The Hidden Hand

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Charles S. (Sam) Faddis, Senior Partner- Artemis, LLC is a former CIA operations officer with thirty years of experience in the conduct of intelligence operations in the Middle East, South Asia and Europe. His last assignment prior to retirement in May of 2008 was as head of the CIA's terrorist Weapons of Mass Destruction unit. He took the first CIA team into Iraq in the Summer of 2002 in advance of the invasion of that country and has worked extensively in the field with law enforcement, local security forces and special operations teams. Since retirement, he has written extensively, provided training to a wide variety of government and private entities and appears regularly on radio and television.

The essence of a coup, which some might refer to as covert action, is the hidden hand.  One does not announce that a foreign power is overthrowing the government and installing a new government.  One pulls strings as if from behind a curtain, making events that are all part of a carefully orchestrated plan appear disconnected, spontaneous and serendipitous.

As I read through the recently released IG report for the second time, as someone with a great deal of experience in military and intelligence matters, I see that hand everywhere.

Per the IG report, a single report is delivered to the FBI in the summer of 2016.  It concerns a meeting between a cooperative contact of a foreign intelligence service and a junior level employee of the Trump campaign, George Papadopoulos.  The report relates what are frankly very amorphous comments by Papadopoulos concerning the Russian government and its alleged possession of information on Hillary Clinton.

On any other day this report would command no attention whatsoever.  The source in question has no track record of any kind with the FBI. Papadopoulos has been employed by the Trump campaign for perhaps 90 days at this point, and there is no reason to believe he has contacts of significance in the Kremlin.

Not on this occasion.  This one report from a foreign intelligence service goes directly to the top of the FBI.  The Director himself, James Comey is briefed.  A full investigation is launched.  Multiple confidential human sources are tasked.  Wiretaps are ordered.  A task force is organized. Crossfire Hurricane is born.

There is a problem, though.  This hand, perhaps because it is controlled by individuals who have made their bones riding desks in Washington, DC and not in the field running actual operations, is clumsy.  The information regarding Papadopoulos provided the needed pretext to start an investigation, but most of the people who will now form the investigative team are not in on the plot.  They will have to be led to the pre-ordained conclusion, so that it appears that they did so without outside interference.

And these investigators have a pesky habit of actually doing their jobs.

Almost immediately these investigators demonstrate that Papadopoulos does not have the access within the Trump campaign necessary for the suspected Russian connections.  If there is a conduit, Papadopoulos cannot be it.

Suddenly, Carter Page is shoved forward as the new focus of the investigation.  His contacts with Russians are long-standing and well-known.  He will serve well as the new target.  Human sources are mobilized.  Wiretaps are ordered.

But, there is another problem.  Those wielding the clumsy hidden hand have forgotten the first rule of real operational personnel.  Never move against a target until you have run “traces.” until you have run the individual’s name through our databases, checked the records and found out what we already know about him.  Maybe the conspirators really don’t know that.  Maybe they just don’t dare do so, because it will mean involving working-level personnel who are not in on the joke.

In any event, they apparently did not run “traces” and as a consequence they clearly do not know that, yes, Mr. Page has extensive Russian contacts and, yes, he has been reporting to “another government agency” for many years on those contacts.  Page is a source.  Our source.

This is problem.  It is a huge, never fully resolved problem for the conspirators.  The “other government agency” sends a formal memo documenting the fact that Page is a source.  The hidden hand tries hiding that.  Any mention of it is removed from applications for FISA warrants, and it is never mentioned in renewal applications either.

But, again, as new FBI personnel, unwitting of the plot are assigned to the investigation they keep doing their jobs.  Already they have determined that the only evidence they can develop is exculpatory.  Already they have established that there is no basis to believe any of the allegations against Donald Trump and his campaign.  Now, they circle back to the issue of Page.

Are they, in effect, focusing investigative resources on a man, Page, who has been cooperating with American intelligence for years?  If so, this is the definition of “crossing lines.”  Inquiries are made.  A second memorandum is sent by the “other government agency.”  This one spells out in excruciating detail Page’s relationship with that agency.

The conspirators, behind their curtain, are now desperate.  What was supposed to be an elegant plot is now in danger of collapsing.  The hand directs crude measures.  An attorney assigned to the investigation materially alters the memorandum inserting words not found in the original and making it appear to say exactly the opposite of what it said, in plain English, originally.  The trail is covered, temporarily, but there is now hard, physical evidence of the conspirators intervention.  The “other government agency” retains the memorandum in its original form, waiting to be discovered by investigators scrutinizing the record at a later date.

This pattern of often clumsy manipulation of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation is everywhere in the record.  It is at the heart, for instance, of the entire Christopher Steele narrative.

Shortly after Crossfire Hurricane is initiated, Steele, a former British intelligence officer, appears to provide a dossier, actually multiple files, concerning alleged connections between Donald Trump and his campaign and the Kremlin.  The dossier also includes a number of gratuitously salacious allegations concerning President Trump and Russian prostitutes, which likely says more about Steele and the way his mind works than anything else.

Steele is working for a law firm employed by Fusion GPS, which is in effect, an extension of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.  He is in Washington, DC frequently.  He has a wide range of contacts at senior levels on multiple continents.  He has had contact of some kind with the FBI for years.

Yet, when Steele appears to deliver his information he chooses to pass that information to a junior FBI agent working for an FBI Legal Attache (Legatt) in a European city and then rely on this individual to get the “intelligence” to the right people.  Why?  Because in the minds of those individuals masterminding this operation this will make the information more “organic.”  It will not arrive on the desks of the special agents working Crossfire Hurricane as if hand delivered.  It will not appear to be too neatly packaged and perhaps arouse suspicion.  It will seem to the people working the investigation, most of whom of necessity can never know what is really happening, that this information was developed in the field and therefore is more credible and to be afforded more weight.

But, again, the hand is clumsy.  Steele is a loose cannon.  He talks to the press.  He discusses his contact with the FBI.  This is discovered.  Formal contact with Steele is shut down.  He is no longer an FBI source.

As with the alteration of the memo from the “other government agency” the conspirators must become more forceful and more visible.  If Steele’s “intelligence” cannot continue to be fed into the investigation there is no plot.  There is no way to lead the investigators in the desired direction and ensure the desired result.  The entire operation is in danger of collapsing.

Again, per the IG report, Bruce Ohr, a senior Department of Justice lawyer with no role of any kind in the investigation, but a wife who works for Fusion GPS, suddenly appears and makes himself a conduit between Steele and the FBI.  Beyond that, in fact, he meets directly with the head of Fusion GPS, Glenn Simpson, obtains at least one thumb drive full of Steele’s reports and ferries those to the FBI. The pipeline is reestablished.

No one in the Department of Justice or FBI has asked Ohr to play this role.  It is, in fact, in direct conflict with his status as an attorney.  Ohr actively hides his actions from his superiors.  His behavior is transparent and without justification.  It is almost certain to attract attention.  This is not all the way covert action should work, but the conspirators, backed into a corner by the FBI’s refusal to meet Steele directly have no choice.  It is the files compiled by Steele, which are the key to their efforts to delegitimize and destroy Donald Trump.

The IG report on the Crossfire Hurricane investigation runs to hundreds of pages, and it contains a wealth of information.  It is the product of what can only have been a massive amount of investigative work by a team of dedicated professionals and is a huge resource for those attempting to understand the origins of the Russian collusion hoax.  Yet, at the same time it misses the essence of what just transpired.  It is like reading a description of the actions and motivations of a troupe of marionettes in a stage play and missing the fact that they are all simply doing what those pulling the strings make them do.

The FBI did not conduct an investigation of Donald Trump and his associates that ultimately proved to be based on false information and continue that investigation long past the time it should have been shut down simply because some people made some errors in judgment or some procedures need to be changed.  That investigation was simply the most visible piece of a deliberate, covert attempt to overthrow the democratic process.  The perpetrators of that crime have yet to be brought to justice and identified.  Let’s hope that happens soon.

Time for the hidden hand to be revealed.


27 comments on “The Hidden Hand

  • Avatar
    Jane , Direct link to comment

    Why don’t you have social media sharing icons on these pages so we can drive others to your site to read it? I would think the more readers you have the better it is for this site and our country. The truth needs to be shareable!

  • Avatar , Direct link to comment

    I concur with a few caveats.
    Papadopolous met with a Joseph Mifsud. I don’t believe that meeting was happenstance”. Especially knowing that Link University is an Intel recruiting playground. I believe the “other intelligence agency” set that one up. When that failed, the dossier was used to repeatedly gain Fisa warrants. The nasty roots of corruption run deep. The dirty hands of Comey, Clapper and Brennan tried to subvert democracy.

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    John Calhoun , Direct link to comment

    An excellent piece…but it fails to explain or justify the unprofessional and enthusiastic participation of the FBI underlings who are outed by their internal correspondence…as well as Brennan/Clapper’s multiple instances of media leaks and blatant falsehoods.

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    Kent Clizbe , Direct link to comment


    Excellent overview of the coup plotting.

    However, as mentioned above, why no mention of the likely master puppetmaster, John Brennan?

    All the foreign actions had to have been coordinated with/by/for Brennan. The initial entrapment dangle, Mifsud to Papadapoulous, to Halper, to Aussie ambo, and the subsequent Papadapoulous entrapment op, in Israel/Cyprus all would be required to have Agency involvement. Very likely highly compartmentalized, very likely Brennan running it himself, maybe with his tightest circle.

    Yes, the FBI’s role is crucial, but Brennan and company’s role is even more critical.


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    Fergus Boone , Direct link to comment

    Excellent analysis of the way the attempted coup was planned and how it was put into effect. Probably the most concise and clear analysis out there. However it would have been useful to show the ways the media both contributed to the plot and its implementation, and how the leaking by multiple uncoordinated sources helped expose what was going on. Further it is clear that intelligent assets of the UK, Italy and Australia were involved. It is too much of a coincidence to believe that the British head of its NSA resigned after Trump’s election for “family reasons” bears scrutiny, nor does the sudden British cooperation after Trump’s meeting with the Queen. In the same vein, its amazing how after Trump’s representatives visited the new Italian government that there was a wholesale house cleaning of its intelligence apparatus. We do know that the British and Australian diplomatic services did not cover themselves in glory in this incident resulting in various staffing changes. It is also apparen that the Flynn frame was both hamfisted and clumsy. Flynn was targeted probably because he understood the players Trump faced and would recognize the unusual patterns that had taken place within the White House regarding the unveiling of Americans. He had to go for the plot to proceed. trump’s reliance on questionable aides and sources led him to abandon Flynn which was to cause him major heartache. I am sure this will be covered in the future. It does seem to me that the number of people involved was far larger than one would assume, too many questionable activities, travel, etc. Why did Brennan travel to Europe under a cover identity to confer with his foreign allies? What was Clapper doing during this period and why did he seem to be waging a protective turf war with the FBI, often working at cross purposes, as Strok observed about the agency’s leaking to the media.

    Outstanding jjob. Unfortunately I do not believe the swamp will do anything against these coup plotters. If they do not serve lengthy terms and are ruined financially our nation is truly a banana republic.

  • Avatar
    MBC , Direct link to comment

    I’ve grown tired of hearing about all these “dedicated professionals”…others refer to them as the “rank and file”. These “dedicated professionals” are the same ones that entrapped George Papadopoulos (in Italy) by giving him $10K in marked bills…only to be waiting to arrest him on his return to NYC. These “dedicated professionals” are the one’s that stood by while hundreds of Americans were illegally unmasked by the Obama administration. These “dedicated professionals” were the ones that tactically raided the homes (with weapons drawn) of Paul Manafort and Roger Stone. Please…spare us the “dedicated professionals” BULL CRAP. There were literally hundreds of FBI/CIA/NSA personnel involved in this multi pronged coup attempt, yet not ONE of these “dedicated professionals” was brave enough to stand up and blow the whistle.

  • Avatar
    Jamesbbkk , Direct link to comment

    If the take away is that the IG spent years researching and writing a near 500 page report which is full and detailed and yet failed to identify the key aspect, is it fair to conclude that IG is being willfully blind to let it all slide? Or is it a step in a series of steps the ostensible good guys hope to make work to root out these snakes and rats?

  • Avatar
    Sumanilist , Direct link to comment

    I agree with most of what Sam asserts with the exception that there is only one clumsy invisible hand. I see that there are two hands, the clumsy semi-visible hand and the upper invisible hand that is running him/them. I would venture a guess that the top invisible hand is a foreign government trying to destabilize our country towards civil war. I hope guys like Sam will dig that out and surface the real problem for all to see.

  • Avatar
    Jeffrey Coley , Direct link to comment

    The circuitous maneuver by which the Steele Dossier was created, sent overseas, laundered through a foreign “former intelligence officer”, and back to the FBI in the USA is straight out of Hillary Clinton’s infamous “vast right wing conspiracy” memorandum from the 1990’s.

    In the memo (a PDF is on file at the Clinton Presidential Library) Mrs. Clinton’s investigators describe how “non-credible” scurrilous stories about her and President Clinton, which would NEVER pass editorial muster with American media outlets, are first published in the British tabloid press. Then, the fact that BRITISH press has reported the story is what makes it “news” in the US.

    Fusion GPS used Christopher Steele as the “British tabloid press” in this instance.

  • Avatar
    mark , Direct link to comment

    Why? Why did they do this, Sam, why. We know who did this. We know what they did. We know when it happened and we know where it happened. What we don’t know is WHY?

  • Avatar
    Jan Pauliny-Toth , Direct link to comment

    This article has been linked on theconservativetreehouse, which is read by members of the WH.
    Very succinct. Thank ypu.

  • Avatar
    Mike Osmon , Direct link to comment

    Interesting article indeed. The image at the top is missing Bathhouse Barry, but theres a big question mark in his place

  • Avatar
    Kenney , Direct link to comment

    The Steele Dossier was not written by him, it was fed to him. It started with Cody Shearer/Sidney Blumenthal. So the hidden hand is Hillary-Shearer/Blumenthal-Perkins Coie- Fusion GPS- Johnathan Winer- Steele. Throw in a few CIA folks and the circle is closed.

  • Avatar
    Lotbusyexev , Direct link to comment

    Excellent breakdown of one of the greatest shams ever pulled on the American taxpayer and the most egregious and flat out abuse of power by those who wish to destroy a Candidate/then President. These people should be treated like the traitors they are – death by firing or hanging. This MUST and addressed with swift and serious justice. Whitewashing needs to stop and accountability is demanded.

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    GenEarly , Direct link to comment

    Excellent article, but short on the CIA’s Brennan involvement in the Coup. I realize this was a FBI IG report, but hope you pick up this thread in the future.

  • Avatar
    Bill , Direct link to comment

    Hidden hand, 5th column… I prefer the term 4th branch. It is not the executive, legislative or judicial branch of the government as much as the administrative branch that is behind the shenanigans. When you drain the swamp, the swamp monsters fight for their homes, jobs and livelihood.

  • Avatar
    Kenneth MacLean , Direct link to comment

    The most elegant and concise explanation of the OIG report out there. Congratulations!

  • Avatar
    Mike Turner , Direct link to comment

    Hello Sam,
    Thank you for a clear explanation of these confusing events. How far down the rabbit hole does it go?

  • Avatar
    Elaine Schiff , Direct link to comment

    first I am not in any way related to Adam Schiff-I believe the DCN is cutting their throats-the party will be erased-the average American is NOT STUPID-so tired of the guilty going unpunished

  • Avatar
    John , Direct link to comment

    Good article. I hope someone follows up to find our who all is attached to the hidden hand, especially when the Steele pipeline was routed through Fusion and the Ohrs. Someone had to know that a back channel existed and gamed the system covertly.

  • Avatar
    Frederick V , Direct link to comment

    Thank you, sir, for this!
    It is the most clear and concise summation of three years of treachery I have ever read. Bravo!!

  • Avatar
    Terry Walker , Direct link to comment

    Best analysis I’ve read yet! Nailed it! This was a deliberate act, perpetrated by a small group of conspirators, for the purpose of driving Donald Trump from the political scene! As with any plan: There was a known End-State, Courses of Action, Time Line and Intermediate Objectives. Many of those dedicated professionals, working within this Operation, had no more knowledge of the Overarching Plan and End-State than a single soldier at Normandy!

  • Avatar
    David W , Direct link to comment

    If Comey was briefed and presumably part of the hidden hand, who ordered contact to be cut between the FBI and Steele?

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