The Latest NYT Spin of DOJ IG Report on Alleged Obama-Era FISA Abuses Is Downright Pathetic

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Posted: Nov 27, 2019 4:10 PM
The Latest NYT Spin of DOJ IG Report on Alleged Obama-Era FISA Abuses Is Downright Pathetic

Source: AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

It's all over, folks. It’s settled. The Federal Bureau of Investigation did not spy on the Trump campaign in 2016…The New York Times said so. Right, the liberal New York Times has declared there was no bias and no spying concerning the upcoming inspector general report into alleged FISA abuses under the Obama administration. If you think this is true, then words have lost all meaning. We’re debating distinctions without differences here—and even the Times’ own reporting on this saga seems to suggest that, yes, the FBI tried to spy on the Trump campaign. You can’t polish a turd and the liberal media has been so appallingly bad covering this White House, you simply should just their pages to wipe your backside. It has more utility in that regard. We don’t believe you, folks. I sure as hell don’t, even though I admit that this paper has, at times, written some great stuff. Hey, even a blind squirrel finds a nut, but this spin is trash. The FBI didn’t spy. They just sent informants to covertly glean information from those who were with the Trump campaign and relaying said information back to the FBI. Sounds like a distinction without a difference, huh? Bloomberg’s Eli Lake certainly thinks so.  

The first slice from this rather large anti-Trump deep state pie was when Stefan Halper, a known CIA operative, tried to establish contacts with three Trump officials—Sam Clovis, George Papadopoulos, and Carter Page–which was further elaborated on when “Operation Crossfire” was revealed. The Times can explain, but talk about burying the lede here [emphasis mine]:

The Justice Department’s inspector general found no evidence that the F.B.I. attempted to place undercover agents or informants inside Donald J. Trump’s campaign in 2016 as agents investigated whether his associates conspired with Russia's election interference operation, people familiar with a draft of the inspector general’s report said.

The determination by the inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, is expected to be a key finding in his highly anticipated report due out on Dec. 9 examining aspects of the Russia investigation. The finding also contradicts some of the most inflammatory accusations hurled by Mr. Trump and his supporters, who alleged not only that F.B.I. officials spied on the Trump campaign but also at one point that former President Barack Obama had ordered Mr. Trump’s phones tapped. The startling accusation generated headlines but Mr. Trump never backed it up.

The finding is one of several by Mr. Horowitz that undercuts conservatives’ claims that the F.B.I. acted improperly in investigating several Trump associates starting in 2016. He also found that F.B.I. leaders did not take politically motivated actions in pursuing a secret wiretap on a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page — eavesdropping that Mr. Trump’s allies have long decried as politically motivated.

[…]

F.B.I. officials started the investigation, code-named Crossfire Hurricane, in July 2016 after learning that a Russian intermediary had offered information that could damage Hillary Clinton to a Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos. The F.B.I. eventually began looking at four Trump campaign advisers who had ties to Russia, including Mr. Papadopoulos, and as law enforcement and intelligence officials were realizing the extent of the Kremlin’s ongoing campaign to sabotage the election.

The F.B.I. was cognizant of being seen as interfering with a presidential campaign, and former law enforcement officials are adamant that they did not investigate the Trump campaign organization itself or target it for infiltration. But agents had to investigate the four advisers’ ties with Russia, and the people they did scrutinize all played roles in the Trump campaign.

Mr. Trump and his allies have pointed to some of the investigative steps the F.B.I. took as evidence of spying, though they were typical law enforcement activities. For one, agents had an informant, an academic named Stefan A. Halper, meet with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos while they were affiliated with the campaign.The president decried the revelation as an “all time biggest political scandal” when it emerged last year.

The F.B.I. did have an undercover agent who posed as Mr. Halper’s assistant during a London meeting with Mr. Papadopoulos in August 2016. And indeed, another Trump adviser, Peter Navarro, reportedly pushed Mr. Halper for an ambassadorship in the Trump administration.

Yeah, that’s spying, or as WMAL radio host and Washington Times columnist Larry O’Connor put it, “He wasn't a spy.... he was hired by the FBI to secretly engage in conversations under false pretenses and then report back whatever he learned in those conversations.”

And this was when the NYT published a piece with the headline: “FBI Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, As Trump Claims.” It’s a madhouse, everyone. Now, let’s circle back to Papadopoulos’ rendezvous with some woman named Azra Turk, who he alleges was CIA, not FBI, which was also reported by The Times. Oh, and this woman was sent to oversee the whole infiltration operation, which included the work done by Mr. Halper [emphasis mine]:

The conversation at a London bar in September 2016 took a strange turn when the woman sitting across from George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser, asked a direct question: Was the Trump campaign working with Russia?

The woman had set up the meeting to discuss foreign policy issues. But she was actually a government investigator posing as a research assistant, according to people familiar with the operation. The F.B.I. sent her to London as part of the counterintelligence inquiry opened that summer to better understand the Trump campaign’s links to Russia.

The American government’s affiliation with the woman, who said her name was Azra Turk, is one previously unreported detail of an operation that has become a political flash point in the face of accusations by President Trump and his allies that American law enforcement and intelligence officials spied on his campaign to undermine his electoral chances. Last year, he called it Spygate.

The decision to use Ms. Turk in the operation aimed at a presidential campaign official shows the level of alarm inside the F.B.I. during a frantic period when the bureau was trying to determine the scope of Russia’s attempts to disrupt the 2016 election, but could also give ammunition to Mr. Trump and his allies for their spying claims.

Ms. Turk went to London to help oversee the politically sensitive operation, working alongside a longtime informant, the Cambridge professor Stefan A. Halper. The move was a sign that the bureau wanted in place a trained investigator for a layer of oversight, as well as someone who could gather information for or serve as a credible witness in any potential prosecution that emerged from the case.

This isn’t the first time the liberal media took something at face value because ‘orange man, bad.’ James Clapper, Obama’s former spy czar, even admitted that this activity by the FBI amounts to the dictionary definition of…spying. But once again, we have a ‘see no evil, see no bias’ issue taking hold at the DOJ. 

Sorry, throw the spin in the trash. The FBI appears to have spied on the Trump campaign, and former top-level Obama officials all but confirmed this months ago.