Russiagate the Model

May 4, 2021 Updated: May 5, 2021

Commentary

Because former Attorney General William Barr failed to hold anyone accountable for the Democratic Party and FBI’s dirty tricks campaign against Donald Trump, Russiagate lives on. Indeed, recent news reports show that it’s become the operational model that the party and its partners in the spy services and media will continue to use against their adversaries.

The consequences are certain to be catastrophic, for setting intelligence operatives loose on one half of America cannot help but further fracture the country’s domestic peace.

On May 3, reports surfaced that the Biden administration may use private firms to collect intelligence on its critics, recategorized by the White House as “domestic terrorists.” What makes them dangerous, according to Biden surrogates, is that they—like many of the participants in the Jan. 6 events who have been held for five months in Washington jails without bail—believe the 2020 election was compromised.

Do aides for President Joe Biden believe that using outside contractors to circumvent laws against spying on Americans will shore up the president’s legitimacy? No, the aim is to prevent the America First movement from mobilizing. To kill it before it grows. According to reports, the private firms licensed by the government will “gather large amounts of information that could help [U.S. intelligence] identify key narratives as they emerge.”

The basic premise of this Biden initiative should sound familiar—it’s Russiagate’s first plot point. In 2016, the Hillary Clinton campaign paid opposition research firm Fusion GPS and former UK intelligence officer Christopher Steele to gather information on her Republican rival, which was then relayed to the FBI. That’s the standard account, anyway.

In reality, U.S. spy services used Fusion GPS and Steele to launder their illegal spying on Americans. It was American intelligence agents and not private contractors who knew what they needed to get a warrant to spy on Trump. The outside firms the Biden administration wants to hire will serve as cutouts for U.S. intelligence services directed by the White House to spy on Americans.

Rudolph Giuliani said recently that the FBI had spied on him by breaking into his email account while he was working as Trump’s personal lawyer. The Bureau has been investigating Giuliani since at least fall of 2019 for possibly violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), but as I explained recently in The Epoch Times, that’s just a pretext to target him.

For instance, the Bureau used FARA as the basis to collect the 2016 Trump campaign’s electronic communications. The reality is that the first family has tasked the national police to retaliate against Giuliani for making their corruption public.

In the run-up to the 2020 election, the FBI, media, social media, and other institutions affiliated with the Democratic Party misinformed voters by claiming that all the disturbing news about the Biden clan—such as their documented financial arrangements with Chinese, Russian, and Ukrainian nationals—was “Russian disinformation.” But since this was the same consortium that pushed Russia collusion, when the FBI went to Republican Sen. Ron Johnson’s office in August to warn that he might be the target of a “Russian disinformation” campaign, he knew he was being set up.

“Because there was no substance to the briefing, and because it followed the production and leaking of a false intelligence product by Democrat leaders,” Johnson told the press last week, “I suspected that the briefing was being given to be used at some future date for the purpose that it is now being used: to offer the biased media an opportunity to falsely accuse me of being a tool of Russia despite warnings.”

The defensive briefing is just another weapon in the FBI’s arsenal to be used against rivals of the Democratic Party. In August 2016, for instance, the Bureau sent an agent to meet with Trump and top aide Michael Flynn, ostensibly for a defensive briefing, but the real reason, according to official government records, was to collect intelligence on them.

Giuliani, one of the Justice Department’s most illustrious alumni, would have known immediately what the FBI was up to had it knocked on his door to deliver a “defensive briefing.” Accordingly, the FBI decided against it, even though three media organizations, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and NBC, incorrectly reported last week that he had been briefed.

The sourcing for the claim was weak. NBC, for instance, attributed the account to “a source familiar with the matter.” Press critics say that the reporters should expose their sources, because they lied. That would make sense in a normal media environment, but this is information warfare, which follows a different logic.

That’s why, for instance, none of the hundreds of U.S. journalists who pushed Russiagate daily for five years and counting will ever admit it was a fraud concocted by U.S. spy services and Clinton operatives.

Who knows, maybe the source for the fake Giuliani briefing story was Fusion GPS. Some of the reporters bylined on the stories are friends of Fusion, such as NBC’s Ken Dilanian, who helped push a Fusion GPS-engineered smear campaign against financier Bill Browder. The Post story was co-written by Tom Hamburger, a journalist who Fusion GPS principals say they briefed on the phony collusion allegations during the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Disseminating fake Russia-related stories is how Fusion GPS became famous.

In any case, it appears the FBI and Justice Department were mortified by the false reports. According to NBC’s correction, the briefing was “not delivered to him, in part over concerns it might complicate the criminal investigation of Giuliani.” That is, federal law enforcement’s partners in the press had inadvertently revealed that while investigating him, they had considered simultaneously setting him up and spying on him.

It seems that some of the FBI agents who served Giuliani a warrant last week were apologetic, maybe even ashamed they’d had to follow orders to take action against a man whose strong leadership in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks earned him the title of America’s Mayor. Nearly 20 years after, at least one-half of America’s political class has embroiled the country in a crisis engendered by a conspiracy theory, a crisis that it means to make permanent.

Lee Smith is the author of the recently published book “The Permanent Coup: How Enemies Foreign and Domestic Targeted the American President.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Lee Smith
Lee Smith
Lee Smith is a veteran journalist whose work appears in Real Clear Investigations, the Federalist, and Tablet.