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“A RECURRING THEME”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Aug. 22, 2019) — In Part 2 of this series, The Post & Email began a step-by-step refutation of statements made by “investigative journalists” Alan Jones and Mary Fanning in recent interviews; at their website, The American Report; and on other websites at which their work has been published regarding what did and did not occur between former NSA and CIA contractor Dennis Montgomery and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) between late 2013 and 2015, as well as other claims.
One of those claims is that “The Hammer,” a mega-computer system which Montgomery likely worked on while a government contractor before 2011, is the technology used by Obama-era Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan, as well as Obama himself, to conduct unauthorized surveillance on Donald Trump.
Fanning and Jones have connected their claim to Trump’s March 4, 2017 tweet that his campaign was subject to a “wire tap,” allegedly at Obama’s request. Trump’s surprising statement first drew ridicule from the mainstream media but now appears to have merit based on emerging reports that the FBI and CIA carried out a covert surveillance operation into the Trump campaign with the assistance of overseas intelligence services. Further, the FBI appears to have concocted the “Russia collusion” narrative, which clouded the first 2+ years of Trump’s presidency, as evidenced by the unverified “dossier” provided to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to obtain surveillance warrants on former Trump informal adviser Carter Page.
The warrants were granted, although Page was never charged with a crime.
While “The Hammer” may have played a role in the FBI and Justice Department’s attempts to thwart Trump’s candidacy and later, his presidency, the technology, if still in use, is now significantly dated, and neither Montgomery, Fanning or Jones has supplied any evidence that the system was actually used during the presidential campaign.
Based on a radio interview in which Zullo first invoked “The Hammer” by name, The Post & Email published its first article on the subject on November 18, 2015.
In refuting Fanning and Jones’s provably erroneous assertions on a number of fronts, we quoted from a 2016 opinion by U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras from a case in which Montgomery had sued former New York Times writer and author James Risen for defamation. In that opinion, Contreras clarified that the “State Secrets Privilege” invoked in 2007 by the government on Montgomery did not restrain Montgomery from producing to the court the software which Risen claimed in his book, “Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War,” was ineffectual.
On the basis that the software might have been classified, a magistrate judge instructed Montgomery “to turn over to the FBI a comprehensive set of instructions as to how to pinpoint the software, and to produce the software to the Defendants by October 26, 2015.”
After a number of assertions from Montgomery claiming he turned over the software to the FBI just days before his court date and requesting the FBI locate software on the 47 hard drives, ultimately Montgomery had to disclose he never had the software and did not in fact ever turn it over to the FBI.
The following paragraph appearing on pages 22 and 23 states:
On October 21, Montgomery then filed an affidavit contending, for the first time, that “upon searching my memory, I do not believe that I have had access to any of the subject software, nor did I provide it to the [FBI] when I turned over the drives.” Montgomery Decl., ECF No. 158-1. Nevertheless, he claimed that he would provide additional information to the FBI that would enable the agency to locate the software, if it existed, on his drives. On October 23, in an e-mail to Mr. Klayman, FBI Assistant General Counsel Ted Schwartz informed Mr. Klayman that Montgomery had not provided the information the agency requested in its September 8, 2015 letter. See E-mail from Ted Schwartz, Assistant Gen. 22 Counsel, FBI, to Larry Klayman (Oct. 23, 2015, 3:44 PM), ECF No. 166-4. Mr. Schwartz also pointed out that Montgomery had now represented that he does not believe the software was located on the drives. Id. Therefore, Mr. Schwartz stated that “the FBI will not search the drives to locate software requested in the Risen litigation.” Id.
In the aforementioned 2006/2007 case of Montgomery v. eTreppid Technologies, LLC, then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte claimed the State Secrets Privilege and a “protective order” on Montgomery “to prevent disclosure of information that could harm the national security interests of the United States.”
According to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in United States v. Reynolds, 345 U.S. 1, (1953), “The [State Secrets] privilege belongs to the Government and must be asserted by it; it can neither be claimed nor waived by a private party. It is not to be lightly invoked. There must be a formal claim *8 of privilege, lodged by the head of the department which has control over the matter, after actual personal consideration by that officer,” part of which Contreras quoted in his opinion.
Publicly-available emails exchanged among Mike Zullo, a former detective and investigator commissioned by Sheriff Joe Arpaio to assist MCSO to investigate and supervise Montgomery’s claims and work as a confidential informant in early 2014; MCSO case agent Detective Brian Mackiewicz; Montgomery, and the attorney Zullo obtained for Montgomery, Larry Klayman, show that Montgomery did not produce to the MCSO the data he claimed to have showing unlawful government data-harvesting on a large scale over many years. Zullo confirmed to this publication that the emails were among those turned over to U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow under subpoena in May 2015.
The Post & Email maintains that Fanning and Jones’s reporting has served to discredit Zullo when, as an eyewitness to Montgomery’s work product and having testified in federal court on the matter, has proved himself to be a highly-reliable source of information. Fanning and Jones’s reportage, on the other hand, obscures the very existence of the relationship between Montgomery and Zullo as well as Zullo’s role in supervising the investigation, known as the “Seattle operation,” for over 16 months.
As previously reported, Fanning and Jones accused Zullo and this writer of “slander and libel” which this writer claims is defamatory. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “defamation” as: “the act of communicating false statements about a person that injure the reputation of that person : the act of defaming another : calumny.”
Additional related efforts currently being pursued to defame this writer will be revealed at an appropriate time.
Beginning last October, Montgomery communicated frequently and unsolicited with this writer, making various claims about his work for the government. He stated unequivocally that he wished to disassociate himself from Zullo, Arpaio and Klayman and requested “positive” news coverage. We declined his request for media coverage because we could find no evidence to support his claims as well as for other reasons.
The following is a continuation of our dissection of Fanning and Jones’s statements made to Westall on August 9.
Mary Fanning (13:50 in video): Dennis was taken by Larry Klayman, not Mike Zullo. His attorney, Larry Klayman, set up the meeting with Judge Lamberth…
Mike Zullo: “Larry Klayman, not Mike Zullo.” Here again, for some inexplicable reason, Mary Fanning does not want the public to understand that this was an official law enforcement criminal investigation being conducted by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office under the direction of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. She wants to separate me from the sheriff’s office.
The only way Montgomery got to a federal judge was that I went to the sheriff and explained to him, “We can’t take this investigation and just throw it in a box, because if there is something privileged here, federal statute says we have to alert the FBI or a federal judge. What I told the sheriff was, “Montgomery wants to go to a federal judge; I have a way to get him there.” I explained to the sheriff that I would have to enlist the help of Larry Klayman, but I advised the sheriff, “Here is the problem: once I do this, Larry Klayman will become his attorney, and we will lose control of Dennis Montgomery as a confidential informant.” It was a calculated risk — and I testified to this — but it was the best course of action given the unusual circumstances.
Det. Brian Mackiewicz and I met Larry Klayman with Dennis Montgomery at a restaurant, and Montgomery recited to Klayman his same story that he told investigators for two hours in that restaurant. After that, Klayman agreed to represent Montgomery for free at my request and to help us bring him to a federal judge. Larry Klayman, at that point, was assisting us in getting him to the judge. Had it not been for my connection to Klayman, he would not know Montgomery, and Montgomery would not have gotten a free attorney and ultimately a sit-down with a federal judge. As a matter of fact, Det. Mackiewicz and I physically carried Montgomery into the judge’s chambers because he was wheelchair-bound, and all were present in the judge’s chambers when Montgomery told his story. So it’s disingenuous for Mary Fanning to again try to paint me, Det. Mackiewicz and the Sheriff’s Office as non-participants or me, in particular, as someone of no merit or official capacity in this investigation.
Mary Fanning (14:00): In fact, they had to introduce Mike Zullo to Judge Lamberth, so he did not bring Dennis Montgomery…
Mike Zullo: “They had to introduce Mike Zullo” — That’s 100% true. Neither Brian Mackiewicz nor I knew Judge Lamberth; Larry Klayman did; that was why I went to him. Larry and I have known each other since 2012, and I knew he had the relationship that was needed to put this in motion. Det. Mackieiwicz, Klayman and I had a preliminary meeting with the judge prior to Montgomery being brought forward. Montgomery was not at that meeting. He was, however, well aware it was happening.
Mary Fanning: (14:05 ) …so he did not bring Dennis Montgomery, according to Dennis, to Judge Lamberth. He was there; he asked for protections, and Judge Lamberth did not accord those to Zullo…
Mike Zullo: This is chilling. ”I never asked for any protections.” She claims “Montgomery asked for protection.” I have no recollection at all, and I don’t believe it happened, that Montgomery was given any type of protection from Judge Lamberth. Mary Fanning says those protections were not given to Zullo. First, there were no protections given to anyone. Second, we were not the person bringing the information; Montgomery was. Third, in that room at that meeting were Mackiewicz, Montgomery, Montgomery’s son-in-law, Larry Klayman, Klayman’s paralegal, and me. If this was such a high-level meeting as Mary Fanning wants people to believe, the judge would have been remiss for not clearing his chambers and meeting with Montgomery alone if protections were needed. And this judge, being the former head of the FISA court, would have been well aware if that was required. This is Mary Fanning again painting an illustration that is far from reality. Why? Because she is taking the word of Dennis Montgomery without investigating the facts.
Mary Fanning (14:16): …accorded his personal protection to Dennis Montgomery. At that point, Dennis Montgomery handed over about a hundred-page document and a CD of information. Judge Lamberth immediately recognized the information, as it had come before him as the head of the FISA court. So he went and he checked on Dennis’s clearance…
Mike Zullo: I don’t recall, and I don’t believe Judge Lamberth took information and then got up to check on Dennis’s clearance. I can tell you that didn’t happen. This is an important distinction: court records will show that in 2006, the U.S. government suspended Dennis Montgomery’s security clearance. Montgomery likes to assert that they didn’t, but court transcripts and testimony say otherwise. So Dennis Montgomery, for all intents and purposes, had no security clearance since 2006.
Mary Fanning (14:35): He has a TSSCI with access to SAP. Now we all know understand what SAP is now because of Hillary Clinton’s illicit email server…
Mike Zullo: As a matter of fact, part of Montgomery’s security clearance was tied to his employment at eTreppid, and once he was no longer employed there, court records indicate that his security clearance stopped.
I take issue with this claim. I don’t believe Judge Lamberth got up to check on Dennis’s clearance.
In January 2006 Warren Trepp, Montgomery’s former business partner, reported to the Defense Security Service (DSS) violations regarding Montgomery’s security clearance (p. 73) for omitting past employment history. As a result Montgomery’s security clearance was suspended. There is no indication that his clearance was ever restored. Although Montgomery likes to say his clearance is still active, court documents say otherwise (p. 79).
Additionally, Special Agent Michael West would testify that he was notified that Montgomery’s clearance had in fact been suspended and was also conditioned on him being employed by eTreppid. In fact, DSS can suspend a clearance indefinitely without any formal hearing taking place to get a final determination.
Mary Fanning: (14:54): …SAP is above top-secret, and when you understand what SAP is – it – keep this in mind – SAP is where our nuclear warheads are located, so it is our top-secret information as well as all of our live intelligence…
Mike Zullo: Mary Fanning wants you to believe that Dennis Montgomery has access to all SAP information. She wants to paint a picture that he can walk into any secure facility and see any document he wants. That’s patently false.
Need-to-know is the protection of classified information. Just because you have the appropriate clearance and formal approval to access a SAP. You must have need- to-know reason that would require accessing that type of specific information. It is compartmentalized information.
Mary Fanning (15:21): …A lot of people didn’t even know that SAP existed before, and the generals that go in to look at SAP, or whoever has access — they go in a SCIF, “secure information facility”…
Mike Zullo: Mary Fanning would like you to believe that Dennis Montgomery’s security clearance is so high that he can ascertain the locations of nuclear weapons and even the launching codes, and that’s simply not true. The program that he was working under may have been SAPped; however, during the investigation I asked Montgomery if he had a document stating that and he said he did, but he has never produced it.
Mary Fanning (15:47): So Dennis Montgomery had access to SAP. What’s important about that is that initially, people who don’t really know what they’re talking about said, “Oh, Dennis is a fraud; it didn’t say anything about”…you know, you wouldn’t have John Negroponte, which is where putting him under the State Secrets Privilege — that’s important because had Mike Zullo told Bill Binney and Kirk Wiebe that Dennis was under the State Secrets Privilege, imposed, invoked by John Negroponte, they would have understood that this man had access to very top-level information.
[Editor’s Note: At the outset of his arrangement with the MCSO as a confidential informant, Montgomery provided six thumb drives with data he claimed showed governmental harvesting of the private data of more than 150,000 Maricopa County residents. In previous interviews, Zullo has said that the information was “verifiable” and that he did, in fact “verify it.” Its source, however, remains elusive to this day, Zullo said.
However, 47 hard drives Montgomery later gave to the MCSO which Zullo said Montgomery characterized as containing “top-secret” information were deemed to have nothing of value, according to former NSA program developers J. Kirk Wiebe, Thomas Drake and William Binney, who analyzed 47 hard drives Montgomery provided to the MCSO and found them to contain nothing of value, according to a November 14, 2014 report. Prepared for the MCSO and signed by Drake and Wiebe, the report declared Montgomery “a complete and total FRAUD,” a statement which Zullo said surprised him at the time.
As Zullo next references, “SAP” stands for “Special Access Program,” a designation which first emerged just after the U.S. entered World War II. The resource USLegal.com defines “SAP” as “a sensitive program, approved in writing by a head of agency with original top secret classification authority. The SAP imposes need-to-know and access controls beyond those normally provided for access to confidential, secret, or top secret information. Usually, criticality of the program and the assessed hostile intelligence threat are the decisive factors of level of control.”
In an earlier interview, Zullo reported that in a telephone conversation with Montgomery about his past governmental service, Montgomery said he was “SAPped,” a factor Zullo said was also shared with Wiebe, Binney and Drake, with whom Zullo and Mackiewicz met twice.]
Mike Zullo: Mary Fanning, again, doesn’t have her facts straight. First-off, Bill Binney and Kirk Wiebe, in my initial meeting with them along with Det. Mackiewicz, went through a litany of things as to why there might be credibility to Dennis Montgomery; the State Secrets Privilege being invoked in a civil trial was first and foremost. SAP was discussed when we briefed them on what he was telling us about The Hammer. Mary Fanning wants to paint a picture now trying to give an excuse as to something that might have changed Wiebe and Binney’s perception of information provided by Dennis Montgomery. But here is the truth: the document issued by Wiebe and Thomas Drake, even if he had classification higher than the President of the United States, would not have changed the analysis of the fictitious information he provided us on 47 hard drives. It also would not have changed the fact that Dennis Montgomery had never proven the origin of the information on the thumb drives. He has never proven that his program, Medusa, was responsible for even accessing it and retrieving it, and he’s never proven or provided the source code for Medusa, or any other alleged software used in the acquisition of that data. This is a recurring theme going back to countless litigation testimony where Dennis Montgomery never produces the source code that is the linchpin to all of his allegations, including giving information on 47 hard drives to the FBI in 2015.
This is just ludicrous. Fanning is conflicting issues purposely to make Montgomery appear credible. Montgomery had a Top-Secret Security Clearance, but so do almost all subcontractors working for the Government and/or CIA projects, He had it and lost his clearance per court documents.
It should also be noted that his clearance and purported SAP were issued in 2004; that was approximately some five years before The Hammer was constructed in 2009. Montgomery has never produced any evidence other than his assertion that The Hammer or his Medusa software was ever utilized on that system. That is not to say it was not, but this is the crux of his problem: he cannot provide the source code to prove the origin of the information he claims was taken by The Hammer. He certainly did not provide it to the FBI by his own admission. If you can’t give it to FBI when you are under immunity I think there is a good chance it never existed.
[Editor’s Note: According to Clark County, NV Criminal Court records, a plea agreement between Montgomery and the State of Nevada was under negotiation as of July 15, 2019, with the case continued to October 14.]
What appears to be a comprehensive timeline of litigation involving Montgomery from 1987 through March 27, 2017 is here.