Patrick Byrne Describes Maria Butina as a Walking FISA Virus – Also Names: Peter Strzok, Bill Priestap, John Carlin, Andrew McCabe and James Comey…

After appearing on Fox Business, former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne appeared on Fox TV with Martha MacCallum.  In this interview Byrne explained his impetus for contacting the FBI in 2015, about Russian national Maria Butina, surrounded a low-level security clearance he held and a responsibility to report suspicious contacts.

Mr. Byrne then names Peter Strzok, Bill Priestap, Andrew McCabe and James Comey as the top of an operation where Byrne was instructed to guide Butina into the contact circle of republican presidential candidates in 2015, and then back away.

Curiously, if you get beyond the confusing mess of communication, what Byrne is describing does factually align with what is already known. However, Byrne is describing an aspect to the DOJ/FBI operation that has not been discussed very much.

Byrne is describing the DOJ-NSD and FBI using Russian national Maria Butina as an unwitting, walking, FISA surveillance virus.


In addition to Strzok, Priestap, McCabe and Comey, Patrick Byrne cites “Carlin” as one of the “suits” involved.  Carlin is likely a reference to John Carlin who was head of the DOJ-National Security Division until October 2016.

John Carlin was the person who lied to the FISA court about non-compliant FISA-702(16)(17) searches; and then resigned only a few days before the Carter Page FISA application was submitted and approved.

Putting the issues together it seems Patrick Byrne is describing how Maria Butina, a Russian national, was allowed to run around in republican political circles by the FBI so they could create the impression of Russian infiltrators in/around the Rubio, Cruz and Trump campaigns.

Perhaps Patrick Byrne’s reporting of his security driven concerns was used to initiate legal FISA surveillance on Maria Butina.  That sounds like what he ends up describing.

As a Russian national the DOJ/FBI wouldn’t need a surveillance ‘warrant‘.  That would make Maria Butina essentially a walking Ebola surveillance virus, and any American she came into contact with would be infected for legal FISA-702 surveillance.

Makes sense if you think about it..

Run Ms. Butina into Rubio, Cruz and Trump campaigns and violá legal FISA(702) searches, surveillance and subsequent legally authorized unmaskings etc.   Per the interview that is what Byrne appears to describe as happening from December 2015 through April(ish) 2016.

Staying with the nuggets within the word salad of an interview…. After April 2016, Patrick Byrne is asked by the FBI to re-engage with Maria Butina, only now targeted exclusively toward candidate Trump.   Byrne is asked to develop a romantic relationship and introduce Butina to people politically connected in/around the Trump campaign.

Maria Butina was the walking FISA ebola virus.  Ultimately, after the field narrowed, the Trump campaign became the target.   To keep an arms length from the obvious motive of political surveillance, the FBI used Patrick Byrne as a civilian handler for Maria Butina.

Along the way Patrick Byrne suspected this was all sketchy.  His work as a civilian handler for a Russian national, positioned as a Russian agent, by and for a politically motivated FBI operation, is what Byrne is now revealing.

Yes, the way Byrne describes it is weird; however, behind the odd descriptions, what he is describing does make sense.

Now read the letter (full pdf below) from Butina’s former lawyer to Inspector General Michael Horowitz and U.S. Attorney John Durham:


This entry was posted in AG Bill Barr, Big Government, Big Stupid Government, CIA, Conspiracy ?, Decepticons, Deep State, Dem Hypocrisy, Dept Of Justice, Donald Trump, Donald Trump Transition, Election 2016, FBI, GOP Convention - Cleveland, media bias, NSA, President Trump, propaganda, Russia, Spygate, Spying, Uncategorized, White House Coverup. Bookmark the permalink.

345 Responses to Patrick Byrne Describes Maria Butina as a Walking FISA Virus – Also Names: Peter Strzok, Bill Priestap, John Carlin, Andrew McCabe and James Comey…

  1. MDNA I says:

    What strikes me is that the information Byrne gave to the DoJ was so sensitive it appears only Sara Carter was given an inkling of it & the greenlight to publish – & that, less than a month ago. So this wasn’t something allowed to just hang out there in the wind. & I imagine the only ppl who would even come close to figuring it out would be ppl either have high level of access but aren’t permitted to divulge, or who’ve seen this kinda thing before & could only speculate & wait for the other shoes to drop


    • MDNA I says:

      I didn’t name the investigative journalists who weren’t allowed to publish about this & probably didn’t know about it. I respect them & it’s not a mark against them not to have known. But you can fill in the blanks re: who might’ve gotten this but didn’t


    • OhNoYouDont says:

      I mentioned this up thread…

      This interview was conducted “several weeks before” July 26, 2019.

      The interesting part is “several other reporters” were at this meeting and Carter was the only reporter to publish Byrne’s story.

      Byrne’s Reveal

      There are only several other reporters with knowledge of what you are about to read and another who is aware of the situation with Byrne. Byrne recounted his story of his involvement with the FBI and DOJ on video during the private meeting he arranged with this reporter, and several others.

      The meeting between Byrne and the journalists took place in New York City. It was a little more than three hours long, for the most part completely on the record and videotaped. He told his story in seven parts.

      Liked by 2 people

      • MDNA I says:

        I keep a journal of the stories & developments I’m interested in or following – not always very thorough, sometimes it’s just a list of things that happened during a week

        My notes for the time around the 26th showed 3-4 developments re: Spygate breaking at the time, & all I had for the Byrne story was a heading & a sentence or two

        It almost blended into the background when it dropped b/c it didn’t fit anything else, didn’t fit previous developments. There was hardly a way to contextualize it

        Liked by 2 people

  2. joeknuckles says:

    I think Byrne was involved willingly, knows everything is going to come out and knows he is going to be implicated. He’s the first of many rats that are going to be deserving the sinking ship. He may not even be the first, but just the first to do it so publicly.

    Liked by 5 people

    • noswamp says:

      Byrne is smart. Going public first. He might just have well been complicit and admitted so much when he said he had the SECOND relationship with the Russian agent without actually having a physical relationship with her but deceived his handlers.

      Liked by 2 people

      • G. Alistar says:

        Yep, he who flips first, flips best. p.s., these dirty cops at FBI and corrupt officials at DoJ will throw anyone under the bus to save their own skin….or for a buck. Ironic and hypocritical that Comey’s book is titled, “A Higher Loyalty.” Sheeesh!

        Liked by 3 people

        • Willy Istvan says:

          I’m sure Comey named the book “A Higher Loyalty” just to shove it into everybody’s face because he thought there’s no way he was ever going down for it.


    • Bill Thomas says:

      Maybe he was thinking about the dead, cold, rotting corpses of Seth Rich and Jeffery Epstein.

      Liked by 1 person

    • simon says says:

      Wonder where Byrne transferred his golden parachute?


    • Contrarymary says:

      My thoughts exactly, joe. Think it’s interesting the way he accentuates “Hillary Clinton” , always at the top of the list of people being investigated and set up. Sincerely looking into the camera when he says her name, trying to make it appear as though it’s an equal opportunity setup. It’s also odd that a “republican” attorney told him to go home and keep his mouth shut or he could be behind bars for the rest of his life. Makes you wonder how many other big business tycoons have a security clearance and are being handled by the deep state?


  3. Sherri Young says:

    Strzok has a couple of texts on 06/09/2017.

    “Just got an Agency coin”

    “With Brennan’s signature ; )”

    I’ve read that Strzok was originally from CIA and was working one of those cooperative positions that involved FBI and CIA.

    Can some knowing person explain this with a degree of certainty? Was this a commemorative token for participation in an important CIA operation? Was Strzok getting an attaboy for a job well done?

    Liked by 1 person

    • MDNA I says:

      Byrne strongly implied that Strozk’s position at the FBI was a bit of a cover & that he answered to the top, which included Brennan. I think Sundance connected Strozk as the potential or likely author of the originating electronic communication Brennan used to initiate the full offensive after Trump won

      Liked by 4 people

    • CopperTop says:

      It implies at a minimum a ‘mission’ recognition. Either he was joking to her that his conversation with Brennan meant he’d done a good enough job to have earned a challenge coin. The existence not mattering. Yes he indeed felt he deserved/received an attaboy from the director.

      Liked by 3 people

      • CopperTop says:

        Regardless if he was joking or not. I’d really like Strozk to have received a pencil instead.

        Perhaps with this Bryne revelation he has.

        ( The mob has friends of theirs put their name on a list with a pencil they give them. They then must hand back the pencil. Anyone they are going to rub out they send them back their pencil to let them know to get their affairs in order. It’s coming)

        Liked by 1 person

    • Bulldog84 says:

      Personally I think Strzok was used for nefarious tasks precisely because he was known as an ethically compromised individual. In the event that he was ever to decide to turn on his handler(s), what better cover than to point to the fact of his on-the-job affair and unprofessional texts and proclaim, “Why would anyone believe him?”


    • farrier105 says:

      Was this a commemorative token for participation in an important CIA operation?
      Yes, but I think Strzok had to give it back since such awards are “secret.”

      Was Strzok getting an attaboy for a job well done?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Earl says:

    He’s not willing to say publicly who X, Y and Z were (the people at the top who were giving the orders to the FBI in all this), but my guess would be that X, Y and Z include Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. Perhaps Brennan is the third.

    Liked by 1 person

    • MostlyRight says:

      In his CNN video he says “Z” is James Comey.


      • Earl says:

        One thing that is unexplained to my mind was Biden dropping out on October 21, 2015. He was the natural heir to the Democrat nomination as the sitting VP. He gave a half-hearted speech saying he was dropping out and in later interviews sounded like he could easily be talked into running again. He never publicly gave a convincing reason why he decided not to run for the Democrat nomination.

        Somehow in a metaphorical smoke-filled room it was decided that it would be Hillary and not Biden to succeed Obama.

        How did all of the blackmail-collecting by the Obama administration on politicians figure into this? Did they assemble ‘kompromat’ on Sleepy Joe and force him to drop out in favor of Hillary?


        • Bulldog84 says:

          In my mind HRC was always going to be Obama’s successor. I suspect this was part of the deal in her originally taking the SOS job; she would monetize the position and add to her resume before making her own run.

          Liked by 3 people

          • Sherri Young says:

            HRC dropped out in 2008 right after she and Obama were seen separately arriving at the Bilderberg meeting that year. Rumor is that there was an agreement that she would step aside during that cycle then would follow Obama as president. That deal may help explain her lack of effort in the 2016 primary and general. There is no question that the primary was rigged in her favor via the superdelegates.

            Liked by 1 person

          • littleanniefannie says:

            I didn’t see Tim Kaine being an Obama puppet. I must have been wrong. Perhaps Obama dumped Joe because he wasn’t 100% controllable or because he wouldn’t absolutely commit to taking an Obama recommended VP choice. Maybe Joe was smart enough to realize that Scalia didn’t die a natural death and he feared he would go on a similar hunting (or hunted) trip and hinted that he might go rogue on his pick. Obama wasn’t willing for that to happen and he knew he had enough on Bill and Hill to keep her in check. He just didn’t see We the People in his rear view mirror!


  5. retirementgig says:

    Who was it who made the “suggestion” to keep his trap shut and the time frame for this billion dollar deal?


  6. mr.piddles says:

    When does FNYT start calling him “little-known Patrick Byrne”? I’m thinkin’ it must be pretty soon, no?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. A supposed FBI Spook posted on 4chan Sunday night that on Thrs. of this week a big deal was going to happen and 3 senior folks at the FBI were going down, Comey, Brennan, and Ohr. The person also said that Yates was screwed and she was given the chance to rat Loretta Lynch out or go to prison. His predictions seem accurate and he said there would be more to come soon.


  8. mr.piddles says:

    Lovely Maria was definitely a hot property for the Russia Collusion Hoaxsters. The last 13 pages (of 38) of the Ohr 302’s is an article about Torshin, Butina, and the NRA from a lefty website. Simpson was happy to pass that on to “little-known Bruce Ohr”.

    FD-302, pg 7:
    “A Russian senator and mobster named Torshin may be involved in running the Central Bank of Russia.[…]
    Torshin may have funneled Russian money to the National Rifle Association (NRA) to use in support of Trump.[…]
    Simpson provided OHR with an article on the NRA and Torsion. The article is an attachment to this document.”

    The source article is still up, and has a few nice pictures of Maria.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right to reply says:

      Thank you, a very interesting read. Haven’t seen the Sheriff around in a long time!


    • jambo says:

      Torshin and Butina guns, NRA, Republicans etc, fine.

      Where does their April 2015 meeting with the Fed VC and the Obama Treasury undersec fit in?

      “WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Maria Butina, accused in the United States of spying for Russia, had wider high-level contacts in Washington than previously known, taking part in 2015 meetings between a visiting Russian official and two senior U.S. officials.

      The meetings, disclosed by several people familiar with the sessions and a report prepared by a Washington think tank that arranged them, involved Stanley Fischer, then Federal Reserve vice chairman, and Nathan Sheets, then Treasury undersecretary for international affairs.

      Butina traveled to the United States in April 2015 with Alexander Torshin, then the Russian Central Bank deputy governor, and they took part in separate meetings with Fischer and Sheets to discuss U.S.-Russian economic relations during Democratic former President Barack Obama’s administration.”

      “ discuss U.S.-Russian economic relations during Democratic former President Barack Obama’s administration”

      An excuse to get them to DC for a little briefing on the upcoming fun?


      • mr.piddles says:

        I forgot about that, thanks for the link. The article mentions:

        “The meetings were documented in a Center for the National Interest report seen by Reuters that outlined its Russia-related activities from 2013 to 2015. The report described the meetings as helping bring together “leading figures from the financial institutions of the United States and Russia.””

        Effectively, Butina was a part of a Russian lobbying operation that predated the 2016 election by several years. According to the Interwebs:

        “The Center for the National Interest is a Washington, D.C.-based public policy think tank. The Center was established by former U.S. President Richard Nixon on January 20, 1994, as the Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom.”

        Though Butina wasn’t necessarily involved as far back as 2013, but certainly early 2015. Seems like a reasonable scenario. Lots of foreign lobbying going on in D.C. Problem for Maria was that she — like every freaking other foreign lobbyist in D.C. — forgot to send in her FARA disclosures. Little did she know she was being used as a little wittle itty bitty teeny weeny pawn in a global fraud. Plus her CEO-Boyfriend was spying on her. And James B. Comey probably listened to clips of pillow talk between her and her CEO-Boyfriend-Spy. Ew.


  9. Right to reply says:

    As the secret services appear so keen to select Presidents. How, and why, did they select Obama? And, why did Mitt Romney choke?


  10. Sprawlie says:

    Joint Hearing on, “Oversight of FBI and DOJ Actions Surrounding the 2016 Election: Testimony by FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok” July 12, 2018.

    Mr. Byrne says that a contentious Congressional hearing in Summer (July) of 2018 is what helped put all the pieces together for him including that Strzok was the person giving the ‘men in black’ Byrne dealt with their instructions.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. CoHoBo says:

    Good to know Hillary was spied on too. Now we don’t have to worry about her being involved in all of this.


    • Mariainohio says:

      Seems to me it was to cover that Hilary already had contacts with the Russians. They had to dirty up the others AND the CIA/FBI have their reason to spy on Trump/Cruz/Rubio. It was a win/win.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. KingBroly says:

    Hmm…they didn’t spy on Jeb or Bernie. They knew Bernie wasn’t even part of the equation. But why not Jeb? In 2015 he was the frontrunner, the presumed nominee. It opens the possibility that the coupsters wanted Jeb. But it also opens up the possibility that they knew Jeb wouldn’t be the nominee.


    • MDNA I says:

      Or they expected him to be the nominee & lose

      Liked by 1 person

      • KingBroly says:

        I don’t buy that, here’s why. At the center of this, along with the Obama White House, CIA, DOJ and FBI, we have a bunch of Bush Republicans who assisted in fanning the flames of this operation. If they expected Jeb to lose, why is this man saying they were spying on Clinton as well?


        • MDNA I says:

          I don’t care what you buy. You have demonstrated an inability to accommodate new information & an unwillingness to entertain new ideas. Those 2 facts alone are a tell all this is above your paygrade.


      • big jim says:

        bingo MDNA

        this is the first election since Bush 41 that didnt go as planned

        Liked by 1 person

    • Right to reply says:

      Personally, it smacks more that they too were involved! Isn’t Jeb the founder of the dossier?

      Did Jeb drop out before, or after Hillary’s email scandal?


      • Mr e-man says:

        I think the Jeb! and Little Marco campaigns both had hired Fusion GPS to do some opposition research for them. That later morphed into oppo research for Hillary and when her corruption began to impact the election, it morphed into the Russia collusion hoax. By that time, Jeb! and Marco were not using Fusion GPS anymore.

        I think that is where people make the dossier connection as originally created by Republicans, but it really wasn’t.


    • appraisher says:

      @KingBroly. Our “betters” have been choosing who we’re to vote for, for decades….we just never realized it. The uniparty chose the candidate who THEY wanted, then herded us into voting for them, and we did, time after time, all the while thinking that the decision was ours.

      Little wonder why “both sides of the aisle” were so gobsmacked when we decided to take our fate into our own hands and elected Trump. Also explains why not just Trump, but we “deplorables” are hated so equally by the left AND the right, why the repubs refuse to help the leader of their own party, why Mueller was so universally touted as a paragon of virtue, and why the left was allowed to continue this temper tantrum for over 2 years with no push-back from the right.

      Liked by 2 people

    • QCM says:

      Well…Jeb’s daddy was head of the C_A…the head of the deep state…why spy on one of your own?


  13. I find it difficult to believe that the “group” consisting of Peter Strzok, Bill Priestap, Andrew McCabe and James Comey (and maybe throw Brennan in too) ALLOWED or felt comfortable for this “loose end” of Byrne to exist.

    Wouldn’t they be concerned he could spill this at any time?

    Seems strange?


    • Allard Otten says:

      That’s the reason deadman switches exist.

      Now that all know that Barr has the info more people are going to turn, especially those in the Clinton campaign who thought they were safe.

      I’m going by the theory that GW flipped during the HW funeral. According to that theory, there were a lot of meetings and part of the deal was that Barr had to be brought on board. He was only one they would trust in order to turn evidence.

      It could be, if we look at this theory, that part of the delay now is processing all the new evidence from the flippers. Byrne coud be out there now to put the fear of god into the last true believers. That’s why he’s saying now that Clinton was under surveillance as well. As I posted earlier, if Byrne did talk to Barr, then anything he does now is done only with Barr’s approval, IMO.


    • botchedcasuality says:

      I wondered the same and he seems unraveled,
      and disorganized, I d like some body language analysis: scared or creating?


  14. PMadison says:

    I’d be surprised if Ms Butina didn’t have a little Halper prodding her along. Or a Mifsud. Or an Azra Turk. Or another body from the stable of deep state set-up artists.


    • pmdea says:

      The bit that I don’t get is why would FBI need Patrick to spy on Hillary. Can’t be to blackmail Hill’s, they had Weiner’s laptop, thousands of emails + at least 6 semi truck loads of dirt on her to keep her in line, (or perhaps some of that evidence may implicate them)..was it to have blackmail on Patrick for his part to keep him from ever spilling the beans on the fact they were spying on President Trump? He was being used but setup at the same time?


      • PS says:

        How about, that is simply what Strozk told Byrne to throw Byrne off the trail? “Yeah, you are equal opportunity, tell us what you see” then do nothing with it on the inside. Like the FBI did nothing with Weiner’s laptop until they were called out 4 weeks later. Same inside guy involved running cover for HRC.


        • BobInFL says:

          Wasn’t another little Russian honeypot pushed at Hillary for a while? Then a whole group of them arrested and shipped out of the country? Anna somethingKova or some such? Hillary sure attracts alot of Russina females. Wonder why?


  15. beachbum31 says:

    not many people out there can say they passed on a billion dollar bribe.
    not many out there that can deliver on a billion dollar bribe either.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. TraderJoe says:

    This guy is a looney.


  17. GP says:

    This story was shelved and saved for the slooooow August news cycle. I lived in and around DC for 30 years. I got used to the pace, the traffic, the sense of self-importance by rushing around and attending unending (and unproductive) meetings…then at the end of the day holding a martini at Bull Feathers with my tie askew and holding forth about something I really knew nothing about. I hated August because everything was too slow-

    That part doesn’t really belong in this story comment section, but it does explain the shelving/saving of the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Kelly says:

    Just doesn’t sound solid when
    this CEO is doing all of these
    interviews tonight an on every network
    he says his list of victims in a
    Memorized order with Clinton’s
    name first. It even sounds like her name doesn’t belong there as he says it!!
    She paid $$ w/dnc funneling thru
    the law firm to hire gps to hire an
    pay steel along with who??.. FBI !!
    The CEO says it was to blackmail
    Clinton?? Ok well we all knew that could happen! Emails, foundation, etc.
    He then makes sure he says
    WRONG!! …about the Russia investigation!! I heard that line only
    on CNN!
    So now it’s all done. PDJT was right,
    about the Russian hoax, the demoRats
    we’re right on trying to ruin PDJT
    presidency, an now we know the
    Politicized FBI I guess wanted,
    Bernie in office…. so being Bernie
    Was colluding with the FBI/Russians,
    He will now have to be investigated??..
    So all is well an we can have Biden
    Nominated to hopefully beat PDJT !!
    Ok all’s well, I’ll wake up again for another day on Fantasy island!!

    PDJT an AG Barr please step up an
    Declassify all of this NOW!!
    We The People have the Right to
    know all !!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mariainohio says:

      Hillary’s meeting with Butina was probably set up to actually make connections with the Oligarchs. Hillary was already dirty. They needed to dirty up the others, too and it gave them a reason to spy on the others.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. GP says:

    Anyway-they will beat this Spygate dead horse into subatomic particles and wring the last drop of advertising dollar out of it. In the end, it goes away and no one goes to jail. It’s already lost major steam and stories reported as “BREAKING NEWS” are really already twice cycled, old news.

    Once football season starts in September, you can start the long wave good-bye to this puppy.


  20. Hmmm... says:

    Worth noting Byrne is the source of the Felix Sater Russian mobster story.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Dell Mar says:

    Patrick Byrne’s Heavy-Hitter Banquet Speech

    Good evening, Heavy Hitters of the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge. I am deeply honored to speak to you this evening.

    There is a Zen saying that happiness is planting a tree knowing that you will not be there to enjoy its shade. Tonight, I am thinking about the meaning of that saying in the context of cancer and cancer research that is supported by men and women such as yourselves.

    Mr. Starr has asked me to speak to you about my own experience, my own struggle with cancer, a struggle which occupied the three years of my life immediately after college, as well as the three transcontinental bicycle rides which helped me to recover physically and mentally from my cancer ordeal. I do have a doctorate in philosophy from Stanford, which he mentioned, and he asked me to share with you all the philosophical and inspirational lessons I learned from these ordeals. I told him if I share all of the lessons, this is going to be a very short speech.

    I should tell you that I’ve never spoken publicly about cancer, and only rarely privately, to a handful of friends. And to borrow a line from Oscar Wilde, I warn you that you would have to have a heart of stone to listen to the story of my struggle with cancer without laughing. I’ll be laughing and you’re welcome to join in at any occasion. Also, I should tell you that I’ve always declined requests to speak about cancer because I feel as though I’m boasting, “Hey look at me, I cheated death.” And in general that’s just a bad idea, because I think in the end, he will take the last round.

    So with such caveats in place, per Billy’s request, I will tell you my story of cancer, pausing to note such meager philosophical and inspirational lessons as I may.

    Shortly after I graduated from college in 1985 I woke from what was supposed to be exploratory surgery on my kidneys to learn that cancer had metastasized basically everywhere through my body and that my right testicle had been cut off. (I’ll pause here for guys in the audience to squirm.) The next several days of testing brought repeated and increasing bad news about the thoroughness of metastasis. My vena cava – the vena cava is the main blood supply from the lower half of the body – was apparently occluded by a tumor pressing on it, so the doctors rushed me to emergency open-chest surgery in the hope of cutting it away. Instead, they found that my vena cava and the center of my lungs were completely tumorized, as one doctor put it. He said, candidly, “There’s nothing we can cut: it’s all tumor.”

    Within nine days, I had three open-chest surgeries. All three were on an emergency basis, and before all three my family and I were told it was unlikely I would survive and that no alternative existed. Now here’s the punch line…that’s when things started to get really bad.

    I will spare you further gory details, mentioning only those that remain relevant. I had over 20 pulmonary embolisms, each of which feels something like getting this microphone stand through the side of your chest. My blood thickened and eventually the blood supply on my right leg congealed; it was blocked from the hip down until my foot and leg turned black. The next day, I was told that, if I lived, I would probably never walk, or if I did, it would be with the aid of crutches and braces, so severe was the muscle and nerve damage in my leg.

    In these first ten months, I had 10 surgeries and lost 60 pounds. On many occasions my family and I were told I would not survive this or that crisis or procedure, that there was no option. We would hear this in subsequent months and years so often that I began to wonder if it were not the medical profession’s equivalent of when you pick your date up to take her to dinner and you tell her she has a nice dress on, something you learn to say automatically, whether or not you’re really sure you know it.

    This went on deep into the fall that year. Unless you think I practice simple Irish blarney, I will relate one last story from that period. I was at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, attended by Dr. George Bosl, a wonderful doctor with a superbly candid approach to patient relations. He is now the head of medicine at Sloan- Kettering, and I understand from people I met today at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute that he has become quite well known in his field.

    I started getting visits from packs of doctors, four or five together, to interview me. I was an old hand at this point and knew enough to recognize these were not the standard entrance exams, nor standard interns. They were senior doctors. I saw a new group every other day for a couple of weeks. Finally I asked Dr. Bosl what it was all about. He said, “Well, Pat, I presented your case in a medical conference. There were 70 doctors there and we decided that with 2,000 years of combined medical experience among us, we’d never heard of anyone have so much go wrong with them and not die. You see, you think you’re getting better, but you’re still well below the point people usually just die,” he said cheerfully. “These doctors want to know what’s going on in your head.”

    So here’s my first inspirational lesson, such as it is. I remember telling the doctors over and over what was going on in my head. It was Coach Joe. Coach Joe was one of my earliest wrestling coaches, a huge Greek, built like a fire hydrant but with thicker shoulders. He was the toughest, meanest, baddest man any of us kids had ever seen. If he had a last name, none of us had the courage to ask him. Coach Joe used to have us end practice with endless push-ups and sit-ups and pull-outs and sit-ins and sit-in-turnouts and so on and so forth, until somebody fainted. Literally, that was his way of keeping track of when it was time to end practice.

    And one night he did this and this lad Steven something-or-other, whose last name I don’t recall, fainted from heat exhaustion in our sauna-like wrestling room and was taken away in an ambulance. The next evening as we walked into practice, Steve’s mother was in there yelling at Coach Joe, threatening him with lawsuits and loss of a coaching job, and all kinds of repercussions. We could see that Joe was barely holding his temper. Finally she said something like, “We’re going to send you to jail.” And Joe snapped back, “Hey lady, why don’t you send me some place I ain’t been before, like Hawaii?”

    Now, I’m guessing that that seems crude, crass and vulgar, but when you’re 14, you think that is by God the coolest thing you’re ever going to hear anybody say in your entire life. I waited years for a chance to deliver that line. And it never came. Until one morning, at 4:00 a.m., two interns come to my bed with tears in their eyes, a man and a woman whom I had gotten close to in the preceding few weeks. They were not much older than I, and they knew I understood the implication of what they were telling me. They said, “We’re sorry, Patrick, you’re bleeding in your pericardial sac, tamponod something-something. We have to do another open-chest surgery. We’ve called your parents to come in. We don’t expect you to survive but we have no choice. We’re taking you to the operating theater now.” And I finally got to croak out, as nonchalantly as I could, “Hey, why don’t you take me someplace I ain’t been before, like Hawaii?”

    Now, if you say things like that, people look at you a little strangely, but it works. So the lesson is, I promise you, I am the least tough person in this room. I hate pain, especially now, and I’m a true wimp. But if you ever go through something like this, what you do, if you don’t feel tough enough, is you think of the toughest, baddest, meanest cat you know, and you just pretend you’re him. It works, it just does – pretend like that guy, act however you think he or she would act and say, and you’ll get through it. At least, it gives you something to do.

    I’ll skip ahead a few months. Cancer had gone into remission. Dr. Bosl released me from the hospital. Something made me ask him, “If cancer comes back, what are my chances?” He said, “If it returns you have a 20 percent chance of beating it.” Some weird instinct made me ask again, “What if it comes back and I beat it, but it comes back again?” “At that point, Patrick, you’ll go into something called salvage therapy, where we try to make you comfortable and salvage as many weeks and months of your life as we can.” My parents wheeled me from the hospital, and we climbed into a taxi. The cabby turned around and said, “Have you heard? It’s on the radio, the space shuttle just blew up.” So that’s where I was when the Challenger blew up.

    That was sometime in January or February, and I had been in the hospital more or less straight since the previous end of July. Staring up at the ceiling, throwing up 30 or 40 times a day, pretending to be a wrestling coach I hadn’t seen in ten years, those had not been my immediate post-college plans.

    I’m the youngest of three sons, a classic Irish-Catholic family, and my family had been wracked by the strain of my illness. My oldest brother John quit his job to spend some time with me. I saw a physical therapist a number of times and did exercises for my leg, which was stiff and swollen and numb on the side. When I tilted my head forward, I would experience a strong shock sensation in my hands and feet, and I lost my balance a lot.

    John and I went on a golfing vacation in the south. Well, John went on a golfing vacation in the south and he brought me along, and I would hobble a few hundred yards here and there or else ride in the cart. A friend of mine, a philosophy professor named David Luban, mentioned to me that bicycle riding might be good for me as there was no impact and it worked the heart and lungs. Two days later, John and I flew to San Diego and bought bicycles. We joked that we were going to ride across the country. Actually we figured we would have a few nice days, bicycling slowly across the desert.

    The first day we went three miles. I would ride a few hundred yards and lie down in the grass in the shade of some strip mall while John waited. The next day, not much farther, nor the next. So that by the end of three days, we had reached Julian, California. I checked recently on a map and Julian is about 30 miles inland from San Diego. Not a blistering three-day pace.

    Then, a funny thing happened. We became increasingly inspired by that most beautiful aspect of the relationship that exists between brothers, unmatched in any other human bond: sibling rivalry. Neither of us was going to be the guy to say, “Let’s quit.” So he would wait for me miles ahead under a bridge as I rode weaving along some state highway in the desert, when I reached him he’d say, “Had enough?” I would say, “What, are you kidding me?” Later, pushing our bikes up Texas Canyon, east of Tucson, in the noon heat – this is, you know, June in Arizona – I’d look at him and he’d be hunched over the front of his bike, and I’d say, “Gee, John, you look pretty done in. You want to call this a ball game?” John would say, “Not me. Just enjoying the view. That is, unless you want to quit.” And so on and so forth for 2000 miles. Until one day, we’re eating a sandwich in Mississippi, (my brother Mark got out of a job and joined us in Texas). On that day in Mississippi we start to realize we’re actually going to bicycle across country. And that’s what we did. We did centuries the rest of the way in to the waves in Jacksonville, Florida.

    I was well and fit, but still fairly shell-shocked. I went off to Stanford to pursue a master’s in mathematical logic and walked the sunny hills of what was then, in 1986, the quaint California Silicon Valley. But in my heart, I knew something was wrong. And in December, I woke with a gurgling in my chest. X-rays revealed a silver-dollar-sized spot in my lungs. So – round two.

    People in my corner were worried. They knew the 20% odds. I do not mean to sound cocky or as though I take any of this for granted, but I will tell you the truth. Deep down, I was not worried. Remember your high school English course, and the concept of dramatic irony, where the reader knows more about what’s going on than the characters in the novel or the play? I was experiencing dramatic irony. It was as though I had flipped to the end of the book, I had read the last page, I knew the guy lived. I’m not sure how, but I knew it, and I tried to act appropriately worried, but it didn’t come easy. I felt tremendously sorry for those people around me who were worried about me, and of course there was no way to explain to them that I had read the ending already and knew the hero came out okay. More than anything, I was curious, because it sure did look like our hero was in a bit of a fix, and I wanted to hang around to see how he got out of it.

    I don’t mean to say, of course, that it was pleasant. As in round one, the kind of chemotherapy I had was intense enough that I had to be knocked out every day with Thorazine. When I woke up, I would throw up dozens of time throughout the afternoon and evenings. My white cells sailed way over the horizon and it was generally impossible for me to leave the hospital, even between chemotherapy cycles.

    I also had my first face-to-face encounter with medical research, properly performed. Dr. Bosl was running a study comparing the effectiveness of inpatient and outpatient chemotherapy. He was letting some patients get Thorazine in a special outpatient clinic, get their chemotherapy, and then go home for the evening. I expect this is now probably fairly standard, but then it was a clinical trial. I desperately wanted to get into that study. I had spent so many nights staring at the hospital ceiling. I begged him to let me in, told him I was going crazy month after a month in the hospital. Every time I seemed close, some little scratch would turn into an infection or some other problem would arise and I would be on my back for 14 days of antibiotics and get off it just in time to start another five-day chemotherapy cycle.

    Finally they told me that for the last cycle, as everything seemed right, Bosl was going to let me participate in the outpatient study. I was so grateful. He asked me if I was sure I wanted this. With tears of joy and thankfulness in my eyes, I said, “Absolutely.” Bosl pulled out a coin and flipped it, saying, “Call it. Heads/tails, nope you lose, you’re in the control group, back in bed.”

    At least I did know what was going to happen on the last page. I met a fellow patient named Andy Yu, whom I am proud to call a friend. Andy often stopped in to see me. A few years older than I, Andy had been working at an insurance agency in Long Island when he was diagnosed with leukemia. Sometimes I would walk a lap around the halls and stop to chat with Andy, and sometimes Andy would stop in to see me in the mornings. I don’t remember seeing Andy having many visitors, so he was always eager for the company, eager to stretch it into a long conversation when all I had in mind was a few words.

    I wanted neither to commiserate nor swap experiences. I wanted to be quiet. He was always too d**n chipper for me. Everything was always great with Andy. “No problem” was his answer to everything. The chemo nurse would call him, “I gotta run, Pat. Chemo waiting.” “No problem,” he’d say, “We’re gonna get on top of this stuff, Pat. No problem.”

    I am ashamed to say that there were times I was barely polite, I’m sure. I did not acknowledge that there was something to get on top of. Hell, I’d read the end of my book. Maybe I was just too exhausted. More often than not, I let my mother take over, if she were there, or barely spoke if Andy and I were alone. Once my mother berated me, telling me I could make an effort to be friendlier when Andy came, instead of just lying listlessly in bed and barely answering him. I remember Andy backing out of my room a couple of mornings, with a sad look saying, “Well, I can see you’re busy, I’ll come back tomorrow.”

    I finally did get out of the hospital for awhile, just as Andy was coming in for his bone marrow transplant. Oddly, he was looking forward it, like a kid waiting for a present. I was peppy as well, because I was packing and knew that unless I ran a fever, I would have a good two weeks out of the hospital before another chemotherapy cycle began. For once, we were both up and cheerful. We chatted about our plans for when we got out of the hospital for good.

    Two weeks later, I checked back in. Phyllis, my favorite nurse, was helping me unpack my bag into the night stand. “How’s Andy doing?” I asked. She flinched, then quietly said, “Andy didn’t make it.”

    I think about Andy sometimes. I wonder who else out there still thinks about him. My mother and I mention him every couple of years to each other.

    Here’s another of Coach Joe’s pearls of wisdom. In one of our rare moments alone, I remember him telling me about winning the East Coast heavyweight college wrestling championship. I was already familiar with the tendency of older guys to exaggerate their bronze medals into gold. I said, “Coach, are you saying you were the champion, or one of the champions?” Joe stood up, and sort of slapped his hands. He said, “Byrne, there’s only one champion. Everyone else is last.”

    I don’t know about that anymore. I think there may be many champions. But I know this: Andy was a champion. And he was my friend.

    Just one last inspirational story – I did beat the 20 percent odds, made the cut. My cancer went into remission, and one month later, I was celebrating with my family. I pulled a muscle in my side, but o be on the safe side I went to the hospital for a work-up. Lying there in the hospital room that night, I heard my family coming down the hall, Bosl intercepting them, then long conversations in hushed tones.

    My father came and sat next to me and started talking about bridge, which he had taught me in my early teens. We chatted about what a stimulating game it was for the memory, for the analytic muscles of the brain. And he steered the conversation around to the structure of a hand, how you study your cards, bid your hand, and then the first few plays really determine the outcome. The rest is just the playing out of the hand. Life was like that, he pointed out to me. By the time you’re in your 20s, you’ve figured out who you are, you’ve bid your hand, played your first few cards, and the rest is just routine, playing out of the hand.

    I didn’t really like the direction the conversation was taking, so I said, “What’s your point here, Pops. Are we throwing in the jock strap or something?” He said simply, “Cancer’s back. Dr. Bosl says you’re not going to make it. He’s starting you on salvage therapy.”

    (Incidentally, those of you in the medical profession ought to consider hiring a marketing consultant to help you here, because that term is just never going to sell the product.)

    You can imagine how confused I was about this. I knew that it all turned out all right by the last page. I could not for the life of me figure out how we went from here – it looked like we were pretty close to the last page and how could it still turn out OK?

    So here’s the third and last pearl of wisdom from Coach Joe. One night he had me doing push-ups in return for some imagined slight. He had me doing sets in front of the team until I literally could not lift my face from the mat. And he stood over me screaming, “What are you doing, Byrne?” And I replied, quite carefully, “I believe I’m considering quitting, Coach. I believe that’s what I’m doing.” Joe thought for a bit, and I remember this long silence in the wrestling room while he searched for something pithy to say, and then he finally said the kind of thing that only someone like Coach Joe could get away with saying. He said, “Byrne, don’t you never quit at nothin’.”

    So I did not quit at nothin’, but I sure started to think about it a lot, especially when we learned the cancer had spread at last into my bones, where given the limited blood supply, chemotherapy is largely ineffective, or was. I confess that I began to wonder if perhaps I had read the wrong ending because we seemed to be getting pretty close to that last page and I couldn’t quite see any angle that worked out, and quitting sure looked a lot easier. As corny as it sounds, I look back, and I know what tipped the scales: my mother.

    To really appreciate this you’d have to meet her, but when I run into people I knew from high school, 20 years ago, invariably the first thing they say to me is, “How is your mother? I met her that one time and I thought of her so many times ever since.” She is the classic Irish mother, sweet and caring, and hard as rock. Even my dad and the doctors, Dr. Bosl, were afraid of her. And as best as I can see it now, she just never believed the doctors and she never gave me permission to quit. I sure felt like quitting, but my mom had spent the better part of two and a half years literally sleeping in a chair by my hospital bed, upright. She had straightened out every nurse who had not brought my painkiller on time. And she just wasn’t going to give me permission to quit. If you knew Dorothy Byrne, you’d know how much weight that carries.

    Dr. Bosl presented me with an opportunity to participate in an early stage experiment. There were six lads in the same situation around the country. All of us had failed twice, we were all going into salvage therapy. Bosl wanted to hit us with large doses of iphosphamide, a drug then being used in Germany for breast cancer. I was warned that the side effects themselves could be lethal and would certainly be as unpleasant as any of the chemo we had tried to that point. They said they would dose us to the point of kidney failure, so I started drinking water like a madman as they started therapy. Within two months, four of the six of us died. News of this came to me though the nurse grapevine. The fifth, a nice fellow from Lebanon, two months ahead of me in the treatment, went briefly into remission, then the cancer returned and he went home to die. And then there was me.

    After the last round of Iphosphamide, they cut two ribs out of my side and the woman who did it said that the bone had nearly petrified from the cancer in it and that two interns had to use some kind of bolt cutters together to snap the ribs. To everybody’s surprise, all the cancer, even in the bones, was dead.

    In China, when you open a new hall or a new store, typically you have a Buddhist monk come and bless it with a scroll that he’s drawn. There’s a Chinese story about a man opening a new shop and a Chinese monk comes to the opening party to present the scroll. A whole crowd is there. They unroll the blessing – and this may sound a little morbid at first, but bear with me – they unroll the blessing, and the blessing is: “The grandfather dies, the father dies, the son dies.” Everybody is horrified: what kind of awful blessing is that? Until finally a wise man in the audience explains it, that it is a blessing. The grandfather dies, the father dies, and the son dies; not the grandson and the father and then the grandfather.

    Part of embracing life, as terrible and morbid as it may sound, is embracing this aspect of it, that it is the natural order of things. And as awful as it seems to lose somebody, an ancestor or a father or grandfather, there’s no such thing as embracing life without embracing that side of it, and at least having tolerance for that side of it.

    But the flip side of that is just the one memory I’ve never been able to get over. It’s the memory of the day I pressed the wrong elevator button and ended up exiting on the children’s cancer ward. And I just think there must be no worse place that that, and I would rather go through what I went through a hundred times than to see my own child go through that.

    So, moving on…Samuel Johnson said that if you tell a man he is to be hung in a fortnight it tends to focus his mind tremendously. I didn’t know, of course, that cancer was gone. I got out as soon as I could, I biked across country again. That, oddly enough, was for a girl who lived in D.C. who told me that she didn’t quite see me as dependable and stable. So I biked to see her, I biked from L.A. to D.C. to prove my stability. Oddly, this tactic didn’t work. When I finished, I said “Never again.” Never again will I do this. Never again will I bike across country.

    The next year I rode across country again, and this time I came very close to leaving the bicycle in the waves. I almost gave it away to some kids there. I just never wanted to look at a bicycle again. I’ve made a few small trips in the nine years since then, but nothing major. That was the end of my cancer and the end of my biking career.

    …Until six weeks ago. I got a phone call from Mr. Billy Starr asking if I would speak here. I can’t tell you how many requests I’ve turned down to speak, and it’s quite selfish I’m sure. Requests from doctors and so on. I just never have done a single one of them, never accepted a single invitation. But within about three or four minutes I found myself agreeing to come here and speak to you. Odd how that happens, Billy. And then even more oddly, I began to suspect I was on the phone with a Jedi Knight. On his end he was saying, “Why don’t you come speak?” And then he said, “Would you consider riding to the Pan-Mass Challenge from Salt Lake?” And I found my mouth saying, “Yes. In fact, why don’t I just do it from San Francisco?” So I am leaving next Friday from San Francisco and I will meet you on August 5th in Sturbridge.

    Billy persuaded me to do that but there is something else that I decided to do myself. Billy sent me videotapes about you and about the history of the Pan-Mass Challenge. Given that he had set a fairly rigorous challenge for me, I decided to return the challenge to Billy. I know that you raised $8.7 million last year, and I’ve made a challenge pledge of a million dollars contingent upon you folks raising $11 million this year.

    I flew in last night and I met Billy this morning for the first time. We went to Dana-Farber and I was, as he says, “love-bombed.” I’d like to comment philosophically for a moment on this concept. A friend of mine recently – actually, the same fellow, Dave Luban, whom I mentioned, who suggested bicycling in the first place, which I have to thank him for – he invited me to his daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. He is a philosopher and he explained to me that – in Hebrew, in the Judaic tradition – “mitzvah” is both the word for commandment, as in the ten big ones, and the word for a good deed. I’m very interested still in philosophy and philology and how concepts get buried in language. The concept of an obligatory good deed is such an appealing concept. In English we don’t have that concept exactly. In English the nature of a good deed is something that is supererogatory, it’s not something that you have to do. But in this case, I feel having been exposed to the Pan-Mass Challenge and Dana-Farber, I can’t imagine not doing any of these things, not doing this ride or not making this challenge grant.

    In closing, we all rest in the shade of trees we didn’t plant. Andy did. I know I live everyday in the shade of a tree I did not plant. They were planted by you and people like you. On behalf of all of us who rest in such shade, thank you very much.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Southern Trumpette says:

      Fascinating story, Dell Mar. I hadn’t heard of Byrne until this week and haven’t known what to make of the story he is reporting. It’s good to learn something of the man’s background. thank you.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Dell Mar– Thank you so much for finding this speech and posting it here. It gives me an entirely different perspective of Patrick Byrne. It served beyond ‘humanizing’ him; it lends insight into what made the man the success he is, and where he drew the strength to do the right thing. I appreciate you taking the time to place this in TCTH’s comment section. It touched me in a most unexpected way; I wasn’t anticipating anything like what I’m now feeling, when I began reading Byrne’s Heavy-Hitter Banquet Speech.

      I’m going to go spend some time with the Lord and thank him for so many things I never even bothered to appreciate, let alone be grateful for; how blessed is my life, regardless of what misapprehensions I’ve been laboring under. I hope everyone who reads Patrick’s story can also appreciate the blessings which they may have taken for granted. I know that I will. What an inspiring way to begin a new day.

      Thank you, again.

      Liked by 2 people

    • sharon goodson says:

      I now feel that I know the man behind the story. I learned so much about Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne through this speech – now I have a very strong respect for him. He really really is the real deal. If you question him based upon the news stories – read this speech and be enlightened. He is the “real deal”. Such courage – such conviction. He makes the rest of us “mortal” weak men in comparison.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Dell Mar says:

    Sorry that’s long. Maybe Sundance could put up Pats speech as separate post.

    Worked in a Rabbit Hole with him in 05 to 08, Patrick is a true American hero.

    Liked by 4 people

    • That speech that you posted is worth a hundred comments by random posters. It was one of the most meaningful things I’ve read, anywhere; let alone in the comment section of TCTH. It was space well used, but I agree; Byrne’s speech deserves its own separate post. Thank you, again, for making our lives better by posting it here.

      Liked by 2 people

  23. Willy Nilly says:

    Sounds too much like recycled public information. How would Byrne know about the FBI higher-ups? Not like Strzok would tell him. I’m thinking Byrne has just invented his own 15 minutes of fame. I’m not biting.


    • MDNA I says:

      You obviously haven’t read a single sentence of the reporting or analysis on this. He never claims Strozk told him anything

      Liked by 2 people

      • Well, I think, “we do have questions …” He tells a compelling story, but there are still things that I think should be carefully and further examined. We have to be very mindful of misinformation. (And, that he genuinely might not know that it is “misinformation.”)

        For instance, I seriously doubt that surveillance was meaningfully applied against anyone else other than “You Know Who.” There’s exactly one person that these people felt that they had any reason to fear. Obama had little incentive to pry into someone who was routinely standing in the same room with him, nor anyone who was not [so they thought …] “pre-ordained to win.” But here we see this very idea, “just … slipped in.”


  24. tav144 says:

    I want to know why the $40 million we paid a special counsel to investigate this stuff didn’t report on this.


  25. Ray says:

    I would like to point out that plenty of people who were really guilty of nothing but having some association with POTUS Like Flynn are already in court or like Papadopoulous actually served time in jail.
    McCabe and Comey for instance are doing book tours and become tv stars. McCabe Comey and Strozk have publically available information that shows they broke the law. Fired? Anyone else should be so lucky.


  26. Wolfman Jack says:

    XYZ are Comey, Brennan, and Clapper.


  27. Tom says:

    Byrne is a liar – trying to divert attention away from the upper echelons of the Obama administration, which is where the criminal probes are focused now.


  28. I guess I have serious problems with the notion of “a FISA surveillance virus.” Does the mere fact that you’re in the same elevator with a Russian national, and that you say “Hello,” automatically mean that your friend’s friend’s friend’s friends can be spied upon by the Government? Apparently so. But, if so, I’m looking at a bunch of laws that need to be re-written! The possibility of abuse – and the simple fact that it has happened – is inexcusable to me. It should not be “that easy.”

    Looking forward to what Mr. Horowitz has to say about these matters … I think he has a lot to write about.


  29. Mr bandwagon says:

    Why does he have a security clearance, I don’t have one, do you guys have one, oh maybe you need one to sell crappy furniture 😙


    • “Security clearances” don’t mean much these days. The Government hands them out like water-bottles. In fact, they’ve outsourced the process of granting them to line employees.

      FYI: the book Senseless Secrets is a delightful but thoroughly-alarming exposé …


  30. Mr bandwagon says:

    Still, there’s the rub ,without that low level security clearance this would never have taken off. He would still been happily banging the sparrow


  31. Mr bandwagon says:

    Warren buffet lol and the Oscar for best screen play goes to……


  32. Laramie Evan says:

    What a sordid mess this all is. James Comey is an utter fraud. In the words of the immortal Desi Arnaz (Lucille Ball show): “Lucy, I think you got some splaining to do!”


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