Agent Strzok played central role in Clinton, Trump investigations but who called the shots?

by WorldTribune Staff, August 15, 2018

Recently-fired FBI agent Peter Strzok “has played a much bigger role” in the Russia collusion investigation “than a lot of the media wants to admit,” Rudy Giuliani, lawyer for President Donald Trump, said on Fox News’s Hannity on Aug. 13.

Giuliani went on to say he believed Strzok also was a “puppet” and former CIA Director John Brennan was pulling the strings.

Peter Strzok, formerly of the FBI. / Getty Images

Today, Aug. 15, the White House announced it was revoking Brennan’s security clearance.

“Historically, former heads of intelligence and law enforcement agencies have been allowed to retain access to classified information after their government service so that they can consult with their successors regarding matters about which they may have special insights and as a professional courtesy,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “Neither of these justifications supports Mr. Brennan’s continued access to classified information.”

Giuliani called the probe into Hillary Clinton’s emails a “fixed investigation” and said special counsel Robert Mueller and Strzok are puppets for the “quarterback” of all of this, Brennan.

“Strzok, he’s a bit of a puppet. There’s Mueller, he’s a puppet,” Giuliani said. “I’m going to tell you who was the quarterback for all of this. The guy running it is Brennan.”

Strzok “was there at the very beginning,” Giuliani said. “He wrote all the initial documents justifying this investigation. He ran it for 11 months. He conducted the critical interview with Flynn with a very strange situation where Flynn pled guilty to a lie that the FBI said he didn’t – he wasn’t guilty of, go figure that out. ”

Strzok, Giuliani said, was also “the one who was carrying the dossier and using the dossier to justify the FISA wires. That has to be all unraveled. There is no doubt there are four false affidavits filed with the FISA court.”

Giuliani said “Brennan took an affidavit, a dossier that unless he’s the biggest idiot intelligence agent that ever existed, although he never did much intelligence work. It’s false. You can look at it and laugh at it. And he should be in front of a grand jury.”

Rowan Scarborough outlined “the Strzok narrative” in an Aug. 13 report for The Washington Times:

  • The Justice Department Inspector General criticized Strzok for quickly moving to start a counter-intelligence investigation into Trump associates before he completed his probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server to handle classified data.
  • Strzok opened the Trump probe on July 31, 2016 based on hearsay from an Australian diplomat via the U.S. embassy in London. The diplomat said a Trump volunteer, George Papadopoulos, told him a Russian-connected professor heard that Moscow owned “thousands” of Mrs. Clinton’s emails. Conservatives say this amounted to nothing more than political gossip about the 30,000 emails she had destroyed.
  • Strzok’s FBI team embraced an unverified dossier written by ex-British spy Christopher Steele. Steele was paid by Fusion GPS with money from the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party. The FBI used the dossier to convince a court to approve a wiretap on campaign volunteer Carter Page. The bureau also relied on the dossier to guide the investigation. The bureau told a House committee last year it had still not confirmed Steele’s Kremlin-sourced charges.
  • Strzok participated in a partisan flow of anti-Trump information that went from the Clinton opposite research firm, Fusion GPS, to Associated Attorney General Bruce Ohr to the FBI agent. Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked at Fusion as a Russia expert.
  • Strzok’s unit hired at least one “confidential human source” or CHS to spy on the Trump campaign. The informant, Stefan Halper, who has ties to the Pentagon and the British spy service MI6, made contact with Papadopoulos and Page.
  • The FBI agreed to pay Steele $50,000 to continue investigating Trump, but then fired him for disclosing his informant status to the press.

Meanwhile, former FBI agents said they were livid over how the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) handled the eventual firing of the anti-Trump Strzok.

“Strzok was under oath before Congress and he made statements that appeared to be false and refused to answer some questions, but he was going to get just a slap on the wrist,” a former supervisory special agent from OPR adjudication, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told “There is absolutely no wiggle room when it comes to lack of candor in the FBI…unless you’re an SES (Senior Executive Service). Strzok’s firing went well beyond texting about Trump. Strzok would have also been involved in the handling of the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) application to the FISC (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court)…”

The agent noted that Strzok was “well aware that he was lying by deception when they did not include the information on who paid for the dossier and (that) Bruce Ohr was back-channeling information for a discredited source.”

“Strzok knew they were not putting the application in the right context,” the former FBI supervisory special agent added. “If there was the slightest doubt if that application was not 100 percent true, then that application would not go forward.”

The agent continued, “I find it absolutely preposterous that Rod Rosenstein is still in his position knowing that he signed off on the final FISA” application. Rosenstein oversees the special counsel investigation after DOJ Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the case. Rosenstein signed off on the final FISA warrant in the Spring of 2017, allowing the FBI to continue spying on former Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.

“I saw political decisions made while I was there in the office. There was a political culture that was hard to shake,” said the former FBI official with OPR, noting that there were approximately 14 to 16 adjudicators.  “Most of the people there (the adjudicators) are former DOJ officials or attorney’s hired off the street. There are were very few FBI special agents working in OPR. The agents would look at things differently.”

“It almost makes me ashamed when I tell people I was an FBI agent,” said the former official. “I was so proud of the bureau, but it grieves me to see what it’s become.”

Trump on Aug. 14 tweeted the statement made by Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton on the firing of Strzok.

Fitton said: “The firing of Peter Strzok is another body blow to the credibility of the Mueller special counsel operation. Strzok, who hated President Trump, compromised both the Clinton and Trump investigations that saw Hillary Clinton protected and Donald Trump illicitly targeted. Strzok’s anti-Trump texts show the Russia investigation he helped invent with Clinton campaign operatives is irredeemably compromised. As Mueller’s operation is founded on Strzok’s corrupt activities, it must be shut down.”

Trump ended the tweet by saying: “Thank you Judicial Watch, I couldn’t have said it better myself!”

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