Leakers to the mainstream media news source, the New York Times, confirmed in a story that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) ran a spy operation on the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election involving government informants, secret subpoenas, and possible wiretaps.
This story comes just ahead of the release of the pending Department of Justice inspector general report on the FBI’s actions during the 2016 election. Many speculate this leak is a public relations attempt to paint the FBI’s efforts in the most flattering light possible. Yet many Americans believe there is no spin that can make this story into making the actions of the FBI acceptable. The FBI is supposed to be an apolitical agency, yet they have been discovered spying on the Trump campaign through phone records with “at least one” human asset.
President Donald Trump took to Twitter to speculate on the news, stating – “Wow, word seems to be coming out that the Obama FBI “SPIED ON THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN WITH AN EMBEDDED INFORMANT.” Andrew McCarthy says, “There’s probably no doubt that they had at least one confidential informant in the campaign.” If so, this is bigger than Watergate!”
The NYT reports – “The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos,” while citing “current and former officials” as their source of information.
The revelation of “at least one government informant” appears to confirm a Washington Post story last week in which leakers revealed that the FBI had a “top secret intelligence source” — a U.S. citizen who likely lived overseas — who had spied on members of the Trump campaign for the FBI. Many speculate that this person could possibly be Stefan Halper, a foreign policy expert and Cambridge professor who is connected to the CIA and its British counterpart, MI6.
The story reveals that the code name for the investigation on the Trump campaign was “Crossfire Hurricane,” based on a Rolling Stones song.
Nowhere in the story, however, is there evidence of any collusion during the campaign. The story states that Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was about to be cleared in November 2016, until he took actions after the election that the FBI wanted to examine.
The story also asks the persistent and burning question – “The question they confronted still persists: Was anyone in the Trump campaign tied to Russian efforts to undermine the election? A year and a half later, no public evidence has surfaced connecting Mr. Trump’s advisers to the hacking or linking Mr. Trump himself to the Russian government’s disruptive efforts.”
WaPo‘s report came out as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) was fighting the Justice Department for access to information on the source. After a battle between Nunes and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein over the release of classified information that was so top-secret that the DOJ refused to show Nunes on the grounds that it “could risk lives by potentially exposing the source, a U.S. citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI” – the agency finally relented after Nunes threatened to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt. Thus allowing Nunes and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) to receive a classified briefing.
According to the Wall Street Journal‘s Kimberley Strassel, the source meant “the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign.”
“This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting,” she wrote in a piece last Thursday.
The NYT story offers conflicting reports as to what the FBI has previously stated regarding the ongoing investigation into the Trump campaign. They have previously stated the investigation began with information that Papadopoulos had told an Australian diplomat he knew that Russians had stolen emails that would be embarrassing for Hillary Clinton.
According to what leakers have stated to the NYT previously, an investigation was opened “within hours” into the Trump campaign on July 31, 2016. The FBI immediately dispatched two agents to London to conduct an interview with the Australian diplomat who spoke with Papadopoulos. This means that the FBI officially opened an active investigation before even formally interviewing Papadopoulos.
It's an embarrassment of an article. The @nytimes should be ashamed to be stenographers for biased FBI and DOJ officials
NYT: Strzok writes a message in sentence case, with calm, detached air implied
REALITY: "OMG" and the entire message in excited ALL CAPS pic.twitter.com/3AJGicwdjs
— Undercover Huber (@JohnWHuber) May 16, 2018
According to the leakers, it was not until two days after the investigation actually began that agents summarized their interview with Papadopoulos which is considered a significant break with diplomatic protocol” — and subsequently sent the summary back to Washington. Except now the NYT story is glossing over this rather glaring discrepancy by claiming the agents’ report “helped provide the foundation” for the case, rather than they sparked the case itself which was the initial claim. These discrepancies and apparent holes in the official narrative appear to confirm that the FBI opened an investigation into the Trump campaign based on other information. Perhaps the “top secret intelligence source” though the exact source is currently unknown.
Strassel also questioned when the investigation really began, and why. She wrote: “…when precisely was this human source operating? Because if it was prior to that infamous Papadopoulos tip, then the FBI isn’t being straight. It would mean the bureau was spying on the Trump campaign prior to that moment. And that, in turn, would mean that the FBI had been spurred to act on the basis of something other than a junior campaign aide’s loose lips.”
The NYT story also appears to be incredibly vague on when exactly FBI agents began looking into the Trump campaign, simply stating it was “days” after their investigation on Hillary Clinton’s email server ended. Disgraced former FBI Director James Comey announced he would not seek charges against Hillary on July 5, 2016, and the FBI officially launched their investigation on July 31, 2016.
The NYT story claims the investigation was sparked by suspicions over some campaign members’ pre-existing connections with Russia before they joined the campaign. Yet doing business with Russia is not illegal?
Breitbart reports of these so-called Russian ties: “Flynn, a retired three-star general, was once paid $45,000 by Russian outlet Russia Today for a 2015 speaking engagement; Paul Manafort — a veteran Republican strategist — had lobbied for pro-Russian interests in Ukraine long before he joined the Trump campaign; Carter Page had previously worked in Moscow and Russian spies had tried to recruit him. In Papadopoulos’s case, he “seemed to know” Russia had “political dirt” on Clinton.
The FBI also found Trump’s behavior suspicious, although he was not under investigation. FBI officials were also alarmed by reports that wrongly suggested that Trump’s campaign had tried to change the GOP’s stance on Ukraine in a way favorable to Russia.
The Times’ story also confirms the FBI used the salacious Steele dossier in addition to “F.B.I. information” to obtain a wiretap on Page. Democrats have tried to downplay the FBI’s reliance on the document.
The story reveals the FBI — instead of alerting the Trump campaign that it might be a target of Russian influence operations — went to lengths to hide the investigation.”
Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates claimed during an interview with the NYT that they did not want word of the investigation to leak and potentially impact the 2016 presidential election.
Yates stated: “You do not take actions that will unnecessarily impact an election,” she said.
No, instead they chose to secretly spy on the Trump campaign as mentioned above, via phone records, secret subpoenas, and at least one informant.
The story also manages to downplay the actions of FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok, who played a key role in Hillary’s email investigation, as well as the Trump campaign investigations. As Breitbart reports – “The story claims that the FBI did not reveal eagerness to investigate Trump, citing one of Strzok’s text messages to FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an extramarital affair.
The Times quoted Strzok as texting Page with, “I cannot believe we are seriously looking at these allegations and the pervasive connections.” In reality, he had texted Page “OMG I CANNOT BELIEVE WE ARE SERIOUSLY LOOKING AT THESE ALLEGATIONS AND THE PERVASIVE CONNECTIONS.”
Mollie Hemingway of the Federalist called a spade a spade and states the NYT report is little more than “an attempted whitewash” of FBI behavior. The story also shows former CIA Director John Brennan taking an active role in pushing the investigation along and actively sharing intelligence with Comey showing that the Russian government was behind an attack on the election.
Yet, other reports reveal Brennan briefed then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who then urged Comey to investigate the Trump campaign in an August 27, 2016 letter that could be shared with media — even though there was already an open FBI investigation. Another separate report recently published by the American Spectator’s George Neumayr said that leaked news stories in the British press showed that Brennan’s spying on Trump began around April 2016.
“As it became urgently clear to Brennan that Trump was going to face off against Hillary, Brennan turned to ‘intelligence partners’ in Europe for dirt on Trump. But they didn’t have any, save some pretty skimpy material on ‘contacts’ between Trump campaign officials and Russians.
From April 2016 to July 2016, according to leaked stories in the British press, he assembled a multi-agency taskforce that served as the beginnings of a counterintelligence probe into the Trump campaign. During these months, he was ‘personally briefing’ Obama on ‘Russian interference’ — Brennan’s euphemism for spying on the Trump campaign — and was practically camped out at the White House. So in all likelihood, Obama knew about and had given his blessing to Brennan’s dirt-digging.”