The Clinesmith Information Suggests that John Durham Misunderstands His Investigation

Paragraph 2 of the Kevin Clinesmith Criminal Information reads:

On July 31, 2016, the FBI opened a Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) investigation known as Crossfire Hurricane into whether individual(s) associated with Donald J. Trump for President Campaign were witting of and/or coordinating activities with the Russian government. By August 16, 2016, the FBI had opened individual cases under the Crossfire Hurricane umbrella on four United States persons including a United States person referred to herein as “Individual 1.”

That paragraph is, at a minimum, deeply dishonest.

But I believe — and four experts I asked on the topic (which does not include Andrew Weissmann, who has since tweeted about this) agree — that it may be something worse. It appears to be evidence that John Durham doesn’t understand his own investigation.

The paragraph is dishonest because it suggests that the investigation into Carter Page arose exclusively out of the Crossfire Hurricane predication. That’s false.

As the DOJ IG Report made clear, the NY Field Office opened an investigation into Page during the spring of 2016 upon discovering that, when he was identified in the indictment of one of the Russians trying to recruit him in 2013, he went to other Russians and apparently tried to reassure them that he had not told the FBI about their efforts (and when interviewed by the FBI, Page repeatedly said sharing non-public economic information with known Russian intelligence officers was a positive for him).

On March 2, 2016, the NYFO CI Agent and SDNY Assistant United States Attorneys interviewed Carter Page in preparation for the trial of one of the indicted Russian intelligence officers. During the interview, Page stated that he knew he was the person referred to as Male-1 in the indictment and further said that he had identified himself as Male-1 to a Russian Minister and various Russian officials at a United Nations event in “the spirit of openness.” The NYFO CI Agent told us she returned to her office after the interview and discussed with her supervisor opening a counterintelligence case on Page based on his statement to Russian officials that he believed he was Male-1 in the indictment and his continued contact with Russian intelligence officers.

The FBI’s NYFO CI squad supervisor (NYFO CI Supervisor) told us she believed she should have opened a counterintelligence case on Carter Page prior to March 2, 2016 based on his continued contacts with Russian intelligence officers; however, she said the squad was preparing for a big trial, and they did not focus on Page until he was interviewed again on March 2. She told us that after the March 2 interview, she called CD’s Counterespionage Section at FBI Headquarters to determine whether Page had any security clearances and to ask for guidance as to what type of investigation to open on Page. 183 On April 1, 2016, the NYFO CI Supervisor received an email from the Counterespionage Section advising her to open a [redacted] investigation on Page.


On April 6, 2016, NYFO opened a counterintelligence [redacted] investigation on Carter Page under a code name the FBI assigned to him (NYFO investigation) based on his contacts with Russian intelligence officers and his statement to Russian officials that he was “Male-1” in the SONY indictment. Based on our review of documents in the NYFO case file, as well as our interview of the NYFO CI Agent, there was limited investigative activity in the NYFO investigation between April 6 and the Crossfire Hurricane team’s opening of its investigation of Page on August 10. The NYFO CI Agent told the OIG that the steps she took in the first few months of the case were to observe whether any other intelligence officers contacted Page and to prepare national security letters seeking Carter Page’s cell phone number(s) and residence information. The NYFO CI agent said that she did not use any CHSs to target Page during the NYFO investigation. The NYFO investigation was transferred to the Crossfire Hurricane team on August 10 and became part of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.

Carter Page was the subject of a legitimate counterintelligence investigation months before Crossfire Hurricane got opened, based off conduct that continued three years after CIA had ended approval for Page as an operational contact, based off conduct with multiple Russians — at least one a known intelligence officer — that Page did not share with the CIA. Carter Page was the subject of a counterintelligence investigation started irrespective of all ties Page had formerly had with the CIA that is the issue at the core of the Clinesmith Information.

By pretending that every investigation into Trump’s flunkies (including the ongoing Money Laundering investigation into Paul Manafort) got opened by Crossfire Hurricane, Durham creates a narrative that is every bit as dishonest as the worst stories about Crossfire Hurricane.

Durham is doing precisely what he is tasked with investigating others for.

But Durham’s mischaracterization of the investigation as a “FARA” investigation is far more troubling. Either he doesn’t know what he’s doing — replicating an error that DOJ IG had to fix in its Carter Page investigation — or he’s deliberately misrepresenting what was a counterintelligence investigation that, at the start, envisioned the possibility that Page was unwittingly being cultivated.

And from this error, paragraph 4 of the Information creates the (again, false) impression that the suspicions that Carter Page might be a willing agent of Russia all came from the Crossfire Hurricane team.

Each of these FISA applications allege there was probable cause that Individual #1 was a knowing agent of a foreign power, specifically Russia.

Again, that’s false! Page told the FBI, repeatedly, that he thought it was a good thing to share non-public information with people he knew to be Russian intelligence officers. He told the FBI that well before Kevin Clinesmith got involved at all. He told the FBI that years after CIA no longer considered him an approved operational contact. That was the basis for investigating him, long before any of the people Durham is investigating got involved.

As I’ve noted, it took DOJ IG eleven days after publishing its report in December before it discovered that it didn’t know what FBI was investigating. After those eleven days, it issued a correction for some (but not all) of the references where it incorrectly portrayed the investigation as limited to FARA.

On page 57, we added the specific provision of the United States Code where the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) is codified, and revised a footnote in order to reference prior OIG work examining the Department’s enforcement and administration of FARA.

But there remain incorrect treatments of this nuance, and the IG Report conducted a First Amendment analysis about Carter Page that should have been mooted as soon as he admitted he was sharing information — economic information with no political tie — with people he knew to be Russian intelligence officers.

Still, at least DOJ IG explained the source of confusion: for any investigation involving registering as a foreign agent, the FBI uses the same case file number.

Crossfire Hurricane was opened by CD and was assigned a case number used by the FBI for possible violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), 22 U.S.C. § 611, et seq., and 18 U.S.C. § 951 (Agents of Foreign Governments). 170 As described in Chapter Two, the AG Guidelines recognize that activities subject to investigation as “threats to the national security” may also involve violations or potential violations of federal criminal laws, or may serve important purposes outside the ambit of normal criminal investigation and prosecution by informing national security decisions. Given such potential overlap in subject matter, neither the AG Guidelines nor the DIOG require the FBI to differently label its activities as criminal investigations, national security investigations, or foreign intelligence collections. Rather, the AG Guidelines state that, where an authorized purpose exists, all of the FBI’s legal authorities are available for deployment in all cases to which they apply . 171

That’s why the EC opening the investigation — which has subsequently been released — calls this a “FARA” investigation; because it’s a bureaucratic detail that in no way circumscribes the scope of the investigation. But the EC opening the investigation into Flynn — and assuredly, the EC opening the investigation into Page, though no one has released that yet — specifically names 18 USC 951 as well.

[See the update below for the evolution of the case ID# 97 that was used with Crossfire Hurricane.]

From the start, this was about more than doing political work for Russians.

People who know how FBI filing systems work, or know how FARA overlaps with 951, or know what the “COUNTERINTELLIGENCE” label appearing before the designation of this as a FARA case, would understand that FARA’s not a description of the actual investigation.

Apparently, Durham and his team (which does not include any National Security Division personnel, at least on the Clinesmith Information) don’t know or don’t care about any of that. His spokesperson did not return a call asking for clarification.

The point is, these were all counterintelligence investigations. As DOJ IG explained, the FBI may believe the investigation focuses on threats to national security and/or it may believe the investigation focuses on potential crimes. As one person I spoke with characterized this error, it’s like not knowing that the wall between intelligence and criminal investigations came down after 9/11.

And yet, Durham — who in December suggested he didn’t believe this investigation that he still treats as a criminal investigation was not properly predicated as a full investigation — appears not to understand that very basic fact about this investigation.

If Durham believes, erroneously, that the FBI opening a criminal investigation into Page into something that overlaps with First Amendment protected activity, it might explain why he hasn’t just closed up shop right now. It may explain why he claimed this was not a properly predicated full investigation. It may explain why he doesn’t understand why FBI continued the investigation based on behavior entirely unrelated to the Steele dossier.

But now Durham has made an assertion that likely arises from a total misunderstanding of what he’s investigating. He has betrayed that his entire investigation appears premised on a misunderstanding.

Update: I’ve fixed a reference to “operational contact,” which I originally had as “operational conduct.”

Update: Per a recently released Mike Flynn file, we know the case ID# for Crossfire Hurricane was 97F-HQ-063661. NARA describes how that case ID # started as a way to codify the Foreign Agents Registration Act. But then in 1950 it also came to include those who had knowledge of espionage, counter-espionage, or sabotage from a foreign country. Likewise, the FBI itself makes it clear that 97 covers both FARA and 18 USC 951. Durham only had to refer to a public FOIA document to understand his error.

54 replies
  1. Lazlow K. Hud says:

    Lying is still lying though. If I recall Mike Flynn was also charged with lying even though that was a counterintelligence operation against him.

    • Salt of the Earth says:

      The first FISA omitted the fact that Page was an operational contact for the CIA. The first FISA renewal did the same. Same story with the second FISA renewal. For the third renewal, Clinesmith was asked if Page was a CIA source, since Page had been saying publicly that he helped the CIA in the prosecution of some Russian businessmen. He asked again and changed the email response. The last two renewals were without merit and should not have been renewed. Why was it so important to have repeated FISA warrants, which involve two-hop contacts and are retroactive? The Mueller team already had all the retroactive information, he was not working in the Trump administration, and he was never charged. Why continue when they had no new information to continue the surveillance?

      • emptywheel says:


        The Page CONTENT FISAs do not include two-hop contacts. And it’s not clear how much retroactive content they got. In any case, that was meaningless bc no one much talked with Page.

        You’ve got a few more errors there, in case you have any embarrassment about coming to my site and laying turds everywhere.

  2. tropo says:

    Hey Marcy. Not to nitpick, but it looks like there were maybe some word replacements (conduct / contact) that are making this section a bit confusing:

    >based off conduct that included contact three years after CIA had ended approval for him as an operational conduct, based off conduct with multiple Russians

  3. Gordana says:

    I don’t understand why Clinesmith didn’t argue the “source” part even if he did change it. I don’t consider Carter Page to have been a “source” of the FBI at all. What I don’t get is when exactly was he a source for CIA? Why would FBI not know that from years earlier, they have all that info if they want, when he was younger.

    • bacchys says:

      Page was a Confidential Human Source (CHS) for the CIA from ’08 to ’13. Clinesmith was exceptionally stupid since there wasn’t any reason to alter anything: Page wasn’t a current source for the CIA and it’s unlikely the original email would have caused the famously rubberstamping FISA court to decline the FISA application.

    • Rugger9 says:

      I seem to remember bmaz wondering why Clinesmith didn’t fight this, and in keeping with the way this WH does things I wonder what the pro quo is for this quid.

      • Vicks says:

        I have to go back and look at the guests name but this afternoon Fox “news” was reporting that there is a plea agreement and there will be no punishment for Clinefield because he has agreed to cooperate.
        That sounds like bs on multiple levels including Durham is supposed to have his report wrapped up next month, but i will leave it to the experts.

        • Desider says:

          Presumably Clinesmith cooperated much more sincerely and honestly than Mike Flynn and Paul Manafort. I wonder if Trump will swing a pardon his way?

        • vicks says:

          Yeah about that, I checked it out this am there is no proof of a plea deal, it’s all speculation.
          IMHO this one single charge will be used as “proof” to back up a shit ton of Russia-gate propaganda until election day

        • vicks says:

          Just covering my ass, and yes the first thing I did was read the complaint
          I had stated previously that Fox was reporting there was a plea agreement stating that in exchange for Clinesmith’s cooperation he would not be receiving a sentence.
          While many like yourself are stating “When a direct information like this is filed as opposed to a GJ indictment, it is always a plea at hand.” others are less committed to making this assumption.
          National Review reporting includes “The charge is contained in a criminal information. That is a form of formal allegation the Justice Department uses when a defendant agrees to waive indictment (i.e., forego his right to have the grand jury find probable cause to charge a crime). It is often, but by no means always, used in connection with a defendant who is pleading guilty under a cooperation agreement.”

          Regardless of who is correct regarding the implications of how the allegation was filed there is still no evidence of the plea or the details that Fox was tossing off to stir the conspiracy pot and I felt it important to clean up my previous comment.

        • bmaz says:

          I do not care what some lickspittle at National Review, much less Andy, says.

          Yes, it is pretty much always the sign of an agreement because, as even Andy admits, there are formalities waived in doing so.

  4. epicurus says:

    Given Durham’s investigative background I would suggest he knows exactly, precisely, specifically what he is investigating and for what Bill Barr purpose. The question is whether he is loyal to Barr or loyal to law. At this point those two loyalties are mutually exclusive.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      It is pitiful that our tax dollars are being wasted with Durham and Barr. They would be better spent at the Post Office. The image that first came to mind when I read this post was bobble head figures of Durham, Barr, Sidney Powell, Timothy O’Shea, Jeff Wall (and more) sitting in a gaggle around a bonfire burning the Constitution and screeching.

  5. johno says:

    The Mueller Report documented 101 contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia. The Center for American Progress Moscow Project has documented “272 contacts between Trump’s team and Russia-linked operatives.”

    GOP: Nothing to see here.

    • Desider says:

      Presumably that doesnt include close but indirect links via Butina and whatever pols & NRA functionaries she compromised.
      And whatever happened to Felix Sater? So many players have come and gone…

  6. N.E. Brigand says:

    Since you mention Andrew Weissmann’s comments, I’d like to ask a question about something else that Weissmann flagged yesterday, which perhaps you’ve previously addressed (maybe when the I.G. report was released): was Carter Page ever a “source” for the CIA? Weissmann notes that the Criminal Information never says Page was a source; rather Page was, as you note, an “operational contact,” which I gather is not the same thing (but maybe I’m wrong about that).

    The way in which the Information presents the email that was sent to Kevin Clinesmith by his CIA liaison and the altered version of the email that Clinesmith sent on to others at the FBI is not very helpful with this point: the Information includes an ellipsis in the first email that’s not in the second email, and the way that the CIA liaison actually describes Page (in both versions of the email as presented in the Information) is “[diagraph]”, which I assume refers to some code the CIA uses and doesn’t want disclosed publicly. But since Clinesmith added the four words “and not a source” after that “[diagraph]” in his altered email, whatever “[diagraph]” means, it can’t be “source.” (That is: Clinesmith’s email would thus say Page “is a source and not a source”.)

    If I’m reading that correctly, that means that the CIA liaison told Clinesmith that Page wasn’t a source, but not in so many words, and so Clinesmith, apparently wanting to make that point explicit, foolishly added those four words as if they were part of the original email instead of just appending a comment to make that clear. In other words: is Clinesmith pleading guilty for having written something that was true, albeit in a deceptive way? Not that he should have changed a document! But the New York Times article yesterday about Clinesmith’s plea also says that Clinesmith additionally forwarded the original unaltered email, as well as other documents about Page to which the CIA liaison refers, to the people working on the FISA renewal application. If Clinesmith was deliberately trying to make a stronger case against Page, that’s an odd way to go about it.

    And yet he’s still pleading to it. Weissmann says there are questions that need to be asked by the judge about the materiality of Clinesmith’s false statement. You note that the Information misrepresents the very nature of the original investigation. Is this just how the sausage is made, i.e., most such filings contain errors and omissions like this? Does Clinesmith himself not grasp these points that would seem to help his position? Does he have other reasons for agreeing to plead guilty?

    • emptywheel says:

      You’ve got the source/non-source stuff right. Basically, Page WASN’T a source in the terms that FBI would use it. But he WAS someone who provided information, about some but not all of the Russian intelligence officers he was happy to be recruited by. At least with the DOJ IG, Clinesmith said he DIDN’T believe that Page was a source in the terms everyone meant.

      That said, Durham is charging this as a lie rather than what it was — altering evidence — because he needs Page to have been a source. If he wasn’t (and he wasn’t), then the other steps he’s planning on would collapse.

      • Marinela says:

        From Kevin’s lawyer:
        Kevin deeply regrets having altered the email. It was never his intent to mislead the court or his colleagues as he believed the information he relayed was accurate. But Kevin understands what he did was wrong and accepts responsibility.


        I read this to mean he pleads guilty to altering email, not to lying. Maybe I am wrong.

        • bmaz says:

          Was it a “lie”? Was there real intent to deceive? How do you prove that? Was anybody really deceived? How do you prove that? Was it, given all the circumstances (and there are a lot) really “material”? How do you prove that?

          I could tie up a jury for a good while with these questions. And it would be well into 2021 before it ever saw a jury. So what is Clinesmith doing and why? Focusing on whether it is a “lie” or not is the wrong question.

        • Dana says:

          I am speaking very generally here,but the word “lie”gets thrown around carelessly quite a bit these days. For example. a statement that was true when made, but rendered false by subsequent events is branded a lie when there is political hay to be made.

        • bmaz says:

          Lol, you have blown in here for, it appears 14 comments in about 48 hours, most all of which are troll rated. Now you are going to have the temerity to lecture me about the legal status of “lying”?

          You cannot even begin to use the applicable statutory language or law, nor have any concept of how it works in actual courts. PJ and Eureka are right, you ought think about what you are doing and with who.

        • Desider says:

          I wasn’t claiming it was a lie – i was backing your and Marcy’s assessment that he’s being charged for a lie (about altering a doc, but what the hey) not altering docs, which plays into rightwing spin in the public arena where they’ll then pretend he lied about why the investigation was begun, and ignore that his edit was closer to the truth.

      • civil says:

        If you’re open to explaining the difference between and “operational contact” and a “source,” that would be helpful/appreciated. Thanks.

        I’ve tried looking for definitions. Horowitz’s report says “According to the other U.S. government agency, ‘operational contact,’ as that term is used in the memorandum about Page, provides ‘Contact Approval,’ which allows the other agency to contact and discuss sensitive information with a U.S. person and to collect information from that person via ‘passive debriefing,’ or debriefing a person of information that is within the knowledge of an individual and has been acquired through the normal course of that individual’s activities,” and “As noted earlier in this chapter, according to the U.S. government agency that approved Page as an operational contact, the approval did not allow for the operational use or tasking of Page.” But Horowitz didn’t define “source,” and the definitions I found for that were varied (e.g., source: “a person from whom information or services are obtained”). I’m not sure which to use, which then makes it impossible to figure out the intended distinction here.

        Clinesmith and his attorney must understand the difference between false statements and altering evidence, so why is Clinesmith agreeing to plead guilty to the former if it’s not correct?

        And I’m not sure if 18 U.S. Code § 1519 is what Clinesmith would be charged under for altering evidence, but it starts off “Whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States …,” and my sense is that Clinesmith didn’t have the required intent.

        So far, I don’t understand why he’s pleading guilty.

        • emptywheel says:

          You’ve hit on the difference. Operational contact is someone whom they can ask questions about. With the CIA, doing so with an American is particularly sensitive bc they’re not supposed to investigate anything domestic. But he wasn’t a TASKED source, meaning they didn’t go to Page and ask him to find out what companies the Russians were particularly interested in.

        • civil says:

          Thanks for clarifying what “source” means. That’s considerably narrower than the definition I’d found, so the contrast between “source” and “[digraph]” now makes sense.

          I hope Clinesmith’s lawyer challenges the charge as incorrect and also requests that the charging document be corrected re: the errors you noted. Have you considered contacting him? If not and you want to, his email is here:

        • bmaz says:

          If Shur is to be contacted, he should be asked what in the fuck he is doing pleading out to this garbage.

        • civil says:

          I don’t understand why Clinesmith is pleading to this. Frankly, based on what I’ve read so far, I hope he changes his mind.

          Unrelated, is there a reason that you still require all of my comments to go through premoderation?

        • bmaz says:

          Lol, I’ll keep my eyes anywhere I darn well please. And I pay attention to the facts and process just fine, thanks.

        • Franktoo says:

          Civil: News reports indicate that Clinesmith (like Strzok) wrote text messages about his dislike of Trump and the administration. Depending on what is in those messages, they might convince a jury that Clinesmith intended to mislead the FISA court.

      • viget says:

        So what are the other steps? Claim Page was really working with CIA so FISA was invalid?

        So what if that’s true (which we know it’s not)? Who are they going to charge criminally for that?

        In my mind, Durham is all about nullifying the Page FISA because that numbskull probably said too much and gave away the game vis-a-vis Flynn and the Trump admin’s plans.

        Take that out and you can take out the Flynn behavior yet to be fully revealed that’s got Sullivan so alarmed.

  7. x174 says:

    mt–good observation and subsequent conclusion–that since durham has no national security division personnel that he might be confused. however, the persistent incompetency of this “investigation” reeks of our rat fucking malevolent pos potus.
    i’m mystified by how these career officials so eagerly sully their professional reputations for the likes of abetting agent orange’s overt malfeasance.
    Marcy, thanks for staying on top of these potentially crucial and misleading parsings of durham’s legalistic languaging.

  8. bacchys says:

    I think you’re being too kind. Durham is a hack. If he wasn’t a hack Barr wouldn’t have selected him for this job of creating a false trail to support Trump’s ranting BS about getting “tapped” and spied on by the Obama Administration.

    It’s unfortunate the FBI was as cautious as they were. That they didn’t spy on the Trump campaign. Had they done so we’d perhaps know exactly what Manafort gave to Kilimnik and why. We’d know more about their internal communications on Russia’s efforts to aid the Trump campaign.

    • ButteredToast says:

      I agree with you that the fact that Barr did select Durham for this job (apt word, that) *and Durham took it* points to Durham being a hack. Then there’s the fact that he went along with Barr on a taxpayer-funded world tour to chase RW conspiracy theories. Aside from the thought of who would spend days in the company of Bill Barr (ugh…), it seems unlikely Durham would do that if he cared to preserve even a veneer of independence. Lack of leaks directly from Durham is meaningless when the AG goes on rightwing media dropping insinuations.

      • Marinela says:

        Barr is a master of dropping insinuations. He is the AG, so insinuations should be counted as “lacking candor” which means he should be held up to the same standards as any low level employee.

        The entire thing is so twisted.

  9. Zinsky says:

    Marcy, thanks very much. This post is very helpful in bolstering arguments with conservative friends about the pointlessness, dishonesty and treachery associated with Durham’s bogus investigation.

    • emptywheel says:

      Look, I’m not arguing malice here. I’m saying that now that Durham finally has to do something public, his assumptions are clearer and his assumptions here appear to be suspect.

  10. BobCon says:

    This tweet raises the possibility that Barr is the one really driving this investigation:

    Supposing Durham is mostly a figurehead, does he ever need to show up in court to justify DOJ actions? Or does it all get handed off to some poor team of prosecutors and it is up to them to argue the validity of it all?

    If we can manage to elect Biden, does his DOJ have options to drop the prosecutions quickly and expose what has been going on, or is there an expectation that they will continue for at least a while and the background stays out of the public eye?

  11. Vicks says:

    Is there any information that these obstructionist are able to keep hidden by making sure the drama over Carter Pages FISA never dies?
    It is my understanding that to renew the warrant they had to prove it had produced useful results.
    Did I miss learning what it was the FBI had picked up during the first couple rounds that was so interesting they got approval to continue or is all in the yet to be redacted parts ?

  12. Adam says:

    Characterizing Crossfire Hurricane as a criminal and not a counterintelligence investigation is how Barr claimed that the prosecution of Flynn was unjustified: His lies weren’t material to a criminal investigation, so therefore they weren’t material to anything.

  13. Franktoo says:

    Thanks for posting the link to the complaint against Clinesmith. It clears up a few mysteries for me. The first time I read Page’s bio – Naval Academy, worked for Merrill Lynch in Moscow – I wondered if Page might be working with the CIA, Russian intelligence or both sides. If I had been an FBI agent, the first thing I would have wanted to know is whether he worked for or with the CIA. Paragraph 5 says the the Crossfire Hurricane team received a detailed information about Page’s relationship with “another government agency” on 8/17/16, ten months before Clinesmith’s inquiry. So, once the Page investigation became part of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, the obvious question WAS asked. Shouldn’t that information have been in the FIRST FISA application? Did Horowitz comment on this omission?

    IMO, whatever relationship Page had with the CIA several years earlier didn’t rule out the possibility that Page was colluding with Russia in 2016. Double agents and people trying to take advantage of both sides for their personal benefit are common.

      • Franktoo says:

        Why shouldn’t the information the FBI received from the CIA on 8/17/16 about Page’s interactions with the agency and Russians been included in the FIRST FISA application?

        Did Horowitz overlook this omission from the first application (or report on it)?

        • bmaz says:

          JFC. Go study actual law, as opposed to horse manure on the Daily Caller and Fox News. This is such bullshit it is incredible.

          To also address your next commentary bullshit, where you blithely blurt out “Marcy: I (like Durham?) don’t understand the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.” Are you daff? Are you a Russian? What part of counter intelligence do you not understand? My bet is you do not have a clue on any of it. You have already proved to not have a clue on the legal aspects of warrant law. You are now evidencing you do not understand CI either.

          And, by the way “Frank”, we pay attention to when, how and why newfound commenters magically appear here. Most are good and well intentioned, some are suspicious as hell. You fall far into the latter category. Thanks for playing.

        • Franktoo says:

          Bmaz: I asked two simple questions based on the Clinesmith court filing you generously linked above.

          I don’t believe one can learn anything useful from Fox News or the Daily Caller. If these organizations are asking the same questions, I certainly didn’t hear those questions from them. I have a pdf of one of Horowitz’s reports, but it is a 400? page document and finding answers is challenging. IIRC, Horowitz didn’t complain about the August 2016 CIA info not being mentioned in the first FISA application, but I also can’t believe he overlooked it either.

          I come here to learn because many articles include long quotes from and links to primary sources so that I can believe what I read. One can usually trust authors who follow these practices, but they may omit information that contradicts their main message. Marcy, however, often laudably chooses to confront information that conflicts with her thesis.

          If Marcy can accuse Durham of not understanding the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, I (a scientist by training) don’t feel that I should be ashamed of my ignorance about this subject. Even if I were an attorney, there are so many legal specialties that it is possible the average attorney knows only a little more about counter-intelligence investigations than I do. My friends who are attorneys invariably decline to answer questions outside their area of legal practice. IIRC, counterintelligence investigations can have two objectives: protecting our country from operations of the intelligence service of other countries (like hacking the DNC) and investigating those who break laws and regulations related to national security (like Petraus and HRC).

          I know from experiences at other blogs that trolls can be a real pain. However, apparent trolls occasionally turn out to be asking serious, and sometimes even good, questions in an unfamiliar way. I hope I belong in the second category. However, this is your blog; you do the work. It is a gold mine of information about important controversies. Feel free to ban my comments if they disturb you.

          Sincerely Frank(too)

  14. Franktoo says:

    Marcy: I (like Durham?) don’t understand the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. I’m hoping future posts continue to shine more light on this subject.

    Sometimes I think the CH investigation is centered on the actions of Trump’s campaign advisors: what these advisors told confidential sources “spying” on them, any information surveillance provided (FISA, Kislyak’s calls), followed by interviews with those advisors (who initially lied, providing leverage to extract new information). In this version of the CH investigation, none of the hearsay from Steele’s or other sources in Russia is relevant, since their evidence can’t be used in court. That hearsay was only valuable in obtaining surveillance warrants.

    The Republicans pretend that the CH investigation is only about the sensational accusations in the Steele Dossier. Discredit the Dossier, and the investigation is discredited. In practice, it turned out that the Dossier was used for only one thing, obtaining permission to surveil Page and was never mentioned in the collusion section of Mueller’s Report. The FBI was required to assess the credibility of Steele’s primary source and secondary sources because they used that information in a FISA application.

    Suppose the FBI had access to someone who witnessed Sechin agreeing to reward Page if sanctions were ever lifted. So what? Page had been advocating lifting sanctions before his infamous visit to Moscow. Page couldn’t be trusted with classified material and probably didn’t belong in an administration. (Is this what a counter-intelligence operation is initially about – finding out who can’t be trusted?)

    Suppose the FBI identified the Russian intelligence operative who allegedly filmed Trump with prostitutes in Moscow and arranged for his defection to the US. What would that accomplish? Is there a crime involved? It sometimes takes years to determine the credibility of a defector. Who gets to decide whether such a film would make Trump too compromised to be a suitable president? Certainly not the FBI! The DoJ won’t indict a sitting president. Though I strenuously disagree with Barr, I sometimes understand why he asserts that this investigation never should have been opened.

    Which brings us to Manafort and today’s Senate Intelligence Committee report. Suppose the FBI had evidence that Russia stopped buying ads and arranging rallies in some states and started doing so in other states based on campaign research done by the Trump campaign. Manafort wants Trump elected. Russia wants Trump elected. Are they legally allowed to cooperate? What if this were Clinton’s campaign and Ukraine?

    I’m not asking for detailed answers to these questions. But I am here reading, gratefully hoping to learn something about these subjects.

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