#MemoReleased

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So, just this Friday, Congress released the full text of a long-rumoured and much-hyped memo penned by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, who inexplicably still has a job after last year's game of wiretap charades. The four-page memo purports to expose institutional bias at the FBI against Donald Trump.

Trump-friendly Twitterers have maintained a steady drumbeat of #ReleaseTheMemo for the past few weeks, aided - naturally - by some Russian bot accounts. The argument coming from the Trump camp is that the memo will exonerate him and prove that the special counsel investigation and the whole Trump-Russia story is just a big hoax being orchestrated by Hillary Clinton, presumably so that she has legal grounds to slay Trump in a ritual blood-duel and consume his presidential life-essence, thereby stealing his power and sexual magnetism.

Now, the FBI said, in no uncertain terms, "please do not declassify that memo." The Department of Justice - which also works for the President - agreed. The Democrats said "release the memo, but also release our counter-memo," to which the Republicans on the committee said "hah, no." Releasing the memo would also contradict the standing policy of the Republican party regarding classified information and FISA surveillance, which is to declassify nothing and keep re-authorising the legislation that grants intelligence agencies vast powers of domestic surveillance.

Naturally, the memo got released.

And it reveals...not a lot at all. To the extent that it contains anything new, it contradicts its own claims. Specifically, the core claim in the memo is that the FBI improperly obtained a FISA surveillance warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, implying that the warrant application was made under false pretenses. The "false pretenses" in this case would be the now-infamous Steele dossier, an intelligence dossier composed by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele which alleged - among many other things - that Donald Trump is into watersports. The dossier was composed by Steele on behalf of Fusion GPS, an opposition research firm that was contracted first by a conservative website called the Washington Free Beacon and later (after Trump won the nomination) by the Clinton campaign.

The argument that the memo is supposed to support goes like this:

1. The Steele dossier was paid for by Clinton, and is therefore all bullshit.
2. The FBI's application for a FISA warrant to spy on Carter Page used the Steele Dossier as part of its application.
3. The FISA surveillance served as the pretext for the FBI's Trump/Russia investigation and eventually the special counsel's investigation.
4. Therefore, the special counsel's investigation is all bullshit.

There's a zeroth step in there, where we all presume that Donald Trump is innocent and then contort ourselves and the facts to find a scenario that logically flows from (and towards) that presumption.

Now the memo is out, and you can go read it yourself in service to the noble goal of political transparency, and everyone can see that the memo is kind of a dudburger. For one thing, Carter Page was under FISA surveillance way back in 2014, well before he ever worked for Trump. For another, he wasn't working for Trump in October 2016 - he was fired in September. For another, the dossier's existence predates any involvement by the Clinton campaign, and the memo provides no evidence disproving or contradicting the dossier's claims - it merely draws a connection between the dossier and Clinton, a connection that would not matter if the dossier were proven to be true. And lastly, the dossier wasn't what started the FBI investigation. That was George Papadopoulos.

Oh well! Just wait a month or so, and there'll be another memo or another tweet or an email or a text or a something that proves Trump's innocence all in one dramatic headline, up until we can look at it and see that it doesn't.

It's not that I necessarily disagree with the fact that the memo is a whole heap of sod all, but I think you're undereestimating the point.

This isn't the normal justice system at play. It's not like the police investigate, pass the details to an independent prosecution service who go and do their thing. The president can basically only be prosecuted by the legislature. And the legislature only have to prosecute or convict him if they worry that not doing so might cost them their jobs. Consequently, it's not about evidence and building a case, it's about public perception.

At the moment, I can't help but feel that the USA is attempting to turn itself into Brazil. So I don't fancy its chances of a letting anything approaching a natural legal process take its course.

It's exactly how conspiracy-thinking logic works - selectively draw lines between only the points you want to highlight while ignoring the actual cause and effect of all the other points that surround and give rise to the situation in the first place.
Apparently Republican senators are just abovetopsecret.com forum members.

Wow, the memo managed to be counter-factual to intel that's publicly available. But I guess idiots on Sean Hannity's show will swallow it. It was designed for them, after all. And if they truly had nothing to hide they would have released the Democrat's memo. I think these idiots are counting on Trump firing Rosenstein before all the facts are out. And they think that's going to save Trump. But they're basically loading a gun for him and telling him to shoot himself in the foot. The orange lunatic is done.

I've never understood the importance of the memo.

In fact, like any intelligent person, I would think Trump would say that texts wouldn't matter. I mean, the hypocrisy is staggering.

Two to three agents unhappy with Trump supposedly send messages to get him out of office. None of these Agents are specifically tied to Mueller correct? And Mueller is looking at criminal things that Trump could have done.

So... Ok... Is that Trump's defense up until this point about Manafort, Papadopoulos, Flynn, and Gates? That these were low-level, Lone wolves who don't represent the innocence of the Trump Administration? So, ok. Devil's Advocate. Say the memos aren't as benign as Mr. Of Melbourne presents. Alright. And? This is literally what the Trump Administration uses to keep the whole thing from crashing down on them. Those four (and soon to be more, eh Jr.?) ne'er-do-wells acted alone all on their own suspiciously at the same time all working for the same foreign power or puppets thereof, oddly enough. They shouldn't represent the Trump Administration in their eyes.

You can't have it both ways. Either that excuse works for you and so it works for the FBI... or it doesn't work for the FBI, and Mueller has even more reason to probe due to the Administration's own admittance that if there's smoke, there's a hell of a lot of fire.

EVEN IF there was a shady underbelly of people against Trump... Ok. Remove them. Continue to look at his dealings. Just because a corrupt cop might be looking at my 'alleged drug dealings' if I'm a drug dealer... him being busted doesn't change the evidence if there is some.

ObsidianJones:
I've never understood the importance of the memo.

It's not important. It's not even accurate. They're counting on hype surrounding it to make it important. It's smoke and mirrors. That's how terrified these people are of what's gonna happen to them and to Trump as the result of the investigation. They're guilty as sin and they know it.

This is from February of last year: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-intelligence-community-ready-go-nuclear-donald-trump-russia-nsa-a7585926.html

And it seems more true today than ever before.

bastardofmelbourne:
For another, the dossier's existence predates any involvement by the Clinton campaign, and the memo provides no evidence disproving or contradicting the dossier's claims - it merely draws a connection between the dossier and Clinton, a connection that would not matter if the dossier were proven to be true. And lastly, the dossier wasn't what started the FBI investigation. That was George Papadopoulos.

Right. I don't particularly care about this memo, it should have no significant impact on the actual investigation at all. I don't personally think the FBI are biased either way, because they did the whole Clinton announcement right before the election as well. What the memo potentially does have an impact on, is how well the FBI are kept to due process.

Addressing the point here, how can a memo disprove or contradict a fabricated claim? The burden is on the accuser, that's how the legal system works.

The connection matters if a sleaze dossier paid for by a political opponent / campaign groups is used as a shortcut to bypass checks requiring set levels of evidence before actions can be taken. You cannot just use fabricated evidence to acquire a warrant, regardless of whether or not you already had someone under surveillance. Regardless of accusations of being partisan, that is a terrible precedent to be setting.

Sure, there are plenty of people trying to bandwagon this into something it is not. But that doesn't detract from the fact that there may be actual issues here.

Adam Jensen:

ObsidianJones:
I've never understood the importance of the memo.

It's not important. It's not even accurate. They're counting on hype surrounding it to make it important. It's smoke and mirrors. That's how terrified these people are of what's gonna happen to them and to Trump as the result of the investigation. They're guilty as sin and they know it.

This is from February of last year: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-intelligence-community-ready-go-nuclear-donald-trump-russia-nsa-a7585926.html

And it seems more true today than ever before.

You and I know that.

Republican government can hope that we don't.

... But why does the average trump supporter think so? I mean... What? Someone in the FBI doesn't like Trump? Almost every Republican alive during Obama's terms looked for anything to impeach him. What would we find if we went through their text? Or would they claim it isn't the same?

The purposeful close mindedness stuns me. There is nothing to keep us from moving forward in our tasks, yet people are trying to jedi mind trick you that there's Mount Everest in front of us so we might as well give up. No one is that stupid on this side, so why do they continue?

Catnip1024:
You cannot just use fabricated evidence to acquire a warrant, regardless of whether or not you already had someone under surveillance.

But... it wasn't fabricated.

In fact, Simpson told the Judiciary Committee that when Steele was interviewed by FBI officials in Rome in September 2016, the bureau signaled they had obtained some of the information he had collected prior to him even writing the first memo in his dossier.

"They believed Chris might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing," Simpson said. "One of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump organization." He added that the FBI had a "walk-in" whistleblower who was someone in Trump's orbit.

https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/fact-check-trumps-dossier-tweet-full-of-dubious-claims

The book, Collusion: How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win, by the Guardian journalist Luke Harding, quotes Steele as telling friends that he believes his reports - based on sources cultivated over three decades of intelligence work - will be vindicated as the US special counsel investigation digs deeper into contacts between Trump, his associates and Moscow.

"I've been dealing with this country for 30 years. Why would I invent this stuff?" Steele is quoted as saying.

The Trump-Russia dossier: why its findings grow more significant by the day
Read more
One of the reasons his dossier was taken seriously in Washington in 2016 was Steele's reputation in the US for producing reliable reports on Russia, according to Harding's book.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/nov/15/christopher-steele-trump-russia-dossier-accurate

As a certain famous Republican would say, 'this is a nothingburger'. Seriously, this is worthless. It's based on faulty logic and reasoning, and provides no proof for it's more damning claims.

All I can do is hope that Nunes suffers dearly for his vile stupidity and desperation to protect Trump at all cost, namely losing his seat this year. Also, I hope this doesn't screw up Mueller's Investigation.

People also need to know that it's remarkably easy to get a FISA warrant. They're granted in 99% of cases. The FBI already had more than enough intel when they got their first FISA warrant for surveillance on Page back in 2014. After that it was smooth sailing. They didn't need the dossier.

Also, the memo doesn't actually cite a single law that was broken by anyone in the FBI or the DOJ. Not a single reference for any illegality. It's basically a list of things that Trump and Nunes don't like, and they couldn't even get that much correct.

though it's well known that most republicans/conservative sympathisers don't follow the standards they put upon others, in fact relying solely upon aggressively projecting such a standard these days, surely if we go by the logic of "can't trust any information remotely financially connected to those that would agree with said information" then literally everything from Trump, his buddies and his gold-plated shitpit is out the window too. It's that elementary. But then so is all this endless tripe

Catnip1024:
The connection matters if a sleaze dossier paid for by a political opponent / campaign groups is used as a shortcut to bypass checks requiring set levels of evidence before actions can be taken. You cannot just use fabricated evidence to acquire a warrant, regardless of whether or not you already had someone under surveillance. Regardless of accusations of being partisan, that is a terrible precedent to be setting.

Sure, you shouldn't use fabricated evidence to get a warrant. But why on earth are you just assuming the information is fabricated, and that the FBI knew that?

The FBI have certain information on a suspect already under investigation. Then they are able to access more information from another source. This new source is broadly respected, and the information has significant consistency with what they already know, which makes it appear more credible. So why not seek a warrant with it?

Kwak:
But... it wasn't fabricated.

It was accusation with no evidence to back it up, and biased by its very source. The actual dossier compiler was essentially gathering stories from various people who totally have reason to be untruthful. Character references don't make up for the fact that a guy was given X amount of money to dig up dirt, which tends to skew the fact-checking process a little, and who then went to speak to Russian intelligence contacts, who are totally going to be honest about this whole thing, right?

And if we're suddenly lapping up stories originating from the Russian intelligence community with no questioning of motive, why the fuck are we even worrying about Trump?

You should not be able to obtain a warrant based entirely on Chinese whispers. Or Russian whispers, for that matter.

The FBI already had the guy under observation. If they couldn't dig up any reason to bring him in due to that, maybe a warrant was actually not the right call.

Catnip1024:
It was accusation with no evidence to back it up, and biased by its very source. The actual dossier compiler was essentially gathering stories from various people who totally have reason to be untruthful.

If we can discount the dossier because we think its author was biased against Trump, why can we not discount the memo because Nunes is pro Trump and has previously lied for Trump?

I too can write a memo. Watch:

There's no evidence that Donald Trump isn't a furry.

The memo must now be released to the media so that the voting public can evaluate it for themselves and reach their own conclusion.

But seriously, what's the conclusion here? Based on reading the memo, it appears that the "big reveal" is the following:

1.) Christopher Steele (the pee-pee tape guy) doesn't think that Trump should be the president.

2.) Of the many dozens of FBI agents working on the investigation, two of them (neither of whom has ever given indication that they have allowed their personal views to interfere with their work) privately would have preferred Clinton to Trump. Any of the free speech fans in here want to comment on this?

3.) The DNC did opposition research

4.) In fact, Christopher Steele did allow his personal feelings to interfere with his professional conduct in leaking the information to the media (though this says nothing on its own about the quality of that information). It bears mentioning that he was then fired from the FBI for this, which the memo acknowledges. That's an odd thing to bring up if you're trying to insinuate that the whole investigation is corrupt and biased.

5.) In the final paragraph, it walks it all back anyway and admits that, actually, the investigation was in response to the Papadopoulos information rather than the dossier, so the whole Steele thing is a red herring anyway.

TechNoFear:

Catnip1024:
It was accusation with no evidence to back it up, and biased by its very source. The actual dossier compiler was essentially gathering stories from various people who totally have reason to be untruthful.

If we can discount the dossier because we think its author was biased against Trump, why can we not discount the memo because Nunes is pro Trump and has previously lied for Trump?

Actually, my argument is more that it is completely unfounded in any form of actual evidence. If any actual evidence were provided, the source of the information could be more easily overlooked.

The memo shouldn't be discounted, but not for the reasons the Republicans are banging on about.

Agema:
It's not that I necessarily disagree with the fact that the memo is a whole heap of sod all, but I think you're undereestimating the point.

Oh, sure sure sure. But I don't live in America, so it only bothers me slightly to see your country descend into lawless tyranny.

In all seriousness: the memo was always going to be used to try and discredit the investigation, regardless of its actual content. But it is both reassuring and fortunate for American democracy that the memo is so vapid, because its lack of credibility lowers the odds that Trump will be successful in his effort to escape the investigation. Trump may try to fire everyone at the FBI and replace them with cronies, but his chances of being able to actually pull that off will dwindle if public opinion is set against him, just as they would strengthen if public opinion was on his side.

Catnip1024:
Addressing the point here, how can a memo disprove or contradict a fabricated claim? The burden is on the accuser, that's how the legal system works.

My point is that for the purposes of obtaining a surveillance warrant, the only quality of the Steele dossier that truly mattered was its credibility. Informants deliver confidential intelligence for personal or political reasons all the time; the motive of the intelligence is not typically a factor, except to the degree that it may discredit the intelligence. If the intelligence is otherwise credible, it simply does not matter that the source of the intelligence had ulterior motives. And to the extent that the Nunes memo discredits the Steele dossier, it does so only by pointing out that the Clinton campaign was one of the parties paying for its research.

Additionally, the memo conveniently omits the fact that the dossier was originally compiled on behalf of a conservative political donor and news organisation way back in October 2015, well before Trump won the primary. If the argument of the memo is that the Steele dossier is tainted because its source of funding was tainted, then that argument is hollow, because the Clinton campaign was not the original source of the memo's funding. It simply started picking up the bill after the original client backed out, once Trump was the presumptive Republican candidate. The dossier was already compiled at that point.

Don't get me wrong, the Steele dossier is not A-grade intelligence material. But a lot of its claims have actually been quietly verified in the months since its publication. Just because it is not totally accurate does not mean that it is totally inaccurate; it may not be true that there is a tape of Donald Trump hiring prostitutes to pee on a bed in a Moscow hotel, but the memo makes substantial material accusations of financial ties and verbal promises exchanged between the Trump campaign and the Russian government that have been made much more credible in light of the administration's actual actions.

Just a few days ago, the Trump administration quietly announced that it would not be imposing sanctions on Russia in defiance of sanctions legislation that had passed Congress in with an overwhelming bipartisan consensus in July of last year. After months of hemming and hawing about imposing the sanctions that Congress did not make optional, the Trump administration eventually just announced that they wouldn't do it. What's worse, the administration basically gave its own intelligence services the middle finger by throwing out their carefully-researched list of targets for those sanctions and replacing it with what was literally just the Forbes list of Russia's wealthiest people.

This is the kind of shit the Steele dossier was alleging last February, and it is literally coming true before our eyes. The dossier was not perfect. I would, with my layman's inexpert eyes, trust maybe half of it with a big pinch of salt. But "fabricated?" Fabricated intelligence does not come true.

If the Nunes memo truly wants to argue that the Russia investigation is the fruit of a poisoned dossier, it has to show that the dossier was poisonous. It does not do that. It doesn't even succeed in arguing that the dossier was the foundation of the investigation! It contradicts that!

Catnip1024:
Sure, there are plenty of people trying to bandwagon this into something it is not. But that doesn't detract from the fact that there may be actual issues here.

To the extent that there are real issues at work here, it is the perennial question of whether the American government overreaches in its domestic surveillance of its citizens. (It does.)

To the extent that the Nunes memo is making a argument against such overreach, that argument is eviscerated by the fact that Republicans in Congress voted near-unanimously in favour of re-authorising the FISA legislation that grants the government such broad powers of surveillance. They in fact directly rejected an amendment that would limit the scope of section 702, which is the provision that allows for the incidental collection of communications between foreign nationals who are the subject of a surveillance warrant and US citizens who are not - the "unmasking" provision that Nunes made much hay about last March.

The memo is a hollow, hypocritical exercise in partisan grandstanding that selectively leaks intelligence favourable to its claims while obscuring intelligence that contradicts it. If the FISA warrant to surveil Carter Page truly was baseless, then it is within Donald Trump's power to declassify that warrant application in full. It is within the power of his administration and Congress to voluntarily curtail such powers of surveillance to prevent their abuse. They are not doing that, because they do not want to do that; they want to cover for their boss, who's probably just worried that everybody will find out that he hasn't been a billionaire since the 90s.

Catnip1024:
Actually, my argument is more that it is completely unfounded in any form of actual evidence. If any actual evidence were provided, the source of the information could be more easily overlooked.

The memo shouldn't be discounted, but not for the reasons the Republicans are banging on about.

You are moving the goal posts, but to be clear...

The Steele dossier has verifiable supporting evidence and so is not "completely unfounded in any form of actual evidence".

The FISA court did not rely solely on the Steele dossier when approving the surveillance of Page.

The FISA court knew about the origins of the Steele dossier when re-approving the surveillance of Page at later dates.

TechNoFear:
You are moving the goal posts, but to be clear...

Well, no, you were misrepresenting my argument.

The Steele dossier has verifiable supporting evidence and so is not "completely unfounded in any form of actual evidence".

There is verifiable evidence of dates and times. That does not mean any of the follow-up accusations are true, particularly the more lurid ones. It all depends which aspects were used to grant a warrant, but is still the equivalent of using accusations in a tabloid in court.

The FISA court did not rely solely on the Steele dossier when approving the surveillance of Page.

If a man is convicted of murder in a case which used tampered evidence, and that is found out, the case is generally thrown out. That is why proper process is important. It doesn't matter if his fingerprints were on the knife, if you paid an actor to be a witness.

The FISA court knew about the origins of the Steele dossier when re-approving the surveillance of Page at later dates.[/quote]So the question becomes, what standards of actual evidence is required before surveillance is approved?

bastardofmelbourne:
My point is that for the purposes of obtaining a surveillance warrant, the only quality of the Steele dossier that truly mattered was its credibility.

Where money is involved, credibility is easily bought and sold. Legal decisions should be based on hard evidence, or witnesses not paid for by the opposition. I mean, the FBI had the chap under surveillance already. Surely they must have had something to want to continue monitoring him?

And to the extent that the Nunes memo discredits the Steele dossier, it does so only by pointing out that the Clinton campaign was one of the parties paying for its research.

I think the Clinton thing is over-hyped here. When it was a group of conservatives, it was still the political opposition paying for sleaze. The underlying questions remain the same, once you wipe off the slung shit.

This is the kind of shit the Steele dossier was alleging last February, and it is literally coming true before our eyes. The dossier was not perfect. I would, with my layman's inexpert eyes, trust maybe half of it with a big pinch of salt. But "fabricated?" Fabricated intelligence does not come true.

I'm not saying Trump has no Russian ties. I'm questioning standards of evidence. Hearsay often turns out to be true, but you can't prosecute someone based on it.

The memo is a hollow, hypocritical exercise in partisan grandstanding that selectively leaks intelligence favourable to its claims while obscuring intelligence that contradicts it. If the FISA warrant to surveil Carter Page truly was baseless, then it is within Donald Trump's power to declassify that warrant application in full. It is within the power of his administration and Congress to voluntarily curtail such powers of surveillance to prevent their abuse. They are not doing that, because they do not want to do that; they want to cover for their boss, who's probably just worried that everybody will find out that he hasn't been a billionaire since the 90s.

Oh, I completely agree with that. Politics in the US is fucked up. It's pretty much impossible to completely trust either party's line in this. I'd trust the FBI more on this if their conduct in the election hadn't made me question how much they were putting public perception concerns ahead of actual investigation. While not biased, they came across as an organisation extremely worried about administrative politics.

Just out of interest where is the line for people who vote DNC? Like what would it take for you to stop voting for them.

I feel like you can't ask the same of the GOP because everyone has their number. They're rich white dudes out for themselves and want America to be some kind of idealised vision of the 1950s (because thats when they were kids harrharr).

But from what I've seen the DNC is generally considered by the left to be held to a higher moral standard, yet they're clearly just as mucky and corrupt as anyone else but everyone just kind of shrugs and says "It's not like we have a better option."

I'm mainly asking because can the DNC not rebrand like Labour did in the UK when it started calling itself New Labour?

Catnip1024:
It was accusation with no evidence to back it up, and biased by its very source. The actual dossier compiler was essentially gathering stories from various people who totally have reason to be untruthful. Character references don't make up for the fact that a guy was given X amount of money to dig up dirt, which tends to skew the fact-checking process a little, and who then went to speak to Russian intelligence contacts, who are totally going to be honest about this whole thing, right?

It helps if you apply at least some rational standards.

Something isn't bogus sleaze just because it was paid for: sometimes people are paying for real skeletons in real closets. The dossier was compiled by an intelligence professional, who has a business in providing credible intelligence, and therefore a reputation for providing credible intelligence to consider. UK government sources regard him as reputable. He passed the information to the FBI and MI6 on his own initiative because he had genuine concerns about the nature and credibility of what he was finding. The FBI knew at least some of the information in the dossier is true, because it was confirmed by other sources; furthermore we have since found some to be true, because people have plead guilty in the ensuing investigation.

Put all this together, and your opinion on this matter is looking something closer to vapid cynicism.

Agema:
It helps if you apply at least some rational standards.

Something isn't bogus sleaze just because it was paid for: sometimes people are paying for real skeletons in real closets. The dossier was compiled by an intelligence professional, who has a business in providing credible intelligence, and therefore a reputation for providing credible intelligence to consider. UK government sources regard him as reputable. He passed the information to the FBI and MI6 on his own initiative because he had genuine concerns about the nature and credibility of what he was finding. The FBI knew at least some of the information in the dossier is true, because it was confirmed by other sources; furthermore we have since found some to be true, because people have plead guilty in the ensuing investigation.

Put all this together, and your opinion on this matter is looking something closer to vapid cynicism.

He may be reliable. His sources are members of the Russian intelligence community. Cynicism towards the statements coming from the Russian intelligence community is a healthy habit. Particularly if they were aware of the nature of the dossier he was compiling.

Catnip1024:
Cynicism towards the statements coming from the Russian intelligence community is a healthy habit.

Cynicism for the sake of cynicism is not a healthy habit. What qualifies you to be cynical here? Would you care to offer your expertise with the "Russian intelligence community"? Can you tell us what you know of Steele's sources, and why we should be cynical of them?

starbear:
Cynicism for the sake of cynicism is not a healthy habit. What qualifies you to be cynical here? Would you care to offer your expertise with the "Russian intelligence community"? Can you tell us what you know of Steele's sources, and why we should be cynical of them?

Ah, an appeal to expertise... Don't question what we tell you, people, we have "experts" on hand, and everybody knows they are entirely impartial and 100% correct. Like those experts that told us Iraq was making WMDs...

Mate, I'm not going to do your homework for you. I am sceptical of said sources. The chap himself could be under the best of intentions, and still report bullshit. But more importantly, the intelligence services of one nation should not be making decisions on the basis of things heard through the grapevine from an intelligence service of a borderline hostile other nation, particularly when said hostile nation is potentially aware of the end uses of said information.

Catnip1024:
He may be reliable. His sources are members of the Russian intelligence community. Cynicism towards the statements coming from the Russian intelligence community is a healthy habit. Particularly if they were aware of the nature of the dossier he was compiling.

Right. But don't you think a professional intelligence analyst is capable of assessing the reliability of the information he receives? That he would make certain checks or write up the information with appropriate caveats as to its reliability?

Agema:
or write up the information with appropriate caveats as to its reliability?

Yes. But do you think the media is smart enough or subtle enough to convey across any such caveats?

And if there were such caveats, surely that leads to the situation where this is actually even weaker evidence for the FBI to be using as grounds for a warrant?

Again, it all depends how it was used, and there's plenty enough actual evidence around that the Trump investigation is worthwhile. It's just a case of ensuring proper process.

Catnip1024:
Yes. But do you think the media is smart enough or subtle enough to convey across any such caveats?

Who gives a fuck what the media thinks? They've got nothing to do with this.

We're talking about the credibility of information that a law enforcement body possesses to decide whether to investigate further. At least somewhat credible information that an presidential candidate is actively colluding with a hostile foreign power is not exactly the sort of thing to ignore, because it's even more important to ensure a president is properly vetted than Joe Schmo.

Catnip1024:
And if there were such caveats, surely that leads to the situation where this is actually even weaker evidence for the FBI to be using as grounds for a warrant?

Caveats would be the sign of someone taking due care to explain likelihood; it might be viewed as less certain, but speaks well of the intentions of the witness to communicate accuracy.

You're just poking around in the dark here. These warrants do not require particularly high evidential standards, nor even proof a crime has occurred. They require sufficient circumstantial evidence that there may be wrongdoing to jusitfy surveillance. Making "salacious and unverified" attacks upon one dossier - and clearly only one of several relevant pieces of information in the hands of the FBI - tells us next to nothing about whether the surveillance warrant was justified. It's not even properly examining whether the warrant was justified. Which means if anything is a smear document, it's the Nunes memo.

Never mind if I remember rightly, Nunes was the guy passing information about his panel's Congressional investigation into Trump to the White House, which is kind of like a prosecutor advising a suspect how he can avod being investigated or brought to trial. Just if we want to think about the reputations of various parties involved in the release of information.

Catnip1024:
It's just a case of ensuring proper process.

If during the presidential campaign Clinton's foreign policy adviser was paid (by Russians) to go to Russia to give a pro Russia speech, and while there meet with known Russian operatives, do you think they should be investigated?

Would it matter if someone investigating Clinton (not her foreign policy adviser) was anti Clinton?

Agema:
Caveats would be the sign of someone taking due care to explain likelihood; it might be viewed as less certain, but speaks well of the intentions of the witness to communicate accuracy.

The compiler, not the witness. Seeing how none of this is first hand information.

You're just poking around in the dark here. These warrants do not require particularly high evidential standards, nor even proof a crime has occurred. They require sufficient circumstantial evidence that there may be wrongdoing to jusitfy surveillance.

They had had the chap under investigation for some time already, right? Surely, if the standards are so low, they could have found something to justify further action in their investigation?

TechNoFear:
If during the presidential campaign Clinton's foreign policy adviser was paid (by Russians) to go to Russia to give a pro Russia speech, and while there meet with known Russian operatives, do you think they should be investigated?

Would it matter if someone investigating Clinton (not her foreign policy adviser) was anti Clinton?

That is not my argument. For a proper parallel, you would have the FBI taking into account a sleaze dossier funded by Sanders and then Trump about Clinton, to warrant further investigation into Clinton.

Hang on, we did have evidence produced by the Trump campaign, in the form of the Clinton emails. And a whole bunch of people spent a whole bunch of time saying how they were not credible, how they'd been tampered, etc. Because that's the nature of party politics in the US.

Myself, I think the investigation is the correct thing to do. I am not sure that using information of dubious origin to further an investigation is appropriate, or that anyone in the US administration can really be trusted to do the job properly at this point. But whatever.

http://thegatewaypundit.com/2018/02/breaking-second-source-comes-forward-claims-rosenstein-threatened-nunes-house-intel-didnt-stop-investigation/

Seems Rosenstein was going around threatening people to shut up, less he subpoena their texts and messages.

God I hope this story gets juicier. Would see so nice to see some of these snakes in prison rather than the one week media interest before fading into obscurity stories that we usually get.

Whitbane:
http://thegatewaypundit.com/2018/02/breaking-second-source-comes-forward-claims-rosenstein-threatened-nunes-house-intel-didnt-stop-investigation/

Seems Rosenstein was going around threatening people to shut up, less he subpoena their texts and messages.

God I hope this story gets juicier. Would see so nice to see some of these snakes in prison rather than the one week media interest before fading into obscurity stories that we usually get.

You can't possibly believe Fox News and The Gateway Pundit, right? You must be trolling.

TechNoFear:
snip

Another thing that people seem to ignore or they've missed it completely is the fact that first FISA for surveillance on Carter Page was issued in 2014, so it had nothing to do with Trump and Russia election investigation, and the last one that we're aware of was issued in October of 2016 after Page had already left Trump's campaign. Once again, nothing to do with Trump. So the idea that they needed Steele's dossier to get the FISA warrant approved is moronic, or that it had anything to do with Trump. Page was a target because he was a Russian agent. And it's literally FBI's job to follow foreign agents around when they're on US soil. The fact that Page joined Trump's campaign is entirely Trumps fault. If he wasn't such a treasonweasel, that wouldn't have been an issue. But the dude can't stop surrounding himself with criminals and Russian spies, agents etc.

Catnip1024:

starbear:
Cynicism for the sake of cynicism is not a healthy habit. What qualifies you to be cynical here? Would you care to offer your expertise with the "Russian intelligence community"? Can you tell us what you know of Steele's sources, and why we should be cynical of them?

Ah, an appeal to expertise...

Nope.

Don't question what we tell you, people, we have "experts" on hand, and everybody knows they are entirely impartial and 100% correct. Like those experts that told us Iraq was making WMDs...

Unlike when the "experts that told us Iraq was making WMDs" we actually have the raw underlying intelligence that formed the of the Steele dossier. Its an important distinction. With Iraq: we didn't have the data. We didn't even hear directly from the intelligence agencies. We heard the information filtered through politicians, through a layer of propaganda. The memo can be viewed in exactly the same context as those "experts about Iraq." The memo is information filtered through politicians. Its propaganda. Did you fall for it?

I'm questioning you. On what basis are you cynical? We know that Steele used to be an intelligence agent. We know that he has a sterling reputation amongst his peers. We know that he has carefully cultivated his sources over decades. We know (and Steele knows, and the FBI knows) that some of the information may not be reliable, that they might be being fed false information, that their source might be compromised, that their source might simply be wrong. Its why intelligence agents use lots of different sources. Its why intelligence analysts work to verify information.

Mate, I'm not going to do your homework for you.

You don't have to do my homework for me. I've done my homework. I don't think you've done yours. Have you read the dossier?

I am sceptical of said sources.

Why?

Which source in particular?

Have you read the dossier?

The chap himself could be under the best of intentions, and still report bullshit.

The chap himself could also be under the best intentions and not report bullshit. Which do you think happened here?

But more importantly, the intelligence services of one nation should not be making decisions on the basis of things heard through the grapevine from an intelligence service of a borderline hostile other nation, particularly when said hostile nation is potentially aware of the end uses of said information.

Well its a good thing that isn't what happened here then.

Its a good thing the FBI isn't as cartoonishly stupid as you seem to think they are.

To characterize intelligence gathered by a former spy as "things heard through the grapevine" shows you have a fundamental ignorance of what the spy game is all about. All intelligence is a mix of things that include "things heard through the grapevine".

Catnip1024:
I am not sure that using information of dubious origin to further an investigation is appropriate, or that anyone in the US administration can really be trusted to do the job properly at this point. But whatever.

Part of any investigation is to determine if information is credible, and enough to warrant a prosecution.

In this case there appears to be plenty of other evidence to justify further investigation (via a FISA warrant) of Page.

Page was already under FISA surveillance in 2014.
Page was paid by Russians in July 2016 (during the presidential campaign) to go to Russia to give a pro Russia speech.
Page meet with known Russian operatives while in Russia in July 2016.
Page did this while acting as Trump's foreign policy adviser.

Then add the reports from Alexander Downer.
Then add any still classified evidence.
Then remember over 99% of all FISA requests are granted (so a low bar).

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