With the release of the Nunes memo and the subsequent release of the Senate Judiciary Committee memo from Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham, Fusion GPS is something of an open book.
Those who care to see know how this oppositional research firm worked with the Clinton campaign, the DNC and former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele to sabotage first the Trump campaign and then the Trump presidency.
What few know, however, is the role Fusion GPS played in saving Planned Parenthood from the damning undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) in the summer of 2015.
In fact, one does not have to be a conspiracy theorist to wonder whether the relationship between Fusion GPS and Planned Parenthood led to the surprise resignation of Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards in late January, a week before the release of the Nunes memo.
In the way of background, in late July 2015 Planned Parenthood was scrambling to survive a public relations nightmare. The CMP videos showed a process so ungrounded in common values that they rattled Planned Parenthood’s friends in high places.
In one of the more disturbing of the videos, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, the senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, talks about reselling body parts of unborn babies and brags about the techniques doctors use to preserve the parts for resale.
“We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not going to crush that part, I’m going to basically crush below, I’m going to crush above, and I’m going to see if I can get it all intact.”
In another long, unedited sequence, a clinician with a Valley Girl accent picks through a tray filled with the parts – a lung here, a brain there – of a “fetal cadaver” and calmly discusses the viability of these parts for resale in the fetal tissue market.
The Clinton campaign was nervous. On July 23, campaign chair John Podesta emailed Richards claiming to have convinced Hillary Clinton not to disown Planned Parenthood: “Yup. Took a little convincing,” he boasted before adding, “The tapes do hurt.”
A week later, however, Hillary, while campaigning in New Hampshire, was compelled to say of the CMP videos, “I have seen pictures from them and I obviously find them disturbing.”
Desperate to convince potential voters not to believe their own lying eyes, Richards hired the dirty tricksters at Fusion GPS to do a “forensic analysis” of the videos.
On Aug. 25, 2015, Fusion GPS released its report. The report proved to be as phony as the Steele dossier.
“A video forensics expert, a television producer, an independent transcription agency, and Fusion GPS staff reviewed this material,” reads the report.
The analysts admittedly found “no evidence that CMP inserted dialogue,” but they concluded that CMP “edited content out of the alleged ‘full footage’ videos, and heavily edited the short videos so as to misrepresent statements made by Planned Parenthood representatives.”
The forensic video analyst, Grant Fredericks, did little more than observe that there were breaks in the time code of the raw footage.
CMP hired its own forensics analysts, Coalfire Systems, to evaluate the footage and the Fusion GPS report. This analysis showed the video recordings to be “authentic,” revealing “no evidence of manipulation or editing.”
As to the time code interruptions in the full footage, these were easily proved to be the result of natural interruptions like “meals” or “restroom breaks.” (FYI, it is always a good practice to turn off your recording equipment in the potty.)
Coalfire’s much more sophisticated and detailed analysis counters every Fusion GPS claim and makes its report look as amateurish as the Steele dossier.
The media, however, had eyes only for Fusion GPS. Its report concluded, “The numerous errors, discrepancies, and omissions in the CMP transcripts render them useless as ‘evidence.'” That was enough cover for the Clinton campaign as well.
More troubling, as with the Steele dossier, Fusion GPS’s work with Planned Parenthood emboldened friendly prosecutors to pursue dubious criminal charges against the CMP undercover reporters.
After letting the media and friendly prosecutors do their work, Planned Parenthood felt confident enough to tweet, “Since faked criminal videos hit, politicians in 24 states have tried to cut patients’ access to Planned Parenthood.”
Through 2016, the media routinely referred to the devastating CMP videos as fake and/or criminal. In October 2016, CNN political contributor Maria Cardona casually referred to “the doctored videos of Planned Parenthood, which were completely false,” and no one on the CNN panel batted an eye.
Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue, which has done yeoman’s work to break this story, comes to an interesting conclusion.
“Planned Parenthood’s use of the phony Fusion GPS analysis to provide friendly media with the basis to attack the recordings was so successful,” Sullenger writes, “that a similar plan was used by Fusion GPS, the DNC, the Clinton Campaign, and the FBI/DOJ to promote the fake Russian dossier in attacks in the media and in the secret FISA courts against Donald Trump.”
Upon Richards’ surprise resignation two weeks ago, Operation Rescue President Troy Newman issued a statement saying in part, “Could it be that Planned Parenthood now sees [Richards] as a liability with all her connections to others under criminal investigation such as Hillary Clinton, the beleaguered Clinton Foundation and Fusion GPS?”
Yes, could be.