Former CEO Patrick Byrne has given four primary interviews where he outlines his knowledge of a 2015 and 2016 political espionage operation being run by the FBI.
After a review of the interviews, and extracting specific points therein, here’s an overview.
The substance of Mr. Byrne’s claims does seem to align with what we already know about the DOJ and FBI activity during the 2016 election cycle, including the FBI operations.
First, Patrick Byrne claims he has spoken to the DOJ on April 5th, 2019, and again on April 30th, 2019. Mr. Byrne states he told the DOJ all of the information he was aware of during those two interviews covering approximately seven hours of questioning.
The current public statements Mr. Byrne is making are not with the approval of the DOJ or any investigators therein. His decision to go public with this information comes as a result of conversations with a life-long mentor and confidant, Warren Buffett. Mr. Byrne states he has known Warren Buffett since Byrne was a teenager and Mr. Buffett was in his mid-forties.
According to his CNN interview Byrne talked to Buffett in about how he could be a witness in the DOJ investigation authorized by Attorney General Bill Barr and being conducted by U.S. Attorney John Durham. After listening to the details, Buffett recommended Mr. Byrne go public with the story.
However, in order to go public Byrne would need to separate himself from his role as CEO of Overstock, the company Byrne founded. Mr. Byrne resigned yesterday, August 22nd.
Byrne explains he told Buffett about his April conversations with the DOJ and Buffett said it didn’t matter… Byrne still needed to go public with the story. It sounds like there are several motives for going public; perhaps one is personal safety.
To verify his April DOJ discussion, Byrne points to two references:
♦First, the movement of Maria Butina from harsh isolation in prison on May 9th, ten days after he delivered his testimony to the DOJ. According to Byrne Ms. Butina was moved to a very different White Collar facility based on his information.
♦The second reference point Byrne highlights is the May 13th DOJ appointment of John Durham to look into the origination of the Russia investigation events. Byrne says this too was a direct result of his two DOJ sessions April 5th and 30th.
If Byrne is accurate; and if his claims of him personally being an operative of the FBI with instructions to engage Ms. Butina inside the political espionage events structured by corrupt FBI officials are genuine; it would appear Special Counsel Robert Mueller facilitated throwing a bag over Ms Butina in an effort to keep the corrupt FBI intelligence operation hidden from the public. This would explain the Mueller demand for strict solitary isolation and confinement. (The reports are indeed troubling)
Again, if Byrne is correct, it would appear that extremely significant and exculpatory Brady material -evidence that could easily prove an entrapment defense- was intentionally withheld from Ms. Butina’s defense team. Alarmingly this points to ongoing corrupt officials that still remain inside the current DOJ. Ms. Butina was collateral damage.
A review of the time-frame details provided by Patrick Byrne in the four interviews shows his story told four times is consistent each time.
Here’s a brief review of the consistencies aspect:
After a cursory meeting in/around July 2015, Byrne claims in the period of September to December 2015 he reported contact with Russian national Ms. Maria Butina to the FBI as a precaution related to his security clearance.
Byrne claims he was asked to participate in an FBI intelligence operation and to introduce, and/or facilitate the introduction of, Ms. Butina to the campaigns of Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.
In December of 2015 Mr. Byrne became suspicious of the FBI motives because he warned FBI officials of a potential that his efforts, his reputation and those who trust him, may result in Butina gaining entry into campaign confidences. The FBI agents told Byrne that was exactly the intent; people high up in the FBI wanted Ms. Butina to gain deep access into the Trump campaign. Mr. Byrne became suspicious of a corrupt political motive, but didn’t say anything at the time.
Additionally Byrne’s assistance was requested for an investigation of a high-level government official, he later named as Hillary Clinton.[Sidebar: It’s noteworthy that during these FBI engagements Byrne was never requested to facilitate Ms. Butina into the Bernie Sanders campaign. The inference in that omission is the Dem primary was rigged, and the riggers saw no value wasting time on Bernie]
In/around Feb or March 2016 Byrne was told to focus Ms. Butina’s attention to the campaign of Donald Trump and to diminish any attention toward Rubio or Cruz.
The assistance of the investigation of the federal official (Hillary Clinton) ended in late June and early July of 2016. Immediately thereafter Ms. Clinton was publicly -and unusually- cleared by FBI Director James Comey on July 5th, 2016.
In/around this same June & July time-frame (2016), FBI agents requested Mr. Byrne to focus on developing a closer romantic relationship with Ms. Butina and to use his influence to target her to closer proximity with the Trump family and Trump campaign.
It was within these June and July 2016 engagements where FBI agents were apologetic about the requests and specifically mentioned their instructions were coming from three principle FBI officials Byrne described as “X, Y and Z”. Later Byrne identified FBI Director James Comey as “Z”.
In the Fox MacCallum interview Byrne named James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Bill Priestap, John Carlin (DOJ-NSD) and Peter Strzok. Mr. Byrne said the specific instructions were coming to the agents from Special Agent Peter Strzok as he relayed the requests of those above him [X, Y and Z (Comey)].
This FBI contact structure highlights an arms-length operation; perhaps intentionally constructed to create plausible deniability for those above the directly instructing agents.
In essence, these rank-and-file FBI agents were asking Patrick Byrne to be a civilian handler of a Russian national, and instructing him to carry out a covert counterintelligence operation. The FBI agents were apologetic about asking a civilian to take on such a role.
♦ Ms. Maria Butina is described as a young Russian idealist, who had strong connections to high powered Russian oligarchs.
The purpose of Butina coming to the U.S., as explained by Byrne, was for her to engage with influential Americans for contacts that could provide geopolitical value to the oligarchs.
Patrick Byrne was seen as important to Ms. Butina due to his connections to the emerging financial structures of crypto-currency and block-chain. Byrne is a libertarian who believes in small government, and is somewhat of a disruptor in the business world. Ms. Butina wanted to introduce Byrne to her friends in Russia.
While it was not outlined in any of the four interviews, alternative currency options to the U.S. dollar have been an ongoing effort of Russian interests for a while. Russia considers global trade attached to the dollar as geopolitical problem; and they have been working for years on alternative currencies for trade (and their own wealth) that can avoid U.S. sanctions and the reach of the U.S. treasury.
♦ As a Russian national with specific Russian interests that are not in alignment with U.S. national interests, Maria Butina would be defined by the U.S. intelligence community as an ‘agent of a foreign power’. Her status would mean unrestricted monitoring by the U.S. intelligence community would be entirely legal.
However, because of this ‘foreign agent’ status Ms. Butina could also be valuable as a virus to infect anyone the U.S. intelligence apparatus would wish to target domestically. This motive appears to be the reason for the FBI to tell Mr. Byrne where to send Ms. Butina.
Conducting FISA-702(16)(17) database searches and surveillance on U.S. persons who would meet with Butina would be justifiable and legal.
Extended contact with any U.S. person could likely lead to a Title-1 surveillance warrant through the FISA court. However, even without the warrant, 702 searches would be valid just from brief contact.
As we have shown FISA-702(“16” to-from) and (“17” about) queries were off the charts during the time-frame of November 2015 through May 2016. Per the FISA audit conducted by NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers, after the flags noted by the database compliance officer, 85% of the search returns were unauthorized and unmasked.
The time-frames here are too coincidental to be accidental. [Judge Collyer Report]
Update: On August 23, 2019, CNN includes James Comey and Andrew McCabe’s response to Mr. Byrne’s claims:
Byrne’s story, as told to CNN anchor Chris Cuomo on “Cuomo Prime Time,” and in earlier interviews broadcast on Fox Business News and Fox News, also includes allegations that top officials in the Obama administration, including James Comey, the former FBI director, approved of the bureau’s requests of him.
It has not been verified by the agencies, and spokespeople for the Justice Department and FBI declined to comment. Reached Thursday evening by CNN, Comey called Byrne’s claim “ridiculous.”
“The FBI doesn’t work that way,” Comey said.
Former FBI deputy director and CNN contributor Andrew McCabe said he hadn’t heard of Byrne until the former CEO revealed his relationship with Butina.
“His allegation that his potential cooperation with the FBI was somehow discussed at the highest levels certainly never happened when I was there,” McCabe, who held the No. 2 role at the agency beginning in 2016 until his firing in 2018, said Friday on CNN’s “New Day.”
McCabe said it was “certainly possible” that Byrne volunteered information about Butina to the FBI, but disputed the claim that agents would have told Byrne to “engage in a romantic relationship with a suspected Russian intelligence agent.”
“That is simply not the sort of thing that the FBI does,” McCabe said.”