By Brian Cates
On Tuesday, Nov. 19, the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General released a new report.
No, not that one. It was not the FISA abuse report, also dubbed “The Spygate Report,” that has been anticipated for more than a year.
This was a different report that involved serious issues with the FBI’s uses of what are called “Confidential Human Sources” (CHS) or “informants”.
Journalist John Solomon was the first to reveal earlier this month that there was another IG report dealing with serious abuses of the FBI’s CHS program that would drop shortly before the FISA investigation report.
So when Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz did indeed release that CHS report this past Tuesday, Solomon’s sources were proven to be accurate yet again.
And then the very next day, while being interviewed on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News, Sen. Lindsey Graham confidently stated that the FISA report release date was “locked” for Dec. 9, just two days before Horowitz is scheduled to appear before Graham’s Senate Judiciary Committee.
Let’s Remember How We Got Here
When Horowitz announced his review of the FBI’s handling of the Clinton Email Investigation back on Jan. 12, 2017, few had any idea what he was going to uncover.
Democrats in Congress were angry at the way then-FBI Director James Comey had handled the investigation, especially when he closed it and then suddenly reopened it upon the discovery of the Anthony Weiner laptop.
Many Democrats were loudly demanding the Inspector General review the matter since they believed Comey’s bungling of this investigation played a direct role in Clinton losing the 2016 Presidential election to Donald Trump.
They got their wish.
But Horowitz’s deep dive into the issues surrounding how former FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Attorney General Andrew McCabe, FBI agent Peter Strzok and others handled that “Midyear Exam” investigation is what directly led him to the Spygate evidence.
From January 2017 when he began investigating up until he surfaced in early December 2017 to hand off the first batch of Spygate evidence to Congress, everybody pretty much forgot Horowitz was there and had no idea what he was doing.
The first release of evidence from Horowitz’s IG office in December 2017 included the first batch of text messages between Strzok and FBI counsel Lisa Page.
It was subsequently on March 28, 2018, that Horowitz announced—due to a lot of things he had discovered to that point—that he was opening a new investigation into how a FISA warrant had been obtained on a certain US citizen, which we all knew was former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The FBI’s Use Of CHS’s Is Central To The SpyGate Scandal
There is no doubt at this point, due to what is already known publicly from what has been declassified and released, that there were numerous problems with how the FBI handled its relationship with several confidential human sources involved in the Crossfire Hurricane counterintelligence sting targeting the Trump campaign.
So Horowitz ended up having to produce two separate reports.
The first is a much smaller 57-page report detailing how the FBI’s CHS system broke down and how lack of proper oversight allowed all of these abuses to happen, and what changes need to be made to ensure these events are never repeated. This is essentially a policy and regulation change report that is going to be a very boring read for most people.
This CHS abuse report does not go into any specific cases or names; instead, it deals only with tightening up and improving the oversight of the agency’s use of confidential human sources.
It’s clear the system was being abused and Horowitz’s job as the Inspector General was to give recommendations to the FBI about making the proper changes to the rules and regulations to ensure these kinds of acts do not happen again.
In a marked contrast to the brief CHS report, the FISA abuse report is rumored to be over 1,000 pages long. That is because this is the report where Horowitz will go into exhaustive detail into exactly how FBI officials abused the CHS program as well as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
Three Particular Confidential Human Sources
At this point, much is already public regarding the FBI’s shenanigans with three particular confidential informants deeply involved in Spygate scandal:
- Christopher Steele
- Professor Stefan Halper
- Professor Joseph Mifsud
When the FBI officials realized they would not be able to hide the fact that Steele was leaking the same fake Trump-Russia information he was feeding them to the news media, they went through a charade where they fake fired him as a CHS and then surreptitiously set up a secret backchannel so they could continue to use his fake information in their ongoing investigations of Trump & Co.
You can bet Horowitz is going to have a lot to say about this in his next report.
A real counterintelligence operation based on information obtained from FBI confidential informant would be placed in serious jeopardy if that person is found to be leaking the evidence to the news media.
The way these FBI officials involved with Steele responded to his leaking is the clearest evidence they knew that Steele’s info was highly suspect. At worst? They knew all along that they were taking fake info from a Clinton dirty tricks operative and not disclosing it to the FISA Court.
And they did this not only through the original proffering of the warrant to the FISA Court but also through three subsequent renewals of it.
And that may not even be the worst thing they did. Not one former federal official involved in this growing Spygate scandal, the worst political scandal that has gripped this country since Watergate, has yet admitted that Professor Joseph Mifsud was an FBI CHS and an OCONUS LURE. They still insist, as Robert Mueller did in his final report, that Mifsud is a genuine agent of Russia.
And now, as I’m finishing up this column, news breaks that US Attorney John Durham is expanding his criminal investigation of the origins of the Spygate scandal to include two more subjects:
An FBI lawyer who was caught altering official documents related to a FISA warrant. And the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA), which awarded contracts to FBI confidential informant Stephan Halper.
I do not think it is a coincidence that the news that Durham is expanding his investigation broke just two days after the release of Horowitz’s CHS report.
So as you can see, there are plenty of issues involving both the confidential informants the FBI was using in this scandal and the fake evidence they were supplying.
You can fully expect to see Steele and Halper and Mifsud’s names in the news quite a bit in the next year.
Brian Cates is a writer based in South Texas and the author of “Nobody Asked For My Opinion … But Here It Is Anyway!”
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