McClatchy journalists Peter Stone and Greg Gordon are once again attempting to prop-up the most disproven allegation in the Chris Steele/Nellie Ohr dossier about Michael Cohen making a trip to Prague. They appear to stir this false story approximately every six months. [See Here] This iteration is framed around cell-phone tower pings.
Michael Cohen has denied the claim for years. Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, has clearly denied the claim. The special counsel has reviewed and walked-away from the claim. The Washington Post spent months trying to substantiate the claim, and could find no evidence [See Here]. According to WaPo reporter Greg Miller, the CIA and FBI have refuted the claim. It simply did not happen.
However, that said, the Cohen mistake within the Dossier continues to point toward how the FISA-702 FBI/NSA database was likely exploited by government intelligence ‘contractors’ to extract political opposition research. Their FISA(16)(17) “about” queries of the database simply returned a result of the wrong Michael Cohen.
According to prior research, there was a Michael Cohen in the region; that Cohen is a New York City based art dealer with the same name as Donald Trump’s former lawyer.
Washington Post Greg Miller obliquely noted a reference to the art world when he was explaining how reporters spent months in Praque, and surrounding area, checking through hotel records and asking questions while finding no evidence. [Watch here]
That notation to “artwork” by Greg Miller reflects a melding of the original claim with the mistaken identity of an art dealer named Michael Cohen. It is likely Nellie Ohr, or someone with similar FISA database access, doing similar research, received the wrong result from a FISA(17) “about query” search and passed it along to Christopher Steele who included it within his dossier. As FISC Judge Collyer noted (see above) the non-compliant, unlawful, rate for the database searches were 85%.
It still seems most likely that Nellie Ohr wrote much of the dossier from the research already held by her employer Glenn Simpson at Fusion-GPS, in combination with material extracted from database searches. Christopher Steele was used to launder the opposition research and give it the appearance -and validity- of an intelligence research document.
Mrs. Nellie Ohr refused to answer questions when brought before the joint congressional committee. She invoked ‘Spousal Privilege’.
The FBI did not verify the Ohr/Steele material because they needed a legal justification for already existing surveillance on the Trump campaign. The sketchy Ohr/Steele dossier was used to obtain sketchy FISA warrants on Trump campaign officials; making sketchy surveillance legal through the fraudulent construct of a counterintelligence operation.
The Cohen mistake within the Ohr/Steele dossier is one data-point that seems to outline how the entire operation was connected. Officials inside government and allies (contractors and journalists) outside government were working in collaboration.