Dedicated to the memories of General John W. Vessey and OC
In April 2019 I walked into the United States Department of Justice and told them the story you are about to read. Ten days later the Durham Squad was announced. I do not know if those two facts are related. After reading this, your guess will be as good as mine.
This is my final installment in the Deep Capture epic. In the future I may use this site to comment on events, respond to articles and journalists, and answer frequently-asked questions, but the 14 year narrative arc of Deep Capture comes to an end here. As this will be a matter not just for lawyers but also for historians, I am going to walk through these events in a more methodical fashion than might be my normal style.
I wrote this last chapter to be the length of a long magazine article (10,000 words main body + 3,000 words of Endnotes) that makes sense on its own, if read in conjunction with a brief clip from that marvelous old TV show Taxi:
The dedicated and inquisitive mind that wishes to gain an understanding of this tale equal to that one would get from, say, a novella, should add to her self-enrichment syllabus these four previous essays:
The serious researcher should know that even the reading list provided thus far will give only a partial understanding of the second half of an epic. Said serious researcher who may desire to understand the whole of the second half of the epic will wish to start by reading an essay I wrote 13 months ago, Brace for Re-entry to the World of Deep Capture (which I wrote as I departed Overstock and re-activated this website after a decade’s semi-dormancy), and each of the two dozen blogs I wrote since then (which include the four just listed). Only then will a full understanding of the second half of the epic be gained.
Those scholars, fanatics, or lawyers who wish to understand the entire epic will need to understand this website’s backstory (a tempest that raged between Wall Street and myself in 2005-2008). To understand that backstory, one can read the a one-page synopsis of my claims from that era, published in October 2007, “Introduction to the DeepCapture analysis” (which reads rather presciently, if I say so myself). Those who wish a longer explanation of the Wall Street drama that was backstory to this site can watch a 40 minute presentation I gave in October 2007 to a group of 1,000 hedge funds, “DeepCapture – The Movie” where I explained to them that the financial system was going to lock up due to a settlement system crisis (as Greenspan correctly identified to Congress on October 23, 2008 during the heart of the crisis a year later). Those who really desire to understand the full backstory (and who have both a free afternoon and a masochistic streak) can read, “The Story of DeepCapture”, by former Columbia Journalism Review editor Mark Mitchell, published in March 2008, just months before the ’08 financial meltdown. I do not recommend that journey for the faint of heart, but only those who know that backstory (which is the first half of the epic), will be clear about the entire story.
In truth, however, such completeness of understanding will be of little use to the casual reader, who thus has no need to go that far back. On the other hand, perhaps scanning the four documents linked to above, and certainly watching the above clip from Taxi, will help the following tale of hijinks, intrigue, and quadruple-cross make sense.
It was an honor.
Patrick M. Byrne
In late 2015, two Men in Black from my distant Wall-Street-fighting past and the then-ongoing Maria Butina matter told me, “We need you to shift to working on something more important. The Bureau is setting Hillary Clinton up in a sting. We need you to facilitate a bribe for her.” They explained using legal jargon (that will be useful for me later):
There are two groups in the FBI investigating the Clintons. There is a group looking into Hillary’s emails, but we think that is a whitewash. Yet there is a group of agents in New York City looking into her finances, and they want to put her ass in stir.
They walked me through the principles distinguishing a good sting from entrapment: An undercover cop can’t just walk down the street, go up to a stranger, and say, “Hey, do you want to buy some cocaine?” That would be entrapment: the target would have been drawn into a trap of committing a crime that likely would not otherwise have happened. Instead, the prosecutor needs to be able to show that the accused already had a prior disposition to buy the cocaine, which is done by proving that the person had already performed one or more predicate acts, such as, “He pulled his car over at a street corner known for drug distribution, he put his car in park, he rolled down his window…” These predicate acts demonstrate that the accused was already disposed to buy the cocaine, and so when the undercover cop approached and sold some to him it was not entrapment, but a crime that was going to happen anyway, so it is a good bust.
Comey had been blocking such “aggressive investigative techniques” (e.g., a sting) on Hillary, the Men In Black told me, claiming there were insufficient predicate acts to establish that she had the prior disposition.
Recently information had come in, however, that Hillary had accepted a bribe in the low tens of millions of dollars. They told me who it was from (a foreign government) and how it was done. The FBI agents in New York had leveraged that information to force Comey to sign off on setting Hillary up in a bribery sting, these agents explained.
Now those New York agents were asking for my help. It was believed that a different foreign government (of a country to which I had never traveled) wanted to pay Hillary a bribe (in the teens-millions) in return for having Hillary privately pledge what one aspect of President Hillary’s policy towards their nation would be. My assignment was the create the following end-state: within two months, Hillary Clinton and that government’s bagman are to be somewhere together alone in a room for 10 minutes. You take it from there, Byrne.
I said that I thought it was hairy. In my mitzvah/jihad onWall Street (2005-2008), USG and I always did business on a hand-shake (I had always said, “the fewer pieces of paper between us the better”). But now they were asking me to get involved in a federal election and bribe a presidential candidate. I told them that it was that rare request for which I would need one of their “Acts Otherwise Illegal” letters (which are letters Uncle Sam can give you if, as the name suggests, he asks you to do something that would otherwise be illegal).
They were polite and said they would go discuss it with their bosses.
Days later we met again. One agent said: “We’ve been instructed to inform you that you cannot be given a letter, but if you’ll come to DC the Director says you can be shown a letter…”
I said, “Oh, this request is coming from Director Comey?”
Nearly simultaneously, both Special Agents began nodding-coughing into their fists as they glanced and pointed up to the ceiling whilst still coughing.
I asked, “The Director and…. the President?”
This time they held my eyes as they simultaneously coughed into their hands and nodded.
“OK, well, you can tell Director Comey and President Obama that a” (I coughed into my hand in imitation of the agents) “from them is good enough for me. Consider Hillary bribed.”[i]
I will leave out subsequent details, but assume my assignment broke down into Steps A – B – C – D, with “D” being, Hillary Clinton walks into a room alone and spends 10 minutes with that bagman. Within 5 weeks I had achieved A – B – C. In addition, Hillary was 13 hours away from walking into a room alone (using a method which would keep any record from appearing in Hillary’s schedule) to spend 10 minutes with that government’s bagman, where that government’s desires would be expressed and money offered….
…. at which point the curtain came down for me. I had visibility into the operation up to that point, and know that as of 13 hours before the meeting all was on track. And then, as I say, the curtain came down for me. I wasn’t “in the room when it happened” so I could not say for sure what happened over the next 13 hours.
Days later Men in Black summoned me to meet with me me. I was anxious: Had Hillary shown up? Did she take it?
The agents were sober as judges. They did not tell me whether Hillary had made it to the meeting or not. Instead they said, “Patrick, this mission has been scrubbed. We need you to forget every moment of it. We mean it. You must erase every second of this from your memory.” Accompanied by stern, menacing, looks as they gauged my reaction.
Here is the explanation they gave me in a nervous, even panicked, tone:
Hillary Clinton is going to be our next president and nothing can stop that now. The day she becomes President, the first thing she is going to do is send her people over to the FBI and find out who was part of investigating her, and we are all going to be destroyed. That includes you, Patrick. This mission has been scrubbed from the highest level.
I had to ask them to explain it to me again. I went home. It did not sit well with me. A number of things felt wrong about their explanation:
- The agents I met fighting Wall Street were all tough men and women. They get as panicky and nervous as a bag of cement. They were also honorable men and women: it was out-of-character any would go along with such an order. In addition, I had known these two Men In Black back then, and knew they were particularly solid. The vibe they were projecting to me seemed forced. Men In Black don’t scare easy.
- If that was the line of reasoning, they would have performed that analysis and reached that conclusion before they had me do what I had done to facilitate a foreign government bribing Hillary Clinton.
- We were the better part of a year before the election and many months before the DNC convention. They could have had me and other witnesses in front of a grand jury in a week. Indicting Hillary would give the Democrats a chance to pick a new, clean candidate. Else we are going to have a repeat of the 1990’s, with a Clinton in the White House under perpetual investigation.
After a couple-few weeks of stewing, I contacted them and let them know that I would like to meet (which is a rarity: it is generally they who appear in my life, just like that). This time, when I showed up it was the two Men In Black plus a new Man In Black, and what an especially MIB-kind-of-fellow was he. If I showed you a picture of a crowd of 1,000 people with this man in it and said, “Pick out the Man In Black,” you’d pick out this gentleman.
It is hard to describe exactly how that meeting developed. When they want to, feds have a way of saying things without saying things, of leading you to understand what they want you to understand, of nudging you to put pieces together with a minimum amount of help from them. Over the course of the meeting hints were dropped, small pieces exposed, and only occasionally, direct answers supplied. In that fashion, I came to understand Y and W, then over a muffin at a break Z and V, then suddenly I guessed X…. It is hard to say how long this went on, before it finally became clear:
What’s going on, Patrick, is that at this point President Obama has his people across the federal bureaucracy, but especially the Department of Justice. Hillary is going to be president for eight years and nothing is going to stop that, but while she’s president the evidence about bribery you were part of gathering is going to be sitting on a “Bunsen burner” inside the DOJ, and the hand on that Bunsen burner is going to be the hand of one of Barack Obama’s people. If Hillary is a good girl, defends Obamacare etc., that hand will keep the Bunsen burner on “Low”. If she is a bad girl, starts thinking for herself, that hand [mimes twisting a dial] will turn the Bunsen burner to “High”. That way, for the eight years she is President, Hillary is going to be managed by Barack Obama. Then Hillary is going to step down, and Michelle is going to run… And Patrick, that’s the plan.[ii]
I wish to be clear that none of them acted like this was copacetic. Their delivery was not proud or threatening, not “That’s the way it’s going to be, motherfucker.” Just the opposite. Behind gruff MIB-exteriors they seemed to be ashamed, and it was all said in a matter-of-fact and measured fashion, with pauses for me to catch up, and with an air of sad finality (as in, It would help if you just accept this, because we’re all in the deep end together).
I flashed to an odd day in 2006, late summer, when a stack of Senate Institutionalists called me in to say, Help us Obi-wan, you are our only hope.
We now cut to a flashback from 2006.
Start with my essay, “The SEC & Me, Part I (#MeToo)”: I describe there a relationship that developed 2005-2006 between the Senate Judiciary Committee (chaired by Democrat – turned – Republican – turned – Democrat Senator Arlen Specter) and myself. In that essay, I understated where the relationship led. Not only had I been repeatedly bringing experts and Wall Street whistleblowers to see staffers, but some Senators took the time to get to know me, and came to understand my motivations had something to do with Overstock, and a lot to do with stopping what I knew was going to be a catastrophic failure of our settlement system (which, as Alan Greenspan later testified to Congress in October 2008, was one of the three roots of the crisis we experienced in 2008). They knew that by then I’d spent $10 million of my own on this mitzvah (which over the years became several times that amount).
Eventually I brought a whistleblower to sit with Senator Specter himself. Surprising me, Specter dismissed him after 20 minutes, but kept me for another 45 minutes, walking through more or less my entire biography back to cancer (he was nearly bald but with the wispy hair of a chemotherapy patient: I think he may have had a tube in his neck under his collar), and even my long-forgotten altar boy days.
About a month after the 2006 hearing room meeting I describe in that essay, I was called back to DC. I was told to come alone. I walked into a room to find a group of Senators waiting for me, led by Chairman Specter (with whom I had had had the private meeting described above). At least eight senior Senators took part in what I am about to describe: 3-4 Democrats and 4-5 Republicans, though not all were in the entire meeting (a couple just swung through briefly to shake my hand and endorse the project).
They made a speech. They told me that if one understands the Constitutional structure, one understands that the Senate Judiciary Committee is the bulwark that protects rule of law for the USA. That is because the Senate Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction regarding corruption in the USA (“anything touched by a civil or criminal penalty”). For example, in the executive branch the Department of Agriculture has oversight provided by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. But if the Senate Judiciary Committee gets word of something corrupt going on in the Department of Agriculture, they are going to look into it, and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry does not get to say, “Stay out, this is our jurisdiction!” The Senate Judiciary’s authority to look into corruption trumps the authority of anyone else in government. And given that pretty much any activity one can imagine could be touched by a civil or criminal penalty, in practice this all adds up to the following: in the name of stopping corruption, the Senate Judiciary Committee has the authority to look into anything in the United States of America that it desires.
With senators from both parties standing around me nodding, Chairman Specter told they agreed with me, they thought that I was right about what I had been saying publicly with increasing volume over 2005-2006, that some form of systemic corruption was taking over the United States government. They were not even sure what it was, but that it was like it was a foreign nation subverting our government yet they could not pinpoint it, and they had learned that it could not even be fought from within the government. They did not utter the phrase, “Deep State” (as the expression was then only used with regard to Turkey), but it is what they said.
I realized that they were working up to something, but I had no idea what. When it came, it did not come out as a request. One moment they were saying things about systemic corruption taking down our republic, and I was commiserating along the lines of, I know! I know! That’s what I’ve been saying! How can you even stop something like that?!?!? And they replied, We’re going to stop it because we have you and you’re going to stop it. What you are going to do is you are going do this and you are going to do that… The Chairman said, “We know you’re eccentric, we know you are a horse of a different color — hehehe you sure are a horse of a different color, Patrick – but you are a fighter and we’ve love you!”
Then he held out a letter that he said would sit the rest of my life in a safe at the DOJ. When I reached for it a staffer blurted out, “He cannot touch it!” so another senator held it while I stood bent over with my hands clasped behind my back and scanned it. It was about 1.5 pages. After only 10 -20 seconds, the senators, being senators, were not able to contain themselves and started telling me what was in what I was reading, so static exists in my memory. But as I recall it, the first paragraph had language about their growing concern that some kind of deep systemic corruption was infiltrating and corrupting the federal institutions of the United States Government. The second paragraph started with a sentence along the following lines: The United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary requests that Patrick M. Byrne be afforded extraordinary latitude under the laws of the United States of America to pursue his activities investigating and disrupting corruption within the federal government.
Or something like that.
Chairman Specter said, “This is not a pardon, you can’t go kill anyone, but for the rest of your life this letter is going to be sitting in a safe at the Department of Justice, and it will make it extremely unlikely any future prosecutor is going to touch you.”
In sum: Go after the Deep State, try not to kill anyone.
I asked one question: “No take-backs?” Chairman Specter chuckled and said, “No take-backs.”
Someone mentioned, This has not been done in 60 years.”[iii]
There was only one thing I could say: “Sir, I won’t let you down.”
Each senator individually came up to shake hands. One strapping Senator from the Midwest shook my hand: I let him know we had met once 11 years earlier, in a small group that was discussing affordable high-density housing in his home city. Another senator shook my hand as he looked up at me grinning like he thought this was the funniest moment of his life: to him I expressed my admiration for his involvement in the case of SEC whistleblower Gary Aguirre (and he seemed pleased that I knew about it). Another Senator, a fellow my height from out West, shook my hand and quietly looked into my eyes for a long time, until I stupidly said again, “I won’t let you down.” I spoke to another about my favorite moment in life: I was 19 and tapping a hillside of 400 maple trees while up the road Stubby fired up his sugar-shack and the smell of caramelized applewood smoke filled the valley. Another was a senator whom I already knew, a man who on TV seems as mild as a preacher but who in reality is mild like a quick knife in a dark alley is mild. There were 1-3 others. Not all the Senators involved were on the Judiciary Committee, but all were the kind who will likely have their names on buildings someday (as Specter already does). Most of the Senators are still alive and several are still Senators: I think it would be more honorable to let those who wish to acknowledge their participation do so rather than for me to say more here.
I give such details because I wish to assure you, dear reader, this happened.
United States Attorney Brett Tolman, was, in 2006, earlier in his illustrious career, and serving as Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. He wrote the first (but not final) draft of that letter for Chairman Arlen Specter. He speaks about me in the first few minutes of this video:
I told two people. I told my Pop, slowly dying of cancer. He thought about it for about a week, asked to see me again, asked if it were true. I replied, “Pop, I swear on my eyes, a bunch of senior Senators from both parties called me to a room in DC and told me they thought I was right about ‘systemic corruption infiltrating the federal institutions of the United States Government’ and that ‘it could not be fought from within the government’ so it’s going to be up to me to stop it for them.” Jack (Air Force ROTC, Rutgers, ‘54) thought for a few seconds, then said with a sad sigh, “Well, at least you know what you’re doing with the rest of your life.” Because I knew I would need a Batcave and a Healer, I also found a Kundalini yogi (Dreadlock Bobcat) and eventually tried explaining it to her: she listened to ≈ 20 seconds before cutting me off, saying, “Yeah yeah I already guessed all that about you.”[iv]
Lawyers say, “There is no such thing as a prophylactic pardon.” On the other hand, I’ve seen the letter, and know that if it’s made public they won’t find 12 Americans who will convict me of spitting on the sidewalk. Thus, while I always show respect and deference to all federal employees (as citizens should), I approach such situations with what Twain called, “the quiet confidence of a Methodist Minster with four aces.” I don’t know the source of their magic juju to give me an order like that, but in 2006 it is indeed the case that 325 million Americans elected a United States Senate as their agent, and that Senate chose as its agent the US Senate Judiciary Committee, and that committee’s agent, its chairman Senator Arlen Specter (a highly-respected former federal prosecutor beloved by both parties and whose name is on the side of at least one federal building these days), gave me mine.
Taking from this flashback (if nothing else) the phrase, “extraordinary latitude under the laws of the United States of America”, we flash-forward almost exactly one decade, to Q1 2016, to a room where three federal agents have just revealed to me that they believe we were all just used in a soft-coup by Barack Obama against Hillary Clinton, Obama’s eight years as president are effectively being extended to 24 years, and I need to erase every trace of it from my memory.
“I got it,” I ruefully told the three federal agents as I gave a slow, understanding nod to show I understood the gravity of the situation we were in as I thought, I am going to fuck this program up on a world-historic scale….. the moment I get a kill-shot.
Moving on. They explained that in 2008 a law was passed that gave authority to the Director of the CIA to sign a piece of paper and, in a sense, “take the steering wheel” of the FBI regarding certain matters. Maria Butina was just such a matter. For that reason, henceforth when I met with them this third Man In Black would be there reporting back to John Brennan.
Now just to be clear, as Bob Marley sang, “Rasta don’t work for no CIA”. I am proud that I helped law enforcement take on Wall Street back in the day. I feel that if I had done a better job of it then the 2008 financial crises would not have happened (I also feel that if they had listened to me earlier, the 2008 financial crisis would not have happened). I am also proud that in 2002 I helped bring a murderer to justice in Mexico . But the Men In Black knew I had a red line, and that is, Rasta don’t work for no CIA. Yet here was Brennan’s emissary, a big, tough fellow off a GQ cover but looking like he could slice my throat with a piece of dental floss, sitting with the two other Men In Black whom I already knew.
That is how this became the first conspiracy thriller where the CIA was not involved but its director was involved. We were in the FBI’s “car” (so to speak) and Comey was behind the steering wheel. But John Brennan was sitting in the front right seat and he had exercised his prerogative to reach over and take the wheel himself. This new MIB was there as an observer for him. Given that the CIA is the subject of every conspiracy thriller I have ever read or seen, I thought it only fair to say that this time it was not them: other than their Director I did not see CIA involvement. Even regarding the FBI, what transpired turned out to have a special chain-of-command bypassing all institutional chain-of-command, as the reader will soon see.
They asked me to explain why I thought they should pay attention to Maria. I had 2 answers:
- Primarily, because Maria wishes to be a backchannel for peace. She seems to be extremely well-connected in Russia, not just to oligarchs but to reformist elements within the Kremlin, and wants me to visit them. Philosophic liberals (a.k.a. “classical liberals” a.k.a. “libertarians” a.k.a “liberals”) such as myself have always prized peace above all: in the days of the Spanish Empire there were Jesuit and Dominican Scholastics writing against the Spanish crown’s behavior in Latin America (like Thomistic versions of Noam Chomsky). Winston Churchill said, “Better jaw jaw jaw than war war war.” One of my great teachers, General Jack Vessey (Reagan’s two-term Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and a hawk’s hawk), used to warn me about chicken-hawks who do not understand the true horror of war, repeatedly insisting to me over the years, “Any world where the US, Russia, and China get along is better than any world in which they do not get along.” Personally, I have had the greatest of privileges playing a tiny role in some peace events, and I know that stranger things have happened than someone like Maria Butina showing up, talking to the right people, and good things coming about as a result. I have seen it. In this regard, I emphasized to them the significance of Maria’s story that she had been personally selected by General Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov to start this gun rights group as a safe-space for liberals in Russia: if that story checked out, I told them, then we had to be historically myopic not to understand that this is a person worth talking to. Only a bumpkin would not understand that signal. General Vessey was (like Kalashnikov) a WWII veteran, and the only man in US history to have moved from the lowest rank of Private all the way to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs (having received a “battlefield commission” at Anzio): he would have understood that signal in a heartbeat.
- Secondarily, I am a little concerned. Maria is here mingling in our political class. Her pillow talk is whisper of how she is to build bridges into the Hillary, Rubio, Cruz, and Trump campaigns, “Moscow” (by which she meant Torshin) having suggested to her that devoting time to Bernie was a waste, as he would never win). Whoever won, Maria is to have a connection in that administration. She checked off Hillary by befriending someone in her circle, now she is schmoozing around these Republicans and gun rights folks, getting to know them all ….
Oddly, the agents shrugged, put away their notebooks, and chuckled when I spoke of these things. No follow-up questions, a dismissive You just met a hot Russian gal who reads Locke [v] and now your all caught up in her attitude. It felt off.
This went on from September 2015 well into the first quarter of 2016.
By February 2016 Maria was still probing me about introducing her to contacts in the world of foreign policy think-tanks who might be interested in discussing a new, less confrontational approach to Russia. I put her off about it, yet at the same time, communicated her desire to the Men In Black. They grasped for reasons to say, “No.”
I proposed, “I’ll just tell her I mentioned her around a think-tank, someone said, ‘Could you arrange a lunch?’ You put one of your guys, tall, slim, grey hair, three-piece-suit, watch fob, State Department-looking guy, in a hotel room. I’ll make sure she shows up for lunch. All he has to do is say, ‘Maria, we understand you’d like to talk about peace between Russia and the USA. What would you like to say?’ If nothing else you’ll have the most interesting 2 hours of your life.…”
“No!” They shouted in unison. Then they gave weak reasons.
“OK then leave me out of it even more. Tap her on the shoulder on a street corner. But you folks are missing something here,” I responded. They were weirdly resistant to any such discussion.
I received an invitation to spend an hour with one of the Republican presidential candidates (a minor one, neither Rand Paul nor one of the other names that first leaps to mind). I told the federal agents and they let me know they thought it was a good idea for me take Maria, telling me: If she’s as connected back in Moscow as you say, it will build your credibility. So I took Maria to my private hour with the candidate. Maria sat quietly to the side and observed. As I recall, we involved her a bit and then after ≈ 10 minutes we gently excused her and finished, just the two of us (but I am a bit foggy on that: it may well have been that I met with the candidate privately for 50 minutes then brought Maria in for 10).
Given what has emerged since then, I have a guess as to me why they had me do this. By having Maria sit in and observe even the first 10 minutes of my meeting with that candidate, it probably allowed them to obtain a FISA warrant to surveil that candidate afterwards.
In February-early March 2016, Maria told me her Republican big-shot friends had been working on arrangements for her to meet Don Jr. privately. A conservative political conference is going to happen in such-and-such a city in the South, Don Jr. will be there, she would stay in a hotel on the other side of the city, on Sunday at 2 PM he is going to come down the elevator, come out the back of his hotel, a car will whisk him to Maria’s hotel for them to spend an hour… Obviously, I assumed, we would not let it happen. I asked, “What are we going to do? Maybe I’ll just whisk her to the Bahamas for that weekend so she cannot make it….?”
They told me, No, stand back and let it happen. Seemed odd.[vi]
Just after that, in March 2016, Maria asked me to come give a talk on Bitcoin & Liberalism in St. Petersburg to a conference hosted by the Ministry of Finance. President Putin would be at the conference, and after I spoke I was going to have a private audience with Putin and Maria for an hour. I communicated this to the Men In Black.
They came back and told me that for safety reasons it had been decided that I should not accept: it would be too dangerous for me to go to Russia. That seemed ridiculous. In my experience, tough guys like Putin are honorable men. Russia was not going to invite me then kidnap their own guest.
One added, “Washington has spent the last two weeks looking at Maria Butina, we think she’s just an ordinary grad student, there’s nothing of interest there for us, but we want you to get her out of your life.”
I did as they asked. I was finishing my second bout with HepC (having failed front-line treatment), I was Stage IV at the time, and I was also being told that I needed a heart operation that would buy me 3-4 years before lights-out. So I said to myself, “I’m tired, if USG does not seize an opportunity like this, I am not going to fight it.” So I sent her a text turning down Moscow and breaking off. A gruff text so she would not come back, blaming it on the fact that she had a boyfriend and I was tired of being the guy on the side (in my defense, I was dying of two things at once, but I should have found the energy to be kinder).
I did not see the feds again for months. From a medical point of view I was crawling through life. I knew the feds were playing me but I could not figure it out. Festering in my head were:
- Fakeness about Maria and inexplicable behavior regarding her;
- The Hillary bribes leading up to, “”…and Patrick, that’s the plan.”
- Maria all over Republicans (e.g., Don Jr.) with no FBI concern.
- Invitation for me to meet Putin, and the US Government saying, “No”.
As Morpheus put it, it was like a splinter in my mind, a taste in my mouth I couldn’t name. I was seeing shadows on the wall of the cave but could not piece them together (my imagination being too naïve). I occasionally found myself thinking about the assignment given me by the 2006 Senate Judiciary Committee. Clearly the soft-coup against Hillary demanded action from me.
In the first week of July, 2016, around the time it became clear Candidate Trump was going to get the nomination, the three Men In Black reappeared in my life and told me: “Oh my God why didn’t we listen to you about Maria Butina and Russia! You were right Russia is up to something, this has become our highest national priority, and we need to ask you to do something. We want you to know that this never happens in the US, we really are the good guys, in all our three careers we have never heard of a request like this, but you are being asked to rekindle a romantic relationship with Maria Butina and discover anything you can learn about her and what Russia is doing here. We three want you to know that, really, this is not how the US Government normally does business, you have every right to turn this request down, and no one will think lesser of you. But if you accept this task, you would still working for the FBI, but [because of that 2008 law which let the CIA Director take the steering wheel of the FBI] this mission being supervised by Director Brennan and Director Comey at the personal request of the President. As this proceeds we will be going from meetings with you directly back to our offices to report over videoconference to Directors Comey and Brennan.”
A-a-a-nd there’s my kill-shot, I thought.
I accepted the assignment, joking, “Hey, it’s not exactly hardship duty!”
Simultaneously I decided that while I would get them the information they wanted, I would actually conduct a mock affair with Maria, shielding (and not shagging) her while I instead set up Brennan and Comey on rape and murder charges.[vii]
I suspected that just the act of shagging Maria in those circumstances might be sexual assault (“sex by deception”, a form of statutory rape). Given that Maria and I had previously dated, however, that seemed like a flimsy charge that might not stick. But I would start with it.
Three months earlier I had callously broken off with Maria by text. It took me two months of wooing by telephone and text to get things warmed up again. Eventually I got her to come to Utah to be my date at our annual corporate party: I squired her around in front of thousands of people, wined and dined her, danced with her and made her and thousands of my colleagues believe that I was falling in love (since the early days of the company I had kept my personal life generally away from Overstock, so this was more-or-less a first).
Yet privately I was entirely gentlemanly to Maria. We agreed we were going to have a proper old-fashioned European courtship, then she was going to decide whether to be with me forever or not, and be married. Only only then would we start sleeping together again. The truth, however, was that I expected that someday every moment of what I was doing would be examined by historians and prosecutors, and knew that as I went about creating the gambit I needed to maintain a clean record with Maria. Doing otherwise would disgrace the USA and insult the Russian people for their daughter’s treatment.
After Maria left town I met briefly with the three federal agents, with the understanding that we would be sitting down for a full debrief soon thereafter. At the end of that short debrief they asked, “So… were you physical with Maria again?” To reinforce the impression that I was indifferent to Maria’s well-being, I replied coarsely, “Yep I’m back in the saddle.” They were startled and discomfited at the roughness, but kept taking notes. I knew they would discuss it among themselves after I had left.
I deliberately delayed the follow-up meeting, simply to make sure that the news had time to get back to DC. I wanted to see how DC would respond. So I stalled for a week or more before agreeing to the follow-up meeting. When it finally occurred, I learned that DC was fine about me being back shagging Maria (or so they believed) and no objections were raised.
I decided to take it further, by leading them to infer that I got Maria inebriated then raped her.[viii] I could not come out and say that I had gotten Maria wasted then raped her: as I said, federal agents are honorable men and women, and if I just came out and said something like that I knew they might ice me on the spot. Even if they just got upset or arrested me, I would be deprived of learning the reaction from Comey and Brennan. So I created a story whose elements all added up to, “I had gotten Maria wasted then raped her,” diagramming it out on a piece of paper the night before, figuring out precisely how to engineer the clue-dropping so they did not come out all at once, but were scattered through a debriefing, even leaving one clue out so that after we parted they would have to look it up (the date Maria had flown to Utah). So after our debrief, the agents would go back, look up that date, snap it together with the clues I had scattered through our meeting, and come to the (false) conclusion that there was an evening in the middle of the visit when I had committed aggravated rape on Maria Butina. They would not figure it out in my presence, but when they digested my clues and checked her ticket date they should form that belief.
When they put all that together in the hour (or maybe even the 10 minutes) after our meeting, what would happen? The whole thing would be shifted to the federal officials overseeing the mission, who in this case were James Comey and John Brennan. So the next time I met the three agents, whatever their response was, was the response from Comey and Brennan.
The next we met, the three agents had lost all friendliness. They were curt and there was hatred in their eyes, as they thought they thought they might be dealing with a rapist. But they did not bring it up. I was confident that they were under orders from their chain-of-command to avoid bringing it up with me. So we met for an hour in a chilled atmosphere.
At the end of that meeting, they asked, “The folks back East want to know if you can really do this without falling in love?”
I pushed things a bit further, replying, “Nietzsche said, ‘Philosophers don’t really fall in love: it would be like seeing delicate little hands on a Cyclops.’ Tell them back East that if they send word, I’ll cut this chick’s head off and bury her in the Utah desert, nobody will know a thing.”[ix]
The most senior of the feds sprung from his seat into a gun-fighter’s crouch and reached for his weapon. He caught himself then reached for it again, then caught himself then reached again as his brain processed what he had just heard. Finally the index finger of his gun hand pointed between my eyes. “Hey!” He said. “Hey!” Searching for words for a moment (during which time I realized the other two Men In Black were also on their feet in gunfighter crouches, hands on weapons, glaring at me in menace), he spit out, “Hey let’s be perfectly clear about something.” Gesturing to the other two agents he said, “We don’t care what instructions come down from DC: if you harm a hair on Maria’s head we’re gonna kill you ourselves.” The other two agents gave nods of quick agreement in a way that suggested it had already been discussed and agreed upon.
I was proud of them, and immediately made a mental note that when all of this came out I had to make clear they had been honorable. They were torn: we were way over any lines (this is not how the USG normally behaves, folks, it truly isn’t), but we were in a national crisis (this occurred in October ’16, when it was well-understood that there was Russian hybrid warfare going on here), they had orders (allegedly) from Comey and Brennan (allegedly at the request of the President), and they had me, a guy with (as they frequently reminded me) “a non-standard relationship with the United States Government” who in my fight with Wall Street had demonstrated a comfort with tasks outside of normal USG parameters. And here I was lying to them an investigating upwards.[x] When I proposed murdering Maria they didn’t know whether to shit-or-go-blind, but insstinctively they did just the right thing: “We don’t care what orders come down from DC, if you harm a hair on Maria’s head we’re gonna kill you ourselves.”
Remember, the agents had taught me (regarding Hillary) that in creating a sting, the the analysis is: the accused must have committed one or more predicate acts establishing there was already a prior disposition which justified the sting. I was thinking in the same terms: “My chain of command has (regarding Hillary and Maria) committed predicate acts A, B, and C, they have amply demonstrated they hold a prior disposition, so by the power vested in me by the Senate Judiciary Committee of 2006 I am authorizing myself to set them up in a sting.”[xi]
Please remember, none of that with Maria really happened. I was simply setting up my chain-of-command (whoever was above these agents). After the Hillary bribery-and-blackmail caper, it seemed like the right thing to do.
In the summer of 2019, Maria was interviewed in her prison cell about these events by the FBI and by a reporter (Sara Carter, as I recall), and my understanding is that she said, Patrick was completely gentlemanly towards me, I’ve net met such a gentleman, he was totally proper with me, so old-fashioned, he had me sleep in the guest room, he treated me like a lady….. I try to be gentlemanly anyway, but knowing that every moment between us would be scrutinized by historians and lawyers might have made me work a bit harder this time. In any case, as I say, she has written a book about it all that I think is coming out in a month. My honor as a gentleman is in the hands of Maria Butina (a gal whom I inadvertently helped railroad into 18 months in jail).
Yet I know Maria and know what she will say: the truth.
I like to think that the responses of those agents is what makes us different. Perhaps in the same situation the Men In Mao-jackets say to their citizen, “Of course you will, Comrade, if you know what’s good for you,” then they go do something cruel to an animal. Perhaps in the same situation the Men In Ushankas say to their citizen, “The Motherland thanks you, we’ll let you know,” then go poetically drink themselves morose about their sad lot in this tragic life. But in the USA, our Men In Black say, “We don’t care what orders come down from DC, if you harm a hair on Maria’s head we’re gonna kill you ourselves.” God Bless America.
I had a strong sense that what was going on was that these agents now despised this mission and me but were being forced to continue by their chain-of-command. Importantly, I knew the message would make its way back up that chain-of-command, and was another way of signaling, “I’m your boy.”
A point worth noting: October 2016 was the month that Candidate Trump was publicly excoriated for saying, “grab ‘em by the pussy” (NB: that was not gentlemanly, Mr. Trump). October 2016 was also the month that Directors Brennan and Comey were informed (mis-informed, but informed) that I had manipulated, seduced, drugged, raped, plotted to murder Maria Butina, and proposed that I do so… and they kept me “romancing” her for five more months. Too funny.[xii]
What happened next is that things got away from me.
After Maria was (they believed) manipulated, seduced, drugged, raped, and sleeping with a guy plotting to and offering to murder her for them, by February-March 2017 she began offering to ditch DC and come live with me in Utah, finishing her degree at the University of Utah. They instructed me to break off again so that she would stay in DC having dinners with people and posting photos about it on Facebook. They told me that the government was learning a lot by watching her to see with whom she met.
Two years later Federal Prosecutor Kenerson stood up in Judge Chutkin’s courtroom to say, Those dinners Maria Butina had around Washington did grave damage to our national security! He and Chutkan then railroaded her, putting her away for 18 months in a windowless closet the size of a shower stall, where three times/day a guard slid a bowl of mush to her through the mail slot in her closet’s door.
How’s that for #MeToo?[xiii]
Again, too funny.
Oh, wait. Maybe it is not funny at all. Maybe it is horrible. You have likely read news stories over the years along the lines of, An American college kid got picked up in North Korea doing something frat-boy (e.g., stealing a poster of Great Leader) and 3 years later what was left of him was sent back to the USA howling from a burlap sack. The Deep State did something pretty close to that to Maria, or so it thought: again, all the rape-murder stuff was fabrication (but my chain-of-command didn’t know that), yet the 18 months of solitary-and-mush was real.
Nous devons rire de l’homme pour éviter de pleurer pour lui, said Napoleon (“We must laugh at man to avoid having to cry for him”). I make light of it because it is so horrible. And yes, I let it happen. I am not going to defend myself. In fact a Machiavellian interpretation of it all is that I caused it to happen: when Maria introduced herself to me, I already had reasons to be suspicious of aspects of our national security establishment (for reasons in which this website abounds, as well as for reasons which do not appear here). I presented Maria as bait to the Deep State, and the Deep State took the bait. I did think I was going to be able to protect Maria better than I did, in the end, but that is a poor excuse.
That said, was all organized and executed in a mission (I was repeatedly reminded) supervised directly by Directors John Brennan and James Comey. I was told that the mission was undertaken at the personal request of President Obama, but I would be shocked if he were apprised of operational details like that. Again, I cannot really say who was behind it. I do know someone was behind the agents: the antipathy and disgust the MIB felt towards it was clear. Someone was giving these agents their orders. But given how much I was manipulated myself, I have no idea what, of all they told me, I can believe and what I cannot.[xiv]
Count me in as one interested reader of John Durham’s Historical Analysis of What Happened in 2015-2016 if he ever finishes writing it. I cannot wait to find out who was in that chain of command. I was told it was Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe, James Comey, and John Brennan. One of those men signed off on an aggravated-rape-and-possible-homicide… so that they would have one actual live Russian (and a striking redheaded brainiac shooter at that) to trot before the public when they decided to launch their Russia Collusion Delusion.
In July, 2020, I had an interaction with Uncle Sam where I got to ask a question. My only question was, “Did the rape-murder gambit play?” The response: “It played better than you expected. The agents picked up on the clues and put them together not in the hour after you left the meeting, but in 60 seconds. They freaked out, went back to the office, and recommended the operation be shut down. Said that you had gone crazy. Then after you offered to murder Maria, they demanded the mission be scrubbed.”
“But it wasn’t shut down. It went on for five more months,” I responded.
Uncle Sam replied, “They were ordered to continue. Someone – else – took – all – responsibility,” he said slowly as he looked up at the ceiling and made signing motions with one hand.
That is to say, Peter Strzock, Andrew McCabe, or James Comey (or perhaps John Brennan) signed-off on turning a blind eye to aggravated rape and a potential homicide in the interest of keeping alive a Russiagate setup on the Republican Party that I know they were working on in September 2015, am pretty sure they were working on in July 2015, and suspect they were orchestrating from March 2015 (which is to say, before Donald Trump ever came down an escalator).
That is to say: Russiagate is not about Trump It was setup on the Republican Party that was crafted in 2015. Trump came along, won the nomination and then the White House, but along the way crashed into a pre-packaged scandal that was in the works long before he was President or even nominee, and quite possibly, before he even declared.
The Russiagate scandal is not only not about Trump, it’s not even mostly about Russia. It is primarily a manifestation of corruption at the highest reaches of our own federal government: they set up a bribery-blackmail soft-coup on Hillary as they engineered a Russagate scandal such that any day they wanted to they could grab that Can-O-Scandal, shake it up, crack it open, and spray it all over the Republican Party. I say this as the guy they had bribing Hillary and shagging Maria, so I think I know wherefrom I speak.
Russia has indeed been conducting hybrid warfare against us, enough to get us all chasing our own tails. That is what Putin cares about and we have fallen for it. It did not take much: $100,000 of Facebook ads and some DNC emails (that showed – as everyone seems to forget – that the DNC cheated Bernie out of the nomination on behalf of Hillary).
How did so little go so far? Grifters have a saying, “You can’t con an honest man.” It is the very pathology of our own discourse, the lack of intellectual honesty and rigor, the sheer argumentative partisanship, that has been the accelerant of the fire that Putin started in our home.
Whoever actually signed off on turning a blind eye to the rape-murder, it all happened as part of a scheme initiated and overseen by FBI Director James “Cardinal” Comey and CIA Director John Brennan. While the mission was allegedly done at the personal request of President Obama, again, I would be shocked if he were informed or would have tolerated the rape-murder stuff.
Note that that all these matters were closely examined by such luminaries as the Inspector General of the Department of Justice Michael Horowitz and the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community Michael Atkinson. Yet somehow it was missed. As a fallback to them, the entire matter was studied for 2.5 years by the Office of the Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller (who personally knows all about my cooperation with the Bureau during my 2006-2008 fight with Wall Street while he was FBI Director). Mueller’s 2017-2019 investigation into Russian penetration of the US political process found precisely one actual Russian, Maria Butina, over whose file my name is splattered because I conducted a three-year on-again-off-again affair with her under the blessing of and then at the direction of federal authorities. Yet somehow, all that was missed. Just as it was missed in a lengthy federal proceeding by such goons as United States Attorney Erik Kenerson and United States District Judge Tanya Chutkan, whose courtroom fact-finding seems to have missed …. pretty much everything. The internal procedures of the FBI, Department of Justice, and Intelligence Community failed to prevent or uncover any of this, the Inspectors General of these organizations studied it and missed it all, then the Office of the Special Counsel looked into it all for 2.5 years… and somehow also missed it all.
I never even got a phone call.
Does that seem odd?
The astute reader will now see the truth in my claim: The Mueller Investigation was not a witch-hunt, as Republicans allege. It was worse. It was a cover-up.
The astute reader may also judge that two claims I made in essays from a year ago may make more sense now than they did when I wrote them. In October 2018 a federale offered what sounded a hell of a lot like a bribe (You need to understand that there are billionaires walking around the earth that we made, and we are prepared to do the same for you, you just need to stay calm, you just need to stay quiet… through the election). I declined. Six weeks later, in early December, 2018, a unit at the SEC that is managed by Peter Strzok’s wife, Melissa Hodgman, opened an investigation into me and my firm, Overstock.com.
Here’s another odd fact about Melissa Hodgman: she was promoted to her position hours after the SEC opened its corner of the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails, so that she (Peter Strzok’s wife) could be in charge of the SEC’s “investigation” of Hillary.
If only there were a pattern.…
The astute reader may wish to revisit the circumstances surrounding my departure from Overstock. In March, 2019, while on the trip to Singapore described in this essay, I learned that the SEC investigation launched in December 2018 against Overstock.com and me had been started by a unit within the SEC Enforcement Division managed by Melissa Hogman, and that she is the wife of Peter Strzok. It was at the point that I began resigning myself to the likelihood that one way or another, I could not remain the CEO of a public company while fulfilling my duties as a citizen (which I was still trying to work through).
When I returned to America I began the process of coming forward publicly. As is disclosed elsewhere on this site, in July of 2018 and then again in November, 2018 I had made contact with a Congressman who had oversight responsibilities and walked him through this (sounding, no doubt, like a nut) so he would know where to dig if I got iced. But it was March, 2019, when I learned that Peter Strzok’s wife Melissa Hodgman ran the part of the SEC that had launched an investigation my firm, that I began coming forward full-on. I had learned my lesson fighting Wall Street, and did not want to go walking into a hail of bullets alone, again. William Barr had been sworn in on Valentine’s Day, 2019. I learned the Congressman was going to visit him, and I sent word to give me his read: Was the new AG willing to go to war against the Deep State? A week later I went to see the Congressman: he told me that Barr wanted to go to war against the Deep State. The guy had been Attorney General at 40, went on to an illustrious law career, had been slipping towards retirement, but postponed it for one reason: to burn down the Deep State and restore the Constitution.
Because it was the second-best quip of my life, I’ll recount what happened next. The Congressman got another politician involved, a Senator, and had me run through the story in 15 minutes for him as we all sat in the Congressman’s office. When I was finished explaining what was in essence a penetration operation against the US Government, authorized by the Senate Judiciary Committee, and tasked to me, the Senator looked absolutely stricken, and said, “Patrick, the Senate does not have the authority to do anything like that. Did they cite any law….?”
“Senator, I don’t do law, I do philosophy: Federalist 47,” I quipped.
While I never did meet General Barr, arrangements were made for me to debrief within the DOJ at a senior level last April 5. Those seniors made arrangements for me to debrief to the senior level of the FBI’s equivalent of “Internal Affairs” on April 30. Five minutes into that FBI debrief the senior agent said, “I’m going to let you skim through this now, but you should understand we are going to be sitting together for weeks going through this in great detail.” I agreed. When that three hour debrief was over, they told me to prepare to meet the next week. Then a message came that something else something else and it would be a little more time before something else something else…. We had three rounds of that, then I never heard from them again.
On June 22, 2019 I went out to see my rabbi. He had never known of these other activities, but I explained in about 20 minutes (by then I was getting good at it). He told me to come forward, insisting I do it quickly, but that I might consider forming a panel of journalists from across the spectrum.
By June 27 I had chosen four journalists, and given them movie trailer of it over the phone. I asked that we all meet before July 4, but I think it came together July 6-7. I walked them through what I have recounted here.
One of those four, Sara Carter, broke the ice by writing a story about it on July 26. Matt Taibbi followed with a piece weeks later). The other two (whom I had given numerous stories in the past) said We’ll wait until there is some official corroboration and We’ll hang back and watch how others report on it and make that part of the story but have never been heard from again (I wonder if the villains had different names whether they would have been so circumspect).
I still hoped I might be able to squeak though, but it did not work out that way. As I have alluded to elsewhere, while the figure-outer executives (generally not from Utah) who built the company implored me to stay, the staff (generally from Utah) who spent their energies scheming rather than helping figure-outers build the firm went to work. The scheming executives were 100% from Utah and they did what they do (as one figure-outer put it to me a couple years ago, “While the rest of us are here trying to build products and businesses, they just build alliances”). They and Chair Allison Abraham played the D&O insurance ruse described elsewhere on an expectation of which Marc Cohodes had convinced them, that the week I was forced out (or in this case, tricked with the D&O ruse) the stock would pop to $100. It did not: in fact, by seven months later it had dropped from $20 to $2.
However, I had always said that, “when the cookie crumbles it will crumble from the outside in,” and that we were building the perfect lean-agile-networked supply chain for that day. I am glad that when the cookie crumbled this Spring the machinery performed as promised: however, because Jonathan made it his goal to drive off all but one or two of the great non-LDS figure-outer-executives, then the great LDS figure-outer-executive who was not from Utah, and then the great LDS figure-outer-executive who was from Utah but who was not particularly devout, the firm has lost all but one or two of the executives that I saw as its figure-outers. So I worry about a day when they need to figure anything out. Perhaps such a day will never come to our post-Covid world. Inshallah. Or maybe they evolve, Inshallah.
They have indeed rock-and-rolled their way through Covid like champions.
And I do not mean to suggest that anyone was wrong to want me gone. I was sleepless myself, wondering if my fiduciary duty was to get as far from the firm as possible. The fact that we were not only once again on the Reg SHO list, but the SEC had even suspended enforcement of the speed-brakes provided by that flimsy regulation, also weighed on my decision. As I wrote in an earlier essay, after my departure was announced internally and hours before I was walking out the door, I found out that a ring of the Utah folks (the folks who spent their time talking to Marc Cohodes rather than figuring anything out) were lying to me about the D&O insurance matters. The same folks and kind of folks who fought having Social Media 2005-2009. And Mobile Commerce 2003-2007. And MarTech from 2011 -2014. And, at times, Blockchain. And, at other times, Retail. Because providing opposition was something they could do besides sitting quietly listening to people figuring everything out and building businesses. I could have used the knowledge of their perfidy to reverse things, or even shit-can them both, but that was the moment I realized, “This has gone since the day I came to Utah, I am out of this toxic relationship.” It’s the 2nd most beautiful thing that can happen in a relationship, when the two parties get sick of each other at the same time.
Given everything else going on, perhaps it was best for all concerned. In the meantime, I took my capital and started a new company. Different industry. The Overstock board had turned it down so I did it on my own.
Over in Indonesia, between waves, dives, and orangutans, I occasionally got enough connectivity to check in on all the Wall Street hoo-hah about my ejecting from the firm I built over 20 years and selling my stock as I did so (after the Top 10 institutional owners pleaded with the Board of Directors to get rid of me, and the Board informed me they were “concerned about the optics of any association with me” and wished to sever all ties). It always made me chuckle, for it was about as accurate as most Wall Street thinking. Why did Byrne do it? Did he go nuts? Did Byrne really leave because he thought the token dividend would not go through? Or did he leave because he thought that the margins in home goods were getting too tight? Or that Club O’s prospects had plateaued…? No, Byrne left because he had been tricked into a soft-coup conducted by Obama and Comey (and Brennan?) against Hillary, and when he realized it Byrne completed his 2006 meta-tasking by setting up the Directors of the FBI and CIA in a sting involving an aggravated-rape-and-murder to which they (or someone in his chain-of-command) signed off. Then the DeepState offered Byrne a billion-dollar bribe and when he told them to fuck off Peter Strzok’s wife opened an SEC investigation of the firm and threatened criminal referrals (not knowing that somewhere in DC there is a Golden Letter from 2006 that says Byrne is to investigate and expose the Deep State and not be prosecuted). That’s why Byrne thought it might be in shareholders’ interests to complete the Retail U-turn (waiting for Retail to be back to EBITDA-positive Q2 2019) then punch out of Overstock (so there was no point in destroying it to get at Byrne) and go public (as I did on Fox News and CNN that evening) about just enough of this (one aspect of the Maria story) to warn the public It’s all a lie, it’s all political espionage while keeping the bribery-blackmail sting and aggravated-rape-and-murder sting quiet (so that the legitimate feds could finish their investigation).
Oddly enough, none of those Wall Street geniuses guessed that particular constellation of facts. Or that maybe they don’t know what they don’t know. Which might tell you something about their Wall Street work more generally.
What happens now?
The first thing that happens is that John Durham is going to finish investigating everything you just read. I think he has a lot of other threads, but I bet this soft-coup one is one of the more important. I wish again to caution the reader against (at this point) believing President and Michelle Obama were part of any of this: this feels more like a CIA Director than a community organizer to me. And since this is such a hall of mirrors, it is entirely possible that some entirely different group within the government rigged the whole thing up.
A “Deep State,” if you will.
So let us see what Mr. Durham has found. For what you have just read, Dear Reader, is a written version of the story I told the Justice Department last April. This is what they are investigating. Among other wicked allegations, I am sure. But I promise you, it’s true.
A second thing that will happen is that people will want to interview me, if only to challenge this tale. As one of the few people in America who know what really went on in 2015-2016, first-hand, I have been distressed at the state of our public discourse. It is so degraded, it so shreds the norms of reasoned discourse, that there is no wonder the truth could stay hidden so long. I am really loathe to engage with it. Psychologists can deal with a lot of pathologies, but the one that they most hate dealing with, I have been told, is narcissism, because the only good way to deal with a narcist is to disengage. I fear that I have come to feel that way about publications and channels that I once respected even just 10-15 years ago. I have truly little interest in giving any interview to anyone who cannot respect the norms of civilized discourse. Yet my Rabbi tells me that when I come forward I have a duty to speak to a variety of journalists across the spectrum.
I hereby offer to do a CNN interview with Chris Cuomo and Anderson Cooper, individually or together. I would prefer together. Why? Because I think it would lead to a more civilized discussion. Chris interviewed me in a civilized fashion once in the early years of Overstock, than had me on last year (Chris, you have my number). Anderson and I had a mutual friend in Fouad Ajama [RIP] (Anderson, if you want me on your show, get in touch with me through Fouad’s widow).
I hereby also offer to do an interview with Rachel Maddow of MSNBC. Ms. Maddow, you and I have a mutual friend in Debra, a Stanford professor whom we both admire. If you want to grill me on your show, contact me through Debra.
A third thing that happens now is that a lot of federals are going to be angry with me. I understand that within the FBI and OGA (Other Government Agencies) my name comes up from time to time, and that folks are split 50/50: half support me, half think I am Snowden but dumb enough to stay in the country. My old chain-of-command (whoever they really were) will feel even more deeply betrayed by… the guy they tricked into doing the dirty work of a soft-coup for them. Federal Judge Chutkan (in whose courtroom Maria was railroaded) and Federal Prosecutor Kenerson, along with Special Counsel Mueller and the Inspectors General, and thousands of Deep State goons of that ilk, will also be angry with me for setting the Deep State up for an aggravated-rape-and-murder charge. The network of goons sprinkled by both parties across the federal bureaucracy (but especially in DOJ’s nooks and crannies in DC and in other cities as well) may come after me. So be it.
They might remember that somewhere in a safe in Washington, DC there is a Golden Letter from 2006, which has been located and had its existence confirmed to two journalists. It says that I am going to take on the systemic corruption subverting the federal institutions of the US Government (or something like that), and asks of the future that I be shown “extraordinary latitude under the laws of the United States of America” when I do it. Which, if I am not mistaken, describes where I found myself in 2015-2016 (realizing the MIB and I had been used in a soft-coup by our chain-of-command), what I decided to do about it (somehow blowing-up that chain-of-command when the opportunity arose), why I seized the Maria Butina opportunity when I crossed with it again (by leading them to infer that I had committed horrific crimes against Maria), and what I am doing now (by going public).
This is the end of the DeepCapure Project. If this does not do the trick, nothing will. From 2006 forward, from my conflagration with Wall Street to the bribing of Hillary and creation of an aggravated rape-murder sting on Brennan and Comey, this 14 year, $40 million project involved essays and actions that were undertaken to support a mission with which, as far as I was concerned, I had been charged by the American people, via their agents the Senate that they had elected in 2006, via its agent the Senate Judiciary Committee (which holds final authority to investigate corruption in the USA), via its Chairman Arlen Specter. My assignment was to take on corruption “across the institutions of the federal government” that had been subverted by a network of goons across the executive levels of regulators such as the SEC, law enforcement, intelligence: in the end, even the Inspectors General and courts and Special Counsels and all the mechanisms that are supposed to locate and curtail corruption have themselves been compromised, as I believe has been demonstrated.
Likely the Deep State goons are going to come after me for the rest of my life. Or maybe they are more worried about paying their own Barr Bill these days. Time will tell.
To the shade of Chairman Arlen Specter and to those other Senate Institutionalists (living or dead) who summoned me alone to a room in Washington, DC one Indian summer day in 2006, and to the 325 million people who elected them, I have a final comment:
You told me to find you the Deep State, I found you the Deep State.
Typo-corrections and tiny edits made through October 25, 2020
[i] To the extent that I was smelling skullduggery, this is what I suspected might be happening (and I would have put the possibility at about 1 in 10): “Is President Obama doing this simply to take out Clinton, to get her replaced as his successor by a candidate whom he prefers? A Bernie – Progressive?” As I said, I did not rate that possibility highly, but it did occur to me that mischief was afoot. I was right and wrong. As the reader will discover, there was skullduggery at play, but it was a completely different skullduggery that I imagined.
[ii] I wish to caution the reader at length against believing any of that actually happened: that is, I can promise that what I am writing is the truth, I was in fact told this, but this is such a house of mirrors I don’t know if any of what they told me was true. Maybe they were manipulating me. I have no idea if Hillary really took the first bribe that was described to me: maybe they told me that story to manipulate me into facilitating the second bribe. And as I wrote above, I do not know if the second bribe actually happened. I don’t know if there is any such plan as these agents described (though there were in fact four federal people, of three different varieties, involved with me, and this is a fair account of their belief).
I happen to like Barack Obama and I thought Michelle was a supremely classy First Lady. Suspecting it might be of interest one day, I laid out my thoughts on President Obama a year ago: “Reflections on Barack H. Obama”. I did not vote for him, as I have never voted for a Democrat or a Republican for President (standing in a voting booth in 1988 I invented a lifetime-voting-booth-algorithm to minimize the time I’d need to spend listening to all politicians: I vote first for every Libertarian [because violence is fundamentally immoral and the State is organized violence], then every woman, then I look at the job and if it has to do with social welfare I vote Democrat, if it has to do with money or crime I vote Republican). I even have some reason to suspect that if Barack Obama actually is involved in this, he is not driving: Brennan is driving (at least domestically) and has kompromat on Obama (of a form a decade ago I was told may exist).
In essence, what I am saying is, “Don’t believe me until you read what Durham reports when he investigated this!” Because he has been investigating this, I promise.
[iii] Offline, not in that meeting, someone involved explained to me that in WW II the US had worried about Nazi sympathizers within the government, and some American businessman from Wall Street who had opportunity to interact with the USG was asked to interact and find them. Which he did by becoming one, of course. Memories and Washington being what they are, so that some future administration would not hang him as a traitor, he was given such a letter. I do not know what the truth is, but that’s what I was told.
[iv] She probably saved my life on a few occasions when I was in-and-out of hospitals (I have spent over 800 nights in hospitals at this point, and this spring I had surgery #113), feeling pounded by life, unable to continue, until she reminded me of this. “Who gets to do this stuff?” She’d ask. “Who gets to take on Wall Street bandits, who gets to take on Organized Crime, who gets asked to go after corruption in his own government?” So I would rally.
[v] If you want a precise sense of how smart Maria is, download an app called “Lumosity”. Designed by cognitive scientists, one uses this app daily to exercise several cognition-muscles. Each day it tells you how you scored against the other million eggheads who use it. Maria saw that I was using it each morning for 10 minutes to get my brain working. She began using it, and soon our daily love-notes were nothing more than our respective morning Lumosity scores. Once she had gotten used to it Maria began hitting 99% every day, then 99.1%, 99.2%, 99.3%…. Download the paid version (the free version is subtly more easy) and see how you do versus Maria Butina.
[vi] My understanding is that this meeting with Don, Jr. never happened, but that Maria did meet Don Jr. in passing at a small banquet.
[vii] I wanted to structure things so as to avoid incriminating the three federal agents. My experience was that these MIBs are great Americans, so I wanted to keep them exculpated while I created a bank-shot-sting against the officials overseeing them. Who, in this case, were allegedly John Brennan and James Comey. I thought it was unlikely that the gambit would ensnare Obama, and frankly, I hoped it would not (setting aside my dismay that I was used in a soft-coup, who among us does not feel admiration for Barack Obama, for what he stands for in our country’s history?) Yet in the end I figured that would take care of itself. Word of what I had said would move up the ladder either until it reached someone non-corrupt (who would pull the plug on the operation), or to the highest corrupt official who would sign off on it. So I had tricked these agents: I had presented the information in a way that was too fragmented for them to respond to in that meeting. But I was sure they would put it together immediately afterwards: what I wanted to know was, how high would it go before someone killed it or signed off on it?
[viii] I have a woke (yet otherwise lovely) niece who tells me that one cannot just slide over things like this without also using the opportunity to explain and educate. So for all readers new to the liberal tradition: our atomic concept is “consent”. If two rational agents consent to something that harms no one else they can do it (“unless,” as Oscar Wilde put it, “they do it in the street and it scares the horses”). Consent is agreement between or among rational agents. Apparently young men even at good universities still do not understand (or else still think it is somehow cool, tricky-trick-trick-tricky), that one cannot get a young woman drunk, strip her and email photos to friends showing her in a stupor, have sex, then later say it was “consensual.” Similarly the recent move to normalize sexuality of children, mutatis mutandis. Newsflash from a true liberal: children and drunk women are not “rational agents.” Saying that one of them gave consent is like saying, “My cat gave its consent.” If it’s not a rational agent, it cannot “consent.” All it can do is, “Go along with”.
[ix] If such an instruction had come, my plan was to say I would fly Maria to LA for “a surfing lesson from which she’ll never come back,” make dinner reservations at San Diego’s Coronado Hotel, romance her there over wine, pop over to Tijuana, fly her to Mexico City, then home to Moscow: I instructed her always to travel with her passport when she met with me. As a back-up plan (and in case DC instructed me to stick to my offer to murder her in Utah), I visited a small airport near Salt Lake City and identified a slew of aircraft that I would be able to steal on a moment’s notice (planes are much easier to steal than cars), all with the range to fly Maria on a no-flight-plan dash from Salt Lake City to Nogales, Mexico (≈650 nautical miles).
However, the truth is that I thought the chances that I would receive such an order were extremely remote: there was no purpose to it, and these agents would not have delivered it in any case. The point of my saying that was for me to have made the offer. I wanted to see how Comey and Brennan would react.
[x] This idea of investigating upwards often brought to mind the trilogy The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a classic of “Comedy Science Fiction” (an arcane genre if there ever was one). As I recall, it is in the fourth and final book of the trilogy (So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish) that we learn two important things. One is that some species on Earth have actually been extraterrestrials, visiting to study the planet before it gets demolished for an Interstellar Hyperspace Bypass (on the last day the dolphins evacuate in their own spaceships, their last message being: “So long, and thanks for all the fish!”) We also discover who the smartest extraterrestrials in the universe are: white mice. They have been in our laboratories, exhibiting certain behaviors then studying what we humans inferred from the behavior, then exhibiting other behavior and studying what the humans inferred, and in this way mapping human cognition. They were the scientists mapping us.
While I had my fight with Wall Street 2005-2008 I often thought of that story. Why did I take it all those years, going to hedge funds and bankers’ conferences and sitting with journalists, just to get kicked around? Because I was studying them, and helping Men In Black figure out who was in on what and how they were doing things. Expert Networks, FTD’s, learning about Costa Rica and the Caribean…. It all came from kicking around and getting kicked around in financial circles (which is why it was so rewarding when the FBI put about 200 of them in handcuffs a decade ago). Similarly, once the Hillary bribe-sting played out as it did, I went into the mode of exhibiting behaviors and seeing how the chain of command beyond the Men In Black reacted, trying to map their human corruption.
[xi] I should explain my thinking. A memory that frequently crossed my mind during those days came from a day in 1983 when I sat on a riverbank in Guilin, China, watching a fisherman floating on a narrow raft fishing with a bird called a “鸬鹚” (luci). The bird had a string-collar tied around its neck, and would dive under the water, surface a minute later downstream with a fish in its beak, and swim back to the raft to deposit it. The fisherman would occasionally remove the bird’s string-collar and let it eat one of the fish it had caught.
Similarly, when in 2006 those senators requested that I take on the systematic corruption infiltrating the federal institutions of the United States Government (the letter literally has language like that), I thought of that old line about the bank robber Willy Sutton. Someone asked him, “Why do you rob banks, Willy?” Willy Sutton replied, “Because that’s where the money is.” Similarly, if someone asks you to take on the corruption of our federal government, where are you going to go? So I dove in, figuring I would surface years downstream with a whopper of a fish in my beak.
Years later, in 2016, that is in fact what I had: two Directors and possibly a President committing a soft-coup on the 97% likely new President, Hillary Clinton. And, when I tested my chain of command, whoever they really were, they were more-or-less willing to turn a blind eye to something I had tricked them into believing: aggravated-rape-and-possible-homicide on Maria Butina. I figured the Maria Butina matter established their corruption, and the Hillary matter established corruption and an attempt to hijack the federal government, so I naturally felt that I had located the “corruption taking over our federal government” that I had been asked to stop.
But knowing what to do with that fact was not as obvious as it might seem in retrospect, because everyone on the scene was corrupt. The Directors were corrupt, their IG’s were corrupt, and the senior brass of the FBI was corrupt. It is not like I was going to go to Loretta Lynch with the news. I thought of going to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but at the time it had two members, one senior Republican and one senior Democrat, with whom I have jousted in years past (search DeepCapture for Shelby and Schumer). While I have heard that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham was smart, I had (and still have) never met him, and I was not sure he would have the spine to cash a check his predecessor wrote 14 years ago. If it were 20 years ago I would have thought, “I know, I’ll just go to the press!” Even a cursory acquaintance with DeepCapture and review of my 2005-2008 fight will show the reader why that thought just made me chuckle at myself (like the memory of being 18 and walking into a two-by-four makes me chuckle at myself now).
So I was left believing that my best bet was to hang back and wait until we returned to having rule of law with a proper Department of Justice, and until then, observe.
I tried not to think too hard about what would happen if Hillary won, but I had a vague idea that if she did I would go to the Clintons (I figured it would be easy to use money to get to Bubba and thence to Hillary) then give her a proposition: I know you are being blackmailed by Obama for those two bribes. I know because behind the scenes I facilitated that second bribe, and they told me about the first to get me to do that. In the process, I discovered that Obama was actually just developing blackmail material on you, and so I took the initiative of developing aggravated rape-and-possible-homicide charges with which you can tag Comey and Brennan, and get out from under the blackmail. Doing that seemed like a second-best outcome, but still preferable to one where anyone, retired president or Directors of FBI and CIA or any other Deep State, managed Hillary through kompromat.
But as I said, that was all a distant second to the possibility that someday we might start being the United States of America again.
[xii] I have been asked, Why did you let this all happen? Didn’t you have any feelings for Maria? The answer is that I had plenty-o-feelings for Maria. She is a remarkable woman, not only a Lumosity 99%+ but Greater Moscow Amateur Powerlifting Champion (Deadlift + Clean & Jerk), straight A+ through school & university, Master’s degree, American University, beautiful, stylish, knows literature and science as well as reads Hayek and Friedman… She’s a rarity indeed. I also had an assignment tasked to me by the 2006 Senate Judiciary Committee on behalf of 325 million Americans, to “investigate and expose the systemic corruption taking over our federal institutions,” and Maria Butina represented the perfect instrument by which to accomplish that. I knew they were going to reveal themselves. I thought I would be able to shield her from harm, but she ended up being collateral damage to my enquiry.
It is the case that when Maria was arrested, I secretly (and perhaps illegally) got private word slipped to her lawyer that the more he made the case about me the more it would go away. It turns out that he tried to do so, but the federal prosecutors lied to him and to the court by denying me. In any case, in the interest of protecting me, Maria overruled her lawyer and insisted that he keep me out of things. Rather than risk harming me, she sat for 18 months in a windowless closet eating mush. Again, that says something about the woman.
Maria and I will never meet again. The courtroom-goons who railroaded her also sent her back to Moscow fixed up with a special warrant such that for the rest of her life, if she ever sets foot outside of Russia into any of the 194 member-countries of Interpol she will be arrested. If I ever set foot in Russia they will bury me under the Lubyanka. I have apologized to Maria Butina from the bottom of my heart, and to the Russian people for how their daughter was treated while sojourning in America as an idealistic grad student trying to build bridges of peace with total openness about her connections in Moscow and her intentions in Washington, no different in intention than dozens of idealistic American foreign exchange students I have come across in remote corners of the world for 40 years. Maria has accepted my apology (which again tells you about the stuff of which the woman is made). But given what happened to her here, maybe America will do something nice for her someday.
A gentleman normally does not say, but in the interests of full disclosure (Maria is writing a book about all this, and knowing her she will be perfectly and precisely honest): after six months of this faux-romantic folderol, in March 2017 there came a point where Maria and I knew we were saying goodbye again. We spent a last evening together, she liked me, I liked her, and when Greater Moscow Amateur Powerlifting Champion Maria Butina takes you down she takes you down. Somewhere in that moment of, “Well she wants me this to happen and the Directors of FBI & CIA and President want me to do this, but the Directors of FBI & CIA and the President want me to do this which means I really should do just the opposite and set them up, but on the other hand I just adore her and think she’s so high-octane….” that was just a lot to think about and in the heat of the moment I lost track of whether the right thing to do was to follow or foil my orders. The spirit is strong but the flesh is weak, as they say.
[xiii] The peculiarities of Maria’s prosecution and incarceration have been closely studied by noted author James Bamford, who is writing a book about it. Bamford is one of the nation’s leading writers on intelligence: formerly from that community himself, he later shifted to work on the Church Committee, then wrote half-a-dozen books on the Intelligence Community, including two classic works on the NSA, The Puzzle Palace and The Shadow Factory. Bamford, an honest man of the Left (yes, they exist) has made clear to me he thinks that the prosecution and imprisonment of Maria Butina was a remarkable judicial travesty, a hoax perpetrated for political reasons. He is writing what he believes will be his masterpiece, a scorcher of a book, on this subject. I think it will be published in November. Warning: He has every right to portray me as a ruthless demon regarding Maria, and probably should.
[xiv] As I wrote, in fairness I maintain a presumption against believing that President Obama knew about this. I believed (and still believe) that it would have been more likely that in order to provide the President with “plausible deniability,” Comey and Brennan would not have informed him of such matters (and I assume he would have stopped them if they had).
That said, the beauty of the aggravated-rape-and-murder gambit (if I say so myself) was that it either would be signed off on by the highest corrupt official involved (and in the process generate a CAT-Scan of corruption within the chain of command beyond the Men In Black), or it would rise to a non-corrupt official who would stop it.
Please remember, the Men In Black were good men clearly being used by their chain-of-command just as I was, which is why I had to bank-shot my aggravated-rape sting past them by scattering the details into different pieces, and why, when they heard me mention murder, instinctively responded correctly: We don’t care what orders come down from DC, if you harm a hair on Maria’s head we’re gonna kill you ourselves. God Bless America. That’s why we’ll get through this.