Last week, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, who chairs the Senate committee protecting whistleblowers, wrote to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray, advising them that the House Committees have found that they disregarded evidence from at least 40 confidential human sources about Biden family corruption, dating from when Joe Biden was Vice President.
This week, legal analyst Margot Cleveland at THE FEDERALIST examines the role played in this by the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force, which was to falsely label this evidence “foreign disinformation.”
Thanks to Sen. Grassley, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, congressional testimony from IRS and FBI whistleblowers, and the subpoenaing of financial records by the House Committees, we know now that the FBI and DOJ’s “Biden-family protection program” involved numerous players in various positions in offices from coast to coast. “But it’s the involvement of the Foreign Influence Task Force that demands an immediate response by the House,” Cleveland says, “namely the launching of an impeachment inquiry of FBI Director Christopher Wray, under whose watch this task force abused its power --- and interfered in a presidential election.”
Again, it can’t be said more clearly: THIS WAS ELECTION INTERFERENCE BY OUR OWN GOVERNMENT. Shutting down the investigation of the Hunter Biden laptop and the information it held about Biden family corruption effectively kept Joe Biden and his Democrat regime in the running for 2020. (And this was just one way in which they’ve interfered; we’re not even talking about the “Trump-Russia” Hoax that was started before the 2016 election.) And now, with the passage of four years, we’re seeing the same intel community interfering in yet another presidential election, this time focusing mostly on relentless lawfare against Trump and his supporters.
But you knew all that was going on. What we’ve now learned from the House committees is specifically how the Biden investigation got shut down. As Grassley wrote last week, “the basis for shutting the investigative activity down was an August 2020 assessment created by FBI Supervisory Intelligence Analyst Brian Auten,” which an FBI headquarters team used “to improperly discredit negative Hunter Biden information as disinformation and caused the investigative activity to cease.”
Auten had no evidence that this information was coming from Russian sources, but that didn’t matter. And it was Auten’s phony assessment of the case that led the Foreign Influence Task Force to seek out confidential human source (CHS) materials at FBI field offices and “falsely discredit them as foreign disinformation.”
As Cleveland points out, Auten wrote his assessment one month AFTER a CHS told the FBI that Burisma founder Mykola Zolochevsky had said he’d paid $5 million to one Biden and $5 million to another Biden. That interview, from June 30, 2020, had come about only after Western Pennsylvania U.S. Attorney Scott Brady had asked the FBI to search for documents relating to Ukraine; that search had turned up earlier “1023” interview notes from March 2017 from the same CHS that referred to Hunter being on Burisma’s board.
We can thank Scott Brady for requesting the follow-up interview with that CHS that turned up the Zolochevsky comment on Biden bribery. As Cleveland tells it, the FBI fought his request for that follow-up interview for a month.
She says it “cannot be a coincidence” that just one month after that interview was done, Auten did an assessment that the Foreign Influence Task Force then used, in Grassley’s words, “to seek out CHS holdings at FBI Field Offices across the country relating to the Biden family and falsely discredit them as foreign disinformation.”
Brady did some independent vetting of the CHS’s interview to corroborate some of the details, and he also coordinated with the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York to assess for themselves whether or not this was foreign disinformation. They “found no hits to known sources of Russian information.” Auten had apparently made it up.
We don’t know how many of the confidential human sources (there were at least 40 in all) or how many of their reports were categorized and dismissed as foreign disinformation by the Foreign Influence Task Force in the wake of Auten’s fake assessment, but according to whistleblower testimony, the improper branding of them as disinformation “caused investigative activity to cease.”
Brady had planned to brief the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office --- that’s David Weiss, who has since been appointed special counsel --- on this “1023” and the need for further investigation, but the Foreign Influence Task Force got out ahead of him and on September 14, 2020, communicated with the CHS’s handling agent and, according to the whistleblower, “attempted to shut down” the CHS’s reporting “by falsely saying it was subject to foreign disinformation.”
As Grassley said in his letter, “It should be emphasized that the basis for trying to shut down the Biden family 1023 has been described to my office as highly suspect and is contradicted by other documents my office has been told exist within the Foreign Influence Task Force, FBI Seattle Field Office, FBI Baltimore Field Office, and FBI HQ [headquarters] holdings.”
And in case Brady, from his Pittsburgh office, might have been getting anywhere with his independent checking, Delaware Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf, who was overseeing the Hunter Biden investigation, had, according to IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley, “already written off any evidence coming out of Pittsburgh as disinformation.”
Cleveland also reviewed the transcribed interview by the House Judiciary Committee, taken two weeks ago, of Tim Thibault, former FBI assistant special agent in charge of the Washington field office. According to Thibault, the FBI headquarters’ Public Corruption Unit chief called him out of the blue to discuss this CHS and set up a meeting between him and the Foreign Influence Task Force to discuss their “concerns” about him. Thibault subsequently closed the association with that CHS.
Grassley is moving forward, with a list of about 25 DOJ and FBI personnel who need to be interviewed. But, as Cleveland says, that is not enough. Because FBI Director Wray “cannot control his swamp creatures,” the House must open a “long-overdue” impeachment inquiry into Wray.
Wray certainly should be responsible for what the Foreign Influence Task Force is doing, having personally set it up in the fall of 2017. Here’s the FBI’s webpage that tells what they’re supposed to be doing to target foreign influence operations. We read through it very carefully, and nowhere does it say anything about protecting a corrupt presidential candidate and his family by falsely labeling a laptop and a CHS’s interview as “foreign disinformation.” Funny how they ended up getting involved in that anyway.
Here’s more information at the FBI website about how they handle foreign threats. Much of this has to do with “election security” (we’ll pause while you laugh helplessly). Their way of dealing with foreign influence takes a “three-pronged approach.” Watch out for #3, “Private Sector Partnerships: The FBI considers strategic engagement with U.S. technology companies, including threat indicator sharing, to be important in combatting foreign influence actors.”
Ah, that must be why they went to Twitter and Facebook and falsely alerted them to “foreign disinformation” about Hunter Biden before the laptop story broke. Just doing their job. You know, to safeguard our election.
RELATED READING: For when you have time, this piece should raise alarm bells. Last May, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Director of National Intelligence and Obama Holdover Avril Haines first mentioned the FBI’s next step, the creation of the Foreign Malign Influence Center, or FMIC. It had actually been created the previous fall. According to THE INTERCEPT, it was formed “in response to concerns about the impact of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.” Oh, no.
The article reads, “The FMIC is authorized to counter foreign disinformation targeting not just U.S. elections, but also ‘the public opinion within the United States’ generally (!!!), according to the law.”
Here’s something else in the article to send a chill up your back: The Pentagon has very quietly opened something called their “Influence and Perception Management Office” (!!!). No details are given on this Orwellian-named office, because none whatsoever have been released. “As is often the case,” the article reads, “no press release accompanied the office’s creation or any reference by the administration aside from this year’s budget request, which appears to be the only publicly available U.S. government reference to the office.”