House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) have accused the Department of Justice (DOJ) of being behind “anonymous attacks” in the media on a House Intelligence Committee GOP staffer. The staffer was named and raked over the coals by an anonymous source in a New York Times hit-piece last weekend.
That staffer, House Intelligence Committee investigator Kashyap (Kash) Patel, was the main author of the committee’s memo detailing FBI and DOJ abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process in obtaining a surveillance warrant of Trump campaign associate Carter Page. More recently, Patel has been involved in the ongoing spat between the committee and the DOJ over the latter’s strategy of delay and obstruction with the FBI and DOJ withholding critical information in the committee’s investigation into FBI and DOJ mishandling of both the Clinton e-mail and Trump/Russia collusion investigations.
As this writer reported last week, Nunes — finally fed up with the refusal of the DOJ to comply with a congressional subpoena for information about a “specific individual” in the investigation — threatened to charge Attorney General Jeff Sessions with contempt of Congress if that information was not produced. The DOJ — realizing the gig was up — caved in and briefed committee members on the information sought in the subpoena. In an article published Saturday, this writer quoted the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel as reporting that the DOJ’s initial refusal to comply appears to have been driven by a desire to conceal from Congress the fact that the FBI had a “top-secret intelligence source” (read: spy) in the Trump campaign in 2016.
Patel played a key roll in the investigation that uncovered the name of the FBI/DOJ “top-secret intelligence source” inside the Trump campaign, despite efforts on the part of Deep State operatives in both the FBI and DOJ to keep that name unknown even to Congress. Apparently, Patel is an investigative force to be reckoned with and as per the standard playbook of the Deep State, that reckoning came in the form of character assassination by one of the Deep State’s most powerful publishing arms: the New York Times.
On Saturday, the Times ran an article, entitled “Suspicions, Demands and Threats: Devin Nunes vs. the Justice Dept.,” that cited a string of anonymous sources “familiar” with the details. While the article takes much of its ire out on Nunes, Patel — having proven himself to be a thorn in the side of the intelligence establishment — receives more than his fair share, as well.
After laying a foundation of more than insinuating that Nunes is a loose cannon, the article says:
In another meeting, Mr. Rosenstein felt he was outright misled by Mr. Nunes’s staff. [Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein wanted to know whether Kashyap Patel, an investigator working for Mr. Nunes who was the primary author of the disputed memo, had traveled to London the previous summer to interview a former British spy who had compiled a salacious dossier about Mr. Trump, according to a former federal law enforcement official familiar with the interaction.
Mr. Patel was not forthcoming during the contentious meeting, the official said, and the conversation helped solidify Mr. Rosenstein’s belief that Mr. Nunes and other allies in Congress were not operating in good faith.
The last sentence quote above — “Mr. Rosenstein’s belief that Mr. Nunes and other allies in Congress were not operating in good faith” — is almost laughable, considering the lengths to which the DOJ has gone to scuttle the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation in FISA abuses, as well as the DOJ’s bending of the truth to support the “fake news” Trump/Russia collusion narrative. Add to these salient facts that the FBI appears to have certainly planted a spy inside the Trump campaign, and Rosenstein’s remarks begin to look as ridiculous as they are.
It is not Nunes or his committee that come up short in the credibility department; it is the DOJ and FBI.
On Monday, both Nunes and Gowdy — who is portrayed in the Times piece as having been assigned by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to tag along with Nunes when he met with the DOJ “to help keep the meeting civil” — called the DOJ out for the unwarranted attack on Patel.
Gowdy told Fox News, “I would have a lot more respect for DOJ or House committee Democrats if they would take out their frustrations on members of Congress, and leave staffers alone,” adding, “The members make the final decision and are responsible for them, not staffers.”
Nunes went further, calling the claims of the Times’ article “false.” He said, “Attacking staffers, planting false stories, and endangering national security by leaking sensitive information to the press, including information about intelligence sources — this is what the DOJ is doing, and this is why trust in the DOJ is rapidly eroding in Congress.”
As to the claim by the Times’ anonymous source that Patel “was not forthcoming during the contentious meeting” with Rosenstein, Nunes is not alone in calling it false. House Intelligence Committee staff director Damon Nelson said Patel was already in London when he asked Patel and another staffer to contact Steele’s lawyer to obtain an address so that Steele could be asked to testify before the committee.
“The story that Kash flew to London to meet with Christopher Steele is false, no matter how many times it’s reported,” Nelson said. As to the “former federal law enforcement official” being “familiar with the interaction,” Nelson seems in doubt. “Anonymous DOJ officials who imply to reporters that Kash has ever been dishonest about this are spreading an outright falsehood,” he said. “If the anonymous DOJ officials want the truth, they can talk to me.”
DOJ spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores attempted to deflect, responding to Nunes’s remarks by saying, “As Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein has said repeatedly, we don’t put a lot of stock in anonymous sources over here and we are committed to continuing to work with Chairmen Gowdy and Nunes to accommodate their requests.”
There’s that lack of credibility showing through again. The statement by Flores ignores two obvious facts: First, it is irrelevant whether the DOJ puts “a lot of stock in anonymous sources” if it uses them to plant false stories attacking an investigator who has been systematically doing his job to reveal the truth about DOJ wrongdoing. Second, for the DOJ to be “committed to continuing to work with Chairmen Gowdy and Nunes to accommodate their requests” assumes that DOJ is already in the process of doing so. One cannot continue to do something one is recalcitrant in refusing to do.
The fact that it took the threat of charging Sessions with contempt of Congress to get briefed on the “specific individual” whom the FBI had placed in the Trump campaign as a spy shows that the DOJ is “committed” to continuing its strategy of delay and obstruction. The Times hit-piece shows that Deep State operatives in the DOJ are “committed” to stooping very low to continuing that strategy.
Attacking the credibility of the investigator largely responsible for exposing both the FBI/DOJ abuses of FISA and the name of the FBI spy in the Trump campaign is apparently not too low for those Deep State operatives to stoop.
In his statement to Fox News, Nunes described Patel as an “absolutely crucial committee investigator” who is “always two steps ahead of the DOJ,” adding, “In fact we suspect his effectiveness is exactly why the DOJ are launching anonymous attacks on him in the press.”
Photo: die-phalanx/iStock/Getty Images Plus