The more we have learned about the activities and role of the FBI in the so-called counterintelligence investigation the carried out on the presidential campaign of President Trump, the shadier and more disreputable it appears. We can say with some degree of conclusiveness that the FISA warrant obtained on Carter Page in October 2016 and subsequently renewed three times was done so on false pretenses and, at least the renewals, were done so with the knowledge of the entire FBI leadership that the premises were false. We know that FBI asset, Stefan Halper, was involved in operations aimed at Page and at Michael Flynn. We know that the FBI represented a long-time FBI informant as a conduit to the Russian government. We know that the hapless George Papadopoulos was targeted by one or more Western intelligence agencies and their product found its way to the FBI.
Attorney General Bill Barr has expressed some skepticism over the investigation of the Trump campaign and has appointed the US Attorney for Connecticut, John Durham, as what amounts to a special counsel to investigate the genesis of the Russia hoax. Needless to say, the FBI mafia is not happy.
The AG should stop sliming his own Department. If there are bad facts, show us, or search for them professionally and then tell us what you found. An AG must act like the leader of the Department of Justice, an organization based on truth. Donald Trump has enough spokespeople.
— James Comey (@Comey) May 18, 2019
This morning some former FBI goon and current NBC News/MSNBC analyst named Frank Figliuzzi launched an attack on Bill Barr in NBC’s opinion section.
As we all have learned, the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, acting on classified data, allied intelligence, human sources and conduct occurring in plain view, opened a counterintelligence investigation to explore Russia’s attempts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. The Russian efforts were later detailed in over two dozen federal grand jury indictments involving Russian intelligence officers and Russian nationals.
The FBI inquiry also included connections between the Trump campaign and known or suspected Russian government affiliated individuals. Those connections are detailed in over 100 pages of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Mueller’s inquiry was predicated by the FBI’s initial Russia investigation. Now, President Donald Trump and Barr seek to undermine Mueller’s findings by fueling doubt about the FBI’s decision to open the initial Russian case that led to a special counsel appointment. Back at the Kremlin, the vodka is flowing.
Except that really isn’t the truth, even by the FBI’s own narrative. The FBI has claimed that a conversation between George Papadopoulos and Australian diplomat Alexander Downer started the investigation…or they did until that story stopped being tenable and then FBI insiders took to the pages of the New York Times to revise and extend that story. We know that candidate Trump was never briefed on any of the dodgey contacts by staff members and given the opportunity to fire them. Instead, inexplicably if one assumes the FBI was not operating as an adjunct of the Democrat Party and the Clinton campaign, they allowed the people they were targeting to have the activities remain hidden from candidate Trump. I think the reason for this is obvious. If they kept surveillance on these people they were able to use them as a gateway to carry out surveillance on the entire Trump campaign and, through them, the RNC. Essentially, this was Watergate but the burglars were the FBI.
As to the vodka flowing, if you think the Kremlin isn’t laughing about one of their information operations, by that I mean the Steele Dossier, being the cause of a special counsel investigation of a sitting president and an impeachment proceeding you really haven’t been paying attention.
Barr instructed John Durham, a veteran and respected prosecutor and current U.S. Attorney for Connecticut, to examine the predication for the FBI’s Russia case. Choosing to use a hand-picked direct subordinate instead of simply tapping the more independent Department of Justice inspector general is suspicious on its own. When added to Barr’s other partisan conduct over the past few weeks, his decision is one more blow to a Justice Department and FBI that must function as independent, apolitical champions of the truth.
We’ve been told over and over that an innocent man has nothing to fear from a pack of feral federal prosecutors digging through their crap looking for evidence that a crime may have been committed at some point in the past, so I would think that if the FBI has nothing to fear from a US attorney having a look at their operation. And can we stop the nonsense about the Justice and the FBI being independent or apolitical. The senior FBI officials involved in the Russia probe were open Hillary Clinton partisans. The FBI director, after Comey was kicked to the curb, was serving in open and blatant violation of the Hatch Act. Robert Mueller’s deputy was at Hillary Clinton’s truncated “victory” bash and hired similarly partisan democrats to flesh out Mueller’s investigatory team.
But instead, our current attorney general would have us believe the myth that some kind of deep state resides within the corridors of our most trusted institutions, a conspiracy theory the president’s supporters have repeatedly echoed. Despite ongoing related investigations by a capable DOJ inspector general, Barr wants us to believe, as does his boss, that our system is broken and that the only fix lies outside the practices and policies that served our democracy for centuries.
We don’t know if Barr’s decisions are malicious, self-serving or simply ignorant. But by perpetuating the president’s falsehoods and eroding Americans’ trust in our institutions, Barr has become the kind of threat capable of doing severe harm; he has become a threat from within.
The more we see, the less doubt there is that within the Civil Service there is a strong stream of Democrat partisanship that is hard at work trying to block initiatives by this administration and trying to damage it by leaks. The IG’s investigation has already found that dozens of FBI agents accepted gifts of tickets, meals, etc. from reporters and it isn’t all that hard to connect the dots from there to the non-stop string of leaks about alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia–all of which were proven false–that decorated the front pages and lead stories of major US media throughout 2017.
If there is threat from within, it is the leadership of the FBI and of Justice that allowed federal law enforcement to act as hitmen for one political party. Attorney General Bill Barr’s decision to not close ranks and protect the FBI from its own malfeasance and hubris has upset official Washington more than anything President Trump has been accused of doing. His actions, and criminal prosecutions of some of the worst offenders, are a first step in rebuilding trust in those institutions.
The novelist Pat Conroy gave a great eulogy for his father, retired Marine Colonel Donald Conroy. Don Conroy was a Marine fighter pilot and the model for the father in Conroy’s novel The Great Santini. Part of that eulogy reminds me of what we’re seeing happen.
Let me give you my father the warrior in full battle array. The Great Santini is catapulted off the deck of the aircraft carrier, Sicily. His Black Sheep squadron is the first to reach the Korean Theater and American ground troops had been getting torn up by North Korean regulars. Let me do it in his voice: “We didn’t even have a map of Korea. Not zip. We just headed toward the sound of artillery firing along the Naktong River. They told us to keep the North Koreans on their side of the Naktong. Air power hadn’t been a factor until we got there that day. I radioed to Bill Lundin. I was his wingman. ‘There they are. Let’s go get’em.’ So we did.”
I was interviewing Dad so I asked, “how do you know you got them?” “Easy,” The Great Santini said. “They were running – it’s a good sign when you see the enemy running. There was another good sign.”
“What was that, Dad?”
“They were on fire.”
Barr has got them. Because they are running and they will shortly be on fire.