The internet was abuzz on Thanksgiving Eve with a report by the New York Times, Review is Expected to Undercut Trump Claim of FBI Spying. Here is the lede:
The F.B.I. never tried to place undercover agents or informants inside the Trump campaign, a highly anticipated inspector general’s report is expected to find.
Apparently, someone never informed the New York Times editors that they were reporting on a review of an FBI application, which was granted by a court, to SPY on at least one person affiliated with the Trump campaign. Ignore that piece of journalistic incompetence. In the same article, buried in the 14th paragraph is this inconvenient fact (the NY Times editor must have been stoned):
The F.B.I. did have an undercover agent who posed as Mr. Halper’s assistant during a London meeting with Mr. Papadopoulos in August 2016. And indeed, another Trump adviser, Peter Navarro, reportedly pushed Mr. Halper for an ambassadorship in the Trump administration.
The New York Times is simply doing preemptive spinning about the Horowitz Report without actually knowing what the conclusions are. It would not surprise me to learn that known FBI informants were not spying on the Trump campaign at the direction of the FBI. Nope. It is highly likely that paid FBI informants were spying on the Trump campaign under the auspices of the CIA. Since Inspector General Horowitz has no purview or authority to investigate the CIA, he will (and has) punt that issue to Prosecutor John Durham. Therefore, a conclusion that the FBI was not dispatching known FBI confidential human sources to spy on the Tump campaign is not proof that no spying occurred. As they say in Paris, au contraire.
Let us start with facts. There were at least three DOCUMENTED FBI Confidential Human Sources aka spies targeting the Trump campaign:
- Felix Sater
- Gennady Vasilievich Vostretsov aka Henry Oknyansky aka Henry Greenberg
- Christopher Steele
Felix Sater was an FBI informant since 1998. He was originally signed on as a “cooperator” in December 1998 by Robert Mueller’s number two guy, Andrew Weissman. Felix Sater was a “lure” or “bait” who, starting in September 2015, tried to tempt Trump and his team, Michael Cohen in particular, to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Sater’s efforts to entrap the Trump campaign started months before the FBI reportedly initiated Operation Crossfire Hurricane in July 2016.
Sater’s work as an FBI paid informant was confirmed again in August (2019) by Judge Glasser in New York. According to the Wall Street Journal:
Felix Sater, a former business associate of President Trump, began working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1998, after he was caught in a stock-fraud scheme. As he pleaded guilty, Mr. Sater turned on his co-conspirators, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn wrote in an Aug. 27, 2009, letter, unsealed Friday, to U.S. District Judge I. Leo Glasser, who was overseeing the case. He had gone on to assist various agencies in different areas of law enforcement for years, they wrote.
The “Sater went above and beyond what is expected of most cooperators and placed himself in great jeopardy in doing so,” the prosecutors wrote in pushing for him to get a lighter sentence. On the strength of his continuing cooperation, they had put off his sentencing for more than a decade, an unusually long period for such arrangements.
So, if the FBI was not “paying” Sater to spy on Trump, who was?
Then we have the activities of paid FBI Informant Gennady Vasilievich Vostretsov aka Henry Oknyansky (who also went by the name Henry Greenberg). He approached two people affiliated with the Trump campaign–Michael Caputo and Roger Stone–in May of 2016 (three months before the start of Operation Crossfire Hurricane) claiming to have information Russian dirt on Hillary Clinton. Caputo and Stone rejected the proffer.
So, if the FBI was not “paying” Oknyansky/Greenberg to spy on Trump, who was?
And then there is Christopher Steele. He was a paid FBI Confidential Human Source until he was terminated, reportedly by leaking to the press, on November 1, 2016. He was not “spying” on Trump. That is true. He was simply the major propaganda vehicle pushing the lie that Trump was colluding with the Russians.
At least with Steele, we know that the FBI was paying him (you can see the FBI documentation of Steele as an informant here) and he was getting paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign via a lawyer/Fusion GPS cut out.
So, if Horowitz’s conclusion is that the “FBI was not paying informants to spy on the Trump campaign” this does not mean that no spying took place. Why? Because the CIA was doing it?
My previous piece on the secret CIA Task Force set up by John Brennan was mistaken in citing “early 2016” as the date it was started. I have now learned that Brennan’s Task Force began in the late summer/early fall of 2015. It is worth noting that the Washington Post, not exactly a pro-Trump outlet, also reported that Brennan set up a secret task force comprised of CIA, FBI and NSA personnel. The Post simply failed to provide a date when the Task Force started operating:
John Brennan convened a secret task force at CIA headquarters composed of several dozen analysts and officers from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI.
The unit functioned as a sealed compartment, its work hidden from the rest of the intelligence community. Those brought in signed new non-disclosure agreements to be granted access to intelligence from all three participating agencies.
We know of two other “spies” that were targeting the Trump campaign as well–Stefan Halper and Joseph Mifsud. Neither were on the payroll of the FBI. Halper’s money was coming via a DOD contract and we do not yet know who was bankrolling Mifsud. If it was not the CIA then it was a foreign agent other than Russia.
Here’s the bottomline–the spying against the Trump campaign goes way beyond the boundaries of Inspector General Horowitz’s authority and ability to investigate. That is being done by John Durham, the special prosecutor designated by Attorney General William Barr. And Durham is conducting an extensive investigation of the spying. The Horowitz report is just the beginning of the unraveling of the plot to destroy Donald Trump.
Originally published on Sic Semper Tyrannis. Republished by permission.