Our “beloved” mainstream media is going out of its way to ignore today’s guilty plea by FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, who admitted he lied to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court about Carter Page’s prior relationship with the CIA. But it was not a drafting error or a failure to remember a critical detail. It was a deliberate altering of a communication (a classified email) from the CIA.
Let us start with the relevant portions of John Durham’s complaint, which explains Clinesmith’s crime. (Note–I had to copy and paste images of the PDF because it is formatted in a way that does not permit copy and paste of text.)
Here are some notes to help you understand the acronyms:
OGA–Other Government Agency, which in this case is shorthand for “CIA.”
Individual #1–This is Carter Page.
Digraph Source–A digraph is a two letter acronym for a CIA Division. In this case it means “NR” aka National Resources Division. NR, according to Wikipedia, is the domestic division of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. Its main function is to conduct voluntary debriefings of U.S. citizens who travel overseas for work or to visit relatives, and to recruit foreign students, diplomats and business people to become CIA assets when they return to their countries.
Here is the key information you should understand when you read the Durham complaint. The entire Crossfire Hurricane team, which includes Jim Comey, Andy McCabe, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, had received a document from the CIA notifyng the FBI that Carter Page had been an “approved” operational contact for NR from 2008 to 2013. That message provided in detail the information that Carter Page had passed to the CIA.
This failure to include this information in the first and succeeding FISA applications was not the fault of Kevin Clinesmith. That is entirely on the hands of Jim Comey and Andy McCabe. They were in charge. They had a moral an ethical obligation to inform the FISA court that Carter Page had been in contact with Russian intelligence officers while working on behalf of the CIA.
Here is what we know from the first FISA document–Carter Page was clearly identified as likely working for the Russians.
The FBI officials did not share the CIA information about Carter Page with the FISA Court. How do I know this? Because on the even of submitting the fourth FISA FBI officials directed Kevin Clinesmith to go back to the CIA and ask about Carter Page’s status as a CIA source.
If the FBI had been playing this whole sordid affair straight they would have put something like the following in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd FISAs:
- Carter Page was an active source for the CIA from 2008 to 2013.
- We are unable to determine if Carter Page’s actions from 2014 to present were conducted without the knowledge of the CIA.
The FBI would have covered its corrupt ass if it had inserted language like that into the FISA. Instead, Clinesmith was tasked to revisit the issue with the CIA point of contact and the same information supplied in August 2016 was once again sent to the FBI.
Here is the Durham complaint on this point:
“B. Individual #1′ s Prior Relationship With Another Government Agency
- On August 17, 2016, prior to the approval of FISA #1, the OGA provided certain members of the Crossfire Hurricane team a memorandum (“”August 17 Memorandum””) indicating that Individual #1 had been approved as an “”operational contact”” for the OGA from 2008 to 2013 and detailing information that Individual #1 had provided to the OGA concerning Individual #1′ s prior contacts with certain Russian intelligence officers. The first three FISA applications did not
include Individual #1’s history or status with the OGA.”
- “may be a””[ digraph]””1 source. This is a fact we would need to disclose in our next FISA renewal. .. To that end, can we get two items from you? 1) Source Check/Is [Individual #1] a source in any capacity? 2) If he is, what is a [digraph] source (or whatever type of source he is)?””
- Later that same day, the OGA Liaison responded by email in which the liaison provided the defendant with a list (but not copies) of OGA documents. That list included a reference to the August 17 Memorandum the OGA had previously provided to certain members of the Crossfire Hurricane team. The liaison also wrote that the OGA uses the [digraph] to show that the encrypted individual…is a [U.S. person]. We encrypt the [U.S. persons] when they provide reporting to us. My recollection is that [Individual #1] was or is … [digraph] but the [documents] will explain the details. If you need a formal definition for the FISA, please let me know and we’ll work up some language and get it cleared for use.
- The defendant subsequently responded that same day to the OGA Liaison via email with “”Thanks so much for that information. We’ re digging into the [documents] now, but I think the definition of the [digraph] answers our questions.”””
Here is where Clinesmith shot himself in the legal foot. The FBI Senior Agent wanted to make sure that Page was not and had not been a source. Durham’s complaint states:
Clinesmith’s own words–“CIA CONFIRMED HE WAS NEVER A SOURCE.” That is a lie. All Clinesmith had to do, to maintain even the charade of integrity, was to note that Page had been a source but was not an NR source since 2014. He did not do that. He then did something more egregious–he inserted the following into the CIA email:
“My recollection is that [Individual #1] was or is “”[digraph]”” and not a “”source”” but the [documents] will explain the details. If you need a formal definition for the FISA, please let me know and we’ ll work up some
language and get it cleared for use”
The CIA left open the possibility that Page still was a NR source. But Clinesmith changed the CIA officer’s email by inserting the phrase, “AND NOT A SOURCE.”
I want to close by focusing on the crime of Comey, McCabe and others on the CrossFire Hurricane team who received and/or knew of the CIA communication in August of 2016. They could have disclosed that to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. They chose to hide it. I think it is reasonable to assume that this is one of the remaining lines of investigation that Durham is pursuing. This path leads to the top of the FBI.