Posted by Curt on 29 May, 2023 at 10:44 am. 5 comments already!


by ShipWreckedCrew:

If you’ve only read media coverage of the contents of the Report you might have seen some information about Durham’s description of intelligence information received from a foreign intelligence service regarding the existence of a “plan” hatched by the Hillary Clinton Campaign in July 2016 to smear candidate Donald Trump as a confederate of Russian and Vladimir Putin.

Without assessing whether the information about the existence of such a plan — or the nature of the plan itself — was true, Durham goes into significant detail regarding how the information was obtained, the general nature of the information (the specifics are classified), how it was for the most part ignored by the FBI, and how that FBI response to the shocking allegations was radically different than the FBI’s reaction and response to the claims of a Trump-Russia connection.

On July 5, 2016, James Comey announced that “no reasonable prosecutor” would have brought charges against Hillary Clinton for the conduct the FBI uncovered with respect to her mishandling of classified information while she was Secretary of State. But that announcement did not exonerate her of the criminal acts. Senior members of the Clinton Campaign team knew they needed to alter the public debate, not simply ignore what Comey had said about her illegal conduct.

To accomplish that goal, the presumptive nominee of the Democrat Party in the 2016 Presidential Election approved and put into motion a preconceived plan to falsely claim a connection existed between the campaign of Donald Trump and the Russian Government of Vladimir Putin for the purpose of distracting attention away from her federal crimes.

This should be the “top line” takeaway from the Durham Report but it’s almost like the “fact” that the Clinton Campaign was behind what followed has been so well established on a variety of levels for years that it just doesn’t qualify as a shocking revelation any longer.

The Durham Report provides much more evidence regarding what he called the “Clinton Campaign Plan” — “CCP” seems like an appropriate acronym — from an interesting perspective. He reviews it as an example of the disparate treatment of former President Trump from the standpoint of comparing the FBI’s response to “intelligence” about the existence of the CCP on the one hand, and the FBI’s response to “intelligence” about the existence of a connection between Trump and Russia on the other.

The nature of the intelligence was such that CIA Director Brennan briefed the senior most members of the Obama Administration, including former President Obama July 28 when he first learned about the intelligence. But when interviewed Brennan could not remember if the specific topic of the existence of the CCP was brought up at that first meeting. The following day Brennan briefed Dir. Comey, and again Brennan claimed he could not recall if the discussion with Comey included a specific discussion of the CCP.

Another briefing by Brennan at the White House took place on August 3, 2016. Durham’s investigators obtained handwritten notes from Brennan with regard to this briefing, and those notes reflect that the subject of the CCP was discussed.

Following these briefings, the CIA and FBI created a “Fusion Cell” team to monitor and report on Russian “active measures” to interfere in the upcoming 2016 election.

But Durham found that in addition to these oral briefings by Brennan, the CIA prepared a written referral to the FBI — at the FBI’s request — with regard to the CCP allegations specifically. About that written referral, Durham wrote the following:

The import of these passages is that Durham found that the subject of the CCP was being passed around among various government actors, beginning with the briefing on August 3 given by Brennan to the senior most members of the Obama Administration, including FBI Dir. Comey. Durham then assessed what the FBI did with that information — pretty much nothing — and what it might have uncovered had it acted differently.

Durham did not attempt to assess the truth or accuracy of the intelligence claiming there was a CCP. Part of the reason for that seems to be the nature of the intelligence and its source. The Report notes that more detailed information about the intelligence and the basis for having confidence in the reporting are included only in the classified Appendix to the Report. The source of the information is a foreign intelligence service, and seems to involve information intercepted from communications of Russian intelligence services. It seems that Russian sources were exchanging this information and assessing its meaning.

But Durham was more interested in the FBI’s response to the information after the oral briefing from Brennan to Comey, and the FBI’s response after receiving a Referral Memorandum regarding the CCP from the CIA as requested. Part of this aspect of his investigation was to inquire into what the FBI might have learned had it showed the interest in the CCP intelligence as it showed in the intelligence about Papadopolous and the Australian diplomats in a London bar.

The closest Durham went to evaluating the accuracy of the intelligence — done creatively as part of his examination of what the FBI might have done differently had it looked into the intelligence — came from asking various persons in the Clinton Campaign about the existence of the CCP. Questions were posed about any actions taken by Campaign team members consistent with the description of the CCP in the intelligence. Those inquiries produced a variety of responses — some almost comical — trying to explain away conduct that was exactly consistent with the described goal of the CCP.

Some of what Durham was told confirmed in oblique fashion that the campaign did contemplate the idea of using opposition research about Trump’s historical contacts with Russia to create a false narrative about an ongoing relationship with Putin’s government. While some Clinton team members attempted to dismiss the idea in its entirely, that wasn’t true of everyone Durham contacted.





The communication referenced there is dated July 5, 2016. Remember that Wikileaks published the emails from the DNC server on July 22, 2016. The same two Clinton campaign advisors then had the following email exchange three days after the Wikileaks release, on July 25, 2016:

“Special Assistant to the President and National Security Council Member” sounds like Susan Rice, but that’s just a guess.

On July 25, two campaign advisors — who had been focused earlier in July on linking Trump to Russia — are scrambling to find out if the FBI has opened an investigation into the alleged hack of the DNC computers by Russian actors. The CCP intelligence report was that Hillary Clinton signed off on the plan to link Trump to Russia on July 26.

At the same time, others connected with the campaign were ramping up their own activities that neatly dovetailed with the description of a CCP to create a false campaign narrative of Trump having ties to Russia and Putin. Fusion GPS, retained by Perkins Coie, was months into working with Christopher Steele to produce fake intelligence reports of past and ongoing Trump-Russia connections. The Alfa Bank story — linked to the Clinton Campaign by the combined efforts of Marc Elias and Michael Sussmann at Perkins Coie — was attempting to create a press story that the FBI was investigating the existence of an ongoing electronic channel of communication between the Trump campaign itself and Russian actors.

And it was all crap.

And the FBI didn’t care enough to take the time to look.

Joe Pientka was a long-time FBI Special Agent hand-picked by Peter Strzok to be the first-line supervisor of Crossfire Hurricane. There were three “Case Agents” assigned to the case, with one Case Agent covering both the Manafort and Flynn cases. Pientka was the “Supervisory Special Agent” — SSA — who supervised the work of all three “Case Agents.” Pienkta traveled with Strzok to London to interview the Australian diplomats who reported the comments of George Papadoplous at an encounter they had with him on May 10, 2016.

Pientka also requested the “Enhanced Source Validation” review of Christopher Steele in November 2016 after problems continued to develop with Steele’s conduct — talking to the media — and a growing lack of faith on Pientka’s part that Steele’s information was legitimate. An “Enhanced Source Validation” is done by a separate office of FBI Special Agents who know nothing about the case, and provide a “fresh” set of eyes on all the information involving the source to make an independent judgment on the reliability and credibility of the source and the source’s information. When the scheduled review was canceled by his supervisors, Pientka asked to be taken off the investigation.

Durham’s investigators showed Pientka the written referral memorandum from the CIA regarding the CCP alleged to have been authorized by Hillary Clinton on July 26, 2016. Here is how the Durham Report describes what happened:

James Baker was the FBI General Counsel under Comey, after spending most of his 20+ year career as an attorney with DOJ. Sussmann later approached Baker with information about the Alfa Bank hoax in an effort to prompt an FBI investigation.

When Durham’s investigators showed the CCP intelligence and the CIA referral memorandum to Baker, this was his reaction:

Jim Comey’s hand-picked General Counsel — the top attorney inside the FBI and key advisor for the FBI Director — never heard of the Clinton Plan intelligence or the Referral Memorandum on the subject sent by the CIA to the FBI.

The point to the inclusion of this information in the report is two-fold. To inform the public that it is almost certain the Clinton Campaign engineered the entire Trump-Russia hoax narrative from the start as a Nixon-esque “dirty trick.” The perpetrators deserved to be viewed in the same historical context as Gordon Liddy and Howard Hunt are with respect to Watergate.

But Durham also showed what Barr had first commissioned him to examine — that FBI and the Intelligence Community leadership during the Obama Administration — and stretching into the Trump Administration — were a combination of NeverTrumpers and overt Democrat partisans who decided to use the authority of their positions as part of an effort to prevent Trump from winning the 2016 election. When that failed they engaged in protracted investigations of the Russia hoax allegations for the purpose of hindering the Trump Administration from pursuing the policy agenda he campaigned on.

Their only interest was pursuing claims that might have kept Trump out of office. An “ends justified the means” mentality meant giving a “pass” to the actions of the Clinton Campaign in trying to make that happen.


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