There will be much discussion and speculation about a recent “leaked” FBI FISA warrant surrounding former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. However, the interesting aspect always falls upon the timeline, not necessarily the wiretapping itself per se’.
According to the CNN report the wiretapping and surveillance of Manafort started sometime in 2014 and then was discontinued after nothing of criminal value or significance was gained. [NOTE: FISA warrants must be updated in 90 day increments; continued surveillance involving U.S. persons must be justified; if nothing exists the court orders the surveillance to cease the warrant is no longer valid.] However, according to the same leaked source reporting from CNN the wiretapping began again in 2016.
The July/August 2016 time frame is interesting because that coincides with the surfacing of the ridiculous opposition research “Steele Dossier” on Presidential Candidate Donald Trump. Further recently revealed information about the “steele dossier”, interestingly surrounds the James Comey FBI paying for the information contained therein.
Bear with me on this… So the James Comey FBI paid a British informant, former MI6 operative Christopher Steele, for content within the Steele Dossier, which was originally financed by the Jeb Bush campaign and Never Trumpers, and later passed on to Hillary Clinton allies via continued investigative funding by Fusion GPS. Christopher Steele is the same guy the DNC contracted to research the “DNC hacking” (which many think was actually DNC leaking).
Sometime in July 2016 the James Comey FBI was denied a FISA warrant by the court (rarely done) and the general appearance is that Comey was interested in surveillance of the Trump campaign. Note Comey has never denied this allegation. However, in 2016 a FISA warrant to wiretap Paul Manafort is now the basis of this latest CNN story:
(Via CNN) […] A secret order authorized by the court that handles the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) began after Manafort became the subject of an FBI investigation that began in 2014. It centered on work done by a group of Washington consulting firms for Ukraine’s former ruling party, the sources told CNN.
The surveillance was discontinued at some point last year for lack of evidence, according to one of the sources. The FBI then restarted the surveillance after obtaining a new FISA warrant that extended at least into early this year.
Sources say the second warrant was part of the FBI’s efforts to investigate ties between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives. Such warrants require the approval of top Justice Department and FBI officials, and the FBI must provide the court with information showing suspicion that the subject of the warrant may be acting as an agent of a foreign power. (continue reading)
We know the Steele Dossier was used by the FBI to justify a FISA warrant, we just didn’t know who it was targeted toward. –LINK– We also know in congressional testimony from July 27th of this year, William Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital, testified about the “Foreign Agents Registration Act” (FARA).
During Mr. Browder’s testimony the origin of the Fusion GPS ‘Russian Dossier’ was discussed. Browder stated the Russian government actually paid Fusion GPS to create the Steele propaganda dossier on candidate Donald Trump. That same dossier was used by the FBI in June/July 2016 to generate the FISA surveillance warrants against the Trump campaign. WATCH:
Yes, that actually means FBI Director James Comey was using propaganda commissioned by Russia, funded in part by the FBI, to attack Trump, as the framework to launch his FBI investigation into candidate Donald Trump and Russian collusion.
Expanding the reality from that testimony. This means the Russian collusion narrative the U.S. media has been running with for a year to attack Trump, was actually factual collusion between Russia and the the U.S. FBI, via James Comey.
We also know the actual surveillance within these FISA warrants was carried out by the NSA. Additionally we know that NSA head Admiral Mike Rogers met with President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday November 17th without notifying ODNI James Clapper. The day after Admiral Rogers met with President-elect Trump, the entire transition team left Trump Tower and moved their work to New Jersey. Admiral Mike Rogers still has his job as head of the NSA.
Additional Timeline for consideration:
1. June 2016: FISA request. The Obama administration files a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to monitor communications involving Donald Trump and several advisers. The request, uncharacteristically, is denied.
2. July 2016: Russia joke. Wikileaks releases emails from the Democratic National Committee that show an effort to prevent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) from winning the presidential nomination. In a press conference, Donald Trump refers to Hillary Clinton’s own missing emails, joking: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.” That remark becomes the basis for accusations by Clinton and the media that Trump invited further hacking.
3. October 2016: Podesta emails. In October, Wikileaks releases the emails of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, rolling out batches every day until the election, creating new mini-scandals. The Clinton campaign blames Trump and the Russians.
4. October 2016: FISA request. The Obama administration submits a new, narrow request to the FISA court, now focused on a computer server in Trump Tower suspected of links to Russian banks. No evidence is found — but the wiretaps continue, ostensibly for national security reasons, Andrew McCarthy at National Review later notes. The Obama administration is now monitoring an opposing presidential campaign using the high-tech surveillance powers of the federal intelligence services.
Question: Did James Comey use Manafort as the angle to get wiretaps authorized by the FISA court as a backdoor to monitor Donald Trump? The timing would suggest YES.
5. January 2017: Buzzfeed/CNN dossier. Buzzfeed releases, and CNN reports, a supposed intelligence “dossier” compiled by a foreign former spy. It purports to show continuous contact between Russia and the Trump campaign, and says that the Russians have compromising information about Trump. None of the allegations can be verified and some are proven false. Several media outlets claim that they had been aware of the dossier for months and that it had been circulating in Washington.
- Admiral Michael Rogers had a visit with President Trump on Thursday November 17th.
- According to the Executive Order rule changes DNI James Clapper signed off on December 15th.
- General Michael Flynn spoke to the Russian Ambassador on December 29th
- Dec 29th 2016 – Obama announces sanctions on Russia
6. January: Obama expands NSA sharing. As Michael Walsh later notes, and as the New York Times reports, the outgoing Obama administration “expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.” The new powers, and reduced protections, could make it easier for intelligence on private citizens to be circulated improperly or leaked.
The new rules, which were issued in an unclassified document, entitled Procedures for the Availability or Dissemination of Raw Signals Intelligence Information by the National Security Agency (NSA), significantly relaxed longstanding limits on what the NSA may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations.
These operations are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. Surveillances include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls, and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches.
The changes initiated by the Obama Administration in its waning days empowered far more agents and officials to search through raw intelligence data.
- Jan 3rd 2017 – Loretta Lynch signs off on rule changes for phone taps.
- Jan 12th 2017 – WaPo reports On Phone Calls Anonymous Intel Sources
- Jan 15th 2017 – VP Pence appears on Face the nation.
- Jan 20th 2017 – Inauguration
- Jan 23rd 2017 – FBI reports nothing unlawful in content of Flynn call
- Jan 26th 2017 – Sally Yates (acting DOJ) informs President Trump there might be a conflict between VP Pence’s stated TV version (was told by Flynn), and what Intel community communicate to Yates that Flynn actually expressed to Russia.
- Jan 27th 2017 – White House counsel begins investigation to discrepancy.
7. January: Times report. The New York Times reports, on the eve of Inauguration Day, that several agencies — the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Treasury Department are monitoring several associates of the Trump campaign suspected of Russian ties.
Other news outlets also report the existence of a multi-agency working group to coordinate investigations across the government,” though it is unclear how they found out, since the investigations would have been secret and involved classified information.
8. February: Mike Flynn scandal. Reports emerge that the FBI intercepted a conversation in 2016 between future National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — then a private citizen — and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The intercept supposedly was part of routine spying on the ambassador, not monitoring of the Trump campaign. The FBI transcripts reportedly show the two discussing Obama’s newly-imposed sanctions on Russia, though Flynn earlier denied discussing them.
Sally Yates, whom Trump would later fire as acting Attorney General for insubordination, is involved in the investigation. In the end, Flynn resigns over having misled Vice President Mike Pence (perhaps inadvertently) about the content of the conversation.
9. February 2017: Times claims extensive Russian contacts. The New York Times cites “four current and former American officials” in reporting that the Trump campaign had “repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials. The Trump campaign denies the claims — and the Times admits that there is “no evidence” of coordination between the campaign and the Russians. The White House and some congressional Republicans begin to raise questions about illegal intelligence leaks.
10. March: the Washington Post targets Jeff Sessions. The Washington Post reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had contact twice with the Russian ambassador during the campaign — once at a Heritage Foundation event and once at a meeting in Sessions’s Senate office.
The Post suggests that the two meetings contradict Sessions testimony at his confirmation hearings that he had no contacts with the Russians, though in context (not presented by the Post) it was clear he meant in his capacity as a campaign surrogate, and that he was responding to claims in the “dossier” of ongoing contacts.
The New York Times, in covering the story, adds that the Obama White House “rushed to preserve” intelligence related to alleged Russian links with the Trump campaign. By “preserve” it really means “disseminate”: officials spread evidence throughout other government agencies “to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators” and perhaps the media as well.
In summary: the Obama administration sought, and eventually obtained, authorization to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found; then relaxed the NSA rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government just prior to the inauguration; virtually ensuring that the information, including the conversations of private citizens, would be leaked to the media.