You don’t need to master some secret art of literary exegesis to see that the terse four-page Nunes memo—released Friday, despite unprecedented establishment apoplexy over its declassification—was assuredly not the “end of American democracy,” as some hysterics predicted. Nor was it the end of the story.
But what a barn-burner of a story of political corruption and international intrigue it is so far! It reveals a possible metastasis at the heart of what’s become American government (nowadays called the “deep state”) that needs urgent attention. Blocking the memo from the public would have been like blocking a patient from seeing an MRI bearing bad news.
Forget myopic news cycling on the memo itself. Consider the memo in its broader context of the political reality of the time of the FISA warrant applications it discusses. This is a diverse cast of characters ranging from Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) at the Democratic National Committee, Donna Brazile at CNN, and Peter Strzok, Lisa Page and Andy McCabe at the FBI. Never mind ex-British spy Christopher Steele, with his anonymous sources tied to the Russian government, consulting for opposition research firm Fusion GPS.
Hillary sure is lucky to have so many hyperpartisans “With Her” in key places of authority and opportunity all around the world, right? They were willing to cross all real and perceived ethical boundaries (and maybe even break laws). Hey, whatever it takes to help a gal win the presidency!
Granted, the FBI isn’t supposed to be employed to get a particular candidate elected, least of all with the help of unsubstantiated opposition research misrepresented as legitimate raw intelligence by politically motivated spies and sources in hostile governments, paid for by that candidate’s campaign and party apparatus.
Such behavior is expected from the Russian KGB of old, revived by Putin’s FSB perhaps, but not the American FBI.
We All Need Somebody to Lean On
After beating back the Bernie Sanders insurgency within her own party, Clinton needed a lot of help from inside the FBI, in order to stay out of hot water for her
grossly negligent extremely careless handling of national security secrets. This, at a time her unlikely GOP opponent was rising in the polls and WikiLeaks was revealing just how rigged the DNC was against Bernie Sanders from the beginning.
Something had to be done. FBI Director James Comey’s otherwise inexplicable gyrations at the time belied some internal missteps by her agents in the bureau as some of them grappled dramatically with the increasingly obvious need for an “insurance policy” should the impossible happen and Trump become president.
It bears asking: Does anyone believe the information in the Nunes memo or thousands of texts describing the political motivations and scheming of her allies in the FBI would ever have seen the light of day if had Hillary won?
Like Debbie and Donna, poor Strzok and his comrades at the FBI are probably feeling a bit used and discarded these days. Their names are front and center in the Nunes memo, inasmuch as they’re the agents responsible for, among a great many other related things, pulling Carter Page—a person of interest to the FBI since 2013 on account of his curious, but so far not criminal Russian business connections—back to the FISA court, this time under the pretense that he was a Russian spy in the Trump campaign’s outer circle.
Now, alleged evidence of this exists only in the “salacious and unverified”—not to mention anonymously sourced, if not entirely fabricated, and in any case publicly discredited—“Trump Dossier” published by BuzzFeed around the time its existence was first illegally leaked. The dossier also conveniently claimed (without any evidence) that Russia was behind the WikiLeaks revelations of the DNC’s embarrassing emails.
We now know for a fact from the memo that this dossier was just opposition research masquerading as raw intelligence, paid for in large part by the Clinton campaign and the DNC—and then contemporaneously used by the FBI, at least as a partial basis, for their now-controversial FISA warrant applications.
But this is not the real bombshell buried in the memo’s understated prose.
We also know Nellie Ohr, wife of Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, was one of a handful of employees at Fusion GPS. She was feeding the FBI more such (ahem) intelligence after they caught Christopher Steele peddling his dossier to news outlets to create the circular loop necessary to make the dossier look to the FISA court to be more corroborated than it was.
With Nellie Ohr in place, Steele could be safely dropped as a liability and his FBI consulting bill left unpaid, because there was a redundant inside asset inside Fusion GPS—and no one would ever be the wiser because Hillary Clinton was guaranteed to win anyway, right?
In fact, according to McCabe’s sworn testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, but for that dossier, the FBI would not have sought a FISA warrant for Page in connection with the Trump campaign.
Put another way: it was essential for the partisans helping Hillary at the FBI to make that connection, and many others, which the dossier conveniently provided all tied up in a nice, pretty bow.
One question nobody seems to be asking, though now it seems reasonable: Is the need for that link the reason why the dossier, with its many unsubstantiated claims, mentions Carter Page in the first place? Might not some of these claims have come from the Clinton campaign itself, gussied up by Steele to appear to be foreign intelligence?
And more to the point: what was the larger utility of the FISA warrant at the time to Hillary Clinton? Why would she risk funding such a collection of lies by foreign spies at a time when it looked like her victory still inevitable, thanks to an old Access Hollywood tape that had mysteriously appeared as Trump clinched the GOP nomination?
We know that presidential candidates after their nomination obtain access to certain raw intelligence products typically found in the presidential daily briefing. There was some ballyhoo, you may recall, when candidate Trump turned down some of those briefings, for whatever reason.
As nominee of the governing party, and former secretary of state of the sitting president’s administration, would she not have had access to information contained in the daily briefing, including intelligence related to a FISA application? Despite Clinton’s corrupt email server woes, did she have that access at the time the warrants were granted? This is an important question.
Because knowing what the Trump campaign was doing at all times would have been even more useful to her campaign than knowing the questions in a debate in advance, now wouldn’t it?
Trump-Russia Collusion: A Case of Entrapment?
Despite some extraordinarily bizarre attempts to dismiss the Nunes memo as a great big all-bread, no-beef nothing burger, a careful reading by anyone reasonably informed about the 2016 campaign reveals a handsomely stocked smorgasbord of deep state skullduggery at the very genesis of the dubious “Trump-Russia collusion” narrative.
The mainstream media echo chamber has been inflicting this narrative on the American psyche for well over a year, fed entirely by illegal leaks from within the Justice Department and FBI to journalists.
The ill-advised and profoundly naïve Trump Tower meeting by Donald Jr. and Jared Kushner with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya on the promise of dirt on Hillary is, according to current reports, the immediate focus of Robert Mueller’s probe, which apparently only cares about whether Team Trump told the truth about this meeting.
It is now common knowledge that Veselnitskaya worked for, and met with, Fusion GPS’s founder Glenn Simpson immediately before and just after that brief but bizarre meeting.
But no. What matters to Mueller, according to reports, is whether Team Trump lied to reporters about it.
If this (illegal!) leak is to believed at all, it represents a curious focus for a probe supposedly given wide berth to examine any and every perceived or real attempt by Russia to influence our elections. Unless its real goings on have been entirely fabricated by the media, or are part of some unlikely but brilliant counterintelligence operation conceived by who-knows-whom, it sure seems to be chasing after illusory evidence and ignoring hard evidence at every possible turn.
Whatever hamfisted PR and possibly legal mistakes the Trump team made once they realized the real clandestine purpose of that meeting—alas, too late—doesn’t begin to compare to the guile that went into setting it up with the obvious purpose of ensnaring Trump’s inner circle in some kind sensational claim of direct Russian collusion.
Why? Because it was clearly orchestrated by the actual nexus of Russian collusion in the 2016 election, namely, the nexus between the Hillary campaign, foreign spies, Fusion GPS, and now (thanks to Nellie Ohr) the FBI!
The irony of this can’t be understated. While the media and Democrats have never stopped short of accusing the Trumps of treason for merely agreeing to meet with a Russian lawyer Clinton was herself paying a British spy with open political motivations and murky connections to figures in the Putin regime a lot of money to fabricate a dossier then used by the FBI to obtain a FISA warrant, through the very same firm for whom this Russian lawyer worked.
It’s really hard, if not impossible at this point, not to see this meeting at Trump Tower as a complete set up.
If Mueller isn’t interested at all in this obvious collusion with Russians, he isn’t interested in justice, period.
Is it Time for Political Chemotherapy?
The story of the most audacious abuse of the American federal justice system and the partisan perversion of its fearsome surveillance powers for fraudulent electoral purposes is still being written.
But already we know the black hats have lost, because the white hats are finally, if somewhat slowly, realizing what’s up and exposing their schemes-within-schemes.
Whether the culprits will be held accountable in the fullest sense of the term remains to be seen, but in terms of what they hoped to achieve, they have failed nonetheless. Hillary is not president, and real evidence of what actually happened is coming out.
Unfortunately, this is high drama playing out in real-time, in the fog of an unprecedented propaganda war in the media and popular culture intended to obscure it. Nor do we even yet know who are all the black and white hats in this complex story. Not everything is what it seems.
Anything can still happen. But whatever does happen, history will record this time as one of the darker chapters of American history unless the full scope of the deliberate political corruption of our too-powerful federal agencies comes to light. It needs to be rooted out and the people’s sovereignty exercised through the constitutional and political process must be restored.