It’s actually good that U.S. Attorney John Durham is still putting the finishing touches on his report on FISA abuse, as we’re going to need some focused post-convention time to take a look at it. There’s a story to be told, a very important story, and we should soon know a lot more about how the "Russia" hoax came together. In fact, one can get a “sneak peek” right now by looking at Kevin Clinesmith’s plea agreement and seeing how it relates to parts of Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s internal report.

Thanks to Margot Cleveland at THE FEDERALIST for connecting more dots. She's done the tedious part; now we get to talk about it.

As you know, Kevin Clinesmith, who worked in the FBI’s Office of General Counsel, pleaded guilty to one count of falsifying evidence; the plea agreement was released last Wednesday. He admitted that he had added four critical words --- “was not a source” --- to an email from an “unidentified government agency” (let’s just say the CIA because we know it was) concerning Carter Page’s “operation contact” with that agency. One of the agents involved in Crossfire Hurricane had told him they wanted “something in writing” about it, so he altered the email and forwarded it to that agent. (While pleading guilty, he still claims it was not his “intent” to mislead. Trying to have it both ways.) This revised email cleared the way for the fourth FISA.

But wait --- there had already been an original FISA application and two renewals, and they hadn’t mentioned this. What’s the story there? Well, according to Clinesmith’s plea agreement, the CIA had provided “certain members of the Crossfire Hurricane team” with a memo indicating that Page had been approved as an “operation contact” for them from 2008 to 2013 and detailing information that Page had provided them about “his prior contacts with certain Russian officers.” But we know this information was not included in the first three FISAs. (The Horowitz report says so, and Clinesmith makes a point of it in his plea agreement.)

If I understand correctly, THIS is the “suspicious” contact with Russians that gave the Crossfire Hurricane team their reason (excuse) to accuse Page of being a Russian agent. But in truth, there was no reason to spy on him over this; he had already been debriefed by the CIA about it, and the CIA had informed "certain members" of the team of his relationship with them before the initial FISA application was made. The FBI just left it out of the applications.

To accomplish this, the Crossfire Hurricane team even left it out of the information given to the division that HELPS with FISA applications, and one member of the team, Stephen Somma –- more on him coming up –- gave them incorrect information when explicitly ASKED about Page’s relationship with the CIA. This key information about Page is one of the “17 substantial errors or omissions” in the FISAs that Horowitz attributed to the FBI.

So, now we need to know the identities of the “certain members of the Crossfire Hurricane team” who received the memo about Page from the CIA, because they are the ones who kept the information out of the application and first two renewals. In the IG report, one is identified as “Case Agent 1,” and that person was identified by THE NEW YORK TIMES as the aforementioned Stephen Somma, who happens to have been Stefan Halper’s FBI “handler” as well! So we’re likely to be hearing more about Mr. Somma.

Cleveland’s article has more detail on how Somma mischaracterized Page’s work in Russia, moving the dates of it years earlier so it became “beyond the scope” of the FISA application. Clever, these FBI agents.

The Horowitz report says Somma claimed “not to recall his state of knowledge” about Page’s history with the CIA. One has to wonder if his memory might improve while under questioning in Durham’s criminal investigation, under threat of perjury.

Cleveland –- who has a FANTASTIC memory –- remembers that Somma, as Case Agent #1, had expressed great interest early on in surveilling Carter Page. But according to the IG report, the Crossfire Hurricane team didn’t become aware of the “dossier” till September. Before then, only Steele’s “handler” and a few agents in the New York Field Office knew about it, starting in early July.

But guess where Somma was working in early July, before joining the Crossfire Hurricane team in August? The New York Field Office, where he was a special agent for counterintelligence with a focus on...Russia.

Cleveland goes into more detail on who else among the team might have known about Page’s CIA involvement and kept it out of the application. Joe Pientka is certainly a possibility.

But the big stinky cheese at the FBI at that time was Director Comey, and this is one slick dude when it comes to protecting himself. As you might recall, Comey slithered his way out of having to talk about classified material with IG Horowitz by refusing to have his security clearance reinstated. Smooth, huh? The memo sent to the FBI about Page’s CIA activities would have been classified, for sure, and without a security clearance, Comey couldn’t have been shown the memo or asked anything about it.

A criminal investigation is different, though. Maybe Durham can put the squeeze on the big cheese. And maybe we’ll finally learn the whole sordid story.

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Comments 1-14 of 14

  • Lois Elaine McDougall

    08/26/2020 04:16 PM

    You summed it up great! Trump 2020!

  • Theresa K Garber

    08/26/2020 12:59 AM

    Mike, I was amazed that the opening prayer for the DNC was in Jesus’ Name, but not at the RNC. Do you know a reason for that? And I found it hard to stomach Biden’s final remarks for God to bless the people to whom he was speaking, and for God to bless America. That seemed so hypocritical after his speech. The RNC, on the other hand, was alive with love for our country and with appreciation for what President Trump has been able to accomplish. Stirring, patriotic, and hopeful! May the peoples’ eyes be opened to the truth, and may we have four more years (I’d prefer 12, myself!) to restore what God has given us. God bless you, sir!

  • Sharon James

    08/25/2020 11:57 PM

    As someone who has a direct voice with FOX, please let them know that they should comment on the RNC before and after. Like the President, I have been watching the convention on C-SPAN so I can see it all.

  • George Clawson

    08/25/2020 10:56 PM

    Love your articles Mike, hope some or all of these crooks will get a taste of Justice.
    Thanks for the great information!

  • Don

    08/25/2020 06:23 PM

    if durham show is like all previous farce investigations of any members of the clinton/dimm/communist group then all high level people will NEVER be charged with ANYTHING... Barr and Durham we are waiting for you to prove us wrong

  • Joyce Mathews

    08/25/2020 06:12 PM

    If last night’s convention had been a baseball game, we just witnessed a home run!

  • Gary Burger

    08/25/2020 05:36 PM

    Learning the whole story would be nice, but unlikely. It’s more important that about a dozen coup conspirators be indicted, convicted and sentenced. There must be justice for this criminal behavior. This is not just dirty politics which resulted in the Trump agenda delays and the House flipped to the supporters of the conspiracy. Without consequences, criminal behavior repeats.

  • Ronald H Cok

    08/25/2020 05:09 PM

    Remember all of these highly paid government employees know each other. Likely they have made an agreement and plan with Mueller’s help to sacrifice one or two with the least seniority so that those near retirement can protect their retirement. If VA employees can be fired, so should these employees be able to be fired for their misconduct. Are they able to hire government lawyers to defend themselves?

  • SherryK Thaxton

    08/25/2020 04:18 PM

    Is there any wonder why all the career politicians in the swamp desperately want Trump out and replaced with even a demented politician. What a cesspool! One of the many reasons to thank President Trump! And thank you for continuing to stand for our country!

  • Cara L Francis

    08/25/2020 04:05 PM

    I was surprised no one addressed the abortion issue! I know Trump is pro life, thought one of the speeches would have mentioned it, to me it is the most important reason for voting Trump 2020!

  • Jannette Dillingham

    08/25/2020 03:53 PM

    One of the things that irks me to no end is that these guys were hired to be the top police agency in our country. They had a good paycheck. And, yet, that had no patriotism, no moral compass, no decency, no guilt whatsoever in lying. Then more taxpayer money was wasted/used to unjustly try to impeach President Trump. How are these agents hired? What type of criteria is considered when hiring FBI agents? All these guys acted like the mafia family. All of the money of very hard working Americans was just used and wasted.

  • Anne Yutner

    08/25/2020 03:52 PM

    I so want to believe that you are correct and POTUS will prevail, but I just feel that most of .America is not paying attention except to watch the nightly news which is mostly so biased against him. Or, in the case of the young people they just listen to online messages and many Trump supporting comments are taken off line. My guess is that half the people in middle America don’t know the rioting is continuing or about the destruction and shootings, including little children. If one is ignorant about the good things that a candidate has done it is hard to make a rational choice. I am afraid they are going to learn the hard way. I had so hoped to see Nikki Haley as the first woman President. She’s a woman of color besides. But it looks like we’ll get Kamala instead. Our only hope is that the debates go on and people actually watch. Of course, just like his acceptance speech people will be happy if Biden just can barely hold it together as the expectations are so low. Kamala will come across very well against Pence as she is a more dynamic speaker. Many will excuse Biden and say they aren’t worried because he’ll resign for health reasons as soon as he is sworn in and they will be delighted with MODERATE Kamala because they won’t have a clue about her actual record. Yes many people watch FOX but it’s not enough.

    So one is not supposed to wear a sombrero to a Halloween party but is okay for the pols to wear the African cloth? Another huge dose of hypocrisy in action. Now children, you have to eat you greens even if I do not.

  • Jack Berry

    08/25/2020 03:38 PM

    twice you have ended with the KJV Bible verse 1 Corinthians 13:13, saying faith, hope and charity.
    It does not say charity. It says faith, hope and love.

    I know love gives to charity, however.

  • Janie Brasovan

    08/25/2020 02:37 PM

    Great commentary. I always enjoy them but today’s was extra special. Keep up the good work. You are appreciated.