Sources with links to the Justice Department confirm that U.S. intelligence has legal copies of all Donald Trump’s “tapes” of his meetings with Director Comey – and that Comey had his own phone legally hacked in order to record suspects, including Trump, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr, for over a year.
On June 9th, in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of New York, Judge Orenstein slapped down Jeff Sessions as he attempted to force the service provider on James Comey’s phone to assist Sessions with continuing an SS7 exploit placed there by the consent of James Comey, and lawfully, in order to help Comey in his criminal investigation of Donald Trump and Russia.
Separate sources with links to the intelligence and justice communities are clear that the ‘witness’ in this case is James Comey, the ‘software solution’ is the SS7 exploit used on his phone by consent, and that his phone was recording, again, by consent, and as part of a lawful criminal investigation that included Donald Trump, all his conversations for well over a year. This would mean that the FBI had essentially used Director Comey’s cell phone to monitor suspects in the Trump Russia case since before the beginning of June, 2016. This is very, very bad news for Mr. Trump. If Trump, as he is openly threatening, prepares to fire Special Counsel Mueller, parts of these tapes may be leaked to the general public. The court case itself, with the names of the witness and his cell phone provider redacted, is open, public record, but sources linked to the intelligence community have confirmed the witness to be Director Comey, giving the document an extraordinary significance.
First we can see that the ‘hot mike’ phone was provided to Director Comey by Federal Agents, in or before the summer of 2016, as part of a criminal investigation, and in order to assist him in that investigation:
As part of an investigation into suspected criminal activity, the government has secured the agreement of the Witness to engage in monitored communications with subjects of the investigation. Beginning over a year ago, agents provided the Subject Telephone to the Witness, who in turn provided written consent to the interception and recording of all calls made and received over that device
Second, we can see that Director Comey had renewed his written consent on this ‘several months later’ and again just two days before Trump fired him. The day after this consent was renewed, Comey interviewed Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump about the Kelhios botnet operating out of Trump Tower, which they both had knowledge of. This conversation too was legally recorded and likely was the immediate spur for Trump to obstruct justice by firing Comey.
The Witness again provided written consent to the monitoring of the Subject Telephone several months later, and then did so a third time two days ago; in this most recent writing, according to the government, the Witness again committed “not [to] allow third parties to use the telephone.” Id. at 7 & Ex. A.3
It is clear that the government, by which we mean Jeff Sessions, submitted to the court that he needed help finding out how Director Comey’s cell phone had been monitored as the “software based solution” (ie, the SS7 hot mike of the phone) had been discontinued. Intelligence sources familiar with the matter were scornful of the idea that the consensual monitoring of Director Comey’s phone would be continued after he was fired for investigating Trump’s sons and the Kelhios botnet used in Russia’s hack of the U.S. election. (In point of fact, sources laughed aloud at the suggestion).
Until recently, the agents consensually monitored the Subject Telephone’s communications and location by using “a software-based solution” that did not require the Provider’s participation. Id. at 7 n.6. The government reports that the latter product was recently “discontinued” without explaining how that discontinuance renders the product it was already using ineffective (although I assume that it must be so).
The translation of this passage is that intelligence agents who consensually hacked the phone switched off their exploit the second Trump fired Comey, and Jeff Sessions was whining to the court that he could not get back in.
In the dry language of the ruling, judge Orenstein told Sessions that Comey was using this exploit to investigate a crime and that hacking his phone without consent was completely unnecessary. He told Sessions to go and boil his head.
The third discretionary factor is necessity. In N.Y. Tel. Co., the Supreme Court observed that “without the Company’s assistance there is no conceivable way in which the surveillance authorized by the District Court could have been successfully accomplished.” 434 U.S. at 175. The record before me shows no such necessity. The government has demonstrated only that for over a year, it was able to monitor the Witness’s communications over the Subject Telephone without the Provider’s assistance, and that the particular product it used to do so has been discontinued. It has not asserted, much less established, that there are no other alternatives available that will allow it to accomplish its investigative goal without forcing the Provider to furnish technical assistance against its will. The complete lack of any showing of necessity weighs heavily against the government.
The front-facing of Director Comey’s identity to Patribotics may be taken as a warning shot on Mueller. As I have previously reported, Donald Trump is under a criminal indictment, and Director Comey decided he himself might need to be fired in order to advance the narrative away from himself and towards Donald Trump’s criminal actions. Sources report the Articles of Impeachment being considered by the Judiciary Committee have now advanced further and the language of them is presently being worked upon for presentation to Congress, at which point, the criminal indictment granted against Trump will be made public.
Come for the Bishop, best not miss.