A fellow researcher, @ar68599812 – recently posed the following (paraphrased) question:
Why did the FBI use outside contractors in the first place when the FBI already had direct access to the raw FISA information. Why risk the use of outside contractors who would likely draw unwanted attention – especially when the Dossier wasn’t even being constructed at this point.
In reality, the Dossier may not even have been considered at this point.
This was a good question and one I hadn’t thought too much about.
I responded that the use of contractors probably had a three-fold purpose (this is an expanded – but hopefully accurate – version of my original response):
- The contractors probably served as risk mitigation – allowing the FBI to claim ignorance. “Heck, we had no idea these outside contractors took it upon themselves to start looking at raw FISA data.” The FBI gets dinged for poor oversight but avoids being accused of direct involvement in illegal searches.
- It saves time and resources from the FBI’s perspective. The raw data and various searches – the boring gathering of raw intelligence – can be pursued by the outside contractors. This allows the FBI “small-group” (Strzok, Priestap, Baker, McCabe, Comey) needed time and resources to focus on the larger picture, while still providing for the Administrative duties required for running the FBI. Fusion does the searching and compiling. The FBI “small-group” reviews and implements.
- Outside contractors might actually limit deeper questions. No rank-and-file FBI Agents directly cross over with the contractors. Since no other FBI Agents are directly involved, they have no direct knowledge of what is actually being looked at. The contractors are a separate group from the outside, working on a “special project” for FBI higher-ups.
But I felt my answer was almost certainly incomplete.
A more detailed response was provided today in an article tweeted by The conservative Treehouse:
Good read on why the use of intelligence “contractors” when weaponizing the DOJ and FBI. https://t.co/GOyxAf7wVI
— TheLastRefuge (@TheLastRefuge2) January 21, 2018
From Feanor Lambrecht’s article:
Allowing private contractor civilians access to the information they are not cleared to see or use is illegal as well as unethical. Because of this, the idea seems a little hare-brained. If you are already committed to illegally weaponize intelligence gathering capabilities with the unlawful intent to destroy the candidacy or presidency of one man, why add another layer of illegality complete with bank records and paper trail?
Essentially the same question that @ar68599812 posed to me.
The author answers with more detail and thought than I had provided:
One of the reasons to rely outside contractors is, despite the extra attention they would attract, they are less likely to have reservations about abusing the system than someone in the intel or law enforcement communities. Unlike those who swear an oath to serve the people by protecting and defending the constitution, the contractors can obviously be handpicked political operatives – which is exactly what Fusion GPS is.
This gives those orchestrating the crime an added level of control over what types of information searches are conducted and how that information is processed, utilized, and even leaked. It is a way of expanding the cadre of conspirators without the threat of some white hat turning whistle blower and blowing everyone’s cover.
If you recall, the Obama administration had a very difficult time throughout its eight years with whistleblowers, racking up some of the most famous examples in the history of American government such as Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, and Wikileaks. They were burned by whistle blowers before. It makes sense they would develop measures to minimize the threat.
The article notes some very specific benefits:
- Political and ideological control through the use of chosen operatives.
- Control over exactly what is being searched for – and how that information is processed and moved to the next level.
- Reduced risk of unwanted exposure at high levels – whistleblowing.
Continuing with the article:
The other possible benefit of using civilian contractors is because, as non-law enforcement, they are not bound to the same rules regarding the leaking of sensitive information from one of those “on going investigations” we constantly heard about in the Obama administration. The contractors are not just investigators, they are modes of data exportation. They can (and did) take the fruits of their research, and with a single report “leaked” to private channels, broadcast it into the wider world of the media.
Contractors can use the mundane yet true details gathered through surveillance and cut it with fabrications to lend credence to what otherwise may sound over the top or outlandish. This process also involves illegally moving collected intelligence outside the SCIF and putting in the hands of the intel fabulist, someone like Michael Steele, who then adds his own flourishes.
Thor Halvorssen, President and CEO of the Human Rights Foundation, had this to say about Fusion GPS during Congressional testimony:
In 2014, Fusion GPS began working on behalf of Derwick to ensure that the evidence of their crimes and the narrative of their spectacular thievery would never appear in the media. Fusion GPS devised smear campaigns, prepared dossiers containing false information, carefully placed slanderous news items, and possibly even staged a break-in at the home of one of the key whistleblowers.
Fusion GPS isn’t an “opposition research” or a crisis communications company. Fusion GPS is a group of highly paid smear experts who function as an accessory to the crimes committed by Derwick Associates. As such, they are in part responsible for the ongoing injustice and suffering brought about by Derwick’s actions in Venezuela. I urge you to probe into Fusion GPS’s Venezuelan activities and especially into their willingness to pay journalists in exchange for the publication of baseless smears.
Halvorssen could just as easily be describing the activities Fusion has perpetrated in the formulation and dissemination of the Trump Dossier.
Back to the article:
Law enforcement can then look at those details and operate under the pretense that it could all be true because they can verify some of the details which they secretly planted in the document in the first place.
In both instances, the contractor facilitates a process of intelligence laundering with the purpose of deceiving other law enforcement, judges, reporters, and we citizens of America. It creates a false trail between the intelligence collection process and the sudden appearance of a “tip” hiding the original, and illegal, origin of the evidence. In law enforcement terms, this is called “parallel construction” and it is the method of bad cops.
“The contractor facilitates a process of intelligence laundering with the purpose of deceiving other law enforcement” by creating “a false trail between the intelligence collection process and the sudden appearance of a “tip” hiding the original, and illegal, origin of the evidence.”
This is exactly what Fusion GPS did. They gathered information – from November 2015 (perhaps earlier) to April 18 2016 – until NSA Director Rogers put a stop to the use of outside contractors. Fusion then shifted to packaging this information. Once packaged, they exported it to Christopher Steele and then took it back in again, effectively laundering the information to allow for the “sudden appearance of a tip” – the Dossier.
We know from the FISA Court documents that information being gathered through illegal “About” queries had little or nothing to do with National Security. They were unauthorized, specifically related to U.S. persons and were the result of deliberate decision-making.
The FBI employed independent contractors to gather political opposition research using “About” queries from late 2015 through April 18, 2016.
Assuming TCTH’s source is correct, Fusion GPS was one of these contractors.
Mike Rogers stopped the use of outside contractors on April 18, 2016.
Once the process had been stopped – and was now potentially exposed – the FBI & NSD decided what to do with the previously gathered information.
The idea of a Dossier was formulated. It provided two purposes.
- It became a repository of some of the information already gathered – and was augmented with information from Christopher Steele.
- It became a means to obtain legal permission for the previously illegal methods by which the information had been gathered.
Consider the following timeline:
November 2015-April 2016 – The FBI and NSD uses private contractors (Fusion GPS) to access raw FISA information using “To” and “From” FISA-702(16) & “About” FISA-702(17) queries.
On or before April 18, 2016 – NSA Director Mike Rogers orders the NSA compliance officer to run a full audit on 702 NSA compliance.
April 18 2016 -Mike Rogers shuts down FBI/DOJ contractor access to the FISA Search System.
April 18, 2016 – The FBI is forced to discontinue private contractor access to raw FISA information.
April 19 2016 – Wife of Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS) Mary Jacoby visits White House.
Late April 2016 – Clinton Campaign begins paying Fusion GPS.
April/May 2016 – Fusion GPS hires Christopher Steele.
April/May 2016 – Fusion GPS hires Nellie Ohr, wife of DOJ Assoc. Deputy AG Bruce Ohr. Nellie Ohr is an expert on Russia.
Bruce and Nellie Ohr have known Fusion GPS’s Simpson since at least 2010.
May 2016 – Trump becomes presumptive GOP Nominee.
May 23 2016 – Nellie Ohr applies for a HAM Radio license.
June 2016 – FBI Agent Peter Strzok – and possibly DOJ’s Bruce Ohr – meet with Christopher Steel.
June 9 2016 – Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS) meets with Natalia Veselnitskaya before Trump Jr. meeting.
June 9 2016 – Meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Rinat Akhmetshin and Natalia Veselnitskaya.
June 9 2016 – Glenn Simpson meets again with Natalia Veselnitskaya after Trump Jr. meeting.
Late June 2016 – First draft of Trump Dossier shared w/Fusion & possibly FBI’s Strzok.
Late June 2016 – First FISA 702 Surveillance Authority request made. It is denied.
July 24 2016 – Clinton Campaign manager Robbie Mook suggests Russian Government is behind release of DNC emails.
Mid/Late July 2016 – FBI begins counter-intelligence investigation into Russia and Trump.
Late July – Second draft of Trump Dossier shared with FBI.
August 2016 – Strzok sends “insurance policy” text referencing Deputy FBI Director McCabe.
August/September 2016 – CIA Director Brennan meets with Gang of Eight suggesting Russia is helping Trump.
Late Summer/Early Fall 2016 – Trump Dossier shopped.
September 5 2016 – Hillary Clinton accuses Russia of interfering with U.S. election.
Late September 2016 – Second FISA 702 Surveillance Authority request made.
September 26 2016 – John Carlin, head of DOJ’s National Security Division (NSD), admits to FISC that surveillance included Obama’s political opponents.
September 27 2016 – John Carlin, head of DOJ’s NSD and involved with FISA requests, announces he is resigning.
September 28 2016 – Comey refuses to answer if FBI is investigating possible connections between members of the Trump campaign and Russia.
Early October 2016 – Bruce Ohr meets with Dossier author Christopher Steele.
Early October 2016 – Bruce Ohr meets with Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS).
Early October 2016 – FISA 702 Surveillance Authority request is granted. No evidence is found but surveillance continues – ostensibly for national security reasons.
October 7 2016 – Homeland Security and James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence (DNI), officially accuse the Russian government of hacking the DNC “to interfere with the US election process.”
October 20 2016 – NSA Rogers briefed by NSA compliance officer on 702 NSA compliance audit.
October 21 2016 – NSA Rogers shuts down all “About Query” activity. Permanently. Reports activity to DOJ and prepares to go before FISA Court.
October 26 2016 – NSA Rogers personally informs FISA Court of 702(17) violations.
Late October 2016 -Defense Secretary Ash Carter and DNI James Clapper recommend to Obama that Admiral Mike Rogers be removed as director of NSA.
The information gathering period by independent contractors [Fusion – perhaps others] ended on April 18, 2016.
The information packaging and dissemination by these same independent contractors began on April 19, 2016.
The Dossier was created – at least in part – to gain a FISA Court approval for illegal surveillance activity that had already taken place (FISA 702 approval can be granted retroactively).
And once approval has been given, the previously obtained 702 data has been legitimized.
It can be further mined and used to obtain additional information. It now becomes legal to maintain surveillance on the Trump Campaign using data that originated with the “incidental” capture of U.S. persons in the collection of data on non-U.S. persons.
The article sums the process up:
James Comey and his crooked cops leveraged the entire US government intelligence apparatus against Donald Trump and came up with bupkis.
The private contractor was the FBI’s way of fool proofing the outcome. Whether or not dirt could be found, dirt was going to be delivered and it did not matter to James Comey, Andrew McCabe, or even possibly Robert Mueller if was nothing but speciousness and lies all the way down.
What is perhaps even more unnerving is the possibility that this process was not developed simply for Donald Trump…We are only just now learning that this was done once. We have no idea yet as to how long it has been going on.
The FISA Court noted the following in its ruling after being notified by NSA Director Rogers:
The improper access granted to the [Redacted] contractors was apparently in place [Redacted] and seems to have been the result of deliberate decision-making.
There is no apparent reason to believe the November 2015-April 2016 period coincided with an unusually high rate.
The Court is nonetheless concerned about the FBI’s apparent disregard of minimization rules and whether the FBI may be engaging in similar disclosures of raw Section 702 information that have not been reported.
You can read more about that here.
The information flow has been so constant, so heavy, that it’s sometimes hard to slow down and ask enough questions.
But it’s worth trying.
Sometimes it’s the simplest questions that provide the best answers.
1. Clinton Dossier – “Signals”. Stuff no-one seems to ask themselves…. pic.twitter.com/IYzUKkekKo
— TheLastRefuge (@TheLastRefuge2) January 17, 2018
From @TheLastRefuge Twitter thread:
Why did ODNI Dan Coats decide to declassify a FISA Court opinion in April and May 2017 ?.. What was Coats motivation for a historic shift in transparency of FISA court material ?
Why put this [FISA Ruling showing use of contractors] into the sunlight if there was not a bigger reason to do so? Seriously. Simple question. Why declassify it?
How/Why do we discover Peter Strzok? Why was there a media release about this FBI agent in December? What’s the purpose?
Where did this story [Removal of FBI Agent Strzok] originate, and why did the entity who released the story wish the public to know about it?
Why did an anonymous somebody tell the media Peter Strzok was the FBI agent who interviewed General Michael Flynn, three days before Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to FBI investigators?
Why was it important to anonymous *somebodies* that we know about Peter Strzok and DOJ/FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
Why was it important for people inside the intelligence community to tell the public, anonymously, that Lisa Page and Peter Strzok were conspiring to assist Hillary Clinton and eliminate candidate Donald Trump?
Why was it important for the public to know that Agent Peter Strzok and Attorney Lisa Page changed the wording on the FBI talking points that James Comey used to exonerate candidate Hillary Clinton?
Who, inside the intelligence community, was pushing out that information? What was the intention of pushing out that information? Why did they think the public needed to know about it?
Why did they need to tell the American public that Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were no longer in a position to influence current investigative events? Why was that important to the intelligence community?
Why is the IC hitting back hard against Robert Mueller’s team outcome, by releasing damaging information about those who have participated inside the Mueller investigation? Who is punching back? It’s not the media. This is insider justice stuff.
This part of the intelligence community is transparently pissed off. They keep striking out pummeling the Mueller team. Why? Who are they? And they don’t let up…
Whoever *they* are, inside this IC writ large, is not just hitting out – they are naming names. They’ve named: Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Andrew “Andy” McCabe, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Glenn Simpson, and they don’t let up.
Not only do they name names, but they actually provide physical evidence that goes along with those names. Text messages between the participants:
It just seems odd that no-one ever asked WHY? Why is it important to these people to put this information out. Up until December 2017 almost all leaks were against the office of the presidency. These are against IC Officials.
This series of coordinated stories distributed to the media are not random occurrences. The frequency and timing is too well coordinated. The MSM are forced to cover them – even though they don’t want to. But no-one in MSM asks WHY? Why are these IC reports coming out?
And the deluge of IC push-back doesn’t let up. Two days after James Baker accompanies Andrew McCabe to a House hearing BOOM he’s nailed too.
Less than a day after Intel Chairman Nunes tells the media of his intention to question FBI lead counsel James Baker WHAMMO !! Baker is defrocked, put in charge of counting staplers, and exposed as a leaker.
All of this happens in a matter of a stunning two weeks +/- a few days. Yet, no-one seems to ask why? Why then? Why was it important to *someone* to get this information out, get these people exposed, and get this into the media bloodstream.
Not a single one of the stories around Strzok, Page, Comey, B Ohr, or N Ohr, Simpson, McCabe, or Baker was real-time information attached to their current activity. All of the information was as they are quarantined. Yet it all came out in a two week period. Why?
I just find it interesting that no-one in MSM is looking at the reason we are able to put all of this together. The story, and scale, of corruption inside the FBI and DOJ is obviously important to someone inside the FBI and DOJ.
And whoever it is, for whatever motive they have, they have presented a ton of evidence preparing us for something rather significant. It’s remarkable how much the MSM is ignoring it.
The tendency for most – myself included – has been to focus on the new information being released.
Asking how & why it was released – and who did the releasing strikes me as questions worthy of an answer.
In the meantime, I want an answer for this…
Breaking: FBI notifies Congress that certain FBI text message evidence Is missing in the Congressional oversight probe into FBI handling of Hillary Clinton email investigation.
— Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) January 21, 2018
Turns out it’s actually quite a lot that’s suddenly “missing”.
BREAKING: FBI ‘failed to preserve’ five months of text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. From Dec. 14, 2016 to May 17, 2017, the day that Mueller was picked as special counsel. https://t.co/NZvQ06Q2Ja @dailycaller
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) January 21, 2018