My thoughts on the IG Report

My thoughts on the IG Report. Very long.

I finally got through the IG Report on the email investigation. I have some thoughts. As always, I am aware that there’s going to be people who disagree with me – that’s life. If there are comments to be made, please be respectful and thoughtful in your commentary.

So, yeah, I read all 568 pages, and boy was it dry sometimes. It’s a government document, so….

There was a good deal of repetition with calls to various chapters and footnotes to clarify this or that. I will be pulling out direct quotes from that document with my thoughts. I will not be editing what I pull out, for any reason. Some of the quotes have pretty salty language, so be advised and read accordingly.

First impressions:

Comey came off as disingenuous to me. I think that word came to me because I simply cannot, for the life of me, think of a person with that much intelligence could act with such ignorance.

Various ones in the Midyear investigation seem indecisive. Whether that comes from trying to cover legal bases or cover their asses, I don’t know.

Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, the unnamed FBI Agent 1 and FBI Agent 5, and the unnamed FBI Attorney 2. The actions of those five are disturbing – if only because if I were to be the subject of an FBI investigation, I would be wondering now just how impartial those in the the agency would be.

About the infamous Tarmac Meeting, all I’ll say is that Bill Clinton should have quit running his mouth and not stayed so long. That created an improper appearance which did not help the situation at all.

Hillary Clinton’s email server revelations – how in the world can someone in government service not want to ensure that sensitive information is secured at every point of transmission? I’m thinking about the concept of “chain-of-custody” in evidence gathering. If the evidence is unaccounted for at any point, it’s tainted, and unusable in court cases. I’m not saying that all the emails are evidence, but government needs to be accountable at all times. Frankly, I can’t help but wonder if this allowed for unaccountability.

Also, it seemed to me from reading this that there was a certain amount of foot-dragging going on, followed by the “all hands on deck” work near the end of the investigation. I know there’s a lot of bureaucracy in government, but if the “all hands” work could have been done with remarkable speed, then why so slow before?

Anthony Weiner was a weiner, and I don’t mean his last name.

Other stuff:

Thoughts on Strzok/Page comms:

” August 8, 2016: In a text message on August 8, 2016, Page stated,
“[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Strzok responded,
“No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.” “

I’m going to just get this one out of the way first. The “We’ll stop it” reply is disquieting. It makes me wonder if the ‘we’ referred to people in the government that looks for ways to negate the free votes of American citizens. And don’t start in on me with nattering about conspiracy theories or arguments about the electoral college. There’s been enough of that, and I really don’t want to see it here.

My thing here is the expectation that people involved in an investigation is going to be impartial – no matter their personal thoughts on the matter at hand. They were using FBI-provided devices to do this, too, so there’s no expectation of privacy.

There was a bunch of other things on those FBI-provided devices. Personal devices, sure, have at it. But work phones? There’s just too many exchances to get into for this post. I’m just disappointed.

Chapter 12, starting on page 395. You can read it for yourself. This Strzok fellow was put in charge of the Russia investigation at some point, and again, I really don’t see how you could send things like that and actually be impartial. How are you going to actually justify your actions against your work?

Thoughts on FBI Agent 1 and FBI Agent 5.

It was revealed that during the Midyear investigation, these two were romantically linked and later wed. I don’t really have a problem with that, but it was probably best that this fact be acknowledged in the report.

As for the messaging, the same thing as with Strzok/Page and use of FBI-provided devices.

” After the letter was sent by the FBI to Congress on October 28, Agent 1 sent a series of instant messages to other FBI employees about the reactivation of the Midyear investigation.

Beginning at 1:46 p.m., Agent 1 exchanged the following messages with Agent 5. The sender of each message is identified after the timestamp.

1:46 p.m., Agent 5: “jesus christ… Trump: Glad FBI is fixing ‘horrible mistake’ on clinton emails… for fuck’s sake.”

1:47 p.m., Agent 5: “the fuck’s sake part was me, the rest was Trump.”

1:49 p.m., Agent 1: “Not sure if Trump or the fifth floor is worse…”

1:49 p.m., Agent 5: “I’m so sick of both…”

1:50 p.m., Agent 5: “+o( TRUMP”

1:50 p.m., Agent 5: “+o( Fifth floor”

1:50 p.m., Agent 5: “+o( FBI”

1:50 p.m., Agent 5: “+o( Average American public”

We asked both Agent 1 and Agent 5 about these messages. Agent 1 and Agent 5 both stated the reference to “fifth floor” referred to the location of the FBI WFO’s itCounterintelligence Division. Agent 1 continued, “Again, you know, I think a general, general theme in a lot of this is some personal comment, or, you know, complaining about common topics and leadership and, and venting.” Agent 5 also described this as general complaining to Agent 1 and also as an example of her being “very tired of working” these types of cases. “

Again, you can look at the PDF file – do searches for “Agent 1” and “Agent 5.” I don’t know if these agents were approaching burn-out, like I did in retail, or what, but there’s distinct animus toward Trump and certain parts of their employer.

While it’s on my mind, the +o( emoticon is for “sick face.”

Thoughts on FBI Attorney 2:

” The second exchange we identified occurred on November 9, 2016, the day after the presidential election. FBI Attorney 2 and another FBI employee who was not involved in the Midyear investigation exchanged the following instant messages. Note that the sender of the instant message is identified after the timestamp and intervening messages that did not contribute to the understanding of this exchange are not included.

09:38:14, FBI Attorney 2: “I am numb.”

09:55:35, FBI Employee: “I can’t stop crying.”

10:00:13, FBI Attorney 2: “That makes me even more sad.”

10:43:20, FBI Employee: “Like, what happened?”

10:43:37, FBI Employee: “You promised me this wouldn’t happen. YOU PROMISED.”

10:43:43, FBI Employee: Okay, that might have been a lie…”

10:43:46, FBI Employee: “I’m very upset.”

10:43:47, FBI Employee: “haha”

10:51:48, FBI Attorney 2: “I am so stressed about what I could have done differently.”

10:54:29, FBI Employee: “Don’t stress. None of that mattered.”

10:54:31, FBI Employee: “The FBI’s influence.”

10:59:36, FBI Attorney 2: “I don’t know. We broke the momentum.”

11:00:03, FBI Employee: “That is not so.”

11:02:22, FBI Employee: “All the people who were initially voting for her would not, and were not, swayed by any decision the FBI put out. Trump’s supporters are all poor to middle class, uneducated, lazy POS that think he will magically grant them jobs for doing nothing. They probably didn’t watch the debates, aren’t fully educated on his policies, and are stupidly wrapped up in his unmerited enthusiasm.”

11:11:43, FBI Attorney 2: “I’m just devastated. I can’t wait until I can leave today and just shut off the world for the next four days.”

11:12:06, FBI Employee: “Why are you devastated?”

11:12:18, FBI Employee: “Yes, I’m not watching tv for four years.”

11:14:16, FBI Attorney 2: “I just can’t imagine the systematic disassembly of the progress we made over the last 8 years. ACA is gone. Who knows if the rhetoric about deporting people, walls, and crap is true. I honestly feel like there is going to be a lot more gun issues, too, the crazies won finally. This is the tea party on steroids. And the GOP is going to be lost, they have to deal with an incumbent in 4 years. We have to fight this again. Also Pence is stupid.”

11:14:58, FBI Employee: “Yes that’s all true.”

11:15:01, FBI Attorney 2: “And it’s just hard not to feel like the FBI caused some of this. It was razor thin in some states.”

11:15:09, FBI Employee: “Yes it was very thin.”

11:15:23, FBI Attorney 2: “Plus, my god damned name is all over the legal documents investigating his staff.”

11:15:24, FBI Employee: “But no I absolutely do not believe the FBI had any part.”

11:15:33, FBI Attorney 2: “So, who knows if that breaks to him what he is going to do.”

On this one, while they have the right to their opinions, and free speech, I think this exchange was captured on the FBI’s Lync system, and therefore government property. After the election, Trump is their ultimate boss. Complaining about the boss is nothing new, but this is more than complaints. Remember the Strzok “We’ll stop it” bit? “YOU PROMISED” makes me wonder about that again. The report goes on to say that the agent told the interviewers that this was “just the way we conversed,” but frankly I’m doubtful. Either you’re serious about a serious subject, or you’re too flippant about it. If flippant, then maybe you shouldn’t have been there, and if serious, then that’s another disturbing thing.

On July 6, 2016, the day after Comey’s Midyear declination announcement, Agent 1 and an FBI employee not involved with Midyear exchanged messages about the investigation. During the course of this discussion, Agent 1 described the prior weekend’s activities, which included the interview of Clinton. A portion of this instant message exchange follows. The sender of each message is noted after the timestamp.

15:07:41, Agent 1: “…I’m done interviewing the President – then type the 302. 18 hour day….”

15:13:32, FBI Employee: “you interviewed the president?”

15:17:09, Agent 1: “you know – HRC” [Hillary Rodham Clinton]

15:17:18, Agent 1: “future pres”

15:17:22, Agent 1: “Trump cant win”

15:17:31, Agent 1: “demographics dont line up”

15:17:37, Agent 1: “America has changed”

Maybe it’s me, but I can’t see myself making references like that. I thought there was only one president at a time.

On August 29, 2016, Agent 1 and Agent 5 exchanged the following instant messages as part of a discussion about their jobs. The sender of each message is noted after the timestamp.

10:39:49, Agent 1: “I find anyone who enjoys [this job] an absolute fucking idiot. If you dont think so, ask them one more question. Who are you voting for? I guarantee you it will be Donald Drumpf.”

10:40:13, Agent 5: “i forgot about drumpf…”

10:40:27, Agent 5: “that’s so sad and pathetic if they want to vote for him.”

10:40:43, Agent 5: “someone who can’t answer a question”

10:40:51, Agent 5: “someone who can’t be professional for even a second”

On September 9, 2016, Agent 1 and Agent 5 exchanged the following instant messages.

08:56:43, Agent 5: “i’m trying to think of a ‘would i rather’ instead of spending time with those people”

08:56:54, Agent 1: “stick your tongue in a fan??”

08:56:58, Agent 5: “i would rather have brunch with trump”

08:57:03, Agent 1: “ha”

08:57:15, Agent 1: “french toast with drumpf”

08:57:19, Agent 5: “i would rather have brunch with trump and a bunch of his supporters like the ones from ohio that are retarded”

08:57:23, Agent 5: “:)”

This is simply unprofessional.

The third exchange we identified was on November 22, 2016. FBI Attorney 2 sent an instant message to FBI Attorney 1 commenting on the amount of money the subject of an FBI investigation had been paid while working on the Trump campaign. FBI Attorney 1 responded, “Is it making you rethink your commitment to the Trump administration?” FBI Attorney 2 replied, “Hell no.” and then added, “Viva le resistance.” FBI Attorney 1 responded that Trump was “going to eliminate all of our pensions in order to pay for people like” the person discussed in the instant message exchange, and FBI Attorney 1 and FBI Attorney 2 then began a discussion of federal pension and retirement issues.

Hmmmmmmmm….. “Viva le resistance.” Remind you of all the #Resist45 stuff and Maxine Waters chanting “Impeach 45! Impeach 45!” to you?

This is a huge black eye for the FBI, in my opinion, and I’m saddened by it. The so-called IG 2.0 will look into the FISA stuff, and frankly I’m concerned about what will be revealed there.

My thoughts on conventions

So, I’ve got some thoughts.

Some of those thoughts are meaningless to some of my friends, so if they don’t seem to apply to you then let it pass by.

I’m thinking about conventions, and whether I’m really of a desire to attend one.

The closest I’ve ever been to attending a convention (science-fiction, gaming, book, movie, whatever) would be to visit the Gulf Coast Renaissance Faire in Pensacola, in years past. To be honest, I’m unsure if that would be considered a ‘convention’ per se, but for the purposes of these thoughts I’ll go with ‘no.’ At least for now. I enjoyed it.

I have quite a few friends in The Royal Manticoran Navy – which is an official fan club for David Weber’s Honorverse series, and I want to attend a convention with them in full cosplay – time, money, and most importantly health allowing.

I also have friends in corresponding fandoms following the novels of Larry Correia and John Ringo. I’d like to attend cons with them, as well, with the same preconditions I have listed above.

Other authors, as well. I do admit that I’d love to find myself at a book signing for my books, too, but that’s a looooooooong way off – and irrelevant to my thoughts here.

Recent events give me pause to think about that desire. As you (meaning my friends in general) may known both Larry and John have not attended conventions that they had been expected at. One was disinvited, one was an agreement due to fears about personal security. Both were done as a result of online outcry of those with strong opinions.

Opinions that – and this is *my* opinion on the opinions – were wrong.

In today’s world, if there’s a public figure that someone disagrees with then there must be a posting, a Tweet, an email, and various other ways to express that disagreement. I don’t think there’s a single public figure of any stripe that has no dissent following them around.

Go look at politics, religion, or sports if you don’t believe me. If you can name one or even two, you’re doing better than me.

So Larry and John expected to attend those conventions. I’m not going to name which ones. Use your Google-fu to get that information, if you’re wondering. They decided to attend to meet fans, discuss their craft and hobbies, have family along, have fun. You know, hopefully like anyone going to something like that.

Before the events’ starting dates rolled around, quite a few with metaphorical axes to grind decided to avail themselves of the postings, Tweets, emails, and various other ways to make the people in charge of the conventions think twice. Unproven allegations, outright lies, and straight innuendo.

One didn’t give the best impression, and the other did have extenuating circumstances which have been ironed out. My concern isn’t really with them.

It’s with the ‘backlash.’

As the last few years have worn on, I’ve been watching protests, of varying degrees, actions from civil disobedience to outright riots, and verbiage from civil discussions to almost knock-down-drag-outs. Come to think of it, there comes to mind that there has been a time or two locally where the cops have been called over for-real fights started over things started online. Rough fights, too. Bloody, bent, bowed, and bad.

What reassurance do I have? Should I decide that I have the ability to go see my friends, assume my persona as Captain Barrow, Grayson Space Navy, or get my books signed by the authors that wrote them, what reassurance do I have that some unknown persons won’t try to wreak havoc like what was done in Berkeley, with the speaker and the supposed Antifa riot?

Or for that matter, after some basketball team won a game? That still makes absolutely no sense to me.

I’m not as strong as I used to be. I’ve got physical problems that’s going to be with me for the rest of my life, and a chance of others popping up as I age. I do have a concealed carry license, plus training from previous employment, that in certain situations would allow me to efficiently defend myself or others. In a convention’s venue, I would adhere to their rules and not avail myself of my weapons. Like any school, bar, airport and so on. Still, I really don’t want to have to be creative in protecting. This sheepdog isn’t in the best form to do it.

I don’t like the thought of going to see a certain author or entertainer with the intent of having fun, and then getting caught up in burning stuff, a riot, things getting thrown that could hurt me or others, just because people don’t like the certain author or entertainer.

Think I’m going straight to worse-case-scenario? Imagine how the security people feel about crap like this. Especially with past incidences and the very real possibility of ‘copy-cat syndrome.’

I don’t like it.

Oh, sure, I know the world is not safe and isn’t the best. I know I can’t hunker down and be a hermit. I’m saying people shouldn’t be jerks.

Yeah, I know. They will be anyway. Too many people on social media and the comment sections of online sources are… ‘judgemental’ is the best term I can think of. I can think of other terms, but like I said to Sharon, I’m usually civil. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to call a spade a spade.

So, sure. I can feel the joy and anticipation of attending a con sucked out by seeing what others do and justifying it as the Right Thing. I’ve seen the phrase “Hit ’em where it hurts – in the wallet” thrown around. The bullying of sponsors, too. That’s another thing. The vendors – just like at a Renaissance Faire – depend on people visiting their stalls or spaces and sampling their wares. How can someone justify steering potentally paying customers from a convention that they might not even be a part of anyway? If a man that handmakes widgets and a woman that handmakes gizmos make it part of their business plan to make the rounds – and takes unsold inventory back to the shop because of people online availing themselves of the posting, Tweets, emails, and various other ways to dampen enthusiasm because they don’t like a guest of the convention, then what exact point are they making?

That the small business owner is cannon fodder in the battle over What’s Pure and Right in the World?

Please.

I went to the Renaissance Faire for a few things. See the jousts, browse the stalls and buy stuff, get food I really enjoyed, watch the bellydancers (I liked this part,) and be entertained. I’d be willing to bet that those that visit conventions do it for just about the same reasons, depending on what kind of venue.

Not to be unwitting pawns in somebody else’s arguments.

So, yeah. I’ve decided to have my say on this. I don’t appreciate having to say it.