A Review of the DOJ/FBI FISA Application Release

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By The Last Refuge

Having read, re-read and re-re-read, the recent FISA application release, here’s my take at both the 30,000 ft and granular level.

First, the elevated review is actually more interesting than the granular, which is remarkably odd considering how far we have traveled with this story.

Why publicly release the FISA application?  After all, even with the voluminous redactions, it is very unusual and it would have been exceptionally easy to deny any FOIA request under the auspices of national security.  To highlight this question, consider how stunned Fran Townsend was at the release: “Having run The Justice Dept office responsible for #FISA The release of these documents is irresponsible & will irreversibly weaken counterintelligence & Counterterrorism investigations going forward.

Here is where a similar, I would say parallel, release will be overlooked.  Remember, it was April 2017 when ODNI Dan Coats released the 99-page FISA Court ruling/opinion on the historic 2015/2016 FISA abuse by the FBI and DOJ-NSD.  That release, like this one, while also heavily redacted, seemed out-of-custom for the intelligence apparatus.  Coincidentally FISA Court Presiding Judge Rosemary Collyer is a central figure in both releases.

In the 2017 FISC abuse opinion release, Judge Collyer wrote the ruling.  In this 2018 FISA application release, Judge Collyer was the authorizing FISC authority granting the Title-1 search warrant.  In an odd way, there’s a particular appearance of connectivity here.  For those who are unfamiliar, FISA material is not subject to FOIA; everything connected to FISA and the FISC is considered “classified” at the origination. [Remember that.]

You see, it was July 17th (a few days ago) when the Comey, Brennan, Yates, Carter criticisms were on full boil (due to the Trump/Putin presser), when I began to wonder when DNI Coats would reach the point –AGAIN– of saying ‘enough is enough’?  My suspicions were that something was soon to happen… because the ridiculousness of it all was nearing the apex.  Methinks this FISA release is in line with that general disposition.

Anyone who thinks this FISA application release is not a big deal has not followed the details, and does not comprehend what is attested to within the FISA application.  But that’s in the granular…. for now, let’s stick to the 30,000 ft review.

The overall FISA application is ridiculously short on substance, and generally is a long way from providing the evidence needed for Title-1 surveillance authority over a U.S. person.  In fact, the FISA application is very sloppy… almost as if it wasn’t a priority to have a solid and defensible document.  I think there’s a simple reason for that.

After all, the DOJ and FBI never thought anyone would ever be looking at this issue; they thought Hillary Clinton was going to win. To quote the disposition of FBI Counterintelligence Agent Peter Strzok: “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office that there’s no way he gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”  Key word: “unlikely“, they never contemplated -until later- the full scope of justification that would be needed…. they were setting up something no-one really thought would need to be utilized…. all of the legal apoplexy and ass-covering came in hindsight.

So when we review the FISA application, it is worth reminding yourself this was a tool, a temporary means to an end, they never thought they would actually need…. so they didn’t spend a great deal of time hammering out the finer points.  The political surveillance was useful, but it was likely never to be known how it was utilized.  Ms. Lisa Page was focused on empowering Hillary Clinton, stupid -albeit useful and obnoxiously arrogant- Pete was in charge of the less-than and likely unneeded insurance.

We begin to get increasingly granular now:

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Context:  The current DOJ and FBI elements of the intelligence community are only slightly less corrupt internally than they were prior to the Trump inauguration.  Institutionally they are still full of corrupt individuals; and administratively they are managed by people concerned about retaining the institutions – not eliminating the corruption.  In our ongoing opinion this institutional emphasis is misplaced and misguided at best, and complicit at worst; likely more the latter.

This context frames the very first identifiable issue with the release: why redact the dates?  There appears to be a purposeful set of date redactions in this release.  There is no “sources or methods” reason to redact the dates…. which leads to the second issue: why release a March 17, 2017, copy [see FISC Clerk stamp]of the original October 2016 FISA application material (the only date not redacted):

♦Why did the FISC send the DOJ a copy of the FISA application in March 2017?  This copy was not sent to file a renewal, the first renewal was in January 2017.   So why is the release using a March 17th issued copy from the FISC, to present the original October 2016 application?   Secondly, why are the filing dates for the next three sets of renewal documents all redacted?  [There is a purpose here…. CTH has suspicions]

♦Haphazard/Conflicting construct.  For this first take I defer to Mr. Piddles eloquence:

First, page #2. They say outright: “The target of this application [Page] IS an agent of a foreign power”. Emphasis mine.

Second, page #4. They spell out their definition of a “foreign agent” — basically, somebody who KNOWINGLY engages in clandestine intelligence activities for a foreign power, or who KNOWINGLY conspires with others to do the same.

Then in the very next paragraph they say: “This application targets Carter Page. [According to page #2, a known foreign agent] The FBI believes Page has been the subject of TARGETED RECRUITMENT by the Russian Government …”. As always, emphasis mine.

How the F*CK can Page be a “foreign agent” who KNOWINGLY engaged in activities FOR A FOREIGN POWER, but at the same time be a “target for recruitment” by THE SAME FOREIGN POWER??????

He’s either RECRUITED. Or he’s NOT RECRUITED. He can’t be both. Duh.

WTF? Or maybe all this comes down to what the meaning of the word “is” is. As in Carter Page IS an agent of a foreign power.

A very righteous opinion. Though remember: (1) this was part of the insurance policy aspect the DOJ/FBI never fathomed they would have to justify in detail; and (2) FISA stuff is classified, the DOJ/FBI never thought it would see the light of day.

Remember also, oddly, and damned sure not coincidentally, Carter Page was an FBI asset in March of 2016…. and yet somehow by October the same year he was a foreign agent, acting on behalf of mother Russia, and deserving of a FISA Title-1 Surveillance Warrant to ensure every second of every move was tracked and monitored as if he was an activated terrorist en-route to the detonation site:

(Full Memo pdf)

In 2013 the U.S. Department of Justice, Southern District of New York, announced an indictment against a Russian Operative Evgeny Buryakov.  LINK HERE  In March of 2016 Buryakov pleaded GUILTY: Carter Page was an FBI cooperating asset in 2013, and remained the primary FBI witness through May of 2016 throughout the duration of the Buryakov case.

If Carter Page was an FBI asset and witness, responsible for the bust of a high level Russian agent in 2013, and remained so throughout the court case UP TO May of 2016, how the f**k it is possible that on October 21st, 2016, Carter Page is put under a FISA Title-1 surveillance warrant as an alleged Russian agent?

Conclusion:  He wasn’t.

The DOJ National Security Division and the FBI Counterintelligence Division, knew he wasn’t a Russian agent.  The DOJ-NSD and FBI  flat-out LIED to the FISA court.

Now, go back to the March 2016 DOJ Press Release of the guilty pleading for Evgeny Buryakov, announced from the New York office:

…”Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and John P. Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, announced”…

Because “FISA Title-I” surveillance authority against a U.S. citizen is so serious (the U.S. government is essentially calling the target a spy), only a few people are authorized to even apply for such surveillance warrants.

One of the four people authorized to make such a filing is the Asst. Attorney General who is head of the National Security Division of the DOJ.  At the time that person was John P Carlin.  The same John P Carlin who worked with the FBI counterintelligence unit, conscripted Carter Page as an FBI asset/witness, gained a guilty plea, then turned around six months later and accused their star witness of being a Russian Spy?

Think about this?

Apply common sense.

Why?  Likely because the DOJ-National Security Division (DOJ-NSD) and FBI Counterintelligence needed to find a legal way to spy on the Trump campaign. The 2016 FISA Title 1 surveillance of former FBI employee Carter Page became that legal way. [“The Insurance Policy”]

In October of 2016, at approximately the same time the DOJ was making the FISA Court filing against Page, and successfully gaining the surveillance warrant, Asst. Attorney General  John P Carlin resigned as head of the DOJ-NSD.    –SEE HERE–  Did Carlin resign in protest? or, did Carlin resign knowing he too had served a larger purpose?

Occam’s Razor: The FISA Title I surveillance authority over Carter Page was cover, most likely retroactive cover, for the DOJ and FBI conducting surveillance on the Trump campaign.  Previous to the October 21st, 2016, FISA Warrant the FBI was limited to using illegal searches of FISA(702)(16)(17) FBI and NSA databases {see here}; and according to the New York Times: “National Security Letters”.

National Security Letters are a type of administrative subpoena designed to allow the FBI to access the records of people suspected of being foreign agents. Section 505 of the Patriot Act expanded the FBI’s ability to use these subpoenas: FBI agents now only have to state that the information sought is “relevant” to a national security investigation in order to obtain sensitive financial, communications and other personal records. The letters are issued by FBI field offices and are not subject to judicial oversight. Recipients of these letters are under a gag order. (link)

The DOJ-National Security Division and FBI Counterintelligence Unit didn’t care about Carter Page because to them he was a useful tool.  It wasn’t Page they needed, per se’, they just needed someone, anyone, who had contact with the Trump campaign that they could apply the label “foreign agent” upon.  After all, it’s only a damn insurance policy etc.

♦ OK, for the next part I’m going to quote Ristvan (and expand):

Read thru the key parts quickly. Several notable facts.
•P. 2 Nunes is correct, the initiating ‘info’ came from State.
•P. 5 The ‘instigator’ was Clapper.
•P. 8. Timing onset suspicions confirmed. The ‘surveillance’ started 3/16, NOT with the official opening of ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ on 7/31/16.
•P. 53 ‘verified in accordance with FBI 4/5/2001 policy.’ NOT. Both Comey and McCabe testified under oath to congress otherwise.
•Pp. 63 and 65. Attested to by Comey and Yates. Both in violation of 18USC1018, felonious false attestation by federal officials.

The heavy redactions do NOT obscure the basic illegality of this FISA application. A BIG DEAL.

Ristvan did a great job boiling down the crux of the issue, and outlining the most damaging aspects.

♦ Page #2: The initiating information came from the U.S. State Dept:

♦ Page #5: The instigator was ODNI James Clapper:

The funny thing is, James Clapper didn’t even know he was in the FISA application…. and you know what,… I believe him.  Why? Because he’s a complete doofus and the people pulling off this FISA fraud/scheme wouldn’t want him to actually be a part of it.  Secondly, Clapper published this in January, 2017:

(link)

♦ Page #8  The FISA application shows ‘surveillance’ started March 2016, referencing a meeting with George Papadopoulos -sourced from Christopher Steele- NOT with the official opening of ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ on 7/31/16.

Again, sloppy in hindsight to use Christopher Steele and Stephan Halper for these tenuous at best justifications, but they never anticipated having to justify any of this.

♦ Page #53 ‘verified in accordance with FBI 4/5/2001 policy.’

No, actually, the FBI did not review this verified application for accuracy.  Quite the contrary: Both James Comey and Andrew McCabe testified under oath to congress the content of the Steele Dossier, Chris Steele, FBI source #1, was never verified for accuracy.

They might have made this affirmation on the application; but in answering questions about the dossier that underpins the application they stated exactly the opposite.

♦ Pages #63 and #65.  This FISA application is attested to by FBI Director James Comey and Asst Attorney General Sally Yates.  Both swear on the authenticity of the information  in violation of 18USC1018, felonious false attestation by federal officials.

•On page #15 they attest the FBI is unaware of any derogatory information about Source #1 Christopher Steele.  However, they knew when they filed this application that Chris Steele was shopping the information to the media and talking to Fusion GPS, his employer, and to media outlets.

•The FBI knew the Clinton Campaign was paying for the dossier yet they never informed the court of the political motive behind Christopher Steele.

•The FBI knew they were using media articles (page 21, 22, 24) that were entirely the outcome of their own leaks to the media.  On page #23 the FBI correctly states their opinion that Chris Steele was *not* the source of one of the articles; however, they only knew that because the FBI *was* the source of the article. They cited their own leaks as confirmation for the original application.

There is one original application in October of 2016, and three subsequent renewals (Jan, April, June, 2017).  Each is valid for 90 days.  Curiously the June 2017 renewal was filed a month earlier than needed.  This is the one signed by Rod Rosenstein.  Why the rush?

Additionally, other than a February 2017 letter to the DOJ by Carter Page about Hillary Clinton, there is nothing new in the three follow-ups which would legally validate any reason to renew or continue the intrusive surveillance.

We suspect the final renewal (Rosenstein/McCabe) a month early was due to the IG conducting his investigation in the background and discovering the motives and text messages with Lisa Page and Peter Strzok.

It is likely Rosenstein/Mueller rushed to extend the FISA knowing bad news was inbound from the IG that might disrupt plans for the insurance policy.

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This article (A Review of the DOJ/FBI FISA Application Release…) was originally published on The Last Refuge and syndicated by The Event Chronicle

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