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      07-26-2019, 12:11 PM   #67
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Oh really? This took me about 30 seconds to find from the WSJ (not an OpEd):

"The Justice Department’s internal watchdog, close to concluding its inquiry into steps the FBI took in its probe of Trump campaign associates and Russia beginning in 2016, is homing in on whether the agency continued surveillance of one associate despite questions about a key source’s credibility, according to people familiar with the matter.

"In the closely watched probe of the counterintelligence inquiry that later morphed into special counsel Robert Mueller’s examination of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the department’s inspector general has been asking witnesses about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s treatment of information in a dossier provided by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer.

"The findings of Mr. Steele, whose work was financed by Democrats to investigate President Trump’s ties to Russia, was included in an application for a warrant from a secret court to eavesdrop on Carter Page, who briefly served on the Trump campaign as a foreign-policy adviser. The surveillance of Mr. Page, who has denied wrongdoing and hasn’t been charged with any crime, began in October 2016, shortly after he left the campaign. The warrant was renewed three times through much of 2017.

* * *

"Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s team has been asking why the FBI continued to cite Mr. Steele as a credible source in the renewal applications, the people said. In particular, they asked about a news report cited extensively in the applications that appeared to bolster Mr. Steele’s credibility. The report said U.S. intelligence officials were investigating allegations similar to those Mr. Steele had raised."

And from a WSJ OpEd that lends some perspective:

"This is what should concern us: that quite apart from illegal leaks, which are themselves a big problem, certain intelligence-agency actions were undertaken deliberately for domestic political purposes. Example: It is absurd at this point to pretend that James Comey’s original intervention in the Hillary Clinton email matter, based on intercepted Russian intelligence, was not such an action. It relieved the Obama Justice Department of the delicate problem of having to defend politically a decision not to prosecute Mrs. Clinton, by pretending that an independent institution (in reality the FBI and its chief worked for Mr. Obama) had made the call.

"Mr. Comey would never have waited until three weeks before the Democratic Convention if he were seriously entertaining the possibility that Mrs. Clinton might be charged. The Russian intelligence reportedly consisted of prima facie evidence of Justice Department corruption of the Hillary email case, yet Mr. Comey apparently discounted its import even as he reasoned that this supposedly misleading intelligence somehow required his extraordinary intervention to clear Mrs. Clinton. A subsequent inspector general’s report found Mr. Comey’s intervention improper, but everything about the secret motive behind it remains hidden in a “classified appendix.”

"Understand: The alternative was not to charge Mrs. Clinton. It was to let the administration own the decision as it should have.

"This is the clearest example of intelligence functions being opportunistically used for domestic political purposes, and to my mind the one from which all else flows. But there are others:

"It is distinctly possible (not certain) that the FBI, in its dealings with Christopher Steele, deliberately sought to assist his campaign to get the media to report the unsupported accusations contained in his dossier.

"It is distinctly possible (not certain) that a decision by Mr. Comey and his intelligence colleagues to brief President-elect Trump on the existence of the Steele dossier but to withhold certain information (such as that the dossier was a concoction of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party) was a set-up. It was meant to create an opportunity for the media to report on the dossier’s existence but also to deprive Mr. Trump of the opportunity to defend himself by revealing its origins.

"About one matter no uncertainty exists: Obama intelligence chieftains John Brennan and James Clapper, after they left office, went immediately on the airwaves to promote the story that Mr. Trump was a Russian agent.

"That these actions took place is not a theory and whether they involved a conspiracy remains to be seen. What you might really be waiting for is certain mainstream news organs to acknowledge that these phenomena are real and that the questions they raise are legitimate. So am I.

"More real reporting about the Steele dossier was contained in a single tweet from the New York Times’s Maggie Haberman, after its Democratic authorship was revealed, than in the 19 months since. She said: “Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year.”

"The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward caused a stir on Fox News recently when he said the intelligence community’s adoption of the Steele dossier was “highly questionable” and “needs to be investigated.” That need was evident two years ago.

"The near-silence of the media on the secret appendix to the report on Mr. Comey and the Hillary Clinton case, even though it was mentioned 17 times in the public report, is just baffling—unless you assume a reluctance to pursue leads that might tend to discredit the very same sources the press had come to depend on to legitimize the Trump-Russia collusion story.

"Two years ago, I wrote: “Democrats wanted an independent counsel investigation of Russia’s election meddling. They believed it would lead to evidence of, or at least keep alive the story of, Trump collusion. They may be unpleasantly surprised where it really leads.”

"The questions about Mr. Trump and his competence, ethics and desire for closer relations with Russia are not more important than getting to the bottom of the intelligence community’s role in the 2016 election. Because in their minds celebrity triumphs over all, don’t expect TV pundits ever to repent of their collusion hysteria. That catharsis is not coming. Look elsewhere for the truth."
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