November 26, 2019

I hadn’t planned on saying much about the upcoming IG report from Inspector General Michael Horowitz. To do so seems, in a way, to be legitimizing the leaks, when their release is obviously part of a strategy to minimize damage from the report. The real time for commentary will be when the full report is released December 9 and when Horowitz testifies before Lindsay Graham’s Senate Judiciary Committee December 11.

But that was before Margot Cleveland, senior contributor to THE FEDERALIST, had an excellent column relating to it.

Personally, I haven’t had much hope that the IG report will be as hard-hitting as it needs to be. It’s one of those internal self-investigations that typically go the extra mile to excuse bureaucratic misconduct. Certainly I’ve had no reason to expect that FBI Director Christopher Wray would support more than a cursory look at the misbehavior, and there’s no telling what he might decide to take out. Also, Horowitz is limited when it comes to investigatory tools: he can’t impanel a grand jury or even subpoena witnesses. So even though some commentators have said their sources told them the Horowitz report would expose shocking behavior, I was still skeptical. After all, Horowitz is the IG who acknowledged wrongdoing by the FBI in their “Mid-Year Exam” investigation into Hillary’s emails but who essentially let it go, saying there was no evidence that officials’ political bias changed the outcome of the investigation. That nonsensical conclusion, more than anything else, told me to keep my expectations super-low.

But Sara Carter, on Sean Hannity’s show Monday night, said her sources tell her that “Horowitz’s report is so significant because of Kevin Clinesmith --- this is the FBI lawyer that worked directly under General Counsel James Baker. And if he altered documents...A number of people within the Bureau, particularly within the FBI that were involved in actually approving those FISA warrants on Carter Page, are really worried right now. They’re worried about the fact that those documents were altered and those three renewals were altered. So, we’re gonna find out on December 9 for sure.”

Color me skeptical (for sure). But when Attorney General Bill Barr appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham to do an official investigation, I became more of a believer. Unlike Horowitz, Durham has subpoena power outside the FBI and DOJ; he can interview officials at the Pentagon and the Office of Net Assessment, where FBI informant Stefan Halper was based and got paid; he can travel the world and put all the pieces together if he is so inclined (and he seems to be, as he has followed the trail to Europe). So he seems to be on the right track. Hey, I’ll bet he could even interview so-called “whistleblower” (really just a leaker) Eric Ciaramella, if he can find him.

Durham’s powers are even more important now in light of Adam Schiff’s tightly-controlled impeachment “inquiry” hearings. Schiff wants us to think that Ukraine didn’t interfere with our election at all in 2016 because, you know, it was Russia-Russia-Russia that did, as if that were some kind of “either/or” situation. Yes, we know Russia did some things, but Democrats will ultimately have to admit that Ukraine did some things, too, big things, and in “collusion” with THEM. That’s why they force the “Russia” narrative.

But DOJ spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said last Wednesday that “U.S. Attorney John Durham is separately exploring the extent to which a number of countries, including Ukraine, played a role in the counterintelligence investigation directed at the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. While the Attorney General has yet to contact Ukraine in connection with this investigation, certain Ukrainians who are not members of the government have volunteered information to Mr. Durham, which he is evaluating.”

But back to Horowitz. The purpose of his upcoming report is to determine the propriety of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) surveillance order to surveil (SPY ON) Carter Page, an American citizen. As expected, we’ve already had leaks; on Thursday, CNN broke the story that “a former FBI lawyer is under criminal investigation after allegedly altering a document” related to the 2016 FISA applications. Cleveland points out that while the media are focusing on this revelation, they’re ignoring “blockbuster” findings from another report that Horowitz released last Tuesday.

That report summarized the IG’s audit of the FBI’s Confidential Human Source (CHS) validation processes. (Christopher Steele was a CHS.) The media did little more than quote from the press release, but Cleveland found “four potential blockbusters” in the 63-page document.

First of all, the audit –- I’m greatly summarizing here –- found that information about a CHS, such as the recommendation of a polygraph, that might tend to be exculpatory of a defendant in court or to impeach a prosecution witness could simply go undocumented in the CHS’s validation report. Multiple FBI officials said they “believe that field offices do not want negative information documented in a CHS file due to criminal discovery concerns and concerns about the CHS’s ability to testify.”

This is outrageous. Who’s running things around there, Andrew Weissmann? (I’m kidding, sort of.) Cleveland’s article cites one defense attorney who calls this “a form of evidence tampering.” And a defense attorney wouldn’t even know this dishonesty was going on.

The IG report goes on to cite another major problem with failing to document the problems with a CHS: it can put sensitive information and even other agents at risk. Cleveland uses Steele (Source #1 in the Carter Page FISA) as an example here, saying that in light of what we’ve learned about how they “validate” a source, there’s no way for us to know how far they might have gone to whitewash Steele’s validation report.

Thirdly, the IG report also shows that the FBI did not even maintain validation reports for sub-sources. (These are the people who fed information to Christopher Steele.) Yet those are the real sources; Steele was essentially just passing along hearsay. Wow, this explains a lot. In fact, as bad as it is, there’s nothing in this “blockbuster” report that shocks me.

Oddly, a CHS who is used to gather foreign intelligence is exempt from the usual renewal process that other informants undergo every five years. Not that this would matter much if they’re leaving negative information out of the files.

The fourth area of concern deals with FBI agents and the media. As Cleveland explains, “a legal problem does arise if the media and the FBI maintain a closed circuit of intel, with the Department of Justice using press reports to ‘verify’ FBI sources.” We know that’s exactly what happened with the “dossier.”

It’s good that they documented their problems, but, given what we already knew about what the FBI and DOJ were doing with Steele, the failings of their policy are hardly surprising. I agree with Ms. Cleveland that we should be outraged, but I’m saving most of my outrage for when the FBI blames what was done to Carter Page –- and, by extension, Trump –- on “bad policy” like this, letting the perpetrators skate once again.

And I'm waiting for the Durham report.


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Comments 1-25 of 36

  • jerry clemens

    11/30/2019 06:29 PM

    When I see actual, live people standing before a sentencing judge, I will regain a bit of my faith in Lady Justive. I must admit. I have no intention of holding my breath.

  • Dawn STREET

    11/27/2019 11:24 PM

    I have read all of the talking points in your article, all the comments from your readers and I can feel the despair, the cynicism from all. I have not trusted the FBI, SS, and CIA since 1964. I was a freshman when JFK was murdered. I was checking out in the local grocery when a copy of the National Enquirer caught my eye. The headline read LBJ forced Hoover to have JFK killed. I had to chuckle because I have said that since November 23, 1964.

    I am upset with the audacity and the push by the DemonRats to strip people of their guns and ammo, never mind the 2nd Amendment. Here in Virginia with a DemonRat Governor and the DemonRats in control of our Assembly, we face strict gun confiscation in 2020. The Senate already has a bill written and ready to vote on. Our county is voting to become a Second Amendment Sanctuary County. 8 counties are now Sanctuary Counties with more voting this next month. How can a Governor and a State Government violate the Constitution with such a blatant law??

    Corruption and violation of our Constitutional Rights seems to be the platform for the 2020 Elections!! Voting machines are being hacked and votes can be changed. States can count their illegals as citizens on the Census and garner more votes in the House. Californian DemonRats are vacating their state and heading for Conservative States where they will corrupt the elections there. New York is shipping their homeless to the Southern States. Can you say Carpet Baggers?

    I hoped our President would be able to clean out the swamp and clean up our government. But I had no idea how deep and how far reaching the dismal dank swamp and how massive the swamp monsters were. Now I feel despair and sorrow. I weep over our Nation under God. I weep over the condition of our people and I weep for our sins. We are a wicked nation and do not deserve God's mercies. We deserve the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    I will continue to petition God's Throne for mercy, for an awakening, for discernment for our citizens, for God's hand to remain on Donald Trump's shoulder and His Voice in his ear. I will pray against the evil I perceive and against the evil politicians and bureaucrats I have identified. I pray for our people to wake up!

    I am 74 years young and I am weary of this world. I worry about what this trouble will do to the future of my beautiful children and grandchildren. I weep for my country, my beautiful USA.

  • Suzanne Utts

    11/27/2019 12:54 PM

    In God I trust---others, not so much. However, I do trust Q and I do trust his plan because I see positive changes; and I can see that the plug is being pulled, be it ever-so-slowly, from the swamp drain hole.

  • Grace Barbera-Bryson

    11/27/2019 09:08 AM


  • Dianne Bagdanskis

    11/27/2019 07:49 AM

    Great article clearly explaining how the Deep State employees don’t tell us the whole truth but just enough to sort of do their jobs without being completely honest and giving us all the facts. If what you’re saying is true, and I believe it is, Horowitz should be fired for not doing his job and so should Wray. The people have a right to be informed exactly what our government is doing, and both of them are more interested in keeping the whole truth from us and protecting the crooks in our government.

  • Kevin J Cook

    11/27/2019 04:12 AM

    Unless people like Comey Brennan Clapper and even Hellary and Hussein get indicted the people will never again trust our deep state. They will become just like the Enemedia

  • gerri morgan

    11/27/2019 01:50 AM

    My hope is that heads will roll, but given the last report and nothing happened---time to clean house --- bring in US Marshals.

  • Bob Janovick

    11/27/2019 12:03 AM

    If some high ranking people don't go to jail over this, you may as well tear up the Constitution. Misbehavior will have no consequences; the floodgates will be open! Spying, altered records, and state sponsored media will control officials by non-elected strong men in the intelligence bureaus.

  • Carl weathers

    11/26/2019 10:59 PM

    Good read. I will read your interpretation but doubt if I would read his report. Probably would come away more confused than finding answers. Will wait for your summary.

  • wilma faulkner

    11/26/2019 05:47 PM

    The majority of the people out here think that the democrats ( whose crimes have been shown) are being protected and being treated as if they are above the law.

  • Ruby Howell

    11/26/2019 04:56 PM

    I am glad that these investigations are happening! Those that did this criminal thing / things should be punished to the limit of the law! The American people need the truth. The Obama administration needs to answer for their crimes!!!

  • Ruby Howell

    11/26/2019 04:50 PM

    I am so glad that these investigations are taking place. The Obama administration need to answer for their crimes & evil doings. May all corruption be uncovered & the light shined brightly on them so no stone will be left unturned!

  • Carl Smith

    11/26/2019 03:52 PM

    "Oh! what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive" . It takes a talented Politician to lie and then lie to cover up the first lie, but don't these Morons understand that in this day and age EVERYTHING is Electronic and traceable? It just takes an HONEST broker to follow the zeros and ones.

  • Jay H Mohler

    11/26/2019 01:59 PM

    The swamp in Washington stinks worse every day as new information comes out. I do sometimes worry about the safety of Sara Carter and John Solomon as they expose more skunk cabbage!!

  • Paulette J Reecer

    11/26/2019 01:34 PM

    I'm with you Governor. Are we going to let them skate once again? Is the left going to wind up winning again? These things scare me. They already think they can't be touched.

  • Ted Elkins

    11/26/2019 01:27 PM

    My problem with President Trump is he misses a lot of golden opportunities to keep his mouth shut. He's the president. Every president gets criticism. By answering them just keeps the criticism going. Just shut up and ignore them. It drives them nuts.

  • Mark Mittelstaedt

    11/26/2019 11:32 AM

    C'mon, man ( I love the ESPN segment of the same name ) - STEELE MADE THE WHOLE THING UP ! a la Bishop Ussher's date for the creation-of-the-universe. There are no other sources ! Just ask yourself, if you were a source that occasionally liked to get paid for inside info, would you serve up the kind of crap the " dossier " ( and I use the term loosely ) is redolent with ? NOT ! With props to Colonel North, saying " the material can't be verified " gave Steele...plausible believability ;-}

  • Michael Inman

    11/26/2019 11:17 AM

    Dick, This is off subject but something about which you need to be aware on the moral front. For decades I was confident in the moral teaching coming from the SBC. But, it seems the SBC has lost its way... Read this that you may influence those you know in righteousness .


    11/26/2019 11:01 AM

    Thank you for keeping us informed. I'm a very young 73 year old former special educator from NYC. I fear that I will never live long enough to see these sleazy Dems pay a price, any price, for what they've done, and are still doing to my President. In my younger days I was a Democrat. It was a different Party then. As I aged, I came to my senses. OMG.they are so over the top now.
    I,m praying for us all.

  • Doug Morgan

    11/26/2019 10:55 AM

    I'll believe there is a damaging report from Horowitz when I see it, and there is movement to prosecute those involved. The Swamp isn't going to do damage to itself.

  • Margie Babik

    11/26/2019 10:49 AM

    Dear Govenor Huckabee: As much as I would like to believe that there will be justice, I won't believe it until I see it. I have no faith in the government to do the right thing. I believe just about everyone's hands are dirty and no one is willing to point the finger. Too bad. Hiliary will NEVER go to prison as well as any of the other dirty players in that camp. So, to this I say, until that camp get prosecuted and goes to prison, there should never have been any impeachment proceedings on President Trump, or any military offense trials (small as they were), or any present White House personnel. Thank you.

  • Gloria Watson

    11/26/2019 10:40 AM

    I'm insulted that the "left" AND the "lame-stream-media" think I'm so intellectually impaired that I can't think, read, or reason things out for myself! They've isolated/barricaded/insulated themselves from "WE THE PEOPLE" for so long that their egos have replaced their brains. This entire boondoggle is disgusting, but their thinking the citizens of our great country function on the same academic level as kindergarteners (and by no means am I trying to insult precious kindergarten students) is even more so.

  • Marlene Helfrick

    11/26/2019 10:33 AM

    As Horowitz leans left, I don't think it will go far enough. And if Wray can censor as much as he wants, we won't see much meat and will see much pap.

  • Dolores Mendez

    11/26/2019 10:00 AM

    When President Obama met with the Mexican President, I used to joke with my family that he went down there to learn how to steal an election. (My family legally immigrated from Mexico in the 50’s) I’m not laughing anymore. This is scary.

  • Keith Collins

    11/26/2019 09:55 AM

    Governor Huckabee, It irritates me that so much money is spent on government elections from county to Presidential elections. We are talking billions. I think all candidates should all be limited to a certain dollar amount with all candidates having the same limits. All the monies over that limit can go to building the wall, helping the homeless, better education, making our nation better, ect. I know the good person you are that this has crossed your mind. All this money is just wasted and the dishonest media becomes the winner from the pure hate ads they air. I don't understand how our nation got to the place we are now. A nation filled with hate and greed. We can't seem to elect people that has this country's best interests in mind. It's what's in it for me. The elected if they are not rich before being elected, they are rich after. Term limits should be the norm for all elected officials. The bible relates and my grandmother use to tell me that we would destroy our selves from within. Looks like we are doing a good job of that.
    God bless, Keep up the good work . Thank you for your service.