In a post on 23 May, we looked at the 9 days in January of 2017 when the Obama administration became the deep state. That post showed who was involved in using federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies against the incoming Trump administration.
This post, emphasizes a single point, one whose import requires a stand-alone focus to absorb. It is just this: in 2016, the FBI already knew everything it was going to know. From the means of intelligence available to it, they knew whether Trump and his closest connections had nefarious or even just questionable links to Russians or people connected with Russians.
There is a tendency to imagine that an ongoing “investigation,” such as Robert Mueller’s in the present day, must be uncovering new information about links to Russians. People have a mental idea, likewise, that something like the Carter Page FISA surveillance, which was authorized in October 2016, allowed the FBI to start looking at things that happened in October 2016.
Perhaps, our minds suppose, the FBI could then reconstruct by other methods things that happened before October 2016 – while continuing to monitor what was going on with Mr. Page after October 2016. However, we think of things as unfolding at the time we find out about them, or of insight being gained on or after, the dates when we know formal decisions were made.
In the age of big data, our thinking is wrong.
I’ve made this point many times before, but always as part of a more extensive post (e.g., most recently, here). The issue probably gets lost in the weeds that way, when it needs instead to be always in the foreground of our thinking.
We don’t even need a lot of detailed information to recognize how much the FBI knew by the end of 2016. We only need three data points about the surveillance.
The Russian Focus
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