There was a very telling interview with House Intelligence Member Chris Stewart on Judge Jeanine last night.
At 2:33 a simple question was asked:
PIRRO: Have you heard the name Bill Priestap – in the FBI – who’s Head of Counterintelligence and Strzok’s boss.
STEWART: Yeah. We’ve heard that name and you’re gonna hear more of that name.
PIRRO: I want to go back to Priestap. I want my audience to remember this name. Bill Priestap. I don’t like that I haven’t heard of him. We’ve heard of the whole hierarchy – everybody on that 7th floor. There’s one guy we don’t hear about – Priestap.
PIRRO: Comey threw him under the bus and said that this guy, who’s Strzok’s boss, told Comey not to advise Congress of certain things. The fact that we haven’t heard from Priestap tells me he’s cooperating with someone or – what?
STEWART: Well look, I’m gonna be careful on this. I’m not sure what we can say on this. And believe me, I don’t want to be the headline “Chris Stewart reveals a bunch of sensitive or classified information”.
Stewart quickly moved into a generalized discussion of the politicization of the FBI.
This is not the first time I’ve come across Priestap’s name. I’ve known about Priestap as far back as March 2017.
Bill Priestap was recently referenced in the House Memo:
According to the Head of the FBI’s Counterintelligence division, Assistant Director Bill Priestap, corroboration of the Steele dossier was in its “infancy” at the time of the initial Page FISA application.
In The House Memo – An Examination & Some Implications, I noted the following:
4) Lack of corroboration of the Steele Dossier was well known within the FBI. This fact was not disclosed to the FISA Court.
- Corroboration of the Steele dossier was in its “infancy” at the time of the initial Page FISA application – per FBI Counterintelligence Head Bill Priestap.
- Following Steele’s termination by the FBI, a source validation report conducted by an independent unit within the FBI assessed Steele’s reporting as only minimally corroborated.
- While the FISA application relied on Steele’s past record of credible reporting on unrelated matters, it ignored or concealed his anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations.
This reference to Bill Priestap is potentially telling. As I noted in an earlier piece:
FBI Director Wray read the Memo Sunday. Two FBI officials read the Memo Monday. Yesterday, five more FBI officials were allowed by the White House to review the Memo.
One of these FBI officials may have been counterintelligence head Bill Priestap – which has implications all of its own. If he reviewed the Memo that indicates he’s likely flipped.
Priestap is a critical figure. There have been two significant indications that Priestap has been flipped and is cooperating in the investigation.
Chris Stewart’s response is now the third indication that Bill Priestap is cooperating with the Investigations by the Inspector General and Congress.
I’ve written about Bill Priestap before.
Most notably back in a December 2017 article, Where is Bill Priestap – FBI’s Counterintelligence Head.
I first came across the name Bill Priestap in early April 2017, as I was going through House Intelligence Committee testimony given by James Comey on March 20, 2017:
STEFANIK: So since, in your opening statement, you confirmed that there is a counter-intelligence investigation currently open and you also referenced that it started in July. When did you notify the DNI, the White House, or senior congressional leadership?
COMEY: It’s a good question. Congressional leadership, some time recently. They were briefed on the nature of the investigation in some detail as I said. Obviously the Department of Justice has been aware of it all along. The DNI, I don’t know what the DNI’s knowledge of it was because we didn’t have a DNI until Mr. Coats took office and I briefed him his first morning in office.
Note: The DNI claim was a lie. James Clapper was Obama’s DNI.
STEFANIK: So just to drill down on this, if — if the open investigation began in July and the briefing of congressional leadership only occurred recently, why was there no notification prior to the recent — to the past month?
COMEY: I think our decision was it was a matter of such sensitivity that we wouldn’t include it in the quarterly briefings.
STEFANIK: So when you state our decision is that your decision? Is that usually your decision what gets briefed in those quarterly updates?
COMEY: No, it’s usually the decision of the head of our counter- intelligence division.
STEFANIK: And just again, to get the detailed — on the record, why was the decision made not to brief senior congressional leadership until recently when the investigation had been open since July? A very serious investigation — why was that decision to wait months?
COMEY: Because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Bill Priestap is the head of the FBI’s Counter-Intelligence Division.
Per Comey’s testimony, Priestap was the individual responsible for making the decision not to inform Congressional leadership – the Gang of Eight – about the July 2016 FBI Russia-Trump Investigation.
Priestap is not a household name, but he held a pivotal role in the FBI’s exoneration of Clinton, the subsequent Trump-Russia Investigation and surveillance of the Trump Campaign.
Bill Priestap presented the FBI’s contributions to the early 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment, or ICA – Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent Elections – to the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 21, 2017.
Bill Priestap has been copied on virtually every significant email – including FBI Director Comey’s exoneration of Hillary Clinton. Priestap is referenced on the Strzok/Page texts hundreds of times.
We know the following (expanded timeline and details at bottom):
- Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr and FBI Agent Peter Strzok both have ties to Fusion GPS and Richard Steele.
- Fusion and Steele are being paid by the Clinton Campaign.
- Strzok personally helps to exonerate Clinton in the email investigation.
- Ohr has known Steele since 2006.
- Ohr’s wife was employed by Fusion GPS.
- The Steele Dossier uses uncorroborated information from the Clinton Campaign and Circular Reporting.
- Ohr provides the Trump Dossier to Strzok who uses it to start the FBI Investigation into Russia and the Trump Campaign in July 2016 (per March 20, 2017 testimony by Comey).
- The Dossier is used by the FBI to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on the Trump Campaign.
- Strzok personally interviews Mike Flynn w/out notice.
The two individuals with direct supervisory authority over Bruce Ohr and Peter Strzok:
Sally Yates and Bill Priestap, respectively.
Bruce Ohr reported directly to Yates.
Peter Strzok reported directly to Bill Priestap.
To recap – Bill Priestap:
- Was – per Comey – the individual responsible for making the decision not to inform Congressional leadership – the Gang of Eight – about the July 2016 FBI investigation.
- Was directly involved in the surveillance and investigation of Michael Flynn.
- Oversaw the activities of FBI Agent Strzok. Strzok was involved in all facets of the Clinton investigation and interviewed Flynn.
- Gave approval for the use of the Trump Dossier.
- Gave approval of background documents used in FISA warrant preparation.
- Was responsible for preparing and presenting the FBI’s Russian Assessment.
Consider the following.
Individuals directly below Priestap (Strzok) and directly above Priestap (McCabe) have been ensnared and exposed by the Inspector General’s Investigation:
- Comey has been fired.
- Strzok is off Mueller’s team and has been demoted. He is on the verge of being subpoenaed by Congress.
- Bruce Ohr has been demoted – twice.
- McCabe was recently forced to resign. McCabe is also on the verge of being subpoenaed by Congress.
- FBI top counsel James Baker was effectively fired in January.
- Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand – the number three official behind Deputy AG Rosenstein – quit two days ago.
- Michael Kortan – FBI Asst. Director Public Affairs – quit three days ago.
- David Laufman – DOJ National Security Division, Deputy Asst. Attorney General in charge of counterintelligence – quit four days ago.
So where is Bill Priestap?
And why aren’t you hearing his name daily?
Because someone has almost certainly been speaking with him.
There have been two earlier indications that Priestap has flipped and is cooperating with ongoing investigations by the Inspector General and Congress.
Representative Chris Stewart’s reaction was the final confirmation.
It is now virtually certain.
Bill Priestap is a cooperating witness. And Bill Priestap knows – quite literally – everything.
A Partial (but detailed) Timeline:
- November 2015-April 2016 – The FBI and NSD uses private contractors to access raw FISA information using “To” and “From” FISA-702(16) & “About” FISA-702(17) queries.
- February/March 2016 – Trump’s securing of GOP nomination seen as probable.
- Early March 2016 – Fusion approaches DNC law firm Perkins Coie about being hired to continue opposition research into the Trump Campaign.
- March 21 2016 – Carter Page joins the Trump Campaign as an advisor on foreign policy.
- March 28 2016 – Paul Manafort joins Trump Campaign as campaign convention manager.
- April 2016 – National Security Agency (NSA) Director Rogers orders NSA compliance officer to run full audit on 702 NSA compliance.
- April 2016 – Fusion GPS hired by Perkins Coie on behalf of the DNC.
- April 18 2016 -Mike Rogers shuts down FBI/DOJ contractor access to the FISA Search System.
- April 18 2016 – The FBI discontinues private contractor access to raw FISA information.
- April 19 2016 – Wife of Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS) Mary Jacoby visits White House.
- April 25 2016 – Two WH meetings between FBI Counsel James Baker and Trisha B Anderson (FBI), Tashina Guahar( DOJ), John T Lynch (DOJ), John (Brad) Wiegmann (DOJ), Alan Rozenshtein (DOJ), Norman (Christopher) Hardee (DOJ), and Iris Lan (DOJ). DOJ attorneys Tashina Guahar, Christopher Hardee, Brad Wiegmann are FISA attorneys.
- April 30 2016 – DNC IT staff reports suspected hacking on its server(s) to FBI but refuses to grant FBI access.
- Late April 2016 – Clinton Campaign begins paying Fusion GPS.
- April/May 2016 – Surveillance of Paul Manafort possibly begins. FISA warrant issued?
- April/May 2016 – Fusion GPS hires Christopher Steele.
- April/May 2016 – Fusion GPS hires Nellie Ohr, wife of DOJ Assoc. Deputy AG Bruce Ohr.
- May 2016 – Trump becomes presumptive GOP Nominee.
- May 19 2016 – Paul Manafort promoted to campaign chairman and chief strategist for Trump Campaign.
- 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.
- July 5 2016 – Date that forensics indicate DNC emails were copied by an insider via USB and not hacked.
- June 9 2016 – Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS) meets with Natalia Veselnitskaya beforeTrump 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.
- June 15 2016 – FBI Agent Strzok changes wording of Clinton charges from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless”.
- June 27 2016 – AG Loretta Lynch has secret meeting with Bill Clinton on tarmac.
- 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. This event is now in question.
- July 2 2016 – FBI Agent Strzok interviews Hillary Clinton.
- July 5 2016 – FBI Director Comey exonerates Clinton.
- July 8 2016 – Andrew McCabe files financial disclosure but does not disclose Democratic PAC donations to wife’s campaign.
- July 19 2016 – Trump officially becomes GOP Nominee.
- July 22 2016 – WikiLeaks publishes DNC emails that show an effort to prevent Bernie Sanders from winning the Democratic presidential nomination.
- 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 19 2016 – Paul Manafort “resigns” from Trump Campaign amidst reports of foreign lobbying efforts.
- August/September 2016 – CIA Director Brennan meets with Gang of Eight suggesting Russia is helping Trump.
- September 2016 – Carter Page resigns from Trump Campaign after a Trip to Moscow in July.
- September 5 2016 – Hillary Clinton accuses Russia of interfering with U.S. election.
- Late September 2016 – Second FISA 702 Surveillance Authority request made.
- September 23 2016 – A Yahoo News article is published by Michael Isikoff based on leaks by Christopher Steele. The article is later used to corroborate the Steele Dossier.
- 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. Mary McCord assumes his role.
- September 28 2016 – Comey claims decision to exonerate Clinton was not made until after her interview with FBI agents.
- September 28 2016 – Comey refuses to answer if FBI is investigating possible connections between members of the Trump campaign and Russia.
- Late September/Early October 2016 – DOJ’s Bruce Ohr provides the FBI with his wife’s opposition research – paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign via Fusion GPS.
- Late September/Mid-October 2016 – Trump Dossier shopped.
- Early October 2016 – Bruce Ohr meets with Dossier author Christopher Steele.
- Early October 2016 – Bruce Ohr meets with Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS).
- 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 21 2016 – DOJ & FBI sought and received a FISA probable cause order (not under Title VII) authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISC.
- October 26 2016 – NSA Rogers personally informs FISA Court of 702(17) violations.
- October 30 2016 – Steele discloses his relationship with the FBI in an October 30, 2016, Mother Jones article by David Corn. The FBI will terminate Steele for this violation.
- Late October 2016 -Defense Secretary Ash Carter and DNI James Clapper recommend to Obama that Admiral Mike Rogers be removed as director of NSA.
- October 2016 – The Obama administration is now monitoring an opposing presidential campaign using federal intelligence services.
- November 17 2016 – NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers travels to see President-Elect Donald Trump.
- November 17 2016 – Trump Transition Team announces they are moving to Trump National Golf Club.
- November 18 2016 – Sen. John McCain told of the Russian Dossier. A copy is sent to McCain and key aides.
- November 19 2016 – Washington Post reports a recommendation made by DNI James Clapper in October that Mike Rogers be removed from his NSA position.
- December 2 2016 – Kushner discusses back-channel communications with Russian Ambassador Kislyak.
- December 9 2016 – The CIA tells Congress that Russia conducted hacking operations to prevent Hillary Clinton from winning presidency.
- December 9 2016 – Obama orders a full review of Russian-election hacking.
- December 15 2016 – James Clapper signs off on Executive Order 12333 changes impacting the NSA – Obama’s NSA Data-Sharing Order.
- December 22 2016 – General Michael Flynn speaks to unknown Russian officials regarding the Israel resolution.
- December 29 2016 – General Michael Flynn speaks to the Russian Ambassador.
- January 3 2017 – Loretta Lynch signs Section 2.3 of Executive Order 12333 – Obama’s NSA Data-Sharing Order.
- January 6 2017 – Comey briefs President-Elect Trump on existence of “salacious and unverified” Russian “Dossier”.
- January 6 2017 – Within hours of Comey’s meeting with Trump, existence of Dossier leaked by CNN (James Clapper named as possible leaker).
- January 6 2017 – Clapper and Rogers testify before Senate Armed Services Committee. Clapper reaffirms his belief that Russians hacked the election.
- January 10 2017 – U.S. intelligence chiefs Comey, Clapper, Brennan, Rogers brief Obama on Russian “Dossier” and attempts to “influence” Trump.
- January 12 2017 – The NYT reports on Loretta Lynch’s signing of new NSA Rules – and the increased latitude of the NSA to share intercepted communications.
- January 12 2017 – Mike Flynn’s Dec 29 2016 call is leaked to Washington Post. The article portrays Flynn as undermining Obama’s Russian sanctions.
- January 12 2017 – The DOJ’s Office of Inspector General announces initiation of a review into actions taken by the DOJ and FBI in advance of the 2016 election.
- January 12 2017 – The Clinton Global Initiative announces it will close for good on April 15 2017 as donations dry up.
- January 19 2017 – The NYT reports that several agencies — the FBI, CIA, NSA and Treasury are monitoring several associates of the Trump campaign suspected of Russian ties.
- January 19 2017 – Obama’s top intelligence and law-enforcement deputies meet to talk about Flynn’s conversation with Kislyak.
- January 25 2017 – The Department of Justice receives a detailed briefing on Flynn from the FBI.
- January 26 2017 – Sally Yates travels to the White House along with Mary McCord of the DOJ’s National Security Division to discuss Mike Flynn.
- January 27 2016 – Sally Yates returns to the White House for a second discussion.
- January 27 2017 – President Trump has dinner with FBI Director James Comey.
- January 27 2017 – Former Clinton State Dept. representative George Papadopoulos interviewed by FBI, which results in his eventual indictment.
- January 30 2017 – President Trump fires Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to enforce the Travel Ban.
- February 2 2017 – Five House Democrat employees (Awans) come under criminal investigation amid allegations they accessed House IT systems.
- February 8 2017 – Jeff Sessions is confirmed as Attorney General.
- February 9 2017 – The NYT and the Post publish articles claiming that General Michael Flynn discussed sanctions with Russian ambassador Kislyak.
- February 13 2017 – Mike Flynn resigns/fired as National Security Advisor.
- February 14 2017 – House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes says FBI must explain why Flynn was unmasked, recorded and leaked to press.
- February 14 2017 – The NYT – quoting anonymous sources – reports that members of Trump Campaign had “repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials”.
- February 14 2017 – FBI Director Comey has Oval Office meeting with President Trump.
- February 14 2017 – Comey supposedly writes memo claiming President Trump asked Comey to stop the investigation into General Flynn.
- February 16 2017 – President Trump gives solo press conference. Appears to admit to internal sting operation to identify leakers.
- February 27 2017 – House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes says he has seen absolutely no evidence of Russia-Trump collusion.
- March 1 2017 – NYT inadvertently reports on why Obama Administration wanted last minute NSA Data-Sharing Order – allowed for intra-agency sharing of globally intercepted personal communications.
- March 1 2017 – The Washington Post reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had contact twice with the Russian ambassador during the campaign.
- March 2 2017 – Jeff Sessions recuses himself from Russia Inquiry.
- March 2 2017 – The New York Times reports that Mike Flynn and Jared Kushner met with Sergey Kislyak.
- March 2 2017 – MSNBC interview with Obama’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Evelyn Farkas. Farkas details how intelligence on the Trump Campaign/Team is being gathered and disseminated by the Obama Administration and intelligence agencies
- March 4 2017 – President Trump tweets his now infamous claim that Obama had him wiretapped.
- March 5 2017 – ODNI James Clapper states that he knows of no FISA Warrant approval for Trump Campaign. He would repeat this claim in September.
- March 5 2017 – FBI Director Comey asks the DOJ to refute President Trump’s wiretapping claims. DOJ does not do so.
- March 20 2017 – Comey testifies that he intentionally withheld congressional notification of counter-intelligence investigation into Russia-Trump that began in July of 2016.
- March 21 2017 – Devin Nunes meets a classified source and is shown direct evidence of illegal surveillance on President Trump and Staff.
- March 22 2017 – House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes informs President Trump that he believes Trump and Staff were illegally surveilled and unmasked.
- March 22 2017- House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes demands that the CIA, FBI and NSA disclose the nature of the unlawful surveillance he had uncovered.