Peter Strzok Claims He Spoke to John Durham about the Clinton Conspiracy Theory Document

In this post, I showed how John Durham fabricated a key aspect of his Clinton conspiracy theory — the claim that she planned to make false claims about Donald Trump. Durham invented the bit where Clinton had to make false claims about Trump. Made it up out of thin air.

Durham considered charging FBI agents because they didn’t respond to evidence that a Hillary advisor had been hacked by Russia as if it were proof of criminal intent by Hillary.

He did so in spite of the fact that he provided no proof that any of those FBI agents he considered charging had actually received the referral memo sharing that Russian intelligence.

In the section where Durham considers whether to charge some FBI agents for not doing more with the the Russian Hillary-and-Guccifer intelligence, he repeats his ploy of conflating the Hillary-and-Guccifer intelligence with the wider body of evidence to even deign to make a prosecutorial decision, though in this instance, he provides no reminder that the Hillary-and-Guccifer intelligence was just one of the things Brennan briefed to Obama, after five pages of other items.

The FBI thus failed to act on what should have been – when combined with other, incontrovertible facts – a clear warning sign that the FBI might then be the target of an effort to manipulate or influence the law enforcement process for political purposes during the 2016 presidential election. Indeed, CIA Director Brennan and other intelligence officials recognized the significance of the intelligence by expeditiously briefing it to the President, Vice President, the Director of National Intelligence, the Attorney General, the Director of the FBI, and other senior administration officials. 491

He lets the urgent import of an ongoing Russian hack to stand in for the import of this Hillary-and-Guccifer intelligence.

And that’s important, because Durham makes a prosecutorial decision about whether to charge FBI agents for how they responded to the intelligence that Russia claimed to have intercepted communications of Hillary personnel without proof that most of them ever read it.

As he describes, the top analytical people on the campaign learned of the claimed intercept of Hillary associates almost a month after CIA first obtained it.

On that date, an FBI cyber analyst (“Headquarters Analyst-2”) emailed a number of FBI employees, including Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten and Section Chief Moffa, the most senior intelligence analysts on the Crossfire Hurricane team, to provide an update on Russian intelligence materials. 409 The email included a summary of the contents of the Clinton Plan intelligence. 410

There were in-person briefings for the top analytical people and the cyber people ten days later.

When interviewed by the Office, Auten recalled that on September 2, 2016 – approximately ten days after Headquarters Analyst-2’s email – the official responsible for overseeing the Fusion Cell briefed Auten, Moffa, and other FBI personnel at FBI Headquarters regarding the Clinton Plan intelligence. 411 Auten did not recall any FBI “operational” personnel (i.e., Crossfire Hurricane Agents) being present at the meeting. 412 The official verbally briefed the individuals regarding information that the CIA planned to send to the FBI in a written investigative referral, including the Clinton Plan intelligence information. 413


Separate and apart from this meeting, FBI records reflect that by no later than that same date (September 2, 2016), then-FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence Bill Priestap was also aware of the specifics of the Clinton Plan intelligence as evidenced by his hand-written notes from an early morning meeting with Moffa, DAD Dina Corsi and Acting AD for Cyber Eric Sporre. 415

Durham describes the CIA writing a memo about what the fusion intelligence team had found — but he curiously never describes how or when it was sent.

Five days later, on September 7, 2016, the CIA completed its Referral Memo in response to an FBI request for relevant information reviewed by the Fusion Cell. 417

That’s important because Durham describes witness after witness describing that they had never seen it.

None of the FBI personnel who agreed to be interviewed could specifically recall receiving this Referral Memo.


The Office showed portions of the Clinton Plan intelligence to a number of individuals who were actively involved in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. Most advised they had never seen the intelligence before. For example, the original Supervisory Special Agent on the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, Supervisory Special Agent-1, reviewed the intelligence during one of his interviews with the Office. 428 After reading it, Supervisory Special Agent-I became visibly upset and emotional, left the interview room with his counsel, and subsequently returned to state emphatically that he had never been apprised of the Clinton Plan intelligence and had never seen the aforementioned Referral Memo. 42


Former FBI General Counsel Baker also reviewed the Clinton Plan intelligence during one of his interviews with the Office. 431 Baker stated that he had neither seen nor heard of the Clinton Plan intelligence or the resulting Referral Memo prior to his interview with the Office.

In lieu of proof that it ever got sent, Durham reveals that Brian Auten might have hand-carried the memo to the team, but had no memory of doing so.

Auten stated that it was possible he hand-delivered this Referral Memo to the FBI, as he had done with numerous other referral memos,419 and noted that he typically shared referral memos with the rest of the Crossfire Hurricane investigative team, although he did not recall if he did so in this instance. 420


[E]ven in spite of proof that Durham was coaching witnesses in these interviews, he still presented no affirmative evidence that the FBI investigators ever received the Fusion Cell memo. In the same way that all of Hillary’s people disclaimed any plan, the FBI investigators disclaimed having seen this memo.

To sum up: Durham considered charging FBI agents for not responding to evidence that Russians had hacked a Hillary advisor as if it was proof of Hillary’s devious attempt to frame Trump, even though he had no evidence those FBI agents ever saw that evidence.

In today’s hearing, Durham responded to a question from Jim Jordan about the memo — asking whether the memo was given to Jim Comey and Peter Strzok — by dodging on precisely that issue. Rather than saying, yes, Comey and Strzok got this referral, he said only that the memo had been addressed to Strzok.

Jordan: Was memo given to Comey and Strzok.
Durham: That’s who it was addressed to, yes.

That is, he affirmatively stopped short of claiming that Strzok received it.

That led to this exchange involving Strzok himself.

The significance of Strzok’s comment is twofold. First, he says he spoke to Durham about this topic.

I told Durham’s team I had no recollection of ever seeing the [referral]. Funny how he didn’t include that in his report.

That directly conflicts with a footnote in a section of Durham’s Report purporting to prove Peter Strzok’s political bias, in which Durham claimed that Strzok refused to talk about anything other than the Alfa Bank allegations.

139 Strzok was a Section Chief and later the Deputy Assistant Director in the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. (For the positions held by those involved in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, see the chart in the Redacted OIG Review at 81-82.) Strzok agreed to provide information to the Office concerning matters related to the FBI’s Alfa Bank investigation, but otherwise declined to be interviewed by the Office on matters related to his role in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.

Durham has spent a good deal of time today making excuses for why he didn’t speak to Republicans’ biggest bogeymen, including Strzok. Yet it appears that Durham affirmatively misrepresented the extent to which Strzok spoke to him.

Then there’s the documentary detail Strzok raised: When he spoke to Durham, Durham didn’t have an FBI file copy of this memo. He was using a CIA or ODNI version of the document, not one from the FBI.

Either Durham didn’t look — or he never found — this file to be in FBI files.

Both Republicans and Democrats should be furious about this exchange — Republicans, because it suggests Durham is lying to them about whom he really did speak with, and Democrats, because it is yet more proof Durham invented a conspiracy theory out of a Russian intelligence report.

John Durham seems to be hiding the degree to which he left out interviews that debunked his own conspiracy theories. Including one with Peter Strzok.

10 replies
  1. Ben Soares says:

    What can Peter Strzok …do about any of this ? I think we’re up to 4 tiers of justice
    at this point ? Bill Barr seems to have built at least 2 . Imo.

    Folks being furious – has nothing to do with anything …

  2. John Paul Jones says:

    That section in the report shies away from saying the memo was actually delivered. Auten says it was “possible” he hand delivered it (can’t recall), and that he “typically” shared such memos, but he never says he knows for sure he actually dropped it off or sent it. That suggests that the interviewer posed questions to him in such a way that he could respond affirmatively while preserving his own sense of the truth – that the memo was never in fact sent. In a weird way it affirms the liar’s (Durham’s) respect for the power of the truth.

  3. EricMariposa says:

    “Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.”

    ― Walter Scott, Marmion

  4. A Better Mitch says:

    I think I was following along ok until the surprising conclusion. Rs seem to welcome being lied to as long as it serves their goals. Durham joined their pantheon of heroes ages ago, so what’s to get upset about? Further, muddying the waters to the extent that objective truth becomes suspect or impossible, seems to be 1 of the goals.

  5. vigetnovus says:

    Is it possible that Moffa, who was the lead analyst on CH, kept this intel even from Strozk? It really makes me wonder what paragraphs b) and c) had to say, my guess it was very sensitive info that needed to be closely held?

    The whole thing seems odd. I don’t think it’s as nefarious as Durham wants people to believe, but then again, what was in that memo that no one on CH seemed to know about? And if it wasn’t declassified, seems as though it might still be relevant today.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Because I’m having trouble making sense of it all, I double-checked the timeline on who was supervising FBI cybersecurity just prior to the 2016 US election:

      Because why on earth wouldn’t a member of Crossfire Hurricane have received an FBI memo about what’s essentially a cybersecurity issue…?

      How much was McGonigal a contributing factor to the confusion at FBI, and to memos not being promptly sent to the most relevant group (i.e., Crossfire Hurricane), at a time when there must have been some kind of cyber/telecom signals that Russia planned to interfere in the 2016 US election?

      In 2016, McGonigal was named Section Chief of the Cyber-Counterintelligence Coordination Section of the Counterintelligence Division. On October 4, 2016, it was announced that McGonigal was named “Special Agent in Charge of the Counterintelligence Division for the New York Field Office”, appointed by James B. Comey….

      In January 2023, McGonigal was arrested and federally indicted on charges of money laundering, making false statements in mandatory disclosures to the FBI, violating U.S. sanctions on Russia, and other counts for allegedly working with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who had allegedly tasked McGonigal with investigating a Deripaska rival.

      Damn, if that guy wasn’t buying aluminum plants in Kentucky – in order to give Mitch McConnell a pretext to lift sanctions on Russia – then it appears that he was busy paying off Manafort and McGonigal to sell out the U.S.
      ‘US sanctions on Russia’ seems to be a drumbeat.

      Let us recall that Manafort owed Deripaska $10,000,000 USD, and that the Manafort-Kilimnick-Deripaska triad links to Ukraine and Russia. How is it possible that Durham failed to see multiple, often overlapping, Russian connections?

      I have no intention of getting lost in rabbit warrens, and I cannot currently keep up with Marcy’s reporting (alas!). Nevertheless, I’m dog paddling and gasping to try and catch up. But the weirdness of multiple FBI agents not seeing a key memo — and then almost being prosecuted for not reading a memo that they were never shown — is chilling.

      The potential of a missing McGonigal piece in this whole mess is nagging at me, because it might help explain a situation in which Strozk and other FBI agents were never, ever shown a memo about cyber activity – activity that McGonigal was tasked with supervising.

      In contrast, other federal agencies — who were not supervised by McGonigal — appear to have tracked what was happening.

      Given the confusion about who did, or didn’t, receive FBI memos or reports from a group that McGonigal supervised, then shouldn’t it have been pretty straight-forward for Durham to track back to the origins of who was failing to send out the memo…?

      McGonigal was arrested in March 2023 — two months before Durham released his final report in May 2023. How could Durham have failed to consider how McGonigal’s treason might have affected the FBI?

      [If this comment is too off-topic or conspiracy-riddled, then I trust that moderators will delete it, both for the benefit of other readers, and also to help me escape being exceedingly red-faced for the next 48 hours.]

      • HikaakiH says:

        I certainly appreciated your comment. I think you’ve got 2+1.9 and have rounded it up to 4. It’s a bit speculative but it fits pretty well with what is known.

      • AndTheSlithyToves says:

        Excellent sleuthing and connecting the dots. The rot is deep and wide. While Guiliani may have booted the Italian mafia out of NYC, he made way for the Russian mob to take its place after the collapse of the USSR.

      • BRUCE F COLE says:

        Your comment isn’t deleted and with good reason, I think: McGonigal is indeed an elephant in the room. Thanks for brining him back up from the depths. The coincidences are remarkable, to say the least. Here’s an item describing the 2018 UK intel alert that may have spurred the investigation that evenually got him arrested, and that may be tied to his resignation in Sept. 2018 (though BI isn’t sure which came first):

        Hmm. A wrinkle is that he’s considered a Hillary-shill by the wingnuts, his having been an instigator of CH in the beginning. LeCarre’ would have had a field day with this shit.

      • Fancy Chicken says:

        I have a pretty bad migraine from all this much needed rain, and they always makes it a real challenge to keep up here when I have one, but when I read your comment it was a Holy Jebebus moment.

        I think you are on to something but it doesn’t seem like this potential behavior on McGonigal’s part would be part of his criminal investigation.

        For the better brains out there, would this ever get investigated in house or would it have to be something an investigative journalist would have to try and track down. It’s a fascinating theory and worth trying to track down.

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