to Hillary's win that would've swept it under the carpet. Had they let their efforts die, the incentive to peel back the layers would've died with it--bureaucratic inertia having the greater effect on government behavior.

      But they couldn't let it die because it was premised on the institutional culture of the FBI always getting their man.

    4. If you're saying that Trump might have let it slide if the plotters had acquiesced to his presidency, I suspect you're right.

    5. Mueller could have completed his investigation, exonerating Trump, in two months. Instead, Mueller and his gang of Trump-hating lawyers tried for more than two years to get Trump impeached by framing him on obstruction-of-justice charges.


      Even earlier, the FBI should have critically reviewed the Crossfire Hurricane investigation immediately after Trump won the election. Then the FBI should have closed the investigation before the end of November 2016.

    6. Mike S, I believe it was Weissman who kept it going. The pit bull in the crowd. Mueller was just their figurehead. And a pathetic one at that.

    7. And if Comey had taken your advice he might well still be Director FBI. He could have claimed he was duped by ambient Russian disinformation. Instead he threw in with the resistance, probably because he completely misread Trump--like the others.

  2. Mark --

    Take a look at this

    and this

    Has a credible theory of what Brennan and Clapper were up to on these trips yet surfaced?

    Just curious.

    1. I've never seen a credible theory. In fact, what I've seen regarding some of Brennan's travels in critical time frames is people drawing attention to how strange they were. Recently JEDyer drew attention to a weird trip to Albania shortly after the election, but she does have a theory:

    2. Cassander, again, no explanation--just questions. Well hints. This is Jen Dyer's latest, and she's talking about another trip Brennan took in addition to the Moscow trip. The second trip is domestic:

      I still want to know what Brennan was doing in Moscow at the FSB headquarters in March 2016, and what he was doing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with a C-40B Air Force aircraft idling at his disposal for three days in August 2015, attending a medical technology conference with Bill Clinton that had no connection to his job at the CIA.

  3. Anyone defending their actions due to being fooled by Russian disinformation is making an admission of incompetence and is duly deserving of a summary dismissal due to that incompetence.

    1. Civil Servant. Fired for 'incompetance'?

      Bartender, I'll have what he's drinkin'.
      Tom S.

    2. 'incompetence'.
      Sorry, I've already had a couple of Shiners. :-)
      Tom S.

  4. The FBI did not have good cause to accuse Carter Page of being a witting agent for Russian Intelligence.

    Likewise, Horowitz did not have good cause to insinuate that any Russians were conducting a disinformation campaign to affect the USA's 2016 election.

    As far as I can tell, Horowitz's logic is that a so-called "Russian Oligarch #1" had some interaction with Christopher Steele and also was "close to Putin". Therefore -- ta da! -- the "Oligarch" was likely to be feeding Steele disinformation.

    The FBI -- including Horowitz in particular -- ought to stop making reckless accusations against people -- including Russian people.

    1. And in fact Steele's connections as a private investigator with multiple (5?) "oligarchs" was a huge, flashing red light: DANGER AHEAD. Trouble ahead, trouble behind, but the notion never crossed their mind?

  5. Declassification Raises Further Questions About Timing of Obama Data Sharing Order

    Jeff Carlson's new article, published today.

    The first six paragraphs:

    In a newly unredacted footnote from the Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general’s report on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses, the urgency behind the FBI obtaining a FISA warrant on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page becomes clear.

    Inspector General Michael Horowitz in his report detailed a last-minute flurry of activity that transpired ahead of the issuance of the Page FISA, including a possible intervention from then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, to push a seemingly reluctant DOJ official, Stuart Evans, for approval.

    [3:11 p.m.] FBI lawyer Lisa Page texts McCabe: “OI [Office of Intelligence] now has a robust explanation re any possible bias of the chs in the package. Don’t know what the holdup is now, other than Stu’s continued concerns. Strong operational need to have in place before Monday if at all possible, which means ct tomorrow. [Footnote 276] I communicated you and boss’s greenlight to Stu earlier, and just sent an email to Stu asking where things stood. This might take a high-level push. Will keep you posted.”

    [3:13 p.m.] Page texts McCabe: “If I have not heard back from Stu in an hour, I will invoke your name to say you want to know where things are, so long as okay with you.”

    “Footnote 276” was initially redacted in the public version of the IG report, but was declassified, among other footnotes, following a request from Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). In the declassified footnote, the IG elaborated on the urgency behind Lisa Page’s communications with McCabe:

    “[Redacted] As described below, it appears the desire to have FISA authority in place before Monday, October 17, was due, at least in part, to the fact that Carter Page was expected to travel to the United Kingdom and South Africa shortly thereafter, and the Crossfire Hurricane team wanted FISA coverage targeting Carter Page in place before that trip.”

  6. Apologies if the following link has been considered here and I missed it..

    A lot of attention has been given recently to the theory that the FBI was misled in evaluating the Steele Dossier by 'Russian disinformation'.

    However, the Dossier couldn't have contained 'Russian disinformation' if the Primary Sub Source wasn't 'Russian', right?

    What if he were, say, Ukrainian?


    FWIW, I 'assess' zero Russian disinformation in the Dossier regardless of who the PSS is, because I believe the production and content of the Dossier was, in any event, all made up by Simpson and friends and no Russians.

    1. It's more complicated than that. Relations between Ukraine and Russia are not simple, due to like history and stuff that Americans try to avoid learning about. Like you, I 'assess' that it's all bullsh*t and that any foreign names, Ukrainian or Russian, were added for verisimilitude.

  7. Mark, maybe I was unclear. Probably I was. I do know that Ukraine is not Russia and vice versa. The point of my post (and the link) was to suggest that perhaps Steele's PSS was a Putin-hating, anti-Russia, Democrat-sympathizing Ukrainian-American concocting bogus anti-Trump 'intelligence' (ie, disinformation).

    Would that surprise you?

    1. My understanding is that Fusion GPS was in pretty direct contact with Ukrainian legislators and that the Clinton campaign had a very active Ukrainian section under Chalupa. I doubt that Steele was involved in that angle.

      I'm sure we've gone through this before, but unfortunately the Blogger search function doesn't cover comments and I can't dig it up from memory. From skimming through this piece (again--I must have read versions of it on twitter or somewhere else) my impression is that Shvets' focus, like that of others in the Clinton campaign was on Manafort rather than the material that showed up in the Steele dossier.