The FBI has been put on notice to get moving and finally hand over some long-awaited documents, thanks to yet another Freedom Of Information Act lawsuit by Judicial Watch.
U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Cooper apparently has had enough of their stalling. On Friday, he ordered the FBI to conduct a search within 60 days for communications with British ex-spy Christopher Steele (whose name is on the phony Trump “dossier”) that –- importantly –- took place AFTER Steele was officially let go as a confidential source right before the presidential election.
Let’s go back and look at this chronologically. Documents obtained by Judicial Watch in this lawsuit had already shown that the FBI paid Steele at least 11 times before firing him for leaking to the media. But that's where the trail ended. JW was still seeking all the records of communications between anyone with the FBI and Chris Steele and/or his firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, that occurred after Steele was fired. This would also include any records related to any meetings or phone calls between any representative of the FBI and Chris Steele and/or any representative of Orbis. JW also requested all records related to “the proposed, planned, or actual payment of any funds to Mr. Steele and/or Orbis”; it’s not known if the payments JW knows about are all that were made. (Steele seems to have had a talent for getting paid by multiple clients for essentially the same work.)
The Justice Department at first refused to produce these documents in response to JW’s March 8, 2017, request. In fact, they shrouded their refusal in fog, saying they could “neither confirm nor deny the existence of records responsive to [Judicial Watch’s] request.” Believe it or not, they argued that since the records covered a period when Steele was no longer contracted with them, they were concerned about violating his privacy (!!!). The court initially sided with the DOJ (!!!).
But it wasn’t over. On March 26 of the following year (these things stretch on forever), records were declassified that provided evidence of Steele’s role as an FBI informant and his firing in November of 2016. When Judicial Watch saw those, they asked the court to re-open the case, and the court agreed, as the FBI continued its refusal to search for the records.
According to FOX News’ Catherine Herridge, Judge Cooper ruled in favor of Judicial Watch, saying the records should be made public because the Steele allegations targeted a political campaign. He wrote that “those records might either bolster or weaken Steele’s credibility as a source. That information, in turn, could provide a basis on which to evaluate the FBI’s performance of its law-enforcement duties, including its judgment in selecting and relying on confidential sources, especially in connection with such a politically sensitive subject.
Indeed. No wonder the FBI was fighting so hard to keep them secret.
Judge Cooper weighed Steele’s privacy concerns against the public interest and wisely found the public interest outweighed them. Since in Steele’s case, disclosure would not have made his affiliation with law enforcement public for the first time –- we already knew about that –- the judge thought the balance tilted in favor of disclosure. Thank you, Judge Cooper, as it seems increasingly hard to find a judge who will look at the big picture and not just at what will hurt or favor the President.
That the FBI is still protecting Christopher Steele this late in the game is raising suspicions with Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. The swamp continues to push back. Obviously, the Bureau will hold out as long as it can –- and, keep in mind, this is happening under the leadership of current FBI Director Christopher Wray. Bureaucrats.
If you aren’t reading Andrew C. McCarthy’s just-released book, BALL OF COLLUSION, I hope you will be soon. You’ll find it both comprehensive and comprehensible. McCarthy bravely makes the case that this spying operation had to be directed from the top down. The VERY top.
Consistent with that, here’s how he put it on Monday morning’s “FOX & Friends”: “The Obama administration put the law enforcement and intelligence apparatus of our government in the service of the Clinton campaign. Counterintelligence investigations belong to the President --- they’re only done for one reason, and that is to gather intelligence so that the President can carry out his national security responsibilities under the Constitution. So any counterintelligence investigation is the President’s investigation...It goes to the President.”
Recall the intriguing reference in the Strzok-Page texts to the President wanting to know everything they were doing.
Anyway, McCarthy lays out the case, and, knowing him, it is solid. If Obama did direct or even have knowledge of this activity on the part of the FBI (and, it increasingly appears, the CIA, with Brennan as the mastermind), and we had found out about it while he was still in the White House, THAT would have been grounds for one heck of an impeachment, let me tell you. Not a fantasy impeachment over made-up crimes, but a real impeachment over disgusting “high crimes” that actually were committed. As I’ve said before, this stuff makes Nixon look like an underachiever.