Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
Wikipedia describes plausible deniability thus:
… the ability of people (typically senior officials in a formal or informal chain of command) to deny knowledge of or responsibility for any damnable actions committed by others in an organizational hierarchy because of a lack of evidence that can confirm their participation, even if they were personally involved in or at least willfully ignorant of the actions. In the case that illegal or otherwise disreputable and unpopular activities become public, high-ranking officials may deny any awareness of such acts to insulate themselves and shift blame onto the agents who carried out the acts, as they are confident that their doubters will be unable to prove otherwise.
It is highly unlikely that the highest officials in the Obama administration will ever face justice for the Russian collusion hoax. Thus, it is unlikely that Barack Obama, Joe Biden or any cabinet member will face justice in the traditional sense. And with a willing media to cover for them, it is doubtful that they will ever face justice in the court of public opinion.
But, it has become increasingly obvious that something was amiss in the intelligence community, FBI and DOJ in this whole nightmare. There are two possible scenarios and neither should breathe any confidence in the minds of sane Americans. The first possibility is that the whole thing was somehow directed from high above, possibly in the Oval Office. Perhaps, a broad directive or an off-hand comment was taken as a call to arms. The second possibility is that the FBI and intelligence community (IC), along with the DOJ, became rogue actors.
Consider those options: either the IC and law enforcement agencies are running amok, or they were both coopted for spying on an opposing political party, or just possibly, people in charge of these agencies were just that inept. They are all scary scenarios.
So, realizing there are likely multiple layers of plausible deniability between intermediaries like Joseph Misfud and Stephen Halper and others in the Obama administration up to and including the head honcho himself, going after those higher-ups may be an exercise in futility. Instead, this administration can and should start by releasing in unredacted form those documents, emails, text messages, etc. which Trump previously directed the DOJ to do. In that case, within four days, he backtracked putting the process on hold. There were two purported reasons for doing so.
First, it was stated by the White House that the release of these items was put on hold at the request of foreign governments. From the history of this saga, we kind of know who they are. One of the targets of the counterintelligence probe was George Papadopolous who was working in Great Britain at the time. We know he and Misfud had meetings in Italy in what was described as an “intelligence training school.” We know he met with an Australian diplomat and later with a Greek foreign minister. It is inconceivable the FBI ran a counterintelligence operation in Britain without their knowledge. It is quite obvious at least two of those foreign governments were Great Britain and Australia.
Second, Democrats objected to the release of unredacted material echoing the IC and FBI by claiming it would reveal sources and methods. This is perhaps the most preposterous reason offered.
From the Papadapolous testimony since released, the methods used were rather standard “spycraft.” Intermediaries like Halper and Misfud were used to ingratiate themselves to the target. Sometimes they were looking for information; other times they were laying bait and hoped the target would bite. Sometimes, they attempted the “honey trap” where pretty women were used as was the case with Azra Turk and Putin’s alleged niece.
In other words, we know the methods and we know most of the sources. Even the story of how the Steele dossier came to be and how it was used is old news now. The “mystery” ceased to be a secret awhile ago. Seriously…Edward Snowden revealed more methods and sources.
Hopefully, any probe, be it through the impending IG report, referrals from the FISA court, appointment of a Special Counsel, or Senate committee hearings must focus on the role the FBI and IC played in starting this operation against the Trump campaign.
According to former CIA Director John Brennan, the Steele dossier was used as justification for a FISA warrant against Carter Page. According to James Clapper, no it wasn’t as there was more evidence out there. If so, what was that evidence? Either way, someone isn’t being quite truthful, although one surmises their “recollections” will suddenly become muddled.
The meetings between Misfud and Papadopolous occurred prior to Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI counterintelligence operation. Comey testified that operation began in late July 2016, yet Misfud was arranging these meetings in March and April 2016. What drew the FBI and/or IC to Papadopolous pre-July, 2016?
Was this a case of Obama-era Russia paranoia where they felt justified in spying on the Trump campaign for whatever reason? If so, beyond the obvious one of targeting an opponent for political purposes, what was the justification? The fact they targeted Papadopolous on foreign soil using foreign intermediaries is certainly circumstantial evidence they knew they were on shaky ground. At the very least, because of who they used and how they used them indicates they knew full well their actions were questionable. They did so because they could not get caught using American assets to spy on Americans. Of course, when they have to use an uncorroborated and discredited piece of opposition research of dubious value from a foreign source and paid for by the Clinton campaign and DNC, they should have realized the legal ground beneath their feet wasn’t shaky; it was quaking.
The people within the FBI can nuance away the use of the noun “spy” and the verb “to spy” as words not used in FBI parlance. But, spying is spying is spying. Nevertheless, they went ahead anyway. Did their hatred and/or fear of Trump run so deep that they would resort to illegal activity? Were they that invested in the promise of a Clinton presidency that they resorted to such measures?
Hopefully, with William Barr in charge of the DOJ, the truth will come out. And as that truth comes out, hopefully we will see some bodies entering prison. Over two years of the Mueller probe produced absolutely nothing against any Trump campaign person other than indictments having nothing to do with Russia, or process crimes associated with the probe itself.
As stated earlier, it is unlikely this scandal will reach into the Obama White House. These people were/are too experienced and shrewd. In comments to a previous article I wrote on this subject, some wondered whether dragging a previous administration into court would be “banana republic.” That certainly is a concern that should be addressed at the time, but this writer does not believe it is even necessary. At the very least, the American public needs to know how deep this whole scandal goes because this may very well be the first attempted coup to remove a duly elected American president in our history. If so, then we are already well on the road to banana republic status.