Thursday 19 December 2019

The Many Corrupt and Criminal Actions FBI Agent Joe Pientka Involved in – Including Setting Up General Flynn – Yet Pientka Still Protected by FBI

The FISA Report kept this Deep State character’s identity hidden.  Yet Joe Pientka was in the middle of most Deep State corrupt and criminal actions.  Will the American people be able to trust the FBI and DOJ ever again?

FOX News reported about the FBI agents that are still working at the FBI  – 
Watch the latest video at
In the FISA report there is a reference to SSA-1.  This happens to be FBI Agent Joe Pientka.  For some reason, the FBI is keeping his identity hidden.  Below is a list of the many references to Pientka from the recently released FISA report.
    • Supervisor of Crossfire Hurricane.
    • The Crossfire Hurricane team members were selected by Strzok, the Intel Section Chief, and Pientka.
    • The agents reported to Pientka.
    • Pientka reported operational activities to Strzok.
    • Following the November 2016 U.S. elections, the 90-day TDY assignments ended for Pientka and he returned to his field office.
    • Pientka stated that it was “just standard practice … [to] get verbal authority” before such an operation and to have the paperwork “signed after the fact.”
    • Pientka stated that it was his understanding that FBI executive managers were “briefed consistently” during the planning for this operation, and orally approved the operation before it took place.
    • The team made all operational decisions, not any one entity.
      • Pientka participated in ODNI briefings to Trump and Clinton and Pence and Kaine.
      • ODNI was not informed that the FBI was using the briefing for investigative purposes.
      • Pientka was the only FBI representative at the ODNI briefing on 8/17/16.
      • 9/2/16 ODNI second briefing to Trump, neither Pientka nor anyone from the FBI attended this briefing, although instant messages indicate that the FBI had contacted ODNI about the briefing.
      • Baker states the decision to select Pientka to participate in the ODNI briefing because of his involvement with Crossfire Hurricane was reached by consensus among a group that he recalled involved multiple FBI officials, including McCabe, that the use of Pientka was focused on the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation and Russian activities, including any directed at the Trump campaign; it was not the intention to collect any “political intelligence about campaign strategy, about campaign personalities, or anything that could be used in any political way.”
      • Baker states that discussions about using Pientka as the FBI briefer did occur at higher levels. Baker recalled these discussions included himself, McCabe, Priestap, Strzok, possibly Lisa Page, and the EAD of the National Security Branch. Baker said the decision to use Pientka for the briefing was reached by consensus within this group.
      • Baker told us that he did not raise any concerns about using Pientka as the briefer because “he was not there to induce anybody to say anything…. He was not there to do an undercover operation or … elicit some type of statement or testimony…. He was there on the off chance that somebody said something that might be useful.” From Baker’s perspective, the benefit of having Pientka at the briefing was to pick up on any statements by the attendees that might have relevance to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation: [I]f somebody said something, you want someone in the room who knew enough about the investigation that they would be able to understand the significance of something, or some type of statement, whereas … a regular briefer who didn’t know anything about that might just let it go, and it might not even register with them. And so … that was the reason to have Pientka there.

      • McCabe told us that it was possible he participated in conversations about whether Pientka should conduct the briefings, but could not recall any.
      • Pientka did not have any concerns with the plan.
      • Pientka does not recall if there were any discussions regarding the appropriateness of using ODNI briefings to gather potentially relevant investigative information about or from a staff member who is the subject of an FBI investigation.
      • Pientka states that Strzok was primarily responsible for providing Pientka with instruction on how to handle the FBI’s portion of the ODNI briefings, but that others also assisted, including the Intel Section Chief and possibly Lisa Page.
      • Pientka believed he and Strzok created the briefing outline together, and that he prepared himself through mock briefings attended by Strzok, Lisa Page, the Intel Section Chief, and possibly the OGC Unit Chief.
      • Pientka did not recall Priestap having any role.
      • Pientka was selected to provide the FBI briefings, in part, because Flynn would be attending the Trump campaign briefing.
      • Pientka stated that using an opportunity to interact with the subject of an investigation is not unusual for the FBI, and that in this instance, it actually proved useful because Pientka was able to compare Flynn’s “norms” from the briefing with Flynn’s conduct at the interview that Pientka conducted on 1/24/17 in connection with the FBI’s investigation of Flynn.
      • Pientka states that one of the reasons for his selection was that ODNI had informed the FBI that one of the two Trump campaign advisors attending the 8/17/16 briefing would be Flynn. He further stated that the briefing provided Pientka “the opportunity to gain assessment and possibly have some level of familiarity with [Flynn]. So, should we get to the point where we need to do a subject interview .. .I would have that to fall back on.” Asked to explain what he meant by “assessment,” Pientka continued, [Flynn’s] overall mannerisms. That overall mannerisms and then also if there was anything specific to Russia, or anything specific to our investigation that was mentioned by him, or quite frankly we had an .. .investigation, right. And any of the other two individuals in the room, if they, any kind of admission, or overhear, whatever it was, I was there to record that.
      • Pientka stated that he did not recall specific internal FBI discussions about having him provide the FBI security briefings for Trump and Clinton, but believes that the group who likely would have been part of any such discussions-Strzok, the Intel Section Chief, and possibly Lisa Page-shared a general understanding of the reasons for doing so.
      • Pientka stated that the briefing provided him “the opportunity to gain assessment and possibly some level of familiarity with [Flynn]. So, should we get to the point where we need to do a subject interview .. .I would have that to fall back on.
      • Pientka did not participate in  any postpresidential election transition briefings, that he would be surprised if the FBI provided any such briefings that included Flynn.
ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION (* indicates a contradiction):
      • *Pientka drafted EC directly after briefing Trump and then added EC to Crossfire Hurricane investigative file.
      • *A week after the briefing, Pientka communicated separately with the OGC Attorney and Strzok about whether to formally document the briefing. There was agreement that he should. Pientka said that given the “ig stakes” involved, it was important to document the interaction with the subject of an FBI investigation so that there was a clear record of what was said. There was also agreement that an EC instead of an FD-302 was the better document form to use because the briefing was not an interview and there was nothing testimonial to memorialize.
      • The 8/30/16 EC was drafted by Pientka and approved by Strzok and the OGC Attorney. The 3-page document describes the purpose, location, and attendees of the briefing. It states that the FBI security briefing lasted approximately 13 minutes, and describes how one of the ODNI briefers initiated the briefing, explained the ground rules, and introduced Pientka. The EC then recounts in summary fashion the briefing Pientka provided.
      • The EC does not contain any details about the information that was provided by ODNI.
      • The EC summarizes questions posed to Pientka by Trump and Flynn, and Pientka’s responses, as well as comments made by Trump and Flynn. Pientka documented instances where he was engaged by the attendees, as well as anything related to the FBI or pertinent to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, such as comments about the Russian Federation. Pientka also documented information that may not have been relevant at the time he recorded it, but might prove relevant in the future.
      • The EC describes two questions asked by Trump. Pientka stated that Flynn made comments during exchanges with the ODNI briefers on many subjects unrelated to Russia that Pientka did not document because the information was not pertinent to any FBI interests.
      • Pientka did not memorialize the briefing of candidate Clinton because the attendees did not include a subject of an FBI investigation, and because there was nothing from the other briefings that was of investigative value to the Crossfire Hurricane team.
      • Pientka did not memorialize briefings to Kaine, and Pence because the attendees did not include a subject of an FBI investigation, stating further that there was nothing from the other briefings that was of investigative value to the Crossfire Hurricane team.
      • 8/1/16 Pientka traveled to the European city to interview the FFG officials who met with Papadopoulos in May 2016. Interview reveals:
        1. Papadopoulos did not say that he had direct contact with the Russians; that while his statement did not include him, it did not exclude him either;
        2. Papadopoulos stated the Russians told “us.”
        3. Papadopoulos did not specify any other individual who received the Russian suggestion.
      • In determining how to use CHS’s in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, Pientka told the OIG that they focused their CHS operations on the predicating information and the four named subjects.   (The analysts who saw the 702 queries were responsible for choosing the most likely targets).
      • Pientka says CHS’s were not inserted into campaign to gather investigative information: “that was not what we were looking to do.”
      • Pientka:  Crossfire Hurricane team “never [had] any intent, never any desire … to collect. .. campaign or privileged information with regard to the presidential election.”
      • Day-to-day decisions concerning whether and how to use CHS’s and UCE’s were approved by Pientka.
      • The OGC Unit Chief stated that members of the investigative team identified the CHSs and UCEs they wanted to use, and proposed the operational activities, as “the best way to try to get [the] answer quickly and covertly.” She said that, under FBI policy, Pientka had the authority to approve the types of CHS operations used.
      • Pientka did not remember any instances of Strzok expressing opinions about how CHSs should be used or not used, or instructing the team on how to task the CHS’s.
      • Pientka stated that he and the case agents were responsible for planning how to use CHS’s.
      • The Intel Section Chief stated that the decisions about the use of CHS’s and UCE’s were made by the case agents and Pientka, and then approved through the chain of command.
      • Pientka briefed the FBI supervisors in his chain of command-Strzok, Priestap, and on one occasion McCabe-about the CHS operations.
      • Pientka initially requested HSVR in November of 2016.
      • During 2017 Pientka requested that VMU perform HSVR on Steele.   Pientka explained that “I wanted to ensure that an independent asset validation was conducted by our Directorate of Intelligence, and not just the people that were working the Crossfire Hurricane case, to ensure the totality of his information was being looked at.”
      • Pientka stated that “if we have a source … who has direct contact with … predicated subjects, we can run potential consensual monitoring operations and use… undercovers, and … that was a better use of our limited time and resources.”
      • Pientka stated that one of the overriding concerns was keeping information about the investigation out of the public realm, because the team did not want to impact the presidential election in any way.
      • Pientka stated that he did not have any information that the use of the CHSs was motivated in any way by political objectives rather than investigative objectives. He said that there was “no inkling of that. I never detected that, or had any indication of that.”
      • Case Agent 1 emailed Pientka and others to report that Papadopoulos “gave … a canned answer, which he was probably prepped to say when asked.”
      • Pientka stated that his main observation was that when Papadopoulos was pushed for answers, he seemed to have a “prepared statement. It sounded like a lawyer wrote it.”
      • October 16 Carter Page met with an FBI CHS and, two days later, pertinent statements from that meeting were sent to Pientka.
      • Pientka stated that the meeting between the CHS and Page was important for the investigation as it helped the team determine where Page lived and what he was currently working on as well as developing a successful contact between an established FBI source and one of the Crossfire Hurricane targets.
      • Pientka stated that the meeting between Source 2 and Carter Page was important for the investigation in other ways. Pientka stated that it was important for the team to determine “where [Carter Page] was living, [and] what he was up to.”
      • Pientka stated that Page’s comment on funding a research institute using “an open checkbook” from Russia brought Pientka closer to believing that Carter Page may actually be acting as an agent of a foreign power.
      • Pientka stated his performance should be assessed in light of the full scope of responsibilities in 2016 and that the Carter Page FISA was a narrow aspect of their overall responsibilities.
      • Pientka failed to ensure that someone on the team contacted the other agency after receiving the 8/17 Memorandum to determine what it meant for Page to have been approved as an operational contact, whether Page interacted with Russian intelligence officers at the behest of the other agency or with the intent to assist the USG, and to seek additional information concerning Page’s interactions with Intelligence Officer 1.
      • Pientka stated that the FBI did not have anything to do with any operational activities against Carter Page prior to the start of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation on 7/31/16.
      • Pientka viewed Page’s responses to questions as “less than forthright.”
      • Emails between Pientka and Case Agent 1 show that during the initial weeks of FISA surveillance, they discussed several ____ they believed were significant, including references to ____.
      • Pientka did not recall why Page’s denial that he participated in the Republican Platform Committee was not included in the first FISA application.
      • Pientka stated that nothing happened in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation to suggest that the concerns leading to Source 2’s closure for cause in 2011 had any impact on Crossfire Hurricane.
      • Pientka did not know about Source 2, or know that Case Agent 1 was Source 2’s handler, prior to Case Agent 1 proposing the meeting, which Pientka approved.
      • Case Agent 1 told the OIG that, after meeting with Source 2 on 8/11/16, he drove back to FBI Headquarters with Case Agent 2 and the SOS, and met with other members of the Crossfire Hurricane team to discuss how to proceed. During that meeting, the OGC Unit Chief, Pientka, Strzok, and Priestap learned that Source 2 had been invited to join the Trump campaign by Carter Page and that Source 2 was going to turn down the invitation.
      • Pientka stated that he would not have used Source 2 for the Crossfire Hurricane investigation if Source 2 had actually wanted to join the Trump campaign.
      • Pientka said he did not remember anyone on the Crossfire Hurricane team advocating for Source 2 to actually join the Trump campaign and told the OIG he was relieved that Source 2 did not want to join the campaign “at all.”
      • Pientka stated that the meeting between Source 2 and Carter Page was important for the investigation in other ways. Pientka stated that it was important for the team to determine “where [Carter Page] was living, [and] what he was up to.”
      • Pientka said that, as a result of Source 2’s meetings with Papadopoulos, Pientka did not have any concerns that the information gathered intruded upon planning or strategy of the Trump campaign.
      • Text messages between Strzok and Lisa Page from 11/16 suggested the FBI may have considered using a connection between a member of Pence’s staff and an FBI employee. Pientka stated that he had been told of the connection but did not personally know the FBI employee, and that he did not change his approach to Pence’s FBI security briefing because of the connection. He also said he could not recall any discussions about using the connection to further the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
      • We also learned about a different CHS who at one point held a position in the Trump campaign. However, by the time that the CHS told his/her Handling Agent about this involvement, the CHS was no longer part of the Trump campaign. After Crossfire Hurricane team members learned about this CHS, they reviewed the CHS’s file, but did not task the CHS as part of the investigation. The OGC Attorney told the OIG that he distinctly remembered the OGC Unit Chief “strongly advising [the Crossfire Hurricane agents] to be cautious with this particular CHS.” Case Agent 1 recalled that, because this CHS was “at one point. .. part of the campaign … we just said, hey, hands off.” Documents in the CHS’s Delta file reflect that the Handling Agent minimized contact with the CHS because of the CHS’s campaign activities, even though the CHS was no longer involved in the Trump campaign. As part of our review, we also discovered an October 2016 email written to Pientka by an Intelligence Analyst on the Crossfire Hurricane team. The email copied information out of a CHS’s Delta file stating that the CHS is “scheduled to attend a ‘private’ national security forum with Donald Trump” in October 2016, after which the CHS will provide “an update on the Trump meeting.” However, none of the Crossfire Hurricane case agents remembered knowing that any FBI CHS had been scheduled to attend a private forum with candidate Trump. Pientka told the OIG he did not remember this CHS “at all” and had no information about whether the CHS actually attended such a meeting. The Handling Agent for this CHS told the OIG that what was described in the document was a gathering at a hotel that was “more of a … campaign speech or campaign discussion” and “more like a campaign stop than a meeting.” The Handling Agent told the OIG he could not remember if the CHS ended up attending or not, and added that he “would certainly not be tasking a source to go attend some private meeting with a candidate, any candidate, for president or for other office, to collect the information on what that candidate is saying.” We found no evidence that this CHS ever reported any information collected from a meeting with Trump or a Trump campaign event.
      • Unknown number.
      • Either had connections to Trump and/or a role in the campaign.
      • Related general information about (open sourced info) Page and Manafort.
      • Pientka contacted handler for one of these CHS’s on 11/8/16 and asked for a read-out from the CHS regarding possible positions in administration.  Pientka stated he sent this email because he thought the CHS might receive a position somewhere in the admin which would become a SIM which would need to be handled differently.
        • In late November 2016, the Handling Agent met with the CHS. The Handling Agent later wrote a document stating one purpose of the meeting was “to obtain insight regarding the upcoming Trump Administration following the recent U.S. Presidential elections.”
        • Pientka  stated that he had never seen this document before and that this was not what he intended the Handling Agent to discuss with the CHS.
        • Priestap told the OIG that this statement “absolutely” would have raised concerns if he had learned of it in real time. He said he was not aware that this type of information was being collected from a CHS and that he “hope[d] it was misstated [in the document], because we don’t, well, it’s not what we should be doing.”
        • The Handling Agent told the OIG that, to him, the phrase “obtain insight” was a synonym for asking a “personal opinion,” and that he was just making “small talk” with the CHS, the way you would expect to converse with those “tied to political circles” immediately following an election. The Handling Agent added that this information was “not investigative in nature” and was not placed into any case file. The Handling Agent’s SSA said that “because the Trump Administration … was not under any kind of investigation” by her squad, she was not concerned about this sentence when she saw it, and she understood it to be written in the general context of preparation for the CHS’s meeting with a foreign intelligence officer unrelated to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. The Handling Agent added that he was not aware of this document being shared with or accessible to the Crossfire Hurricane team, and we found no evidence that members of the Crossfire Hurricane team ever received this document.
      • Pientka did not evaluate Steele’s statement characterizing Person 1 as a boaster or embellisher. Pientka did not recall any such conversations.
      • December 2016 Ohr told Pientka that he had met with Glenn Simpson and that Simpson had assessed that Person 1 was _____ who was central in connecting Trump to Russia.
      • Pientka interviewed Steele  9/17 where Steele and his colleague described Trump as their “main opponent.”
      • Pientka becomes concerned with leaks but that it seemed “foreign” that Steele would be involved in such a breach.
      • Pientka’s notes from a meeting on September 30 contain the following notation: “control issues-reports acknowledged in Yahoo News.” Pientka was asked whether he was concerned at the time that there were control issues with Steele. He stated that he was concerned but that he was not sure that Steele was responsible for providing information to Yahoo News.
      • Pientka indicated that the phrase “corroborated and used in criminal proceedings” was a reference to Steele’s past reporting in the FIFA investigation.
      • Pientka did not review Steele’s FIFA case file.
      • Pientka “speculated” that Steele’s information was corroborated and used in criminal proceedings because they knew Steele had been “a part of, if not predicated, the FIFA investigation” and was known to have had an extensive source network into Russian organized crime.
      • Steele’s frequent contacts with Russian oligarchs in 2015 had raised concerns in the FBI Transnational Organized Crime Intelligence Unit. Pientka was unaware of these concerns, but said he would have found this information useful and would have wanted to know about it.
      • 11/1/16 is when Pientka learned from Gaeta that Steele was the source for the Yahoo News! article.
      • Pientka believed the reason Steele provided for his disclosure to Mother Jones “politicized” Steele and identified an agenda.
      • Pientka said that after Steele’s disclosure to Mother Jones, he thought the team needed to have an independent validation review completed.
      • Pientka did not recall any discussions about changing the FBI’s assessment in the FISA application concerning the Yahoo News disclosure after learning from Gaeta that Steele was responsible for the disclosure to Mother Jones.
      • 11/21/16, in a meeting previously arranged by Lisa Page at Strzok’s request, Ohr met with Lisa Page, Strzok, Pientka, OGC Unit Chief, and Intel Section Chief. Strzok, the OGC Unit Chief, Pientka, and the Intel Section Chief told us the purpose of the meeting was to better understand Steele’s background and reliability as a source and to identify his source network.
      • Ohr thought Steele had “great expertise” concerning Russia;
      • Steele wrote well-sourced reports using a variety of sub-sources that he wrote for other purposes and shared with the FBI;
      • Steele had participated in past efforts to connect Ohr to Russian oligarchs through intermediaries;
      • Simpson hired Steele to research Trump and hired Nellie Ohr to perform open source research on Trump;
      • Ohr met with Simpson in 8/16 and Simpson provided Ohr with the names of three “potential conduits” of information between Russia and the Trump campaign;
      • Steele’s reporting was shared by Simpson with “a lot of people” including the Clinton campaign and the Department of State (Pientka’s notes specifically mention  Nuland and Winer);
      • Steele was “desperate” that Trump not be elected, but was providing reports for ideological reasons, specifically that “Russia [was] bad”; and,
      • Reporting of Kremlin activities “may be exaggerated or conspiracy theory talk,” so Steele cannot know whether all the reporting is true.
      • 12/16 Pientka traveled to a European city to meet Steele.
      • NLT 1/11/17 is when Pientka knew that Fusion GPS had been hired by the DNC and another unidentified entity to research candidate Trump’s ties to Russia.
      • Case Agent 1 received all information about/from Ohr only from Pientka, never directly.
      • Case Agent 1 learned about Ohr from Pientka, likely before the first Carter Page FISA application was filed on 10/21/16.
      • 9/21/16 Ohr advised Pientka that Steele was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being the U.S. President.”
      • Pientka stated that no one in the meeting directed Ohr to contact Steele or take any action on behalf of the FBI, but added that Ohr likely left the meeting with the impression that he should contact the FBI if Steele contacted him. When asked if the FBI provided him any guidance on what to do if Steele contacted him, Ohr stated that “the general instruction was to let them know … when I got information from Steele,” though he could not recall who told him this or whether he was told this at the October 18 or November 21 meeting.
      • Ohr said Pientka became his initial FBI point of contact when Ohr sought to provide more of Steele’s information to the FBI.
      • Pientka was Ohr’s handler from November 2016 through November 2017:
        • However, Pientka, the first FBI supervisory agent to meet with Ohr in November 2016, states that after their meetings, Ohr likely knew that the FBI was seeking information regarding Russian interference in the 2016 elections and would subsequently inform Pientka about anything relevant he learned from Nellie Ohr, Steele, Simpson, or elsewhere. Pientka stated that he was in “receive mode” with respect to Ohr’s information and was trying to glean from it as much as he could about Steele’s source network. He also said that Ohr was well-versed in Russian organized crime and that, in Pientka’s view, Ohr’s motives for coming to the FBI were “pure.”
        • November 2017 Ohr’s FBI point of contact changed.  Pientka  rotated off the Crossfire Hurricane team in January 2017, and SSA 3 became Ohr’s FBI point of contact until April 2017.
        • January 2017, Pientka briefed SSA 3 on the case during their changeover and identified Ohr only as a “DOJ official” and Nellie Ohr as working for Fusion GPS. He recalled Pientka informing him that Ohr provided a version of Steele’s election reports to the FBI.
      • Strzok’s handwritten notes indicate that he received updates from Pientka on 12/12/16, 12/20/16, 12/22/16, and 1/23/17, regarding Ohr’s ongoing communications with Steele and Simpson about Steele’s election reporting and Steele’s concerns about his sub-sources.  (NOTE:  So apparently, Pientka was still actively involved in the case up to 1/23/17.]
      • 11/21/16 FBI Meeting with Ohr (Some records show the meeting date incorrectly as 11/22/16):
        • Ohr met with Steele in July 16 and September 16 during which Steele advised Ohr of Steele’s election reporting and who had hired him;
        • Simpson, who hired Steele, was himself hired by a lawyer “who does opposition research,” and Steele’s reporting was going to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, Jon Winer, and the FBI;
        • Simpson was passing Steele’s reporting to “many individuals or entities,” and at times Steele would attend meetings with Simpson;
        • Steele was “desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being the U.S. President”;
        • Steele and Simpson could have met with Yahoo News or the author of the 9/23 news article jointly, but Ohr did not know if they met jointly;
        • Ohr never believed Steele was “making up information or shading it”; and,
        • Ohr provided Pientka a copy of his notes containing three names and a short summary of their alleged roles (list came from Simpson).
      • 12/5/16 and 12/12/16 FBI Meeting with Ohr:
        • 12/5 Simpson directed Steele to speak to the press, which was part of what Simpson was paying Steele to do. Ohr did not know whether speaking with Mother Jones was Simpson’s idea or not;
        • 12/5 Simpson asked Steele to speak to Mother Jones as it was Simpson’s “Hail Mary attempt”;
        • 12/5 Ohr gave Pientka a document that Nellie Ohr had created, titled “Manafort Chronology” and told Pientka that he would provide the FBI with additional research compiled by Nellie Ohr while working for Fusion GPS.
        • 12/12 Ohr stated that Simpson had explained to Ohr that it was Simpson who asked Steele to speak with the Mother Jones reporter as a “Hail Mary attempt” to stop Trump from being elected.
        • Sometime 12 of ’16 Ohr told Pientka that he had met with Glenn Simpson and that Simpson had assessed that Person 1 (Sergei Millian?) was ______ who was central in connecting Trump to Russia;
        • 12/12 Ohr gave Pientka the thumb drive that he had received from Simpson during their 12/10 meeting.
      • 12/20/16 Ohr provided Pientka with another thumb drive, this one containing open source research that Nellie Ohr had produced for Fusion GPS.
      • 8/2/2016 Pientka received email notification from Gaeta that he had been contacted by a former CHS who was contacted recently by a colleague who runs an investigative firm. The firm had been hired by two entities (the DNC as well as another unknown individual) to explore Trump’s ties to Russians.
      • 9/2/16 Gaeta, who had been waiting for NYFO to inform him where to forward Steele’s reports, sent the following email to the ADC and counterintelligence supervisor: “Do we have a name yet? The stuff is burning a hole.” The ADC responded the same day explaining that Pientka had created an electronic sub-file for Gaeta in the Crossfire Hurricane case and that he should forward the Steele reports to it. However, Pientka told us that there was a problem with his attempt to send an email to Gaeta in early September. Pientka said he did not recognize the problem until  9/13/16 and emailed Gaeta that day with the case information necessary to upload the reports.
      • 9/19/16 Gaeta emails Pientka six Steele dossier reports: 80, 94, 95, 100, 101, and 102.
      • Upon receipt of these reports, the team immediately began the process of evaluating Steele and the information he provided. That same day, Pientka sent an email to Gaeta and others, stating, “Our team is very interested in obtaining a source symbol number/source characterization statement and specifics on veracity of past reporting, motivations, last validation, how long on the books, how much paid to date, etc.” Pientka never received a response from Gaeta.
      • Pientka blamed delay of opening Crossfire Hurricane on the Gaeta’s tardiness in uploading Steele’s reports.
      • 9/23/2016 Gaeta tells Pientka that Steele is reliable.
      • 9/27/16 video conference between Gaeta and Pientka.  The purpose of the call was to set a meeting with Steele to discuss his reports, learn about his source network, and gain his cooperation to collect additional information in support of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.
      • Late 11/16, Gaeta meets Steele. Gaeta later wrote a document stating one purpose of the meeting was to obtain insight regarding the upcoming Trump Administration following the recent elections. When confronted with this information, Pientka stated he had never seen this document before and that this was not what he intended Gaeta to discuss with the CHS.
      • Pientka stated that the email he sent to Gaeta and others on September 19, requesting a “source characterization statement,” among other information on Steele, reflected his “intent” as the case supervisor to provide accurate information in the FISA application about Steele’s history with the FBI.
      • 10/14/16 email from Case Agent 2 to Pientka stating that Gaeta did not believe Steele knew the identity of the Fusion GPS client which was responsible for funding Steele’s work.
      • In mid-September 2016, McCabe told Pientka to instruct the FBI agent from the field office [Gaeta?] not to have any further contact with the former CHS, and not to accept any information regarding the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. McCabe told the OIG he did not remember giving those instructions, and could not tell us why he might have done so.
      • 11/1/16 Pientka emails Gaeta copy of the Mother Jones article and learns from Gaeta that Steele is the source.
      • 8/25/16 briefing to McCabe, McCabe asked Pientka to contact NYFO about information that potentially could assist the Crossfire Hurricane investigation.  Within 24 hours, Pientka complied with the request.  (McCabe told OIG he did not remember asking Pientka to contact NYFO, and he said he did not remember knowing in August 2016 that NYFO had information relevant to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. )
      • 9/1/16 Pientka spoke with a NYFO counterintelligence supervisor who then set up a call between Pientka and the ADC.
      • Steele’s sub-source was at the time the subject of an open FBI counterintelligence investigation. The FISA application did not disclose this to the court, which is out of the norm. The 0I Attorney was not informed of this at the time of the first application, even though NYFO opened the case after consulting with and notifying Pientka prior to 10/12/16, nine days before the FISA application was filed.
      • 9/2/16 Gaeta, who had been waiting for NYFO to inform him where to forward Steele’s reports, sent the following email to the ADC and counterintelligence supervisor: “Do we have a name yet? The stuff is burning a hole.” The ADC responded the same day explaining that Pientka had created an electronic sub-file for Gaeta in the Crossfire Hurricane case and that he should forward the Steele reports to it. However, Pientka told us that there was a problem with his attempt to send an email to Gaeta in early September. Pientka said he did not recognize the problem until 9/13 and emailed Gaeta that day with the case information necessary to upload the reports.
      • Pientka said he was more focused on Steele’s discussions with the State Department about his working with the FBI in the future. Pientka stated that an important objective of the planned meeting with Steele in early October was to obtain “exclusivity” in Steele’s reporting relationship, meaning that Steele would provide his intelligence related to the election exclusively to the FBI.
      • Pientka had been forwarded an email on September 30 from the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs indicating that senior staff there, including Assistant Secretary Nuland, were aware of a planned meeting between Steele and the FBI in early October in a European city, and that FBI officials from Headquarters were flying to Europe to participate in the meeting.
      • Pientka states the FBI had several primary objectives for the meeting:
        1. learning about Steele’s source network;
        2. persuading Steele to work collaboratively with the Crossfire Hurricane team in the future;
        3. and obtaining assurances from Steele that he would provide the intelligence that the FBI was seeking exclusively to the FBI.
      • The team’s primary objectives for the meeting came from discussions with Strzok and Pientka in early October.
      • Pientka provided the primary objectives guidance to the team but did not recall his specific instructions.
      • Pientka stated that he trusted Case Agent 2, Acting Section Chief 1, and the Supervisory Intel Analyst to do their job when meeting with Steele.
      • The FBI liaison informed Pientka via email on 11/18/16, that Kavalec had met with Steele, she had taken notes of their meeting, the liaison could obtain information from Kavalec about the meeting, and, according to Kavalec, the information from Steele’s reporting about a Russian consulate being located in Miami was inaccurate.
      • Two days after the meeting with Steele, Kavalec emailed an FBI CD Section Chief a document that Kavalec received from Winer discussing allegations about a linkage between Alfa Bank and the Trump campaign, a topic that was discussed at the October 11 meeting.   Kavalec advised the FBI Section Chief in the email that the information related to an investigation that Steele’s firm had been conducting. The Section Chief forwarded the document to Pientka the same day.
      • Pientka advised OI:
        1. that Steele was specifically hired by an individual to provide information on candidate Trump’s business affairs and contacts in Russia;
        1. Steele was never advised of the motivation of the individual who hired him;
        1. the individual who hired him was hired by an unidentified law firm in Washington, D.C., and “anything further would be speculation”;
        1. the FBI has had an established relationship with the source since 2013;
        1. the source was generating reporting well before the opening of Crossfire Hurricane and the leaks concerning the DNC emails, and therefore this was not a situation where a source was attempting to steer an ongoing investigation;
        1. Steele was not a U.S. citizen and therefore had no vested interest in the outcome of the election;
        1. 1/11/17, is when Pientka realized Steele and the DNC were connected.  This information was not given to the OI;
        1. Steele’s sub-source was at the time the subject of an open FBI counterintelligence investigation. The FISA application did not disclose this to the court, which is out of the norm. The 0I Attorney was not informed of this at the time of the first application, even though NYFO opened the case after consulting with and notifying Pientka prior to 10/12/16, nine days before the FISA application was filed;
        1. When we asked Case Agent 1 why he failed to provide information from the October CHS meeting to the OI Attorney in advance of the first FISA application, he told us that he did not think that Page’s statements on these issues were specific. We noted, however, Case Agent 1 used the transcripts of the recording as the support in the Woods File for the statements in the FISA applications. We further noted that the documents in the Woods File specifically stated that Page “denied meeting with Sechin/Divyekin,” and said he “stayed clear” of the efforts of the Republican platform committee and knew “nothing about” Wikileaks. Neither Case Agent 1 nor Pientka noted the inconsistency during the Woods Procedures, even though instant messages show that Pientka also knew as of October 17 that Page denied ever knowing Divyekin. This inconsistency was also not noted during the Woods Procedures on the subsequent FISA renewal applications, and none of the three later FISA renewal applications included Page’s denials to the CHS.
      • October 19, Pientka was responsible for confirming that the Woods File was complete and for double checking the factual accuracy review to confirm that the file contained appropriate documentation for each of the factual assertions in the FISA application.
      • Case Agent 1 personally compiled the supporting documentation in the Woods File and then went through the factual statements in the cert copy one-by-one and made sure that each factual assertion was verified by a corresponding document in the Woods File. After he completed his review of all the factual information, he turned the Woods File over to Pientka.
      • Pientka and Case Agent 1 then performed a second factual accuracy review of the same information together.
      • Pientka said he found that each factual assertion was supported by documentation in the Woods File, and he had no concerns with how the Woods Procedures were completed.
      • Pientka relied on Case Agent 1 to highlight each relevant fact in the supporting document in the Woods File, and that once he verified that each highlighted fact corresponded to a factual assertion in the application, he would move on to the next fact, without necessarily reviewing the entire document.
      • On the evening of October 20, Case Agent 1 and Pientka signed the “FISA Verification Form” or “Woods Form” affirming the verification and documentation of each factual assertion in the application.
      • After Pientka signed the Woods Form, he passed the Woods Form, cert copy, and cert memo  to Headquarters Program Manager assigned the responsibility of signing the final application under oath attesting that the factual information was true and correct (who then submitted it to OGC).
The documentation in the Woods File relied upon for this assertion was a written summary of the meeting in early October with Steele. The summary was drafted by Case Agent 2 and was emailed to the Crossfire Hurricane team a day after the meeting. This Woods document, however, did not state or otherwise indicate that Steele only provided the information to his business associate and the FBI. Indeed, the Woods document noted that Steele told the team that he also had provided his election reports to his contacts at the State Department. Neither Case Agent 1 nor Pientka, who performed the Woods Procedures on this application, noted this error, and it is not clear upon what basis they believed they had verified the factual assertion in the footnote about the FBl’s assessment of who provided information to the media for the September 23 news article. Pientka told the OIG he may have mistakenly been thinking the footnote said Steele gave the information to the “U.S. government” rather than “the FBI.”

FBI Agent Joe Pientka needs to be subpeonaed, interrogated, indicted and placed in jail for a very long time.

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