Things are getting increasingly interesting and simultaneously obvious. Thursday night the Washington Post reported that FBI Director Christopher Wray had relieved FBI Chief Legal Counsel, James Baker, of his responsibilities within the department.
Attorney James Baker accompanied FBI Asst. Director “Andy” McCabe to the Tuesday congressional hearing with the House Intelligence Community. Curiously, in addition to other lines of inquiry, during the questioning McCabe was asked about whether James Baker was authorized to speak to the media about the Steele Dossier and the underlying ‘counterintelligence’ operation. Asst. Director McCabe responded that Baker would not be authorized to take such action.
Following the HPSCI hearing, republican committee leadership announced their plan to subpoena James Baker for further questioning. [Keep in mind Baker was there.] Two days later, at the Thursday Judiciary and Oversight Committee hearings, James Baker did not accompany Andrew McCabe. Hours later, James Baker is removed from his responsibilities as legal counsel within the FBI. Cause: ‘unknown‘.
Back in July, 2017, it was reported that James Baker was under a criminal investigation for leaking classified information from within the FBI, although the details of the leak content were unknown. Politico today reports that James Baker has been identified as the likely source that released information about the Fusion-GPS/Christopher Steele “Russian Conspiracy Dossier” to David Corn of Mother Jones in October of 2016:
(Via Politico) House Republicans are investigating contact between the FBI’s top lawyer and a Mother Jones reporter in the weeks before the left-leaning outlet broke the first news story about the existence of a disputed dossier alleging ties between President Donald Trump and the Kremlin, according to two congressional GOP sources who described documents linking the two men.
The GOP sources said the documents — made available recently to lawmakers by the Department of Justice — revealed that James Baker, the FBI’s general counsel, communicated with Mother Jones reporter David Corn in the weeks leading up to the November 2016 election. Corn was the first to report the existence of the dossier on Oct. 31 and that it was compiled by a former high-level western spy.[…] Corn’s story indicated direct contact with Steele: “[A] former senior intelligence officer for a Western country who specialized in Russian counterintelligence tells Mother Jones that in recent months he provided the bureau with memos, based on his recent interactions with Russian sources, contending the Russian government has for years tried to co-opt and assist Trump — and that the FBI requested more information from him,” he reported.
Corn then added that a “senior U.S. government official not involved in this case but familiar with the former spy,” told him that the agent “has been a credible source with a proven record of providing reliable, sensitive, and important information to the U.S. government.”
The news of Baker’s reassignment came just days after congressional Republicans began asking questions about his contacts with media. (read more)
A couple of interesting points to remember here.
♦Less than a week after the July 2017 report of the investigation of James Baker, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats instructed Asst. DOJ AG Rod Rosenstein to create a new special unit inside the FBI and DOJ to target intelligence leaks.
04:30 …”The FBI has created a new counterintelligence unit to manage these [leak] cases”…
08:17 …”these National Security breaches do not just originate from within the Intelligence Community. They come from a wide range of sources within the government, including the Congress.”…
Two days later, Sunday August 6th, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reiterated he was going to follow through on the investigative demand of AG Sessions and DNI Coats and again referenced a “new counterintelligence division within the FBI”.
00:50 …“we’re responding appropriately. We’re going to devote more resources, re-evaluate our procedures and make sure we investigate every one of those leaks in an appropriate way.”…
1:07 “We have seen a surge in referrals (of leaks). We’ve seen an increase in the number of leaks. And we’re going to respond appropriately and try to establish an effective deterrent. Criminal prosecution isn’t the only way to prevent leaks but it’s an important part of the solution.”…
1:43 “That significant increase has necessitated an increase in resources. And so we have re-prioritized our cases within the National Security Division, we’re providing appropriate supervision at a high level, we’ve created a new unit within the FBI to focus on those leaks, and we’re going to devote whatever resources are necessary to get them under control.”…
♦All indications are that James Baker was/is part of the FBI/DOJ “small group”, the co-conspirators behind the 2016 plan to assist Hillary Clinton with her email investigation. James Baker was one of the participants in the wording of the highly dubious exoneration script read by FBI Director James Comey:
The real existence of an anti-Trump conspiracy is getting more and more clear. One by one the conspirators are being identified and eliminated. The hunters become the prey.