Good commentary on just-released DOJ IG findings on how FBI let Clinton walk, then tried to dump Trump. A middle-schooler can see through the obscurant prose trying to hide the obvious.  Now documented: deliberate defiance of congressional “overseers” — by chopping texts in half to hide incriminating evidence. Will Congress cave or are we in for a Constitutional showdown?

 

DOJ IG, Horowitz, Fails to Admit What He Proves by Publius Tacitus
By Publius Tacitus
15 June 2018

(from Col. Pat Lang’s “Sic Semper Tyrannus” blog, including a few insightful comments — with due thanks to Col. Lang)

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/06/doj-ig-horowitz-fails-to-admit-what-he-proves.html#more

Tacitus’s text follows:
The final product of the Department of Justice Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, is a study in schizophrenia. On the one hand Horowitz reports that there was no EVIDENCE that political bias directly affected the investigation:
There were clearly tensions and disagreements in a number of important areas between Midyear agents and prosecutors. However, we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative decisions we reviewed in Chapter Five, or that the justifications offered for these decisions were pretextual.
 
Nonetheless, these messages cast a cloud over the FBI’s handling of the Midyear investigation and the investigation’s credibility. But our review did not find evidence to connect the political views expressed in these messages to the specific investigative decisions that we reviewed; rather, consistent with the analytic approach described above, we found that these specific decisions were the result of discretionary judgments made during the course of an investigation by the Midyear agents and prosecutors and that these judgment calls were not unreasonable. (see p. iii)
But then there is the multiple examples of bias exhibited by key FBI investigators throughout the report. The anti-Trump prejudice exhibited by Peter Strzok is undeniable:
. . . we were concerned about text messages exchanged by FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, Special Counsel to the Deputy Director, that potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations. As we describe in Chapter Twelve of our report, most of the text messages raising such questions pertained to the Russia investigation, which was not a part of this review. Nonetheless, the suggestion in certain Russia- related text messages in August 2016 that Strzok might be willing to take official action to impact presidential candidate Trump’s electoral prospects caused us to question the earlier Midyear investigative decisions in which Strzok was involved, and whether he took specific actions in the Midyear investigation based on his political views. As we describe Chapter Five of our report, we found that Strzok was not the sole decisionmaker for any of the specific Midyear investigative decisions we examined in that chapter.
IG Horowitz is adopting a very narrow legal interpretation while opting to give DOJ and FBI officials the benefit of the doubt. In other words, unless he was presented with “documents” or “testimony” that political bias was influencing decisions, Horowitz decided to assume that everyone was acting in good faith. I suspect this was introduced into his draft by DOJ and FBI reviewers who were alarmed at the obvious conclusion an objective reader would reach if they only read the facts-the DOJ and FBI were crooked.
Despite the efforts to soften the blow on the FBI and DOJ, Horowitz still manages to stick the knife in deep. His account of the debacle surrounding the discovery of classified Hillary emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop illustrates this point:
 
As we describe in Chapter Nine of our report, the explanations we were given for the FBI’s failure to take immediate action on the Weiner laptop fell into four general categories:
•    The FBI Midyear team was waiting for additional information about the contents of the laptop from NYO, which was not provided until late October;
•    The FBI Midyear team could not review the emails without additional legal authority, such as consent or a new search warrant;
•    The FBI Midyear team and senior FBI officials did not believe that the information on the laptop was likely to be significant; and
Key members of the FBI Midyear team had been reassigned to the investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. election, which was a higher priority.
 
We found these explanations to be unpersuasive justifications for not acting sooner, given the FBI leadership’s conclusion about the importance of the information and that the FBI Midyear team had sufficient information to take action in early October and knew at that time that it would need a new search warrant to review any Clinton-Abedin emails. Moreover, given the FBI’s extensive resources, the fact that Strzok and several other FBI members of the Midyear team had been assigned to the Russia investigation, which was extremely active during this September and October time period, was not an excuse for failing to take any action during this time period on the Weiner laptop. (see p. vi of the IG Report)
I will put it in plain, crude English–Horowitz thought the FBI excuses were bullshit. But he could only deduce that they were lying. He did not get a document showing Comey directing Strzok to stall the investigation. Yet, stall is what the Comey FBI did.
There is more evidence of the FBI’s extreme prejudice against Trump and in favor of Hillary. Again, Horowitz only mentions this in passing, put does concede that the behavior and actions are bizarre, but this is hidden in footnote 181 (which is found on page 328):
 
We were surprised to learn that FBI leadership decided to assign many of the key members of the Midyear team, immediately after determining that no charges should be brought against then candidate Clinton, to the Russia investigation, which touched upon the campaign of then candidate Trump. This is particularly so given the questions being raised by candidate Trump and his supporters regarding the declination decision in the Midyear investigation. While we recognize that staffing decisions are for management to make, we question the judgment of assigning agents who had just determined that one candidate running in an election should not be prosecuted to an investigation that relates to the campaign of the other candidate in the election. The appearance problems created by such a staffing decision were exacerbated here due to the text messages expressing political opinions that we discuss later in this report.
When I worked with the CIA we used to call this No Shit Analysis. Thank you Captain Obvious. Why in the world would you assign the same people who were working on the Hillary Clinton investigation on the Trump/Russia Collusion investigation when both cases were still active?
This is more than a problem of appearance. This is circumstantial evidence of an attempted political coup. I give Horowitz credit for at least putting this fact on the record. But his refusal to call this out for what it is can be attributed to his caution of not appearing to be partisan. He is striving mightily to be a straight shooter.
Horowitz does miss the boat on the question of Hillary’s actual guilt/criminality for putting classified material on her private server. The IG repeats the nonsense from Comey, who recommended to Attorney General Lynch that:
. . .the Department decline prosecution of Clinton, and asserted that “no reasonable prosecutor” would prosecute Clinton based on the facts developed by the FBI during its investigation.
Comey and his band of incompetents insisted, apparently, that they found no evidence of intent by Hillary Clinton to misuse classified material. That is total horseshit. The evidence is indisputable by the very fact that classified material was on  an unclassified server. How is that so?
There are two types of classified computer systems throughout the U.S. Government. One handles material classified as CONFIDENTIAL and SECRET (the military calls this the SIPRNET). The other handles TOP SECRET material (it is called SOIS in the military network). You cannot send TOP SECRET material to a computer that is cleared only for SECRET. The only way to move TOP SECRET or SECRET material to an unclassified computer requires that you print off a hard copy and scan it or that you download it on a thumb drive (or other media) and then physically copy it to the UNCLASSIFIED server. This is not something that happens by mistake or is inadvertent.
Helen Keller could see this simple fact. Hillary Clinton most certainly showed intent to put classified material on an unclass system. The central question is who did this and why? Unfortunately, Horowitz does not address this point. It remains unanswered.
I think it is important to emphasize that the FBI did confirm that Hillary’s unclassified server did store classified material and that it was comprised (see p. 144):
INSD assessed the FBI Midyear Exam investigation successfully determined classified information was improperly stored and transmitted on Clinton’s email server, and classified information was compromised by unauthorized individuals, to include foreign government’s or intelligence services, via cyber intrusion or other means [referring to compromises of email accounts associated with certain individuals who communicated with Clinton’s server, such as Blumenthal].
Horowitz will appear before Congressional committees next week to testify about this report. He is certain to face tough, pointed questions. I anticipate that there will be more clarity on why he pulled some punches in the written document. What is beyond dispute is that former FBI Director Comey has been completely discredited.
================

COMMENTS (A few of the early ones; worth reading)

Fred • 14 hours ago
Publius,

you quoted the report: “…we found that these specific decisions were the result of discretionary judgments…” which reinforces a point that needs to be made. As you state: “Horowitz decided to assume that everyone was acting in good faith.” I agree with the IG, they were acting in good faith. Let me explain.
If you get back to Chapter 10, section E, pg 323 you’ll find Comey quoted:
”But you know if anything, I suppose like if it’s unconscious, I may have been consoled that it wasn’t going to make any difference anyway.” That line is right after “Comey told us that “like the rest of the world [he] assumed that Hillary Clinton was going to be elected president.””
As many on the left know, especially those faithful to the lastest and greatest from Harvard – “unconcious bias” theory; having “unconcious bias” is very bad and you need to own up to it. Which Comey does here.
But these FBI agents did not have “unconcious bias” that made them sit on info Comey says he should have had weeks earlier. They had and were faithful to “concious bias” of hating Trump and working to keep him from being elected. They, and Comey, just assumed she was far enough ahead in the polls that she would win anyway. And help cover up what they did once she won. So they were acting in good faith – to one another – in rigging an election.
++++++++++++
DianaLC • 2 hours ago
Thanks, PT.
I am, however, not looking forward to the Congressional questioning. It will be just another political game to watch.
Hillary will never face justice. Will the popular kids in the FBI get what they deserve? While I am sure the training Ray has ordered for them will annoy them, as such HR style training programs often do, will it change their ways? [Oh, and guess who is now working in the FBI’s HR department?]
(Emphasis added)
++++++++++++
Sid Finster • 17 hours ago
FWIW, I can confirm Publius’ central point regarding “intent”.
After Comey exonerated HRC, I asked a veteran prosecutor that I know whether Comey was correct in stating that HRC would not be prosecuted because she lacked intent to violate the law. (In legal terms, this is called “specific intent”.)
My prosecutor acquaintance, a member of Team D, confirmed somewhat sheepishly that specific intent is not an element of a criminal prosecution. All that the prosecutor need to prove his case is to show that the defendant intended to do the act complained of, not that the defendant intended to violate the law.
In other words “I just shot the bastard six times. Him dying was between him and God.” is not a defense.
The Report was the equivalent of Comey’s exoneration of HRC over servergate. Just enough finger wagging to look like Something Serious Is Happening Here, but no consequences, even though it was abundantly obvious that laws were broken.
++++++++++++++
Eric Newhill • 18 hours ago
My understanding is that the fact of Clinton’s classified emails on Weiner’s laptop was not just merely stalled by FBI machinations, but that the FBI would have actually totally hidden it if a NY district AG hadn’t started calling the FBI/DOJ asking why they weren’t moving on it. I presume that, at that point, Comey had to announce a re-opening of the investigation because he didn’t want to get caught, by a NY whistleblower, effecting a cover-up on Clinton’s behalf.
If that is correct, it takes the wind out of the Democrat retort that Comey couldn’t have been involved in a coup conspiracy because his re-opening of the case two weeks prior to the election had a negative impact on Clinton. He didn’t want to re-open. He was forced to by the NY investigation.

Going Underground’s Afshin Rattansi questions Ray for 11 minutes on CIA black sites and torture generally.  “In fairness to Gina Haspel,” you will not hear a word of this in “mainstream media” on the west side of the Atlantic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3AAe8LSOJM
June 11, 2018.  Ray’s segment goes from minute 3:47 to 14:40.
 
At the end, Ray speaks to what animates him: “If you can’t take a stand against torture ….”  The introduction, beginning at minute 1:00, describing the draconian measures favored by UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid, is also worth watching.

Skewed and Screwed: NY Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker has a record of skewing facts and screwing readers. He was on the Wash Post/NYT “team” that took steno from Dick Cheney and promoted war on Iraq — the most unconscionable media performance in recent memory.  Handsomely rewarded for his role, he is doing it again.

Several key assertions by Baker in his NY Times piece today are false or highly misleading.  They are highlighted in bold below.  It would be easy, but time-consuming to skewer every skew.  Readers interested in Ray’s views can simply use the SEARCH window on raymcgovern.com, or contact Ray directly.

Below is the text of Baker’s latest, with his skewing in bold (starting several paragraphs down):

Trump Shakes Up World Stage in Break With U.S. Allies

By Peter Baker, June 8, 2018

WASHINGTON — Rarely has President Trump’s role as a disrupter on the world stage been starker. At a moment of tumult over trade and nuclear security, he is shaking up the international order to make friends with America’s enemies and enemies out of America’s friends.

A businessman and entertainer with no diplomatic experience, Mr. Trump arrived at the White House nearly 17 months ago convinced that the economic and geopolitical alignments that have governed the world for seven decades were out of whack and biased against the United States.
But after a year of being restrained to some extent by advisers who championed that global order, Mr. Trump has replaced much of his national security team with more like-minded aides and is finally acting on his “America First” impulses in ways that are sending shock waves across Europe, Asia and North America.
At the annual meeting on Friday of seven major economies known as the Group of 7, Mr. Trump was the odd man out as he quarreled with Europeans and Canadians over trade and pushed for the reinstatement of Russia four years after it was cast out. Seemingly reluctant to spend more time with longtime allies than necessary, he planned to leave early on Saturday to meet instead with a longtime adversary, North Korea.
“There’s no question it’s a big moment,” said Julianne Smith, once a national security aide to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and now a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “All the fundamentals are being called into question. We’re at a point where we have a U.S. president who doesn’t value the rules-based international order, and I’m not convinced he even knows what it is.”
Wary leaders of European and Asian allies have spent much of the past year trying to assuage him through flattery, concessions and friendly persuasion, only to find their efforts collapse in recent weeks in a storm of tariffs and a broken nuclear agreement with Iran. Even the leader of the engagement strategy, President Emmanuel Macron of France, seems to have given up, publicly expressing deep frustration with Mr. Trump and warning that the United States will isolate itself.
In the 24 hours before heading to Quebec, Mr. Trump attacked Canada on Twitter six times for “unfair” trade practices and threw in a few jabs at France and the European Union for good measure. While in Canada, he did not hold a separate meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain and showed up so late that a session with Mr. Macron had to be rescheduled.
At the same time, the American president has in the past few weeks praised Kim Jong-un, the repressive leader of North Korea who has ordered his own relatives killed, as “very honorable.” And this week, Mr. Trump even hailed Iran’s theocratic rulers as a “much, much different group of leaders” who have pulled back from malign activities in the Middle East since he ripped up a nuclear agreement with them, a conclusion few others share.
With no country has Mr. Trump’s attitude been more opposite from the rest of American foreign policymakers than Russia. Speaking with reporters on Friday before leaving the White House for the Group of 7 meeting in Canada, the president proposed readmitting Russia. “They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table,” he said.
 
Russia joined the group in the 1990s after emerging from the wreckage of the Soviet Union, making it the Group of 8, but its armed intervention in its neighbor Ukraine in 2014 and its seizure of Crimea angered other major powers. The remaining members, led by President Barack Obama, expelled Russia in a sign of global resolve not to let international borders be redrawn by force.
 
Mr. Trump offered no specific reasoning for why Russia should be let back in even though it retains control of Crimea and has not lived up to an international agreement to end its intervention in eastern Ukraine.
Indeed, Mrs. May, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and other leaders of the Group of 7 quickly rejected Mr. Trump’s suggestion, although he won support from Italy, which has traditionally had a closer relationship with Mr. Putin.
In Washington, lawmakers of both parties were either aghast or chose to ignore Mr. Trump’s suggestion on the assumption that it was yet another offhand remark just to stir the pot, not a serious initiative.
 
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic minority leader, said Mr. Trump demonstrated that he was unable “to distinguish between our allies and adversaries.” Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona and the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said Mr. Putin had made Russia “unworthy of membership in the G-8 by invading Ukraine and annexing Crimea.”
 
“This is weak,” added Senator Ben Sasse, Republican of Nebraska. “Putin is not our friend and he is not the president’s buddy. He is a thug using Soviet-style aggression to wage a shadow war against America, and our leaders should act like it.”
But some experts said that the critics were overreacting and that the Europeans should stop “acting petulant,” as James Jay Carafano, a scholar at the Heritage Foundation, put it. “For all the sturm and drang, nothing has changed in the fundamentals of the trans-Atlantic community,” he said. “NATO is a necessity, not a nice to have. The trading and economic partnership between the U.S., Canada and Europe is reality that doesn’t change with presidents.”
 
Mr. Trump’s advocacy for Russian membership in the Group of 7 was in keeping with his against-the-grain attitude toward Moscow. He has repeatedly spoken in flattering terms about Mr. Putin and pushed for closer ties.
 
During a telephone call after Mr. Putin’s re-election, widely deemed a sham by the rest of the world, Mr. Trump congratulated him on his victory even though his staff had written “DO NOT CONGRATULATE” on a briefing document. He also suggested Mr. Putin visit him at the White House, to the chagrin of policymakers who have been trying to isolate Russia.
At the same time, in recent months, Mr. Trump has allowed other members of his administration to voice sharp criticism of Russia. He authorized sanctions in response to cyberattacks and its intervention in the 2016 presidential election, although only after Congress forced his hand by voting nearly unanimously to pass new penalties on Moscow over his objections.
Mr. Trump went along with allies and ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats and the closing of its consulate in Seattle after the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. But he privately complained that he was being pushed to do more than he wanted.
 
When Nikki R. Haley, his ambassador to the United Nations, announced that new sanctions would be imposed on Russia for supporting Syria’s use of chemical weapons against its own people, Mr. Trump publicly contradicted her and refused to authorize the move.
In speaking with reporters on Friday, Mr. Trump insisted that he has been tough on Moscow, even more than Hillary Clinton would have been had she won the 2016 election. “I have been Russia’s worst nightmare,” he said. “If Hillary got in — I think Putin is probably going, man, I wish Hillary won.”
 
Even the Russians, however, did not think Mr. Trump’s latest suggestion was serious.
“The president’s nature is so mercurial that it would be wrong for Russia to become an instrument in Trump’s unpredictable statements,” said Dmitri Trenin, the director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, a research institution.
“The G-8 belongs to a certain era, and that era is over,” he added. “That project has failed. The integration of Russia into the Western system is over.”

Andrew Higgins contributed reporting from Moscow, and Emily Baumgaertner from Washington.

Veteran CIA Analyst Censored, Manhandled

By Dave Gahary, June 7, 2018
http://americanfreepress.net/veteran-cia-analyst-censored-manhandled/

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern was thrown out of a Senate confirmation hearing for CIA director Gina Haspel for politely asking for an honest answer to whether Ms. Haspel was on site to supervise the waterboarding of captive al Nashiri at a CIA secret prison in Thailand.

Al Nashiri, now in Guantanamo, has accused his interrogators of “hanging him upside down for almost a month; subjecting him to waterboarding; making him stand in a box for a week; slamming him into a wall; and keeping him in positions of stress.”  A U.S. Navy Reserve doctor who interviewed al-Nashiri described him as “one of the most severely traumatized individuals I have ever seen.”

Did DID [CIA’s Digital Innovation Directorate) Do the ‘Russian Hacking’?  Circumstantial evidence points in that direction, as Ray explains in this 16-minute video.

https://youtu.be/q75RKjfJ18M

The bus ride to NYC from Washington on June 1 was unusually long, so Ray was a bit weary and bedraggled arriving at John Jay University for the Left Forum.  But Wilton Vought, the real-pro videographer who runs Other Voices, Other Choices, had just finished setting up for the forum and asked to interview Ray.

Even were Ray to have been in top shape, 16 minutes do not suffice.  It is not that the material is so complicated; it just requires two things: (1) more than 16 minutes (ideally including Q & A) and (2) listeners/readers willing to make the effort to understand seemingly intimidating technical issues.  Even Ray has been able to grasp the relevance of the basic principle of physics called fluid dynamics, which explains, as conclusively as physics can, why the download/copy at the DNC on July 5, 2016 could not have been a hack — by the Russians or by anyone else.

Those with lingering questions can find answers in the three links below.  Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), especially members with decades of experience at NSA, have been glued to this issue like chewing gum — with no axes to grind.

Ray welcomed the chance to address these key issues before the forum even started.  Besides, Ray likes New York in June; how about you?

Links:

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/07/24/intel-vets-challenge-russia-hack-evidence/

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/09/20/more-holes-in-russia-gate-narrative/

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/01/20/obama-admits-gap-in-russian-hack-case/

Ray was interviewed on the recent European Court of Human Rights ruling against Lithuania and Romania for letting the CIA establish secret prisons for torture. Two of those tortured — Abu Zubaydah and al-Nashiri — were waterboarded at the Gina Haspel-supervised “black site” in Thailand. She was on site to oversee the waterboarding of al-Nashiri, but was allowed to obfuscate that before the Senate confirmed her as CIA Director.

Al-Nashiri had accused his interrogators of “hanging him upside down for almost a month; subjecting him to waterboarding; making him stand in a box for a week; slamming him into a wall; and keeping him in positions of stress.”  A U.S. Navy Reserve doctor who interviewed al-Nashiri described him as “one of the most severely traumatized individuals I have ever seen.”

Is it not time for those of us who are white to be honest and take a stand against torture?  The worst they can do to you, if you’re white, is beat you up, arrest you, and put you in jail in shackles; and then you get out.  I do not ask my African American or Latino brothers/sisters to perform that kind of witness, since they are often shot or tased (and many already summon the courage to protest despite the danger).

For morally conscious, honest folks with a stomach to ponder our own complicity in letting our country stoop this low, maybe — just maybe — skimming through the articles linked immediately below will move us to action.
As for the European Court, surely it meant well, but is it not beyond bizarre that it awarded $117,000 each to Abu Zubaydah and al-Nashiri?  Will they be tempted to squander it at a Guantanamo PX?
Here’s a suggestion: Find some way to garnish the money from Gina Haspel’s earnings over the next few years; she might not even notice it missing from the $200,000 salary she draws from our tax dollars.

On a more serious note, let’s ponder this truth from Rabbi Abraham Heschel:

When injustice takes place, “few are guilty, but all are responsible.  Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself.”

…and, sometimes, you do have to put your body into it.

With Bolton’s old “enforcer” Fred Fleitz as NSC Chief of Staff, odds increase on war with Iran. They can now elbow out any honest intelligence on Iran and goad the President into a world-class catastrophe. This time the result would be much worse — geometrically worse.

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/04/12/how-an-iran-war-was-averted/
By Ray McGovern, April 12, 2012 (from the archive, with comment below)
 
This COULD BE “deja vu all over again.” In the article linked above, Ray gives chapter and verse on Fleitz and Bolton, who are now in position to funnel their own (and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s) skewed “intelligence” to the President, and to thwart any honest intelligence estimate on Iran — as they did before the attack on Iraq. Still, there some reason to believe that Trump will fire Bolton.
 
What COULD BE be shaping up, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Pyongyang today, is a deal whereby China and/or Russia will offer North Korea the kind of security guarantees that Libyan leader Mummar Gaddafi lacked when he got rid of his fledgling nuclear capability. In that case, Kim Jong-un might agree to step-by-step denuclearization, and Trump might choose to fire Bolton rather allow him to try to sabotage any forward progress on Korea (Nobel Prize anyone?).

Ray debates former CIA ops officer Gene Coyle on TRT TV’s Nexus program. All focus is on CIA operations — far from what Harry Truman intended. Coyle basically uses the Nuremberg defense (and Dick Cheney!) in defending Gina Haspel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5AKp3u6K9o&list=PLUW304lJeu3XQqjLDw4VlUH1jKN4ygkaz
May 24 (26 minutes)

Exactly one month after John Kennedy was assassinated, Truman published an op-ed in the Washington Post titled “Limit CIA Role to Intelligence,” the first sentence of which read, “I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency.”

Truman began his op-ed by underscoring “the original reason why I thought it necessary to organize this Agency … and what I expected it to do.” It would be “charged with the collection of all intelligence reports from every available source, and to have those reports reach me as President without Department ‘treatment’ or interpretations.”  ( See:
https://consortiumnews.com/2013/12/22/trumans-true-warning-on-the-cia/ )