Little has been heard about any legal actions of any kind being levied against two top FBI officials: Andrew McCabe and James Comey. Many think that criminal indictments for the pair will be included in the release of details of the criminal investigation of FBI wrongdoing during 2016 and 2017. But, this is the FBI! Politics usually dictates who in the FBI accused of (and later found guilty of) criminality will actually be charged and forced to face prosecution.
I thought it was odd for Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) to tweet several days ago, that there are two tiers of justice in the United States: one for everyday Americans and one for Donald Trump’s friends and confidants. Why is that odd? Two reasons: Adam Schiff is a pathological liar who is recorded consistently lying before Congress, in television interviews, and even in his own tweets! Schiff seems to have forgotten how much criminal activity occurred before Trump even got to Washington. And that criminal activity not only occurred under President Obama, but it has also been confirmed Mr. Obama played a role in it. If he didn’t initiate it, he knew it was happening on his watch.
Rep. Schiff invoked U.S. Attorney John Durham, who is conducting a criminal inquiry of the federal Russia investigation, as he discussed his dread that “more serious abuse” of federal law enforcement will happen in the coming days.
Schiff Does Not Like Attorney General William Barr
“One of the concerns I have with Bill Barr is that the worst is yet to come. I mean, he’s got a terrible, destructive track record as it is, and it may get worse in the coming days,” Schiff said. “But what we have seen largely is Barr’s intervention to protect the president.”
As examples, Schiff mentioned Barr’s rollout of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and “intervention” in cases spun off from the Russia investigation to “help Trump cronies” such as Roger Stone and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“What we have not yet had full visibility on is not Barr’s use of the shield to protect corruption writ large of his boss, Donald Trump, but the sword,” Schiff continued. “How he may be using the power of the Justice Department through Durham or others to go after the president’s enemies. And in many respects, that is a far greater, more serious abuse of the power of the Justice Department than his use of the shield.”
It’s a well-worn line of criticism for Schiff, who has complained since last year that the Justice Department has kept the Democratic-led House in the dark about its inquiries into whether there was inappropriate “spying” on Trump’s 2016 campaign and other misconduct. But more recently, that anxiety has deepened as Trump accused former President Barack Obama and his vice president, Joe Biden, of committing crimes as part of the “Obamagate” scandal.
“And so I continue to be concerned with the president, who is tweeting about how Obama and Biden should go to prison, that Bill Barr may be preparing the use of the sword in a politicized and dangerous and desperate way,” Schiff said.
Barr has repeatedly said he does not expect Obama or Biden, who is now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, to be targets of Durham’s investigation. He also has dismissed the inquiry as being a partisan hit job, even as some critics fear an “October surprise.”
“This cannot be, and it will not be a tit-for-tat exercise. We are not going to lower our standards to achieve a particular result,” the attorney general said in May. Barr said last month that he anticipates “developments” in Durham’s criminal investigation by the end of the summer.
Whereas Schiff is spooked by being kept in the dark about Durham’s work, his Republican counterpart on the House Intelligence Committee views that as a “good sign.”
While we’ve been totally wrapped in the COVID-19 fears, may others have been captured by nightly stories of violence — disguised as “peaceful protesting,” a few more layers of the “Intelligence Community Onion of Ill Repute” have been peeled away. John Solomon — an investigative reporter who in my opinion is one of the most diligent and concise of today’s investigative reporters — uncovered some bad news for James Comey and Andrew McCabe.
The FBI agent who ran the FBI warrantless spying program said he warned ex-FBI Director Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe that the program was a useless waste of taxpayer money that needlessly infringed Americans’ civil liberties, but his bosses refused to take action. Retired Special Agent Bassem Youssef ran the FBI’s Communications Analysis Unit from late 2004 until his retirement in late 2014. He told John Solomon he fears the deeply flawed program, which was started in response to the Sept. 11 attacks, was allowed to keep going to give Americans a false sense of security in the war on terror and possibly to enable inappropriate spying, such as that which targeted President Trump’s 2016 campaign.
“I have no doubt, or very little doubt, that it was used for political spying or political espionage,” Youssef said during a lengthy interview.
Youssef confirmed that the FBI performed an audit of the highly classified program (also known as the NSA program because it searched call records captured by the National Security Agency) after Edward Snowden leaked its existence. The audit showed that while the program had generated two moderate leads for counterterrorism cases, it had not helped thwart dozens of terrorist attacks as officials had claimed, despite costing tens of millions of dollars per year. In fact, the program was generating large numbers of “false negatives and positives,” Youssef said. The audit, he added, also showed “there was collateral damage in terms of civil liberties” of Americans whose phone records were unnecessarily searched or who were falsely identified as connected to terrorism.
Youssef said he discussed the concerns with McCabe both when McCabe served as assistant director for counterterrorism and then when he was promoted to acting executive assistant director, the No. 3 job in the bureau. But his efforts to pause the program and reform it so it could work better, cost less, and infringe less on American privacy fell on deaf ears, he said.
When McCabe was acting executive assistant director, “I explained to him again, the model that I was looking to establish and to let him know that we were not really getting good support from this program and that maybe we should reconsider this whole thing, unless we can re-tweak it,” Youssef recalled. “And I remember, he was so adamant about, we need this program. We’re keeping it like this, even though we’re not getting anything out of it.”
Asked why the FBI would keep a program that was not producing any terrorism leads, Youssef said: “It was a way to say, you know, it’s an insurance policy to show that we’re doing everything we can, when in fact it wasn’t giving us anything of what we hoped it would get.”
FBI and DOJ declined to comment. Lawyers for Comey and McCabe also did not respond to requests for comment.
Youssef said that in September 2014, shortly before he retired, he was invited to brief Comey privately about his concerns in the director’s office. “It was a very lengthy briefing,” Youssef recalled. “He was very interactive. He asked very good questions. And after I explained everything to him, his only concern was not that we should shut it down, or that we should change it so that we can protect civil liberties … his concern was, do you have a problem or concerns with the statutory authority?”
Youssef recalls explaining that while he had no reservations about the legal authority of the surveillance, which had to be approved by FISA court judges, he had serious concerns about both the “waste of human resources” inherent in the “hundreds of thousands of agent hours in the field” lost to the labor-intensive program and the threat the program posed to civil liberties.
“Unless we change it to a different model,” Youssef recalls telling Comey, “we’re going to continue to get many false positives and false negatives. And you can imagine with a false positive, we would be knocking on people’s doors who have nothing to do with any kind of terrorism act.” Youssef said he had “no doubt whatsoever” that McCabe and Comey understood the severity of the problems. “I gave them the full monty brief,” he said. “I explained everything to them. They were fully briefed on the program.”
The New York Times reported that even after the Obama-era audit flagged serious concerns, the FBI kept operating the program until President Trump shut it down in 2019. Between 2015 and 2019 the program only generated two more leads, the newspaper reported, citing the White House report.
“That’s probably what grieves me more than anything,” Youssef said. “Here we have a program that was not doing what it should. It was leaked. And the Obama administration very quickly appointed a privacy and civil liberties board to look into this. And we were mandated to give, we called it the options paper. And so my option was really the one that would give us the best intelligence at the lowest cost while minimizing the false positive and false negative intelligence. And so it makes perfect sense that this would be adopted. And yet, the director basically didn’t do anything with it.”
Youssef said he has developed deep concerns since his retirement that the NSA program may have been abused, like the FISA warrants, during the Russia collusion probe of the Trump campaign that included a highly flawed Foreign Intelligence Surveillance warrant against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
“There is no doubt in my mind now, looking at the backdrop and the information that has come up since 2016 in the media, that the abuses were rampant,” he said, “and not just for the FISA process, the FISA program, but for other programs that were used to spy on the Trump campaign. That to me is almost the obvious conclusion of what I’ve seen.
There is “a high probability that that program was used to handpick selected targeted numbers for purposes other than fighting terrorism,” Youssef believes. “It’s kind of a mirror image of the FISA abuses on Carter Page. As you know, it came out much later that the FISA process was for counterintelligence and counterterrorism purposes only. That was not what they used it for on Carter Page. And so it’s sort of the same type of situation with this other program. I have no doubt or very little doubt that it was used for political spying or political espionage.”
“Same Song, Second Verse.”
Is it at all doubtful, based on what we ALREADY know as fact, that at least Comey is up to his eyeballs in corruption and a certain criminal indictment or two? And McCabe dug a deep hole for himself, if for no other reason than his “looking the other way” while Comey and others in the Obama Administration if not destroyed the intelligence agencies’ operational guidelines then at least blurred the lines between legal and illegal so as to be able to say, “I’m sorry. I simply did not know that doing exactly this one thing, I was violating criminal statutes. Can’t we all ‘just get along?'”
The onion has just begun to shed layers of illegalities. But here’s what is petrifying all Americans who have seen and understood at least a small part of how egregious were the actions of Comey’s FBI and former Attorney General Lynch during this time: what if Trump is not re-elected?
Every American can be assured that if Trump leaves the White House, the multiple dozens of Obama Administration wrong-doers will walk without ANY prosecution for their criminal actions. And James Comey will be the biggest winner.
All that average Americans can do is plan to vote and make certain we do. But there’s one more thing: share the facts of this story with all those you know. In fact, you may want to not just forward the story link to this story; you may want to copy and paste this story and send it around.
Is it worth the trouble?
Forget about your own life for a moment. Think of your children, grandchildren, and their children and grandchildren.
This issue is a totally unique political travesty played out on Americans on the watch of a sitting President! Our government owes us not just an explanation, but a prosecution for every wrongdoer in ObamaGate.
Adam Schiff, I’m certain Attorney General Bar is just the man who can make this happen. With the added factual foundation being provided by Federal Attorney John Durham, when completed I’ll volunteer to write the book!