Streetwise Professor

February 2, 2018

American Siloviki

Filed under: Politics,Russia — The Profesor 2 @ 3:43 pm

The long anticipated–and by many feared–release of the House Intelligence Committee majority’s letter on the origins of the Carter Page FISA warrant came out today.  From the pre-release wailing, rending of garments, and gnashing of teeth over the grave threat that it posed to national security, one would have thought it would have contained nuclear launch codes and shocking revelations about Area 51.  In fact, it was anticlimactic, and demonstrated what any sentient being should have been able to figure out: that the FBI and DOJ relied upon the dodgy, fundamentally tainted Fusion GPS/Steele/DNC dossier to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on Page–and hence on others in the Trump campaign.

Anticlimactic, but damning and disgusting nonetheless. Particularly given the revelation that Andrew McCabe, erstwhile deputy director of the FBI, admitted under oath that but for the dossier, the FISA warrant would never have been sought in the first place.  It was clearly pivotal, despite all of the desperate attempts in the media and among Congressional Democrats over the last few days to insinuate that Page had long been on counterintelligence radar.  (This actually cuts the other way–if the pre-dossier evidence against him was so strong, why wasn’t he under surveillance until after the dossier was obtained?)

The essence of the memo (just described) doesn’t really require much discussion.  Those facts speak for themselves. A few details do deserve some comment.

One is the use of a tactic that I have mentioned as being characteristic of KGB methods (though they are no doubt a staple of all intelligence services): planting “information” in a media source as a way of laundering it, enhancing its credibility, and getting it into circulation.  The typical use of this technique is to get the planted information (or disinformation) into the media foodchain so that it gets disseminated more widely.  Here the use of the technique was far more sinister. It was recycled through a friendly journalist (Michael Isikoff) who was then cited as corroboration in the FISA application.

The memo leaves some wiggle room for the FBI and DOJ to claim that they didn’t know that Steele had approached Isikoff, but this requires them to claim that they can’t add 2 and 2: once they read the Isikoff article, knowing what Steele had told them they had to have known that Steele was the source. (Steele apparently tried to craft a cover story by pointing the FBI to a report containing similar information prepared by Clinton crony Cody Shearer–thereby providing a possible alternative source for the Isikoff story.)    Furthermore, within a few weeks the FBI learned that Steele was talking to journalists, and they fired him–yet they did not inform the FISA court about that their initial application was tainted in their applications for renewal.  (I further note that since the FBI fired him–that means they hired him!)

And the renewals brings up another issue: one of the signatures on at least one renewal was Rod Rosenstein’s.  You know, the guy who appointed Mueller and who is overseeing the independent counsel investigation for DOJ because of Session’s recusal.  What the holy F? Rosenstein’s involvement in the FISA process, which is deeply embedded in the Russia investigation, means that he is conflicted as hell.  He should have had nothing whatsoever to do with the appointment of the Special Counsel, and nothing to do now with overseeing him.  This is particularly true since Rosenstein’s knowledge must have included the fact that the original warrant was the fruit of a poisoned tree, and that he failed to disclose that to the FISA court.

James Comey’s fingerprints are all over this as well.  I can’t wait to hear his deep exegesis on the ethics of swearing to a court about the veracity of “salacious, unverified” (his words!) info produced by a rabid partisan and paid for by a presidential campaign to get a warrant to spy on Americans.  And to the ethics of withholding material information from the FISA court.

This last is particularly and disgustingly ironic given that one of the FBI’s objections to the release of the memo was that it omitted relevant facts. I can’t imagine what omitted fact would reverse the conclusions that flow from those that are included.  Putting that aside, the FBI’s objections give a new meaning to chutzpah.

The pre-release shrieking about the memo was beyond hysterical.  Among the most hysterical claims (made by Leon Panetta and others) was that a release of the memo would unleash a Constitutional crisis.

Just how would the Chief Executive’s declassification of a document about the actions of parts of the executive branch constitute a Constitutional crisis? The President holds ultimate classification authority, and is responsible for the execution of the laws and the conduct of executive branch departments, agencies, and employees. Disclosing information about the misbehavior of executive branch officials does not represent a Constitutional crisis: if anything, it is the misbehavior of those officials during a presidential election that raise the issue of such a crisis.

Some of the reporting and commentary on this issue has been utterly incredible (in many senses of the word).  For example, Trump overruled current-FBI director Wray’s objection to releasing the memo.  The WaPo framed this as “Trump defies Wray.” Um, who the hell works for whom? If there is defiance going on, it is Wray’s going public with his objections to the actions of his Constitutional superior.  Wray should have raised his objections in private to Trump, and if overruled (as he was, in the event), kept his mouth shut in public, or resigned–and then kept his mouth shut. To lobby publicly (and disingenuously, by raising national security concerns) in an attempt to pressure his superior into doing something is beyond the pale.

Or should be, anyways. But one thing that this entire sordid episode has demonstrated is that the bureaucracy generally, and the intelligence and federal law enforcement agencies in particular, consider themselves an independent power, a co-equal–superior actually–branch of government, the Constitution be damned. Trump is deemed the usurper.  Indeed, it is clear that many senior members of the FBI, DOJ, and the intelligence community considered it their right to intervene in the election in order to prevent Trump’s election, and failing that, to kneecap his presidency. And virtually all of the political class in the US is on their side. This is the real Constitutional crisis.

You should view this as a Constitutional danger regardless of your partisan leanings. For ask yourself: would you like the same to be done to your guy (or gal)?

It is also disgustingly ironic that in a fervid controversy about the alleged intervention of the Russian siloviki into an American election reveals that high-ranking American officials in control of the vast powers of US law enforcement and intelligence used siloviki methods (including most likely disinformation planted by Russian siloviki!–you can’t make this up!) in an attempt to influence an American election and then to cripple the winner of that election when their original plotting failed

Indeed, the Russian siloviki have it going for them that they aren’t nauseatingly sanctimonious about their skullduggery–refreshingly cynical is more their style. James Comey and others cannot say the same.

And if you think the siloviki analogy is overwrought, consider the not-so-veiled threats expressed on the pages of the WaPo and NYT and by politicians and political pilot fish (e.g., Ben Rhodes) about how dangerous it is to confront the FBI.  Further proof that this rogue influence must be tamed.

Trump showed stones in confronting the FBI and the political class. But perhaps this just demonstrates that he has a strong survival instinct. He knows that he is in a knife fight for his political life–and perhaps his freedom and fortune–and it seems that he has decided that compromise is impossible so escalation is necessary.

This is not the end.  This is at most the end of a beginning. For the acknowledgement that the FBI and DOJ–and the Obama administration–used under false pretenses a dossier paid for by a political campaign and assembled by rabid partisans to obtain permission to spy on an American just raises other questions. Who other than Page was spied on? Were their names unmasked? What use was made of the information obtained from the Page surveillance? By whom?

Given the Herculean effort required to get the memo released, I doubt that these questions will be answered, and if they are answered, it will only happen in after a political brawl that makes the fight of the last few weeks look like childs’ play. The siloviki and their political handmaidens play rough, and play for keeps.


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  1. The Memo isn’t even the “end of the beginning.” The IG report may be, but not if the adults don’t change their behavior. It is but the first small beachhead in a war that must be fought and won for America, our rights, our liberties, our freedom… to survive. And if you have not learned from The Memo that this IS a war – you are not paying attention at all.

    There is no guarantee we will be able to hold this beachhead. As we celebrate The Memo, the left is plotting its counterattack. They never rest, never sleep, never quit.

    If the Rule of Law is not enforced, if Obama, Hillary, Lerner, Koskinen, Clapper, Lynch, Holder, Comey are not indicted and tried, the Rule of Law is gone, and we live under the Rule of Man, excusing crimes based the identity of the criminal. This is the core of “identity politics.” This is totalitarianism. This is the left.

    “None of us is free until all of us are free.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    If we are not all subject to the same laws, freedom and liberty cannot exist, but only totalitarianism in which our birthright as Americans, our life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, are determined at the whim of another rather than under law.

    If these people are free, we are not. It is axiomatic.

    As we adventure around the world “to make the world safe for democracy,” to enforce the borders of other nations and lecture on the Rule of Law, we overthrow all of that here at home: No law. No borders. No democracy… No Republic.

    An Article 5 Convention won’t change this. It only will establish a different set of rules that won’t be enforced by Democrats because they reject the Rule of Law, and by Republicans as they are too nice to offend, think this is a church social rather than a war to the death over Western Civilization, and don’t want to “be judgmental,” the single most ignorant trope ever used by a sentient being.

    We have the laws we need now; we refuse to enforce them. We have in our Constitution the most perfect governing document in history. We refuse to enforce it.

    Would we have an immigration problem had we enforced our own laws? No.

    Would we have just experienced eight years of a completely lawless President had we enforced the Separation of Powers that defines our government? No.

    Would we allow ourselves to be ruled by the federal courts if we enforced the Constitution, its Enumerated Powers, and the Bill of Rights? No.

    If the people we elect now won’t enforce the law and Constitution – which is blatantly obvious on both sides of the aisle – a new Constitution won’t change that.

    To think the mid-terms will reflect anything learned about the political establishment, the Deep State, the uber-corruption of our government by those we trust to govern us reflects the old saying about a second marriage: one puts hope over experience. The same franchise will elect the same criminals to excuse their lawbreaking and various immunities in the same way. Because you see, it’s not MY Congressman who is the problem, it’s YOUR Congressman.

    It is Declaration of Independence time again: “… that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.” And if The Memo and the upcoming IG report don’t prove the destructive nature of our government toward those ends, I don’t know what will.

    Independence must not be just from the Deep State, but of the States from one another, singly or in groups. We are too big to save.

    America was designed to have a Representative for no more than 30,000 people; we are over 700,000 now – too big for any serious person to think that any but the rich are paid attention by Congress. More to the point, this un-accountable Congress has, by creating the Regulatory State to avoid accountability, rejected their first responsibility, and the very first line of Article One of the Constitution, that “all legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress…” For what is a regulation through which one can be deprived of liberty or property, other than a law?

    We, truly, are lawless today, hoping only to be treated well by masters we both elect and to whom we express obeisance, of whom we excuse criminal actions and gross violations of the law and our Constitution, sacrificing our lives and our liberty, our freedom, our property and the fruits of our labor – ours and that of our children and grandchildren.

    No rationale exists for those who believe in the future enough to populate it to continue to fund and have their progeny (forever) fund trillions of dollars of debt used only to buy votes for Democrats – who hate America – and to continue to have the Progressive Leviathan deprive us of our liberty, safety and property.

    If the left wants to live in Venezuela on the Pacific or North Atlantic or Great Lakes – the adults don’t need to subsidize them, feed them, house them or provide them energy, or allow our children to be mal-educated by them. Let them go their way. Let us go ours.

    Or there will be no liberty, no freedom, no happiness. Only totalitarianism exists in that direction.

    This isn’t over.

    It’s barely begun.

    Comment by Alexander Scipio — February 2, 2018 @ 5:54 pm

  2. The big question is whether any of these guys (McCabe, Comey, Rosenstein & the rest of the cabal) face any meaningful consequence (a jail term for instance) …

    Comment by Surya — February 2, 2018 @ 6:24 pm

  3. @Scipio…Thanks for that.

    Comment by RW — February 2, 2018 @ 6:42 pm

  4. Thank you Professor, I know I will always read a balanced appraisal from you.

    Comment by Peter — February 3, 2018 @ 1:08 am

  5. If the gossip on the fringes of the internet is anything to go by, this is, as Scipio writes, just the beginning of the beginning of the cleaning out of Washington’s Augean stables.

    The gossip has it that the patriots in the military – people who have sworn to protect the constitution with their lives – are appalled by the crimes of the deep state, and are using the all-seeing, sleepless eye of the NSA – which is under military, not siloviki, control – to root out the corruption. And, by these accounts, that corruption is long-standing, deep-rooted, and depraved to an extent that is unimaginable by most of the electorate.

    So – this is a great start. But I think it is just the start. And you’re right, this will be a fight to the death. Both sides have everything to lose.

    My guess is: if the fringes are right, then prepare to see a lot more information about the siloviki and their masters be released. The release of information will be methodical, but persistent, in order both to avoid getting too far ahead of the public, but in order to build momentum behind the clean-out.

    Either way, it’s fascinating to watch. Great to read your reviews.

    Comment by Global Super-Regulator on Lunch Break — February 3, 2018 @ 6:20 am

  6. I was one of those thinking that Comey (and his gang of close cohorts) was a straight shooter. SWP set me straight a while back, and boy was I wrong! I have been kicking myself in the butt for being so stupid ever since. Hard.

    There is no “war against the FBI or the DOJ.” There is an attempt to hold a bunch of off-kilter above-the-law bandits at the FBI and DOJ accountable.

    How the heck did they get to the point that they violated the law in order to get “her”, the Pandersuit, elected by any means possible? How does Ohr wind up inside the FBI, getting fed info from his wife who works for the people that produced the false dossier? How do Strzok and Lisa Page wind up inside the FBI? How the hell do they give “her,” the Pandersuit, a total pass, allowing “her” to destroy evidence, and then lie to the court based on a false affidavit?

    How the heck did they get to the point that they have no shame, no conscience, no couth, and continue to pump out spin and rationalizations for illegal behavior? Comey – “that’s it?”

    Maybe Mueller and Trump can meet on a tarmac somewhere and talk about their grandkids, just like White Trash Willie and Loretta Lynch. Oops, Loretta doesn’t have any grandkids.

    SWP, great analysis as usual.

    And I agree with Scipio, except for one thing – there are no “adults” here on the leftie side.

    The schiff has hit the fan, and the schiff keeps hitting the fan.

    A prime example of the leftie side – no shame, no truth, no conscience, no couth. Just outright viciousness “for the sake of the chillinz and wimminz.”

    Comment by elmer — February 3, 2018 @ 9:05 am

  7. make the mistake of skimming through channels and wound up on the Clinton News Network for a second with AM Joy.

    AM Joy posed the theory that “when Carter Page was nicked by the FBI, there was a possibility that he had been turned by the rooshans.”

    Looks like AM Joy has been watching a ton of 1940’s B gangster movies. I fully expect her to now ask “who was Carter Page’s moll, and was she turned too?”

    The schiff keeps hitting the fan.

    Comment by elmer — February 3, 2018 @ 9:49 am

  8. It’s quite a spectacle from this side of the Atlantic.

    Well guys, be careful where you spit your vitriol.
    Remember you have to live with the leftie pinko Commie types. They’re half the country. They’re your neighbors and colleagues!

    In the meanwhile the Deep State is on a winning run: first Flynn, then Bannon. I wonder who’s next in line?
    And the Generals are running the country! Maybe you should dispense with elections and just go with the Chairperson of the Joint Chiefs next time?!? (only half-kidding)

    Comment by Simple Simon — February 3, 2018 @ 11:18 am

  9. Maybe it’s already in the archives here, but now that he’s identified the siloviki, SP needs to take on the reason why any of this is not only possible but sustainable: the pravda-ization of the so called press. Without an objective press, none of us is going to be able to stem this tide of — let’s call it what it is: sedition.

    Comment by Bart Teush — February 3, 2018 @ 11:35 am

  10. @Bart–Good point. I haven’t made it explicitly, but on several occasions I have done so indirectly, usually by writing something like “the left and the media (but I repeat myself).” But your point is deeper (no pun intended) than my glib jibe: the US media (and a lot of the UK’s too–e.g., the FT) is basically just a mouthpiece for the state apparatus. The Washington Post is the worst offender. It is basically the house organ for the CIA and FBI, and serves as the conduit (sewer, actually) by which their leaked material is disseminated.

    Comment by The Professor — February 3, 2018 @ 1:54 pm

  11. @GlobalSuperReg–Thanks. I hope this is the first shovel of many. God knows how many will be required.

    One data point re your gossip. Note that Admiral Rogers (who will soon retire as head of the NSA) became deeply concerned about violations of search protocols, launched an investigation thereof, and stopped the use of certain types of searches. Moreover, he went to Trump Tower to brief Trump. Immediately thereafter, the Obama administration creeps (led by the beyond-execrable serial liar James Clapper and the seat warming SecDef Ash Carter) attacked Rogers, and recommended firing him. That seems to be about as good an endorsement as one can have. The episode could also be a glimpse into a battle between the military and the non-military parts of the security state. (The controversy over Flynn during his tenure at DIA is another possible example.)

    Comment by The Professor — February 3, 2018 @ 2:08 pm

  12. So when The Left used to whine about the corrupt, criminal FBI they were very probably right. But now that the FBI is in their pocket, it is by their account pure as the driven snow.

    I wonder what would happen if one or two things in the last decade were re-opened for investigation – the Boston Bombing, say.

    It takes a political genius, of sorts, to make the Russkis look cleaner. But Obama, Heilary and this horrible crew seem to have risen to the challenge.

    Comment by dearieme — February 3, 2018 @ 2:53 pm

  13. @dearieme–I’ve been saying for some time that we are converging to Russia from above. It’s also beyond bizarre that hysteria about Russia has accelerated the Russification of the US.

    And you are right about the situational approach to the FBI (and the CIA, and intelligence generally). One-time betes noire are now paragons.

    Yes. A lot of things things look differently in retrospect, don’t they?

    Comment by The Professor — February 3, 2018 @ 4:57 pm

  14. I wish to God every free thinking individual would read this.

    Thank you and God bless.

    Comment by Mary — February 3, 2018 @ 8:11 pm

  15. Thanks, @Mary.

    Comment by The Professor — February 3, 2018 @ 8:53 pm

  16. […] Professor compares the actions of the DOJ and FBI officials to Russian Siloviki (security forces who came to power in […]

    Pingback by The ‘Constitutional Crisis’ the Fourth Estate Birthed | Real Patriot News — February 4, 2018 @ 1:43 am

  17. Just like the media could not generate interest in a fake “Russian Conspiracy” there will be an equal lack of public interest in a real Obama administration conspiracy. Democrat Superbowl propaganda, for example, is more interesting to the public than left wing coup politics, the demographic erasing of a borderless America and the collapse of western civilization in general. Our precious bodily fluid is the stem cells of education that has been polluted by radical leftists for generations. The bottom of the bell curve, organized by the left, is taking over and will have the numbers to vote for a stupid future. The absurdities pointed to by the Professor is evidence of low intelligence fighting for control.

    Comment by phil stacy — February 4, 2018 @ 8:47 am

  18. @Bart


    one of the things that infuriates the leftie press – that’s sort of redundant for 90% of them, the leftie part – is the ability to get around them via the Internet.

    or maybe Twitter

    I thought it hugely ironic that Comey and others have Tweeted – after the furious attack on Trump for ……. Tweeting.

    Hence, in Putler’s Roosha and in China, the clampdown on the Internet.

    Hasn’t happened here yet.

    Of course, before that there was samizdat – I hope we don’t have to get to that point.

    Comment by elmer — February 4, 2018 @ 11:20 am


    bleuprint for how Putler and his siloviki did it

    Comment by elmer — February 4, 2018 @ 1:36 pm

  20. […] Professor compares the actions of the DOJ and FBI officials to Russian Siloviki (security forces who came to power in […]

    Pingback by The ‘Constitutional Crisis’ the Fourth Estate Birthed | Submit Fake News — February 4, 2018 @ 5:22 pm

  21. Prof – don’t leave John Brennan off the list! ‘Beyond execrable’ is a characterization which is both at the limits of our language’s descriptive power and barely adequate for its target. Voices on the internet suggest that Rogers’ visited Trump tower to warn the President-elect that he was being spied upon. Trump immediately after changed his arrangements for meeting people, receiving briefings, etc. Note that Rogers was the only agency head that Trump retained on taking office, all the rest were cashiered. I’ve heard similarly about Flynn. Note that the ‘Russia!’ nonsense continues. I saw a clip of Scaramucci appearing on Bill Maher (why, I don’t know, but anyway) with David Frum and Donna Brazile, and almost immediately he appeared the cheap shots about Putin and Russia came out. Frum wigged out and was almost visibly shaking with anger. I never thought I’d see a time when The Mooch was the voice of calm reason.

    elmer – thanks for the link.

    Comment by Global Super-Regulator on Lunch Break — February 5, 2018 @ 12:59 am

  22. @GSR–Oh, I definitely won’t leave out Brennan. I despise, loath, . . . that guy–like you said, words fail!

    Comment by The Professor — February 5, 2018 @ 10:03 am

  23. “To the Inner Party (the Democrats), the so-called “President” is hardly a temporal position at all. It is really more of a spiritual office. The Roman pontifex maximus is a fine analogy. For the Inner Party, for example, the ideal “President” would be Nelson Mandela.
    But obviously the most sacrilegious possible desecration is one in which an actual, practicing Prole is appointed, by some awful cosmic mistake, to the hallowed post of “President.” It’s basically like having a porn star elected Pope.” – Mencius Moldbug

    Comment by Thomas Jefferson — February 6, 2018 @ 3:57 pm

  24. “The rest of our permanent government, the civil service proper, is Inner Party to the bone. In fact, perhaps the best way to describe the Inner Party is as the party of the permanent civil service. Which holds far more power than the White House. The While House can prevail or even contend only in the vast minority of conflicts with the permanent civil service.” – Mencius Moldbug

    Comment by Thomas Jefferson — February 6, 2018 @ 3:59 pm

  25. […] And Streetwise Professor: […]

    Pingback by America is even luckier than I thought | White Sun of the Desert — February 12, 2018 @ 4:35 am

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