Posts Tagged ‘Obama Administration’

Was Fusion GPS Allowed to Run Unsupervised FISA-702 Queries?

Friday, January 12th, 2018

We interrupt our regularly-scheduled LinkSwarm, and preempt our next gargantuan Clinton Corruption update, to bring you a development that potentially dwarfs not only what we already know of the scandal, but any national American political scandal since Benedict Arnold sold the British the plans to West Point in 1780.

These claims center around a Top Secret FISA Court Order document obtained by Judicial Watch on May 23, 2017, but I first came across them last night on Twitter:

Here is the prolonged argument at Conservative Treehouse/The Last Refuge:

Ever since the transcript of Fusion-GPS Co-Founder Glenn Simpson’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee was released by Senator Dianne Feinstein, several inquisitive media outlets have begun questioning the relationship between the FBI investigators, Glenn Simpson and dossier author Christopher Steele.

What we have discovered not only highlights the answer to that question, but it also answers a host of other questions, including: Did the FBI pay Christopher Steele? Yes, but now how media thinks. Was the FBI connected to the creation of the Steele Dossier? Yes, but not in the way the media is currently outlining.

The story of how surveillance on the 2016 campaign of Donald Trump took place is simple. However, to understand the truth behind how they did it – the story it becomes more complex. Some key background understanding is necessary.

  • First, to understand what took place in 2016 we must first travel back to 2015 when Office of Inspector General (OIG) Michael Horowitz asked for approval to conduct oversight over the National Security Division of the Department of Justice.

    In 2015 Inspector General Michael Horowitz was blocked by the Department of Justice from having oversight over the DOJ-NSD. In a lengthy response to the IG’s office [Full 58 page pdf HERE] Sally Yates essentially said ‘all DOJ is subject to oversight, except the National Security Division.

  • Second, to understand how FISA is used it is CRITICAL to understand that any National Security Agency, such as the DOJ National Security Division or the FBI Counterintelligence Division, may use the NSA database -and FISA enabled inquires- with more leeway and less restrictions on access and use. In short, FISA “queries” from any national security agency within government are allowed without seeking court approval.
  • Snip.

    Understanding the scale and scope of what took place in 2016 is contingent upon understanding how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was being used. More specifically how *critical* exceptions for FISA-702 “search queries”, without judicial warrants or FISA court approvals, were permitted.

    FISA-702(17) “About Queries” from legislatively authorized national security entities did NOT require FISA court approvals.

    Snip.

    The recent stories about the 2016 DOJ and FBI counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign center around how the Christopher Steele ‘Russian Dossier’ was used by the DOJ/FBI in obtaining FISA approvals for surveillance of Trump campaign officials.

    Within the “Russian Dossier” back-story everyone is now familiar with the relationship between Fusion-GPS, the founder of the company, Glenn Simpson, and the author of the dossier, Christopher Steele. Additionally, the relationship between the Clinton campaign and Fusion GPS is now well known.

    In/around April of 2016 the Clinton campaign entered into a financial relationship with Fusion-GPS. Team Clinton paid Fusion-GPS for information on candidate Donald Trump. That agreement led to Fusion-GPS hiring sub-contractor Christopher Steele, which eventually led to the creation of the ‘Steele Dossier’.

    Yesterday, it was reported that the ‘Steele Dossier’ was used as the underlying foundation for the DOJ and FBI to seek FISA Court Approvals to monitor the communications of the Trump campaign.

    In essence, as of yesterday, the FBI used contracted Clinton opposition research -via Fusion GPS- on candidate Donald Trump to generate surveillance authority over her political opponent.

    That sounds bad, but what we have discovered is even worse.

    Dates are critical because they build the circumstantial case amid a story clouded in obfuscation and convenient FISA secrecy.

    We know NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers became aware of an issue with unauthorized FISA-702(17) “About Queries” early in 2016. Due to a FISA court ruling that was declassified in May of 2017 we were able to piece that specific timeline together.

    After discovering the FISA-702(17) “About Query” concerns, NSA Director Rogers initiated a full FISA-702 compliance review.

    Snip.

    During the exact same time-frame that Christopher Steele was assembling his dossier information (May-October 2016), the NSA compliance officer was conducting the internal FISA-702 review as initiated by NSA Director Mike Rogers.

    The NSA compliance officer briefed Admiral Mike Rogers on October 20th 2016.

    On October 26th 2016, Admiral Rogers informed the FISA Court of numerous unauthorized FISA-702(17) “About Query” violations.

    Subsequent to that FISC notification Mike Rogers stopped all FISA-702(17) “About Queries” permanently. They are no longer permitted.

    The full FISC Court Ruling on the notifications from the NSA is below. And to continue the story we are pulling out a specific section [page 83, pdf] CRITICAL to understanding what was going on:

    Pg 83. “FBI gave raw Section 702–acquired information to a private entity that was not a federal agency and whose personnel were not sufficiently supervised by a federal agency for compliance minimization procedures.”

    This is where the snippet shown in the tweet comes in:

    Notice how it was an FBI “private contractor” that was conducting the unauthorized FISA-702 Queries.

    We have been tipped off that the contractor in question was, unbelievably, Fusion-GPS.

    It is almost certain this early 2016 series of FISA-702 compliance violations was the origin of NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers concern. His discovery becomes the impetus for Director Rogers requesting the 2016 full compliance audit. It appears Fusion-GPS was the FBI contracted user identified in the final FISA court opinion/ruling.

    Note the dates from the FISC opinion (above) – As soon as the FBI discovered Mike Rogers was now looking at the searches, the FBI discontinued allowing their sub-contracted agent access to the raw FISA information effective April 18th, 2016.

    [Fusion-GPS was working on behalf of the FBI? Fusion-GPS was a contractor for the FBI? Fusion-GPS was being paid by the FBI?… while using access to research Trump]

    On April 19th, 2016, the day after the FBI stopped allowing access to the FISA database, the wife of Fusion-GPS founder Glenn Simpson, Mary B Jacoby, went to the White House.

    The piece then goes on to reiterate what we already know about the Clinton/Democratic Party Fusion GPS ties, as well as ties to intelligence community figures such as Bruce and Nellie Ohr.

    Accepting the FBI was utilizing Fusion-GPS as a contractor, there is now an inherent clarity in the relationship between: FBI agent Peter Strzok, Fusion-GPS Glenn Simpson, and ‘Russian Dossier’ author Christopher Steele. They are all on the same team.

    The information that Fusion-GPS Glenn Simpson put together from his advanced work on the ‘Trump Project’, was, in essence, built upon the foundation of the close relationship he already had with the FBI.

    Simpson, Jacoby and Ohr then passed on their information to Christopher Steele who adds his own ingredients to the mix, turns around, and gives the end product back to the FBI. That end product is laundered intelligence now called “The Trump/Russia Dossier”.

    It is a circle of intelligence information.

    The FBI turn around and use the “dossier” as the underlying documents and investigative evidence for continued operations against the target of the entire enterprise, candidate Donald Trump. As Peter Strzok would say in August 2016: this is their “insurance policy” per se’.

    The explosive part of the piece is also, alas, the one that currently appears to have only anonymous sources as corroborating evidence: that Fusion GPS was the “outside contractor” allowed to run “unsupervised” FISA-702 queries. It fits the pattern and makes sense, but I have to treat it with wariness because it too neatly fits my understanding of Obama administration/Clinton campaign patterns of lawlessness, and I want to avoid the trap of confirmation bias.

    It’s an explosive charge, that the Obama Administration authorized a private company to run unsupervised queries on unmasked American citizens in order to destroy political enemies. That dwarfs Watergate. In fact, the entire unmasking scandal already dwarfed Watergate.

    But what greatly magnifies the scandal is that, at the same time they were allegedly running these unsupervised FISA-702 inquires, in addition to getting paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party, Fusion GPS was in the pay of Russian nationals who opposed the Magnitsky Act.

    If Fusion GPS was allowed to run unsupervised FISA-702 queries, it brings up a whole host of other questions, including just who in the Obama administration and/or the US intelligence community granted Fusion GPS (and why they aren’t in prison), and how such access was granted. Where they escorted to a secured terminal room in Ft. Meade and told “Have at it, boys!” Was a Virtual Private Network setup to give them a direct pipeline into U.S. intelligence data? Were they allowed access to all U.S. intelligence data (including all intercepts of American civilian communication), or just small abstract of same? Did any of the information resulting from the queries run end up in Russian hands?

    Knowing the answers to those questions would tell us how bad a breach in our security this was, and just what sort of felony charges need to be filed.

    If the worst case implications of the above are true, the Obama Administration gave unlimited, unsupervised access to America’s most sensitive national security data to a private firm in the pay of foreign powers merely to go after political enemies.

    That’s a huge, huge scandal no matter how you slice it.

    Clinton Corruption Update for October 17, 2017

    Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

    There’s a bushel of news on Hillary Clinton scandals, both old (uranium!) and new (Harvey Weinstein!):

  • Remember the Russian uranium sale scandal? It’s back!

    Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

    Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

    They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

    The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.

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    Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefitting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.

    The first decision occurred in October 2010, when the State Department and government agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, giving Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.

    When this sale was used by Trump on the campaign trail last year, Hillary Clinton’s spokesman said she was not involved in the committee review and noted the State Department official who handled it said she “never intervened … on any [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] matter.”

    In 2011, the administration gave approval for Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp. Before then, Tenex had been limited to selling U.S. nuclear power plants reprocessed uranium recovered from dismantled Soviet nuclear weapons under the 1990s Megatons to Megawatts peace program.

    “The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials.

    The Obama administration’s decision to approve Rosatom’s purchase of Uranium One has been a source of political controversy since 2015.

    That’s when conservative author Peter Schweitzer and The New York Times documented how Bill Clinton collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in Russian speaking fees and his charitable foundation collected millions in donations from parties interested in the deal while Hillary Clinton presided on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

    The Obama administration and the Clintons defended their actions at the time, insisting there was no evidence that any Russians or donors engaged in wrongdoing and there was no national security reason for any member of the committee to oppose the Uranium One deal.

    But FBI, Energy Department and court documents reviewed by The Hill show the FBI in fact had gathered substantial evidence well before the committee’s decision that Vadim Mikerin — the main Russian overseeing Putin’s nuclear expansion inside the United States — was engaged in wrongdoing starting in 2009.

    So the Obama Administration knew Russia was illegally bribing American officials in relation to the uranium deal, including the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, and did nothing. (Read the whole thing for more details on Russia’s kickbacks and bribery schemes.)

  • Surprise, surprise, surprise! Judicial Watch managed to unearth yet another treasure trove of emails Hillary Clinton sent from her illegal homebrew serve:

    Judicial Watch today released 1,617 new pages of documents from the U.S. Department of State revealing numerous additional examples of classified information being transmitted through the unsecure, non-state.gov account of Huma Abedin, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, as well as many instances of Hillary Clinton donors receiving special favors from the State Department.

    The documents included 97 email exchanges with Clinton not previously turned over to the State Department, bringing the known total to date to at least 627 emails that were not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over, and further contradicting a statement by Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails had been turned over to department.

  • Speaking of Judicial Watch, they also forced the discovery of “30 pages of documents related to the June 27, 2016, tarmac meeting between former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton.” You know, notes the FBI swore didn’t exist. Judicial Watch said they want copies of the docs no later than late November.
  • “According to the FEC, Clinton received exactly $1,492,673.45 from Weinstein since 1999.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • So how much of Harvey Weinstein’s money will the Clinton Foundation be returning? Let me do a quick little calculation here…add it all up…carry the one…and the answer is…zero. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Just as Hollywood looked the other way for the sake of career advancement so too did Hillary Clinton as she rode her husband’s attained coattails to political prominence. So her recent expression of disgust over Weinstein’s activities ring hollow.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “With everyone saying that Weinstein’s behavior was an open secret, it is impossible to believe that Hillary Clinton a) didn’t know, b) that she gave any more of a flying f*** about the women Weinstein victimized than about those molested by her husband, c) and that she’s sorry for anything other than the minor humiliation this has caused her…though after November 8th’s events this is damned small potatoes.”
  • You may remember the many, many questions raised about Hillary’s health during the 2016 Presidential campaign. In London as part of her book tour for All You Losers Let Me Down, Clinton managed to fall down and break her toe. She claimed the fall stemmed from “apparently running down the stairs in heels and falling backward.” Yeah. First off, I don’t think Hillary is up for “running” these days, or anything beyond a fast waddle. Second, why would a woman who had multiple documented falls in 2016, and who frequently needed assistance to make her way up even small stairs, be walking up or down stairs in heels? Wouldn’t she be thinking “Yeah, unless it’s a formal event and I have someone to lean on, it’s flats from here on out?” Or she could, of course, be lying yet again, which seems to be her default mode.
  • If there’s a wrong side to an issue, Hillary will find it.
  • “Chelsea Clinton runs from questions about handing back Harvey Weinstein’s tainted $250,000 donations – and her father deploys security to keep the Press away.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • If I’m married to Bill Clinton, the last thing I would want to do (well, OK, behind “stay married” and “not flee to a country with no extradition treaty”) is slam President Donald Trump by saying there’s a sexual assaulter in the White House. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Also calling Hillary Clinton out: Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. “Bourdain is dating Asia Argento, who is one of the actresses who have accused Weinstein of rape.”
  • A tweet:

  • Unmasking Documents Sealed for Five Years?

    Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

    Judicial Watch, which did such good work unmasking various Hillary Clinton scandals last year, has been on the case filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests relating to the Obama Administration’s unmasking scandal.

    However, they just hit a roadblock asking for Susan Rice documents relevant to the issue, as they have been removed to the Obama Presidential Library:

    Judicial Watch today announced that the National Security Council (NSC) on May 23, 2017, informed it by letter that the materials regarding the unmasking by Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice of “the identities of any U.S. citizens associated with the Trump presidential campaign or transition team” have been removed to the Obama Library.

    The NSC will not fulfill an April 4 Judicial Watch request for records regarding information relating to people “who were identified pursuant to intelligence collection activities.”

    The agency also informed Judicial Watch that it would not turn over communications with any Intelligence Community member or agency concerning the alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election; the hacking of DNC computers; or the suspected communications between Russia and Trump campaign/transition officials. Specifically, the NSC told Judicial Watch:

    Documents from the Obama administration have been transferred to the Barack Obama Presidential Library. You may send your request to the Obama Library. However, you should be aware that under the Presidential Records Act, Presidential records remain closed to the public for five years after an administration has left office.

    The Presidential Records Act:

    Establishes a process for restriction and public access to these records. Specifically, the PRA allows for public access to Presidential records through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) beginning five years after the end of the Administration, but allows the President to invoke as many as six specific restrictions to public access for up to twelve years. The PRA also establishes procedures for Congress, courts, and subsequent administrations to obtain special access to records that remain closed to the public, following a 30‑day notice period to the former and current Presidents.

    Disappointing, though one can think of many non-corruption reasons a Presidential Administration might want to shield sensitive records from public view.

    (Hat tip: Conservative Treehouse via Director Blue.)

    Obama Surveillance Scandal Widens

    Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

    This seems to be the way the world works now:

    1. President Trump: Tweets something crazy.
    2. Democrats: Look at that! Trump’s crazy! And also SuperMegaHitler controlled by Putin!
    3. National Review writer: Trump must stop tweeting immediately.
    4. World: Hey look, that totally crazy thing Trump tweeted happens to be the truth! What are the odds?

    The latest example is that Obama National Security advisor Susan Rice ordered surveillance of President Trump’s transition team:

    White House lawyers last month learned that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

    The pattern of Rice’s requests was discovered in a National Security Council review of the government’s policy on “unmasking” the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally. Normally those names are redacted from summaries of monitored conversations and appear in reports as something like “U.S. Person One.”

    The National Security Council’s senior director for intelligence, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, was conducting the review, according to two U.S. officials who spoke with Bloomberg View on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly. In February Cohen-Watnick discovered Rice’s multiple requests to unmask U.S. persons in intelligence reports that related to Trump transition activities. He brought this to the attention of the White House General Counsel’s office, who reviewed more of Rice’s requests and instructed him to end his own research into the unmasking policy.

    The intelligence reports were summaries of monitored conversations — primarily between foreign officials discussing the Trump transition, but also in some cases direct contact between members of the Trump team and monitored foreign officials. One U.S. official familiar with the reports said they contained valuable political information on the Trump transition such as whom the Trump team was meeting, the views of Trump associates on foreign policy matters and plans for the incoming administration.

    That’s from Eli Lake at Bloomberg, but the person who first broke the story was Mike Cernovich at Medium. He was able to break the story because folks working at Bloomberg and the New York Times revealed that both Lake and Maggie Haberman of the New York Times were sitting on the story to protect the Obama administration. “‘Real journalism’ is that Bloomberg had it and the New York Times had it but they wouldn’t run it because they don’t want to run any stories that would make Obama look bad or that will vindicate Trump. They only want to run stories that make Trump look bad so that’s why they sat on it.”

    It seems that Rice ordered preparation of detailed spreadsheets “of legal phone calls involving Donald Trump and his aides when he was running for president”:

    “What was produced by the intelligence community at the request of Ms. Rice were detailed spreadsheets of intercepted phone calls with unmasked Trump associates in perfectly legal conversations with individuals,” [former U.S. Attorney Joseph] diGenova told The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group Monday.

    “The overheard conversations involved no illegal activity by anybody of the Trump associates, or anyone they were speaking with,” diGenova said. “In short, the only apparent illegal activity was the unmasking of the people in the calls.”

    Other official sources with direct knowledge and who requested anonymity confirmed to TheDCNF diGenova’s description of surveillance reports Rice ordered one year before the 2016 presidential election.

    Also on Monday, Fox News and Bloomberg News, citing multiple sources reported that Rice had requested the intelligence information that was produced in a highly organized operation. Fox said the unmasked names of Trump aides were given to officials at the National Security Council (NSC), the Department of Defense, James Clapper, President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, and John Brennan, Obama’s CIA Director.

    Joining Rice in the alleged White House operations was her deputy Ben Rhodes, according to Fox.

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit. Also Instapundit at Instapundit. “I’ll leave both up, because it’s that big a story.”)

    So the Obama Administration was using the National Security state to illegally gather information on Trump and his associated a year before the election. A single break-in by Nixon’s bumbling plumbers are pathetically small potatoes by comparison.

    What are the odds that Rice just out of the blue decided to start gathering surveillance information on Trump and his associates rather than being told to by Obama?

    None of this should come as any surprise, since the Obama Administration has been caught conducting illegal domestic surveillance, including targeting Fox News reporter James Rosen, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Associated Press, to say nothing of their hacking Sharyl Attkisson’s computer.

    And add the previously revealed Trump wiretapping as the cherry on top of the “using the national security apparatus to surveil domestic political enemies” cake.

    Given all this, why on earth would President Trump stop tweeting? His hit rate seems higher than the Oracle at Delphi…