The co-founder of the prominent intelligence community blog, Lawfare, admitted that a recent report from the Justice Department inspector general on FBI FISA abuses for Trump campaign surveillance has destroyed their own credibility.
On a Thursday podcast hosted by Stewart Baker, a partner at the Washington office of Steptoe & Johnson LLP, the blog’s founder, Bobby Chesney admitted that the damming report from the DOJ IG documenting FBI abuses and vindicating the infamous Nunes memo on the discredited Steele Dossier alleging Russian collusion has been destructive to his publication’s reputation.
“Is there somebody who since the release of the Horowitz paper, someone in political life or a pontificator looks better or worse as a result of this report and why?” Baker asked the panel of three legal experts who specialize in the intelligence community.
I feel like all of us, who, you might call us the ‘Lawfare crowd’ who were often denounced or criticized at least in the older days as being too quick to credit and too trust the good faith and completeness of the efforts of the FBI in this kind of context. A lot of us look bad right now and we’re sort of watching anxiously to see how the broader OIG investigation sheds light on whether this was a one-off problem or a broader problem but there’s not question that a lot of our positions don’t look as persuasive as a result of how this has turned out.
Chesney’s humbling admission comes after three years of a continued push from Democrats charging the Trump campaign of colluding with the Russian government in a wild conspiracy theory offered legitimacy by the mainstream media. Trump of course, was completely exonerated after a two-year special counsel investigation led by Robert Mueller who found not one person on the Trump campaign, let alone Trump himself was working as a Russian agent.
A new report unveiled earlier this month from the Justice Department inspector general revealed the gross abuses of the FISA process committed by the FBI to guarantee warrants for its spying operations on the Trump campaign referred to as “Crossfire hurricane.” The inspector general found 17 significant omissions and errors from FISA applications requesting permission to continue its deep-state campaign to convict the president of being a Russian asset and overturn the results of the 2016 election.
Among the revelations from the report is the fact that FBI officials knew as early as January 2017 that the sources used from the Steele Dossier which were the basis for their warrant applications had provided junk intelligence and pushed onward with their surveillance operations regardless as if it were credible.
The inspector general’s findings have further vindicated the infamous memo authored by Republican California Congressman Devin Nunes rebuking the Steele Dossier while contradicting the rival memo from House Democrats pushing now-completely debunked narrative. The media derided the Republicans’ findings and vilified Nunes while providing glowing coverage of California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff who was the lead perpetuator of the Russia hoax in the House.
A great example of the types of disproven analysis published at Lawfare comes from Lawfare’s executive director, Susan Hennessey who also works as a CNN national security and legal analyst. Even after the release of the Mueller report and the DOJ IG report, Hennessey maintained that there was “no Russia hoax” despite her own boss’ admission. She has yet to retract this analysis.