Before discussing the significance of the “document dump” of 412 heavily redacted pages concerning the FISA applications for warrants to spy on Carter Page, it’s important to talk about something else revealed over the weekend that actually confirms suspicions of high-level collusion with a Russian agent.
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Unbelievably, Maria Butina, the 29-year-old woman who was just indicted on charges of conspiracy and acting as an agent of the Russian Federation without notifying our government, was able to get meetings with both the vice president of the Fed and with the undersecretary for international affairs at the U.S. Treasury.
Butina was traveling with Alexander Torshin, who was then serving as the deputy governor for the Russian Central Bank and is reputed to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Torshin met separately with the same two American officials. According to the Center for National Interest, the purpose of the meetings was to bring together “leading figures from the financial institutions of the United States and Russia.” Such vagueness should arouse even more suspicion.
This looks bad –- we’ve discovered that Russian operatives have infiltrated our government and met with top-level financial officials. It confirms what the Democrats have been talking about: Russians are infiltrating the highest levels of American government! How did this happen? Collusion! Treason! Get a rope!
Oh, wait, never mind. This was in 2015, during the Obama administration.
Now, on to the Carter Page documents, which include the October 2016 FISA application to surveil him as well as the three renewal applications, each covering three months. Finally released in response to lawsuits filed by Judicial Watch and other media organizations, these pages are so blacked out with Magic Marker –- page after page covered with thick black lines –- that it’s easy to imagine an entire building full of DOJ officials (the Ministry of Truth?) being overcome by the fumes. (I joke, but maybe they really are using black markers, because breathing that many marker fumes might cause the kind of brain damage that would explain a lot.) Even so, we’re able to glean some information about the process used by Obama’s Department of Justice to obtain a warrant to spy on Trump’s former campaign advisor for national security. It’s suddenly clear why the FBI and DOJ have been stonewalling on this for so long.
The application accuses Page of knowingly engaging in “clandestine intelligence activities...for or on behalf of a foreign power, which activities involve or are about to involve a violation of the criminal statutes of the United States.” Yet even after a solid year of surveillance, Carter Page has been charged with exactly nothing.
Instead of straight-out informing the FISA court about the political origins of the Steele “dossier” –- as they were legally bound to do, according to nonpartisan legal expert Alan Dershowitz –- they chose words that sounded purely speculative. The FBI knew perfectly well that the funding for this came from Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC, through their law firm and Glenn Simpson at Fusion GPS, to pay for unverified gossip from a British ex-spy. The application omits their knowledge.
It does reference other sources besides the dossier, but these are just anti-Trump stories in partisan press and references to “speculation in U.S. media.” So, yes, the dossier was really the only “meat” offered the FISA court. Rancid meat.
The officials who signed off on this junk were none other than James Comey and Sally Yates. And who put this poor excuse for an application together? Well, we don’t know because the name is STILL REDACTED.
John Hinderaker goes on to show that the AP outright lied in their story about this.
Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch described the mass of material as “a self-licking ice cream cone.” It’s a closed system, to be sure, designed in part for its own self-perpetuation but with much more expansive goals, including the removal of a sitting President. Here’s a great piece by Roger Kimball that puts the pieces together much as we have been doing over the past months.
It’s hard to figure the rationale for what is and isn’t blacked out in this material, because even the relatively small portion that we can read is shameful. Catherine Herridge of FOX News is reporting that the 13 Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, led by Devin Nunes, have sent a letter to President Trump asking him to declassify all other parts of it that wouldn’t endanger sources and methods. (Please, Mr. President, DO IT!)
As for Carter Page, he told FOX News, “I’m having trouble finding any small bit of this document that rises above complete ignorance and/or insanity.” Three words for Carter: “So are we!”