An article today about Carter Page suing the DOJ in an effort to review the inspector general report on the FISA manipulation prior to publication provides an opportunity to review the insignificance of Carter Page. First the Carter Page perspective:
(Via Epoch Times) The former Trump-campaign associate who was wiretapped by the FBI, sued the Department of Justice on Oct. 21, demanding that the government provide him with an opportunity to review, before it is made public, the forthcoming inspector general’s report on potential surveillance abuses in his case. (read more)
What Carter Page apparently doesn’t recognize is his insignificance in the overall DOJ and FBI purpose behind the FISA that carries his name. Page was never exploited by the FISA Title-1 warrant -as granted by the FISA court- for the same reason Page was never investigated by the FBI or Mueller team, he was irrelevant.
Carter Page was a means to an end; the end goal was to get the Steele Dossier into the FBI as an official investigative work product. Perhaps a little review of the three-year research detail will help us better prepare for the IG report.
The “Steele Dossier” was important to the FBI because the content within it is the material they needed to present as justification for an ongoing investigation… that ultimately was handed to Andrew Weissmann and Robert Mueller; and the investigation of the material therein was later authorized by Rod Rosenstein in his August 2017 expanded scope memo.
The dossier is what’s important. Carter Page never was.
Additionally, George Papadopoulos is not mentioned within the Dossier because the CIA operation to enjoin Papadopoulos as a bolster for the Russian collusion-conspiracy came after the script of the dossier was constructed. The CIA operation against Papadopoulos was external to the FBI operation using the Dossier.
Papadopoulos connection only comes as a matter of incidental relationship to the FBI’s FISA application which mentioned both Page and Papadopoulos. In essence the FISA application merged two fundamentally different elements: (1) The Steele Dossier; and (2) The CIA operation against Papadopoulos. However, the merging was only purposeful as to the original goal of getting the Dossier into the FBI as official investigative material.
Most of the material in the dossier came from Fusion-GPS founder Glenn Simpson and his contracted CIA researcher Nellie Ohr. The dossier is essentially a script creating the impression of Russia collusion-conspiracy by associating research and networks around people. The script was evolved to surround presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Nellie Ohr’s contribution was to take Simpson’s historic research claims and modernize them with new research material centered to frame candidate Trump. Nellie Ohr added Carter Page and Donald Trump while doing research on Trump’s family and connections. [*note Nellie Ohr admits this in testimony]
They took the old script (Simpson) and new material to enhance the older script (Ohr), Fusion-GPS and then contracted Christopher Steele to provide the appearance of legitimate western intelligence. Essentially changing political opposition research into intelligence material.
Steele’s contract was to take the Simpson/Ohr dossier, research it, add his own elements based on his experience, and then launder it back to the FBI to give the impression of an official intelligence concern.
Understanding this aspect is critical, because it was always the Dossier that was important. The Dossier frames a narrative that says Russia was interfering in U.S. politics and the named characters within it, Manafort, Flynn, Page and Trump were participants.
The Dossier always held primary importance.
The Dossier underpins the Russian interference narrative and the Trump-Russia collusion narrative. Without the Dossier, the primary material to create the impression of Russia within the 2016 election doesn’t exist.
To give the Dossier Intelligence Community teeth so it can grip the narrative, the dossier was used as FISA evidence. It is my my belief, bolstered by reporting, there were preceding FISA applications containing material from the dossier rejected by the FISA court.
The FBI team and supportive DOJ-NSD officials who were behind the Carter Page FISA application were successful in bringing the dossier to legitimacy. Once that goal was attained, the dossier was then pushed hard into the media bloodstream to bolster the narrative of Russian interference, collusion and conspiracy; which was the purpose of the dossier.
In addition to the Russia-Collusion/Conspiracy within the dossier, CIA Director John Brennan and ODNI James Clapper manufactured supportive material. On December 29th, 2016, the Joint Analysis Report (JAR) on Russia Cyber Activity was pushed. The JAR is essentially a quickly compiled bunch of nonsense about Russian hacking efforts.
The JAR was followed a week later by the January 7th, 2017, Intelligence Community Assessment. The ICA took the ridiculous construct of the JAR and then overlaid a political narrative that Russia was trying to help Donald Trump.
Carter Page was irrelevant. He was a means to an end; nothing more.
In January 2017, using the cover-story and hook of President-elect Trump being briefed on the Dossier, CNN and Buzzfeed published the dossier… Again bolstering the Russia narrative the dossier was established to create.
However, after publication of the dossier, the specific details within it started to collapse. Michael Cohen was never in Prague; Alfabank wasn’t communicating with Trump via Trump Tower servers etc. By late February and early March 2017 in the background of the assault on the presidency, the dossier was weakening. Additionally, there was a real possibility Christopher Steele was going to be questioned about the content, civil lawsuits were filed etc.
If Christopher Steele told the world the provenance of the dossier, the shit would hit the proverbial fan for those who were constructing the Russia Collusion-Conspiracy narrative.
In February/March 2017 if Steele said the dossier was political opposition research from Fusion-GPS, Glenn Simpson and Nellie Ohr, provided to him for validation, things would be very ugly. This risk was made worse by the reality of the dossier’s credibility being enhanced through official use underpinning a FISA application.
Against this backdrop, on March 17th, 2017, the Vice-Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, requested the FISA application from ODNI Dan Coats.
Upon “read and return” delivery, Warner instructed SSCI Security Director James Wolfe to leak the content. Wolfe sent 82 pictures of the 83-page report to his media narrative engineer Ali Watkins, a reporter at Buzzfeed.
After Watkins gained peer accolades for her reporting on the FISA application; and after peers recognized that Watkins had a valuable source (wolfe); the young journalist became a valuable commodity. On May 17th, 2017, Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel. The New York Times hired Ali Watkins.
Without question the most important part of Ms. Watkins resume was her ownership of the FISA application. Also unquestionably, the legal offices of the New York Times would want to tread very carefully; after all, this is a highly classified document leaked illegally and the “leak ramifications” are almost beyond imagining.
The New York Times filed a FOIA request with the DOJ for a copy of the FISA application. On its face this FOIA was/is absurd. Yes, the material within the FISA was a matter of strong public interest, but expecting the DOJ, FBI or U.S. Director of National Intelligence to release one of the most closely guarded national security documents was silly.
A FISA application? C’mon man, this would be the easiest FOIA request for the intelligence apparatus to dismiss in the history of FOIA requests.
So why did the New York Times file such a futile FOIA request? Simple, it was a legal CYA. They already had the FISA application from newly hired Ali Watkins and they were going to exploit all of the content therein within their narrative engineering processes.
Bit by bit, narrative block-by-block, by deploying the familiar “according to officials with understanding of the material” etc., the Times’ reporting would weaken the IC secrecy firewall around the FISA and provide fuel for the ongoing Mueller probe…. and that’s what they did.
Then something odd happened that still sits as one of the biggest mysteries that no-one ever contemplates….
On July 21st, 2018,… on a Saturday… after President Trump spent four days getting hammered for meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki Finland…. the easily dismissed New York Times FOIA request was granted… the Carter Page FISA was released.