A note on the Durham Report

The 306-page report issued by Special Counsel John Durham seems a bit muted to me. The Durham report renders judgment in his report’s executive summary: “Based on the review of Crossfire Hurricane and related intelligence activities, we conclude that the Department and the FBI failed to uphold their important mission of strict fidelity to the law in connection with certain events and activities described in this report.”

You don’t say. Well, it’s nice to have it on the record, but it doesn’t capture the bad faith and sinister activities that the report documents in great detail. If it leaves the institution of the FBI and every actor in the Russia hoax at large to keep on keepin’ on, at least it tells the truth.

Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, John Brennan, Andrew McCabe, James Baker, Marc Elias, Glenn Simpson, Jake Sullivan and all the rest thank you. Thank you very much.

James Comey continues to instruct the nation on ethical leadership. As Bill Ayers declared, “Guilty as sin, free as a bird — what a country, America.”

From the moment that BuzzFeed published the Steele Dossier in January 2017, anyone with half a brain could see that the Trump-Russia thing was a hoax. It took Devin Nunes to alert us to the fact that the hoax was a Clinton campaign operation.

The FBI took out a FISA warrant on Carter Page in September 2016 and filed two or three renewals. The FISA Court dutifully approved each one. I observed numerous times that Carter Page must be the cleanest man in America.

In his memo transmitting the report to Attorney General Garland, Durham notes that a classified appendix has been withheld: “We note that the Classified Appendix contains some information that is derived from Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorities.” In what I have read so far, I cannot tell from the text of the report if those “authorities” extend beyond the warrants taken out on Carter Page or the extent to which the Page “authorities” themselves were exercised to conduct political surveillance on the Trump campaign.

We know only that the Page “authorities” were improper and that he has a rather large bone to pick with the FBI. Durham observes at page 124: “[N]ot a single substantive allegation pulled from the Steele Reports and used in the initial Page FISA application had been corroborated at the time of the FISA submission – or indeed, to our knowledge, has ever been corroborated by the FBI.” The report notes elsewhere that the FBI declined to take Page up on his offer to sit for a voluntary interview. The FBI preferred to act entirely in stealth.

One other thing. I observed many times after the Steele Dossier became public that, if it was what it purported to be, it must itself have constituted Russian disinformation. Durham notes at page 137 that the FBI had limited curiosity about Steele’s “primary subsource” for his dossier: “It is extremely concerning that the FBI failed to deal with the prior unresolved counterespionage case on Danchenko. Given Danchenko’s known contacts with Russian intelligence officers and his documented prior pitch for classified information, the Crossfire Hurricane team’s failure to properly consider and address the espionage case prior to opening Danchenko as a CHS [confidential human source] is difficult to explain, particularly given their awareness that Danchenko was the linchpin to the uncorroborated allegations contained in the Steele Reports.”

“Extremely disconcerting” and “difficult to explain” are only two of Durham’s many muted judgments in the report. The FBI of course quickly issued its own statement on the the report yesterday (below). “Missteps” doesn’t quite cut it. It suggests that the FBI remains rotten to the core. Reading the report, one (I) cannot help but feel the urge to push the pillars of the temple apart and tear the whole thing down. The FBI, FISA, the FISA Court — they all have to be torn down and reconstructed.

I hope to have more to say in coming days.

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