Shaffer understands the legal and constitutional undergirdings of our Intelligence Community. In my own posts here I've tended to emphasize statutes and guidelines, but Shaffer goes behind that and relates it to Executive Order 12333, which controls most of our intelligence and counterintelligence activities. Without an understanding of this it's difficult to understand what AG Bill Barr means when he refers to the Durham investigation as "sprawling." I've drawn attention to Barr's choice of words several times because the scope of Dem criminality is far, far beyond what most people can readily imagine. It's, well, sprawling. It sprawls across eight years at a minimum in which the structure of government combined with the Left's control of key societal institutions to wage war on our entire constitutional order.
The first of these interviews is one that I've recommended in the past:
‘No Way Obama Was Not Told’ - Former Intel Officer Tony Shaffer on Spying on Trump Campaign
This is the interview that relates what went on in the Obama Administration to Executive Order 12333. An understanding of EO 12333 is necessary in coming to the realization of why Obama would have needed to know about far more of the details than is commonly imagined. As Shaffer shows, the FBI needed authorities for the actions it undertook, especially overseas activity--remember those "OCONUS lures" from the Strzok/Page texts? OCONUS means: Outside the Continental US. As in: In the UK, in Rome, in concert with foreign intelligence agencies. If you want to understand what's coming up in the next few months, do yourself a favor and relisten.
The second interview has a title that doesn't really communicate the breadth of the topics covered. For that reason I've transcribed about 11 minutes, below--despite the title, there's not a single mention of FISA in that transcript.
Before we get to the transcript, however, I want to offer some comments on the substance of what Shaffer has to say.
First of all, spanning both interviews, there's very little that I would quibble about. Shaffer has an excellent conceptual grasp of the US intel framework, and he communicates his knowledge well. The one area in which I am skeptical is a factual one: Shaffer's acceptance of the notion that Steele was passing on "Russian disinformation." I don't doubt that Russia would have liked to influence our 2016 election, but I've seen no convincing evidence of this in the details of the Russia Hoax itself. In fact, Shaffer himself obliquely alludes to reasons for being skeptical about those claims--see if you can pick that part out.
In the transcript that follows, Shaffer begins by discussing a matter that has always irked me--the very apparent naivete of the FBI in dealing with foreign intelligence services, especially those from the UK. In my own experience, that naivete is fairly widespread within the FBI. For example, we see this crop up regularly in the Carter Page FISA application, where regular appeal is made to information deriving from a "Friendly Foreign Nation" for assertions of fact. The idea seems to be that an FFN would never play games with the FBI--and, indeed, gullible FISC judges appear to have been quite willing to swallow that dubious concept whole. Please ponder carefully what Shaffer has to say.
Next, Shaffer addresses what could be called "cultural" problems at the FBI--how and when did the rot set in? On one level Shaffer agrees with the views I expressed to Lee Smith for his book "The Plot Against The President." Like me, Shaffer traces the rot that has led the FBI to become what Joe diGenova calls "an agency in freefall" to a takeover of management by lawyers--many coming directly from DoJ to the FBI. Mueller, Comey, Andrew Weissmann, James Baker, Lisa Page, and on and on.
Yes, Chris Wray, current FBI Director, belongs in that long list, and you'll be interested to compare Shaffer's assessment to Joe diGenova's outspoken contempt for Wray.
Unfortunately Shaffer never takes his analysis further to address what I maintained was a very specific legal culture that has been inculcated in our law schools for decades--pointing to a cultural corruption that has transformed legal institutions throughout our constitutional order. The profession itself isn't the problem. The problem is the specific mindset that so many lawyers have imbibed in their formative educational years. The long march of the Left through our educational institutions has born its fruit. Shaffer, unfortunately, seems to believe that sound intelligence work can somehow be separated from the broader culture and, especially, from "politics"--whatever he understands by that word. I'm here to say that no such separation is possible, or desirable. To the extent that the US is now a deeply divided country and culture, that division will be reflected throughout our public institutions, including the intelligence agencies.
Another aspect that I want to point out is that Shaffer sees the role of "analysts" in the Intelligence Community as problematic, but doesn't appear to think that that affects the FBI. I beg to differ. I was seeing this problem increasingly toward the end of my career and, once again, we can see the evidence for that influence in what we have learned about the Russia Hoax--lawyers do seem to play an outsized role in FBI operations, but we alse see that analysts do as well. Shaffer points to the problems, but I'd like to have seen him go into more detailed discussion.
The conclusion of the transcribed portion of the Shaffer interview deals with the Hillary email case, the role of Peter Strzok, and the unresolved issues that are more crucial than ever for our national security. I suspect we can all use the reminder. Is this part of the "sprawl" that Durham is investigating?
Shocking Use of FISA by Obama's FBI to Spy on Trump Campaign - Exclusive with Tony Shaffer
12:34 - 23:18
Q: So, one of the things that really struck me when we were speaking earlier, we were talking about some opposition research that was used. Also, research that was actually done by foreign intelligence agencies--at least in part. We had current and former United Kingdom intelligence agency people basically providing information about Americans. I think many of our audience would see that as gross overreach by intelligence agencies. How do we protect Americans against this in the future?
Shaffer: This goes back to where the FBI did violate laws, or allow the violation of laws to exist within the context of this. US citizens cannot deal legally with foreign intelligence operatives--you can't do it. The moment you do that you are in danger of violating US law. There are a number of exceptions that allow for the FBI and the Intelligence Community to spy on you. One of those is if you are dealing with a known intelligence operative of a foreign nation. That's illegal! That opens the door! But in this case it was encouraged. In this case the FBI did *not* say: 'Oh, Fusion GPS, you shouldn't be doing that!' They [the FBI] were *all in* in allowing this to be open.
And the second point of concern is the very thing you said. Foreign intelligence services have an interest that is not generally in line with our interest. Even the British will tell you that, while we're allies, we're not necessarily in sync on every single issue. They as a nation have their own national security objectives--some overlap [with ours], and some do not. So I think this is one of the issues that we have to be aware of when we study this as an after the fact issue. The FBI knowingly permitted intelligence operatives from foreign nations with objectives that clearly were *not in the interests of the United States* to allow information to come into our system to be used as fact--which has *to this day* disrupted our political process and continues to interfere with some people's confidence in democracy.
Q: As you mentioned earlier, you're not happy with the top brass in the FBI, but actually a lot of them--it seems--have actually been replaced or removed. I don't know how many layers, how deep that goes, but it does look like significant action has been taken. How significant is that?
Shaffer: Not sufficient. Director Wray has been reluctant, I think, to go to the full extent of what's necessary to weed out the bad actors. The FBI did not become corrupted overnight. This was, I would argue, a process that started under the Clintons back in the 90s, where you had a series of individuals over time who came into the senior levels of the FBI who were more legally focused, more lawyers out of DoJ running it, rather than field operatives. And look, I've been an operative my entire life. I have little tolerance for analysts who want to play at operations, and I think in our Intelligence Community we have seen huge failures based on *analysts* coming in to be in charge of operations.
This same parallel exists within DoJ and FBI. Basically, the agents who come through the field have a really good understanding of how to go about investigating, preparing evidence, and submitting it for purposes of prosecution--or, in the case of Foreign Counterintelligence, how to effectively set up Conterintelligence operations to catch spies. Lawyers who have never had any field operational experience coming in to be in charge, and overseeing that, tend to politicize the operations rather than allow them to run to the full extent of what the logical conclusion should be.
So, what lawyers are to FBI operators, we have the same problem with analysts in the Intelligence Community--telling us as operatives what to do. So this has been a problem over time. A lot of the folks we see now *running* the FBI are very focused on legality rather than success. And the legality they often refer to has been--for example, over the last couple days, I hope you don't mind mentioning it. Lisa Page's texts which were revealed over the last 72 hours indicate that the FBI was trying to cut a deal with State Department regarding Hillary Clinton's classified emails found on the Weiner laptop. So they [the DoS] said, basically, 'If you at the FBI downgrade the classification to Unclassified we'll give you more space in our Embassies overseas.' That's payola! ...
Lisa Page is a lawyer! What you see is lawyers coming in to "manage the process" of the whole activity. So, I don't believe for a minute Lisa Page's actions were reflective of what a field operative in the FBI would have done regarding seeking justice. I don't think a field operative would have cared about how many attache they have in Embassies overseas. They would have done their best as sworn officers--sworn law enforcement officers--to follow the information where it was. You bring in people like Lisa Page who have no interest in serving justice, trying to basically cut political deals behind the scenes. This is the illustration of my point. And, when you have this level of corruption, you gotta weed it out. And I don't believe Christopher Wray has actually gone in and done this to the level necessary to right the FBI.
Q: Do you think he will?
Shaffer: No. I don't. I think he is a member of the Swamp. I think, based on his actions to date, he has done what he can to stop the bleeding, but he has no interest in cutting out the cancer that's in the FBI.
Q: OK, speaking of the email server, there's also some evidence recently unearthed that some of the emails may have been sent to a foreign--
Shaffer: *All* of them, except for seven.
Q: OK can you explore that a little bit more?
Shaffer: So, I've actually spoken to the members of DoD who discovered this flaw. This flaw was discovered by the Intelligence Community part of the Department of Defense. It was the ODNI Inspector General's office, and they did a full evaluation. They received the same copy of the email server and all the emails that the FBI had. And the purpose of the ODNI--the IG who came out of DoD--the reason they were doing this review--is because they had to make an assessment of the classification of all the email that were contained on Hillary Clinton's server.
So it was during that review of every email--basically, they went through every email. Not only did the ODNI and the DNI guys look at every email, they looked at the metadata. So every email, as you probably know and your audience probably knows, within the data which moves the email there's router information that indicates who sent the email, when it was sent, how it was sent, what route it took, and anybody else who gets copies of it. So within this very deep metadata review the ODNI IG discovered that every email except for, like, seven were being sent to a third party.
That third party was a, apparently, I'm told, a business that is in Manassas, Virginia, and that business is owned, or was owned, by the Chinese Intelligence Service. And there was a drop at this place, and then it was sent off to Chicago, is what I was briefed. And what's significant about this is not so much that I *know*--it's the fact that, according to the ODNI IG, Peter Strzok, the guy in charge of the Clinton email investigation within the FBI, was briefed on this *three times!* And each briefing, he was presented with this information and the question was: 'What are you gonna do about this?' And, by the way, this is now in Congressional testimony. Peter Strzok was asked this question in closed hearings. He gave one answer in closed hearings, and then he was asked again in public by Congressman Louis Gomert and he gave a different answer. So this is an unresolved issue. And, based on the information that I have from talking to people who were directly involved, *this was known to the FBI* and the FBI refused to examine it as part of their investigation. To this day I have no understanding of why Strzok did not look at this, but they did provide him, that is, the ODNI did provide Strzok this specific data from their investigation which indicated this all had occurred.
Q: Can you comment on the National Security implications of this?
Shaffer: Well, yeah, the two implications are, first: Anything that Hillary Clinton had on that server was compromised to the Chinese Intelligence Service, which indicates to me that, *by law,* there's supposed to be a damage assessment conducted by this compromise. That's by law. Anytime you have a compromise like this of information to a Foreign Intelligence Threat you have to do a damage assessment of what damage was done. Jim Clapper, when he was ODNI, himself, was asked about, 'Why haven't you done a damage assessment?' and he said: 'I just don't want to do it.' I don't think that's a good answer. I don't. But it needs to be done. And, again, and I've said this to a number of members of Congress and the Senate on this, 'This is not a partisan issue!' *By law,* when you have a compromise like this, it says in the law, 'You must do a damage assessment.' So the first thing you gotta do is do a damage assessment.
Secondly, there is other evidence the Chinese have been very effective in eating our lunch. We lost a number of assets back about 2011, 2012, in Beijing. We've never recovered from that. And there are other indicators the Chinese are very effective in their intelligence collection programs against us. So I think we need to do a review of everything we're doing to figure out why the Chinese are so effective. So those are the things I think we *should* do based on this information. And, again, I'm speaking about this *purely* as an intelligence professional. You need to set aside the politics, whatever they are, and actually do the job of evaluating how this was compromised, what was compromised, and what the damage was that came from this compromise.