It is an inarguable fact that ideologues within the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation used their official positions to conduct a political operation against the candidacy of President Trump. It is also an inarguable fact that DOJ/FBI contractors were exploiting the NSA/FBI database for opposition research as evidenced in the FISA 702(16)(17) abuses admitted by the DOJ and outlined in a FISA ruling by presiding FISA Judge Rosemary Collyer. There is currently an Office of Inspector General investigation by Michael Horowitz into FISA abuse to discover the scale of the corrupt use.
Major HatTip @JohnWHuber – Today in the Spectator U.K. another sketchy journalist with deep ties to the intelligence apparatus, and specific ties to leaks from former CIA Director John Brennan, outlines that Robert Mueller has “electronic records” showing Michael Cohen travel to Prague:
[…] The more important question is whether Cohen has even been to Prague. Steele’s dossier claims he did go, in 2016, to meet Russian hackers and Russian intelligence officers. Cohen was asked by The Atlantic magazine about this claim, and about Russia. He responded: ‘I’m telling you emphatically that I’ve not been to Prague, I’ve never been to [the] Czech [Republic], I’ve not been to Russia.’ If my ‘eyewitness’ to the Moscow meeting is telling the truth, then perhaps Cohen was, in the same breath, being misleading about Prague, too — and the whole Russia ‘conspiracy’ starts to unravel. I have spoken to one intelligence source who says Mueller is examining ‘electronic records’ that would place Cohen in Prague. (link)
Michael Cohen has never been to Prague; even Cohen’s anti-Trump lawyer Lanny Davis admits the Cohen claims inside the Steele dossier are nonsense. CNN, again another anti-Trump voice, confirmed in January Cohen was never in Prague as the dossier claimed. Quite simply, Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen has never been to Prague.
However, the Paul Wood source, likely Brennan, is claiming there are “electronic records” that would place a Michael Cohen in Prague. Accepting this claim as possibly true, this actually confirms our initial research into this issue. The intelligence apparatus, either in the U.S. or connected to Brennan’s international CIA objectives (U.K and Australia), extracted electronic FISA records mistakenly identifying the wrong Michael Cohen.
The issue is two-fold. (#1) the mistake is inside the Steele Dossier: meaning the intelligence community was feeding Steele information and vice-versa; and (#2) by extension this shows an official IC conspiracy attached to the use of the dossier.
The Cohen-travel-mistake almost certainly links the use of FBI and NSA database searches to the intelligence laundry scheme between the Clinton campaign, Fusion GPS, Nellie Ohr and the Christopher Steele Dossier….. washed through the DOJ (Bruce Ohr) and passed on to the FBI (Peter Strzok); and then reconstituted for a FISA surveillance application:
The FISA-702(16)(17) abuses lie at the heart of the initial opposition research being conducted against all of Clinton’s opponents. Indeed, as outlined by FISA Judge Collyer, from November 2015 through May 2016 eighty-five percent of the thousands of search queries were unlawful violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act:
85% of all FISA search queries were in violation. 85% !!!
The intelligence mistake of Michael Cohen traveling to Prague, is a fingerprint connecting the FBI/DOJ/IC FISA(702)(16)(17) database searches to the Intelligence Community, Fusion-GPS, contractors, and the Steele dossier.
This Cohen-travel-mistake then becomes a risk. As such there would be a very strong motive for similarly aligned political entities within the U.S. intelligence apparatus to cloud the connection.
Thus the origin of the July 31st, 2016, FBI Counterintelligence Operation against candidate Trump began as an unofficial outcome of an unofficial CIA referral (John Brennan) connected to unofficial contacts with political and intelligence people within the U.K and Australia. An unofficial and Machiavellian construct.
After Donald Trump won the election, all of the aligned intelligence entities -including Obama officials therein- were now at risk. Hence “the insurance policy”. The issues extend beyond the unlawful activity of the DOJ and FBI; however, one of the trails of their collective activity ended up inside the Steele Dossier with the false fact surrounding Michael Cohen in Prague.
Paul Wood isn’t the first person to claim Robert Mueller has records. In April of this year, McLatchy, leaking from Mueller’s team, also claimed “electronic record” evidence:
WASHINGTON – The Justice Department special counsel has evidence that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and confidant, Michael Cohen, secretly made a late-summer trip to Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
Confirmation of the trip would lend credence to a retired British spy’s report that Cohen strategized there with a powerful Kremlin figure about Russian meddling in the U.S. election. (read more)
It is almost certain that CIA Director John Brennan was the source for the most recent U.K. statement about Mueller having electronic records claiming Michael-Cohen-Travel. This is pertinent because in a recent interview with Rachel Maddow the former CIA Director made some remarkable admissions.
As noted by Jeff at Marketswork:
Now we come to the segment where I believe Brennan may have slipped badly – and exposed some potentially illegal tactics (19:18 mark):
BRENNAN: When I left office on January 20th of 2017, I had unresolved questions in my mind about whether or not any of those U.S. persons were working in support of the Russian efforts.
MADDOW: And those were referred, those concerns about specific U.S. persons referred to the FBI.
BRENNAN: We call it incidental collection in terms of CIA’s foreign intelligence collection authorities. Any time we would incidentally collect information on a U.S. person, we would hand that over to the FBI because they have the legal authority to do it. We would not pursue that type of investigative, you know, sort of leads. We would give it to the FBI.
So, we were picking things up that was of great relevance to the FBI, and we wanted to make sure that they were there – so they could piece it together with whatever they were collecting domestically here.
That’s not how incidental collection is supposed to work. And the collection doesn’t sound incidental.
FISA Title I and III provisions relate to the conduct of electronic surveillance and physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes of persons, facilities, or property inside the United States.
Section 702 permits the government to target for surveillance foreign persons located outside the United States for the purpose of acquiring foreign intelligence information. To carry out monitoring under Section 702, the government chooses targets, which cannot be individuals known to be US persons.
The law specifies that a “significant” purpose of the monitoring must be to obtain “foreign intelligence information”. Again, U.S. Citizens cannot be the primary target.
Targeting procedures are designed to ensure that only foreign persons located outside the U.S. are targeted for foreign intelligence collection purposes. Minimization procedures are intended to protect any U.S. person information that is incidentally acquired in the course of Section 702 collection.
There are many loopholes to the entire process. The FBI can query acquired Section 702 data. And they can do so using U.S. person inquiries – without a warrant. But U.S. persons are not supposed to be a target of the initial Section 702 collection.
Here’s why Brennan probably chose the surveillance route he did.
Unlike Title I and Title III FISA surveillance, Section 702 collection is not subject to individual formal FISA Court approvals. Due to frequency of collection, instead of issuing individual court orders, the FISC approves annual certifications submitted by the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.
What Brennan discussed sounds eerily similar to what Devin Nunes uncovered in March 2017:
Devin Nunes– “I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition. I have seen intelligence reports that clearly show the President-elect and his team were at least monitored and disseminated out in intelligence, in what appears to be raw—well I shouldn’t say raw—but intelligence reporting channels.
Details about persons associated with the incoming administration, details with little apparent foreign intelligence value were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting. From what I know right now, it looks like incidental collection. We don’t know exactly how that was picked up but we’re trying to get to the bottom of it. This is normal incidental collection. It was normal foreign surveillance.
I think the NSA’s going to comply. I am concerned – we don’t know whether or not the FBI is going to comply.”