[Photo: Emily Morter via Unsplash]

Get Carter, Redux

[Note the byline, please — this is Rayne, NOT Marcy.]

[Get Carter by MGM c. 1971]

By now you’ve probably heard, viewed, read a lot about the Justice Department’s release of the four FISA applications submitted to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) requesting authorization to surveil U.S. citizen Carter Page.

All 412 pages of four applications.

Can I just say how much Carter Page annoys me? He’s perfected the art of acting like a complete doofus, which made reading his testimony to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) absolute torture to read; he even gave Russian spies Evgeny Buryakov, Igor Sporyshev, and Victor Podobnyy pause back in 2014-2015 when he was in contact with them here in the U.S. I’ve yet to find a searchable text version of his HPSCI testimony because no one apparently wanted to OCR his babbling.

He’s also appeared on television frequently, producing bizarre interviews which undermine the idea he is capable of damage.

Yet this “idiot,” as Russian spies have called him, pulled off meeting contacts only one and two degrees of separation from Vladimir Putin. He’s weaseled and lied about these repeated contacts when he hasn’t refused to answer questions altogether.

But his crazy-pants interviews and patchy statements combined with intelligence from other credible sources establish a snapshot of what a reasonable person would believe is an agent of a foreign power.

He was already quite iffy given his contacts in 2014-1015 with Buryakov, Sporyshev, and Podobnyy. But his actions during 2016 were a magnitude more questionable, particularly with additional intelligence not all of which was Christopher Steele’s.

Come on now, on the face of it Page was worth monitoring: the “idiot” ends up on the Trump campaign team, travels to Moscow smack in the middle of the election season, ends up hobnobbing with Putin’s circle while watching Europa football exactly one month after a U.S. diplomat was physically attacked in Moscow, then gives U.S. foreign policy-bashing speeches two successive days in a row in front of Russian dignitaries at a university funded in part by oligarch Len Blavatnik.

Two weeks later he praised Trump campaign team members for their efforts to change the RNC platform which softened the party’s position on arming Ukraine.

All the while holding an investment stake of ADRs in PJSC Gazprom.

Nothing to see here, no probable cause, move along — right? [insert boldface snark tag]

It’s very easy for the uninitiated to see how much more suspicious the level of Page’s contacts and activities appeared to the FBI without doing a lot of fine reading. Here is an excerpt from the October 2016 FISA app (pages 32-33 of 412), consisting of the FBI’s conclusion:

And here is the conclusion from the subsequent January 2017 FISA app, filed when the October 2016 application was about to lapse:

Each excerpted Conclusion above ends at section 4 Proposed Minimization Procedures. Though both conclusions are heavily redacted, the second conclusion exploded from not quite two pages to nearly six pages, suggesting that Page’s statements and actions combined with other additional and new intelligence provided the FBI with even more reason to suspect Page was an agent of a foreign state who should be surveilled.

Could some of the redacted material consist of Steele dossier intelligence? Sure. But as Marcy pointed out earlier today, the dossier’s use will likely prevent Page from being prosecuted. However the second application contains a half-page-long footnote about Steele and the dossier:

Note the boldface; the FBI made certain to qualify “Source #1” (Steele) and his material. It also appears the FBI had adequate additional sources without Source 1 including intelligence from the Buryakov spy case.

~ | ~

A troll infestation across the internet continues its work, insisting the FBI didn’t make adequate disclosures to the FISC about Steele’s intelligence. It’s funny, though, how their elected-yet-trollish counterparts Representatives Devin Nunes, Matt Gaetz, Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan look after the release of these applications.

The retweet at the top of Jordan’s feed as I draft this post:

Jordan sounds frantic in that embedded video. One could only wonder why a representative under pressure for ignoring sexual abuse claims might be so anxious about investigating the DOJ (denials about the sexual abuse scandal just happen to be the tweet preceding this one in Jordan’s timeline).

Meadows doubles down on stupid:

Does he really believe the declassification and unredacting any more of these FISA apps will make the HPSCI’s GOP members’ obstruction look any better?

Speaking of obstruction, Devin Nunes tweeted a little over 24 hours after the FISA apps were released that his memo was accurate:

So desperate and unhinged.

And Matt Gaetz appeared in denial with this tweet which remained at the top of his timeline for more than 24 hours, ignoring the FISA apps altogether; the retweet preceding it contains a Fox News video in which Florida’s Rep. Ron DeSantis blames Obama for Putin’s meddling:

Not a horse I’d bet money on.

~ | ~

Other takes on the FISA applications you’ll want to read:

David Kris at Lawfareblog: What to Make of the Carter Page FISA Applications

Julian Sanchez on Twitter 

Matt Tait (Pwnallthethings) on Twitter 

Leah McElrath on Twitter  noting changes in status to certain app signers

Charlie Savage on Twitter 

The Hoarse Whisperer on Twitter, who brings up an interesting point

and our good friend Cynthia Kouril via Twitter, bringing a prosecutor’s eye.

~ | ~

Now I have to go through the Carter Page timeline and see if anything in this 412 pages changes or adds to its content. Damn you, Page — as if I had nothing better to do this week.

Treat this as an open thread — leave comments in Marcy’s posts focused on topic.

87 replies
  1. Trip says:

    Here’s my interpretive tweet for Trump’s Monday morning Iran threat:





    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2018

  2. SteveB says:

    Re the interesting point by Hoarse Whisperer

    “This warrant only gave the FBI permission to surveil Carter Page. That’s it. This only allowed the FBI to watch CARTER PAGE.

    The Trump Campaign and Republicans truly lost their mind over the FBI monitoring one specific person.

    That could only be a problem if whatever Carter Page was caught doing or talking about from October 2016 on was incriminating for more than just Carter Page. As in: the surveillance of Page was only a problem if he actually WAS an agent coordinating between Trump and Russia”

    However, as the investigation progressed sub investigations were opened into 4 people, as we know from the Schiff memo, including the main coffee boy Paulie Rugs.

    Thus the freak out whether or not Carter was a no good boy up to no good.


    FWIW Carter was an obvious target for counter intelligence interest. In part that was his utility to the Russians, They were all over the Trump Campaign like a rash. They wanted the campaign to be involved in making overt, semi-overt and couvert signals to Russia re policy matters etc; counter intelligence would pick up on any signals in the first category and go looking for the contacts in the second and third categories. Rather than pretend that they were not up to anything at all, using  the useful idiot Carter Page as a lure and distraction for counter intelligence, the Russians could have given themselves an extra level of active measures opportunities.Though they wanted Trump to cozy up to them, I suspect that the Russians were at all times actively creating carrots and sticks – sticks in the form of  DJT being harried by his opponents or the “DeeepState”. Thus Trump attracting interest from the feds for certain pro Russian stuff was probably anticipated, thought of as handy and actively manipulated by the Russians themselves.


    BTW who released the Access Hollywood tape? Does anyone know?

    3 things happened that day – USG warns about Russia interference; AH tape; e-mail release.

    • pseudonymous in nc says:

      Yeah, there’s a weird “doth protest too much” about Page, when Jason Miller’s response to the Yahoo News / Isikoff story in late September 2016 (before the first FISA warrant was granted) was “He’s never been a part of our campaign. Period.”

      It could be, as Brian Beutler says, they simply don’t know what they’re trying to cover up — that applies to hacks like Hewitt and idiots like Jordan and Meadows who aren’t allowed within a mile of classified information. Or it could be that they suspect the blanket denials were bullshit.

  3. Drew says:

    I remember reading a story about the release of the Access Hollywood tape. I think it was WaPo–bunches of editorial back & forth (like NBC had it and was dithering & there were rights issues, & arguments about appropriateness, etc) I can’t look it up now, but it was definitely a major mainstream news outlet that broke it.

    You see the argument that Carter Page can’t be a spy because he’s such a dumbass. (It also is used about Butina & others). But Russian intelligence LOOKS for dumbasses–they are exactly the sort that can be played, manipulated & used. They are also disposable (which I think may be part of the dynamic at Helsinki, Vlad making sure Donald realized that he wouldn’t mind feeding Donny to the sharks). When the Russian spies make a mistake and try to cultivate someone who isn’t a dumbass, they sense that something is off and either just cut off contact, or go to the FBI and maybe infiltrate for the FBI, etc. Self involved, selfish people with unrealistically inflated egos are vulnerable to this kind of manipulation, and this type of people are customarily not careful and don’t assess their own vulnerabilities well. Russians like Butina are likely to mis-estimate how much protection a Republican, pro-Russian government gives to them as operatives, since we are not yet a totalitarian state.

  4. Someguy says:

    I’ve yet to find a searchable text version of his HPSCI testimony because no one apparently wanted to OCR his babbling.

    That’s surprising, but I just downloaded and OCR’d it for you, if you’ve got a way for me to send it to you.

  5. Buford says:

    just a quick thought…I always check the byline, and I still read your articles…y’all are good writers, and explainers…keep up the great work….and thank you…

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    A couple of disagreements with Doss’s fine summary.

    It does matter who appointed these judges, for the same reason that the FISA process assesses the potential bias of witnesses whose information is used in a FISA application.  Federal judges also have varying levels of competence – either generally or with regard to specialized FISA matters.  A look at some of Trump’s and George W. Bush’s nominees demonstrates that, from Harriet Miers to the Trump appointees who have withdrawn their nominations for obvious incompetence.

    As commonly long-serving federal judges, they have considerable experience, but much of that may not relate to FISA practice.  Some of them might be well-versed in technology and technical issues, some of them for reasons of skill or personal preference too readily take the government’s word for it.

    In the case of the Carter Page applications, the initial and three renewal applications were approved by Republican presidents.  That and their histories before and on the FISA court help establish their center and right preferences.  No Brennans or Douglases there.  They did not lightly authorize surveillance of Page, or renew that authorization based on the results from preceding periods of surveillance.

    A second item is that intel “community” professionals are as susceptible to bias as anyone else, as is true for the FBI and law enforcement in general.  As with Republican appointed judges, their biases, if any, ordinarily work for people in Page’s position.  All of which suggests that Trump’s complaints about unfairness to Page are bullshit. In any case, Trump only cares about what happens to him, which suggests that inquiry into Page makes Trump vulnerable.

    Last item, is that Doss’s claim to the contrary, there is a deep state beyond the formal staffing and institutions of government. Its existence is not seriously challenged by sociologists and it is not unique to the USA.  It’s just not comprised of the people and does not have the priorities that Trump and his conspiracy theorists complain about.

    • Avattoir says:

      I’m mostly with you on this.

      Doss knows not just the subject matter and theory, but also the practicalities. Much of what she notes in her ‘splainer I myself would wanted to note; but it appears that any sharp edges were knocked off her piece. (Law firm partners, nhuh: can’t live with ’em, can’t kill ’em …).

      So it starts by promising “high level” and then devolves into something more like a grotesquely overqualified tour guide pointing out that there is a high level –  ‘See, up there? There it is!’).

      She’s clearly wrong on the point you make, the exception you take with her on whether it’s important which preznit of which party appointed them. It all makes me think this is ‘splainer started out with good intentions and then got homogenized and pasteurized and manipulated into ‘a cheese-like substance’.

      I’d add that she’s wrong also in leaving out the role of CJ Roberts in the selection process: since GWB got him in as CJ, Roberts has been pretty much to FISA as Ghenghis Khan to the DNA of central Europeans.

      Her BEST point is repeatedly hammering out that warrants are exercises in probable cause, not at all like the burden necessary to support a guilty verdict in a criminal trial. That’s a distinction that the cable news and p.o.v. press just don’t raise or raise enough or if they do then quickly fail to apply it.

      • bmaz says:

        I think it is a point to look at as to whether a Republican or Dem President appointed a judge. There ARE tendencies and framing for looking at the judge that can, and ever more do emanate from that. But it depends FAR more on “which” President, and “when” than the party. Carter appointees were by and large the “liberal lions”. Reagan appointees and GHWBush appointees not liberal lions, but generally pretty fair. Clinton judges were all over the road, and W’s too. Obama appointed some wonderful judges, but also some pretty shaky ones. Trump is going hard right extremist, there is no current template for what he is doing.

        But, as to the FISC judges, we know who and what they are, and to term them anything but conservative and Republican to the bone is ridiculous.

    • Ed Walker says:

      I’ve been thinking about this in terms of the legitimacy and overt politicization of the judiciary, especially at SCOTUS and many of the Courts of Appeals. Most of our institutions are broken, and I’m not sure we want to add the judiciary to that list. I laked to bmaz about this after EoH raised Alstoetter in a comment to my post on caging children. That is the Nuremburg trial of the judges and law ministers among others. I’ve done some of the research in preparation for a post, but between these concerns and Godwin’s Law, I just can’t decide.

      • bmaz says:

        I’d like to point out that, while “judges” are indeed ever more politicized, I truly think there is an outsized effect created by these discussions. Almost ALL law is done on the state and local level. The amount to which it has been nationalized, and we presume the law just “broken” is insane to my eye.

        I go into trial courts all the time. It is not perfect. It never will be. But substantial accurate justice is done there. And let me say that in spades as to juries. There are occasional bad results. They are humans being manipulated outside of their daily comfort zone. But they usually get the right result in the end, and there are checks and balances to hopefully fix it when they do not.

        But for every “outrageous” jury verdict you think you hear about and understand, please understand that trials occur by rules and evidence. If you were not there and/or do not truly have experience to read between the lines, you just do not know. They do a hell of a lot better job, on the whole, than you think, or hear from dunces that don’t know squat.

  7. Trip says:

    Judge Orders Witnesses Granted Immunity To Testify At Manafort Trial

    U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis at a hearing Monday morning said he would unseal the documents that would reveal the identities of the immunized witnesses.

    Ellis also heard arguments over Manafort’s request to delay Wednesday’s start of the trial. He said he would issue a ruling from the bench on the continuance as early as this afternoon when the hearing resumes after a short recess.

    • NorskieFlamethrower says:

      Here we go brothers and sisters!! Trumpty Dumpty has just lost control of the news cycle 24/7 (unless of course he tries to distract with an attack on Iran). I await the judges response to this final attempt at postponing the trial.

        • Valley girl says:

          Gotta say though, that scrolling down to the link(s) in above piece, and links on other Grauniad articles with “25 Best Crime films” was a complete pisser, i.e. a total waste of time.

          I’ve been reading with interest and admiration all of the learned and informative comments on this thread.

          But, I think I’m verging on having to take some kind of  sanity break.  Last  time I did that, I ended up watching every Sandy Koufax youtube I could find.

  8. Desider says:

    Think you can use OnlineOCR or others to OCR the doc (it used to be OCR software came with countless printer-scanners). Some may be free, but for 412 pp might be some charge.
    I was thinking Google Drive might have built in OCR.

  9. @pwrchip says:

    If I need info on any subject whether news article or person I just go to


    I’m sure most here know about it, but I thought I’d throw it out there for those that don’t.

    I just searched Carter Page & got 19024 results & all dated


    I always enjoy & recommend reading to my twitter followers not only the articles at emptywheel but also the comment section for the last two years I’ve enjoyed reading both.

    Thanks, Marcy, commentators, & other writers for the great work you do of informing the public, there should be more of you in this world.

  10. Thomas says:

    I read all 412 pages.

    3 times.

    Here is what is not being reported. It’s about what is being redacted.

    In each of the FISA applications, there is a section about what clandestine activities are known to be clandestine activities of the Russian Federation. All redacted, except a sentence at the end that says Carter Page HAS BEEN engaging in these activities.

    In each of the FISA applications, there is a section in which they claim that Cater Page has engaged in the following CRIMES: followed by pages of redacted material!

    In each of the FISA applications, there is a section which describes Cater Page’s claims to be innocent. He claims the reports of his engagement in espionage to be “garbage” and a “distraction.” In EACH of the FISA applications, these denials are followed by pages of redacted material, and each application has MORE material in this section than the previous FISA application.

    In each of the FISA applications, there is a section that CONCLUDES that Carter Page is a foreign agent, engaged in criminal activity, which does NOT lead one to believe that all of the redacted info following his denials could be exculpatory.

    News reports have focussed on The Steele Dossier. Much of what is revealed in the FISA applications, about the Steele Dossier, has been made public already. The applications seem to corroborate the meeting with Divyekin and Sechin, and the quid pro quo arrangement: Pro-Russian policy on Ukraine and lifting the sanctions, in exchange for kompromat on Hillary Clinton, coordinated by Page. The released documents do NOT show HOW this information was corroborated, but there are clues.

    One clue is the extensive exposition given in each FISA application regarding Page’s involvement in a Russian spy ring. Two of the spies were under diplomatic cover and left the country. One spy was not, and he was convicted in 2015! He was released from jail in March 2017. Do you think he was under surveilliance, separately?

    Why would Carter Page NOT be under surveilliance PRIOR to the investigation of Russian election meddling? He was not charged in that spy case, so…what was he? The unredacted parts of the FISA applications just released suggest that he was an FBI informant in that case. Why are there REDACTED parts of his interviews, related to that case, in the FISA applications about the Russia investigation?


    If Carter Page is/was an American intelligence asset working against the Russians, then he is not the only one in Trump’s orbit. Felix Sater. Also a close associate of Trump’s. Also known to have assisted in busting Russian organized crime.

    Are these guys crooks who were turned? What about Trump? What about Russian money laundering and the Deutsche Bank case which concluded a week after he was inaugurated?! What about Justice Kennedy’s SON being the guy at Deutsche Bank who passed hundreds of millions of dollars to Trump while Trump was on the other end of the operation, selling Russians real estate that they could then sell and walk away with the cleaned cash?

    Was it all a sting? If it was, it must be still going on.

    What’s the other explanation? Trump has been a co-conspirator with Russian organized crime for at least two decades and has escaped prosecution because his buddy Felix Sater is an FBI informant? They just gave him a pass on laundering hundreds of millions of dollars? The Deutsche Bank investigation took years. It was in the final stages in 2015-2016. You mean to tell me that the Treasury Dept didn’t notice that Trump was laundering massive amounts of money?

    Why weren’t Trump, and his “special guy” Kennedy, indicted? Treasury agents didn’t notice that an organized crime kingpin was running for president?!!

    • bmaz says:

      Jesus, where in the world are all these Carter Page trolls coming from? Is the truth hitting a nerve with your brain trust?

      There is too much in this screed to waste time on responding to, so let’s focus on this one of many:

      Why would Carter Page NOT be under surveilliance PRIOR to the investigation of Russian election meddling? He was not charged in that spy case, so…what was he? The unredacted parts of the FISA applications just released suggest that he was an FBI informant in that case. Why are there REDACTED parts of his interviews, related to that case, in the FISA applications about the Russia investigation?

      He WAS known and on the IC radar before the “election meddling” as you so disingenuously put it. If you had really read anything before posting this garbage, you would know that. So, are you ignorant of the facts, or simply lying?

      “Special guy Kennedy”?? Jesus, enjoy your next Insane Clown Posse meet up.

      Also, just checked your record. Guess this comment is not an aberration for you at all.

      • Thomas says:

        The FISA applications just released are pretty damning. I don’t understand why anyone would conclude that the publicly available info exonerates Carter Page. Instead, it seems that what IS redacted is more damning still.

        Lying? Ignorant? Since you are so well read, what evidence is there that there are other FISA warrants targeting Page prior to the Russia investigation? There are reports about this case, but no reporting on whether Page was under surveilliance prior to October 2016.

        My point is that this release of the FISA applications with regard to the Russia investigation strongly suggest that Page was not only under surveilliance in the previous case, but also that he acted as an informant, and most likely after being turned. This is not being reported, even though these dots can be connected.

        Since you are better informed, why not tell me what the facts are? I have no reason to lie. I did read quite a lot about this topic, which is why the redacted sections have meaning for me.

        Here is my source for Trump’s reference to Justice Kennedy’s son as “a special guy.” Not so clownish.

        • bmaz says:

          Agree completely with your first paragraph in this comment. It was not what a reader, to wit me, got from your previous comment. And, yes, what is redacted is probably even is “more damning still” to Carter Page.

          Yes, there is even public reportage that Page was on the Fed’s radar going back to 2013, at a minimum 2014.

          My point is that this release of the FISA applications with regard to the Russia investigation strongly suggest that Page was not only under surveilliance in the previous case, but also that he acted as an informant, and most likely after being turned. This is not being reported, even though these dots can be connected.

          Uh, no, those dots cannot be so blithely and easily “connected”. In fact, I have seen nothing that supports that somewhat bizarre claim. Nothing.

          The AMK Trump connection you cite TPM for is nothing short of innuendo at this point. The timing of the Deutcshbank tie in don’t really add up. Without something further, it is nuts. If you have that, better than some crappy TPM blurb, please let us know.

          • Thomas says:


            Ok, I can see now that my writing in my original post was not clear. What I meant, was that since Page was not prosecuted in the 2013 Russian spy case, he was probably an informant. Both his previous and subsequent history suggest that he really is some kind of pro-Russian crackpot, and probably for mercenary reasons.

            If Page was an informant, then he was likely under surveilliance, both before and after he was turned. Given his extensive connections in Russia, he was probably considered a valuable asset and kept under watch. Right through his time with the Trump campaign.

            There is a section in each of the just released FISA applications that reference Page’s interviews about the previous spy case. It could be that evidence of his involvement in the 2016 quid pro quo arrangement was collected, under survelliance, under a different FISA warrant, stemming from that previous case or ongoing counterintelligence activities.

            About TPM: It’s sourced to reporting by the New York Times and also Financial Times. Not just innuendo. There are facts that suggest Justin Kennedy, Justice Kennedy’s son, was indeed Trump’s “special guy” with regard to money laundering investigations.

            • bmaz says:

              Yeah, “LOL”. The proposition that just because Carter Page was not prosecuted back in 2013-2014 means he was an “informant” versus a lead to be watched is stunningly nuts. There is not one shred of competent evidence, other than right wing fever dreams, that supports this nonsense.

              So, again “LOL”. You try to walk your trooferism backwards all you want, you are still arguing shit.

              And, yes, I saw not just the TPM article, but the NYT one too. It was disgraceful innuendo. Something absolutely worth following for a journalist to see if there is other evidence and threads to be pulled? Sure. Worthy of being published and propagated as it was? No. Hell no.

              • Trip says:

                Manafort was investigated back in 2013 but wasn’t indicted. That doesn’t make him an asset either.

                • Thomas says:

                  Manafort seems like one of these crooks that has been walking around the raindrops for a long time and time is up.

                  Maybe Trump is too.

                  What gives me pause:

                  Felix Sater.

                  Carter Page.

                  Justin Kennedy.

                  Just WHAT does it mean that these guys are walking around free? Sater is a KNOWN informant. Carter Page…maybe.

                  • Thomas says:

                    As you wish

                    The FISA warrants assert conclusively that Page IS a foreign agent.

                    There is obviously a LOT more evidence than the Steele dossier.

                    The redacted info is about WHAT?

                    They discovered, from surveilliance, WHAT? We don’t know and the only clue we have is that Page was probably already under surveilliance and what for? The previous spy case is given exposition in the FISA applications just released and since that case was already adjudicated, WHAT is in the redacted parts of Page’s interviews about that previous case?

                    Page wasn’t prosecuted in that case but he was OBVIOUSLY a target for recruitment. So, the FBI just ignored that and didn’t use him as an informant to prosecute the spy?

                    What’s your explanation if mine is nutty BS? Please enlighten me.

                    How about Sater? Did he help bust the Russian mafia? Was he prosecuted? NO. What’s the explanation of that?

                    You claim my explanation is BS. So what is yours?

                    • Trip says:

                      Sater pleaded guilty to the pump and dump scheme (which was with the plain ol’ Italian mafia). He didn’t serve time because he had been useful, supposedly, in uncovering black market arms sales in one of the -stans.

  11. Trip says:

    Is one of the witnesses (in Manafort trial) retired Brooklyn Assemblyman James Brennan? Why would he need limited immunity (I wonder aloud)? Did he know the brownstone property was sketchy or when did he know?

  12. Trip says:

    Also, McCabe and Comey don’t have security clearance, so there’s that. LMAO. But who expects a president to know these things anyway?

    • bmaz says:

      Yes, they do. Certainly Brennan and Comey. And they are fully capable of being renewed periodically, even if the subject is now in private versus public business. This is petty political payback that has no place in American government.

      • Trip says:

        Benjamin Wittes‏Verified account @benjaminwittes

        I just texted @Comey asking whether he even has a security clearance to revoke. “Nope,” he responded. There’s nothing for POTUS to revoke. Comey says he was “read out” when he left government as per normal practice. 1/2
        1:03 PM – 23 Jul 2018

        Benjamin Wittes‏Verified account @benjaminwittes 1h1 hour ago

        He even recently declined a temporary clearance from the IG to read the classified annex to the IG’s recent report. He didn’t want to see any classified material lest the president accuse him of leaking it. 2/2

        Melissa Schwartz‏Verified account @MSchwartz3
        Andrew McCabe’s security clearance was deactivated when he was terminated, according to what we were told was FBI policy. You would think the White House would check with the FBI before trying to throw shiny objects to the press corps…

        Yes, I agree that it’s petty, though. Trump is acting like a dictator. A stupid one, but still dangerous.

        • bmaz says:

          Just to be clear, there is a vast difference between “lapsed clearance” which some or all of these individuals may have (my bet is some of them have current clearance, but whatever) and “stripped”, which really means “revoked clearance.

          Nobody here has been revoked. For Trump to talk about doing so, and have his Press Sec do so officially, is outrageous.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Just to jump on your bandwagon, lapsed means not maintained.  Clearances require periodic review and updating, more frequently and thoroughly the higher the clearance.  If your work does not require it, why pay the expense and go through the hassle?

            Stripped or revoked is something else entirely.  It normally means taken away for cause: the higher up the clearance, the more reasons for cause.  Adultery, an awkward divorce; gambling, credit or drinking problems; a close relative who become toxic; not credibly explained payoffs of six-figure credit card debts, worth a year’s salary (that means you, Brett Kavanaugh).

    • Thomas says:

      Sater was in business with Trump while Trump was buying $400 million dollars worth of real estate with Deutsche Bank loans approved by Justice Kennedy’s son, who was laundering money for the Russian mafia, Russian oligarchs, Putins gang.

      Is Sater going to be prosecuted? Probably not. Why? The story you just posted.

      Sater did all that dirty work for the USA.  His cover was his business with Trump.

      Is it possible Trump’s story will turn out to be a similar one?

      I can’t believe it….

      • bmaz says:

        So, again, your 6:15pm statement is no longer operative, right? Just want to be clear.

        As to Sater, your picture of “Golly, he is still here, so obviously he is still groovy” is not right. If you have ever represented CI’s or even regular informants/”concerned citizens”, you would have taken far greater pause and reflection before saying what you just did.

        • Thomas says:

          Reading it over, I can see how it can be interpreted to mean something different than what I meant to say. My mistake. I was not clear.

          As for Sater, is it possible Trump took advantage of the cover Sater had?

          Informants and spies sometimes have “get out of jail free” cards?

          Or do you think Sater could still face prosecution?

  13. Palli says:

    So Ms Huckabee says some of these former government employees are “monetizing their security clearances their baseless claims”. WOW, the most monetized working WH in history talks about monetizing as a bad thing… it depends on who does it.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      As Sanders knows, everybody in Metro DC who has one monetizes their security clearance.  It’s an industry, a culture, a closed society.

      Security clearance practices do need revising.  But that’s not what Trump intends.  Trump only wants to mess with the clearances of people who tell him he isn’t wearing any clothes.

      No, Sanders’s proposal slams opponents as if they were the worst clearance abusers, not this White House. She suggests the appearance of needed reform, while engaging in vendetta.

      • Palli says:

        It’s always worse than I think. That’s why nobody ever really retires to read books and play with their grandchildren? Monetising?

      • Trip says:

        If the hell that these evangelicals (like Huckster-be) believe in actually exists, she is first in line with a standing reservation, for all of the damage she is doing to humanity. Don’t worry, Sarah, no one will ask you to leave.

  14. Thomas says:

    Here’s a piece written by a guy who was a double agent.


    He compares his experience with that of Carter Page.

    The opinion piece was published by Newsweek, and the book was published by Simon and Schuster.

    I would argue that the recently released FISA applications lend more credence to this idea.
    I did argue that above, (and not well) but other posters have accused me of being “crazy” “nuts” “BS” “a troll” etc.

    Person A is recruited to be a foreign agent, and is discovered by the FBI. The FBI recruits him to be an informant in order to catch the spies. Person A helps them catch the spies, and then goes on his merry way, thinking he is above suspicion, and finds another gig being a foreign agent.
    Unbeknownst to our Person A, the FBI has kept him under surveilliance, via a FISA warrant, as a counterintelligence precaution, because he persists in the kinds of things he was doing when he was recruited to be a foreign agent. Person A’s new gig as a foreign agent involves helping others who are also being recruited as foreign agents. Because this is a different and much more serious threat to national security (and politically sensitive) the FBI asks for a new FISA warrant.

    That’s essentially my read of Carter Page.
    Previously, until Oct 2016, surveilliance was about the 2013 spy case.
    Subsequently, it was about the Russian election interference.
    We don’t have the previous FISA warrants, but the ones about the Russia investigation refer to that previous 2013 spy case, and rather extensively.

    If you think that’s “bizarre” and unlikely
    Then go ahead and explain your view.

    • bmaz says:

      Dang. So, Thomas, I guess your avowal at “6:15pm” on this very thread is no longer operative, as the Nixon crew would say?

        • SteveB says:

          If CP was a double agent (ie acting as informant/agent of USG while pretending to Russkies he was theirs)

          Why would USG need FISA warrants? Unless of course he’d gone rogue and was XX the Feds, but even then…..? OR maybe the FISA was just part of the cover for him prepared by USG, you know in case he outed himself on tv or something…?

          OR, the USG had good reason to be spooked enough to spy on him because he knowingly acted on behalf of spooky foreign interests, and carried on doing it.

  15. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    Dang bmaz, how do you do it without a shovel?!! But I must admit to moments of pure enjoyment when following you guys perform your counter intelligence work on these trolls. Actually, the deconstruction of troll scat serves a very useful purpose for us who try and keep up with this stuff and don’t have a lot of RAM left. Because of you folks we can spot the spin and disinformation that follows every new development. Thanx again to all you anti-fascist Sherlocks.

  16. Trip says:

    Puppet masters in Syria:

    Israel Rejects Russian Offer to Rein in Iranian Forces in Syria

    The latest disagreement arose in a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russia’s top diplomat and top general, dispatched to Jerusalem as Syrian government forces routed rebels near the Golan.
    Israel’s vigilance was underscored by the launch of its latest, U.S.-backed missile shield against rockets that it said were fired from within Syria but which fell short of the Golan lines.
    In Monday’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Netanyahu said a Russian offer to keep Iranian forces 100 km from the border was not enough, according to an Israeli official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

  17. Trip says:

    How do you champion capitalizing, privatizing and spinning off security and defense elements of government, and then COMPLAIN that people are monetizing it? Eric Prince (Trump’s bud), anyone? Michael Flynn? Not to mention that Trump is currently making bank on the presidency.

    If you don’t want people to make money based on public service, outside of public service, then don’t hire contractors to work for the government. Don’t allow lobbyists. Make government employees separate from their businesses: Hello? Trump.

  18. Trip says:

    @Marcy, were any of your revelations well-received by Republicans you offered to meet with?

    Based on the public behavior we’ve seen in the past week, my guess would be “no”.

  19. Trip says:

    Sessions, the TOP of the US LE agency was chanting, “Lock her up”, with high school kids. Is he looking to get fired, forced to resign, so it would be easier to kill the Mueller investigation?

    Can he really be this blatantly criminally anti-law, anti-due process?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      He echoed a lone comment that encouraged the crowd chant.  He was happy about and receptive to it.  Jailing a political opponent for being a political opponent.  The stuff of banana republics.  That he did it in a high school underscores his unfitness to be the chief law enforcement officer in government.

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    As several have said on twitter, Trump’s assault on the security clearances of a handful of people he regards as his personal enemies is something more.  It is a full frontal assault on everyone who depends on their clearance to work in Metro DC, both in and out of government.

    Trump’s action mirrors his change in the status of administrative law judges, from merit selection to political appointment.  The former have some security of tenure.  They hold office for a specific number of years, and can be terminated early largely only for cause.  A political appointee can be terminated at will.

    That substantially increases Trump’s political power, both as a matter of personnel and because ALJ’s routinely officiate over disputes between individuals and their government employer and between citizens and their government.

    The same argument applies to security clearance holders.  Clearances are essential for thousands of government and private sector jobs.  The higher the clearance, the higher its economic value.

    If the president’s policy is to terminate or lower the clearances of those whose conduct he finds inconvenient, who will speak out or decide a matter in a way adverse to the despot president?

    • Micheal says:

      Your last sentence stirred a concern that has been fermenting in my mind for several weeks:
      If federal government job holders keep resigning, as many have already, who will be left to disrupt the activities of Despot Donald?

      • Palli says:

        This is a worry that only intensifies as we hear GOP people suggest it with mock distain for trump. From them it sounds like a  pretense. “Resigning is the honorable thing to do rather than speaking publicly about disagreement with a president” is all too convenient for trump’s rogue governance style.
        We know who should be resigning.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Normally a high risk, having fewer people in government is its own disruption, delaying implementation of Trump’s agenda.

        More from Trump’s White House should resign. The resulting decline in WH activity would probably be safer. It would also help demonstrate the need for Trump to be forced to leave.

        It also relieves those who leave of the burden of implementing rules that threaten democracy and their own self-esteem.  Preserving both is essential, because talented staff will one day have to return to government – notwithstanding the neoliberal demand that talented staff work only for the private sector.

        • Palli says:

          Yes, that is the sunny side. Can a smaller staff could pull off that stupendous military parade!

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