My very bad--I somehow missed this terrific article by John Solomon back on February 5th. While I admit that my interest in the Russia Hoax has flagged due to, well, Barr and Durham, I do follow Solomon. This somehow eluded me, and it offers a picture of just about unbelievable corruption:
Newly declassified FISA application shows FBI, without proof, portrayed First Amendment-protected activities as Russian plot.
Solomon is not making that up. Here is the passage from p. 57 of the third renewal FISA against Page in which that pretext is presented to the court:
"The FBI also notes that Page continues to be active in meeting with media outlets to promote his theories of how U.S. foreign policy should be adjusted with regard to Russia and also to refute claims of his involvement with Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election. [REDACTED - SENSITIVE INFORMATION] The FBI believes that Page may have been instructed by Russian officials to aggressively deny, especially in the media, any Russian involvement with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The FBI believes this approach is important because, from the Russian government's point of view, it continues to keep the controversy of the election in front of the American and world medium, which has the effect of undermining the integrity of the US electoral process and weakening the effectiveness of the current US administration. The FBI believes Page also may be seeking media attention in order to maintain momentum for potential book contracts."
Where to begin? Let's start with the redaction. Solomon points out that in the copy of the FISA application that was given to the Senate Judiciary Committee just last fall--meaning, it was provided by Trump's FBI Director, Chris Wray--the portion about "the FBI's unsubstantiated theory that Russia had instructed Page to [write a book and do media interviews] was [also] blacked out." On what basis would idle, unsupported speculation have been redacted? It makes you wonder about the "sensitive information" that remains redacted.
Moving on from that subterfuge, realize that this was presented to the FISA court judge for review. And yet, as Solomon points out,
[The FBI] offered no proof for such a dramatic allegation. No source. No document. No intercept. Nothing. Just the affirmation "The FBI believes ..."
I did a double take when I read that, and referred to the actual application. There are not even footnotes referencing other documentation. In a document that is supposed to be building the case that the FBI has probable cause to believe that Carter Page is an agent of Russia who is engaged in clandestine intelligence activity that may involve violations of criminal statutes, how could such unsupported speculation appear as part of that effort? It's a mockery of the entire FISA process. And bear in mind, this isn't just the FBI--this garbage was approved at the highest levels of DoJ, as well. Supposedly the government's top legal minds.
But perhaps even more to the point--how could a federal judge reading this stuff possibly take the document seriously at all? How could a judge take the FBI's word for anything else that appeared in the document? Wouldn't a self respecting judge send this document back with a sharp note--don't ever insult my intelligence again in this way? Wouldn't a self respecting judge tell the FBI: I'm not going to edit this for you. You rewrite this and get rid of everything you know is questionable or unsupported, doesn't legtimately add to probable cause, and if you miss the deadline--tough. The FISA will lapse.
Adding to this sordid spectacle is the fact that this application was signed on June 28, 2017. In other words, this ridiculous speculation was joined with the Steele "dossier" material, which had long since been utterly debunked. Now look at the people who signed on to the certification of this travesty that allowed the Mueller Witchhunt to continue spying on Trump--you'll find this list on p. 98:
Andrew McCabe - Acting Director, FBI
Rex Tillerson - Secretary of State
John J. Sullivan - Deputy Secretary of State
Michael Pompeo - Director, CIA
James Mattis - Secretary of Defense
Daniel Coats - Director of National Intelligence
H. R. McMaster - Ass't to the President for National Security Affairs
In the total context of the first six months of the Trump administration, don't you think these guys had a duty to read this particular FISA application--certainly the probable cause portion--closely and to question such transparent nonsense? What a bunch of snakes Trump was surrounded with! The scope of the plot against the President is simply mind boggling.
Here's what Kevin Brock, the former FBI Ass't Director who helped put together the FBI's intelligence guidelines, says about this:
Kevin Brock, the FBI's former chief of intelligence who helped craft most of the bureau's current human source and spy rules before he retired a decade ago, told Just the News on Thursday that the FISA application's use of unfounded speculation undercut the very requirement that warrants contain verified evidence.
"It is a desperate attempt to keep an investigation, which had no predication in the first place, going with conjecture, speculation and manufactured belief," Brock said in an interview.
The newly declassified document also furnishes another example of how the FBI has slow-walked the disclosure of the most embarrassing aspects of the Russia probe.
And where were Barr and Durham while Wray was engaged in all this slow-walking? As if they couldn't read the unredacted documents?
As if that weren't bad enough, Solomon then goes to document the FBI blatantly lying to the court in another important matter. I'll quote the entire passage:
"On or about October 17 2016, Page met with Source #2 [Halper], which meeting the FBI consensually monitored and recorded," the FISA application read. "According to the FBI's review of the recorded conversation, Source #2 made general inquiries about the media reporting regarding Page's contacts with Russian officials.
Note that well--the FBI had a recording of the conversation, so they had a verbatim transcript as well as the actual sound of the voices, to catch every nuance.
"Although Page did not provide any specific details to refute, dispel or clarify the media reporting, he made vague statements that minimized his activities. Page also made general statements about a perceived conspiracy against him mounted by the media," the FBI told the court.
But the transcript of Page's conversation with Halper, obtained by Just the News, shows that Page did in fact directly deny all four of the primary allegations made about him in the Steele dossier that supported the FISA application, including specific denials he had met with two Russian officials named Igor Sechin and Igor Diveychkin.
That's hugely important, because the alleged meetings with Sechin and Diveychkin were what supported the FISA requirement for both "clandestine intelligence activity"--Steele characterized the meetings as "secret" meetings--as well as possible violation of criminal statutes--Sechin and Diveychkin were sanctioned individuals. Without those meetings the entire probable cause for the FISA simply collapses. In that regard, Solomon quotes directly from the transcript of Page's actual words:
"The core lie is that I met with these sanctioned Russian officials, several of which I never even met in my entire life, but they said that I met them in July," the FBI transcript quotes Page as telling Halper during the Oct. 17, 2016 interaction at Halper's farm in northern Virginia.
Nothing vague about that denial. Yet that statement to Halper was never acknowledged in the FISA application, even nine months after it happened.
Please don't anyone try to tell me that the FBI didn't understand that this recorded meeting, if presented to the FISA court, would have tanked the entire FISA. They knew. They lied. It was their duty to present to the court all exculpatory information.
This is just so far beyond outrageous. Not just for what it says about the FBI--that goes without saying. Rather, it's the scope of the plot against the President and the extent to which the coup plotters were willing to trash every aspect of the rule of law that we as Americans should hold dear.