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April 20, 2017

FBI Used Discredited "Dodgy Dossier" As Part of Its Basis for Securing FISA Warrant Against Trump Hanger-On Carter Page

There are two different ways to play this revelation.

The first: That, as justification for an intrusive counter-espionage warrant, the FBI had used a dossier which had been commissioned by not one but two political opponents of Trump (first unnamed Republicans, then the Hillary campaign) which used paid and anonymous sources to construct a laughably lurid portrait of Trump.

This would tend to discredit the warrant by associating it with the shoddy provenance of a dossier that it was secured with (at least partially).

The second: That the fact that this dossier was used as the pretext for a FISA warrant tended to buttress the reliability of the dossier itself. A bootstrapping argument: If the dossier resulted in a rubber-stamp FISA warrant, doesn't that mean the dossier is legit?

This framing takes the FISA warrant, taking that warrant as legitimate (signed by a JUDGE!!!!) and associates it with the dossier to improve the very dubious nature of the dossier.

Guess which approach the media took, uniformly, almost as if they were taking orders from DNC central?

Mollie Hemingway writes about this. After recapping all the ways in which this dossier is just flat-out wrong or deeply misinformed, she talks about the media's curious incuriosity about a major intelligence operation conducted to take out an American presidential candidate:

The New York Times also used anonymous sources to report on the U.S. government’s surveillance of Page. The article claims "when [Page] became a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign last year and gave a Russia-friendly speech at a prestigious Moscow institute, it soon caught the bureau's attention. That trip last July was a catalyst for the F.B.I. investigation into connections between Russia and President Trump's campaign, according to current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials."

If this is true that this was the catalyst, it is concerning. The Times article explains at great length how little a role Page had in the campaign and how far from central he was, to put it mildly. It notes that he worked in Russia and was critical of U.S. foreign policy toward Russia. At no point is anything illegal alleged. To be clear, since many in the media are not clear on this point, it is still legal in this country to be critical of U.S. foreign policy toward another country.

Incidentally, if it is illegal to peddle a softer line on Russia, then we have a lot of espionage prosecutions against Democrats and progressive think-tankers and academics to get on top of, stat.

Beginning with Mr. Flexibility Barack Obama ("The eighties just called...") and Soviet Union Honeymooner Bernie Sanders. And not ending until you're about 15-20,000 names deep into the Progressive Membership List.

...

Until evidence is provided, journalists who care about privacy and abuse of power should be asking tough questions of everyone involved. Despite a nearly year-long campaign of leaks and innuendo to tie Trump to Russia, nothing has been provided to support the claim of collusion. Until and unless any of the people making such claims produce actual evidence of Trump associates having knowledge of Russian actions beforehand, and coordinating the placement and timing of leaks for political effect, the proper focus of journalists should be on the rampant abuse of power in a political opponent being surveilled by his own government....

Again, maybe the U.S. government has every reason to be spying on Carter Page. But if he was spied on for having political views or associates at odds with the Obama administration, that's a problem. Like-minded people favoring a change in U.S. foreign policy should not be illegal. That’s politics, and precisely why elections are held in a free country. Government resources, law enforcement, and surveillance powers simply shouldn’t be put to partisan use. If nothing comes of this nearly year-long investigation into a political campaign, accountability must be demanded.

By the way, Carter Page's "connections" to Trump may be even weaker than his alleged "connections" to Russia. Rich Lowry relates this funny bit:

Per Business Insider, this is how Page has described to the Senate his role in the campaign, obviously trying to pump it up, none too impressively:


"For your information, I have frequently dined in Trump Grill, had lunch in Trump Café, had coffee meetings in the Starbucks at Trump Tower, attended events and spent many hours in campaign headquarters on the fifth floor last year," Page wrote. "As a sister skyscraper in Manhattan, my office at the IBM Building (590 Madison Avenue) is literally connected to the Trump Tower building by an atrium."

Wow. He's practically married to Ivanka. Steve Bannon better watch out for this new Strong Horse jockeying for position.

Trump's lawyers have sent him two cease-and-desist letters, incidentally.

TheDC can also reveal that the Trump team issued a number of cease and desist requests to Page in recent months over concerns that he was misrepresenting his role on the campaign.

Which sounds to me like a demand to stop claiming you're some kind of close associate just to boost your career.

The history of Carter Page's brief "association" with the Trump campaign is pretty thin -- allegedly an Iowa GOP guy put Carter Page's name in a list of names of potential hires to beef up Trump's foreign policy team. Trump hired him, I guess, but says he never met him.

It's not as if these are longstanding ties. When Trump needed warm bodies, a GOP guy (with no ties to Russia himself) offered up Page (among others). Page worked briefly for Trump.

Then Trump sent him cease-and-desist letters. Doesn't seem to be a very close association.

And as to Page's "association" with Russia -- well, he was invited to give a speech at that Russian school.

Is that now criminal? Like I said, if it's criminal, We're gonna need a bigger FISA warrant.

In July, he was invited to speak at the graduation ceremony at Moscow's New Economic School, a role often filled by prominent international politicians, including President Barack Obama in 2009.

That's from Time, by the way. I like how Time, instead of treating this as exculpatory (Barack Obama spoke there in 2009), instead casts it as incriminating as regards Carter Page, because while you could understand why someone of Barack Obama's stature would be invited, you can't say the same for Page.

Strange how something that got no ink at all when Obama did it is now prima facia evidence of espionage for a foreign state.

Meanwhile, this piece by George Neumayr at the American Spectator is even more forward-leaning on the Deep State's attempted coup.

Confirmed: John Brennan Colluded With Foreign Spies to Defeat Trump

GEORGE NEUMAYR

April 19, 2017, 12:04 am

This is the open scandal that Congress should investigate.

An article in the Guardian last week provides more confirmation that John Brennan was the American progenitor of political espionage aimed at defeating Donald Trump. One side did collude with foreign powers to tip the election -- Hillary's.

Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump's candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.

John Brennan's CIA operated like a branch office of the Hillary campaign, leaking out mentions of this bogus investigation to the press in the hopes of inflicting maximum political damage on Trump. An official in the intelligence community tells TAS that Brennan's retinue of political radicals didn’t even bother to hide their activism, decorating offices with "Hillary for president cups" and other campaign paraphernalia.

A supporter of the American Communist Party at the height of the Cold War, Brennan brought into the CIA a raft of subversives and gave them plum positions from which to gather and leak political espionage on Trump. He bastardized standards so that these left-wing activists could burrow in and take career positions. Under the patina of that phony professionalism, they could then present their politicized judgments as "non-partisan."

The Guardian story is written in a style designed to flatter its sources (they are cast as high-minded whistleblowers), but the upshot of it is devastating for them, nonetheless, and explains why all the criminal leaks against Trump first originated in the British press. According to the story, Brennan got his anti-Trump tips primarily from British spies but also Estonian spies and others. The story confirms that the seed of the espionage into Trump was planted by Estonia. The BBC's Paul Wood reported last year that the intelligence agency of an unnamed Baltic State had tipped Brennan off in April 2016 to a conversation purporting to show that the Kremlin was funneling cash into the Trump campaign.

Any other CIA director would have disregarded such a flaky tip, recognizing that Estonia was eager to see Trump lose (its officials had bought into Hillary's propaganda that Trump was going to pull out of NATO and leave Baltic countries exposed to Putin). But Brennan opportunistically seized on it, as he later that summer seized on the half-baked intelligence of British spy agencies (also full of officials who wanted to see Trump lose).

I can't quote the whole thing so you'll just have to go over to AmSpec for the rest.

He digs down into Brennan's past -- Communist Party and all -- and also accuses Brennan of changing the CIA's rules about security risks in order to allow in a lot of his radical buddies who would have been duly stamped 4F security risks under prior rules.


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posted by Ace at 01:44 PM

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