On Nov 7th, the eve of the election, I published at Heat Street a detailed story on a FISA warrant* granted against two Russian banks.
This story was a world exclusive. It was also given to me just before the election and published when it could make no real difference to the outcome.
What it could do, however, was warn bad actors involved with the two banks that they were now under investigation by the FBI. At the time of reporting, I did not even myself understand exactly what a FISA warrant meant, nor its extreme secrecy.
The FISA warrant was confirmed by Paul Wood of the BBC in a lengthy and detailed exclusive on Russia two months later.
As a journalist I will always protect my sources. If, however, a source wishes to broadcast publicly that they were a source, that is a freedom of speech, first amendment issue that is up to them.
Even under pressure, and after quarreling with Mr. Jamali, I have never revealed him as a source. Had he not decided to tweet that he was a source, I would remain under that obligation today.
I stood up my story with a second source whose identity is unknown to Mr. Jamali. The journalist Lloyd Grove at the Daily Beast, who wrote a hit piece on me attempting to debunk the FISA and Trump Russia stories, just before Director Comey admitted Trump was being investigated, said to me he needed to “put it to me” that the former CIA agent and hero Evan McMullin was a source, because that is what Naveed Jamali told him. Jamali has also repeatedly tweeted that my source was the 20 year veteran of the NSA John Schindler.
Both of those allegations are total lies. They are the more dishonorable, because Mr. Jamali knows perfectly well that he himself was a FISA warrant source.
Last week, Jamali misread one of my tweets, in which I denied that Evan McMullin was a source of mine. Mr. McMullin has never been a source of mine on any story whatsoever, for the avoidance of doubt. He is a patriot, who would no sooner leak classified intelligence than he would fly to the moon.
The FISA court operates in secrecy. After a Presidential election, there is a transition team with access to its information. Before the election, there are fewer people with access. Mr. Jamali is (I think) still a reservist in Naval intelligence. He was highly unlikely to have had access to the detailed information that I published on November 7th. He told me, for this story, who his own sources were. I have described whom Jamali alleged told him his information in a formal report to the FBI. (I believe that allegation to be sensitive and will not publish it. ) I could not, and would not, have been able to make this report, without his actual public admission on Twitter, which released me from my obligation of confidentiality towards him.
Previously, Jamali had tweeted that he began talking to me about the FISA court in the summer (false) but that he had passed on ‘rumor’. This would seem to be not legal for a serving reservist in intelligence, but Jamali tweeted that this is what he had done.
Mr. Grove, for his Daily Beast piece, said to me that Jamali had said he was my source but described it as ‘gossip and rumor’. At around that time, Jamali was admitting only to often talking to me about FISA in the summer, however, and was, in essence, denying he was the source for the story. It is a matter of public record, as I told Grove, that if Jamali was (as he earlier claimed) passing on ‘gossip and rumor’ about FISA in the summer, that I did not publish such ‘gossip and rumor’. The date on my story, which is detailed, accurate, and which has since been verified by the BBC, is November 7th – the eve of the election, and far away in time from ‘the summer’.
No matter what revolting disinformation was being pushed on McMullin and Schindler, nonetheless, I was not going to reveal a source who did not choose to be revealed, at any price. However, Mr. Jamali misread a tweet in which I denied Evan McMullin was my source. Jamali thought that, instead, I had denied that HE was my source, and did one of his patented emoticons as he insisted that I should give him his full props for being a ‘double agent’ and a FISA warrant source. Mr. Jamali has never been an agent of either America or of Russia, but when he insists that he was a source for my FISA warrant story, I am certainly happy enough to validate his public tweeting on that matter.
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* subsequent information has now come to light that there were two warrants, one per bank, granted on the same day. Paul Wood of the BBC reported exclusively that the date they were granted was October 15th.
More of our reporting:
- Milo Yiannopoulus Has An Account With a FISA-Targeted Russian Bank
- EXCLUSIVE: Marshal of the Supreme Court Warned Trump over ‘Muslim Ban’
- Mike Flynn Turns on Trump, Talks To FBI
- EXCLUSIVE: Judiciary Committee Considering Articles of Impeachment
- Comey’s FBI Computer Illegally Accessed: Data Given to Russian Diplomats