AP featured image
FILE – In this June 7, 2017 file photo, FBI acting director Andrew McCabe listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Justice Department is reviewing a recommendation that it fire former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe ahead of his forthcoming retirement. That’s according to a person familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an internal disciplinary process. The recommendation was made by the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility and was sent to the Justice Department. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Andrew McCabe Was the No. 2 Official at the FBI and He Doesn’t Understand the Law

Andrew McCabe gave an interview to CNN yesterday – where he’s paid to be a legal analyst – and based on that interview the folks at CNN should be asking for their money back.  During the interview he said the following:

“We investigated Mr. Flynn because he had very significant well-known, high-level contacts within the Russian government. By the end of December, we hadn’t found very much new until, of course, we stumbled across absolutely incontrovertible evidence that Mr. Flynn was having surreptitious contacts with the Russia government through the local ambassador…. Very simply, he was interviewed about those contacts and given an opportunity to explain why he was talking to the Russians. He lied during that interview. That’s what he admitted to doing.”

“I would point out that General Flynn was not targeted. He was properly investigated in a well-predicated case [ ] whose validity has been proven not just by those of us who were involved but later by the Mueller investigation and after that by the inspector general’s investigation. He was investigated because we had reason to believe he presented a threat to national security. I still think that those things are worthy of investigation. Apparently the president does not.”

This is a stunningly inept effort to recast history in a way that seemingly signals some significant form of mental distress.  It just might be that McCabe has never been able to get his head around what has happened to him between Oct. 2016, when the stories first appeared about his wife’s political campaign connections to long-time Clinton crony Terry McAuliffe, and March 2018, when he was fired from the No. 2 position at the FBI just hours ahead of his 50th birthday and full vesting of his FBI pension.

Breaking down his comments set forth above, note the following:

“We investigated Mr. Flynn because he had very significant… contacts within the Russian government.”

“…. General Flynn was not targeted.”

I suspect the distinction – if there is one – might have been lost on Gen. Flynn and his family, especially when they listed their house for sale in order to pay the lawyers.

“By the end of December, we hadn’t found very much new…”

Lets see what McCabe’s Agents investigating Gen. Flynn (“Crossfire Razor”) actually said:

“Following the compilation of the above information, the [Crossfire Hurricane] team determined that CROSSFIRE RAZOR was no longer a viable candidate as part of the larger CROSSFIRE HURRICANE umbrella case.  A review of logical [REDACTED] databases did not yield any information on which to predicate further investigative efforts.  While a [Confidential Human Source] provided some information on CR’s interaction with [REDACTED] the absence of derogatory information on [REDACTED] limited the investigative value of the information.”

It’s not that the Crossfire Hurricane “hadn’t found very much new” – they hadn’t found ANYTHING.

Back to McCabe:

“we stumbled across absolutely incontrovertible evidence that Mr. Flynn was having surreptitious contacts with the Russia government through the local ambassador…”

Excuse me for a moment while I step outside to laugh – I don’t want coffee all over my computer screen.

Ok – I’m back.  According to Super G-Man Extraordinaire Andrew McCabe, telephone calls made by the incoming National Security Advisor, who is a member of the incoming administration’s transition team, placed to representatives of foreign governments – when the incoming NSA knows such calls are normally recorded by various intelligence agencies – are “surreptitious contacts” with those foreign governments.

In the immortal words of Inigo Montoya “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Webster’s defines “surreptitious” as doing something by “stealth” or acting “clandestinely.”

Talking to a foreign ambassador over an unsecured cell phone while knowing that intelligence agencies are likely capturing every word is not “stealthy” or “clandestine.”  Andy McCabe either has a room temperature IQ (possible), or he’s simply making stuff up as he goes.

But beyond his choice of adjectives, McCabe can’t be troubled to offer an explanation of what Gen. Flynn said in these phone conversations with the Russian Ambassador that changed the expressed view of the CH Agents in their memo that there was no information discovered that warranted “further investigative efforts.”

Back to McCabe:

“He was properly investigated in a well predicated case ‘… He was investigated because we had reason to believe he presented a threat to national security.”

Yes – that’s why CROSSFIRE RAZOR was opened on August 16, 2016.  It was set to be closed on January 4, 2017, because in the interim five months it had been determined by the Crossfire Hurricane team that “no derogatory information” supported the claim that he was a “threat to national security.”  The investigation was complete and a determination on the question had been reached.  McCabe ignores that inconvenient truth, but AG Barr and US Attorney Jensen understand that the law does not ignore that.  My money’s simply on the fact that McCabe doesn’t understand the law.

The depth of McCabe’s ignorance about the law that governed the Agency he headed briefly only further underscores a point I’ve made often on Twitter – McCabe’s rise through the leadership ranks of the FBI had NOTHING to do with whether he was particularly talented or skilled in any meaningful way in the positions he held.  FOR THE MOST PART, the management structure of the FBI does not reflect a meritocracy.

But that’s a story for another day.