Wait…That’s How Peter Strzok Signed Off on the FBI’s Counterintelligence Probe into Trump-Russia Collusion

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by Matt Vespa, Townhall:

With each passing day, we’re learning more about the Obama DOJ’s off the reservation behavior regarding the Trump-Russia fiasco. There was no evidence of collusion, but this circus act, fanned by the anti-Trump liberal media, engulfed the nation for nearly two years. No, it still has a grip on the minds of liberal America. The overreach is well-documented. For former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, he pleaded guilty to bogus “lying to the FBI” charges over a phone call he had with the Russians, which was routine and not out of the ordinary. There was no reason to investigate Flynn, as the new DOJ motion to dismiss the criminal charges against him showed.

The agents who interviewed Flynn also added that they felt he didn’t lie. And yet, that 302 report, which took weeks to file, a departure from department policy, has vanished into the ether. We know that those who weren’t conducting the interview edited and tweaked it, another departure from department policy. Disgraced ex-FBI chief James Comey wanted Flynn and was going to get him at all costs. Well, Flynn remains in legal purgatory, as the judge in his case, Emmet Sullivan, has not only decided to not drop the case, despite the lack of a case and a prosecutor who resigned, he’s doubling down. He appointed a retired judge, whose law firm represented the queen of the DOJ resisters, Sally Yates, to fight the DOJ motion and see if perjury charges could be filed against Flynn for his shoddy plea deal. It’s Keystone Cops. Period. And all of this was due to the FBI weaponizing a political opposition research project—the Trump dossier—which was compiled by an ex-British spy, Christopher Steele, and bankrolled by the Democrats. The dossier is what sparked the FBI’s counterintelligence probe and the Crossfire Hurricane operation, where FBI operatives would try to glean information from Trump campaign officials under false pretenses and then relay their intelligence to another party, but don’t call this spying, right?

Disgraced FBI Agent Peter Strzok was a top counterintelligence agent at the time before his texts with bureau lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was having an extramarital affair, were exposed. The tens of thousands of texts showed a deep anti-Trump bias that called into question the credibility of the FBI and their impartiality as an investigative body, given that the bureau had undertaken two of the most politically charged investigations in recent memory: the collusion probe and the analysis of Hillary Clinton’s email server. He was fired for these texts, but Strzok reportedly signed off on the overall collusion probe. What happened here? Well, a former FBI intelligence official Kevin Brock said that the paperwork Strzok signed off on was a “train wreck,” showing that there was no legitimate reason to place the Trump campaign under surveillance (via the Hill) [emphasis mine]:

To the untrained eye, the FBI document that launched Crossfire Hurricane can be confusing, and it may be difficult to discern how it might be inadequate. To the trained eye, however, it is a train wreck.

[…]

First, the document is oddly constructed. In a normal, legitimate FBI Electronic Communication, or EC, there would be a “To” and a “From” line. The Crossfire Hurricane EC has only a “From” line; it is from a part of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division whose contact is listed as Peter Strzok. The EC was drafted also by Peter Strzok. And, finally, it was approved by Peter Strzok. Essentially, it is a document created by Peter Strzok, approved by Peter Strzok, and sent from Peter Strzok to Peter Strzok.

On that basis alone, the document is an absurdityviolative of all FBI protocols and, therefore, invalid on its face. An agent cannot approve his or her own case; that would make a mockery of the oversight designed to protect Americans. Yet, for this document, Peter Strzok was pitcher, catcher, batter and umpire.

In addition, several names are listed in a “cc” or copy line; all are redacted, save Strzok’s, who, for some reason, felt it necessary to copy himself on a document he sent from himself to himself.

Names on an FBI document are always listed in cascading fashion, with the most senior at the top and on down to the least senior. On this EC, Strzok is listed last, so the redacted names should be more senior to him. Those names could well include then-FBI Director James Comey, then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and then-Counterintelligence Assistant Director Bill Priestap. The document also establishes these redacted names as “case participants.”

Second, the Crossfire Hurricane case was opened as a Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) investigation. A FARA investigation involves a criminal violation of law — in this case, a negligent or intentional failure to register with the U.S. government after being engaged by a foreign country to perform services on its behalf — that is punishable by fines and imprisonment. It is rarely investigated.

In a normal EC opening a FARA case, we should expect to see a list of reasons why the FBI believes individuals associated with a U.S. presidential campaign had been engaged by the Russian government to represent and advocate that government’s goals.

This, however, was no normal EC. Try as we might to spot them, those reasons are not found anywhere in the document. Despite redactions, it has been fairly well established that an Australian diplomat, Andrew Downer, met a low-level Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, in a London bar for drinks; Downer then reported the conversation, which eventually made its way to U.S. officials in London.

[…]

Strzok apparently took this nebulous reporting by Downer and then leapt to the dubious conclusion that Papadopoulos and unnamed others were engaged by the Russians to act as foreign agents on Russia’s behalf. This, despite Downer also offering two exculpatory statements in the same email: 1) It was “unclear” how the Trump campaign might have reacted to the Russian claims and 2) the Russians likely were going to do what they were going to do with the information whether anyone in the Trump campaign cooperated with them or not.

Strzok then concludes the EC by moving the goalposts. He writes that Crossfire Hurricane is being opened to determine if unspecified “individual(s)” associated with the Trump campaign are “witting of and/or coordinating activities” — also unspecified — “with the Government of Russia.” He doesn’t even mention Papadopoulos.

Ultimately, there was no attempt by Strzok to articulate any factors that address the elements of FARA. He couldn’t, because there are none.

Brock then takes a blowtorch to his former colleagues, especially Strzok, writing, “What this FBI document clearly establishes is that Crossfire Hurricane was an illicit, made-up investigation lacking a shred of justifying predication, sprung from the mind of someone who despised Donald Trump, and then blessed by inexperienced leadership at the highest levels who harbored their own now well-established biases.”

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