“Mr. Page is not an advisor and has made no contribution to the campaign,” said a Trump spokesman in reaction to the media storm over the Isikoff article. If Carter Page thought this disavowal would return some normalcy to his life, he was sadly mistaken. It actually put a target on his back. So long as he was officially affiliated with the Trump campaign, Comey would no doubt hesitate to seek a surveillance warrant, for fear of laying the FBI open to the charge of engaging in politically motivated spying. After the disavowal, Comey had more room for maneuver. He therefore gave the go-ahead to seek a surveillance warrant.
Widening the probe to include Page carried a little additional risk for Comey, but not much. If Clinton were to win the election, as everyone expected, then she would never punish him for the move. If Trump were to win and learn about the probe, it would certainly enrage him. But the investigation could also be useful as leverage. Peter Strzok put it well in a text to Lisa Page a month earlier. On August 15, 2016, referring to the possibility of a Trump victory, Strzok wrote:
I want to believe the path u threw out 4 consideration in Andy’s [McCabe’s] office — that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event u die be4 you’re 40.
Strzok, presumably, was saying that a counterintelligence operation against Trump and his team would give the FBI leadership a species of job insurance, similar to the job insurance that J. Edgar Hoover enjoyed in his day. Presidents dared not fire Hoover, because he kept a black book on them all.
Strzok’s team began the process of seeking a surveillance warrant on Carter Page from the court established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA. The FISA court’s proceedings are not public, because they treat top-secret intelligence. To seek a warrant against Carter Page required the FBI to show probable cause that he was acting as an agent of Russia. In preparation for the warrant application, the FBI flew Steele to Rome for a face-to-face meeting with his main FBI contact. According to the New York Times, the handler told Steele that the FBI “would pay him $50,000” if he “could get solid corroboration of his reports.” It was an incriminating admission. Steele’s reports on Page’s Moscow trip were two months old. The U.S. government — that is, the FBI and the CIA — hadn’t produced an iota of corroboration — and yet on the basis of those stale reports, it had suddenly decided to target Page as a probable agent of a foreign power.
Why? Because without the Carter Page who appeared in the Steele dossier — without the Marvel Comics villain, there existed no credible intelligence pointing to a criminal conspiracy between Trump and Putin. If the investigation was to be sufficiently broad to dig up dirt on Trump, it had to include the fanciful allegations against Page. These, however, were impossible to corroborate — because they were fictive. They did, however, include one claim that, if shorn of context, wasn’t as transparently silly as the others: namely, that Page had met with Sechin, the chairman of the Russian state oil company. To be sure, Steele’s report of the meeting contained the outlandish claim that Page had negotiated with Sechin on lifting American sanctions against Russia. But if McCabe’s team were to downplay this aspect as much as possible and focus instead on whether the meeting actually took place (it didn’t) — well, that could make it appear like a worrisome allegation calling out for a sober follow-up.
The super spy sprang into action. He tapped his daisy chain of paid Russian informants, and before McCabe’s team submitted the FISA warrant application, he produced some short reports supposedly confirming the meeting with Sechin. Steele discovered in his network another “source”: the friend of one of Sechin’s friend, who had heard from Sechin and from Sechin’s personal assistant that indeed Sechin had met with Page. Confirmation?! The “source” also reported that Sechin offered Page, in return for Trump lifting of U.S. sanctions on Russia, a personal reward: a 19 percent stake in the Russian state-owned oil company — a haul worth millions upon millions, or probably billions.
No mere criminal mastermind, Page was master negotiator as well! Cartoonish depictions such as this constitute the primary basis on which the FBI made the case that Page was probably a foreign agent and that, in addition, he had probably broken American law — the legal standard for issuing surveillance warrants. The application for a warrant against Page is locked behind a top-secret classification. But McCabe testified before the House Intelligence Committee in December 2017 that without Steele’s information, the FBI could not have secured a surveillance warrant. And according to Senators Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham, who have read the original warrant application and the three renewal applications, “the bulk” of the material on which the FBI made its case against Page came in the Steele dossier. What is more, the application contained, in the words of the two senators, “no additional information corroborating the dossier allegations” — no additional information, that is, except for one newspaper article: the Isikoff piece.
McCabe’s team supported an application based primarily on Steele’s allegations by offering the judges an article that itself was based solely on Steele’s reports.
Placing Page under surveillance marked the high point of the cooperation between McCabe’s team and the super duo Simpson and Steele. But nefarious partnerships are prone to unravel; and when they do, they unravel quickly. Only ten short days after McCabe’s team pulled the wool over the eyes of the FISA-court judges, Simpson and Steele broke off relations with the FBI in a fit of anger and bitterness.
Relations started to fray amid an effort by the super duo to stage a repeat of their Isikoff triumph. At some point in October, Simpson brought Steele to the United States for a second round of in-person briefings with major news outlets. Unfortunately, not one of these outlets has seen fit to disclose the subject of the briefings, so their precise details are sketchy. Still serving as FBI cutouts, the super duo probably updated reporters on the FISA warrant application and other aspects of the Trump-Russia investigation. If so, they may have intended for that information to serve as filler in articles about a new scoop that Simpson was offering reporters. A journalist whom Fusion GPS briefed at that time subsequently told the Washington Times that Simpson was pushing a story about a secret computer link-up between Trump and a Russian bank.
According to the New York Times, news of the link-up had started to see the light of day thanks to the “classified” briefings that Brennan had organized for trusted Democrats on Capitol Hill. Intelligence officers disclosed, in the words of the Times, “the possibility of financial ties between Russians and people connected to Mr. Trump,” including “a mysterious computer back channel between the Trump Organization and the Alfa Bank, which is one of Russia’s biggest banks and whose owners have longstanding ties to Mr. Putin.” John Brennan had designed those briefings to be leaky, so it should come as no surprise that word of the Alfa Bank investigation flowed directly to Fusion GPS.
Following the winning formula that had produced the Isikoff article, Simpson provided reporters with the scoop. At first, the plan proceeded flawlessly. Franklin Foer of Slate ran a breathless story about the secret communications between the servers. Do we know with certainty that Foer’s information came directly from Fusion GPS? No. It’s certainly possible that, as we saw in the case of Julia Ioffe, some other agent emerged from the shadows of the Clinton demimonde to serve it up to him. Whatever the source of the information, Foer thought he might just have discovered the greatest piece of incriminating evidence yet — and Hillary Clinton agreed.
The speed and enthusiasm of her endorsement suggest more than a measure of coordination. She immediately sent out not one, but two tweets flagging Foer’s piece. One of them attached a statement from her campaign, which added heart palpitations and comic-book imagery to Foer’s breathlessness. Slate’s discovery of a “secret hotline,” the statement said, might unlock the mystery behind Trump’s love for Putin, and it might also explain why Russia was “masterminding” cyber theft designed “to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign.” The Clinton campaign called on the FBI to investigate.
Clearly, this was the cue for McCabe’s lovers to chime in. Their role was to affirm by means of a leak that the FBI was taking very seriously this threat to national security, investigating with all the diligence that the American people expect of their premier law-enforcement agency. Foer’s story came out on October 31 — a week and a day before the voters went to the ballot box. If McCabe’s team had stuck to the script, the media would have spent the final week before the election talking of nothing but the “secret hotline” that connected Putin to the lair of his evil minion high atop Trump Tower.
But McCabe’s team double-crossed Steele and Simpson — or so the super duo must have felt. On the same day the Slate article appeared, the New York Times reported that the FBI had investigated the link between Alfa Bank and Trump Tower. The Bureau, the Times said, had concluded “that there could be an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam, for the computer contacts.” This single sentence wiped out weeks of diligent work by Fusion GPS. As if to console Simpson and Steele, the article did reveal that the FBI, all summer long, had been conducting an investigation into the potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. And the Times even disclosed details of the probe — information that came courtesy, one assumes, of briefings from Fusion GPS.
But to Simpson and Steele the inclusion of those details was the bitterest of consolation. The damage the Times visited on their propaganda campaign was not limited to undermining the Alfa Bank story. The article included two additional facts, each as destructive as the other: The FBI’s wide-ranging investigation into Trump had revealed no collusion with Putin, and the FBI did not even believe that Putin was trying to get Hillary Clinton elected. In a convulsive fit of journalistic integrity, the Times had rejected Fusion GPS’s master narrative — and it had done so on the basis of authoritative leaks from the FBI. Someone in the J. Edgar Hoover Building had dropped a pallet of bricks on Simpson and Steele. Who?
quote:The Return of Joe Friday
The collapse of the “secret hotline” story was part of a larger falling-out between the FBI and the super duo — and not by any means the most important part. The event that truly doomed their relations was an announcement, on October 28, that the FBI was reopening the Clinton email investigation. And the character standing at the center of that decision was James Comey.
The bureau had learned that Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s trusted right hand, had forwarded thousands of emails to a computer in her home, which Anthony Weiner had put to personal use. Weiner was a former congressman, and he was Abedin’s husband. But he was also a criminal under investigation by the FBI. In her “well-intentioned but careless” use of government correspondence, Abedin had streamed thousands of official emails to the laptop of a pedophile.
James Comey’s July statement closing the Clinton email case coincided with Guccifer 2.0’s release of the DNC emails, and it helped build the impression of Hillary Clinton as the entitled CEO of Clinton, Inc. This reopening of the case, coming just a week before the election, was also timed for maximum visibility and carried a similar political valence. It was the third in a string of blows that Clinton received in the final stage of the election. The first came at a September 11 memorial commemoration in New York, where she had stumbled badly and seemed to faint, raising doubts about her stamina and health. On October 7, WikiLeaks published the first trove of emails stolen, presumably by Russian intelligence, from her campaign manager John Podesta. The emails were further grist for the mill of those who argued that Bill and Hillary Clinton were running a Tammany Hall for the 21st century. With Clinton stumbling, both literally and figuratively, the director of the FBI seemed determined to knock her back down.
What was he thinking? Comey now claims that he assumed Hillary Clinton would win. He feared that, after the election, people would come to learn that he had hidden the issue of Abedin’s laptop from the public, and they would accuse him of giving unfair consideration to Clinton. That calculation may indeed have been part of his thinking. But he may also have been hedging against a Trump victory. The announcement about the laptop was a card that he could play to ingratiate himself to Trump — to offset the damage of the leaks about the Russia investigation. On top of those machinations, there was the old story: Comey’s love of the spotlight. Here he was again in a national drama playing the entirely principled and apolitical lawman. He was in Joe Friday heaven.
For their part, Clinton and her camp read the FBI director’s move as treachery most vile. In a scream of rage masquerading as a letter to Comey, Harry Reid spoke for the team. Comey, he wrote, was breaking the law by engaging in partisan political activity in support of Trump. Whereas Comey never hesitated to publicize damaging “innuendo” against Clinton, he was protecting Trump from public humiliation. “It has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisers, and the Russian government — a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at every opportunity,” Reid fumed. “The public has a right to know this information.” To underscore that point, he published the letter immediately.
Glenn Simpson and Christopher Steele shared the sense of betrayal. Simpson later testified to the House intelligence committee:
At that point I felt like the rules had just been thrown out and that Comey had violated . . . one of the more sacrosanct policies, which is not announcing law enforcement activity in the closing days of an election. . . . We decided that if James Comey wasn’t going to tell people about this investigation that, you know, he had violated the rules, and [it] would only be fair if the world knew that both candidates were under FBI investigation.
So Simpson and Steele “began talking to the press.”
And with that, the super duo brought about the end of their secret partnership with McCabe’s team. The bureau expects its cutouts to behave as cutouts: that is to say, they must launder secrets. Sensitive and classified information must never appear in the press in a form that betrays its FBI origins.
Comey announced the reopening of the Clinton email case on Friday, October 28. Simpson moved quickly. He arranged a Skype interview between Steele, who was now back in London, and David Corn, a veteran journalist at Mother Jones. On October 31, Corn reported that “a former senior intelligence officer for a Western country who specialized in Russian counterintelligence” told him “that in recent months he provided the bureau with memos, based on . . . Russian sources, contending that the Russian government has for years tried to co-opt and assist Trump — and that the FBI requested more information from him.” The FBI response, Steele told Corn, was “shock and horror.” In August, the FBI asked for more of Steele’s memos. “It’s quite clear there was or is a pretty substantial inquiry going on.” To ensure that Corn understood the nature of the inquiry, Steele shared with him the text of the reports that he had given to the Bureau.
Steele’s decision to expose his partnership with the FBI gave McCabe’s team no choice but to terminate the relationship. The break-up was ugly, but its very messiness would later prove useful. In late 2017, congressional investigators would begin questioning the FBI’s senior leaders about the role Steele had played as a cutout. The senior leaders would point to the break-up as proof of the FBI’s integrity. Steele, they said, had been lying all along to the Bureau about his work with journalists. McCabe’s team had no idea that he was funneling the FBI’s secrets to the media. It was the Mother Jones interview that alerted them to Steele’s duplicity; the moment it became clear, they immediately terminated the relationship.
This alibi won’t wash. McCabe’s team was fully aware, in September, that Steele stood behind the Isikoff article. In fact, the appearance of “a senior U.S. law enforcement official” in the article implicates McCabe’s team more or less directly. In short, Steele’s FBI handlers were aware of his role in leaking information at that time, and it caused them no consternation. On the contrary, after the Isikoff article, the FBI drew Steele even closer, flying him to Rome and offering him $50,000. His work as a cutout received further tacit commendation when McCabe’s team used the Isikoff article to dupe the FISA-court judges.
The troubles that eventually befell Steele and McCabe’s team have no bearing on the simple facts: They worked as partners in prosecuting a campaign of innuendo against Carter Page in September, and again in placing him under surveillance in October. What is more, the surveillance order went beyond McCabe’s team, to the highest levels in the FBI and the DOJ. James Comey had to sign off on that decision — and that fact implicates him in a serious abuse of power.
Steele’s description of Carter Page’s activities in Moscow is comical. We have a word to describe the use of fabricated evidence to make an innocent man appear guilty: The Obama administration framed Carter Page. But not only Carter Page. According to Steele’s dossier, Page was in Moscow to cut a deal on another’s behalf: He was an emissary — the trusted agent of Donald Trump. Without Steele’s allegations against Carter Page — without, that is, the story of Page negotiating with Sechin to remove the sanctions — there was no credible allegation of a Trump-Putin conspiracy. The FBI, therefore, carried out a campaign of innuendo against Donald Trump in September. And the Obama administration placed him under investigation in October, if not earlier. The Obama administration framed Donald Trump.
During the Watergate scandal, the press popularized the phrase “the non-denial denial.” The Nixon White House had a special talent for issuing statements that sounded like categorical denials of allegations but that, upon close parsing, affirmed them to be true. In the matter of the Steele dossier, Obama officials, some of their allies in Congress, and senior leaders in the FBI have developed an analogous ploy: the “non-verification verification.” These are statements that distance the speaker from the laughable fantasies of the Steele dossier while still affirming that the tale of collusion it weaves must be taken seriously.
The unrivaled master of the move is John Brennan. In a recent appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Brennan defended the FBI’s use of the Steele dossier in its FISA warrant application. He railed against the FBI’s critics, whom he depicted as partisan hacks. He played the role of sober intelligence professional. Expressing his personal appraisal of the dossier when he was still director of the CIA, he said, “There were things in that dossier that made me wonder whether or not they were, in fact, accurate and true.”
Exactly what things? Was it the dossier’s view of Page as the diabolical mastermind of the DNC hack that struck the CIA director as credible? Avoiding the dossier’s specific allegations, Brennan maintained his front and asserted, with the somber tone of a button-down national-security professional, that Steele’s reports contain valuable intelligence leads. “I think Jim Comey has said that it contained salacious and unverified information,” Brennan continued. “Just because it was unverified didn’t mean it wasn’t true.”
The non-verification verification is central to the distinctive nature of the Obama administration’s abuse of power. Most of our debate has focused on how the FBI used the Steele dossier to validate the investigation of Carter Page. This issue is important, to be sure, but it must not deflect us from seeing that the reverse is also true: The administration deliberately used the investigation of Page to validate the dossier.
Consider, again, the coy Brennan. When questioners push him to explain what in the Steele dossier he finds compelling, he habitually takes shelter behind secret sources — evidence hidden behind a classified screen, where only he, the chief intelligence professional, was permitted to see it. “I was aware of intelligence . . . about contacts between Russian officials and U.S. persons that raised concerns in my mind about whether . . . those individuals were cooperating with the Russians . . . and it served as the basis for the FBI investigation to determine whether such collusion [or] cooperation occurred.”
John Brennan sees things that we cannot see. If he indeed has access to secrets that transform stories from Marvel Comics into the stuff of everyday reality, then he has done a very poor job of explaining what they are. Moreover, no disinterested intelligence professional has supported him. Brennan’s somber and self-righteous appeal to hidden secrets is the oldest con in the book. Just replace his top-secret computer monitor with a crystal ball or dried chicken bones, and his scam is the same one that Gypsy fortunetellers ran on superstitious peasants in early-modern Europe, or that soothsayers were operating in Homer’s Greece.
With respect to the framing of Trump, however, the second-sight scam required elaborate orchestration, the work of many hands. The key was the double-tracking of the dossier. Hillary Clinton’s enablers channeled it simultaneously into the press and into the government. They then recruited people inside government to verify to the outsiders that it was a serious document, a guide to the intelligence that reporters were not allowed to see. Without this double-tracking and official or quasi-official authentication, journalists would never have believed that they were catching a glimpse of what Brennan and the FBI saw in their crystal balls — pardon me, their top-secret monitors. And without leaks about investigations, journalists would have had no dossier-related news to report. Official statements that the dossier “was being looked into” transformed it into a legitimate topic for reputable news outlets.
This con failed in its primary goal of preventing the election of Trump, but it was nevertheless a partial success. It instilled in a significant portion of the American public the conviction that Trump indeed conspired with Putin. This conviction is especially prevalent among the lofty-minded — a class of people that includes Republicans as well as Democrats.
The bipartisan character of the delusion was the greatest factor that legitimated the appointment of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel leading the investigation into Trump’s alleged relations with Russia. The lofty-minded have greeted every indictment that Mueller has handed down as confirmation of their collusion delusion. In reality, those indictments only prove that a phalanx of crack investigators armed with nearly unlimited resources, a grand jury, and an expansive mandate can draw blood almost at will. If a similar phalanx were to target Hillary Clinton and the shenanigans surrounding the Clinton Foundation, how much blood would flow? In other words, Mueller’s indictments are just the latest form of the non-verification verification.
Regardless of Mueller’s intentions, his probe serves as precisely the kind of “insurance policy” that Strzok seems to have been discussing with his lover, Lisa Page, in August 2016. Trump cannot shut down the Mueller probe and excise the rot in the DOJ and the FBI without appearing to obstruct justice. In practical terms, then, the Mueller probe is the cover-up.
Of course, the lofty-minded refuse to see it this way. The political damage that Mueller’s team is inflicting on Trump helps explain why a surprising number of people mount passionate and sincere defenses of the dossier and the super spy who compiled it. The logic of partisan politics will always lead a significant percentage of people to insist, with varying degrees of true belief, that a sow’s ear really is a silk purse. But partisanship is not by any means the only factor at work here. Even people with well-deserved reputations for intellectual seriousness passionately defend the integrity of Christopher Steele, a man whom the New York Times insists on calling, despite all contrary evidence, “a whistleblower.”
For a complete understanding of the dossier’s tenacious hold on lofty minds, one must supplement conventional political analysis with psychology. What we are witnessing is nothing less than a textbook case of denial and projection — the most perfect case imaginable.
The event that shaped the dossier more than any other was the hack of the DNC. Guccifer 2.0 first began releasing documents on June 15. A week later, Steele produced his first report. The Hillary Clinton that emerged from the DNC emails was preternaturally unsuited to a populist moment. Here she was: the Hillary Clinton who made high-priced speeches to Wall Street on the eve of the Iowa caucuses. Here was the co-executive of the international slush funds of the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative. Here was the power-hungry political boss who worked with the DNC to fix the Democratic primaries. Clinton’s supporters instinctively understood the size of the wound that the hack opened up, and they worked frantically to cauterize it — which meant deflecting attention from the greed, entitlement, and sleaze that characterized Clinton, Inc.
The dossier quickly became a tool for denying the deficiencies of Bill and Hillary Clinton, projecting them onto Donald Trump. Is Bill Clinton a sexual predator? That’s nothing. Trump pays teams of prostitutes to pee on him! Did Hillary Clinton preside over the failed “reset” with Russia? That’s nothing. Putin is blackmailing Trump, and he fears Hillary! Did Bill Clinton pocket a $500,000 fee for a speech he gave in Moscow, shortly before the sale of American uranium to Russian interests? That’s nothing. Trump’s been dependent on Putin for years! Do the emails from the DNC prove that Hillary Clinton rigged the primaries? That’s nothing. Trump conspired with Putin to rig the entire election!
In the wake of the DNC hack, leading figures in the press and senior officials in the Obama administration faced a choice. They could depict Carter Page as he really was: an unknown man of modest accomplishments who played no role of note in the Trump organization. Or they could conspire with Fusion GPS to promote the fiction that he was a sly operative in a sinister network. In a fateful choice, they opted for dishonesty and deception over truth.
Once the enablers of Hillary Clinton compromised their own integrity, they internalized her program of denial and projection. Their own egos are now invested in perpetuating it. To avoid owning up to their shortcomings, they insist, in ever-shriller tones, on the personal integrity of the super spy and the credibility of his reports. The mere acknowledgement of a simple truth — that the “dossier” is junk — would constitute an admission either of deep professional malfeasance or of gob-smacking gullibility.
Choose your poison: You duped people and thereby abetted a gross abuse of power; or you were yourself badly duped. That is the dilemma that the lofty-minded now face. The choice is excruciating. It requires abandoning satisfying self-images and embracing painful self-truths — while also handing a well-deserved victory to a hated political enemy. As a consequence, the Steele dossier has proved to be as consequential as it is asinine.
De "Russia collusion delusion" is de samenzweringstheorie gebleken waar niet alleen Hillary Clinton is in gaan geloven, maar een behoorlijk aantal mensen.quote:The Greatest Denier
Of course, no one is in deeper denial than Hillary Clinton herself. After she had conceded to Trump on the night of the election, Obama called her. Taking the phone, she said, “Mr. President, I’m sorry.”
Sorry, no doubt, that the baton had fallen to the ground once again. Sorry that she would not be the first female president. Sorry that she would not hold the reins of power. But was contrition an aspect of any component of her sorrow?
If there is one thing Hillary Clinton does not do well, it is contrition. In an interview last September, she clung to the fiction that the election was stolen. Her belief that Trump conspired with Putin was absolute. “There certainly was communication, and there certainly was an understanding of some sort,” Clinton said. She had “no doubt” that Putin sought a Trump victory, that there was “a tangle of financial relationships” between Trump and Russia, and that Trump’s associates “worked really hard to hide their connections with Russians.” Were those, in her mind, clear signs of collusion? “I’m convinced of it,” she said.
She will remain convinced until the day she dies. The alternative, a rigorous examination of conscience, is too painful to contemplate. How much longer will Hillary Clinton’s damaged psyche hold America hostage?
quote:Beyond the Memo
An investigative report based on the memo, a declassified FISC report, and public records on how the Trump team was spied on
A declassified House Intelligence Committee memo reveals how the unverified Fusion GPS dossier—opposition research paid for by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC)—was used by the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) to obtain a FISA surveillance warrant to spy on Donald Trump presidential campaign volunteer Carter Page.
The memo details how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was intentionally left in the dark about the source of the allegations that led it to approve the spy warrant in October 2016.
It reveals that top FBI and DOJ officials signed off on the initial warrant and three subsequent renewals, including President Donald Trump’s deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein.
In one instance, the FBI and DOJ used a Yahoo News article based on the Trump dossier as evidence to extend its FISA warrant, despite the unverified information having come from the same source.
The memo does not reveal how the FISA warrant was subsequently used.
The Epoch Times used additional sources, including a declassified top-secret report of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to paint a fuller picture of the apparent abuse of power.
After the initial FISA warrant was approved, dozens, if not hundreds of so-called unmasking requests were made by senior members of then-President Barack Obama’s administration.
It also opened the floodgates to a number of intelligence leaks to media organizations, which served to turn public opinion against Donald Trump.
Continuing well after Trump was elected, the spying and leaking raise serious concerns about apparent efforts by the Obama administration, the DNC, and the Clinton campaign to prevent Trump from being elected and to delegitimize him once he was in office.
Verwar kwantiteit niet met kwaliteit. Er worden hier enorme lappen tekst gekopiepeest, maar waar gaat dit topic eigenlijk over? Kan iemand mij in maximaal 5 zinnen uitleggen wat het onderwerp van dit topic is?quote:
Alles spinnen wat er in de VS gebeurt zodat iedereen die deze drek leest er van overtuigd raakt dat de DNC, FBI en DoJ samenspannen op elke mogelijke manier om Trump dwars te zitten.quote:
Daar heb je gelijk in, maar ik heb wel respect voor de moeite die dellipder in zijn posts steekt. Kan ik het allemaal helemaal volgen? Nee.quote:Op donderdag 5 april 2018 18:45 schreef Terecht het volgende:
Verwar kwantiteit niet met kwaliteit. Er worden hier enorme lappen tekst gekopiepeest, maar waar gaat dit topic eigenlijk over? Kan iemand mij in maximaal 5 zinnen uitleggen wat het onderwerp van dit topic is?
Lees voor de grap nog eens de OP. Er is na de eerste paragraaf al geen touw meer aan vast te knopen. Dat is niet voor niets; dit soort type samenzweringsdraadjes bestaan bij de gratie van vaagheid. Zodra je bondig en helder formuleert wat de kern van de zaak is zakt het als een pudding in elkaar. Voorbeeld: het ronde huis topicreeks.
QAnon kortom? Dat is een allesomvattende samenzweringstheorie waarin er sprake is van een manicheistische strijd van Goed (Trump en zijn maatjes) tegen Kwaad (de zogenaamde deep state waaronder de DNC, FBI en DoJ deel van uit maken).quote:Op donderdag 5 april 2018 18:50 schreef Fir3fly het volgende:
Alles spinnen wat er in de VS gebeurt zodat iedereen die deze drek leest er van overtuigd raakt dat de DNC, FBI en DoJ samenspannen op elke mogelijke manier om Trump dwars te zitten.
Het idee dat Trump gewoon daadwerkelijk een complete idioot is komt nooit op.
Jup. Zelfde bronnen, zelfde talking points.quote:
Dat je het niet kan volgen is een feature en niet een bug. Het doel van dit soort samenzweringstheorieen is niet om de samenzwering op te lossen, maar om de zoektocht naar aanwijzingen die het complot zogenaamd zouden blootleggen zolang mogelijk te bestendigen. Hoe vager het onderwerp, hoe groter je voor jezelf het zoekgebied maakt. Zou je concreet worden dan vernauw je juist de bandbreedte van je zoektocht en dat ondermijnt het doel.quote:Op donderdag 5 april 2018 18:52 schreef Lavenderr het volgende:
Daar heb je gelijk in, maar ik heb wel respect voor de moeite die dellipder in zijn posts steekt. Kan ik het allemaal helemaal volgen? Nee.
En vwb Het Ronde Huis? Dat heeft toch een aantal jaar prima gelopen. Ondanks alle werkgroepen en éénmansgroepen, stokers, schelders en criticasters die enorm veel moeite deden het topic de nek om te draaien. Het heeft diverse boeken opgeleverd dus het was zeker de moeite waard.
quote:All Russiagate Roads Lead To London As Evidence Emerges Of Joseph Mifsud’s Links To UK Intelligence
Over the last few months, Professor Joseph Mifsud has become a feather in the cap for those pushing the Trump-Russia narrative. He is characterized as a “Russian” intelligence asset in mainstream press, despite his declarations to the contrary. However, evidence has surfaced that suggests Mifsud was anything but a Russian spy, and may have actually worked for British intelligence. This new evidence culminates in the ground-breaking conclusion that the UK and its intelligence apparatus may be responsible for the invention of key pillars of the Trump-Russia scandal. If true, this would essentially turn the entire RussiaGate debacle on its head.
To give an idea of the scope of this report, a few central points showing the UK connections with the central pillars of the Trump-Russia claims are included here, in the order of discussion in this article:
1. Mifsud allegedly discussed that Russia has ‘dirt’ on Clinton in the form of ‘thousands of emails’ with George Papadopoulos in London in April 2016.
2. The following month, Papadopoulos spoke with Alexander Downer, Australia’s ambassador to the UK, about the alleged Russian dirt on Clinton while they were drinking at a swanky Kensington bar, according to The Times. In late July 2016, Downer shared his tip with Australian intelligence officials who forwarded it to the FBI.
3. Robert Goldstone, a key figure in the ‘Trump Tower’ part of the RussiaGate narrative, sent Donald Trump Jr. an email claiming Russia wanted to help the Trump campaign. He is a British music promoter.
4. Christopher Steele, ex-MI6, who worked as an MI6 agent in Moscow until 1993 and ran the Russia desk at MI6 HQ in London between 2006 and 2009. He produced the totally unsubstantiated ‘Steele Dossier’ of Trump-Russia allegations, with funding from the Clinton campaign and the DNC.
5. Robert Hannigan, the head of British spy agency GCHQ, flew to Washington DC to share ‘director-to-director’ level intelligence with then-CIA Chief John Brennan.
Each of these strands of UK-tied elements of the Russiagate narrative can be substantially dismantled on close inspection. This untangling process leads to the surprising conclusion that UK intelligence services fabricated evidence of collusion in order to create the appearance of a Trump-Russia connection.
This trend begins with Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese scholar with an eclectic academic history who Quartz described as an “enigma,” while legacy press has enthusiastically characterized him as a central personality in the Trump-Russia scandal. The New York Times described Mifsud as an “enthusiastic promoter of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia”, citing his regular involvement in the annual meetings of the Valdai Discussion Club, a Russian-based think-tank, as well as three short articles he wrote in support of Russian policies.
Mifsud strongly denied claims that he was associated with Russian intelligence, telling Italian newspaper Repubblica that he was a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations and the Clinton Foundation, adding that his political outlook was “left-leaning.” Last month, Slate reported Mifsud had ‘disappeared’, as did some of the other figures linking the UK to the Trump-Russia scandal. This aspect will be discussed in more detail below.
To contextualize Mifsud’s eclectic academic career in terms of intelligence service, it is helpful to note that research undertaken by this author and Suzie Dawson as part of the Decipher You project has repeatedly shown the close ties – an outright merger in many cases – between the intelligence community and academia. This enmeshment also takes place with think-tanks, NGOs, and in the corporate sphere. In this light, Mifsud’s brand of ‘scholarship’ becomes far less mysterious.
Mifsud’s alleged links to Russian intelligence are summarily debunked by his close working relationship with Claire Smith, a major figure in the upper echelons of British intelligence. A number of Twitter users recently observed that Joseph Mifsud had been photographed standing next to Claire Smith of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee at Mifsud’s LINK campus in Rome. Newsmax and Buzzfeed later reported that the professor’s name and biography had been removed from the campus’ website, writing that the mysterious removal took place after Mifsud had served the institution for “years.”
WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange likewise noted the connection between Mifsud and Smith in a Twitter thread, additionally pointing out his connections with Saudi intelligence: “[Mifsud] and Claire Smith of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee and eight-year member of the UK Security Vetting panel both trained Italian security services at the Link University in Rome and appear to both be present in this [photo].”
The photograph in question originated on Geodiplomatics.com, where it specified that Joseph Mifsud is indeed standing next to Claire Smith, who was attending a: “…Training program on International Security which was organised by Link Campus University and London Academy of Diplomacy.” The event is listed as taking place in October, 2012. This is highly significant for a number of reasons.
Claire Smith standing with Joseph Mifsud, on the left side of the back row.
First, the training program Smith attended with high-ranking members of the Italian military was organized by the London Academy of Diplomacy, where Joseph Mifsud served as Director, as noted by The Washington Post. That Claire Smith was training military and law enforcement officials alongside Mifsud in 2012 during her tenure as a member of the UK Cabinet Office Security Vetting Appeals Panel, which oversees the vetting process for UK intelligence placement, strongly suggests that Mifsud has been incorrectly characterized as a Russian intelligence asset. It is extremely unlikely that Claire Smith’s role in vetting UK intelligence personnel would lead to her accidentally working with a Russian agent.
The connection between Mifsud and Smith does not end at bumped elbows in a photograph. Mifsud’s LinkedIn profile lists the University of Stirling as a place of occupation in connection with his service as Director of the London Academy of Diplomacy (LAD), where Claire Smith served as a visiting professor from 2013-2014 according to her LinkedIn profile. This adds yet another verifiable connection between a man who is at the center of already-flimsy Trump-Russia allegations and a high-ranking British intelligence figure.
Claire Smith’s LinkedIn profile details her service on the Security Vetting Appeals Panel while also occupied as a visiting Professor at Stirling University
Claire Smith also hosted a seminar titled “Making Sense of Intelligence” at the University of Stirling. The event registration form describes her career, including her service as Deputy Chief of Assessments Staff in the Cabinet Office, as a member of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee and her completion of an eight-year term as a member of the UK Security Vetting and Appeals Panel.
A particularly compelling factor indicating that Mifsud’s working relationship with Claire Smith suggests his direct connection with UK intelligence is Smith’s membership of the UK’s [url=https://web.archive.org/web/20170131143042/https://www.gov.uk/govern(...)0114301808.pdf]Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC)[/url], a supervisory body overseeing all UK intelligence agencies. The JIC is part of the Cabinet Office and reports directly to the Prime Minister. The Committee also sets the collection and analysis priorities for all of the agencies it supervises. Claire Smith also served as a member of the UK’s Cabinet Office.
In summary, Mifsud’s appearance with Claire Smith at the LINK campus, in addition to her discussion on intelligence at yet another university where Mifsud was also employed, as well as her long-standing role in UK intelligence vetting and her position as a member of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee, would suggest that the roving scholar is not a Russian agent, but is actually a UK intelligence asset. The possibility that such a high-ranking member of this extremely powerful intelligence supervisory group was photographed standing next to a “Russian” asset unknowingly is patently absurd. This finding knocks the first pillar out from under the edifice of the Trump-Russia allegations. It provides an initial suggestion of the UK’s involvement in procuring the ‘evidence’ that fueled the debacle.
Claire Smith is not the only British official associated with Mifsud. He was a speaker at an event by the Central European Initiative alongside former British diplomat Charles Crawford, whose postings included Moscow, Sarajevo, Belgrade and Warsaw. Crawford is listed as a visiting Professor with the same London Academy of Diplomacy (LAD) where Mifsud served as Director, associated with Stirling University. This adds more weight to the idea that Mifsud is a familiar figure among the upper echelons of the UK intelligence and foreign policy establishment.
The final nail in the coffin of the theory that Mifsud is a Russian spy is this photograph of Mifsud standing next to Boris Johnson, the UK Foreign Secretary, as reported by The Guardian. The photograph, taken in October 2017 – nearly a full year after the US Presidential election and nine months after Mifsud’s name appeared in newspaper headlines worldwide as allegedly involved in Russian meddling in that election – is either highly embarrassing for the hapless Mr Johnson, or it’s not, because Joseph Mifsud is actually a valued and security-vetted asset to the United Kingdom.
Image via The Guardian: Boris Johnson pictured at the dinner with the ‘London professor’, Joseph Mifsud (left) and Prasenjit Kumar Singh.
Another aspect of the RussiaGate claims tied to the UK includes the reported conversation between George Papadopoulos and Alexander Downer, Australia’s High Commissioner to the UK who was based in London. The pair reportedly spoke about the alleged Russian ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton while they were drinking at a swanky bar in London. According to Lifezette, Downer is closely tied with The Clinton Foundation via his role in securing $25 million in aid from his country to help the Clinton Foundation fight AIDS.
He is also a member of the advisory board of London-based Hakluyt & Co, an opposition research and intelligence firm set up in 1995 by three former UK intelligence officials and described as “a retirement home for ex-MI6 [British foreign intelligence] officers, but it now also recruits from the worlds of management consultancy and banking”. Whereas opposition research group Fusion GPS has received all the media attention so far, Lifezette states that Hakluyt is “a second, even more powerful and mysterious opposition research and intelligence firm… with significant political and financial links to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her 2016 campaign”.
Yet another UK link to a central pillar of the Trump-Russia narrative is British music promoter Robert Goldstone, who was reported to have organized a meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian nationals in June 2016. In the email chain setting up the Trump Tower meeting, both before and after the meeting, the only real ‘evidence’ of collusion with Russia come from Goldstone’s own emails; none-too-subtle heavy hints about ‘Russian help’ dropped by Goldstone but later – after the emails became public – walked back by him as “hyping the message and… using hot-button language to puff up the information I had been given.”
Some have speculated that Goldstone was also involved with British or US intelligence efforts to concoct the RussiaGate narrative. As soon as his name emerged in the press, Goldstone – like Christopher Steele and Joseph Mifsud – went into ‘hiding’. Multiple press reports claimed he had done so out of fear for his safety, a claim also made about Christopher Steele when his name first became public. Indeed, the UK government issued a DA Notice (a press suppression advisory notice) to the British press to suppress the ex-spy Steele’s name. It is notable that, of all the people swept up into the ever-burgeoning RussiaGate investigation, it is only the UK-linked witnesses – Mifsud, Steele, Goldstone – who have felt the need to go into hiding when their role has been exposed.
The New York Times summed up the contents of Christopher Steele’s dossier: “Mr. Steele produced a series of memos that alleged a broad conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to influence the 2016 election on behalf of Mr. Trump. The memos also contained unsubstantiated accounts of encounters between Mr. Trump and Russian prostitutes, and real estate deals that were intended as bribes.”
Press reports also relate that Steele was ordered by an English court to appear for a videotaped deposition in London as part of an ongoing civil litigation against Buzzfeed for publishing the unverified dossier, for which Steele was paid $168,000 by Glenn Simpson’s company Fusion GPS, who were in turn paid by Mark Elias of law firm Perkins Coie, lawyers to both the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC.
In his thread on the role of UK intelligence interference in the 2016 US Presidential race, Assange also noted how Christopher Steele used another former UK ambassador to Moscow, Sir Andrew Wood, to funnel the dossier to Senator John McCain in a way that moved the handover out of London, to Canada. It’s often said that no one ever really leaves the UK security services when they retire – many ‘former’ MI6 or MI5 officers’ private intelligence businesses are dependent on maintaining good contacts among their ex-colleagues – so it is interesting to note that Sir Andrew Wood says he was “instructed” — by former British spy Christopher Steele — to reach out to the senior Republican, whom Wood called “a good man,” about the unverified document.
Lastly, Robert Hannigan, former head of British intelligence agency GCHQ, is another personality of note in the formation of the RussiaGate narrative and its surprisingly deep links to the UK. The Guardian noted that Hannigan announced he would step down from his leadership position with the agency just three days after the inauguration of President Trump, on 23 January 2017. Jane Mayer in her profile of Christopher Steele published in the New Yorker also noted that Hannigan had flown to Washington D.C. to personally brief the then-CIA Director John Brennan on alleged communications between the Trump campaign and Moscow. What is so curious about this briefing “deemed so sensitive it was handled at director-level” is why Hannigan was talking director-to-director to the CIA and not Mike Rogers at the NSA, GCHQ’s Five Eyes intelligence-sharing partner.
The central supporting pillars of the RussiaGate allegations hinge on figures with close ties to British intelligence and UK nationals. Even establishment media like The Guardian reported that British spies from GCHQ were the first to alert US authorities to so-called Russian interference. Did the entire narrative originate with UK intelligence groups in an effort to create the appearance of Russian collusion with the Trump Presidential campaign, much as the Guccifer 2.0 persona was used in the US to discredit WikiLeaks’ publication of the DNC emails?
If it was not Russia at the heart of a complex operation to topple the Clinton campaign in 2016, then was British Intelligence responsible for creating false narratives and mirage-like ‘evidence’ on which the Trump-Russia scandal could hinge?
Put another way, if UK intelligence is responsible for manufacturing the Trump-Russia allegations, it suggests that the UK’s efforts formed an international arm running concurrently with domestic US ‘Deep State’ efforts to sabotage Trump’s presidential campaign and/or oust him once he had been elected.
Is British intelligence involvement in RussiaGate, as outlined above, the international version of CrowdStrike and former FBI figures manufacturing the Guccifer 2.0 persona specifically to smear WikiLeaks via false allegations of a Russian hack of the DNC? Have we been looking in the wrong place – at the wrong country – to unearth the so-called ‘foreign meddling’ in the 2016 US election all along?
quote:The Awan IT Scandal Put Congressional Data at Risk
Congressional IT workers paid by 44 House Democrats gained unauthorized access to sensitive networks
The emails and personal files of at least 44 House Democrats could have been stolen and transferred overseas by their own IT workers, in a scandal that has been quietly brewing in Congress.
At the center of the controversy are Imran Awan, his brother Abid Awan, and five other family members and associates.
They worked as shared IT employees for 44 House Democrats and had access to the House members’ sensitive data, including emails, calendars, constituents’ data, and personal files, despite having little to no IT experience.
All of the 44 House members had waived the background check on the employees, according to an inspector general’s report. Some of the members serve on committees that handle sensitive and sometimes classified information, such as the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Committee on Homeland Security, and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The IT workers were paid an estimated $7 million by Congress since 2004, despite the fact that some of them were often not seen at work and in some cases worked remotely from Pakistan.
In September 2016, the House Office of Inspector General warned House leadership and the Committee on House Administration that the IT workers had made unauthorized logins on systems of House members they were not employed by, and in some cases continued to log in to the computers of members who had previously fired them. They also logged in using the personal credentials of congressmen, the office found.
The findings came during the heat of the 2016 presidential race and as WikiLeaks was publishing emails taken from the Democratic National Committee, which was chaired by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), who had employed Imran Awan since 2005.
Despite the findings, access to congressional servers by the IT workers was not restricted until months later, after the election.
An analysis spanning seven months by the IG found that the five IT workers made excessive logons to a server belonging to a group similar to the DNC, the House Democratic Caucus. A total of 5,735 logons were recorded, an average of 27 times per day.
“Excessive logons are an indication that the server is being used for nefarious purposes and elevated the risk that individuals could be reading and/or removing information,” said the IG in the briefing, which was not publicly released.
The IG briefing also reveals that Dropbox had been installed on at least two computers that were uploading files online, in defiance of House policy. The Dropbox accounts contained thousands of files, which, according to the IG, contained information that was likely sensitive.
The House leaders, Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi, did not ban the five IT workers from the network until Feb. 2, 2017, when their access was blocked by the sergeant at arms. The Committee on House Administration put out a statement that acknowledged “suspicious activity” and said a “theft investigation” was ongoing.
Imran Awan, who immigrated from Pakistan to the United States in 1997 under the diversity lottery program, was hired in 2004—the same year he gained citizenship—by Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), and, soon after, Wasserman Schultz.
Imran quickly began earning among the highest salaries on Capitol Hill. After his salary hit a pay cap under congressional rules that prevent staffers from earning more than congressmen, other Democrats began adding Imran’s relatives to their own payrolls as IT aides, even though they did not have any background in IT.
In 2005, Imran’s brother Abid joined the payroll, and in 2007 Imran’s wife, Hina Alvi Awan, was added.
In 2011, Abid Awan’s wife, Ukrainian-born Natalia Sova, was added to the congressional payroll. Civil court documents show that during this time, Abid and his wife were running a used car dealership named Cars International A, which accepted a loan from Ali al-Attar, an Iraqi political figure of Iranian heritage who is wanted by the IRS and FBI on unrelated tax fraud charges.
In 2012, Abid Awan filed for bankruptcy, discharging $1.1 million in debts, despite his high salary. Documents showed that Abid Awan owed money to a man named Rao Abbas, who reportedly worked at McDonald’s. Shortly after, several House Democrats began paying Abbas as their ostensible IT aide.
In 2014, the youngest Awan brother, Jamal, was added to the payroll at age 20 and was soon earning as much as a congressman.
In total, the IT workers received $7 million in congressional pay and were responsible for the IT of 1 in every 5 House Democrats, or 44 in total.
Imran Awan himself took frequent trips to Pakistan and told associates he worked remotely from that country, The Daily Caller reported.
Background checks on the Awans and their associates were waived despite a number of red flags. Background checks are designed, in part, to reveal weaknesses, such as financial difficulty, that could be exploited by outside actors.
Suspicious Activity on Server
The House Democratic Caucus, whose server was identified as ground zero of the cybersecurity problems, was led by Becerra from 2013 to January 2017, when he became California’s attorney general.
The total logons onto the system, 5,735 during a seven-month period, were considered suspicious, as the computers in offices managed by the shared IT employees were accessed in total less than 60 times during the same time period.
The IG investigation also revealed that the “pattern of login activity suggests steps [were] being taken to conceal their activity.” This included the use of active role servers, which could have been used to grant access on a temporary basis and could have been used to evade network monitoring.
The Democratic Caucus server “could be used to store documents taken from other offices or evidence of other illicit activity,” according to the IG presentation.
The unusual login activity could also indicate computers were “used as a launching point to access other systems for which access may be unauthorized.”
The installation of Dropbox on two Democratic Caucus computers used by the IT workers raises concerns that those computers could have been used to transfer data out of Congress to other groups or nation-states.
According to other congressional IT workers, congressional staff and IT workers are prohibited from using Dropbox due to security concerns.
“While file sharing sites, such as Dropbox, have legitimate business purposes, use of such sites is also a classic method for insiders to exfiltrate data from an organization,” the IG report states.
Sensitive Data and Potential Blackmail
Among the data hosted on the IT systems of House members are emails, calendars, House members’ personal files, and personal information of constituents who have contacted their representative’s office.
Such sensitive data could prove useful to companies and other entities around the world.
“We know that there are countries and companies, entities around the world, who would pay a lot of money to have access to some members’ calendars, to their e-mails, see who they are meeting with, see what they’re saying about those meetings, that could be very valuable information,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), during an informal hearing on the issue in Congress on Oct. 10, 2017.
In certain cases, personal files and data could also be used to blackmail politicians.
Following its warning to House leadership on Sept. 20, 2016, the Office of Inspector General provided another briefing on Sept. 30, warning of “continuing unauthorized access” by the IT workers.
The investigation was then taken away from the inspector general in October and handed over to Capitol Police, despite the police having no cybersecurity expertise. In January, Imran Awan was able to travel to Pakistan unimpeded.
A server belonging to the House Democratic Caucus was stolen after the inspector general’s report named it as evidence in a hacking probe, three senior government officials told The Daily Caller. Around the same time, the head of the caucus, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), left Congress to become California’s attorney general.
On Feb. 2, 2017, the sergeant at arms officially banned the IT workers from the House network. A day later, most of the 44 House Democrats ended their contracts with the IT workers and fired them.
Wasserman Schultz did not fire Imran, saying the IT worker could service her technology needs without connecting to the House network. She also added Hina Alvi Awan as a second IT aide well after the investigation was underway.
In March 2017, Hina left for Pakistan with her children without notifying their schools. Prosecutors say that FBI agents had been surveilling her, and that they approached her at the airport, where she refused to speak to them. A search revealed Hina was carrying $12,400 in cash and many of her personal belongings, some packed in cardboard boxes. Despite this, she was allowed to board the plane.
When Imran Awan tried to leave the country on July 24, the FBI arrested him at the airport. A month later, on Aug. 17, both Imran and Hina were indicted for bank fraud. In September, Hina reached a deal with prosecutors to return to the United States from Pakistan.
Missing IT Equipment
The initial investigation by the Office of Inspector General also found that the shared IT employees were involved in irregular purchases of technology, such as iPads, iPhones, and other equipment.
Under congressional rules, inventory must be kept of all purchases by House members of equipment that has a purchase price of $500 or more. The IG found that some offices that employed the Awans were signing off on forms that manipulated pricing to make expensive products appear like they cost less than that.
Examples of purchases made this way include an iPad with an original cost of $799, that was billed for $499 together with Apple Care that was billed for $350, despite its actual cost being $88. To accomplish this, the Awans allegedly worked with CDW Government, a major government contractor, which says it is cooperating with prosecutors but has been told it is not a target.
The IG report also found that 75 pieces of equipment with a total purchase price of $118,416 went missing from one of the offices where Abid Awan worked. The office was later revealed to be that of Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.). The missing equipment included laptops, iPads, TVs, video conferencing equipment, and computers. The IG report said Abid Awan, who was responsible for the equipment, made contradicting statements about it.
Family members of the Awans told The Daily Caller that they shipped a significant number of devices, such as iPads and iPhones, to Pakistan.
But one of Imran Awan’s lawyers said it was congressmen who wanted invoices falsified. “This is what experienced members of Congress expect: to expedite things, they adjust the pricing,” Aaron Page told The Daily Caller.
Abid Awan’s attorney, Jim Bacon, told The Washington Post: “In a fluid situation, you do what you’re ordered to do. … It sounds to me like there’s a lot of scapegoating here.”
Wasserman Schultz’s Laptop
Two months after being banned from the House IT network by the sergeant at arms, Imran Awan left a laptop with a username “RepDWS” in a phone booth, along with a letter to prosecutors and copies of his House ID card and driver’s license, according to a Capitol Police report. The bag was found by Capitol Hill police and seized.
During a televised hearing on May 18, 2017, Wasserman Schultz threatened the Capitol Police chief with “consequences” if the laptop was not returned. She hired a lawyer in an attempt to prevent prosecutors from looking at the contents of the laptop.
In August 2017, Wasserman Schultz seemingly changed course, saying: “This was not my laptop. I have never seen that laptop. I don’t know what’s on the laptop.”
Emails of Wasserman Schultz released by WikiLeaks reveal that Imran Awan had the login to her iPad. This means he would have had access to all of her personal information, including her calendar, emails, and notes.
In an October court appearance, Imran Awan’s lawyer, Chris Gowen, said he feels “very strongly” that the “RepDWS” laptop should not be used as evidence, citing attorney-client privilege. Both Imran Awan and Wasserman Schultz have been provided with an image of its hard drive.
In the six months since, prosecutors have postponed the next court date four times, pointing to “voluminous discovery” and discussions about the attorney-client privilege argument. Observers of the justice system say such delays would not be necessary for a bank fraud case and tare a sign that prosecutors are stalling while they build the cybersecurity and fraud cases.
Imran Awan remains out of jail with a GPS tracking monitor, which his lawyer has repeatedly requested be removed. On Dec. 18 prosecutors objected to that request. “Taking into account (1) Awan’s strong connections to Pakistan, (2) the wealth he already transferred there, and (3) his attempt to depart to Pakistan while knowing he was under investigation, the government asserts that Awan is a flight risk,” they wrote.