The essence of a coup, which some might refer to as covert action, is the hidden hand. One does not announce that a foreign power is overthrowing the government and installing a new government. One pulls strings as if from behind a curtain, making events that are all part of a carefully orchestrated plan appear disconnected, spontaneous and serendipitous.
(Article by Charles “Sam” Faddis republished from ANDMagazine.com)
As I read through the recently released IG report for the second time, as someone with a great deal of experience in military and intelligence matters, I see that hand everywhere.
Per the IG report, a single report is delivered to the FBI in the summer of 2016. It concerns a meeting between a cooperative contact of a foreign intelligence service and a junior level employee of the Trump campaign, George Papadopoulos. The report relates what are frankly very amorphous comments by Papadopoulos concerning the Russian government and its alleged possession of information on Hillary Clinton.
On any other day this report would command no attention whatsoever. The source in question has no track record of any kind with the FBI. Papadopoulos has been employed by the Trump campaign for perhaps 90 days at this point, and there is no reason to believe he has contacts of significance in the Kremlin.
Not on this occasion. This one report from a foreign intelligence service goes directly to the top of the FBI. The Director himself, James Comey is briefed. A full investigation is launched. Multiple confidential human sources are tasked. Wiretaps are ordered. A task force is organized. Crossfire Hurricane is born.
There is a problem, though. This hand, perhaps because it is controlled by individuals who have made their bones riding desks in Washington, DC and not in the field running actual operations, is clumsy. The information regarding Papadopoulos provided the needed pretext to start an investigation, but most of the people who will now form the investigative team are not in on the plot. They will have to be led to the pre-ordained conclusion, so that it appears that they did so without outside interference.
And these investigators have a pesky habit of actually doing their jobs.
Almost immediately these investigators demonstrate that Papadopoulos does not have the access within the Trump campaign necessary for the suspected Russian connections. If there is a conduit, Papadopoulos cannot be it.
Suddenly, Carter Page is shoved forward as the new focus of the investigation. His contacts with Russians are long-standing and well-known. He will serve well as the new target. Human sources are mobilized. Wiretaps are ordered.
But, there is another problem. Those wielding the clumsy hidden hand have forgotten the first rule of real operational personnel. Never move against a target until you have run “traces.” until you have run the individual’s name through our databases, checked the records and found out what we already know about him. Maybe the conspirators really don’t know that. Maybe they just don’t dare do so, because it will mean involving working-level personnel who are not in on the joke.
In any event, they apparently did not run “traces” and as a consequence they clearly do not know that, yes, Mr. Page has extensive Russian contacts and, yes, he has been reporting to “another government agency” for many years on those contacts. Page is a source. Our source.
This is problem. It is a huge, never fully resolved problem for the conspirators. The “other government agency” sends a formal memo documenting the fact that Page is a source. The hidden hand tries hiding that. Any mention of it is removed from applications for FISA warrants, and it is never mentioned in renewal applications either.
But, again, as new FBI personnel, unwitting of the plot are assigned to the investigation they keep doing their jobs. Already they have determined that the only evidence they can develop is exculpatory. Already they have established that there is no basis to believe any of the allegations against Donald Trump and his campaign. Now, they circle back to the issue of Page.
Are they, in effect, focusing investigative resources on a man, Page, who has been cooperating with American intelligence for years? If so, this is the definition of “crossing lines.” Inquiries are made. A second memorandum is sent by the “other government agency.” This one spells out in excruciating detail Page’s relationship with that agency.