If you want to understand what a work of slime and mendacity that Andrew McCabe is, you just need to read the transcript of his testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and compare that with the documents released by the Department of Justice last week to dismiss the charges against General Michael Flynn. McCabe, who recently derided the DOJ decision as foolish, is either stupid or did not take time to read and remind himself of what he actually said and did.
Here is the bottomline–the transcript of General Flynn's conversations with Russia's Ambassador in December 2016 was deliberately leaked to give the FBI a pretext for interviewing and trapping Flynn and Andrew McCabe lied to HPSCI about this. The leak helped create the predicate to ambush Michael Flynn.
How was it a pretext? Nothing that Michael Flynn said in the phone call with the Russian Ambassador was illegal. It was the type of conversation that one would expect the incoming National Security Advisor to have with a senior foreign diplomat. It was not a public conversation. Only the NSA or the CIA had the ability to intercept this communication which took place outside the United States.
The FBI and their co-conspirators in the intelligence community (i.e., Clapper and Brennan) needed to get that information out into the public. Once it was publicized they could monitor what Flynn and other members of the Trump Administration said in response to the publicity and, if anyone said something the FBI deemed to be "untrue" they could be charged with lying to a Federal law enforcement officer if they repeated the lie. David Ignatius, who received the leaked information, was the obedient water carrier for the FBI.
I want to direct your focus to these critical dates in the Flynn chronology:
August 16, 2016: The FBI opens an investigation of Michael Flynn using the code name, CROSSFIRE RAZOR. (Exhibit 2)
January 3, 2017: Andy McCabe tells Mary McCord that the FBI had been planning to close the Flynn investigation but "discovered" his phone calls with the Russian Ambassador. (Exhibit 3, page 2)
January 4, 2017: The FBI Agent leading the investigation of the General Flynn sends Peter Strzok the memo recommending the case be close because there was no evidence against the General. (Exhibit 1) Peter Strzok tells the Agent that the "7th Floor" is interested.
January 5, 2017: Barack Obama tells Acting Attorney General Sally Yates in the presence of Jim Comey that he had learned about Flynn's conversation with the Russian Ambassador on sanctions. (Exhibit 4)
January 12, 2017: the Washington Post reported the December 29 communications between Mr. Flynn and the Russian ambassador.
January 14, 2017: Sally Yates tells investigators, "DOJ began to "ramp up" their discussions regarding Flynn, in reaction to a David Ignatius column describing the in early January 2017, followed by a statement by Sean Spicer around January 13, in which Spicer denied there was sanctions talk on the calls and and stated that the Flynn calls were logistical. (Exhibit 4)
January 15, 2017: VP-elect Mike Pence goes on Face the Nation and states that Michael Flynn did not talk to the Russian about sanctions.
January 16, 2017: According to Sally Yates, Following January 15, 2017, discussions regarding Flynn . . . amplified. Yates described several different combinations of people having conversations about the Flynn case, to include internal DOJ discussion, DOJ/NSD and FBI discussions; (Exhibit 4)
January 24, 2017: The FBI conducts its ambush interview of Michael Flynn.
So what did Andrew McCabe tell HPSCI? He tells a very different story:
MR. GOWDY: Why did the Bureau interview General Flynn when they did? What was the reasoning for the interview?
MR. MCCABE: Because the – I'm trying to reassemble this chronology in my mind, but to the best of my recollection, we interviewed General Flynn at that time because of the existence of the – of his conversation, the record of his conversation with Ambassador Kislyak had become widely known through press reporting.
And at that point, there was really – there was no – that part of the investigation had become so widely known there was no -. there was no reason to continue, kind of, in a covert investigative posture and so we wanted to sit down with General Flynn and understand, kind of, what his thoughts on that conversation were.
MR. GOWDY: Was he interviewed because the Vice President relied upon information from him in a national interview?
MR. MCCABE: No. I don't remember that being a motivating factorbehind the interview.
MR. GOWDY: So he would have been interviewed even separate and apart from the fact that former Acting Attorney General Yates believe that he had mislead the Vice President, and that needed to be addressed?
MR. MCCABE: He would have been interviewed either way (see pages 136-137).
Liar!! The leak to Ignatius was cornerstone of creating a predicate to go after Flynn.
Flynn's conversation with the Russian Ambassador was intercepted by NSA on the 29th of December. I am certain that intercept was marked at least Top Secret. The name of Michael Flynn was supposed to be blacked out. When this "transcript" comes into NSA hands, it is not put out raw (normally). It is put into a report with a specific number and the names of any American citizens are blacked out.
Someone, and we do not yet know who, made the request to unmask General Flynn. In other words, put out a version of the report with Flynn's name prominently displayed. And this kind of product is not just "Top Secret."
I hope this is just one of the leads that John Durham is pursuing. How widely disseminated was this Top Secret intercept? Who wrote it up as a a NSA product that could be disseminated? Was it someone at the FBI? At DOD? The White House? The CIA?
There is a paper trail and name of the person who requested the unmasking will be in the crosshairs.
UPDATE–Rather than respond to each of the individual comments I decided that an update was in order since many had a similar question about analysis by Sundance at Conservative Treehouse.
First, as I noted above, a counterintelligence case was opened on General Flynn in August of 2016. The supposed predicate for this was Flynn's previous speaking engagement at the Russia Today gala in Moscow in December 2015. But the FBI deliberately and stupidly omitted key facts:
- The invitation came via Michael Flynn's U.S. based Speaker's Bureau.
- Michael Flynn submitted the invitation to the Defense Intelligence Agency (he still held clearances) and asked for permission to accept the invitation. The DIA approved the request.
- Upon returning to the United States, Michael Flynn went to the DIA and provided a full debriefing on the trip, including who he met and who he talked to.
Second, although Flynn was the target of the FBI counterintelligence investigation that did not give the FBI permission to intercept his communications. Any effort to monitor his communications would have required a FISA request. So far, we have seen no evidence of such a request.
The way to work around this legal prohibition of the FBI spying on Flynn was to use "intelligence" gathered by the CIA and the NSA. Still, if Flynn's name appeared in any of their product they were still legally obligated to "unmask"p–in other words, fill out a document requesting the name of the AMCIT listed in the particular report be revealed. My understanding is this is exactly what happened.
Someone (we do not yet know who), put a high priority on all of Flynn's communications at the NSA/CIA. That is why it was so quickly revealed to Comey and McCabe on a holiday weekend.