Month’s top story: Horowitz report exposed Obama’s FBI, media errors

by WorldTribune Staff, December 19, 2019

Where were the real whistleblowers when America needed them?

Thanks to a report from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz, the country is only now getting the full story on the abuse of power by the Obama administration and the FBI in spying on the 2016 Trump campaign.

The New York Times and Washington Post won Pulitzer Prizes for bogus reporting on Trump-Russia ‘collusion.’

Many analysts say Democrats, emboldened by a compliant major media, moved so quickly to impeach President Donald Trump because U.S. Attorney John Durham’s investigation is about to reveal the full scope of the abuses they cheered on.

It has taken years for those abuses to come to light in large part because the corporate media, including outlets who won Pulitzer Prizes for bogus reporting on the Russia collusion hoax, failed or refused to recognize them, a columnist noted.

“The Obama administration misled the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and wiretapped an American who supported the presidential campaign of the party out of power. One of the many sad lessons is that no American can count on even the most celebrated members of the establishment press to shine a light on such abuses,” James Freeman wrote for the Wall Street Journal.

“By concealing exculpatory evidence, the Obama FBI, directed by James Comey, obtained a warrant from a court intended to counter foreign enemies and managed to turn the surveillance powers of the federal government against a U.S. citizen participating in our domestic politics, Carter Page.”

Freeman noted that Maureen Down, “one of the New York Times columnists who enjoys tossing casual treason references” at Trump “is beginning to see the light.”

Dowd wrote: “The inspector general’s report about the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation offered a hideous Dorian Gray portrait of the once-vaunted law enforcement agency. The F.B.I. run by Comey and [Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe] was sloppy, deceitful and cherry-picking — relying on nonsense spread by Christopher Steele.”

The FBI never told the FISA court that Steele’s own sources debunked his report.

Dowd’s small concession aside, what are the odds that the New York Times and Washington Post will come clean on why they reported the Russia collusion hoax as fact for so long?

In 2018, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger presented Pultizer Prizes in national reporting to the staffs of the Times and the Post for their reporting on Trump-Russia “collusion.”

The prize citation reads: “For deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the President-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration.”

After special counsel Robert Mueller concluded his nearly two-year investigation and reported in March that he found no evidence of Trump collusion with Russia “the prize citation seemed to be in need of a rewrite,” Freeman noted, adding that Horowitz’s report “undercuts more details in the reporting.”

Among the prize-winning submissions was a report published on Feb. 28, 2017. The Washington Post wrote: “While Trump has derided the dossier as ‘fake news’ compiled by his political opponents, the FBI’s arrangement with Steele shows that the bureau considered him credible and found his information, while unproved, to be worthy of further investigation… Steele was known for the quality of his past work and for the knowledge he had developed over nearly 20 years working on Russia-related issues for British intelligence.”

The Post story elaborated that in 2016, “Steele became concerned that the U.S. government was not taking the information he had uncovered seriously enough, according to two people familiar with the situation.”

Freeman wrote: “According to anyone familiar with the Horowitz report, the government should not have taken Steele’s information seriously at all.”

Another Post classic that helped win the prize was the report published on May 22, 2017 that said Trump had asked intelligence officials “to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.”

Anyone following the story knows now that Trump was asking the officials to state the plain fact that there was no collusion evidence. But according to the Post at the time: “Current and former senior intelligence officials viewed Trump’s requests as an attempt by the president to tarnish the credibility of the agency leading the Russia investigation.”

Freeman wrote: “With the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear that the FBI deserved to have its credibility tarnished.”

The Post’s May 22, 2017 report continued: “Senior intelligence officials also saw the March requests as a threat to the independence of U.S. spy agencies, which are supposed to remain insulated from partisan issues.”

Freeman wrote: “Is there anything more threatening than a powerful spy agency refusing to be accountable even to the duly-elected President of the United States?”

The Post saw things differently, writing: “The problem wasn’t so much asking them to issue statements, it was asking them to issue false statements about an ongoing investigation,” a former senior intelligence official said of Trump’s request.

“No, it’s now clear that there truly was a lack of collusion evidence. The false statements were being made by former senior intelligence officials,” Freeman noted.

Among the NY Times prize-winners was a report on April 22, 2017: “Days after Mr. Comey’s news conference, Carter Page, an American businessman, gave a speech in Moscow criticizing American foreign policy. Such a trip would typically be unremarkable, but Mr. Page had previously been under F.B.I. scrutiny years earlier, as he was believed to have been marked for recruitment by Russian spies. And he was now a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Trump. Mr. Page has not said whom he met during his July visit to Moscow, describing them as ‘mostly scholars.’ But the F.B.I. took notice. Mr. Page later traveled to Moscow again, raising new concerns among counterintelligence agents. A former senior American intelligence official said that Mr. Page met with a suspected intelligence officer on one of those trips and there was information that the Russians were still very interested in recruiting him.”

Freeman noted that the FBI had shared all of its alleged concerns about Page’s Russian connections with the FISA court but did not share key information—including the fact that Page was working with the CIA.

“Is there any chance a FISA judge would have approved the FBI’s surveillance request on Page if his assistance to another arm of the federal government had been fully disclosed?” Freeman asked.

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