Way back when CTH first began the deep dive into the systems and processes that were deployed in the 2015/2016 election cycle we eventually came to the conclusion that everything of substance, within the larger intelligence abuses, revolved around DOJ and FBI abuses of the FISA process.
As an outcome of multiple research deep-dives we then focused on a specific foundational block of that usurpation, the fraudulent application presented to the FISA Court by officials within the FBI and DOJ-NSD (National Security Division). The October 21st, 2016, application to the FISA Court for surveillance authority upon U.S. person Carter Page; and by extension the Donald Trump campaign.
Throughout all further inquiries this central component remains at the center of the issue. Unlawful surveillance is the originating principal behind Operation Crossfire Hurricane; it is also the originating issue within the Peter Strzok “insurance policy”; additionally, it is the originating aspect to the Clinton/Steele dossier; etc. etc. the list is long. Chase any of the corrupt threads back to their source of origin and you eventually come back to the surveillance authority within the FISA processes.
As an outcome of those concentric circles CTH continued to say: stay focused on the FISA fraud, and by extension the FISA application, and by extension the dossier. Every outbound surveillance ripple can be traced back to the use of FBI and NSA databases to conduct unlawful surveillance of political opposition. Not a scintilla of discovery within the past two years modifies that reality.
Why is that important? Here’s where things get FUBAR. FISA is a process, and when used appropriately, within all guidelines, is essentially a surveillance tool. However, it is a tool that is entirely subject to the honor of the user. If the user is corrupt, or holds corrupt intent, the tool easily becomes a weapon. That’s what happened in 2015, 2016 and likely long before that. The weaponization is so easy to initiate that NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers admitted the intelligence community could not adequately prevent it. So Rogers went about eliminating massive aspects to it, completely.
NSA and FBI database surveillance and monitoring is like HAL 9000. The only way to ensure it does not become weaponized is to deconstruct it; remove some of the functions that are available to users. The elimination of FISA-702(17) “About Queries”, was one such deconstruction. Removing the (17) “about” search option entirely was the only way to stop human beings from using the tool. However, that said, it only takes another presidential election, and a new NSA director, and the system can be reactivated once again.
The movement of the U.S. Cyber Command, literally into another combatant command, essentially merging NSA into a functional branch of the U.S. military, is clear evidence that people like Admiral Mike Rogers took action, in hindsight, knowing the Obama administration weaponized data collection, a function of government, for political benefit. Now, in hindsight, the action they took in May of this year all begins to make sense.
I don’t know House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, and I hold no insight into his thinking; however, looking at what actions were taken in the 2017 FISA re-authorization legislation it looks to me like he has structured this reality into the program. How? By timing the next FISA reauthorization to coincide with the 2020 Presidential Election.
Right now all of the administrators, the key-holders, of the Intelligence Apparatus database are honorable and generally safe; meaning they are trustworthy. ODNI Dan Coats, through his action specifically related to the FISA process, has exemplified this. Former NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers definitely showcased his trustworthiness on these intensely precarious issues. Mike Pompeo and now Gina Haspel also appear solid on this issue. We must, ‘trust’…. but demand verification and transparency.
However, all it takes is one Presidential election and the switch can easily be flipped back toward weaponizing those systems. All it takes is political operative like John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey and Eric Holder to reappear and reconstitute the system to allow weaponized political abuse/targeting. Really, and scarily, it is that simple.
So long as the current process of data collection remains a part of the intelligence gathering operations within the institutions of government – every vote you make for the office of the President will ultimately be a vote for who you, as an individual, trust to have ownership of your most sensitive information. So long as we accept this level of surveillance gathering, every election decision from now until the end of time is ultimately an election with a consequence that the victor could weaponize that information to enhance ideological power.
All of that said, this backdrop lies at the heart of the testimony recently given by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. I could write 10,000 words on this specific segment, but it is not my intention to drag everyone through hours of nuance [Jeff, from Marketswork has a strong play-by-play] just watch the last two minutes:
Let me cut to the chase. Rod Rosenstein told congress the physical content of the FISA renewal application he signed does not align with the briefing explanation, from DOJ officials, that accompanied the signing.
…We sit down with a team of attorneys from the Department of Justice. All of whom review that and provide a briefing for us for what’s in it. And I’ve reviewed that one in some detail, and I can tell you the information about that doesn’t match with my understanding of the one that I signed, but I think it’s appropriate to let the Inspector General complete that investigation. These are serious allegations. I don’t do the investigation — I’m not the affiant. I’m reviewing the finished product, sir.
I’m not a Rosenstein apologist, and I’m not trying to convince you of his motives or intents. My personal opinion of Rosenstein (just to frame reference), is that he’s a coward. He’s kicking a MASSIVE problem over to Inspector General Michael Horowitz because he is afraid of it. Rosenstein doesn’t want to be ‘that guy‘ who confronts deep state corruption of this scale…. so he insufferably shirks that responsibility over to the IG. In my opinion, that makes him a coward; then again, it could be more accurate to say it makes him a bureaucrat – he is.
However, focus on the substance, not the insufferable parseltongue. First, the public information about the FISA application is: the Nunes memo; the Schiff memo; and the Grassley memo. All direct sourced from the actual application. Second, all members of the House and Senate intelligence committee have been allowed access to the “full and unredacted” FISA application since April 6th, 2018. So there is no way for Rosenstein to hide behind the customary opaque nature of this specific FISA issue to congress. In short, he can’t lie about it.
Deputy AG Rosenstein is essentially saying he was mislead by “a team of attorneys from the Department of Justice.” That’s a fanciful way of saying the DOJ-NSD briefing officials lied to him about the content of the reauthorization application.
OK, so in response we might initially say: ‘well if they lied to you, then prosecute them damnit’…. and our voices would be righteous. However, the weasels have an out that President Obama helped create….
Remember the Susan Rice, James Comey, James Clapper and Loretta Lynch meeting in the Oval Office that Rice wrote down in her inauguration day memo-to-self? Remember the “by the book” instructions.
Well, it would be “by the book” for the DOJ-NSD officials to lie to the Deputy AG about a counterintelligence operation, if the Deputy AG was within linear authority to the subject or target of the counterintelligence operation. They are allowed to lie to him.
Setting aside the inherent malicious motive of the usurping officials within the DOJ-NSD during this entire aspect of their “insurance policy” deployment; the DOJ-NSD was investigating Trump; Rosenstein was an appointee of the Trump administration…. under this construct, and accepting this is a counterintelligence operation of the U.S. government unto itself; and accepting that President Trump could ask Rosenstein at any time about the underlying nature of the investigation; the DOJ-NSD lying to Rosenstein is reconciled/allowed under the “by the book” permissions.
Yes. Anger. Me too. But that doesn’t change the dynamic.
The 2015/2016 FISA abuse, search-engine surveillance and the underlying sketchy FISA application against Carter Page, is the lynchpin to the entire unlawful enterprise. In the bigger picture, what happened is also dangerous as heck. That’s the reason why Chairman Devin Nunes and Chairman Goodlatte keep chasing the story behind it.
However, even when chasing the story behind the FISA issues – what you discover is the FISA process itself is based on opaque fraud that is almost impossible to hold accountable.
The FISA surveillance system inside the intelligence apparatus is unaccountable by construct and design. The users, and in these examples the ‘abusers’, of the surveillance system are essentially protected by the scale, scope and structure of the process.
The institutional nature of the system, the “by-the-book” per se’, is why Rosenstein now kicks the FISA can to IG Horowitz. The “by-the-book” also protects the corruption contained within it. The system is, in essence, set up to protect itself. The only way to eliminate the protections is to eliminate the underlying process and stop collecting information. That’s almost impossible to see happening.
As a consequence, there will likely be some prosecutions; but they will not be for the institutionally corrupt behavior we can clearly see. Those who engaged in leaking stories to the media will be prosecuted for the leaking. Beyond that aspect there is not likely to be any technical way to prosecute those who can hide behind the system.
Think of it another way….. I don’t mean to raise blood pressure, but taking new information and applying it to historic reference leads to this:
Many of those DOJ-NSD officials who participated in the Rosenstein briefing, or assembled the underlying briefing material, left after the time-period in question (June 2017). Additionally, almost all of the FBI officials left, retired, resigned after this time-period. There was also massive exit of all of corrupt support officials from inside the DOJ-NSD and FBI when the Page/Strzok text messages surfaced (December 2017) and the evidence of the political operation became public.
However, as all of these *inside* officials left the DOJ and FBI, another entire set of *outside* DOJ and FBI officials replaced them; and the originating counterintelligence operation was rebranded and handed over to Robert Mueller.
The inside government usurpation operation became an outside government usurpation operation, essentially using contract agents hired by the inside group prior to exit. The remaining fragments of the ‘insurance policy‘ are in the hands of Robert Mueller’s team.