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June 01, 2018

Is the FBI Lying about the Australian Diplomat's Claims, Too?

Kim Strassel in the WSJ:

To hear the Federal Bureau of Investigation tell it, its decision to launch a counterintelligence probe into a major-party presidential campaign comes down to a foreign tip about a 28-year-old fourth-tier Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos.

The FBI's media scribes have dutifully reported the bare facts of that "intel." We are told the infamous tip came from Alexander Downer, at the time the Australian ambassador to the U.K. Mr. Downer invited Mr. Papadopoulos for a drink in early May 2016, where the aide told the ambassador the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Word of this encounter at some point reached the FBI, inspiring it to launch its counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign on July 31.

Notably (nay, suspiciously) absent or muddled are the details of how and when that information made its way to the FBI, and what exactly was transmitted. A December 2017 New York Times story vaguely explains that the Australians passed the info to "American counterparts" about "two months later," and that once it "reached the FBI," the bureau acted. Even the Times admits it's "not clear" why it took the Aussies so long to flip such a supposedly smoking tip. The story meanwhile slyly leads readers to believe that Mr. Papadopoulos told Mr. Downer that Moscow had "thousands of emails," but read it closely and the Times in fact never specifies what the Trump aide said, beyond "dirt."

...

Meanwhile, something doesnít gel between Mr. Downer's account of the conversation and the FBI's. In his Australian interview, Mr. Downer said Mr. Papadopolous didn't give specifics. "He didnít say dirt, he said material that could be damaging to her," said Mr. Downer. "He didnít say what it was." Also: "Nothing he said in that conversation indicated Trump himself had been conspiring with the Russians to collect information on Hillary Clinton."

For months weíve been told the FBI acted because it was alarmed that Mr. Papadopoulos knew about those hacked Democratic emails in May, before they became public in June. But according to the tipster himself, Mr. Papadopoulos said nothing about emails....

Which leads us back to what did inspire the FBI to act, and when? The Papadopoulos pretext is getting thinner.

Strassel writes about the strangeness of the Australian response to this tip so smoking-hot the FBI immediately lurched into action -- the Australians did not report it to the US. Her sources say that Downer himself walked the tip in, not to officials in Washington, DC, but to the American Embassy in London.

London again.

Why London? Why are the early days of this investigation always... conveniently overseas, where the John Brennan's CIA was not forbidden by US law to operate?

Jonathan Solomon is also curious why so much of this story -- the parts that are still hidden by the CIA and FBI -- took place in foreign countries where the CIA was permitted to do all sorts of things that it could not do in America.

The bridge to the Russia investigation wasn't erected in Moscow during the summer of the 2016 election.

It originated earlier, 1,700 miles away in London, where foreign figures contacted Trump campaign advisers and provided the FBI with hearsay allegations of Trump-Russia collusion, bureau documents and interviews of government insiders reveal. These contacts in spring 2016 -- some from trusted intelligence sources, others from Hillary Clinton supporters -- occurred well before FBI headquarters authorized an official counterintelligence investigation on July 31, 2016.

The new timeline makes one wonder: Did the FBI follow its rules governing informants?

Here's what a congressman and an intelligence expert think.

"The revelation of purposeful contact initiated by alleged confidential human sources prior to any FBI investigation is troublesome," Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), an ally of President Trump and chairman of a House subcommittee thatís taking an increasingly aggressive oversight role in the scandal, told me. "This new information begs the questions: Who were the informants working for, who were they reporting to and why has the [Department of Justice] and FBI gone to such great lengths to hide these contacts?"

Kevin Brock agrees that Congress has legitimate questions. The retired FBI assistant director for intelligence supervised the rewriting of bureau rules governing sources, under then-director Robert Mueller a decade ago. Those rules forbid the FBI from directing a human source to target an American until a formally predicated investigative file is opened.

Brock sees oddities in how the Russia case began. "These types of investigations aren't normally run by assistant directors and deputy directors at headquarters," he told me. "All that happens normally in a field office, but that isn't the case here and so it becomes a red flag. Congress would have legitimate oversight interests in the conditions and timing of the targeting of a confidential human source against a U.S. person."

Other congressional and law enforcement sources express similar concerns, heightened by FBI communications suggesting political pressures around the time the probe officially opened.


...

According to documents and government interviews, one of the FBI's most senior counterintelligence agents visited London the first week of May 2016.

Isn't this Peter Strzok? I thought we already knew this person's name.

Congress never got the FBI to explain that trip -- but, soon after it, one of the most consequential moments of the scandal occurred: On May 10, Australian diplomat Alexander Downer met in a London bar with Trump adviser George Papadopoulos, who boasted of knowing that Russia would release dirt on Clinton.

That contact was not immediately reported to U.S. intelligence.

By early June, a second overture to a Trump campaign adviser occurred in London. In a "Dear Carter" email, a Cambridge University graduate student invited Trump campaign adviser Carter Page to attend a popular July security conference in London.

I think it's becoming more obvious that this plot was hatched by Brennan, who used CIA assets to spy on Trump in order to get Comey to open an official investigation -- which Brennan (and Hillary Clinton) desperately wanted, so they could respond to attacks about the Email Investigation with the statement, "Trump's being investigated too!"

There's a lot of evidence for this theory of the crime.

John Brennan's Plot to Infiltrate the Trump Campaign

GEORGE NEUMAYR

May 22, 2018, 12:05 am

It came out of his "inter-agency taskforce" at Langley.

As Trump won primary after primary in 2016, a rattled John Brennan started claiming to colleagues at the CIA that Estonia's intelligence agency had alerted him to an intercepted phone call suggesting Putin was pouring money into the Trump campaign. The tip was bogus, but Brennan bit on it with opportunistic relish.

Out of Brennanís alarmist chatter about the bogus tip came an extraordinary leak to the BBC: that Brennan had used it, along with later half-baked tips from British intelligence, as the justification to form a multi-agency spy operation (given the Orwellian designation of an "inter-agency taskforce") on the Trump campaign, which he was running right out of CIA headquarters.

The CIA was furious about the leak, but never denied the BBCís story. To Congress earlier this year, Brennan acknowledged the existence of the group, but cast his role in it as the mere conduit of tips about Trump-Russia collusion: "It was well beyond my mandate as director of CIA to follow on any of those leads that involved U.S. persons. But I made sure that anything that was involving U.S. persons, including anything involving the individuals involved in the Trump campaign, was shared with the bureau."

Speaking of, John Brennan is continuing to play to possible juries that may sit in judgment of him in the future by writing op-eds in the Washington Post in which he basically admits, "You're damn right I ordered the Code Red on Trump. You want me on that wall, you need me on that wall!"


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posted by Ace of Spades at 03:17 PM

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