I’ve said for a long time that even though the “7th Floor” at the FBI was thoroughly partisan and out to get Trump, the rank-and-file agents and administrators were generally good people just trying to follow the rules and do their jobs. As it turns out, this observation was right. FBI text messages and internal notes finally obtained by Michael Flynn lawyer Sidney Powell and included in her latest federal court filing show agents’ enormous concern with what was going on.
Sure, we’ve read plenty of anti-Trump messages from those involved in “Crossfire Hurricane,” but these newly declassified communications are arguably worse, in that they show a (to use a word currently in vogue) SYSTEMIC problem at the FBI that was so serious and so obvious, other agents –- their names still redacted –- were worried about the potential fallout.
Sean Davis and Mollie Hemingway reported this on Thursday in THE FEDERALIST, under the headline “’Trump was right’: Explosive new FBI texts detail internal furor over handling of ‘Crossfire Hurricane” Investigation.”
Here’s something new: The same day that CNN leaked that President-elect Trump had been briefed by then-FBI Director James Comey about a (bogus) story in the Steele “dossier,” one agent texted another, “We all went out and purchased professional liability insurance.”
“Holy crap,” another agent texted back. “All the analysts, too?”
"Yep,” the first one texted. “All the folks at the Agency as well.” He went on to say, “...I think the concern...was that there was a big leak at DOJ and the NYT among others was going to do a piece.”
Earlier, in August of 2016, one FBI analyst remarked, “doing all this election research – I think some of these guys want a Clinton presidency.”
Another text from October of 2016 said, “[REDACTED] is one of the worst offenders of the rabbit holes and conspiracy theories.”
And here’s a particularly prescient text: “I’m [telling you], man, if this thing ever gets FOIA’d, there are going to be some tough questions asked.”
We'd thought that the order to close down the Flynn investigation came on January 4, 2017, the day before the infamous Oval Office meeting with Comey, Brennan, Biden, Yates, Rice and, of course, President Obama. It turns out that the original order to close the case may have come as early as November 6, 2016, Election Day. (NOTE: I’m curious to know if this came very late in the day, after they realized to their horror that Trump had won.) One agent texted, “We have some loose ends to tie up, and we all need to meet to discuss what to do with each case - he said shut down Razor.” (“Razor” is code for the Flynn case, which was part of "Crossfire Hurricane.")
"So glad they’re closing Razor,” another agent responded.
Another shocking revelation in these texts: To spy on Flynn’s finances, the FBI used not regular subpoenas, but what they call national security letters (NSL), which receive NO JUDICIAL REVIEW. They were doing this weeks after the initial order to shut the case down. Agents who knew better were talking amongst themselves about this…
"The decision to NSL finances bought him time,” one agent says. (We don’t know who “him” is.)
"What do we expect to get from an NSL [?],” was the reply. “We put out traces, tripwire to the community and nothing.”
"Bingo, another agent replied. “”So what’s an NSL going to do[?] No content.”
"Haha this is a nightmare,” another agent said. The conversation goes on similarly.
In one series of texts sent the same day as the big Oval Office meeting, one agent says that “Trump was right” when he tweeted that the FBI was delaying his transition briefings on so-called “Russian hacking” so they could cook up evidence against him. (Was he ever.)
Here are more of the agents’ texts from the red-letter day of January 5 (some punctuation fixed):
"So razor is going to stay open?”
"Yep. Crimes report being drafted.”
"What’s the word on how Obama’s briefing went?”
"Don’t know but people here are scrambling for info to support certain things and it’s a madhouse.”
"Jesus. Trump was right. Still not put together...why do we do this to ourselves? What is wrong with these people??”
The texts even reveal that agents suspected the leaks about Flynn’s calls with Russian Ambassador Kislyak were leaked by the White House…
"FYI – someone leaked the Flynn calls with Kislyak to the WSJ [Wall Street Journal].”
"I’m sorry to hear that.” (Sarcasm alert.) I’ll resume my duties as Chief Morale Officer and rectify that.”
"Published this morning by Ignatius.” (That’s a reference to WASHINGTON POST writer David Ignatius.)
"It’s got to be someone on the staff. PDB [Presidential Daily Briefing] staff. Or WH seniors.”
If you’re not up to date on the Flynn case, Hemingway and Davis review that as well, including the bizarre efforts of Judge Sullivan to keep it going despite Barr’s decision not to prosecute. But the real news here is the texting FBI agents were doing that shows they knew exactly what this was –- a political hit job --- and they were concerned enough to take out liability policies! We don’t get to see those names, but John Durham does, and let’s hope he’s talked with every one of them --- especially the one who wrote about "scrambling for info to support certain things."
As if this weren’t enough, we’ve also learned that Steele's sub-source for the Steele “dossier” had been the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation from 2009 to 2011 for suspected contact with Russian intel officers. In other words, they thought he might be a RUSSIAN SPY. This is something else they should’ve disclosed to the FISA court but didn’t.
We know this now because the Senate Judiciary Committee is looking into it, and Sen. Lindsay Graham, who chairs the committee, wrote to AG Barr to request expedited information about the reliability of Christopher Steele as a source. Barr responded by directing the FBI to (at last) declassify this material.
Barr said he’d consulted with Durham and determined that revealing this information would not compromise the ongoing investigation. So it's logical to assume that Durham has already looked into it.
Again, the bitter irony: Democrats have accused Trump for years of “colluding” with Russians, when it’s the Hillary campaign that did that very thing.
Sen. Graham appeared Thursday night on HANNITY to summarize the findings. He said he hopes this is a “game-changer,” but given the slant of the media, I doubt it will change much of anything until we see some indictments, whenever that might be.