December 31, 2019

US Congress Authorises $5 Mln Prize Competition to Help Pentagon Tackle Deepfakes

The US Congress has approved an annual defence policy bill authorising up to $5 million in cash prizes for a competition to find a way to automatically detect deepfake technology, which allows fabricated images, sounds and videos to look like real ones, the intelligence defence publication website C4ISRNET reports.


December 30, 2019

The ‘Deep State’ and the Impeachment Conspiracy

Ever since the impeachment bandwagon got rolling in September, anything said in defense of President Trump is automatically dismissed by Democrats and their media allies as either (a) “Republican talking points,” (b) “Russian propaganda” or (c) a “conspiracy theory.” The self-evident purpose of this rhetoric is to delegitimize the president’s defenders as either dishonest partisans, agents of a foreign enemy, or purveyors of paranoid delusions. It is impermissible, by the rules of the game as played on CNN and in other “mainstream” media outlets, to ask whether or not such accusations are more properly directed at Democrats. Are they never guilty of partisanship? Didn’t Democrats spend three years promoting a “collusion” conspiracy theory? And why is it that Russia is the only foreign power whose influence deserves our vigilance?


December 13, 2019

FBI Agent Who Played ‘Significant’ Role In Surveillance Abuse Wore Several Hats In Trump Probe

  • The Justice Department inspector general’s report on FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign offers a damning assessment of the bureau’s handling of the Steele dossier, and its investigation of Carter Page.
  • Among those deemed “primarily responsible” for the “most significant” errors in the investigation is “Case Agent 1.” 
  • The agent, who still works for the FBI, played a key role in several aspects of Crossfire Hurricane, including handling an FBI informant, interviewing a source for the dossier, and applying for warrants to spy on Page. 

“Case Agent 1” wore many hats during the Trump-Russia investigation.

The veteran FBI counterintelligence investigator was a handler for Stefan Halper, a Cambridge academic who met covertly with three Trump campaign advisers 2016. Case Agent 1 opened the case file, known as an Electronic Communication, on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in August 2016. He was also the main driver at the FBI for surveillance warrants on Page, and he was put in charge of verifying each strand of evidence included in the documents. He interviewed Page, a former Naval officer, five times in March 2017, and also met in January 2017 with Christopher Steele’s main source for information in the infamous Trump dossier.

Case Agent 1 is also one of the main villains in the Justice Department inspector general’s (IG) report on the FBI’s handling of the Trump-Russia probe, known as Crossfire Hurricane.

“Case Agent 1 was primarily responsible for some of the most significant errors and omissions in the FISA applications,” Michael Horowitz, the inspector general, said in a scathing report laying out a series of missteps in the FBI’s handling of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)

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December 12, 2019

Lindsey Graham: Carter Page Should ‘Sue The Hell Out Of’ FBI And DOJ

Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday he hopes that Carter Page “sues the hell” out of the FBI and Justice Department for relying on the unverified Steele dossier to obtain surveillance warrants against the former Trump campaign aide.

Graham was speaking at the opening of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to go over a Justice Department inspector general’s report that found the FBI misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in order to obtain spy warrants on Page.

The FBI relied heavily on information from former British spy Christopher Steele to assert that there was probable cause to believe that Page was a Russian agent. Steele, a former British spy who worked for the DNC and Clinton campaign in 2016, alleged that Page was part of a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” involving the Trump campaign and Russia.

But the inspector general’s office found evidence that raised questions about both Steele’s credibility and the reliability of the ex-spy’s dossier sources.

Graham highlighted those aspects of the report and questioned why the FBI did not re-evaluate its investigation of Page after receiving information that undercut the dossier.

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December 11, 2019

Christopher Steele ‘Meticulously’ Recorded Source Who Disavowed Dossier Claims, Lawyers Say

Christopher Steele “meticulously” documented and recorded interactions with a key source for his infamous Trump dossier, lawyers for the former British spy said Tuesday in a lengthy response to the Justice Department inspector general’s report on the FBI’s handling of the Russia probe.

The report, released Monday, poked holes in the dossier, and revealed that a primary source for Steele disavowed some of the information in the salacious document.

The source, whom FBI agents interviewed multiple times between January and May 2017, said Steele exaggerated or misrepresented information in his dossier, which the FBI cited extensively in applications for surveillance warrants against Carter Page.

FBI interviews with the source “raised significant questions about the reliability of the Steele election reporting,” according to the inspector general’s (IG) report.

The source, who is identified only as “Primary Sub-Source,” told FBI agents Steele’s dossier asserted there was evidence to support the claim that the Kremlin had blackmail video of Donald Trump in Moscow with prostitutes. But Steele’s source told the FBI that the information was based on “rumor and speculation,” and had not been verified.

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December 10, 2019

FBI Failed To Disclose That Carter Page Was ‘Operational Contact’ For CIA, Was Given ‘Positive Assessment’

The FBI failed to inform surveillance court judges that Carter Page was an “operational contact” for the CIA for years, and that an employee at the spy agency gave the former Trump aide a “positive assessment,” according to a Justice Department report released Monday.

The finding is included in a list of seven of the FBI’s “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against Page, a longtime energy consultant who joined the Trump campaign in March 2016.

The report said the FBI “omitted” information it obtained from another U.S. government agency about its prior relationship with Page.

The agency approved Page as an “operational contact” from 2008 to 2013, according to the report.

“Page had provided information to the other agency concerning his prior contacts with certain Russian intelligence officers, one of which overlapped with facts asserted in the FISA application,” the report stated.

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December 9, 2019

Joe Biden Claims Ignorance On His Son’s Conflicts Of Interest With Burisma

Former Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview Friday that he was never warned about potential conflicts of interest involving his son’s position with a Ukrainian energy company — a claim that conflicts with what a former Obama administration official told The New Yorker earlier this year.

“Nobody warned me about a potential conflict of interest. Nobody warned me about that,” Biden told NPR when asked about his discussions while vice president involving his son Hunter Biden’s position with Burisma Holdings.

Joe Biden’s denial conflicts with what a former Obama administration official told The New Yorker for a story published on July 1.

Amos Hochstein, who served as the Obama administration’s special envoy for energy policy, told The New Yorker he raised concerns about Hunter Biden’s position with the former vice president in December 2015.

Questions about potential conflicts of interest were also widely covered in the press in 2014 and 2015. A New York Times report from Dec. 8, 2015 asserted that Hunter Biden’s work for Burisma may have “undermined” his father’s anti-corruption message toward Ukraine.

“Now you look at the Hunter Biden situation, and on the one hand you can credit the father for sending the anti-corruption message,” Edward Chow, an expert on Ukrainian policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The Times. “But I think unfortunately it sends the message that a lot of foreign countries want to believe about America, that we are hypocritical about these issues.”

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December 6, 2019

Report: FBI Failed To Tell FISA Court About Some Concerns With Steele Dossier’s Reliability

The FBI failed to tell surveillance court judges that investigators developed concerns about the reliability of the Steele dossier after interviewing a source for the document, according to a new report.

According to The Washington Post, sources familiar with the forthcoming Justice Department inspector general’s (IG) report say that FBI agents determined that information from Christopher Steele was not “entirely reliable” after they interviewed a subsource for the former British spy.

IG’s finding could undercut one of Democrats’ main defenses of Steele, who investigated the Trump campaign in 2016 on behalf of Fusion GPS. Democrats have argued that Steele was a credible source with a solid track record of providing information to the U.S. government

The FBI relied on information from Steele, a former British spy, in applications for four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Steele’s dossier alleged that Page met secretly with two Kremlin insiders to discuss ways to help the Trump campaign in exchange for a brokerage stake in the sale of Russian oil giant Rosneft.

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December 5, 2019

Jim Banks Calls On Lindsey Graham To Subpoena Adam Schiff’s Phone Records

Indiana Rep. Jim Banks is calling on Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham to subpoena phone records for Rep. Adam Schiff, a lawyer for the Trump whistleblower, and Joe and Hunter Biden.

Banks cited in a letter to Graham Wednesday House Democratsimpeachment report from Tuesday that revealed Democrats obtained AT&T phone records that showed phone calls involving GOP Rep. Devin Nunes of California, Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow, journalist John Solomon, and a former associate of Giuliani named Lev Parnas.

Schiff, a California Democrat, and his fellow House Democrats said the phone records show the call participants were working to dig up dirt on Joe and Hunter Biden related to Ukraine. Parnas worked closely with Giuliani and Solomon to investigate the Bidens’ dealings in Ukraine.

Conservatives blasted Schiff for releasing the phone records of a journalist and a sitting member of Congress who are not accused of wrongdoing.

Banks, a Republican, called on Graham to subpoena Schiff’s phone records, along with those of Mark Zaid, a lawyer for the CIA analyst whose whistleblower complaint led to the ongoing impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. 

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December 4, 2019

How The FBI Risked Exposing Sensitive Russia Probe Details During Meeting With Christopher Steele

  • During a meeting in Rome in October 2016, FBI agents shared a sensitive piece of information with a subcontractor for the Democratic Party about one of the main targets of the Trump-Russia probe.
  • The subcontractor, Christopher Steele, was at the time working with Fusion GPS to collect information about the Trump campaign. 
  • At the time of the meeting, Steele was actively meeting with reporters to share information about his investigation. 

FBI agents shared a significant piece of information about a target of the Trump-Russia investigation with a Clinton campaign subcontractor during a meeting in Rome in October 2016, potentially putting a highly sensitive detail of the Trump-Russia investigation at risk of public exposure prior to the 2016 election.

According to Fusion GPS founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch in their new book, “Crime in Progress,” FBI agents surprised Christopher Steele, a former British spy on the DN“FBI agents surprised Steele by asking him what he knew about Trump adviser George Papadopoulos,” Simpson and Fritsch wrote.

“Nothing, it turned out; none of Steele’s sources had ever reported on him,” they added.C and Clinton payroll, by asking him during a meeting in Rome on Oct. 3, 2016 if he had any information about Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos.

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December 3, 2019

John Podesta Set Up Fundraising Meetings For Fusion GPS After Trump’s Election Victory

Former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta was one of Fusion GPS’s “most helpful” resources in an effort to raise money after the 2016 election to continue investigating President Donald Trump, the co-founders of the opposition research firm revealed in a book released on Nov. 26.

Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, the co-founders of Fusion GPS, wrote in “Crime in Progress” that Podesta provided welcome support in early 2017 for an effort to raise money to fund The Democracy Integrity Project (TDIP), a nonprofit group former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer Daniel Jones created on Jan. 31, 2017.

Podesta agreed during a meeting with Simpson in early 2017 to contact potential donors to help arrange meetings with Fusion GPS and Jones, according to the book.

“In mid-February [2017] and then again in early March, Jones — supported by Fritsch and Simpson — took prospecting trips in the West. They didn’t know the tech community well, so before heading out, they sought some door openers and validators from the world they knew best,” the authors wrote.

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December 2, 2019

“Devin Nunes Accuses Fusion GPS Of Retaliation After Book Reveals Oppo Research Campaign

Rep. Devin Nunes says that a book from the co-founders of Fusion GPS shows that the opposition research firm investigated him in 2018 as retaliation for his work to reveal that Democrats funded the infamous Steele dossier.

“They actively obstructed justice by disrupting multiple congressional investigations and retaliated against me for revealing that the Steele dossier was funded by the Democrats,” Nunes said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation in response to revelations in “Crime in Progress,” written by Fusion GPS co-founders Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch.

In the book, Simpson and Fritsch reveal for the first time that they conducted opposition research against Nunes in 2018 during his congressional reelection bid.

Simpson and Fritsch are highly critical of Nunes throughout the book. They express particular frustration at Nunes’ efforts to obtain Fusion GPS’s bank records in October 2017. 
Those records revealed that the law firm for the In “Crime in Progress,” Simpson and Fritsch wrote that they hoped to keep the identity of their dossier clients for as long as possible.Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton campaign paid Fusion GPS more than $1 million in 2016 for an investigation of President Donald Trump.

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