Bill Priestap has suddenly become a popular name, despite – or because of – so few knowing much about him.
This should have John Brennan and James Clapper worried.
As we have long suspected, it seems quite likely that Bill Priestap – the FBI’s head of Counterintelligence – has been flipped and is now a cooperating witness.
We have long suspected this for four primary reasons:
- Bill Priestap held a pivotal role in the FBI’s exoneration of Clinton, the subsequent Trump-Russia Investigation and surveillance of the Trump Campaign.
- Everyone above and below Priestap has been ensnared, fired or demoted – yet no mention of Priestap is ever made.
- Former FBI Director James Comey threw Priestap under the Congressional bus during his March 20, 2017 testimony (starts at bottom half of article).
- Former CIA Director John Brennan threw both Comey and Priestap under the Congressional bus during his May 23, 2017 testimony.
- 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.
Individuals directly below Priestap (Strzok) and directly above Priestap (McCabe) have been ensnared and exposed by the Inspector General’s Investigation:
- DOJ’s National Security Department Head John Carlin unexpectedly quit on September 27, 2016 as NSA Rogers was preparing to go before the FISA Court with evidence of improper Section 702 “About” queries.
- Acting Attorney General Sally Yates fired by President Trump on January 30, 2017.
- Comey was fired by President Trump on May 9, 2017.
- FBI’s Strzok is off Mueller’s team and has been demoted. He is on the verge of being subpoenaed by Congress.
- DOJ’s Bruce Ohr has been demoted – twice. Most recently on January 8, 2018.
- FBI top counsel James Baker was effectively fired on December 21, 2017.
- McCabe was recently forced to resign on January 29, 2018. McCabe is also on the verge of being subpoenaed by Congress.
- David Laufman – DOJ National Security Division, Deputy Asst. Attorney General in charge of counterintelligence – quit February 7, 2018.
- Michael Kortan – FBI Asst. Director Public Affairs – quit February 8, 2018.
- Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand – the number three official behind Deputy AG Rosenstein – quit February 9, 2018.
Comey’s Congressional testimony implicated Bill Priestap (video here):
STEFANIK: When the FBI has any open counter-intelligence investigation, what are the typical protocols or procedures for notifying the DNI, the White House, and senior Congressional leadership?
COMEY: There is a practice of a quarterly briefing on sensitive cases to the chair and ranking of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees…that involves a briefing of the Department of Justice, I believe the DNI, and the — some portion of the National Security Council at the White House…
STEFANIK: 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: Congressional leadership, some time recently. They were briefed on the nature of the investigation in some detail. The Department of Justice has been aware of it all along. 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: 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: 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.
Comey directly placed the full blame for the FBI’s failure to notify Congress of the Trump-Russia Investigation on the FBI’s Counterintelligence Head Bill Priestap.
As you read the following testimony keep in mind Brennan’s repeated assertion that he turned over any and all evidence the CIA had to the FBI.
As we now know, the FBI relied almost exclusively on the Dossier to secure a FISA Warrant. The Dossier was the entirety of the evidence.
See where this is going?
It’s been reported that Devin Nunes plans to take a closer look at Brennan’s role:
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes next plans to investigate the role former CIA Director John Brennan and other Obama intelligence officials played in promoting the salacious and unverified Steele dossier on Donald Trump — including whether Brennan perjured himself in public testimony about it.
There’s very good reason for that – and it lies within Brennan’s May 23, 2017, testimony.
Brennan’s Congressional testimony implicated both James Comey and Bill Priestap:
BRENNAN: Through the so-called Gang-of-Eight process we kept congress apprised of these issues as we identified them. Again, in consultation with the White House, I personally briefed the full details of our understanding of Russian attempts to interfere in the election to congressional leadership. Specifically, Senators Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr and to representatives Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Devin Nunes and Adam Schiff between 11th August and 6th September , I provided the same briefing to each of the gang of eight members.
Brennan is very careful to get it on record in his opening statement that he briefed the Congressional Gang of Eight back in August and September of 2016. Shortly after the FBI began a counter-intelligence investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign in July 2016.
BRENNAN: Given the highly sensitive nature of what was an active counter-intelligence case, involving an ongoing Russian effort, to interfere in our presidential election, the full details of what we knew at the time were shared only with those members of congress; each of whom was accompanied by one senior staff member.
Note that the “active counter-intelligence case” refers directly to the FBI investigation. Brennan had already turned over all evidence the CIA had to the FBI to facilitate their investigation.
Bill Priestap was in charge of this investigation as head of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division. Comey was the FBI Director.
BRENNAN: The substance of those briefings was entirely consistent with the main judgements contained in the January  classified and unclassified assessments. Namely, that Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. Democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency. And to help President Trump’s election chances.
The January 2017 classified and unclassified assessments refer to DNI Clapper’s report – Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections. The report is highly generalized with very little in the way of substance.
The DNI’s report was constructed by just three men – former DNI Director Clapper, former CIA Director Brennan and former FBI Director Comey.
The DNI’s report was subjected to assessments by the CIA (Brennan), FBI (Comey) and the NSA (Rogers). The NSA’s assessment differed markedly from the CIA & FBI and expressed a much lower confidence (more here and here).
More from Brennan’s testimony:
BRENNAN: It was well beyond my mandate as director of CIA to follow on any of those leads that involved U.S. persons. But I made sure that anything that was involving U.S. persons, including anything involving the individuals involved in the Trump campaign was shared with the bureau [FBI].
GOWDY: When you learned of Russian efforts, did you have evidence of a connection between the Trump campaign and Russian state actors?
BRENNAN: As I said Mr. Gowdy, I don’t do evidence…
BRENNAN: … and we were uncovering information intelligence about interactions and contacts between U.S. persons and the Russians. And as we came upon that, we would share it with the bureau.
Brennan would turn over all evidence the CIA had collected to the FBI.
GOWDY: Did evidence exist of collusion, coordination, conspiracy, between the Trump campaign and Russian state actors at the time you learned of 2016 efforts?
BRENNAN: I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals and it raised questions in my mind, again, whether or not the Russians were able to gain the cooperation of those individuals.
I don’t know whether or not such collusion — and that’s your term, such collusion existed. I don’t know. But I know that there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not U.S. persons were actively conspiring, colluding with Russian officials.
Brennan’s answer almost certainly refers to Carter Page.
GOWDY: Do you know the basis of that information that you shared with the bureau? What was — the nature of the evidence?
BRENNAN: I think, Mr. Gowdy, this committee has now been provided information that relates to that issue in terms of information that the agency shared with the bureau and that is something that is appropriately classified.
In other words, there was very little evidence.
GOWDY: When in this chronology did you learn of the contacts between these official members of the Trump campaign or — because there’s kind of a tripartite hierarchy. There’s Trump himself, there are official members of the campaign, and then there are folks who represented themselves as being connected with him.
BRENNAN: I’m not going to identify the individuals because this is information that, again, is based on classified sources and intelligence. And I think this committee has access to it…
GOWDY: Were they official members of the campaign?
BRENNAN: I’m going to defer to current agency officials to be able to further provide to you information related to that. But my understanding is that this committee has access to the documents that we would have provided to the bureau.
The only thing they had was Carter Page – and Brennan does not want to admit this in Congressional testimony. Gowdy is likely aware of much of this.
TURNER: You said that you saw intelligence that indicated that there had been contacts with individuals — with Russians — that were of a nature that bore investigation. You said that those contacts might have been benign, might not have been. But they rose to the level of indicating that they need to be reviewed for their nature, and looking into an investigation.
BRENNAN: We see contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons all the time. It is when it’s in the context that there is something else going on. We knew, at the time, that the Russians were involved in this effort to try to interfere in our election. So with that backdrop, and increasing indications that they were involved in that, seeing these types of contacts and interactions during the same period of time raised my — my concern.
The Russians are involved in every election. The Russia excuse was amplified by the CIA & FBI and then used to establish cause for an investigation – and ultimately surveillance.
GOWDY: Have you ever requested that a U.S. person’s name be unmasked?
BRENNAN: Yes I have.
GOWDY: Do you recall any U.S. ambassadors asking that names be unmasked?
BRENNAN: I don’t — I don’t know. Maybe it’s ringing a vague bell but I’m not — I could not answer with any confidence.
GOWDY: On either January 19th or up to noon on January 20th [Brennan’s last day as CIA Director] did you make any unmasking requests?
BRENNAN: I do not believe I did.
GOWDY: You did not make any requests on the last day that you were employed?
BRENNAN: No, I was not in the agency on the last day I was employed. I definitely know that on the last day I was employed I definitely did not make such a request.
Gowdy was asking about U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power – whom Gowdy already knew engaged in unmasking requests.
Gowdy also appeared to be aware of information regarding Brennan’s unmasking activities – and wanted Brennan’s response regarding those activities on record.
On to more questioning:
GOWDY: Director Brennan, do you know who commissioned the steel dossier?
BRENNAN: I don’t.
GOWDY: Do you know if the FBI paid for any — portion of the steel dossier?
BRENNAN: I don’t know. I know that there are press reports related to that, but I — I don’t know, I have no firsthand knowledge of that.
GOWDY: Do you know whether any of the underlying allegations made in the steel dossier were ever tested, probed, examined, cross-examined, whether the sources were examined for reliability, credibility?
BRENNAN: I know that there were efforts made by the Bureau to try to understand whether or not any of the information in that was valid, but I just — I don’t have any firsthand knowledge of it.
GOWDY: Do you know if the Bureau ever relied on the steel dossier as any — as part of any court filings, applications, petitions, pleadings?
BRENNAN: I have no awareness.
GOWDY: Did the CIA rely on it?
GOWDY: Why not?
BRENNAN: Because we — we didn’t, it wasn’t part of the corpus of intelligence information that we had. It was not in any way used as a basis for the intelligence community assessment that was done. It was — it was not
This entire sequence was comprised of lies by Brennan.
Brennan knew full well the answers to the questions. Brennan knew who commissioned the Steele Dossier. Brennan helped to disseminate the Dossier’s allegations to Congress. Brennan knew there was no corroboration.
On March 20, 2017, Comey testifies he only recently informed Congress (the Gang of Eight).
On May 23, 2017, Brennan testifies that he informed the Gang of Eight in August and September of 2016.
Brennan notes how he informed Obama of Russia activity – and called the Russians out on their actions – from the start.
Brennan tells Congress that he only gathers information. He does not analyze it. He is not responsible for shaping it – or drawing conclusions. And most importantly, he divulged all he knew – after passing it all to Comey and Priestap – to Congressional oversight via the Gang of Eight.
Whatever happened after that is something between Congressional investigators, FBI Director Comey and Counterintelligence Head Bill Priestap.
Except that won’t prove to be the case.
Brennan briefed the Congressional Gang of Eight from August 11, 2016, to September 6, 2016. He claims he gave the same briefing to every Gof8 member. Information from the Dossier was used in those briefings.
Brennan turned over all evidence of Russian Collusion to the FBI – yet the only evidence the FBI ultimately had was the Dossier.
And the Dossier has been proven to be uncorroborated and based on information from the Clinton Campaign and Circular Reporting.
Brennan has some explaining to do.
As does James Clapper.
As I noted before, Clapper was the architect of the report – Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections. The report is highly generalized with very little in the way of substance.
In reality the DNI’s report was constructed by just three men – former DNI Director Clapper, former CIA Director Brennan and former FBI Director Comey.
The DNI’s report was subjected to assessments by the CIA (Brennan), FBI (Comey) and the NSA (Rogers). The NSA’s assessment differed markedly from the CIA and FBI and expressed a much lower confidence (more here and here).
The Conservative Treehouse provided this video of Clapper emphatically denying any FISA Warrant:
Clapper again denied any FISA application or warrant during an interview in September 2017.
8. Six Months later. Same general Question. Listen Closely: https://t.co/OOU1oTS2TI
— TheLastRefuge (@TheLastRefuge2) January 10, 2018
But then something odd happened:
— TheLastRefuge (@TheLastRefuge2) February 1, 2018
From the January 31, 2018 interview:
As I understand it, this was simply an extension of uh, the original, uh, FISA request. Meaning that, or implying, that apparently, there was information that was considered, uh, ‘valuable’, that was being obtained, via the initial FISA request.
FISA’s have, uh, finite dates. Uh, in other words they have deadlines; they aren’t indefinite… So when the time was up for the initial FISA report, FISA request, then it was time to get an extension. So on its face, I don’t know that the dossier played, very much, in this at all…
Clapper is suddenly aware of that pesky FISA Warrant after all.
I’m guessing House Intelligence Chairman Nunes may want to speak with James Clapper as well.