The inspector general’s report on FISA abuse revealed significant, systemic malfeasance by the FBI. But as bad as the IG’s findings were, the details included in last month’s 478-page report suggest worse is coming when U.S. Attorney John Durham concludes his investigation into the Russia collusion hoax.
Three aspects of the IG’s report foreshadow the possibility that more revelations of misconduct are yet to come, implicating other parts of the U.S. intelligence community and possibly those of our supposed allies.
First, we have the IG’s findings that the FBI did not use any confidential human sources (CHSs) or undercover employees (UCEs) prior to the July 31, 2016, launch of Crossfire Hurricane, and the report’s conclusion that the New York Field Office had not used any CHSs to target Trump campaign associate Carter Page during its previously launched investigation into Page. According to the IG report, “all of the members of the Crossfire Hurricane team told the OIG that no investigative steps of any type were taken prior to receipt of the predicating information for the Crossfire Hurricane investigation on July 28, 2016, and we found no evidence to the contrary.”
Second, the IG report reveals that the FBI did not have access to the databases of other members of the U.S. intelligence community. We know this because one of the early investigative steps the Crossfire Hurricane team took, according to the IG report, was to “send names of, among others, individuals associated with the Trump campaign to other U.S. government intelligence agencies for any further information.”
We also know the FBI did not have access to the source files or databases for other intelligence agencies because the FBI only learned that another government agency had approved Page for “Operational Contact” based on a memorandum provided to the FBI. Later, when the FBI sought to clarify whether Page had been a source for that agency, an FBI attorney wrote the liaison for that agency, asking whether Page had been a source. He had, but as the IG report revealed, the FBI attorney then altered the email to indicate that Page had not been.
The IG report did not identify the other agency. But Page told The Federalist that while he had “helped several of the agencies,” in this instance, he was “pretty sure they meant my support of the CIA.” No matter which intelligence agency it was, the IG report shows that the FBI didn’t have direct access to the records or source files for other members of the intelligence community.
The third significant point to note concerns the material the IG had access to and reviewed. According to the report, the IG was “given broad access to relevant materials by the Department [of Justice] and the FBI. In addition, we reviewed relevant information that other U.S. government agencies provided the FBI in the course of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. However, because the activities of other agencies are outside our jurisdiction, we did not seek to obtain records from them that the FBI never received or reviewed, except for a limited amount of State Department records relating to Steele; we also did not seek to assess any actions other agencies may have taken.”
FBI Might Not Have Exclusively Spied on Trump
These three points, when considered together, establish that if any sources were run against the Trump campaign before July 31, 2016, they were not controlled by the FBI, but by other members of the intelligence community, and that that information was withheld from the FBI.
When considering this possibility, there are two names that come to mind: Joseph Mifsud and Stefan Halper.
According to the IG report, the FBI launched the investigation into the Trump campaign after an unnamed “Friendly Foreign Government,” widely known to be Australia, reported that in May 2016, “then Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos ‘suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist this process with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Mrs. Clinton (and President Obama).’” The IG report added that “Papadopoulos stated that the source of the information he shared with the FFG official was a professor from London, Joseph Mifsud.”
The FBI had nothing to do with Mifsud, the IG concluded, noting it had searched the FBI CHS database, called Delta, and “the FBI’s Delta files contain no evidence that Mifsud has ever acted as an FBI CHS.” It bears mention, though, that we know from the IG’s previous audit of the FBI’s CHS validation process, released in November 2019, that “the FBI’s official electronic record-keeping system for CHS management” “does not identify and track extraterritorial sub-sources.” Accordingly, as the IG concluded, the Delta system “will lack complete and accurate information on its CHS coverage stemming from extraterritorial sub-sources.”
As part of the investigation, the IG also interviewed individuals and reviewed documents to determine if there was any evidence that Mifsud had been “working with the FBI and this was some sort of operation” to entrap Papadopoulos. The IG concluded that none of the witnesses or documents supported that allegation, adding in two footnotes that the FBI had requested some information, but what, and from whom, was redacted.
Had the FBI received any documents or information from other U.S. intelligence agencies concerning Mifsud, the IG report would have likely provided some hint of that fact. So, it appears the FBI did not learn anything more about Mifsud than that summarized in the special counsel report, which was bareboned and demonstrated a complete lack of curiosity about the man who triggered the investigation into the Trump campaign.
Durham ‘Is Not Just Looking at the FBI’
In brief, the special counsel noted that the FBI had interviewed Mifsud in February 2017, at which time he acknowledged he had met Papadopoulos, “but denied having told him about any suggestion or offer from Russia.” “Mifsud also told the FBI that ‘he had no advance knowledge Russia was in possession of emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and, therefore, did not make any offers or proffer any information to Papadopoulos.’” Mueller would conclude, though, that Mifsud had also lied about some of his contacts with Papadopoulos.
At some point, the FBI needs to get their lies straight. Also at some point, people other than only those associated with Trump need to begin paying the price of perjury.