Comey's FBI made 9 false statements and 51 omissions to the FISA court; he thinks report praises him

This is James Comey’s take on the FISA report, which he clearly has not read (though that was sort of the point of the report – Comey was not reading anything he signed off on):

So it was all lies. No treason. No spying on the campaign. No tapping Trumps wires. It was just good people trying to protect America.— James Comey (@Comey) December 9, 2019

So far, that comment has been retweeted and favorited by tens of thousands of deeply ignorant political observers (and I can tell you how they vote).

If reading the whole report is too much trouble for folks like Comey or journalists or concerned citizens, the Inspector General provides a handy table in Appendix 1 of the report.

It lists every claim made in the various Carter Page FISA applications, with columns titled “no supporting documentation,” “supporting documentation does not state this fact” (i.e. the claim being made in the report is objectively false), and “supporting documentation shows that the factual assertion is inaccurate” (i.e. the FBI was providing documentation to the court that directly refuted its own claims, which honestly makes you wonder what these judges’ staffers even do). These are items that are required by law to be provided to the court and are required to be accurate.

If you tally up the checks in these columns, Comey’s FBI made 9 false statements and omitted 51 material facts (exculpatory or contradictory information that the FBI has obtained that undermines its claims) to the FISA court. So there was a lot of lying going on here, but it was Comey doing it, to the FISA court and to the American public. He’s been running around portraying this grand conspiracy that his own people had known literally for years was not true. He’s been getting people who can’t be bothered to examine primary sources and think critically about what they are reading all lathered up. Future historians are going to have a lot of fun with this man.

Chapter 8 of the FISA report is where the most brutal content is

The FISA report directly refutes Adam Schiff’s claims that the fictitious Steele dossier was not central to the Department of Justice’s request to spy on members of the Trump campaign. This is rather amusing because many of Schiff’s garbage claims are being repeated in his garbage impeachment process as the justification for Democrats’ obnoxiously funny “treason” charge. The dossier was cited relentlessly by the FBI in FISA applications, and through FBI and DOJ leaks to left-leaning media outlets, became the primum movens of the Russia Russia Russia hysteria.

According to Horowitz, the Steele dossier was substantially all of the evidence submitted to the court. FBI agents also falsely told the court that Steele was not the primary source of the articles used to collaborate the Steele dossier. But Horowitz says they did this unintentionally, as it never occurred to them to ask whether Hillary Clinton’s opposition research firm was talking to the media in addition to the FBI. These are detectives, y’all.

If you want to skip to the worst content in the report (in my opinion), go to Chapter 8: Misstatements, Omissions, and Errors in the FISA Renewal Applications.

This chapter goes into detail all of the various ways these folks understood they had no case to make, but took debunked information to the court anyway. Even after the FBI terminated its relationship with Christopher Steele because they knew the information he was providing was unreliable, DOJ official Bruce Ohr continued to ferry communications with Steele to this group of investigators. They apparently never informed top brass at the DOJ that this was happening. This effort to keep the truth from coming out included FBI lawyers editing emails.

It is no longer a subject of partisan debate that the FBI built its entire case to the FISA court on opposition research that the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid millions of dollars to produce, and that the FBI knew with every renewal of the FISA report that the information contained in that dossier was false. That’s in the report and it is explained matter-of-factly, though it takes hundreds of pages to debunk all the false information the FBI was putting out there and who internally was responsible.

The FISA report debunks several claims about Trump – Russia from the Steele dossier that the media continues to circulate ad nauseum. In fact, the whole report is a tour de force of shit that has been debunked that some in the FBI and their handmaids in the media kept circulating.

Now, someone could claim that they were not doing this out of political bias, malice, or corruption, but from mere stupidity. That is essentially the case that Comey made about Clinton – that she was not deliberately trying to shield her communications from scrutiny under FOIA or whatever, but that she was truly too old and stupid to know how electronic communications worked. (Wiped the servers? You mean with a cloth?) She was, after all, having her Venezuelan maid print off classified briefings because hitting “print” is too hard to understand. (That is literally in the FBI notes on the Clinton case that Comey published.)

But given that we have mountains of correspondence from all of these people and some of them went on to careers to bitch and moan about Trump as CNN panelists after being fired or quitting the FBI, it’s not exactly a mystery where their minds were at when they were undertaking all of this.

These folks also kept their mouths shut about exculpatory and falsified evidence through the ridiculously expensive Mueller investigation, which resulted in Martha Stewart-esque process crimes and charges that Manafort was not paying his taxes. (If you were wondering how Mueller’s team found themselves wandering into the less sexy domain of tax law, you learn from the report that Strzok, Page, Baker, and McCabe had been looking for something to stick Manafort with for a long time. Bruce Ohr had been working on money laundering charges on Manafort long before Mueller became a household name. They just passed that on to Mueller to try to pressure Manafort into admitting that Trump was colluding with Russia, something that the FBI agents involved already knew was bogus from their private dealings with Steele. And this is why we have Durham.)

This entire time, FBI and DOJ lawyers who had been the grunts in this investigation went to work for Mueller and never told anyone that the basis of the case was crap propaganda from the Clinton campaign.

From the report:

As we describe in this chapter, the three Carter Page renewal applications contained a number of factual representations that were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation, based upon information in the FBl’s possession at the time the applications were filed. On July 12, 2018, approximately one year after the final FISA renewal application, the National Security Division (NSD) sent a letter to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) advising the court of certain factual omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications that came to NSD’s attention after the last renewal application was filed. The information, which had been in the FBI’s possession, included certain statements made by George Papadopoulos to FBI confidential human sources (CHSs), information provided to the FBI by Department attorney Bruce Ohr as a result of Ohr’s conversations with Christopher Steele, and admissions Steele made in court filings in foreign litigation regarding his interactions with the media.

We found no evidence that officials in NSD had been told of this information or were aware of these omissions at the time the four FISA applications were filed with the court. Further, we found no evidence suggesting that the senior Department officials who approved the various FISA applications-Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Sally Yates (the first application and first renewal), Acting Attorney General Dana Boente (the second renewal), or DAG Rod Rosenstein (the third renewal)-were aware of these issues at the time they signed the FISA applications. We also detail instances not described in the July 2018 letter to the FISC, but identified by the OIG during the course of this review, in which factual assertions made in the three renewal applications were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation, based upon information in the FBl’s possession at the time the applications were filed. These included inconsistencies between Steele’s reporting and information provided by his Primary Sub-source to the FBI; information provided to the FBI by another U.S. government agency about Page’s prior relationship with that agency; information concerning Steele’s past work-related performance; information regarding the connection between Steele’s reporting and the Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and the Hillary Clinton campaign; information from the FBl’s human source validation report concerning Steele; denials by Joseph Mifsud to the FBI; and information about Carter Page’s lack of involvement in the change in the Republican Party platform concerning Russia and Ukraine. We found no evidence that Yates was aware of these issues at the time she approved the first FISA renewal application. We found that Boente was also unaware of these issues when he approved the second renewal application, with one exception concerning information regarding the ties between Steele’s reporting and the Democratic Party. Boente recalled knowing the information at the time he approved the second renewal. We found that Rosenstein was unaware of the issues we identified at the time he approved the third renewal application. With respect to the ties between Steele’s reporting and the Democratic Party, Rosenstein told us he believes he learned that information from news media accounts, but did not recall whether he knew it at the time he approved the third renewal.

What an absolute disgrace Rod Rosenstein is. He couldn’t remember if, at the time he signed off on a request to spy on a US citizen – who at this point was clearly not at all connected to Russia – if he knew that the core piece of evidence they were submitting to the court was funded by the Clinton campaign. I don’t know, man, is that, like, important or something?

The government really should go back and look at every case this incestuous group of FBI and DOJ officials worked on. There’s no telling how many lives they’ve fucked up over nothing.

Durham issues statement on FISA report

The Justice Department is moving ahead with prosecutions related to the events detailed in the FISA report, according to U.S. Attorney John H. Durham:

“I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff.  However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department.  Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.  Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.” 

For folks who are not familiar with how the federal government operates, an inspector general essentially has a human resources role in the agency. They cannot take criminal action against anyone themselves. Their investigation is limited only to the documents produced by people within the federal government and the accounts of federal employees.

The IG basically says protocols were followed or not followed. This is why they are so frustrating to political observers. The IG has a long history of issuing damning reports and then concluding “here’s what we can learn from these experiences.” He’s not the ball-buster conservatives make him out to be. He’s one of the Bobs from Office Space asking about TPS reports, but with much more serious fare.

Carter Page, for example, complained that the inspector general did not interview him. That was never going to happen because he is not a federal employee. Durham most certainly will interview him.

Regardless of all of this, folks really should turn off the news and read the text of the report itself. See how you feel about the FBI and Department of Justice afterwards.

Strzok and company planted an FBI agent in Trump campaign intelligence briefings to gather information on Flynn

Per the FISA report (pages 340 and following), the FBI declined to brief the Trump campaign on Russia’s efforts to communicate with campaign officials (volunteers?) Instead, they used a scheduled intelligence briefing to plant an FBI agent selected by Baker, the FBI’s lead counsel, and Andy McCabe, Deputy Director of the FBI, to gather investigative material on General Flynn. Bear in mind that the report already establishes at this point that the case for probable cause would have been weak had these same folks not withheld exculpatory and contradictory information from top officials in Obama’s Department of Justice. This is weapons-grade batshit insane.

And the FBI agent planted in the intelligence briefing with Trump’s handler was… Peter Strzok. The same Strzok that was fired from the Mueller team over his politically charged text messages with Lisa Page talking about an “insurance policy” if Trump gets elected.

In the first week of August 2016, the FBI’s Presidential Transition Team requested that CD begin preparations for providing unclassified “counterintelligence awareness” briefings to the transition teams for the Trump and Clinton campaigns. The FBI participated in strategic intelligence briefings conducted by ODNI on August 17, 2016, for Trump and his selected advisors, including Flynn; and on August 27, 2016, for Clinton and her selected advisors. The FBI also participated in ODNI strategic intelligence briefings for members of each campaign: on August 31, 2016, to Trump campaign staff; on August 31, 2016, to Clinton campaign staff; on September 8, 2016, to Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine; and on September 9, 2016, to Vice Presidential candidate Michael Pence.

The FBI selected SSA 1, the supervisor for the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, to provide the FBI security briefings for Trump and Clinton. 478 SSA 1 told us 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 August 17 briefing would be Flynn. He further stated that the briefing provided him “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 .. .! would have that to fall back on.” Asked to explain what he meant by “assessment,” the SSA 1 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.

SSA 1 told us 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. SSA 1 also told us 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 SSA 1 was able to compare Flynn’s “norms” from the briefing with Flynn’s conduct at the interview that SSA 1 conducted on January 24, 2017, in connection with the FBI’s investigation of Flynn.

We asked SSA 1 whether he was aware of any discussions within the FBI about the appropriateness of the FBI using an ODNI strategic intelligence briefing for a presidential candidate, organized by ODNI as part of the presidential transition process, as an opportunity to gather potentially relevant investigative information about or from a staff member who is the subject of an FBI investigation. SSA 1 responded that he did not recall if there were any such discussions, but that if there were, they would have occurred at levels above him. He also told us that he did not personally have any concerns with the plan.

According to Baker, discussions about using SSA 1 as the FBI briefer did occur at higher levels. Baker told us that he recalled these discussions included himself, McCabe, Priestap, Strzok, possibly Lisa Page, and the FBI’s then Executive Assistant Director of the National Security Branch. Baker said the decision to use SSA 1 for the briefing was reached by consensus within this group. Baker told us that he did not raise any concerns about using SSA 1 as the briefer because “[h]e 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 SSA 1 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 [SSA 1] there.

We asked Baker whether he recalled any discussion about the potential chilling effect on, and the FBI’s participation in, future presidential transition briefings if the FBI’s use of SSA 1 in this manner became known. Baker told us that he did not recall that issue being discussed, and added that the use of SSA 1 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.”

We asked McCabe about his knowledge of the ODNI strategic intelligence briefings of the presidential campaigns and the decision to use SSA 1 as the FBI briefer because of SSA l’s role in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. McCabe told us that ODNI was primarily responsible for providing national security threat briefings, and that the FBI was given a limited period of time in this instance to cover what it needed to address. He told us that he could not recall if he was aware in advance of the briefing that SSA 1 would attend for the FBI, or why SSA 1 was selected. McCabe acknowledged that it was possible he was part of a conversation about whether SSA 1 should handle the briefing because of his involvement with Crossfire Hurricane, but said he could not recall any such conversation. Asked whether he was aware there was an investigative purpose for SSA 1 handling the briefing, McCabe told us that he did not recall such a conversation and was not aware there was an investigative purpose for SSA 1 attending.

SSA 1 told us that he recalled Strzok being primarily responsible for providing SSA 1 with instruction on how to handle the FBI’s portion of the ODNI strategic intelligence briefings, but that others also assisted, including the Intel Section Chief and possibly Lisa Page. SSA 1 did not recall Priestap having any role. SSA 1 told us that he 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. According to SSA 1, the briefing outline was not tailored to serve the investigative interests of Crossfire Hurricane and there was nothing he did differently for the Trump briefing as compared to the Clinton briefing: “that was one of the things that was very key. [The briefings] needed to be consistent.”

The OIG reviewed the briefing outline prepared by SSA 1 and Strzok. According to the outline, the purpose of the briefing was to “give [the recipients] a baseline on the presence and threat posed by Foreign Intelligence Services to the National Security of the U.S.” The outline described the type of information that Foreign Intelligence Services (FIS) seek to obtain, the presence of FIS intelligence officers in the United States, and the primary methodologies FIS intelligence officers use to collect information. The outline also identified the Russian FIS and the Chinese as posing the greatest threat to the United States and described generally the difference in how the two countries conduct intelligence operations.

SSA 1 told us that he was the only FBI representative at the ODNI briefing on August 17, 2016, which was attended by Trump, Flynn, and another Trump campaign advisor. According to SSA 1, he understood the ODNI briefing would take about 2 hours to complete and that SSA 1 would have about 10 minutes to conduct the FBI’s security briefing. After completing his briefing, SSA 1 said he remained for the duration of the ODNI briefing. About a week after the briefing, SSA 1 communicated separately with the OGC Attorney and Strzok about whether to formally document the briefing. There was agreement that he should. SSA 1 told us that given the “[b]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 Electronic Communication (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 August 30, 2016 EC was drafted by SSA 1 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 SSA 1. The EC then recounts in summary fashion the briefing SSA 1 provided. In this regard, the EC is consistent with the outline of the briefing described above. Woven into the briefing summary are questions posed to SSA 1 by Trump and Flynn, and SSA l’s responses, as well as comments made by Trump and Flynn.

Other than identifying the ODNI briefers and the length of the ODNI strategic intelligence briefing, the EC does not contain any details about the information that was provided by ODNI. With regard to comments made by Trump or Flynn during the ODNI briefing, the EC describes two questions asked by Trump. SSA 1 told us that Flynn made comments during exchanges with the ODNI briefers on many subjects unrelated to Russia that SSA 1 did not document because the information was not pertinent to any FBI interests. SSA 1 told us that he documented those instances where he was engaged by the attendees, as well as anything related to the FBI or pertinent to the FBI Crossfire Hurricane investigation, such as comments about the Russian Federation. SSA 1 said that he also documented information that may not have been relevant at the time he recorded it, but might prove relevant in the future.

The agents are not violating FBI protocol here because FBI protocol for planting agents in mandated intelligence briefings with presidential nominees does not exist.

Media spin on the FISA report versus what the report actually says

BREAKING: Russia probe report finds no evidence of political bias, despite performance failures, per summary obtained by AP.— The Associated Press (@AP) December 9, 2019

The DoJ inspector general has found that the FBI’s Russia investigation was justified and untainted by political bias, debunking Trump’s “deep state conspiracy” nonsense. He also found serious problems with the Carter Page FISA application, which should concern everyone.— Ken Dilanian (@KenDilanianNBC) December 9, 2019

They took these headlines from this text:

We concluded that the failures described above and in this report represent serious performance failures by the supervisory and non-supervisory agents with responsibility over the FISA applications. These failures prevented OI from fully performing its gatekeeper function and deprived the decision makers the opportunity to make fully informed decisions. Although some of the factual misstatements and omissions we found in t his review were arguably more significant than others, we believe that all of them taken together resulted in FISA applications that made it appear that the information supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case.

We identified at least 17 significant errors or omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications, and many additional errors in the Woods Procedures. These errors and omissions resulted from case agents providing wrong or incomplete information to OI and failing to flag important issues for discussion. While we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence of intentional misconduct on the part of the case agents who assisted OI in preparing the applications, or the agents and supervisors who performed the Woods Procedures, we also did not receive satisfactory explanations for the errors or problems we identified. In most instances, the agents and supervisors told us that they either did not know or recall why the information was not shared with OI, that the failure to do so may have been an oversight, that they did not recognize at t he time the relevance of t he information to t he FISA application, or that they did not believe the missing information to be significant . On this last point, we believe that case agents may have improperly substituted their own judgments in place of the j udgment of OI, or in place of the court, to weight the probative value of the information. Further, the failure to update OI on all significant case developments relevant to the FISA applications led us to conclude that the agents and supervisors did not give appropriate attention or treatment to the facts that cut against probable cause, or reassess the information supporting probable cause as the investigation progressed. The agents and SSAs also did not follow, or appear to even know, the requirements in t he Woods Procedures to reverify the factual assertions from previous applications that are repeated in renewal applications and verify source characterization statements with the CHS handling agent and document the verification in the Woods File.

That so many basic and fundamental errors were made by three separate, hand- picked teams on one of the most sensitive FBI investigations that was briefed to the highest levels within the FBI, and that FBI officials expected would eventually be subjected to close scrutiny, raised significant questions regarding the FBI chain of command’s management and supervision of the FISA process. FBI Headquarters established a chain of command for Crossfire Hurricane that included close supervision by senior CD managers, who then briefed FBI leadership throughout the investigation. Although we do not expect managers and supervisors to know every fact about an investigation, or senior officials to know all the details of cases about which they are briefed, in a sensitive, high-priority matter like this one, it is reasonable to expect that they will take the necessary steps to ensure that they are sufficiently familiar with the facts and circumstances supporting and potentially undermining a FISA application in order to provide effective oversight, consistent with their level of supervisory responsibility. We concluded that the information that was known to the managers, supervisors, and senior officials should have resulted in questions being raised regarding the reliability of the Steele reporting and the probable cause supporting the FISA applications, but did not.

In our view, this was a failure of not only the operational team, but also of the managers and supervisors, including senior officials, in the chain of command. For these reasons, we recommend that the FBI review the performance of the employees who had responsibility for the preparation, Woods review, or approval of the FISA applications, as well as the managers and supervisors in the chain of command of the Carter Page investigation, including senior officials, and take any action deemed appropriate. In addition, given the extensive compliance failures we identified in this review, we believe that additional OIG oversight work is required to assess the FBI’s compliance with Department and FBI FISA-related policies that seek to protect the civil liberties of U.S. persons. Accordingly, we have today initiated an OIG audit that will further examine the FBI’s compliance with the Woods Procedures in FISA applications that target U.S. persons in both counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations. This audit will be informed by the findings in this review, as well as by our prior work over the past 15 years on the Department’s and FBI’s use of national security and surveillance authorities, including authorities under FISA.

This report condemns the FBI, makes it clear that agents misrepresented events to the FISA court to justify surveillance of an American citizen and presidential campaign. And the details are a hell of a lot more damning than this excerpt.

Do you think the media has poor reading comprehension, or do you think they are deliberately lying to their audience?

The issue in this report was not political bias. Supervisors made ill-informed decisions that abused the constitutional rights of US citizens from a position of pure ignorance, because their underlings decided to withhold significant contradictory and exculpatory evidence from them as they chose to rubberstamp the paperwork. That is not a defense of the FBI.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is the dead opposite of a feminist series

I have finally made it through Season 3 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and wasn’t that impressed. I mostly enjoyed the first season of the show – at least the novelty of a show set in this specific time period. The second season was pretty meh. This season doesn’t develop any semblance of a plot until you are six episodes in, and oddly the main character and her family cease to be the most compelling characters in the whole thing. You care far more about the struggles of Maisel’s manager, Susie, and the guy Maisel’s on tour with than you care about the campy and shallow Maisel. At this point, I doubt I’ll watch a fourth season of the show.

After Season 2, I complained to my friends that Amy Sherman-Palladino only has one story to tell. There is no daylight between Rory Gilmore and Mrs. Maisel. You have a bright-in-a-pragmatic-sort-of-way young woman who exists on the margins of the top 1% of society. Rory was book smart, but hardly a prodigy. Her creativity stopped at quick banter about pop culture; she wasn’t out composing symphonies or building robots.

And that’s Maisel, too. Quick banter about pop culture, but this time with an endless supply of dick jokes that Rory would never make (but her mother probably would off screen).

Their idea of struggles are not being rich and men who prefer a shinier model. But they never have to experience actually being poor, as you can count on their communities to provide some God-in-the-machine financial solution every time. A realistic plot will never interfere with the flow of cute costumes.

In both series, the setting is expected to carry the whole enterprise. Mrs. Maisel is visual confection. If you took the toddler’s board game Candyland and made it into a television show, Maisel would be it. Gilmore Girls was confection too. It was set in a New England town that was too quaint to exist. Even when the characters ventured out of town, it was to Rory’s grandparents’ Clue-like Connecticut mansion. And that’s not a bad strategy – visual interest probably did carry both shows in terms of viewership.

I feel like these shows say something terrible about what women want to watch. And they aren’t alone. Downton Abbey was a vapid soap opera about who was fucking and who was going to prison and who was trying to stay rich. The Crown is not much better.

All of these shows are like Cosmopolitan magazine with period detail. Ultimately the only thing the female lead cares about is sex and the attention of men. You can take a bright girl who should be conventionally successful, but the only thing that motivates her is who she wants to screw and is it still entertaining. And she flops over and over again professionally because of it.

Even in the movie-ish sequel to Gilmore Girls, Rory has failed at developing a career because she isn’t that creative or committed to journalism. She faces competition for the first time and moves back in with Mom. She’s broken by the fact that her college boyfriend wants to marry someone his parents approve of, which was the case for several seasons already. Someone who is more Junior League and less geeky late night comedy allusions.

Sherman – Palladino assumes that you will be as confused and outraged as Rory that Logan wants to grow up and she doesn’t. And that’s pretty much the role of Maisel’s traditional Jewish mother too. She’s the Logan. It is quite literally the same story with a different wardrobe.

I think it’s funny how many people label Maisel and Gilmore Girls as feminist art. If anything, they are the opposite. They take a very cheap view of women and what they are capable of. The women in both are crippled when they are finally put to real tests because they have built a life around attracting the attention of men.

On an unrelated-but-sort-of-related note, there is an episode that repeats anti-Semitic slurs about Phyllis Schlafly, which is beyond distasteful. I rolled my eyes at the historical ignorance so hard it hurt. But it does fit the overall anti-feminism of the show. The plucky comedienne builds a career off dick jokes while some other, more accomplished and more stable, woman is out there breaking the norms that actually matter and is doing so in a less treacly cultural landscape. But Maisel refuses to read a fictional and caricatured advertisement, so she’s the fake hero of Sherman – Palladino’s fake universe where dick jokes are social progress.

A journalist apologizes to Richard Jewell for helping the FBI destroy his life

I highly recommend reading this piece in the Washington Post, I helped make Richard Jewell famous – and ruined his life in the process. It is written by Henry Schuster, a journalist who covered the 1996 Olympic bombing in Atlanta for CNN, where Jewell (now the subject of a Clint Eastwood movie), a security guard at the event, was falsely accused by the FBI and the traditional media of being the bomber.

The 24-hour news cycle was a relatively new thing in American culture at the time, and Jewell found himself being smeared all day long for 88 days straight. Reading the piece, you are almost amazed that the guy did not commit suicide.

From the piece:

Jewell might have been the first victim of the 24-hour cable news cycle. He went from hero to villain in less than three days. Jewell was working security in Centennial Olympic Park when he discovered a backpack containing a bomb and alerted law enforcement. The bomb exploded, and soon, so did his life, after the FBI decided he was the suspect and the media piled on.

If Jewell was the first, it would only get worse. Cable news accelerated the pace, but social media made the rush to judgment instantaneous — as quick as machine trading on Wall Street, but without any circuit-breakers.

I had barely gone to sleep around 1:30 a.m. on the night of Saturday, July 27, 1996, when the phone rang.

 Our assignment desk said there had been an explosion during a concert in Centennial Olympic Park, across the street from our offices at CNN Center. By the time I made it downtown, it was clear from sources and witnesses that this had been a bomb. The streets nearby were filled with panic, ambulances and carnage.

The blast killed one woman and injured 111; a cameraman died of a heart attack as he rushed to cover the explosion. These days, we would call it an IED. In those more innocent times, the murder weapon was called a pipe bomb, and it had been carried into the park in a military-style backpack, then left by a bench.

During a news conference in those early hours, someone from the Georgia State Patrol mentioned that a security guard named Richard had spotted the backpack and alerted law enforcement. He seemed to be the hero of the story. I turned to a guest booker and asked her to track him down.

By that evening, we had our man. Less than 24 hours after the bombing, Jewell and his mother arrived at CNN. He was flustered. Traffic in the area had been heavy, and they had to rush the last several blocks. Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), then House speaker, and Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) were in our newsroom. Both wanted to shake his hand and thank the hero. Even before he sat down on the set, Jewell was distracted by the attention.

The interview I had pushed for set off the chain of events that led to what Jewell later described as “88 days of hell.”

Schuster gets into how the FBI schemed behind the scenes to get Jewell to confess to a crime that he did not commit. The FBI became convinced that Jewell was the bomber through its relatively new Behavioral Science Unit in Quantico.

If you are familiar with the (mostly fictional) show Mindhunter on Netflix, you have a glimpse into how the BSU works. They rely on their own crackerjack impressions of psychological trends among serial killers and mass murderers to speculate on the type of person who might be responsible for a crime. This guy had a bad relationship with his mother, etc. The show Mindhunter is very loosely based on a book by the same title by the founder of the BSU, John Douglas.

The illustrious BSU arrived at the opinion that Jewell was the bomber because he appeared nervous being interviewed by CNN. Got that? Stage fright on live national television is sufficient cause to become the target of an FBI investigation. The actual bomber had called 911 to goad authorities about the presence of a bomb. But the FBI didn’t know that because they were too busy framing a heroic security guard instead. Mindhunter makes such good television though!

A former employer of Jewell’s, the president of a college in north Georgia, was watching and called the FBI. He wanted the bureau to know that Jewell had worked for him and that he had been forced to resign. Agents in the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit in Quantico, Va., were also paying attention. They wondered why Jewell looked uncomfortable and his eyes shifted around — he seemed suspicious. They may not have considered that this was Jewell’s first TV interview and that it was being done remotely; he was hearing questions from an anchor in Washington through an earpiece. They were too busy thinking about Jimmy Wade Pearson. During the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, Pearson was a police officer who claimed to have found a bomb on a bus carrying luggage for Turkish athletes. Pearson later admitted planting the device so he could be the hero of his own story.

Jewell had been a sheriff’s deputy before working security at the college, and he’d moved to Atlanta hoping to boost his career. His stint in law enforcement had not been without controversy. If you were an FBI profiler, you could make it all seem sinister.

A colleague and I interviewed him again the next night for a special report. After we turned off the cameras, Jewell casually mentioned that he would not be surprised, based on his training, if he was considered a suspect. That’s just the way it worked, he implied: Until you found the culprit, everyone in proximity, especially the guy who discovered the bomb, was in the frame.

With the world’s media already gathered in Atlanta — 20,000 of us, by some counts — the FBI was under intense pressure to solve the case quickly. FBI Director Louis Freeh became personally involved. Agents were chasing down dozens of leads, trying to figure out who had been near the bench and who had made a 911 call from a public phone several blocks away a few minutes earlier. “There is a bomb in Centennial Park. You have 30 minutes,” said the caller, who didn’t realize that the warning would never be relayed.

If the FBI ever wants to talk to you and tells you outright that you really don’t need to bring a lawyer, you need the best fucking defense attorney money can buy:

The FBI called Jewell to the Atlanta field office on Tuesday afternoon, pretending they were making a training tape. He was the hero, so they wanted his help. No need to bring a lawyer. They were going to lead him in, lead him on and then spring their trap. As they were trying to trick him into a confession, Freeh called Atlanta and told the agents in the room to read Jewell his rights. The agents made the situation worse by pretending that giving him his Miranda rights was part of the training tape.

Even before they did this, FBI folks were racing to leak to their preferred media personalities that an innocent man was the bomber:

Law enforcement sources were already telling journalists that Jewell was under investigation. Even before he made it to the FBI for his interview, several of us were meeting in the office of CNN’s president, Tom Johnson, to discuss how we would report the news. Should we call him a “suspect” or use the more cautious term “person of interest”? That’s when Johnson got a call from an editor of the Atlanta Journal saying the paper was about to put out a special edition naming Jewell as the bombing suspect.

Then things went off the rails.

Instead of going with the more neutral language we favored, Johnson had the anchors on set hold up the front page of the Journal and read the headlines. By the time Jewell’s lawyer heard the news reports and managed to get through the FBI switchboard to his client, telling him to get out of the field office, the collective weight of law enforcement and the media had begun turning Jewell from a hero to a villain. Our wall-to-wall coverage was underway: We became the FBI’s megaphone. There was no nuance in those first 48 hours.

This was 1996, the dawn of the Internet age, so the process took some time. The Atlanta paper reported it, we ran it over and over as breaking news, and those thousands of reporters covering the Olympics had their lead. By the next day, Jewell was notorious worldwide. (Now, with social media, a reputation can be destroyed in nanoseconds.)

Per Schuster, the media had reservations about what the FBI was doing. But the FBI really was treating Jewell as a suspect with zero evidence. It is newsworthy that the FBI thought they had nabbed the bomber, but is it the press’ duty to challenge the FBI’s findings? I don’t know what the point of even having a free press is if the answer is no, but Schuster seems to think this is grey ethical territory.

Well, it turns out that the FBI did find the actual bomber, Eric Robert Randolph, after he tried to bomb a gay nightclub and an abortion clinic. An opportunity that he had for literally no other reason than the FBI was busy abusing the constitutional rights of an innocent man and the media was following them around the entire way.

Of course, the journalists and the FBI have only amped up this behavior in the social media age. It seems like the main lesson participants in the Richard Jewell scandal learned is that they could do all of this with zero professional consequences.