Crossfire Hurricane’s origin document shows that the FBI is a disgrace

Judicial Watch, the dogged organization that forces the government to produce documents it would rather hide, believes that it may finally have gotten hold of the FBI memo that started the Obama administration’s spying, first on the Trump campaign and then, when Trump won, on the Trump presidency. If the email Judicial Watch received is indeed the charging memo, it is a document so careless and ephemeral that it shouldn’t have been used to investigate a ham sandwich, let alone a presidential candidate and incoming president.

The “electronic communication” the government produced is heavily redacted. Nevertheless, there’s enough information in it, especially when combined with what we’ve already learned about Crossfire Hurricane, to show that there was no legal or practical justification for the investigation. (You can see the document here, and the full text is at the bottom of this post.)

The first thing one notices is that Peter Strzok’s name is all over it. He’s a one-man FBI. The document is cc’d to Strzok, he’s listed as a Counterintelligence contact, he approved the document, and he drafted the document.

To refresh your recollection about the smirking Strzok, in his emails to his paramour, Lisa Page, he referred to Trump as a “loathsome human being,” “an idiot,” “a f**king idiot,” and “awful.” Strzok devoutly wished for a Hillary victory. Disturbingly, he believed that it was up to him to “protect our country” from Trump. The Crossfire Hurrican opening document may reflect that delusional sense of self-importance.

The email announces that “[a]n investigation is being opened based on information received by Legat [Legal Attache] on 07/29/2016.” So what is that information? Almost nothing.

An unnamed government (we know it was Russia) was allegedly seeking “prominent people” in Trump’s campaign “to prepare for potential post-election relations should Trump be elected U.S. President.” George Papadopoulos is named as one of those “prominent people.” That’s a stretch, to say the least. Papadopoulos was an unpaid foreign policy adviser. Further, it’s neither unusual nor illegal for countries to try to line up contacts with a potential president.

The next paragraph alleges that Papadopoulos said that the Russians had suggested that “they (the Russians) could assist the Trump campaign with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton.” That Russia allegedly made this offer does not mean that the Trump team engaged in any wrongdoing that would justify an investigation.

Having written the above, Strzok then reframes the same alleged Russian offer to Papadopoulos with a significant addition (emphasis mine):

Mr. Papadopolous [Redacted] also suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist this process with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Mrs. Clinton (and President Obama). It was unclear whether he or the Russians were referring to material acquired publicly of through other means. It was also unclear how Mr. Trump’s team reacted to the offer. We note the Trump team’s reaction could, in the end, have little bearing of what Russia decides to do, with or without Mr. Trump’s cooperation.

The emphasized language is fascinating, for it simultaneously seems to explain why the FBI started spying on Trump, while also making clear that the FBI had no justification for spying on Trump. The lack of justification appears in this language:

It was also unclear how Mr. Trump’s team reacted to the offer. We note the Trump team’s reaction could, in the end, have little bearing on what Russia decides to do, with or without Mr. Trump’s cooperation.

Put another way, the FBI was saying that it had no idea what Trump’s team did or would do, but that the choice the Trump team made would not, in any event, affect what Russian ultimately chose to do. Again, this cannot justify spying on an opposition presidential candidate. And indeed, when similar information appeared during John McCain’s presidential campaign, the FBI notified McCain that Russia might be a problem, ending the matter immediately.

Notifying Trump, of course, is exactly what the FBI did not do. Instead, the FBI, acting through the ubiquitous Strzok, started spying on Trump.

This drastic and unprecedented decision may have been because of that little parenthetical -- “and President Obama.” Does that parenthetical mean that Obama was worried that the Russians had dirt on him, whether from stealing Hillary’s unsecured emails or from another source? If that was the case, Obama and those who dreaded the thought of a Trump presidency would have had a motive to begin the spying operation to shut down the Trump candidacy and to silence anyone who knew something bad about Obama.

Strzok, who seems to have been the FBI’s fixer on this matter, famously hated Trump’s supporters as much as he hated Trump. After Crossfire Hurricane began, he texted Page, “Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support….” It’s ironic, therefore, that when it came to Obama’s dirty little secrets (assuming the Russians had any), it was Strzok who stepped up to answer a call that was the equivalent of a voice over the Walmart speaker saying “Cleanup on aisle 3.”

*****

Full text of the July 31, 2016, electronic communication that open Crossfire Hurricane:

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
Electronic Communication

Title: Crossfire Hurricane Date: 07/31/2016

Cc: [Redacted]
Strzok Peter P II

From: COUNTERINTELLIGENCE
[Redacted]
Contact: Strzok Peter P II, [Redacted]

Approved by: Strzok Peter P II

Drafed by: Strzok Peter P II

Case ID #: [Redacted]

CROSSFIRE HURRICANE;
FOREIGN AGENTS REGISTRATION ACT –
RUSSIA;
SENSITIVE INVESTIGATIVE MATTER

This document contains information that is restricted to case participants

Synopsis: (S/ / ) Opens and assigns investigation

Reason 1.4 (b)
Derived from: FBI
NSISC-20090615
Declassify On: 20411231

[Redacted]

(S/) An investigation is being opened based on information received by Legat [Redacted]         on 07/29/2016. The text of that email follows:

SECRET/
[Redacted]

Title: (S/ / CC/NF) CROSSFIRE HURRICANE
Re: [Redacted] 07/31/2016

BEGIN EMAIL

(U/ /) Legat [Redacted] information from [Redacted] Deputy Chief of Mission

Synopsis:
(U/ /) Legat [Redacted] received information from the [Redacted] Deputy Chief of Mission related to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s website/server.

Details:
(S/ /[Redacted] On Wednesday, July 27, 2016, Legal Attaché (Legat) [Redacted] was summoned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) for the [Redacted] who will be leaving [Redacted] post Saturday July 30, 2016 and set to soon thereafter retire from government service, advised [Redacted] was called by [Redacted] about an urgent matter requiring an in person meeting with the U.S. Ambassador. [Note: [Redacted]. The [Redacted] was scheduled to be away from post until mid-August, therefore [Redacted] attended the meeting.

(S/ [Redacted]) [Redacted] advised that [Redacted] government had been seeking prominent members of the Donald Trump campaign in which to engage to prepare for potential post-election relations should Trump be elected U.S. President. One of the people identified was George Papadopolous (although public media sources provide a spelling of Papadopoulos), who was believed to be one of Donald Trump’s foreign policy advisers. Mr. Papdopoulos was located in [Redacted] so the [Redacted] met with him on several occasions, with [Redacted] attending at least one of the meetings.

(S/ [Redacted]) [Redacted] recalled [Redacted] of the meetings between Mr. Papdopolous and [Redacted] concerning statements Mr. Papadopolous made about suggestions from the Russians that they (the Russians) could assist the Trump campaign with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton. [Redacted] provided a copy of the reporting that was provided to [Redacted] from [Redacted] to Legal [Redacted]. The text is exactly as follows:

(Begin Text)

(S/ [Redacted]) 5. Mr. Papadopolous [Redacted] also suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist this process with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Mrs. Clinton (and President Obama). It was unclear whether he or the Russians were referring to material acquired publicly of through other means. It was also unclear how Mr. Trump’s team reacted to the offer. We note the Trump team’s reaction could, in the end, have little bearing of what Russia decides to do, with or without Mr. Trump’s cooperation.
(End Text)

(s/ [Redacted]
[Redacted]
(s/ [Redacted] Legat requests that further action on this information should consider the sensitivity that this information was provided through informal diplomatic channels from [Redacted] to the U.S. Embassy’s DCM. It was clear from the conversation Legal [Redacted]
had with DCM that [Redacted] knew follow-up by the U.S. government would be necessary, but extraordinary efforts should be made to protect the source of this information until such a time that a request from our organization can be made to [Redacted] to obtain this information through formal channels.

END EMAIL

(S/ / ) Based on the information provided by Legat [Redacted] this investigation is being opened to determine whether individual(s) associated with the Trump campaign are witting of and/or coordinating activities with the Government of Russia.

Judicial Watch, the dogged organization that forces the government to produce documents it would rather hide, believes that it may finally have gotten hold of the FBI memo that started the Obama administration’s spying, first on the Trump campaign and then, when Trump won, on the Trump presidency. If the email Judicial Watch received is indeed the charging memo, it is a document so careless and ephemeral that it shouldn’t have been used to investigate a ham sandwich, let alone a presidential candidate and incoming president.

The “electronic communication” the government produced is heavily redacted. Nevertheless, there’s enough information in it, especially when combined with what we’ve already learned about Crossfire Hurricane, to show that there was no legal or practical justification for the investigation. (You can see the document here, and the full text is at the bottom of this post.)

The first thing one notices is that Peter Strzok’s name is all over it. He’s a one-man FBI. The document is cc’d to Strzok, he’s listed as a Counterintelligence contact, he approved the document, and he drafted the document.

To refresh your recollection about the smirking Strzok, in his emails to his paramour, Lisa Page, he referred to Trump as a “loathsome human being,” “an idiot,” “a f**king idiot,” and “awful.” Strzok devoutly wished for a Hillary victory. Disturbingly, he believed that it was up to him to “protect our country” from Trump. The Crossfire Hurrican opening document may reflect that delusional sense of self-importance.

The email announces that “[a]n investigation is being opened based on information received by Legat [Legal Attache] on 07/29/2016.” So what is that information? Almost nothing.

An unnamed government (we know it was Russia) was allegedly seeking “prominent people” in Trump’s campaign “to prepare for potential post-election relations should Trump be elected U.S. President.” George Papadopoulos is named as one of those “prominent people.” That’s a stretch, to say the least. Papadopoulos was an unpaid foreign policy adviser. Further, it’s neither unusual nor illegal for countries to try to line up contacts with a potential president.

The next paragraph alleges that Papadopoulos said that the Russians had suggested that “they (the Russians) could assist the Trump campaign with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton.” That Russia allegedly made this offer does not mean that the Trump team engaged in any wrongdoing that would justify an investigation.

Having written the above, Strzok then reframes the same alleged Russian offer to Papadopoulos with a significant addition (emphasis mine):

Mr. Papadopolous [Redacted] also suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist this process with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Mrs. Clinton (and President Obama). It was unclear whether he or the Russians were referring to material acquired publicly of through other means. It was also unclear how Mr. Trump’s team reacted to the offer. We note the Trump team’s reaction could, in the end, have little bearing of what Russia decides to do, with or without Mr. Trump’s cooperation.

The emphasized language is fascinating, for it simultaneously seems to explain why the FBI started spying on Trump, while also making clear that the FBI had no justification for spying on Trump. The lack of justification appears in this language:

It was also unclear how Mr. Trump’s team reacted to the offer. We note the Trump team’s reaction could, in the end, have little bearing on what Russia decides to do, with or without Mr. Trump’s cooperation.

Put another way, the FBI was saying that it had no idea what Trump’s team did or would do, but that the choice the Trump team made would not, in any event, affect what Russian ultimately chose to do. Again, this cannot justify spying on an opposition presidential candidate. And indeed, when similar information appeared during John McCain’s presidential campaign, the FBI notified McCain that Russia might be a problem, ending the matter immediately.

Notifying Trump, of course, is exactly what the FBI did not do. Instead, the FBI, acting through the ubiquitous Strzok, started spying on Trump.

This drastic and unprecedented decision may have been because of that little parenthetical -- “and President Obama.” Does that parenthetical mean that Obama was worried that the Russians had dirt on him, whether from stealing Hillary’s unsecured emails or from another source? If that was the case, Obama and those who dreaded the thought of a Trump presidency would have had a motive to begin the spying operation to shut down the Trump candidacy and to silence anyone who knew something bad about Obama.

Strzok, who seems to have been the FBI’s fixer on this matter, famously hated Trump’s supporters as much as he hated Trump. After Crossfire Hurricane began, he texted Page, “Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support….” It’s ironic, therefore, that when it came to Obama’s dirty little secrets (assuming the Russians had any), it was Strzok who stepped up to answer a call that was the equivalent of a voice over the Walmart speaker saying “Cleanup on aisle 3.”

*****

Full text of the July 31, 2016, electronic communication that open Crossfire Hurricane:

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
Electronic Communication

Title: Crossfire Hurricane Date: 07/31/2016

Cc: [Redacted]
Strzok Peter P II

From: COUNTERINTELLIGENCE
[Redacted]
Contact: Strzok Peter P II, [Redacted]

Approved by: Strzok Peter P II

Drafed by: Strzok Peter P II

Case ID #: [Redacted]

CROSSFIRE HURRICANE;
FOREIGN AGENTS REGISTRATION ACT –
RUSSIA;
SENSITIVE INVESTIGATIVE MATTER

This document contains information that is restricted to case participants

Synopsis: (S/ / ) Opens and assigns investigation

Reason 1.4 (b)
Derived from: FBI
NSISC-20090615
Declassify On: 20411231

[Redacted]

(S/) An investigation is being opened based on information received by Legat [Redacted]         on 07/29/2016. The text of that email follows:

SECRET/
[Redacted]

Title: (S/ / CC/NF) CROSSFIRE HURRICANE
Re: [Redacted] 07/31/2016

BEGIN EMAIL

(U/ /) Legat [Redacted] information from [Redacted] Deputy Chief of Mission

Synopsis:
(U/ /) Legat [Redacted] received information from the [Redacted] Deputy Chief of Mission related to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s website/server.

Details:
(S/ /[Redacted] On Wednesday, July 27, 2016, Legal Attaché (Legat) [Redacted] was summoned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) for the [Redacted] who will be leaving [Redacted] post Saturday July 30, 2016 and set to soon thereafter retire from government service, advised [Redacted] was called by [Redacted] about an urgent matter requiring an in person meeting with the U.S. Ambassador. [Note: [Redacted]. The [Redacted] was scheduled to be away from post until mid-August, therefore [Redacted] attended the meeting.

(S/ [Redacted]) [Redacted] advised that [Redacted] government had been seeking prominent members of the Donald Trump campaign in which to engage to prepare for potential post-election relations should Trump be elected U.S. President. One of the people identified was George Papadopolous (although public media sources provide a spelling of Papadopoulos), who was believed to be one of Donald Trump’s foreign policy advisers. Mr. Papdopoulos was located in [Redacted] so the [Redacted] met with him on several occasions, with [Redacted] attending at least one of the meetings.

(S/ [Redacted]) [Redacted] recalled [Redacted] of the meetings between Mr. Papdopolous and [Redacted] concerning statements Mr. Papadopolous made about suggestions from the Russians that they (the Russians) could assist the Trump campaign with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Hillary Clinton. [Redacted] provided a copy of the reporting that was provided to [Redacted] from [Redacted] to Legal [Redacted]. The text is exactly as follows:

(Begin Text)

(S/ [Redacted]) 5. Mr. Papadopolous [Redacted] also suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist this process with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to Mrs. Clinton (and President Obama). It was unclear whether he or the Russians were referring to material acquired publicly of through other means. It was also unclear how Mr. Trump’s team reacted to the offer. We note the Trump team’s reaction could, in the end, have little bearing of what Russia decides to do, with or without Mr. Trump’s cooperation.
(End Text)

(s/ [Redacted]
[Redacted]
(s/ [Redacted] Legat requests that further action on this information should consider the sensitivity that this information was provided through informal diplomatic channels from [Redacted] to the U.S. Embassy’s DCM. It was clear from the conversation Legal [Redacted]
had with DCM that [Redacted] knew follow-up by the U.S. government would be necessary, but extraordinary efforts should be made to protect the source of this information until such a time that a request from our organization can be made to [Redacted] to obtain this information through formal channels.

END EMAIL

(S/ / ) Based on the information provided by Legat [Redacted] this investigation is being opened to determine whether individual(s) associated with the Trump campaign are witting of and/or coordinating activities with the Government of Russia.