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ę Honorary Members of the Media, Barack and Michelle Obama, Become Official Members of the Media with Netflix Production Deal | Main | Reuters Poll: GOP +6 Ľ
May 22, 2018

Washington Post, May 8: Revealing the Name of the Spy Could Put Lives in Danger
Washington Post, Today: Let's Talk About This Stefan Halper Fellow In Detail

Flashback to the Washington Post's report of May 8th, which shrieks about the danger posed by revealing this unknown, completely-anonymous deep-embed NOC's name.

Last Wednesday, senior FBI and national intelligence officials relayed an Murgent message to the White House: Information being sought by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes could endanger a top-secret intelligence source.

Top White House officials, with the assent of President Trump, agreed to back the decision to withhold the information. They were persuaded that turning over Justice Department documents could risk lives by potentially exposing the source, a U.S. citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI, according to multiple people familiar with the discussion and the person's role.


The debate over the risk to the source is now at the center of a pitched battle between House Republicans and the Justice Department.


For the intelligence agencies, Nunes's request threatened to cross a red line of compromising sources and methods of U.S. intelligence-gathering, according to people familiar with their views. Intelligence officials fear that providing even a redacted version of the information Nunes seeks could expose that person and damage relationships with other countries that serve as U.S. intelligence partners.

Note that a week after they ran this scarifying report, the Washington Post itself released a "redacted version" of the information Nunes sought -- giving a full biographical sketch of the spy, which just happened to match Chuck Ross' details about Stefan Halper.

And of course they got that from their friends at the DOJ.

So: Is this a grave threat to national security or not?

National Security Clown Nose On,

National Security Clown Nose Off.

Oh by the way: Bonus points for a "Republicans Seize."

The role of the intelligence source in the Mueller investigation may now be seized upon by conservative Republicans who have publicly accused the Justice Department and intelligence agencies of overreach and misuse of their surveillance powers.

Now compare their story of May 8th to their new story: Who is this jaunty fellow called Stefan Halper anyway?

Margaret Cleveland has been excellent on this case.

Her latest is about inconsistent claims about when the FBI began its "investigation" -- it clearly had a spy (or spies) attempting to entrap Trump officials before the claimed start of the investigation.

Does that mean they're lying? Well no... but also, yes.

Halper first sidled up to his target Page in mid-July 2016. But CROSSFIRE HURRICANE (a codename designed to draw media attention, I think) didn't begin until July 31st.

So what gives? They had a spy in Trump's camp before they started the investigation?

Well, yes.

The timing of the informantís initial encounter with Page proves significant because that meeting occurred before the FBI launched Crossfire Hurricane. That detail proves the raison d'etre for the Washington Post's Friday article because, with reporters already cracking the identity of the informant from the Post's earlier articles, it would not be long before someone highlighted that early July meeting. For the last several weeks, the few members of the press bothering to report on the Obama administration's targeting of the Trump campaign have questioned the FBI's contention that it first launched its investigation into the Trump campaign in late July 2016.

The Washington Post gives cover to the revelation that the sting began earlier: "The FBI commonly uses sources and informants to gather evidence and its regulations allow for use of informants even before a formal investigation has been opened. In many law enforcement investigations, the use of sources and informants precedes more invasive techniques such as electronic surveillance."

So... you can start spying before an investigation is even opened?

Spying on a major party's nominee for President? Before you've even decided there's enough for an official investigation?

Well that's problematic.

But even putting that aside -- this means the FBI has been lying.

All true. But for the last two years the FBI maintained first that it did not spy on the Trump campaign and second that it only launched its "investigation" in late July 2016, after Australian officials informed the FBI that in May 2016 George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, blabbed to Alexander Downer, Australia's ambassador to Britain, that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The New York Times promoted this narrative based on the "direct knowledge of the Australian's role" by "four current and former American and foreign officials." The storyline went that Downer only realized the import of Papadopoulos' May revelation after WikiLeaks released emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee server in late July, precipitating the July 31, 2016, start of Crossfire Hurricane. Clearly, the insiders intended to create the impression that the FBI's interest in the Trump campaign stemmed from legitimate concerns its allies had relayed.

Sometimes the FBI Investigates Before Its Investigation

But now we know that the FBI used the term "investigation" in a technical sense, not a colloquial one. Rather than vindicate the FBI, this raises the specter that the FBI extensively targeted Trump campaign officials before its official launch of Crossfire Hurricane.

There are a lot of possibilities, because under the attorney generalís guidelines the FBI may use extensive "information gathering activities" before launching an official "investigation." Under the guidelines, the FBI may make an "assessment" "to obtain information about" a potential threat to national security.

So prior to the start of the official "investigation," the FBI was merely "assessing" the matter... with a spy.

But the FBI has repeatedly lied and claimed the investigation began later, after the Australian information.

Plainly Halper could not have been assigned to spy on Trump aides based on information received from Downer, which came months later.

And yet certain self-proclaimed Bad Boys of Conservatism continue to claim the FBI's claims are the unvarnished truth, whatever those claims turn out to be for this week, and spouting about authoritatively about a case they plainly haven't even done the most basic reading about.

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posted by Ace of Spades at 05:02 PM

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