Sunday, March 11, 2018

Russiagate Rockin' On

More on Susan Rice's "stand down" order regarding Russian election hacking: Did Obama Admin Issue A “Stand Down” Order On Russian Meddling?
. . . At his morning staff meeting, Daniel matter of factly said to his team it had to stop work on options to counter the Russian attack: “We’ve been told to stand down.” Daniel Prieto, one of Daniel’s top deputies, recalled, “I was incredulous and in disbelief. It took me a moment to process. In my head I was like, Did I hear that correctly?” Then Prieto asked, “Why the hell are we standing down? Michael, can you help us understand? “Daniel informed them that the orders came from both Rice and Monaco. They were concerned that were the options to leak, it would force Obama to act. “They didn’t want to box the president in,” Prieto subsequently said. . .
It's a family affair: Another Husband-Wife Team Linked to Fusion GPS Found in Russia Collusion ProbeSketchy Business – Chairman Nunes Reveals Fusion GPS Connection to Obama White House…
Today Fox News is revealing that Fusion-GPS #2 man-in-charge, Neil King Jr., was/is married to President Obama’s White House Policy Adviser, Shailagh Murray; who was also Joe Biden’s Deputy-Chief-of-Staff.
WASHINGTON – House Republicans are expanding their investigation of the Trump dossier, seeking answers from Obama administration officials including a former staffer for Vice President Joe Biden whose husband works for the firm behind the controversial document, Fox News has learned.
A source familiar with the matter confirmed to Fox News that Shailagh Murray, who was Biden’s former deputy chief of staff and communications director before serving as a senior adviser to President Obama, will be sent a questionnaire Friday.
The questionnaire, from Republican Chairman Devin Nunes of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, will ask when Murray became aware that the dossier – commissioned by opposition research firm Fusion GPS – was funded by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign.(more)
It’s becoming more and more transparently obvious that Fusion-GPS was one of the contractors with access to the FBI and NSA database; and when Admiral Rogers shut down that access (April 18, 2016), Fusion-GPS needed a workaround to access the system through the Dept. of Justice National Security Division (DOJ-NSD), via Bruce Ohr.
Why Civil Libertarians Should Be Worried about the FISA Warrant on Carter Page - FISA’s License to Hop, How the FISA warrant on Carter Page enabled Obama Administration surveillance of the entire Trump team, and why civil libertarians should be worried
In the case of a subject like Carter Page, that means investigators who obtain a warrant in October 2016 can hunt through his communications going back several years before that date—and can use their “license to hop” to probe the first and second order of correspondents linked to him at any point during that period in the same fashion. (As mentioned at links above—here and here—analysts working national-security surveillance without a targeted warrant can routinely go back for an 18-month haul.) Links from the past can then be exploited going forward.

What this means in practice is that, under a single warrant, anyone Page had a text or phone call with in the Trump campaign during the brief months of his association with it in 2016, was fair game, as a direct connection, all the way through the end of the last warrant-extension period on Page in October 2017. The second-hop connections of those initial contacts—meaning everyone that those people had contact with—are also fair game. In other words, it’s likely that almost everyone on the Trump campaign staff was included in the universe of first- and second-order contacts of Carter Page. The entirety of their correspondence is therefore also covered by the initial warrant, regardless of whether or not they ever met or corresponded with Carter Page, or whether that correspondence referred to him in any way, directly or indirectly.

We got a glimpse of that reality from the recent report that Carter Page was in contact with Trump adviser Steve Bannon in January 2017, which could have allowed the FBI to look further into Bannon’s communications through October 2017. But it also allowed a probe of Bannon’s communications going back years before January 2017—as well as a probe of anyone Bannon was in contact with throughout that same period.

Think that over for a moment, and you can see why the Carter Page warrant is important. The possible abuse of that warrant for partisan political purposes would likely be a violation not just of Page’s rights, but of the rights of thousands of other Americans—and by extension, of the right of all Americans to be free from warrantless surveillance.
What are the chances that someone who talked to you in the past 10 years also talked to Carter Page. Maybe not high, but certainly not zero, in this very serious version of "6 degrees of Kevin Bacon."

Over at Powerline, Scott Johnson continues his fisking of Jane Mayer's Dossiad (4)
Jane Mayer’s 15,000-word New Yorker profile of Christopher Steele is a sort of mash note to the man Mayer views as an intergalactic hero. One doesn’t need to be a sophisticated reader to see that she has fallen for the guy big time or that she reveals herself to be an unreliable narrator.

For reasons I suggested yesterday in part 3, I think Steele made himself a willing dupe of Russian disinformation. I think it highly unlikely that the Steele Dossier constitutes good intelligence on Vladimir Putin’s intentions, operations, and the related matters taken up in the dossier. One would have to be something of a sap to believe that it does. From the evidence of the Mayer’s text, Mayer is such a sap. In this installment of my series I would like only to pluck a few quotes illustrating a few of the peculiar qualities of Mayer’s profile. . . 
Andrew McCarthy lobbies against the idea of appointing a new special counsel to deal with FISAgate or the Clinton email mess: No New Special Counsel
The White House and congressional Republicans have watched in ire as the Trump administration has been tied in knots by the no-boundaries Mueller investigation. “Okay,” they’re thinking, “now, it’s payback time.” There appear to have been highly irregular investigative tactics used in probing the Trump campaign — particularly, but not exclusively, by the Obama administration. Why not, then, appoint another special counsel to squeeze the squeezers? Why not turn the tables?

It’s a bad idea. . .

Before explaining my disagreement with them, I must first observe that Chairmen Goodlatte and Gowdy, along with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), continue to perform an invaluable service in exposing investigative irregularities and demanding accountability. Where I part company with them is not over whether we need an investigation; it is over whether that investigation should be done by a special counsel.
I'm unconvinced. New Trump Diplomatic Deal: He’ll Give Mueller An Interview In Exchange For Wrapping Up Russiagate
. . . This leak is just PR, right? If Trump ends up doing the smart thing and refusing an interview (or pleading the Fifth in response to a subpoena!), he’ll need to spin that decision furiously to convince the public that he declined to talk for reasons other than that he was worried about incriminating himself. This offer, to do an interview in return for a date certain in ending the prove, is one avenue of spin. “I was reasonable,” Trump will say. “I told him I’d talk to him in the interest of wrapping this up, since we’re a year into this now and an endless investigation isn’t good for the country. I have nothing to hide. But he wouldn’t accept. He’s the one being unreasonable.” That would appeal to Republicans by suggesting that Mueller is more interested in keeping a cloud over the White House via an open-ended probe than he is in getting answers. And it would provide a “neutral” explanation for Trump’s unwillingness to talk. It’s not that he’s opposed to telling what he knows, it’s that he won’t enable a fishing expedition. . .
TV vs. Trump in 2018: Lots of Russia, and 91% Negative Coverage (Again!) and Bob Woodward: Some Reporters Are Becoming ‘Emotionally Unhinged’ Covering Trump, No shit, Sherlock!

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