Islamic Operatives Use Soviet Tactics to Target Conservatives

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, August 9, 2018:

The Islamic Movement in the United States manifests primarily as an espionage and counterintelligence threat, not merely as a “terrorist” threat.

When operatives in the Islamic Movement meet with police chiefs, elected officials, FBI Directors, business leaders, Pastors, Rabbis and others, they portray themselves as friendly, but they are working to recruit and use them, much as U.S. government counterintelligence operatives recruit foreign assets.

These jihadi operations may take months or years to develop, but the benefits of having an influential American official working for jihadis is a major victory for the Islamic Movement.

Examples of successful penetration operations include:

President Clinton’s Islamic Advisor Abdurahman Alamoudi, who created the Muslim Chaplain Program for the Department of Defense and met with Mr. Clinton more than any other muslim in America, was an Al Qaeda financier who is now in federal prison.

Senator Richard Durbin’s go-to guy for all things Islamic prior to his hearing on the civil rights of muslims in America was Mohamed Magid and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).  Magid was the leader of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) which was identified by the Department of Justice as a Muslim Brotherhood organization and a financial support arm for Hamas leaders and Hamas groups overseas.

The Islamic Movement also identifies conservative threats to their Movement and targets them for destruction, ensuring they lose their influence.

When Irving, Texas Mayor Beth Van Duyne publicly decried the Sharia Courts in Irving, she was targeted by muslim leaders.  Several months later the Clock Boy Operation was launched against her.  Democrats attacked her for her “civil rights” failures in the incident, and Republicans called for a review of the zero tolerance policy in incidents of this nature.  Mayor Van Duyne was left standing alone as Islamic leaders planned.

Most Patriots aware of Milwaukee’s Sheriff David Clarke were drawn to him for his outspoken call for law and order, strong stance on national defense, and for boldly stating America needs to police muslim communities.

Sheriff Clarke was also considered for positions inside the Trump Administration.

In walks Hedieh Mirahmadi.  A classic honey trap.

Dr. Hedieh Mirahmadi grew up a shia muslim of Iranian decent who later converted to sunni Islam.  Mirahmadi is an attorney with a degree in Islamic doctrine from the As-Sunna Foundation.  She is the founder of the World Organization for Resource and Development and Education (WORDE), and the former Secretary General of the Islamic Supreme Council of America.

Red flags about Ms. Mirahmadi include her close working relationships with Muslim Brotherhood organizations and leaders like Salam al Marayati, participation in the Muslim Brotherhood’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) initiative, and the fact she publishes articles about Islamic doctrine (sharia) that are patently false despite the fact she has a degree in the subject.

Most notably, Ms. Mirahmadi works with federal agencies and police organizations around the United States to discuss “extremism” and the Muslim Brotherhood.  Yet, none of the groups with whom she works have demonstrated any level of understanding of the jihadi’s doctrine – sharia – nor the Muslim Brotherhood network and their modus operandi.

In fact, the agencies with which Mirahmadi work, have a completely counter-factual understanding of sharia and the Muslim Brotherhood.

So, the Islamic Movement targeted Sheriff David Clarke and sent Mirahmadi in.  To demonstrate the effectiveness of this operation, UTT offers the following:

Sheriff Clarke went from calling for police to patrol muslim neighborhoods 18 months ago to recently calling people on social media speaking truth about Islam “racists.”

When articles written by investigative journalist Laura Loomer were published a year ago about Hedieh Mirahmadi’s questionable background, Sheriff Clarke publicly attacked and mocked Loomer.

This week Sheriff David Clarke admitted he was duped, and openly stated Hedieh Mirahmadi is a Muslim Brotherhood operative.

The lesson for everyone reading this article is that David Clarke is one of many Patriots who have been duped by Muslim Brotherhood operatives acting on behalf of our Islamic foes, even if they are not intentionally doing so.

Twenty years Abdurahman Alamoudi was the “pillar of the Islamic community in Washington, D.C.” and turned out to be an Al Qaeda operative.

After 9/11, Anwar al Awlaki was considered the “new face of Islam in America” and gave presentations at the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol, but turned out to be an Al Qaeda operative killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011.

In 2005, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office Mike Rolince gave Mohamed Magid an award, and in 2016 FBI Director James Comey presented Magid with the FBI Director’s Award.

Mohamed Magid was the President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), identified by the Department of Justice as a Muslim Brotherhood organization which seeks to overthrow the U.S. government and establish an Islamic State.  Evidence entered into the largest terrorism financing trial ever successfully prosecuted in American history (US v HLF, Northern District of Texas, 2008) reveals ISNA provides financial support to Hamas organizations and Hamas leaders overseas.

Hamas is a designated foreign terrorist organization.

The threat from the Islamic Movement in the United States manifests itself primarily as an espionage and counterintelligence threat, not merely as a “terrorist” threat.

It is high time the U.S. government treats Islamic spies working to destroy America the same way it treated the Rosenbergs.

NM Tragedy: Could the FBI Have Saved the Boy?

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, August 8, 2018:

The New Mexico authorities have announced heart-breaking news: The remains of a boy have been found at the Islamist compound that was raided on Friday.

It is almost certainly the body of disabled toddler Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, who has been missing for nine months after being abducted by his father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, and brought to the compound with 11 other malnourished children.

The day the remains were found would have been his fourth birthday.

The pain one experiences from reading the story is increased exponentially by a reality that is difficult to accept: The boy might have been saved if the FBI had acted, instead of stalling until the New Mexico police finally went in on their own.

The Beginning

Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj went missing on December 1, 2017, abducted by his father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj. The boy’s mother, Hakeemah Ramzi, went to the police. The boy’s parents had been married for 15 years, according to press reports. It is unclear what sparked the sudden rift within the Wahhaj family.

Siraj Ibn Wahhaj attributed his son’s disabilities to demonic beings and believed that only an Islamic exorcism would expel the demons, a fact reported by the Clarion Intelligence Network’s sources before it was confirmed publicly in a search warrant.

The boy’s medication was left behind, putting him in peril. Sources say the rejection of medical treatment points to the fact that the ideology held by Wahhaj and his co-conspirators stems not from traditional Islamism but to a cultish fringe.

The kidnapper is the son of radical Imam Siraj Wahhaj in Brooklyn, one of the most powerful Islamic leaders in the country. He heads the Masjid at-Tawa mosque and the Muslim Alliance in North America, both of which have a long history of extremism and ties to terrorism, including weapons training and acquirement.

Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and his co-conspirators likely learned their skills in this regard through this Islamist network even if they later had a falling out with Imam Wahhaj and joined a more fringe cult-like movement. Clarion Intelligence Network has been providing information to the necessary authorities in this regard.

He had also set up a security-related company as a front.

The boy was seen with his father and other adults and children in Alabama on December 13 at the scene of a car accident. They told the police officer on the scene they were going to New Mexico to go camping.

The Compound is Discovered

Press reports indicate the compound was first set up in late December. It is still unknown exactly why and when the spot was chosen. Our law enforcement sources are certain there is a bigger story behind it.

Neighbors saw Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj at the compound in January and February.

A couple, Jason and Tanya Badger, went to the police in late April or early May once they did an internet search of Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and discovered he was a wanted a fugitive and the boy was missing.

Furthermore, the Badgers were involved in a property dispute with Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and his co-conspirators. According to the search warrant, Lucas “Luqman” Morton had purchased land nearby but accidentally built the compound on the Badgers’ land. The Badgers were trying to negotiate a land deal to settle the issue.

The Badgers gave permission to the FBI to search the compound, as it was on their own private property.

How the FBI Dropped the Ball

By early May, the FBI had strong evidence the fugitive believed to have the missing boy in custody was at the New Mexico compound. The legal owners of at least part of the land that the property was on had given permission for a search, making a “probable cause” standard for a search warrant unnecessary.

The FBI also knew this compound was inhabited by Islamist extremists and they were probably acquiring weapons. Our sources say there are indications they engaged in identity fraud and, most likely, other forms of fraud.

The FBI did not act decisively, even as the compound prepared for war and the children were in peril, especially the missing boy who was almost certainly there and whom the FBI knew was in desperate need of medication.

Yet instead of searching the property themselves, what did the FBI do?

They asked the neighbor, Jason Badger, to wear a hidden camera and risk his life by approaching an armed, Islamic extremist compound.

The FBI placed the compound under surveillance for at least two months before the raid, hoping to get a positive identification of the boy’s presence there—even though the extremists at the compound knew identification had to be prevented and had taken visible measures to make sure it didn’t happen.

The Badgers didn’t like the idea of having Islamist extremist neighbors who illegally squatted on their property. They filed a petition to have them evicted.

Their request for eviction—a very brazen move on the part of the Badgers—was rejected by a judge in June.

During an August 7 news conference, a reporter asked why that wasn’t enough for the authorities to go in. The police spokesperson said it was a civil matter and not grounds for a search warrant. The extremists and starving children got to stay.

The trigger for the raid was when the New Mexico police were provided a message by the authorities in Georgia.

A message had come out of the compound. It said the children were starving and they needed food and water.

The New Mexico authorities decided to go in on their own search warrant.

The Raid

The bravery shown by the New Mexico police — who were moved to save the children – can only be imaged.

The compound is on 10 acres of land in the middle of nowhere, making impossible any element of surprise. The police involved in the raid knew there was an enormous chance of a deadly shootout which could have incurred multiple casualties on the part of the police officers.

Sources aware of the investigation described the property as essentially a “training camp” with a shooting range. Neighbors had reported hearing gunfire consistently over the months. The camp looked like it was a compilation of trash, but close observation showed that it was not the handiwork of amateurs.

Tires formed a defensive perimeter. A trailer was half-buried and covered in plastic to stop outsiders from seeing what was going on inside. Various measures had been taken to detect “visitors” and impede an expected raid — wood with nails sticking out it and shattered glass were scattered on the property to alert residents of any intruders.

“It had to be a search warrant and a tactical approach to our own security, because we had learned that the inmates were most likely heavily armed and regarded as extremist of the Muslim faith,” an official from the Taos County Sheriff’s Office explained.

The two men, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Lucas Morten, initially did not comply with police orders.

Somehow, they were compelled—or forced—to surrender.

Siraj Ibn Wahhaj had a loaded firearm on him when he was “taken down.”

Between the two of them, they had an AR-15 rifle, four loaded pistols and five loaded 30-round magazines, at the very least. They were obviously preparing to violently resist.

Footage of a walk through the compound shows the Islamist extremists were gearing up for a protracted battle.

Authorities found a 150-foot tunnel with cutouts where sleeping bags were stored so they could hide underground. There was a ladder and a hidden exit outside of Morton’s property for escape.

All told, it was a miracle that a Waco-like shootout did not commence during the raid which occurred on Friday, August 3, 2018.

In sum, five people were arrested and 11 children were rescued. Their condition was likened to that of refugees from a Third World country. Their ribs could be seen because they hadn’t eaten. The police gave them whatever water and snacks they had on them at the time.

The children reportedly appeared “brainwashed” and in great fear.

One boy remained still missing. On Monday, during a follow-up search, a corpse, likely that of the boy, was found.

Shocking Discovery of the Neighbors Post-Raid

The New Mexico police said they searched the compound as best they could with their limited resources.

On Sunday, about two days after the raid on Friday, the Badgers went into the compound to look around. They were shocked by what they found left behind.

The police had failed to seize guns, video cameras, a laptop computer and a tactical vest.

These are key items for prosecution and intelligence; ones that an unidentified co-conspirator would love to have retrieved after the ending of a search. Yet, they were left behind.

Conclusion

While the ultimate responsibility for the death and any injuries lies with the adults responsible, with a look at the information that is currently being reported, it is hard not to wonder what the FBI was waiting for.

We do not know when the boy died, assuming the body that was found was his. Yet, whether quicker, more decisive action could have saved his life is a question that must be answered.

And if the FBI felt it couldn’t act in this situation, then what other dangerous situations with even less evidence aren’t being handled decisively?

What would have stopped the compound leaders from carrying out an attack, abusing the children even more seriously, or deciding to end their lives in a manner reminiscent of Jim Jones or the Branch Davidians at Waco?

If the FBI’s standard for action requires evidence and danger even greater than what was known about the New Mexico compound, then its standard must change.

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Clarion’s Shillman Fellow and Clarion Intelligence Network Director Ryan Mauro explains how we worked hand in hand with authorities investigating a New Mexico Islamist compound.

Reports suggest children kept in the compound were being trained to stage school shootings.

Here’s more from Ryan:

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Also see:

FISA Applications Confirm: The FBI Relied on the Unverified Steele Dossier

One-time advisor of Donald Trump Carter Page addresses the audience during a presentation in Moscow, Russia, December 12, 2016. (Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters)

A salacious Clinton-campaign product was the driving force behind the Trump–Russia investigation.

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, July 23, 2018:

On a sleepy summer Saturday, after months of stonewalling, the FBI dumped 412 pages of documents related to the Carter Page FISA surveillance warrants — the applications, the certifications, and the warrants themselves. Now that we can see it all in black and white — mostly black, as they are heavily redacted — it is crystal clear that the Steele dossier, an unverified Clinton-campaign product, was the driving force behind the Trump–Russia investigation.

Based on the dossier, the FBI told the FISA court it believed that Carter Page, who had been identified by the Trump campaign as an adviser, was coordinating with the Russian government in an espionage conspiracy to influence the 2016 election.

This sensational allegation came from Christopher Steele, the former British spy. The FISA court was not told that the Clinton campaign was behind Steele’s work. Nor did the FBI and Justice Department inform the court that Steele’s allegations had never been verified. To the contrary, each FISA application — the original one in October 2016, and the three renewals at 90-day intervals — is labeled “VERIFIED APPLICATION” (bold caps in original). And each one makes this breathtaking representation:

The FBI has reviewed this verified application for accuracy in accordance with its April 5, 2001 procedures, which include sending a copy of the draft to the appropriate field office(s).

In reality, the applications were never verified for accuracy.

What ‘Verify’ Means
Consider this: The representation that the FBI’s verification procedures include sending the application to “appropriate field offices” is standard in FISA warrant applications. It is done because the FBI’s Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (DIOG) mandates that the bureau “ensure that information appearing in a FISA application that is presented to the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] has been thoroughly vetted and confirmed.” (See House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes March 1, 2018, letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, embedded here.) The point is to assure the court that the FBI has corroborated the allegations in the warrant application in the usual way.

A hypothetical shows how this works. Let’s say that X, an informant, tells the FBI in Washington that Y, a person in St. Louis, told him that Z, the suspect, is plotting to rob the bank.

X’s story is unverified; he doesn’t know anything firsthand about Z — he only knows what Y has told him. Obviously, then, the FBI does not instantly run to court and seek a warrant against Z. Instead, the bureau sends an investigative “lead” from headquarters in Washington to the FBI field office in St. Louis. FBI agents in St. Louis then go find and interview Y. Based on that interview, the FBI gathers supporting information (perhaps physical surveillance of Z, scrutiny of available documents and records about Z, etc.). Only then, after debriefing the witness with competent knowledge, do the Justice Department and FBI seek a warrant against Z from the court. In the application, they explain to the judge that they have verified X’s information by interviewing Y and then corroborating Y’s version of events. In fact, if they get solid enough information about Z from Y, there may be no reason even to mention X, whose tip to the FBI was sheer hearsay.

But that is not what happened with the Carter Page FISA warrants.

The FBI presented the court with allegations posited by Steele. He is in the position of X in our hypothetical. He is not the source of any of the relevant information on which the court was asked to rely for its probable-cause finding that Page was a clandestine agent of Russia. In this context, source means a reliable witness who saw or heard some occurrence on which the court is being asked to base its ruling.

Steele has not been in Russia for about 20 years. In connection with the dossier allegations, he was merely the purveyor of information from the actual sources — unidentified Russians who themselves relied on hearsay information from other sources (sometimes double and triple hearsay, very attenuated from the supposed original source).

In each Carter Page FISA warrant application, the FBI represented that it had “reviewed this verified application for accuracy.” But did the bureau truly ensure that the information had been “thoroughly vetted and confirmed”? Remember, we are talking here about serious, traitorous allegations against an American citizen and, derivatively, an American presidential campaign.

When the FBI averred that it had verified for accuracy the application that posited these allegations, it was, at best, being hyper-technical, and thus misleading. What the bureau meant was that its application correctly stated the allegations as Steele had related them. But that is not what “verification” means. The issue is not whether Steele’s allegations were accurately described; it is whether they were accurate, period. Were the allegations thoroughly vetted and confirmed by proof independent of Steele before being presented to the FISA court — which is what common sense and the FBI’s own manual mean by “verified”?

No, they were not.

There Is No Reason to Believe the Redactions Corroborate Steele
I have been making this point for months. When I made it again in a Fox and Friends interview on Sunday morning, critics asked how I could say such a thing when the warrants are pervasively redacted — how could I be so sure, given all we concededly don’t know, that the redactions do not corroborate Steele?

The critics’ tunnel vision on the redactions ignores the months of hearings and reporting on this core question, which I’ve continuously detailed. Here, for example, is what two senior Judiciary Committee senators, Charles Grassley and Lindsey Graham, wrote in a classified memo early this year after reviewing FISA applications (the memo was finally declassified and publicized over the objections of the FBI):

The bulk of the [first Carter Page FISA] application consists of allegations against Page that were disclosed to the FBI by Mr. Steele and are also outlined in the Steele dossier. The application appears to contain no additional information corroborating the dossier allegations against Mr. Page.

The senators went on to recount the concession by former FBI director James Comey that the bureau had relied on the credibility of Steele (who had previously assisted the bureau in another investigation), not the verification of Steele’s sources. In June 2017 testimony, Comey described information in the Steele dossier as “salacious and unverified.”

Moreover, the FBI’s former deputy director, Andrew McCabe, told Congress that the bureau tried very hard to verify Steele’s information but could provide no points of verification beyond the fact that Page did travel to Russia in July 2016 — a fact that required no effort to corroborate since the trip was unconcealed and widely known. (Page delivered a public commencement address at the New Economic School.) Furthermore, in British legal proceedings, Steele himself has described the information he provided to the FBI as “raw intelligence” that was “unverified.”

I freely acknowledge that we do not know what the redactions say. But we have been very well informed about what they do not say. They do not verify the allegations in the Steele dossier. I have no doubt that they have a great deal to say about Russia and its nefarious anti-American operations. But the FBI has been taking incoming fire for months about failing to corroborate Steele. No institution in America guards its reputation more zealously than does the FBI. If Steele had been corroborated, rest assured that the bureau would not be suffering in silence.

Plus, do you really think the FBI and Justice Department wanted to use the Steele dossier? Of course they didn’t. They undoubtedly believed Steele’s allegations (the applications say as much). That is no surprise given how much their top echelons loathed Donald Trump. But they were also well aware of the dossier’s significant legal problems — the suspect sourcing, the multiple hearsay. If they had solid evidence that verified Steele’s allegations, they would have used that evidence as their probable cause showing against Page. Instead, they used the dossier because, as McCabe told the House Intelligence Committee, without it they would have had no chance of persuading a judge that Page was a clandestine agent.

Whatever is in the redactions cannot change that.

There Is No Vicarious Credibility
To repeat what we’ve long said here, there is no vicarious credibility in investigations. When the government seeks a warrant, it is supposed to show the court that the actual sources of information are reliable — i.e., they were in a position to see or hear the relevant facts, and they are worthy of belief. It is not sufficient to show that the agent who assembles the source information is credible.

The vast majority of our investigators are honorable people who would never lie to a judge. But that is irrelevant because, in assessing probable cause, the judge is not being asked to rely on the honesty of the agent. The agent, after all, is under oath and supervised by a chain of command at the FBI and the Justice Department; the judge will generally assume that the agent is honestly and accurately describing the information he has gotten from various sources.

The judge’s main task is not to determine if the agent is credible. It is to weigh the reliability of the agent’s sources. Are the sources’ claims supported by enough evidence that the court should approve a highly intrusive warrant against an American citizen?

Here, Steele was in the position of an investigative agent relaying information. He was not a source (or informant) who saw or heard relevant facts. Even if we assume for argument’s sake that Steele is honest and reliable, that would tell us nothing about who his sources are, whether they were really in a position to see or hear the things they report, and whether they have a history of providing accurate information. Those are the questions the FBI must answer in order to vet and confirm factual allegations before presenting them to the FISA court. That was not done; the FBI relied on Steele’s reputation to vouch for his source’s claims.

The FISA Judges
In my public comments Sunday morning, I observed that the newly disclosed FISA applications are so shoddy that the judges who approved them ought to be asked some hard questions. I’ve gotten flak for that, no doubt because President Trump tweeted part of what I said. I stand by it. Still, some elaboration, which a short TV segment does not allow for, is in order.

I prefaced my remark about the judges with an acknowledgment of my own personal embarrassment. When people started theorizing that the FBI had presented the Steele dossier to the FISA court as evidence, I told them they were crazy: The FBI, which I can’t help thinking of as myFBI after 20 years of working closely with the bureau as a federal prosecutor, would never take an unverified screed and present it to a court as evidence. I explained that if the bureau believed the information in a document like the dossier, it would pick out the seven or eight most critical facts and scrub them as only the FBI can — interview the relevant witnesses, grab the documents, scrutinize the records, connect the dots. Whatever application eventually got filed in the FISA court would not even allude en passant to Christopher Steele or his dossier. The FBI would go to the FISA court only with independent evidence corroborated through standard FBI rigor.

Should I have assumed I could be wrong about that? Sure, even great institutions go rogue now and again. But even with that in mind, I would still have told the conspiracy theorists they were crazy — because in the unlikely event the FBI ever went off the reservation, the Justice Department would not permit the submission to the FISA court of uncorroborated allegations; and even if that fail-safe broke down, a court would not approve such a warrant.

It turns out, however, that the crazies were right and I was wrong. The FBI (and, I’m even more sad to say, my Justice Department) brought the FISA court the Steele-dossier allegations, relying on Steele’s credibility without verifying his information.

I am embarrassed by this not just because I assured people it could not have happened, and not just because it is so beneath the bureau — especially in a politically fraught case in which the brass green-lighted the investigation of a presidential campaign. I am embarrassed because what happened here flouts rudimentary investigative standards. Any trained FBI agent would know that even the best FBI agent in the country could not get a warrant based on his own stellar reputation. A fortiori, you would never seek a warrant based solely on the reputation of Christopher Steele — a non-American former intelligence agent who had political and financial incentives to undermine Donald Trump. It is always, always necessary to persuade the court that the actual sources of information allegedly amounting to probable cause are believable.

Well, guess what? No one knows that better than experienced federal judges, who deal with a steady diet of warrant applications. It is basic. Much of my bewilderment, in fact, stems from the certainty that if I had been so daft as to try to get a warrant based on the good reputation of one of my FBI case agents, with no corroboration of his or her sources, just about any federal judge in the Southern District of New York would have knocked my block off — and rightly so.

That’s why I said it.

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‘Jeff Sessions, Where Are You?’: Hannity Calls Dossier News ‘Biggest Single Scandal in US History’

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Click on this  tweet and read the thread:

Mr. President, Declassify Documents on Russia Collusion Now

The Spectator, by R. Emmett Tyrrel, Jr. July 18, 2018:

Now that FBI agent Peter Strzok has appeared before the Congress and told us nothing that we did not know, it is time for President Donald Trump to act. Strzok looked like a cocky crook testifying to Congress about a failed con job. His appearance was utterly astounding. He actually smirked at the assembled elected officials of government. He smirked from morning until late in the afternoon when the Congress finally adjourned, though admittedly by late in the afternoon the wind was pretty much out of his sails, and his smiling face most assuredly ached. He looked deflated, and if he was eager for anything it was for the exit and the arms of his FBI paramour Lisa Page.

His demeanor was not that of a stalwart FBI agent appearing before the Congress of the United States to inform the citizenry, but like that of John Gotti or one of the other hoods whom a better generation of FBI agents than Strzok’s once put behind bars.

At some point in the near future a reflective Congress might — in a bipartisan moment — investigate how the FBI became a tool of elitist interests in our nation’s capital. Then too the Congress could offer suggestions as to what can be done to repair the damage. For federal law enforcement to become so flagrantly political is genuinely alarming.

I think President Trump has subtly brought the left and the right in this country together, at least on one point. The time has come for the citizenry to see all the documents held by the government in the so-called Russian collusion scandal. Was there collusion? Who was involved? The President has it in his power to declassify the documents. Use your faithful weapon, Mr. President, your trusty black felt pen. Sign the declassifying order now.
Pressure is building from both ends of the spectrum. Last weekend the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal called for declassifying the documents. Strzok did tell his intrepid inquisitor, Congressman Jim Jordan, that over at the Justice Department one Bruce Ohr did serve as the quiet conveyor of opposition research from the Clinton front group Fusion GPS to the FBI. Oh yes, and Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion and, by the way, Ohr and perhaps a dozen others involved in this Camorra to discredit Trump go back years, many to their college days as young socialists at Cambridge and select American universities. That revelation means that as the Journal pointed out, “… Fusion, an outfit on the payroll of the Clinton campaign, had a messenger on the government payroll to deliver its anti-Trump documents to the FBI.” Confirming that, “the FBI relied on politically motivated sources as part of its probe, even as Mr. Strzok insists he showed no political bias….” Strzok is even more brazen than members of the Cosa Nostra.

Specifically the Journal called for the release of FISA applications. They will show how heavily the FBI relied on Christopher Steele’s dirty dossier. They will also show how candid the Justice Department and the FBI were in seeking the FISA subpoenas from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The Journal also called for release of documents related to the Woods procedures, which will show how the FBI verified evidence it used to justify eavesdropping on the Trump campaign. There are also documents called 302s and 1023s, documents that would show how the FBI dealt with Steele, Fusion GPS, and other informants, for instance Dan Jones and my old friend Stef Halper.

I have my own set of questions about the Russian collusion investigation that might be answered if the President orders the above documents declassified. Working with my indefatigable chief investigator, George Neumayr, here are a few of the questions that we have prepared once President Trump has declassified the documents.

  • The President should declassify all communications between Strzok and John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s director of CIA. Their shared hatred for Trump lies at the root of the Obama administration’s decision to spy on the Trump campaign. Declassify the documents and let the questioning begin.
  • He should also declassify any documents that shed light on Brennan’s “working group at Langley.” When did the group begin its work? Who participated?
  • He should declassify any documents that shed light on the internal discussions or debates about whether or not to open up a probe of the Trump campaign: Did any FBI officials dissent from the decision? If so, who are the officials?
  • He should declassify any documents related to the Brennan-generated leak to then Senator Harry Reid. My guess is that Brennan has a lot of questions to answer as this week’s tweets suggest.

Strzok’s appearance before the Congress was very amusing. Now it is time to come up with answers to the question of Russian collusion or collusion by anyone else in the 2016 election. Mr. President, you can do it.

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“They are prosecuting people on a partisan basis, and that, is the beginning of tyranny”

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Also see:

5 Key Takeaways From The House Hearing With FBI Counterintelligence No. 2 Peter Strzok

Photo Washington Post / YouTube

Yesterday’s joint hearing in front of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees was the first public hearing Congress held with the official who launched the Russia probe two years ago.

The Federalist, by Mollie Hemingway, July 13, 2018:

An embattled FBI official who led investigations into both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump testified in a cantankerous open hearing on the Hill yesterday. Peter Strzok, formerly the second in command of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, lost his position after texts he exchanged on government systems with his also-married lover and colleague Lisa Page revealed extreme bias against President Trump and his voters.

Yesterday’s joint hearing in front of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees was the first public hearing Congress held with the official who launched the Russia probe two years ago. Here are a few key takeaways from that hearing.

1. This Is What DOJ Obstruction Looks Like

The country is two years into the FBI’s probe of whether Donald Trump colluded with Russia to steal an election. Not a single charge has been brought by the FBI or by the Office of Special Counsel alleging collusion or treason or anything close to the charges that supposedly necessitated this investigation.

Congress began asking some questions of the FBI and Department of Justice about how it was conducting the investigation. Through the oversight process, Americans learned that the infamous “dossier” that laid out a case of collusion was secretly bought and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. This dossier was used to secure wiretaps against Trump associates (other surveillance methods, including human informants, were also used).

The dossier was fed to both the FBI and State Department. Top intelligence officials were leaking about the Russia investigation to CNN and other media outlets. A top DOJ official’s wife worked for the firm that Hillary Clinton hired to run the “Russia” operation. That firm fed their opposition research to the FBI through him.

The Senate Judiciary and House Intelligence Committees, along with the Senate Homeland Security committee, House Oversight, and House Government Reform committees, have worked hard to uncover these details and in the face of unprecedented obstruction. Requests for documents are met with stonewalling, delays, redactions, leak campaigns, and outright refusals. Threats of subpoenas are routinely made to force even minor compliance.

Despite the length of yesterday’s hearing, congressional overseers were able to elicit almost no substantive answers to the questions they asked. Strzok claimed he was not answering questions because the Department of Justice told him not to answer questions. No matter the question, Strzok refused to answer any question about his role in the Russia probe, with almost no exceptions.

The hearing was a public revelation of the stonewalling and obstruction the DOJ has enforced against congressional oversight.

2. Strzok Somehow Came Off Even Worse Than He Did In His Texts

Despite his significant role in the Russia and Clinton investigations, the only picture Americans had formed of Strzok was based on his text messages. He spoke of his loathing of President Trump, Trump’s voters, and congressional oversight. He talked of stopping Trump’s election, of insurance policies to deal with his candidacy, and fantasies of impeachment.

The texts were between him and his also married colleague, another top-ranking official in the Department of Justice. The hearing demonstrated the texts were at best an accurate reflection of the man who wrote them. If anything, the texts were understated.

Strzok chose to present himself to the world as a smug, arrogant, and peevish man. He was defensive and condescending. His answers were almost mind-blowingly implausible. It wasn’t just that he lacked good judgment or even-handedness. It’s that he didn’t seem to have a grip on reality. He kept saying he wasn’t biased, when his bias is indisputable.

He told investigators that he would like to answer a question but that his attorneys weren’t letting him. If they later told him he could answer, he’d say he didn’t remember. He implausibly said that his affair didn’t put him at risk of compromise, in contrast to his agency’s policy.

3. Democrats Run Interference

Almost immediately, Democrats on the House and Government Reform Committee attempted to shut down the hearing. When that failed, they resorted to near-constant parliamentary inquiries and objections. At one point they actually cheered and applauded Strzok, despite his ethical failings and poor judgment, which have threatened the entire Russia investigation. The man is under internal investigation for his behavior. Yet one Democrat said he’d like to offer Strzok a Purple Heart, a military decoration awarded to those wounded or killed while serving in the U.S. military.

As silly as this behavior may seem, it indicated how Democrats hope to handle all oversight of the FBI and DOJ’s handling of the Russia probe. The message went out that every hearing will be a clown-show, even by the typical grandstanding attendant to congressional hearings. Democrats on oversight committees have fought transparency of the Russia investigation, portraying it as obstruction of a legitimate probe. All signs indicate that opposition to oversight will continue.

4. DOJ Clearly Hiding Its Relationship With Democratic-Funded Smear Group

The FBI and DOJ frequently instructed Strzok not to answer substantive questions from Republicans. One line of inquiry pursued by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, was regarding communication between the FBI and Fusion GPS, the group that concocted the “Russia” dossier and messaging plan on behalf of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. Strzok generally declined to answer questions.

But Strzok did admit that Bruce Ohr, husband of Fusion GPS operative Nellie Ohr, funneled documents to the FBI related to the Russia case. He refused to say what those documents were. Yesterday, Sen. Chuck Grassley asked DOJ to declassify the dozen reports summarizing Ohr’s 12 information-sharing meetings with the FBI.

The FBI used Fusion GPS-hired Christopher Steele until the end of October, when he was terminated for lying about his leaks to the media. But Fusion and Steele were able to continue funnelling information to the FBI using colleague Nellie Ohr and her husband Bruce Ohr, a top DOJ official who worked closely with acting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

When the Russia story first broke, Americans didn’t realize that the dossier was a secret Clinton/DNC operation, or that the unverified opposition research was sent to various Obama officials in multiple agencies. Americans didn’t know that a top DOJ official was married to an employee of the group that created the dossier, or that he was used to get information into the government.

5. The Mystery Of Why The Investigation Started

Strzok said he didn’t see the dossier until mid-September. His electronic communication that started the probe didn’t include official intelligence. Given the politically explosive nature of the investigation, the FBI and DOJ have failed to explain what they were thinking in starting a probe of the Trump campaign.

The entire investigation has major problems from start to finish, whether it’s the use of a dossier that Steele created and Bruce Ohr sent to the FBI, or the fact that Strzok ended up having to be removed from the investigation for his obvious and extreme bias. Strzok said Mueller never asked him about his texts, and didn’t seek to find out more from him about what his “insurance policy” or “impeachment” rhetoric meant.

Again, the hearing was less than substantive because of the ongoing obstruction and stonewalling campaign engaged in by DOJ. That was itself instructive.

***

Also see:

Look to Trump, Not Trey Gowdy, to Address Bias at the FBI and DOJ

Rep. Trey Gowdy on Capitol Hill (James Lawler Duggan/Reuters)

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, June 23, 2018:

The president runs the executive branch, after all.

I confess to being more weary than dizzy from the Dr. Gowdy–and–Mr. Trey routine. Just three weeks ago, Representative Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican who chairs the House Oversight Committee, assured us that everything was peachy with the FBI — no way, no how did the bureau “spy” on the Trump campaign when it deployed an “informant” to pry information from Trump-campaign officials. As Mollie Hemingway pointed out at the time, Gowdy had not seen relevant documents the FBI and Justice Department have been withholding from Congress — in fact, his spokeswoman said he did not even know what documents and records have been subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee (on which Gowdy also sits).

This week, Gowdy did a 180: back on the warpath, slamming the politically biased Feebs over “prejudging” the outcomes of the Clinton-emails and Trump-Russia investigations and delivering a chest-beating vow that the House would “use its full arsenal of constitutional weapons to get compliance” with its subpoenas — a threat that includes holding recalcitrant FBI and DOJ officials in contempt.

Whatever.

If I seem frustrated by Representative Gowdy, it is the frustration of an admirer. He is singular among lawmakers in his ability to ask piercing questions and drive home important points. But often there is little follow-through after a hearing’s highlight reel, and some of the scintillating rhetoric is, well, extravagant. The House is most certainly not going to use its “full arsenal of constitutional weapons” to pressure stonewalling agencies.

The Framers intended that the most ready and effective weapon would be Congress’s power of the purse. Yet, given Republicans’ slim majorities and the dysfunctional legislative budgeting process, it would not be realistic to threaten a dramatic slashing of Justice Department and FBI funding — something that would actually get their attention. Nor is impeachment chatter an effective means of saber-rattling. Republicans could not muster the simple House majority necessary to file impeachment articles against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or FBI director Wray, much less the Senate supermajority (two-thirds) needed to remove them. And don’t think Rosenstein and Wray can’t do the math.

Thus does the vaunted “full arsenal” quickly degrade to a possible contempt-of-Congress citation against these officials. The votes, however, are probably lacking for that, too. Even if they weren’t, it would be an essentially meaningless gesture of censure. Sure, an official held in contempt won’t much like it in the moment, but ask former attorney general Eric Holder if it cramped his contemptuous style in the slightest. Did it make a bit of difference in the Republican Congress’s futile quest for timely disclosure of Justice Department files on the Fast and Furious scandal?

Of course it didn’t, and for a very simple, nakedly political reason: President Obama protected his attorney general. While the GOP-controlled Congress was delighted to huff and puff about Holder in conservative media, it had no stomach to take on Obama.

In our system, the president runs the executive branch. If he sets the tone that cooperation with Congress is the order of the day, there is no occasion to grouse about non-compliance. If he tolerates or encourages the non-compliance, all the grousing in the world makes no difference — unless the grousing is aimed in the president’s direction and sustained to the point that it materially affects the president’s standing with voters.

Which brings us to the strange dynamic that has infected today’s inter-branch clash from the start.

Rosenstein and Wray work for Trump. And they are not Obama holdovers; they are Trump appointees. If they are defying Congress, it is because the president is permitting them to do so. Twitter tantrums and dark deep-state conspiracy theories don’t count; the president is empowered give his subordinates a direct order to comply with Congress’s demands, and to fire them immediately if they fail to do so. The president has the unilateral authority to disclose executive-branch files to lawmakers, including classified documents. Trump could have done this any time in the last 18 months.

This is the elephant in the room. Gowdy and his fellow GOP chairmen who are investigating the investigators — Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) of the Intelligence Committee and Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) of the Judiciary Committee — say they are committed to using their “full arsenal of constitutional weapons”? Well, instead of impeachment threats, how about simply directing their complaints to the one and only executive official empowered to rectify the problem instantly?

The president and his staff have suggested that Trump must stay out of the fray because Special Counsel Mueller is investigating him for obstruction, and his political foes would accuse him of interfering in that investigation if he asserted himself. That is specious. As we’ve recently observed, the absence of any credible obstruction case is even more obvious after last week’s inspector-general report; the executive branch’s lawful compliance with Congress’s oversight demands cannot obstruct justice; and, as noted above, Trump has been harassing his underlings with tweets anyway — i.e., if putting pressure on the DOJ and FBI is the stuff of obstruction allegations, that ship has already sailed.

Moreover, the president has claimed to be the victim of the official misconduct that Congress is examining. These claims are colorable, to say the least — the IG report certainly illustrates pervasive anti-Trump bias. But they could also be exaggerated. We won’t know unless and until Congress is given the relevant information.

It is reasonable to ask whether President Trump is more interested in the political advantage of posing as a victim of Justice Department/FBI abuse than in exercising his legal authority to expose and address any abuse. And if the Republican Congress continues to portray the controversy as a battle only against truculent executive officials — as if these officials do not have a boss — it is fair to ask whether this dispute is about accountability or theater.

Also see:

Bombshell Moments from Day Two of the Inspector General’s Testimony

The Markets Work, by Jeff Carlson, June 20, 2018:

Day Two of the Inspector General’s Testimony proved far more crucial than Day One. Many new details were revealed.

The following are testimony highlights (tweet source links below):

  • IG Michael Horowitz has confirmed, under oath, that he is reviewing if FBI Agent Peter Strzok’s anti-Trump bias impacted the launch of the Russia probe.
  • Horowitz noted significant political bias “Almost everything we found was…anti-Trump”
  • FBI Agents were taking bribes from Reporters. “Over 50+ agents with 300+ interactions. We wanted to make this public.”
  • Horowitz noted the FBI was refusing to allow Anti-Trump Agents to be named, citing their employ by Counterintelligence. Horowitz later showed this to be false.
  • Obama’s email contacts with Clinton’s Server was noted.
  • Hillary Clinton was Not formally under FBI Investigation at any time in 2015-2016.
  • FBI never named a target or even subject in Clinton probe.
  • Horowitz noted that Bias may have influenced outcome of Clinton Investigation. “It could have and we don’t rule it out.”
  • Horowitz testified that the two unidentified biased FBI investigators assigned to the Mueller investigation have been removed. At least one of them was removed due to anti-Trump text messages.
  • Horowitz confirmed that an original draft of his 568-pp report was subsequently redlined by DOJ/FBI higher-ups.
  • Horowitz stated he’s no longer convinced the FBI was collecting all of Strzok’s and Page’s text messages. Many texts may be missing. An investigation into this is ongoing.
  • FBI Director Wray would neither confirm nor deny that AG Sessions has asked him to reopen some aspect of the Clinton email case.
  • Horowitz noted that one of the unidentified pro-Clinton FBI investigators referred for discipline was one of the agents who interviewed Hillary Clinton on July 2, 2016, along with Strzok. This could be Joe Pientka.
  • Mark Meadows noted possible editing of 302 summary reports. See Video towards bottom.
  • Horowitz confirmed that he is investigating allegations that FBI officials “edited” 302 summary reports of interviews with witnesses and suspects in the 2016-2017 investigations. This could include 302s involving Michael Flynn.
  • Meadows outed two of the unidentified anti-Trump, pro-Hillary FBI investigators referred for punishment by Horowitz. Both work for the general counsel of FBI, not in counterintelligence as the FBI claimed – as an excuse to w/hold their names. They are Sally Moyer and Kevin Clinesmith.
  • Meadows noted that both FBI attorneys work/worked for Trisha Anderson, then Office of Legal Counsel, FBI – not Counterintelligence.
  • Following the IG’s testimony it was reported that FBI Agent Strzok was escorted out of the FBI Building on Friday. See bottom.

Trey Gowdy led the questioning of IG Horowitz off for the second day. The following video contains Horowitz’s opening statement followed by Trey Gowdy’s questioning. A transcriptof Gowdy’s questioning is provided.

Gowdy begins at the 8:00 mark:

Read more

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