John Solomon of The Hill recently reported that Department of Justice Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz has concluded his year-and-a-half-long investigation into serious questions related to surveillance warrants granted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) in 2016.
Solomon told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Aug. 22 that: “What I can report tonight, Sean, is that the IG has completed his work on the FISA abuse report. It’s expected to be transmitted as early as next week to Attorney General William Barr and that will begin a process of declassification.”
“I think we are still on track for that timeline, I’ve been saying on your show: mid-September to early October seems the most likely release point,” Solomon said. “It’s going to be a tough report.”
This report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has been delayed several times already, so its understandable if people are skeptical of any timeframe.
When that report is finally made public, I’ll be making a beeline for the sections that deal with three specific people:
- Former FBI Agent Peter Strzok
- Current FBI Special Agent Joseph Pientka
- Western intelligence asset professor Joseph Mifsud
It’s important to remember that both Strzok and Pientka are sitting in the middle of multiple key areas in the massive Spygate scandal.
Not only was Strzok involved with the Flynn case from the start, he also played key roles in both the Clinton email and Trump-Russia investigations.
While Pientka appears to have been along for the ride with the Flynn interview in the White House, he also played a key role in the establishment of the secret backchannel between the FBI and Fusion GPS. Bruce Ohr, who was either the third-ranking or fourth-ranking official at the Justice Department (DOJ)—depending on who you ask—met regularly with former UK intelligence official Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS. Following those meetings, Ohr would share everything he’d learned with Pientka, who would write down the information in official FBI FD-302 interview forms.
The creation of this secret backchannel demonstrates that people at the FBI and the DOJ were trying to hide the true origins of the Trump-Russia allegations they were using to drive their investigations of Trump and his associates.
Because Horowitz didn’t deliver bombshells expected in his earlier reports, some are assuming this next report will also be a dud.
Those who make that assumption are wrong.
What Is This FISA Abuse Report Anyway?
I expect this next Inspector General report to lay out in great detail a sordid story, of how top officials inside the DOJ betrayed their oaths and their country because they believed the wrong person won the 2016 election, and therefore, the subversion of any rule or law was warranted in an effort to end what they viewed as a national emergency.
Horowitz and his investigators will extensively document exactly how top officials inside the DOJ and FBI took fake Trump-Russia allegations from the political operatives of Fusion GPS, who were working for the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, and used those allegations to get surveillance warrants to spy on the Trump campaign.
That spying continued during both the transition phase following the election and into the Trump presidency itself.
In order to get the FISC to approve the surveillance of the Trump campaign, these federal officials committed deliberate acts of perjury. They hid from the FISC the actual origins of these allegations in their warrant applications.
Another dishonest act by these federal officials was not making any discernible effort to verify the Trump-Russia claims they were being handed by Fusion GPS before using them in their investigations.
As I’ve discussed in previous columns, the Spygate plotters engaged in an elaborate charade in an attempt to launder where they were getting their fake evidence, so they could pretend to the FISC judges that it was handed to them by legitimate intelligence sources.
Part of the perjury involved pumping up the credentials of the former British intelligence official who compiled the anti-Trump dossier as part of his contract work with Fusion GPS. Because there was simply no way to actually verify any of the allegations, it was important that the FISC judges accept all this supposed “evidence,” purely on the strength of the author’s reputation alone.
Steele comes across as some kind of intrepid James Bond-like spy in the way he’s described by the officials and media people involved in portraying his dossier as a highly credible intelligence product.
But the truth is far different.
Scrutiny and investigation of his work have demonstrated that much of Steele’s dossier is unprovable and beyond verification, and also revealed the shoddy and slipshod manner in which he compiled it.
As I have discussed in previous columns, Steele’s investigative work on his dossier was so incompetent that he was sued for claiming that Russian entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev was involved in the hacking of the DNC emails. Steele’s ‘evidence’ for including that claim in his dossier was–and I’m not making this up, I swear–an anonymous blog post from the now-defunct CNN website “iReports.”
How crazy did things get in the run-up to the 2016 election and then afterward, when Trump won, with FBI officials seeking dirt on the Trump campaign from paid political operatives who they must have known were in the employ of Clinton’s campaign?
Not only were federal officials, who should know better, soliciting and accepting politically tainted fake evidence from political operatives to use as pretexts for launching investigations, they also appear to have been undermining the laws and protocols that are supposed to prevent intelligence surveillance abuses.
There is a very high standard of evidence that must be met to get approval from the FISC to engage in legal surveillance of a U.S. citizen, and it’s become clear that little, if any effort at all, was expended to verify any of this information before it was used in the warrant application against former Trump campaign associate Carter Page.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) has seen the full Page FISA warrant and has claimed for more than two years that it contains many of the now-debunked and unverified Steele dossier allegations. It’s abundantly clear at this point that the Steele dossier allegations against people such as Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Page, and Michael Cohen are fake, so how did they end up being used in investigations and FISA warrants?
There are safeguards and barriers and laws that are supposed to prevent exactly what happened here.
The only way that could have occurred is if the system of safeguards was deliberately subverted. One person couldn’t have pulled this off; this had to have been a group effort. It couldn’t have been a group of low-level staffers, either. I believe this goes straight to the top of the DOJ and the FBI under former President Barack Obama.
This is why I expect Horowitz’s next report to hit Washington with a powerful impact.
Brian Cates is a writer based in South Texas and author of “Nobody Asked For My Opinion … But Here It Is Anyway!” He can be reached on Twitter @drawandstrike.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.