Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Russiagate Leak-O-Rama

New documents provided to Congress raise “grave concerns” about an “apparent systemic culture of media leaking” among high-level FBI and Justice Department officials to release information damaging to President Trump, a top Republican congressman charged in a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Monday.

In the letter, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., points in particular to several text message exchanges in April 2017 between now-fired FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page, in which the two discuss the bureau's "media leak strategy."

Meadows sent an updated letter to Rosenstein on Tuesday, containing similar language but revising the timing of one of the exchanges mentioned in his Monday letter.

"I had literally just gone to find this phone to tell you I want to talk to you about media leak strategy with DOJ before you go," Strzok texted Page on April 10, 2017, according to Meadows, who cited newly produced documents from the Justice Department.
The Strzok and the rest of the FBI claim that the texts are about an anti-leak strategy:
The FBI and DOJ declined to comment. Strzok attorney Aitan Goelman, though, said the “media leak strategy” in the text referred to efforts to stop leaks.

“The term ‘media leak strategy’ in Mr. Strzok’s text refers to a Department-wide initiative to detect and stop leaks to the media,” he said in a statement.
On April 11, 2017, the Washington Post published a story titled, "FBI obtained FISA warrant to monitor former Trump adviser Carter Page. The article, citing "law enforcement and other U.S. officials," reported that the DOJ and FBI had convinced a FISA judge there was "probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia."
Power Line on The FBI’s anti-Trump “leak strategy”
It seems clear that the the FBI and DOJ engaged in a coordinated campaign to create, in Meadows’ words, “a flurry of articles suggesting connections between President Trump and Russia.” The main immediate victim of that flurry was Carter Page who, almost a year and a half later, has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

The goals of the media leaks were (1) to damage President Trump’s standing and legitimacy and (2) to create pressure for prosecution. The campaign succeeded, though it took additional leaking from James Comey to reach the end zone.

How will Rosenstein respond to Rep. Meadows’ letter? Apathetically, I predict, given Rosenstein’s track record.
Via The Last Tradition, Strzok's Claim About 'Leak Strategy' Doesn't 'Pass the Giggle Test'

RCP: How Anti-Trump Leakers Moved From Offense to Defense
Past and present U.S. officials say the template for the leak campaign can be traced back to the Obama administration’s efforts to sell the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which made the press reliant on background conversations and favorable leaks from government officials. Obama adviser Ben Rhodes told the New York Times in 2016 that “we created an echo chamber” that “helped retail the administration’s narrative.”

“That same configuration,” said Michael Doran, a senior official in the George W. Bush White House, “the press, political operatives, newly minted experts, social media validators—was repurposed to target Trump, his campaign, transition team, then presidency.” The echo chamber’s primary instrument in attacking the current White House, said Doran, “is the Russia collusion narrative.”

RCI has found that the anti-Trump leaks fall into two broad categories, or phases. Initially the leaking was an offensive operation aimed at disrupting Trump’s agenda, especially through leaks alleging connections between his campaign and the Russians. Its early successes included leaks of highly classified material that led to the firing of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions from overseeing that probe.

The second phase – which began roughly a year into the Trump administration – has been more defensive, pushing back against congressional oversight committees that had uncovered irregularities in the FBI’s investigation of Trump. This phase has been marked by the willingness of press outlets to run stories backing off earlier reported leaks that proved to be deeply misleading – including the roots of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign and the relationship between Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr and the opposition research firm that produced a central document of that probe, the largely discredited “Steele dossier.”

This second phase has also included articles and opinion pieces – some written by journalists who have published classified information – dismissing suspicions of an orchestrated campaign against Trump as, to use the phrase invoked in a recent New Yorker article, a “conspiracy theory.”

“Former Obama officials and their press allies can call it a ‘conspiracy theory’ or whatever they want,” a senior U.S. official -- familiar with how Obama holdovers and the media jointly targeted Trump figures -- told RCI. “But they can’t say it’s not true that former Obama officials were furiously leaking to keep people close to Trump out of the White House.”
And for something a little different, how about  Mark Tapscott at LifeZette's Six Facts Say Papadopoulos Is Right to Think Downer, FBI Set Him Up
1.) Downer enabled Clinton Foundation corruption. He was a key factor in the Australian government’s $25 million grant in 2006 to the Clinton Foundation for anti-HIV/AIDs activities, which a subsequent audit was never able to document as having actually been completed. In other words, as so often happens with the Clinton Foundation, millions of dollars supposedly intended for good causes somehow just disappear.

2.) Downer tipped the FBI about Papadopoulos. The May 2016 bar meeting Papadopoulos thinks “didn’t just happen” almost certainly didn’t, as Downer soon thereafter reported it to the FBI, with whom he had a long-standing relationship.

3.) Downer is close to a Brit spy firm. You’ve likely never heard of Hakluyt, an extraordinarily shadowy opposition research firm made up almost entirely of former British spies. But, as LifeZette reported last year, Downer and Clinton know all about it. Downer was for many years on Hakluyt’s advisory board and maintained close contacts with the firm even after he was forced to leave the board in 2014.

4.) Downer has been linked to Chinese intelligence. Just when you think the plot can’t get any thicker, there’s this: Downer was long associated with Huawei, the Chinese telecommunication firm closely associated with the Asian giant’s military intelligence, as LifeZette noted last year.

5.) Downer was still linked to Hakluyt in 2016. Despite his being Australia’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom, a sensitive diplomatic post, Downer remained active in Hakluyt’s world during the 2016 Trump versus Clinton presidential contest, according to the London bureau of

6.) The Clintons have long used the FBI against their enemies. For nearly three decades, that is. Go back to 1993 and check out the 400 confidential FBI files on prominent Republicans that just happened to show up in the Clinton White House. “Just a typical bureaucratic snafu,” Bill called it. Now, combine those six facts with the idea that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) — which she nominally controlled as the party’s 2016 presidential nominee — paid for the infamous Steele dossier the FBI used under false pretenses to gain approval to spy on the Trump campaign.

1 comment:

  1. And the struggle for the Iron Throne begins.