‘We Are Doing Putin’s Job For Him’

Tre pagine e mezzo che nelle intenzioni del presidente americano dovrebbero dimostrare la inaffidabilità dello FBI che deve essere riformato, a cominciare dal suo vertice (appena rinnovato).

di Oscar Bartoli | 5 febbraio 2018

Questo e il ‘memo’ che sta tenendo inchiodata l’America sempre piu’ polarizzata in due parti. Si tratta di un colpo di mano messo in essere dal presidente del comitato di intelligence, il repubblicano Nunes molto vicino al presidente Donald Trump.
Tre pagine e mezzo che nelle intenzioni del presidente americano dovrebbero dimostrare la inaffidabilità dello FBI che deve essere riformato, a cominciare dal suo vertice (appena rinnovato).
Quando si è diffusa la notizia che il presidente Donald Trump avrebbe declassificato un documento interno dello FBI, i dirigenti di questa importante intelligence hanno diffuso preoccupati avvertimenti, mettendo in evidenza il grave danno che questa istituzione avrebbe ricevuto dalla pubblicazione del memo.
Analoghe preoccupazioni sono state espresse a livello del ministero di giustizia mentre i media conservatori, a cominciare dalla Fox, iniziavano una campagna contro lo FBI e il ministero della giustizia. Obiettivi questi da tempo nell’arco delle dichiarazioni pubbliche di Donald Trump che ne prevedeva il licenziamento.
Lo scopo primario della declassificazione di questo memo, secondo le stesse dichiarazioni fatte a collaboratori da Donald Trump, e’ quello di squalificare di fronte all’opinione pubblica americana l’indagine condotta dal consigliere speciale Robert Mueller, nella quale sembrano pesantemente coinvolti sia il presidente che i figli, il genero ed altri esponenti del team presidenziale.

L’indagine sta mirando a dimostrare la responsabilita’ di Trump nei rapporti con Putin che ha contaminato le elezioni presidenziali americane del novembre 2016.

La situazione è in continua evoluzione e da parte democratica si parla apertamente di una profonda crisi costituzionale.

Il senatore repubblicano John McCain ha dichiarato: ‘We Are Doing Putin’s Job For Him’.

Il memo contiene le annotazioni fatte da i giornalisti della National Public Radio.

Oscar Bartoli   (letter from Washington)


January 18, 2018

Declassified by order of the President on February 2, 2018

To: HPSCI Majority Members

From: HPSCI Majority Staff

The Nunes memo, as it has come to be known, was compiled by members of the Republican staff on the House intelligence committee. On Monday, the committee voted along party lines to release the memo.

Tim MakNPR Political Reporter

▲ Previous annotationNext annotation ▼

Subject: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation


This memorandum provides Members an update on significant facts relating to the Committee’s ongoing investigation into the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and their use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) during the 2016 presidential election cycle. Our findings, which are detailed below, 1) raise concerns with the legitimacy and legality of certain DOJ and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), and 2) represent a troubling breakdown of legal processes established to protect the American people from abuses related to the FISA process.

Investigation Update

On October 21, 2016, DOJ and FBI sought and received a FISA probable cause order (not under Title VII) authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISC. Page is a U.S. citizen who served as a volunteer advisor to the Trump presidential campaign. Consistent with requirements under FISA, the application had to be first certified by the Director or Deputy Director of the FBI. It then required the approval of the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General (DAG), or the Senate-confirmed Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division.

The FBI and DOJ obtained one initial FISA warrant targeting Carter Page and three FISA renewals from the FISC. As required by statute (50 U.S.C. §1805(d)(1)), a FISA order on an American citizen must be renewed by the FISC every 90 days and each renewal requires a separate finding of probable cause. Then-Director James Comey signed three FISA applications in question on behalf of the FBI, and Deputy Director Andrew McCabe signed one. Then-DAG Sally Yates, then-Acting DAG Dana Boente, and DAG Rod Rosenstein each signed one or more FISA applications on behalf of DOJ.

Note where this list ends — the requests for surveillance continued out of the Obama administration and into the Trump administration. This is one reason conspiracy theories about biased Democrats inside the national security infrastructure don’t hold up: Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein were put in place by President Trump and, in Rosenstein’s case, confirmed by Republicans in the Senate. And even they, according to this, thought there was sufficient evidence to continue surveillance. The presence of Rosenstein on this list is why some people believe he could be the next target in Republicans’ concerted attacks on what they call FBI and Justice Department political bias — or that Trump might try to fire Rosenstein for his role in what Trump and his allies call a scurrilous investigation. Asked on Friday whether he still has confidence in Rosenstein, the president said, “You figure that one out.”

Philip EwingNPR National Security Editor

What the memo omits is that according to former counterintelligence specialists, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court also requires that a warrant produce foreign intelligence. So if the FBI requests and gets a warrant on someone, monitors the subject and the subject doesn’t make contact with a foreign spy or take part in other suspicious activity, the surveillance must cease. The renewals suggest that the monitoring of Carter Page the FBI was doing yielded sufficient material that judges authorized it to continue.

Philip EwingNPR National Security Editor

Due to the sensitive nature of foreign intelligence activity, FISA submissions (including renewals) before the FISC are classified. As such, the public’s confidence in the integrity of the FISA process depends on the court’s ability to hold the government to the highest standard ­— particularly as it relates to surveillance of American citizens. However, the FISC’s rigor in protecting the rights of Americans, which is reinforced by 90-day renewals of surveillance orders, is necessarily dependent on the government’s production to the court of all material and relevant facts. This should include information potentially favorable to the target of the FISA application that is known by the government. In the case of Carter Page, the government had at least four independent opportunities before the FISC to accurately provide an accounting of the relevant facts. However, our findings indicate that, as described below, material and relevant information was omitted.

Here is the core of Republicans’ charges of political bias by the FBI and the Department of Justice. Officials, per this, had information that, as we will see later in this memo, showed dossier author Christopher Steele didn’t like Trump, that Steele’s work had been underwritten by Democrats and that the Steele dossier was unverified. Republicans say the FBI and DOJ  knowingly didn’t give that information to the court. The FBI and Justice Department argue that all this information has been cherry-picked to make a political case, and the FBI has said the memo has “material omissions of fact.” But all the underlying documents and procedures are supersecret. So we can’t see the full sheaf of evidence or other aspects of the matter.

Philip EwingNPR National Security Editor

1) The “dossier” compiled by Christopher Steele (Steele dossier) on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application. Steele was a longtime FBI source who was paid over $160,000 by the DNC and Clinton campaign, via the law firm Perkins Coie and research firm Fusion GPS, to obtain derogatory information on Donald Trump’s ties to Russia.

  1. Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials.
  2. The initial FISA application notes Steele was working for a named U.S. person, but does not name Fusion GPS and principal Glenn Simpson, who was paid by a U.S. law firm (Perkins Coie) representing the DNC (even though it was known by DOJ at the time that political actor were involved with the Steele dossier). The application does not mention Steele was ultimately working on behalf of — and paid by — the DNC and Clinton campaign, or that the FBI had separately authorized payment to Steele for the same information.

2) The Carter Page FISA application also cited extensively a September 23, 2016, Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, which focuses on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow. This article does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo News. The Page FISA application incorrectly assesses that Steele did not directly provide information to Yahoo News. Steele has admitted in British court filings that he met with Yahoo News — and several other outlets — in September 2016 at the direction of Fusion GPS. Perkins Coie was aware of Steele’s initial media contacts because they hosted at least one meeting in Washington D.C. in 2016 with Steele and Fusion GPS where this matter was discussed.

This is an example of another problem, Republicans say, with the work of the FBI and the Justice Department. In the conspiracy telling, biased officials cited reports in the press as the basis for undertaking surveillance — and what’s more, the sources cited in the press were the same as they were using elsewhere. In other words, they were both quoting Steele’s dossier to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges and quoting this Yahoo News story, even though Steele was the source in both cases. Without knowing more about the rest of the evidence in the government’s warrant application to the court, however, there’s no way to know how much emphasis it put on the Yahoo News story as compared with other evidence. Democrats told CNN on Friday the government did not reference the Yahoo News story, but the Democrats’ secret memo has not been authorized for public release as this Republican memo has.

Philip EwingNPR National Security Editor

  1. Steele was suspended and then terminated as an FBI source for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations — an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI in an October 30, 2016, Mother Jonesarticle by David Corn. Steele should have been terminated for his previous undisclosed contacts with Yahoo and other outlets in September — before the Page application was submitted to the FISC in October — but Steele improperly concealed from and lied to the FBI about those contacts.
  2. Steele’s numerous encounters with the media violated the cardinal rule of source handling — maintaining confidentiality — and demonstrated that Steele had become a less than reliable source for the FBI.

3) Before and after Steele was terminated as a source, he maintained contact with DOJ via then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, a senior DOJ official who worked closely with Deputy Attorneys General Yates and later Rosenstein. Shortly after the election, the FBI began interviewing Ohr, documenting his communications with Steele. For example, in September 2016, Steele admitted to Ohr his feelings against then­-candidate Trump when Steele said he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president.” This clear evidence of Steele’s bias was recorded by Ohr at the time and subsequently in official FBI files — but not reflected in any of the Page FISA applications.

The head of the private intelligence firm that commissioned Steele’s work, Glenn Simpson, told Congress that he did not assign Steele to scare up dirt on Trump. Instead, Simpson told lawmakers he gave Steele an open-ended assignment to find out what he could about Trump’s ties to Russia based on his network of sources — work that wound up becoming the dossier. But according to this, Steele wasn’t a neutral actor here. He told his contact at the Justice Department, as this memo describes, that he opposed Trump. More evidence of “bias” in the process, according to Republicans on the House intelligence committee.

Philip EwingNPR National Security Editor

  1. During this same time period, Ohr’s wife was employed by Fusion GPS to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump. Ohr later provided the FBI with all of his wife’s opposition research, paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign via Fusion GPS. The Ohrs’ relationship with Steele and Fusion GPS was inexplicably concealed from the FISC.

4) According to the head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, Assistant Director Bill Priestap, corroboration of the Steele dossier was in its “infancy” at the time of the initial Page FISA application. After Steele was terminated, a source validation report conducted by an independent unit within FBI assessed Steele’s reporting as only minimally corroborated. Yet, in early January 2017, Director Comey briefed President-elect Trump on a summary of the Steele dossier, even though it was — according to his June 2017 testimony — “salacious and unverified.” While the FISA application relied on Steele’s past record of credible reporting on other unrelated matters, it ignored or concealed his anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations. Furthermore, Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information.

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who announced on Monday he would be retiring, testified before the House intelligence committee in mid-December. However, that testimony took place behind closed doors and no transcript has been released to the public. Therefore, it is impossible to independently assess the accuracy of this claim. A senior Democratic official on the committee says, “The majority purposefully mischaracterizes both what is actually contained in the FISA applications and the testimony of former FBI Deputy McCabe before our committee in December 2017 — the minority’s memo lays out the full facts.”


Tamara KeithNPR White House Correspondent

5) The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos. The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok. Strzok was reassigned by the Special Counsel’s Office to FBI Human Resources for improper text messages with his mistress, FBI Attorney Lisa Page (no known relation to Carter Page), where they both demonstrated a clear bias against Trump and in favor of Clinton, whom Strzok had also investigated. The Strzok/Lisa Page texts also reflect extensive discussions about the investigation, orchestrating leaks to the media, and include a meeting with Deputy Director McCabe to discuss an “insurance” policy against President Trump’s election.

Sources close to the president told NPR that he had been telling friends in recent days that he believed the memo would undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference and possible connections to the Trump campaign. Trump allies have long claimed that if not for the Steele dossier, commissioned by political research firm Fusion GPS — which had been hired by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign — there would be no Russia investigation. But what this line in the memo reveals is that the investigation was initially triggered not by the Steele dossier but by information about the activities of Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty in October 2017 to lying to the FBI; he is cooperating with the Mueller investigation.

Tamara KeithNPR White House Correspondent


Oscar Bartoli, Avvocato, giornalista pubblicista, collabora con molti media italiani. Risiede negli Stati Uniti dal 1994 e vive tra Washington D.C. e Los Angeles. Ha lavorato per molti anni nel gruppo SMI,leader europeo nel settore metalli non ferrosi, successivamente nell'IRI come responsabile dei contatti con i media e in seguito direttore IRI USA. Ha insegnato per dieci anni alla scuola di giornalismo della Luiss e per due anni alla Catholic University di Washington DC. Tiene un corso sulla comunicazione nel Master di Relazioni Internazionali dello IULM di Milano. Da giovane, per pagarsi gli studi ma, soprattutto, perche' gli piaceva, ha lavorato come chitarrista - cantante suonando nelle case del popolo, circoli cattolici, night clubs, radio e televisione. Gli articoli per la rubrica Pillole d'Oltreatlantico sono pubblicati dal blog Letter from Washington DC


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