Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Crossfire Hurricane Opening EC--Predication And The Way Forward

Late yesterday a redacted version of the Crossfire Hurricane Opening EC was released to Judicial Watch. Hopefully a cleaner version will be out in the not too distant future. I understand that AG Barr is playing all of this close to the vest as John Durham prepares his case, but the redaction of information that We The People really should have access to is offensive. After all, we all know what the redactions are about: The identity of foreign governments and their operatives--and some of our own operatives--who colluded in a coup attempt against the established government of the United States. Democracy dies in darkness, as the WaPo has taken to saying, and the identities of all governments and operatives who conspired against our constitutional order need to be made known.

That said, the Opening EC--a Peter Strzok production--is as absurd as expected. Here's the gist of it, actually a very lightly edited paraphrase. It really is as threadbare in terms of predication as this summary indicates:

The [Redacted - but presumed to be Australian] government had been seeking prominent members of the Donald Trump campaign in which to engage to prepare for potential post-election relations should Trump be elected U.S. President. One of the people identified was George Papadopoulos. Mr. Papdopoulos was located in [Redacted - presumed London] so the [Redacted - presumed to be Alexander Downer] met with him on several occasions, with [Redacted] attending at least one of the meetings.

Note what's being said there. Against all odds, this Australian/US operative who claimed to be seeking "prominent members of the Trump campaign" came up with George Papadopoulos. (It tells you something about our Embassy/CIA staff that they were unable to identify the correct spelling of such a common Greek name.) We're supposed to believe that after active consideration of the possible candidates in the Trump campaign one of the top Australian diplomats decide to spend his time cultivating the likes of George Papadopoulos. Not only that, but it's clear from a quick read between the lines that Papadopoulos was not a target of opportunity--he had to be "located". IOW, Downer, or his US handlers, went looking for Papadopoulos, a sort of Quest for the Ideal Fallguy.

During the meetings Mr. Papadopolous made statements suggesting that THE RUSSIANS could assist the Trump campaign with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton.

Now, the next paragraph is the exact text of the "information/reporting" supposedly derived from the conversations with Papadopoulos, as reproduced in the EC:

(S/ [Redacted]) 5. Mr. Papadopolous [Redacted] also 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 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.
(End Text)

So there's the predication:

  • Papadopoulos supposedly "suggested" that anonymous person in the "Trump team" had received "some kind of suggestion" from "Russia";
  • The suggestion was that there could be an anonymous release of damaging information against Clinton;
  • Origin of such information was unknown;
  • Reaction of the Trump team to the supposed "some sort of suggestion" from "Russia" also not known.

THEREFORE, the EC concludes:

(S/ / CC/NF) Based on the information provided by Legat [Redacted] this investigation is being opened to determine whether individual(s) associated with the Trump campaign are witting of and/or coordinating activities with the Government of Russia.

Note that well. Based on information that we and Downer's US handlers know/knew to be false, and which in any event was basically nothing but rumor, the FBI decided to open an investigation that was essentially an open ended Counterintelligence of the entire Trump Campaign. I say "the FBI" rather than "Peter Strzok" because Strzok's EC was approved at levels above him--those names are redacted. As in any bureaucracy, decisions of this magnitude are not made at Strzok's level.

Based on this "information" what would have been a logical response by the FBI? Perhaps the FBI could have opened a Preliminary Investigation to first determine 1) Who is George Papadopoulos? and 2) Who is this "Russia" or "the Russians" with whom Papadopoulos is supposedly in contact? That might be a logical start. Instead the FBI opened an umbrella investigation on the entire Trump Campaign and populated that umbrella investigation with pretty obviously pre-selected subjects--interestingly, omitting such an obvious candidate as Michael Caputo, who had far better Russian connections than any of the others.

But what of those logical investigative steps regarding Papadopoulos? We know that Papadopoulos had NO Russian connections--they had to be fabricated by Intel operatives. Did the FBI also know that Papadopoulos had NO Russian connections. I'm not a betting kinda guy, but that's a proposition that I'd be willing to bet on, because we know that the FBI really did have an interest in Papadopoulos--as a possible Israeli agent. And the first thing "the FBI" would have done upon receipt of this "information" would have been to check Papadopoulos' name through their own records and perhaps through those of other US agencies to which the FBI would have access. In a logical investigation, those negative results would have led to the conclusion: Woops! This "information" looks like it could be questionable. We'd better look at Papadopoulos a bit more closely before we go running after the entire Trump Campaign.

Instead, as we know, the FBI's virtually immediate reaction was not to take a deep dive into the whole subject of George Papadopoulos but instead to begin the pursuit of Carter Page and a FISA on Page. Funny how that worked, right? It's almost as if the FISA was the goal all along and the Papadopoulos derived opening of Crossfire Hurricane was more like a simple "placeholder"--and administrative step to deflect attention from the FBI's true intentions in all this.

Here's another important consideration regarding the purpose of the Opening EC. The EC's appeal to information from a Friendly Foreign Government (FFG) for purposes of predication actually served two purposes. The first, of course, was--if the predication were ever to be later questioned--to deflect attention from the dodgy nature of the predication by citing it to a very high level diplomat in the government of a key US "ally." The second purpose was to deflect attention to some degree from the equally dodgy predication for the investigations of the "four Americans" subsumed under the Crossfire Hurricane umbrella. But sourcing Crossfire Hurricane to such a seemingly impeccable point of origin, the FBI (and the other plotters) could count on achieving the benefit of a presumption of good faith in what they undertook.

All of the above is interesting, but the really important point is this. This bogus Crossfire Hurricane investigation was the foundation for everything that came later--and especially for Team Mueller. Rod Rosenstein's authorizing letter for the Special Counsel quite explicitly assures us that the Mueller Witchhunt is to be a continuation of Crossfire Hurricane. The important point, therefore, is this: Who, of all the DoJ officials and FBI officials who participated in the approval of the Special Counsel decision, read this Opening EC--and if they really didn't, why did they not read it? It goes without saying that the threesome of Comey, Brennan, and Clapper were all involved in the planning for this. Nevertheless, the main point must be that as surely as this EC was the only predication for Crossfire Hurricane, it was also the predication for the later fake and abusive Mueller Witchhunt and the fake impeachment that followed.

Rod Rosenstein is the one guy most clearly in the crosshairs for all this, but there is no lack of others--beginning with Robert "Bob" Mueller. We've seen how the Flynn case has led investigators right into the Oval Office as well as into Team Mueller. The next question is: Can Durham find a connection between Crossfire Hurricane itself and the Oval Office? At a lower level we have the Page/Strzok text on how the POTUS wanted to know everything--all the way back in August, 2016.  What will Comey, Brennan, and Clapper have to say about that?

Interesting days ahead.


  1. FBI only got involved in July of 2016, but CIA and friendly Intel Agencies seemed to be involved earlier.

    I wonder how much earlier?

    7/31/2016 for the EC against George Papadopoulos.

    From CTH:
    ♦March 24, 2016, Papadopoulos meets Mifsud in London. Mifsud accompanied by Olgya Polonskya who Mifsud introduced as former student/Putin niece. [sketchy]student/Putin niece.

    1. Mikey in FL

      Does this factor into what was going on with Adm Rogers closing access to the NSA/Hammer which paused Strzok's surveillance?

      2016-04-30 02:04:49, Sat


      And now we've switched from the Patriot Act to a wire carrying current.X,"

    2. It definitely sounds like it. I've argued for that in the past.

  2. Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Papadopolous say Downer lied about all this? That Downer made all this Russia business up? In which case this Opening EC is an almost complete fabrication.

    1. You're not wrong:

      There is no evidence whatsoever, including in the 448-page Mueller report, that Papadopoulos was ever told that Russia intended, through an intermediary, to disseminate damaging information about Clinton in a manner designed to hurt Clinton’s candidacy and help Trump’s. There is, furthermore, no evidence that Papadopoulos ever said such a thing to anyone else — including Downer ...

  3. The idea that Australia went hunting for a POC to the Trump campaign among unpaid volunteer Trump campaign Foreign Policy wonks IN LONDON is preposterous.

    If they were looking for people with whom they could open lines of communication in case Trump won, they'd have looked in DC or New York, and they'd have looked at people at the top, not the periphery, of the campaign.

    PapaD IIRC had no contact with Trump beyond an obligatory photo op with the Foreign Policy advisory Committee that he was on.

    This back story about how Downer came to contact PapaD does not pass the smell test.

    1. Then-Senator Sessions would've been the obvious proxy to reach out to for contact by any foreign government--were this proffered explanation regarding Downer to be believed.

      The best part of this bogus rationalization is that it is the FBI's belief of what the Australian govt's intentions were, i.e. an invention (a lie) stated as fact.

  4. Good read; I believe someone or some agency put foreign governments to do the work on behalf of the Obama administration way before July, 2016's EC. Why else would the Aussie's be interested in low-level Trump campaign team members as suggested. It was all pre-planned to guarantee an "insurance policy" could be used.

    1. My view, too. Devin Nunes never misses a chance to say that.

  5. The Australian PM was apparently fine with Downer’s meeting with the FBI (Downer had to get permission), according to this Guardian article (May 2018) that basically republishes a NYT article.

    The Australian government allowed its former ambassador to the UK, Alexander Downer, to take part in a “highly unusual” meeting with FBI agents in 2016 to share evidence he possessed about Russian meddling in the US presidential election campaign, according to new reports.

    It was a breach of diplomatic protocol – which came after “tense deliberations” between Washington and Canberra – that helped to lay the foundations for the special counsel investigation into allegations of collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, according to the New York Times.

    1. Pretty insane, and we saw the results in the extemely rocky start to US - OZ relations.

    2. The explanation above (by Bebe) doesn't account for why Downer was part and parcel of an outreach to a Trump campaign aide--purportedly on behalf of the Aussie govt.

      In fact, it serves as a distraction. There's no explanation why there was a delay between Downer's meeting (April?) with PapaD, and the reporting of Downer's "concerns" to US officials (July?).

      Perhaps Downer had "gone off the reservation"--gone beyond his remit--to engage with PapaD, and Canberra wasn't happy. (It would be the remit of the US ambassador, not the UK ambassador.) In other words, it raises a question regarding the FBI explanation in the predication EC.

  6. Mark, I've overdone it a little so this post is coming in two (or maybe three) installments.

    1/ Stepping back for a moment, I've spent the last couple of hours devouring Mark's latest posts and comments and then looking up the many fascinating links he and commenters have provided.

    This conspiracy that is being uncovered is effing amazing! The complexity of it all! The number of conspirators tangled up in it! The elaborateness of the unending ruses and lies and schemes!

    It is probably no underestimate to suggest that tens (hundreds?) of thousands of hours of government personnel time went into cooking up all of these schemes. And it is requiring tens of thousands more hours to unravel the schemes which supposedly faithful current and former government officials refuse to disclose. Hey Bruce Ohr! Hey Joe Pientka! Hey Christopher Wray! Who are you (still) working for anyway? Where's that paycheck coming from? Ever heard of the American people? The American taxpayer? How about coming clean and we wrap this up?

    Just think of all the decisions that the conspirators Brennan and Comey and Clapper had to have made. They had to wonder...Should we start the coup with Carter Page? Or George Whatshisname? Or Christopher Steele's dossier? Problems, problems. Questions, questions. What to do?

    And all the details. How do we entrap that little twerp, what's his name? Papadoodle something? Do we need to produce Putin's fake niece, or an imaginary figure named Azra Turk (who's going to believe that name?), or invent the ephemeral Joseph Mifsud?

    How do we smear General Flynn with the Svetlana Lokhova story? Who wants to take that one? No problem. Halper will do anything if we pay him enough.

    Who's going to write up this phony EC or that phony FISA application? Who's going to falsify which email, and who's going to leak this or that classified info to which unquestioning but complicit journalistic stooge? Let's this one for the hapless NYT or the pathetic Washington Post? Who did we give the last one to? Anyway, Ignatius will always take it.

    And we still owe Stefan Halper millions of dollars...who's going to pay that over? From which secret slush funds? And then we've got Strzok and Page's incriminating text messages, who's going to erase them? And then there's phony FISA warrant applications to file, and somebody's got to get on a plane and fly around to Italy, and Australia, and Russia and London on secret missions to make sure everybody can keep their story straight...

    And then we've got to set up General Flynn for the 'kill shot', which requires us to decide whether we want to get him to lie to prosecute him, or just to get him fired? Tough decisions! And then there are innumerable dubious unmaskings we'll have to undertake and then we have to falsify the claims made by federal prosecutors to a federal court to flip Flynn...Oh wait, we've got Van Grack and Sullivan on that. No worries!

    Its like when we pretended to actually interview Hillary Clinton 'by the book', and cover up Anthony Weiner's email stash...

  7. 2/ And then later on we'll have to open up a fake special counsel investigation into allegations definitively known to be untrue so that we can cover up everything we've done...who's going to run that? Right, Mueller and Weissmann! Better than Marmalard and Neidermeyer! Just the guys to take that one on. And then we'll have to waste millions of dollars more on that (No big deal!).

    And if that doesn't work, no worries we'll just recruit some more spineless conspirators inside the government to leak a fake story about the idiot President's Ukraine phone calls, and get our buddy the corrupt IG (he'll do anything!) to change the whistleblower procedures without anybody knowing what we're up to, so that we can instigate a ridiculous impeachment inquiry led by a Congressman who has lied and lied and lied repeatedly about facts he has known are not true.

    And there is so much more they did that we don't yet know!

    Thousands and thousands and thousands of man hours went into this conspiracy.

    If one assumes that the reason why we have an FBI and a CIA and a DoJ with hundreds of thousands of employees and budgets in the billions, is because Congress has rationally determined that our national security interests require this investment to keep us safe and sound and secure, then just imagine what this investment might have produced in the way of real tangible benefit to Americans if the FBI and CIA and DoJ leadership had not been wholly distracted by a criminal conspiracy coup attempt and a coverup for at least the last four years.

    Maybe we would have found a constructive relationship with Russia. Maybe we would have found the ingredients for a lasting peace in the Middle East. Maybe we would have figured out China's true intentions before a plague came along to expose their various duplicities. Maybe we would have solved the health insurance dilemma...or the immigration dilemma...or the opioid crisis.

    Or maybe not. But it would seem to be worth wondering.

    1. It is amazing to think of. All of it.

    2. The weak point in your argument:

      "...Congress has rationally determined...."

      I can't say Congress has been "rational" in near a century. Will Rogers made a career cracking jokes about their collective "rationality". ;-)
      Tom S.

    3. I not trying to debunk Cassander's observations--which are worthy--and while it is complicated, mostly, the hoax/coup principals merely exploited their existing network of contacts.

      They're in the spying and "leaking" business to begin with. They've been pushing a partisan agenda for some time. They spied on Congress, and on media reporters (James Rosen, Sheryl Attkisson). They knew which paper, between the NYT and WaPo to leak what story, e.g., from CIA or FBI.

      They had plenty of help from FusionGPS and willing reporters, editors, etc. to run unverified stories. The hoax/coup players surely thought they could get away with it--not that it was to hard and too complex to pull off.

      Mostly, I'd say it's the audacity that is amazing.

    4. Wow. As deep as I have been into this for a few years now, Cassander just put 95% of the 'outrage' I've been experiencing into one post. Yes, I laughed, Cassander. You're imagined dialog is funny. And then I cried when I thought of the immensity of all this and how much of it will likely remain even if DJT is re-elected.

    5. Thanks, Chico

      Yup. Laugh or cry? These guys, who work for us, made the whole thing up! On our dime!

      And millions of Americans don't know or don't care!

      I've often wondered how bad things had to have been at home (or how good things looked in America) for each one of our immigrant ancestors who made the move to chuck it all and come to America.

      And then I wonder how bad it would have to be here to walk away...

  8. @Tom S

    My comment about Congress being rational in building the current edifice was more in the nature of a straw man against which to position the criminal actions of the Obama CIA, FBI and DoJ and their holdovers. I give Congress no more credit for rationally legislating over the last century than you do.


    My imagined dialog among the conspirators worrying about which orifice to leak into was meant to be somewhat tongue in cheek or even, hopefully, humorous, although the subject matter is anything but. I have no doubt they knew wherein to leak. In fact, as you recognize, the conspirators and their recipients are joined at the hip. But yes, they are unbelievably audacious. Obviously, they never expected to be brought to justice.

    1. I was attempting some light banter but if it came across as being at your expense then I apologize, that was not my intent.

      The guards in the white coats don't have much of a sense of humor so I don't get a lot of practice. ;-)
      Tom S.

    2. The whole conspiracy assumed Donald Trump could not survive an examination of his his dirty laundry. All the seeds were planted. His past should have taken care of the rest.
      Makes me assume Judge Sullivan has some dirty laundry the left is holding over him.

    3. @Tom

      No offense taken. I suspect we are on the same page. I've been trying humor, too, not sure how it works in these circumstances.

  9. I wonder if Horowitz was able to read Downer's entire memo about the conversation with Papadopoulos.

    Perhaps Horowitz read only Strzok's excerpt from Downer's memo.

    1. Horowitz should've been able to see anything in FBI files.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. The [Redacted] government had been seeking prominent members of the Donald Trump campaign in which to engage to prepare for potential post-election relations should Trump be elected U.S. President.

    This is how Strzok writes the English language.