The FBI lied about RussiaGate. What does this mean?

Summary: The FBI Inspector General confirms long-suspected dark deeds by the FBI during the RussiaGate investigation. A judge condemns one  of the FBI’s deeds. Now comes the important part: our reaction. Here are two views of this news, optimistic and pessimistic. Read and choose! Our future depends on what happens next.

“Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
— Written by Benjamin Franklin for the Pennsylvania Assembly in its “Reply to the Governor” (11 November 1755).

Our forebearers paid for our liberty. Let’s not throw it away.

Marker on the Freedom Wall
The price of freedom: marker on the Freedom Wall. ID 52384264 © Bratty1206 | Dreamstime.

This week’s big headline news:
Judge blasts FBI over misleading info
for surveillance of Trump campaign adviser.

By John Kruzel at The Hill.

“In a blistering order, a judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) accused the bureau of providing false information and withholding materials that would have undercut its four surveillance applications. ‘The FBI’s handling of the Carter Page applications, as portrayed in the OIG report, was antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above,’ Rosemary Collyer, presiding judge with the FISC, wrote in the order released by the court. The judge gave the FBI until Jan. 10 to provide the court a sworn statement detailing how it plans to overhaul its approach to future surveillance applications.

“The order comes after the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report earlier this month on its investigation into the Trump campaign and the 2016 election, with Inspector General Michael Horowitz detailing a series of missteps taken during the investigation.”

A Federal Court has accused the FBI of serious violations in the Obama Administration’s investigation of the Trump campaign. This is especially significant since Federal officials have repeatedly denied this for three years. I consulted an expert to assess the significance of this blockbuster story. Remember, this is just one of the many dark revelations in the FBI IG’s reports.

The optimist’s perspective: something is broken.

A combat vet with deep law enforcement experience shares his analysis.

These are voices from the swamp. Both the FBI’s IG and a judge on the secretive FISC demand that the FBI, the very agency that defrauded the secretive court, fix the process for executing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). But the FBI was not the only agency at fault. The FISC failed to protect American citizens from the FBI abusing the FISA process. This was the FISC’s only job.

In my day, I wrote and applied for countless search warrants. I was always questioned about my sources and their validity. A young man I trained (well, he was young then) is on an FBI Task Force. He says this process has not changed and remains rigorous. But the approval of FISA requests is stunning and shows that it is a rubber stamp for the FBI. In 2015 and 2016, the FISC denied only 0.5% of applications. In 2017, it denied 1.5% of applications. In 2018 it denied 1.8% of the 1,833 applications, which covered 232 Americans (see the WSJ and NYT articles, and the DoJ report).

The FISC was lazy. Its judges failed to do their due diligence. Now these same judges demand that the FBI fix the FISA process, although the FBI is the agency that perverted the FISA process.

The judge could have issued bench warrants for defrauding the FISC. That would have been both deserved and sparked serious reforms. But she did not do so. Instead, the FISC’s judges trying to cover their asses. That is the swamp in action.

A pessimist (me) says that nothing is broken.

How do we know if a mechanism – physical or social – works as designed? The specifications might be misleading or faked. See what the mechanism does. More importantly, see how its designers and operators react to its results. Our leaders were happy with FISC, despite the frequent reports that it was a rubber stamp, until it became involved in RussiaGate. The FIS Courts are a powerful end-run around the Constitution. They are useful to the Deep State and will not be surrendered.

The judges are not “covering their asses.” That implies a fear of consequences. This article shows the FISC judges’ embarrassment at being publicly outed as trained dogs for the Deep State. They don’t mind being dogs, but they dislike being embarrassed in front of their peers at DC country clubs. Their butthurt will sting for a while. but they will get over it since they will suffer no serious consequences. Congress will not impeach them for dereliction of duty. None will resign in remorse. Nobody quits a Federal judgeship on principle. It is one of the best gigs in America.

The IG report is like Kabuki, a pretty public performance following rigidly specified steps. Afterwards the audience applauds and goes home. The world spins on unchanged. The IG report will have as much impact as the thousand and one similar reports going back to 1960. The Deep State has learned from squids how to respond to attacks. They spew out ink, hide, and wait for the danger to pass.

The real news, too terrifying to mention.

“Will it be sufficient to mark, with precision, the boundaries of these departments, in the Constitution of the government, and to trust to these parchment barriers against the encroaching spirit of power?”
— James Madison in The Federalist Paper #48. Now we know the answer: no.

RussiaGate began a new phase for the Republic. Obama’s people were some of the brightest and boldest the White House has seen since the Clinton era. They weaponized the Deep State (of which FISC is a part) against their political foes. That was a wacky “conspiracy theory” in 2018; it is obvious today.

Even now nobody of name objects, Democrat or Republican, other than a few outcasts. Even Trump is AOK with this. He has given no executive orders for reform and has made no proposals for reform to Congress. The few remaining well-meaning and polite hall monitors in Washington will have as much luck stopping others from using this tool as the Catholic Church had forbidding use of crossbows on Christians in the Edict of the 29th Canon of the Second Lateran Council (1123).

Nothing will happen unless the public expresses outrage, even anger. We can force the presidential candidates to promise real reforms. We can force Congress to act. Elections mean nothing unless we use them to change government policies.

Couch potato
ID 1560194 © Tom Denham | Dreamstime.

My conclusions

“{Liberty} must altogether depend on public opinion, and on the general spirit of the people and of the government. And here, after all, as intimated upon another occasion, must we seek for the only solid basis of all our rights.”
— Alexander Hamilton in #84 of The Federalist Papers.

The debate about this incident is all wrong. The institutions of the US government, with their checks and balances, adequately run the routine business of the government. The Constitution is just a “paper bullet of the brain.” The only defense of our liberty is our willingness to stand together in its defense.

If we do not do so, then others will strip away our rights – one by one – and take the reins of power. They are doing so today as a shepherd herds sheep: slowly and quietly. Too fast and they get excited, even panic. This is the Great Circle of Life: fight for liberty or lose it.

This incident is another in a series of warnings to us that the great inheritance from our forebearers slowly slides from our grasp. But the political machinery given us remains idle but potentially decisive. We need only the will and wit to use it. Let’s prove Loki wrong about us (see Loki helps us to see our true selves).

A subject of New America

Remember the news about the NSA’s spying on us!

Remember the outrage, the editorials and speeches, in 2013-14? As I predicted at the beginning, there were few (probably ineffectual) reforms.

  1. Celebrate what happened one year ago. It’s the birthday of a New America!
  2. Members of the Deep State exchange high-fives, celebrating our passivity.
  3. The Snowden affair has ended. What have we learned about ourselves, and about America?

For More Information

Ideas! For some holiday shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon. Also, see Chapter One of a story about our future: “Ultra Violence: Tales from Venus.

One of the many mild articles about the FBI IG report and the answers it does not provide: “Five Questions Still Remaining After the Release of the Horowitz Report” by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone – “The inspector general report on the Russia investigation was thorough, but it also raised some head-scratching questions.” Also see an explanation by Andrew McCarthy (a former Federal prosecutor) of the danger the FISC poses to us: “The participation of the court allows executive officials to evade accountability.”

Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more information see all posts about RussiaGate, about the Deep State, and about ways to reform America’s politics, and especially these…

  1. Democrats betray their principles & embrace the Deep State.
  2. In 2018 the Deep State went public & the Dems betrayed us.
  3. Reviewing “Ball of Collusion”, the big book of 2019 about RussiaGate.
  4. The Deep State emerges. This will change America forever.
  5. A terrifying revelation about the Deep State – It is even more powerful than we thought.

Books revealing the Deep State

A few people have warned us about the rising reach and growth of the Deep State.

The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government by Mike Lofgren, Republican political operative (2016). See the Forward to it. See my review of it.

The American Deep State: Big Money, Big Oil, and the Struggle for U.S. Democracy by Peter Dale Scott, former Canadian diplomat and professor emeritus at Berkeley (2017). See his website.

The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government
Available at Amazon.
The American Deep State: Big Money, Big Oil, and the Struggle for U.S. Democracy
Available at Amazon.


26 thoughts on “The FBI lied about RussiaGate. What does this mean?”

    1. Trump is certainly a gift, the kind that keeps on giving. And he does provide hope and courage, to those in the Deep State. He is a circus clown juggling constantly, mesmerizing his audience while the swamp creatures get their fill of goodies and become even swampier. Largest defense bill passed in years with nearly full bi-partisanship, no changes to FISA, as mentioned above, continued endless war despite the lies continuously spread upon us. See the new boss, same as the old boss.

      1. Craig,

        “he does provide hope and courage, to those in the Deep State.”

        Exactly. So long as this is the kind of savior we elect, the Deep State will grow in the vacuum provided by the death of democracy. More broadly, strong groups (factions) will look at the rabble we have become and see that they are more capable of ruling. The next phase will be a contest among powers in America to see what one or coalition will rule, as it was in the late Roman Empire.

        No matter who wins, we lose.

    2. Michael,

      Trump is a clown and has accomplished almost nothing – other than providing a distraction while the right-wing GOP implements their standard agenda of tax cuts for the rich, deregulation of labor and environmental regulations, union-busting, and boosting military spending.

      This has been the pattern in the US for several generations. People see the President as a god-like figure. When the spell bursts, people wonder why anybody believed that. Its a feature of our descent into irrationality, making us easy to rule.

  1. Please do re-elect Trump, his strength cuts through and has given the UK and Australia, my birth country and my adopted country, some of his courage to stand up and avoid cow-tailing quite so much.

      1. Michael,

        “There is no rational alternative.”

        That is the perfect expression of the Republic’s death. So long as we see politics as choosing from choices on a menu, the Republic will continue to die. The alternative is to express disguest at this situation – and resolve to get involved in politics so that this does not happen again. “Never again” should be our motto.

      2. Trump is an outstanding President. Who would you rather have? My impression is that you have of vision more of possibilities than what can be accomplished now.

        What do you have against Trump, setting his personality aside?

      3. Michael,

        “Trump is an outstanding President.”

        Too bizarre for reply.

        “Who would you rather have?”

        Probably 3/4 of the Governors in the US would do better.

        “What do you have against Trump, setting his personality aside?”

        His actions in office show that he lacks the temperament, experience, and knowledge to do the job. Plus, he sees the job as an opportunity primarily for petty corruption – such as awarding the contract for the G-7 Conference to his Doral resort. That was corrupt, petty, and stupid. Much of his energy has gone into tweets, which is stupid in the extreme for someone with the power of the President.

        Numerous accounts by those in the White House – his appointees – reveal Trump’s disinterest in the job, his disinterest in learning what is happening, his disinterest in expert advice, and his inability to make rational decisions.

        Which is why he has accomplished almost nothing.

    1. Just a guy,

      Trump is a clown. He has accomplished almost nothing. He has inspired nothing. Other nations are reacting to their own circumstances. You might as well attribute the sun rising to Trump.

      Trump’s strength is people’s fears (legitimate fears) of what the Democrat’s will do in office – implementing their radical leftist dreams.

      1. On that Larry, I disagree, we on the outside do not see the Clownism, you see in the US.

        We see him standing up on trade with China, here in Australia the situation is best described by Silent Invasion by Clive Hamilton.

        I can say from meeting many International students, Trump is having a real effect in Asia, many countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia are glad he is standing up to China, as under Obama (and Bush) China was just expanding their South Sea bases and taking islands, fishing right and even oil deposits (with Vietnam) due to their dash line map. Production is leaving China to go to Vietnam and Thailand, as well as Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia, this builds the economy of countries more likely to be Allies to the Western Alliance and proves a counter to Chinese dominance in trade.

        To me I see something like this, labour intensive production requirements are steadily shifted out of China into other Asian countries, wherever possible final assembly is done in our countries, yes increasingly by robots, but that part of the costs stays in the West. This raises profits in the West, taxed in the West and used to create jobs in the West. Debt reduction, job creation are paramount for social cohesion. Trump hasn’t achieved that much, but just talking like that gives the unemployed ex-blue collar worker, now making soup at a soup kitchen for homeless at $9/hour hope of that $20/hour s/he used to have, even if for their children.

        Trump is a clown, but at the circus, we all love a clown and if s/he also promises to listen to you and try just a little, it trumps, shut up you dumb old deplorable.

      2. Just a Guy,

        It is a matter of perspective. You watch him on TV as a show. Bold, fun, entertaining, inspiring! We see him as the pilot in our airplane – with no idea how to fly.

  2. Loved the squid ink reference!

    This is one of your most powerful posts as the founders quotes, especially that bit about “encroaching power” by Madison, followed by the coach potato diagnoses the pickle we are in.

    Unfortunately I wasn’t able to view the Loki clip as it’s unavailable…. the link to the cannons worked fine. I am found of Canon 12: Fixed the periods and the duration of the Truce of God.

  3. Impressive post, Larry. The reason it is impressive is that, while I don’t agree with everything you say, I need to think a LOT about what and why I believe certain things. Also impressive for the logical way you lay out what you think. Lot of meat on this bone…

    A question about one of the images you posted. Where did you find that astonishingly repulsive piece of NSA propaganda at the bottom of your article?

    Sadly, the Loki moment you show in one of your responses will never occur. The really smart villains never publicly revel in their power (they savor it behind locked doors). It is articles like yours that help make things more clear.

    1. Pluto,

      “Where did you find that astonishingly repulsive piece of NSA propaganda at the bottom of your article?”

      It’s just an honest statement of how many or most Americans see the growth of State power. That’s why there is little outrage and no protest to it.

      “the Loki moment you show in one of your responses will never occur.”

      Films are not representations of reality. They are mirrors to our hopes and fears.

      1. Larry: “It’s just an honest statement of how many or most Americans see the growth of State power.”

        I’m serious about my question of where did you find that advertisement. I searched for it myself and could not find it. That is unusual for me. I’d like to see the raw material, if possible.

      2. Larry: “Do a Google Image search.”

        Thanks, I think. I found what you mentioned. The things you can’t unsee…

  4. To Michael Dowd.

    Trump does bring a certain energy to the Presidency but his primary values threaten the status quo. The President is responsible for maintaining the status quo so Trump is his own worst enemy.

    You see this over and over in his statements and actions as he continually contradicts himself in endless frustration.

    My belief is that if Trump had a time machine, he’d go back to 2016 and make sure that Hilary won. Then Trump could endlessly criticize Hilary and tell what he’d have done better and make an incredible fortune without being forced to show what he could or could not accomplish.

    But Hilary screwed up and Trump won by accident and his nightmare began.

    1. Pluto,

      “Trump does bring a certain energy to the Presidency”

      Absurd. He brings controversy. But that would be equally true if he mooned people from the Oval Office window.

      “his primary values threaten the status quo.”

      I see no “primary values” of Trump, other than narcissism and desire for self-aggrandizement and personal profit.

      “The President is responsible for maintaining the status quo ”

      Check the Constitution. No, that’s not his job.

      “My belief is that if Trump had a time machine, he’d go back to 2016 and make sure that Hilary won”

      Guessing like that is fun, but valueless. However, his actions suggest that he was not seriously running until he surged in the polls. As the US public becomes increasingly child-like, our choices become whimsical. Here is a precedent for Trump’s success – another clown sucked into high office in the midst of a crisis: from “California and Bust“ by Michael Lewis in Vanity Fair, November 2011.

      If there had not been a popular movement to remove sitting governor Gray Davis and the chance to run for governor without having to endure a party primary, he {never would have bothered}. “The recall happens and people are asking me, ‘What are you going to do?’” he says, dodging vagrants and joggers along the beach bike path. “I thought about it but decided I wasn’t going to do it.

      I told Maria I wasn’t running. I told everyone I wasn’t running. I wasn’t running.” Then, in the middle of the recall madness, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines opened. As the movie’s leading machine, he was expected to appear on The Tonight Show to promote it. En route he experienced a familiar impulse-the impulse to do something out of the ordinary. “I just thought, This will freak everyone out,” he says. “It’ll be so funny. I’ll announce that I am running. I told Leno I was running. And two months later I was governor.”

      He looks over at me, pedaling as fast as I can to keep up with him, and laughs. “What the fuck is that?” … “All these people are asking me, ‘What’s your plan? Who’s on your staff?’ I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t have a staff. I wasn’t running until I went on Jay Leno.”

      1. Larry: “Absurd. He brings controversy.”

        Agreed, I was being nice. You were being clear.

        Larry: “I see no “primary values” of Trump, other than narcissism and desire for self-aggrandizement and personal profit.”

        Agreed again. I debated stating what you did because I was trying to be nice. Thank you for being clear again.

        Pluto: “The President is responsible for maintaining the status quo ”

        Larry: “Check the Constitution. No, that’s not his job.”

        Agreed again. But that is what his job has morphed into in the eyes of the people and especially the Deep State.

        If you look at the first impeachment charge brought up by the Deep State, it is that Trump changed one of their deals without asking them first. The second charge is that he obstructed an investigation into the first charge, which is another Deep State bugaboo.

        Larry: “Guessing like that is fun, but valueless”


        Larry: “Here is a precedent for Trump’s success – another clown sucked into high office”

        Although I didn’t live in California during Arnie’s governorship, I seem to recall that he did okay. Not brilliant but okay. I’m probably wrong on that too.

  5. “The Deep State has learned from squid how to respond to attacks. They spew out ink, hide and wait for the danger to pass.”

    If a crucial dimension of the power of the Deep State is secrecy, favors and distortions and that in some sense in back of every public chamber of elected representatives stands a type of anti-chamber of indirect influences and voices vying for access to the ears of our representatives and Presidents, then don’t both the chamber and the antechamber of indirect influences as well as the corridors between them have to be, or somehow modified in order for genuine politlcal reform to have any chance of success?

    We can use the electoral process to change our elected representatives but what are the specific steps needed to take on the antechamber members( for example, the in and outers from powerful private sector organizations (corporations, law firms, finance, and Big tech) who rotate in and out of the State as well as professional intellectuals in the diplomatic core–who collectively more and more seem to be calling the shots in both our foreign and domestic policy?

    1. James,

      “We can use the electoral process to change our elected representatives but what are the specific steps needed to take on the antechamber members”

      All that is under the control of elected officials. If we put the right people in those seats, the “antechamber members” (nice phrase!) are no problem. The key is to hold elected officials accountable for their actions. Now we value only tribes. So long as the official is our tribe, we vote like bots. Hence turnover in Congress from defeat or forced retirement (ie, with the polls showing likely defeat) is lower than that in the USSR’s Politburo.

  6. We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.
    George Orwell

  7. A lot of the US “exceptionalism” if there is such a thing had to do with how George Washington handled himself.

    The secret to patriotism/statesmanship is self-control by people with power.

    No written law can replace that.

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