Posted by Curt on 6 January, 2020 at 11:58 am. 2 comments already!


hortly after the release of the special counsel report last year, I posited that Robert Mueller’s failure to investigate whether Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election by feeding dossier author Christopher Steele disinformation established that Mueller was either incompetent or a political hack. Now, with the release of the inspector general’s report on FISA abuse, we know the answer: He was both.

The IG’s report on the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI’s handling of the Carter Page surveillance applications established 17 significant inaccuracies and omissions in the FISA application and renewals. (Eighteen if you include the one the IG missed). The 400-page report also established that the special counsel’s office was complicit in the FISA abuse, the probe was a witch hunt, and Mueller’s report was a cover-up for systematic government malfeasance.

Mueller Was As Bad as James Comey

Mueller’s appointment as special counsel prompted bipartisan praise, with the accolades focusing on his stellar reputation as the FBI director under Republican President George W. Bush and Democrat President Barack Obama. But Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report revealed a sad reality: The special counsel’s office under Mueller’s charge was just as inept at investigating the false charges of Russia collusion as the FBI was under James Comey’s lead.

As the IG report noted, “on May 17, 2017, the Crossfire Hurricane cases were transferred to the Office of the Special Counsel,” and the FBI agents and analysts then began working with the special counsel. A little more than a month later, the FBI asked the Department of Justice to seek a fourth extension of the Page surveillance order. That fourth renewal obtained under Mueller’s leadership included the 17 significant inaccuracies and omissions the IG identified.

Further, it wasn’t merely a matter of Mueller’s team repeating the same falsehoods. Several of the inaccuracies and omissions presented to the FISA court in the late-June renewal application arose in mistakes or misconduct that occurred after Mueller took the reins of the investigation.

Kept Showing False Information to the FISA Court

Most significantly, in June 2017, the FBI’s office of general counsel falsely represented that Page had not been a source for another federal agency, when, in reality, Page had been approved as an “operational contact” and the FBI’s attorney had been told so in an email. Yet the final surveillance renewal application failed to inform the FISA court that, while Page had connections with individuals connected to Russian intelligence, he had provided information about those contacts to another agency as an approved source.

While blame for this mistake might be put down to the malfeasance of the attorney who altered the email to obscure Page’s relationship with the other agency, given that Page publicly—and likely in private interviews with the FBI—paraded his relationship with the unnamed U.S. agency, Mueller’s team should have done more—not just for purposes of the FISA application, but as part of the special counsel investigation.

Mueller’s inept team instead parroted the point in the special counsel report, stating “Russian intelligence officials had formed relationships with Page in 2008 and 2013” and “Page acknowledged that he understood that the individuals he had associated with were members of the Russian intelligence services, but he stated that he had only provided immaterial non-public information to them.” But Mueller made no mention of Page’s status as an “operational contact” for another agency.

Not only did Mueller’s team continue to push the same inaccuracies and omissions to the FISA court in the June 2017 renewal, the FISA court was not informed of the many mistakes and omissions for another year—even though the special counsel’s investigation should have uncovered many of the errors contained in the applications early on in the probe.

For instance, the IG noted that the FBI’s interview with Steele in September 2017 “was conducted by an FBI agent and analyst on assignment to the Special Counsel’s Office.” That interview “further highlighted discrepancies between Steele’s presentation of information” in the dossier reports relied upon in the FISA applications, and what Steele’s primary sub-source had told FBI agents. Yet the FISA court was not provided this information until July 2018.

Faulty Investigation, Fraudulent Info to the Court

Mueller’s team also knew, by July 2017 at the latest, that Joseph Mifsud—the Maltese professor who supposedly tipped then-Trump aide George Papadopoulos to the Russians having dirt on Hillary Clinton—had denied telling Papadopoulos that the Russians could assist the Trump campaign by leaking negative information on Clinton. Prior to the special counsel’s appointment, the FBI had interviewed Papadopoulos and Mifsud, but it would be the special counsel’s office that indicted Papadopoulos in late July 2017, charging him with lying to the FBI.

By that time, then, the special counsel’s team must have reviewed the notes from the Papadopoulos and Mifsud interviews. Yet Mueller did nothing at that point to ensure the FISA court learned of Mifsud’s denials. The IG found the omission of “Joseph Mifsud’s denials to the FBI that he supplied Papadopoulos with the information Papadopoulos shared with the FFG (suggesting that the campaign received an offer or suggestion of assistance from Russia)” was a significant omission.

In short, the special counsel’s team proved itself equally incompetent in investigating and screening the “intel” used to obtain the Page surveillance orders, and in failing to accurately and fully inform the FISA court (FISC) of the evidence gathered by the FBI. As the IG noted “that so many basic and fundamental errors were made on four FISA applications by three separate, hand-picked teams, on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations that was briefed to the highest levels within the FBI and that FBI officials expected would eventually be subjected to close scrutiny, raised significant questions regarding the FBI chain of command’s management and supervision of the FISA process.” That also means Mueller and his chain of command

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