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Steele dossier: the case study in politically motivated blackmail

FBI Mayberry Machiavellians went va bank and lost. Dossier was a part of a covert operation (Intelgate) to fuel anti-Russian hysteria to exonerate Hillary (and  deprive Sanders of a chance to represent Dems) and later get FISA warrant to spy on Trump team during elections and appoint the Special Prosecutor after the elections.  Professor Stephen Cohen thinks that Brennan played the key role: it was an alliance of CIA and FBI. Fusion GPS was the tools and Steele looks just a patsy who was fed the information by Sidney Blumenthal

Hat tip to The Last Refuge

News Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump by neocons and DemoRats Recommended Links FBI Mayberry Machiavellians Strzokgate Does Great Britain attempts to rig the US elections? Coordinated set of leaks as a color revolution tool Special Prosecutor Mueller and his fishing expedition FBI contractor Fusion GPS
Final report of Special procecutor Mueller is a failed hatchet job: disingenuous and dishonest Andrew McCabe -- the brain behind the color Revolution against Trump Brennan elections machinations Stephan Halper and attempts to entrap members of Trump team Joseph Misfud and MI6 connection to Russiagate Deripaska and Steele connection Carter Page Fake tale about Smolenkov as "Kremlin spy" who provided info for Steele dossier Attempts to entrap Trump
CIA hacking and false flag cyber operations American intelligence services putsch against Trump "Seventeen agencies" memo about Russian influence on elections Appointment of a Special Prosecutor gambit Wiretaps of Trump and his associates during Presidential elections DNC and Podesta emails leak: blaming Vladimir Putin Clapper role in putsch Do the US intelligence agencies  influence the US Presidential elections ? Is national security state in the USA gone rogue
Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak FBI and CIA contractor Crowdstrike and DNC leak saga Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Control of the MSM during color revolution is like air superiority in the war MSM as fake news industry NeoMcCartyism Infiltration of Trump campaign Rosenstein role in the appointment of special Prosecutor gambit
Anti Trump Hysteria Trump vs. Deep State   NGOs as braintrust of color revolutions The Real War on Reality Media as a weapon of mass deception Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Two Party System as polyarchy History of American False Flag Operations
Luke Harding: a pathetic author of rehash of Steele Dossier book Hillary Clinton email scandal US and British media are servants of security apparatus Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Media-Military-Industrial Complex New American Militarism Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Bernie Sanders betrayal of his supporters Elite Theory And the Revolt of the Elite
MSM as an attack dogs of color revolution The Deep State The Iron Law of Oligarchy National Security State Color revolutions Militarism and reckless jingoism of the US neoliberal elite Skeptic Quotations Politically Incorrect Humor Hypocrisy and Pseudo-democracy

Introduction

Fusion GPS eventually produced the trash, a lurid account written by the former British MI6 intelligence agent Christopher Steele, based on hearsay purchased from anonymous Russian sources. Amid prostitutes and golden showers, a story emerged: the Russian government had been blackmailing and bribing Donald Trump for years, on the assumption that he would become president some day and serve the Kremlin’s interests. In this fantastic tale, Putin becomes a preternaturally prescient schemer.

Like other accusations of collusion, this one has become vaguer over time, adding to the murky atmosphere without ever providing any evidence.... Yet the FBI apparently took the Steele dossier seriously enough to include a summary of it in a secret appendix to the Intelligence Community Assessment.

Jackson Lears, What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about Russian Hacking, Jan 4, 2018, LRB

The motive within the FBI/DOJ surveillance of the 2016 campaign of Donald Trump is simple. However, to understand how they did it – the story becomes more complex

The Last Refuge

The Steele dossier is not a single document  but a series of memos which were ordered by Clinton campaign via Fusion GPS (currently under investigation by House intelligence committee) and by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele (born 1964) for enumeration of around $160K.  Steele delivered a total of 16 reports to Fusion GPS between June and early November 2016. All of them found way to FBI almost immediately. That raises several questions about the role of FBI in Steele dossier creation and propagation, as well as the question: was Steele an FBI operative? The latter question is still actively discussed after the release of Nunes memo. See Nunes FISA Memo scandal

As of August 2018 there is a strong suspicion that Steele's involvement may have been less in crafting the dossier, than making it possible to conceal its actual origins while giving it an appearance of credibility. It could also be the case that Nellie Ohr's sudden interest in radio transmissions had to do with communications inside the United States, rather than with Steele.

Steele dossier is a kind of nemesis, arising from the fact that key figures in British and American intelligence have, over a protracted period of time, got involved in intrigues where they were  way out of their depth. The unintended consequences of these have meant that people like Brennan and , on British side, Younger, and also Hannigan, have ended up having to resort to desperate measures to cover their backsides after Trump election and use "insurance" in the form of Mueller appointment to keep Trump in check until the moment he can be deposed.  In other way Steele dossier became one of the central issues of the color revolution against Trump launched by the Deep state immediately after the election.   In this sense intelligence agencies now operate as forth branch of government

Also various parts of the dossier probably were authored by different authors, including probably some turncoats from Russian intelligence now residing in the USA and/or UK. In this sense Skripal affair looks like MI6 attempt to silence one of the possible sources.

Steele dossier and Skripalmania are almost impossible to make sense of unless you think of a bunch of highly politicised and not very bright people sinking deeper and deeper into what looked like a bright idea at the time. They put all bets of Hillary and miscalculated that Trump might be the winner. 

Steele was used by FBI for discreditation operations
long before Steele dossier (in case of FIFA scandal)

Steele is not some unknown to FBI player. He was a member of old McCabe squad and it is possible that it was McCabe at the request of Brennan  who ordered this hit job to Steele and try to mask it via Fusion GPS (via Bruce Ohr or other channels). So McCabe might well be in the center of this scandal (Trump Dossier Author Christopher Steele Worked With FBI's McCabe & DOJ's Ohr on Russian Organized Crime Long Before 2016 Election):

...Steele was well known by the Bureau and CIA long before that and shared Intel with both agencies on cases with British links, especially dealing with MI6's interest in Russian Organized crime, federal law enforcement sources said. It is little wonder the Justice Department and the FBI refuse to release any documents dealing with Steele. Or the payments from government coffers -- including the FBI -- to Steele or Fusion GPS.

We are getting definitive Intel from FBI and federal law enforcement sources that Christopher Steele worked with the FBI when he was a MI6 Agent working Russian Organized Crime. Before his retirement from the British spy agency. That's the same desk and the exact same time frame FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe worked before coming the Washington, D.C., heading up the FBI Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force in Manhattan, along with NYPD Intel sources and resources. And on the Justice Department side, also in New York at the very same time, Bruce Ohr was working organized crime for the DOJ in the Southern District of New York, beginning in the 1990s through the identical timeline of Steele and McCabe. That's the same Bruce Ohr who was just demoted at DOJ for conducting secret meetings with Fusion GPS, who hired Steele to write the Trump Dossier. And Fusion GPS also hired Ohr's wife, a former CIA employee.

"You're finding that they all worked together," one FBI source said. "That's huge." If you wonder how Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson met Steele, look no further than Ohr. Or Ohr's wife. Or McCabe. Ohr ran the DOJ's Organized Crime and Racketeering Section from 1999 to 2011, mostly out of New York City. McCabe ran the FBI Eurasian Task Force up until 2006. Ohr's Organized Crime and Racketeering Section and the FBI were debriefed by Steele in London in 2010 on the FIFA corruption crime scheme, a major case for the DOJ. According to the Guardian, Steele trekked to Rome in 2010 to also swap Intel on FIFA with a FBI contact from its Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force. That was McCabe's old squad.

Christopher Steele is facing trial in the London High Court, charged with libels he and Simpson published in their dossier. Together with Simpson (co-owner of FBI contractor a private intelligence firm, Fusion GPS) they are material witnesses in two federal US court trials for defamation, one in Miami and one in New York. In both cases they face Catch22 situation:

But how petty American ex-journalist and an ex-British intelligence agent can get access to Russian undercover operations outside Russia in general and talks between highly placed Russian officials? The most probably answer is that this was not an "information" but  wild and unsubstantiated rumors from émigré community (and first of all from Russian intelligence turncoats living in the USA and GB), neocon Russophobes, Ukrainian sources (which might be really cheap those days).

Probably Steele  enjoyed some help from their friends and contacts in MI6, so here we clearly have the case of foreign interference in the US elections.  A false flag operations against Soviets and, lately, Russians are commonplace. CIA actually has a long history of fabricating accusations against Soviets ("bombs shaped as toys" in Afghanistan, etc). Two recent cases such as Litvinenko death, Magnitsky affair (According to Nekrasov's film Browder was a financial shark stealing Russian assets during Yeltsin periodmand might be involved in killing account (whom he disingeniously presented as a lawyer) Sergey Magnistky to cover the tracks; Browder was most probably connected to MI6 as now new information surfaced about his involvement with promoting Navalny during 2011-2012 color revolution in Russia; no respectable businessman would play such a dangerous political game). Skripal poisoning also raise a lot of questions.

Here is the summary of Christopher Steele biography

From his biography, especially FIFA story,  Steele emerged as a political hitman, master of blackmail and disinformation disguised as intelligence.  

Steele dossier was instrumental in unleashing neo-McCarthyism campaign in the USA.  The initial purpose was probably creating a pretext for establishing  surveillance on  the members of Trump team (as "insurance" for blackmail in case of Trump victory; McCabe  after all came from the unit which was fighting Russian organized crime in NYC (which is ethnically is by-and-large Jewish and Caucasian) and as such clearly knows the methods really well. But later it acquired its own momentum and became the way to whitewash Hillary Clinton political fiasco and blame it on Putin like some  kind of "Deus Ex Machina" that can save the power of the corrupt to the core Clinton wing of Democratic Party from the anger of voters, switching this anger on Russians. At some point a color revolution against Trump was launched using Russiagate charges instead of typical voting fraud. This information is one search "McCabe and MI6" away, but you will never read about this in Neoliberal MSM like WaPo, or NYT ;-)

In New York Andrew McCabe has close contacts with MI6 (Steele) and Justice Department (Bruce Ohr).  Among their joint achievements was retribution on FIFA for not voting for the USA to host World Football Championship, which let to resignation of FIFA President and several convictions in National football associations in Latin America.  In which Steele played an important role. Like in saying "For friends everything, for enemies the law". We now see all those players in Steele dossier saga, and this is probably not accidental. Christopher Steele, Andrew McCabe and Bruce Ohr probably know each other for years.

Generally the plot concentrates on FBI and MI6 agents involved with Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force. Some ask a legitimate question: whether McCabe was the real initiator of involving Steele in digging dirt on Trump, because he knew him form his previous work and recommended him to Fusion GPS (for example via Ohr). In other words, did McCabe use his contacts in the Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force to facilitate the direct intervention of FBI into the US Presidential elections?

Christopher Steele looks more and  more like a patsy of more powerful forces, not an independent investigator. Judging from his FIFA activities his specialty is closer to bulling  and blackmail extended to sport venues than intelligence (although blackmail is a specialty of intelligence agencies).  He also might be compromised by being on FBI payroll which is big no-no for any British citizen and, especially, for former MI6 agent.  

He did served in Moscow in 1990th for three years (which is not sufficient for in-depth understanding of Russia -- this requires at least a decade of physical presence in the country) So his  experience with Russian was experience with corrupt Yeltsin regime and happened more then 20 years ago. He left Russia before Putin came to power. Steele does not know Russian language so as his value as a Russian expert is very limited. For obvious reasons he can't travel to Moscow. Any MI6 person is  a "persona non grata" and any contacts with him would be avoided as plague by any current of former Russian official including Putin opposition.  So the only independent of intelligence  source channel via which he can get some current information were rumors overhead from Russian emigrant community in London. Any hypothesis this his about his ability to talk to former highly placed FSB officers of Russian government officials are just a smoke screen to hide his complete dependence on other agencies for information. He essentially was a co-founder of rumor spreading mill/blackmailing  agency for some hidden player,  not so much a intelligence research firm.  He has no friends in Russia and even a phone call from him or anybody from his firm is a "poisoned ivy" to any Russian for obvious reasons: talking to him might well be a "career limiting move".   I think that any suggestion that he has  his own contacts (or even network of contacts) in Moscow is ridiculously stupid and is a blatant lie, unless we are talking about a bunch of alcoholics in London pubs.

Also he does not have enough money to conduct investigation on his own (but still might get some info via Ukraine as those sources are really cheap)  so most probably he served as a patsy of more powerful and more sinister forces (including probably his former employee). That why he went into hiding from January till March 2017 and it is unclear whom he fear more (as in "Moor did his duty, Moor has to go"). He understood quite well the elimination of him would dramatically boost the dossier credibility.  Or that was just a PR move to increase status of his "dossier" (should not it be more properly called "intelligence community rumors sewer" ? )

So the second  question arise: who supplied his with all this dirt and played him like a patsy (or more correctly as hired gun --  he got at least $170K for the job)? One very interesting fact is that the dossier instantly found its way to FBI and probably was used by FBI in their attempts to derail Trump.  But it reached higher levels of the US government too which is pretty suspicious for such a crude hatchet job. That suggests Brennan or Clapper sponsorships as well.  They probably used it to create the famous 17 intelligence agencies memo -- another hit job against Trump and attempt to blackmail Russians. This "memo" created by handpicked by Brennan analysis's (which most probably included Peter Strzok)   was used for unleashing really McCarthyism style campaign in neoliberal and neocon parts of US MSM (which mean in the lion share of US MSMs).

Moreover, in early January 2017 a two-page summary of the Trump dossier was presented to President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump in meetings with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers. On Jan 10, BuzzFeed, a fiercely pro-Clinton outlet,  pushed the full document (with minor redactions).  Even before that  Obama fueled anti-Russian hysteria expelling Russian diplomats. That suggests that Obama was the player in this whole "matter" (to use the term which  Loretta Lynch suggested to Comey as for Hillary emailgate scandal)

In November 2017 Luke Harding, a former Guardian correspondent in Moscow published a book Collusion Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win, which represents a rehash of the dossier with some details that contradict Steele testimonies in court (see  Luke Harding: a pathetic author of rehash of Steele Dossier book). 

The Steele dossier contains series of unproven and salacious allegations of  Donald Trump and try to implicate Trump with the "collision" the Russian government during the 2016 US presidential election (which was dirty Clinton strategy at the time designed switch attention from emailgate, DNC scandal, including killing of Seth Rich and Hillary health problems). This strategy was aided and abetted by certain elements in FBI, Justice Department and CIA. The contents of the one variant of the dossier was published BuzzFeed on January 10, 2017 just before Trump inauguration and was just one of a series of well coordinated and damaging leaks that hamper Trump administration the first six month of its existence and led to the appointment of special prosecutor in May, 2017.  For some  lies in the dossier BuzzFeed and Steele was already sued by Russian tech entrepreneur Aleksej Gubarev (spelling??), who was mentioned in the dossier and well as owners of Alfa Bank: 

The Steele dossier saga is closely connected with the activities of the "gang of three" in FBI (Comey, McCabe and Strzok).  This part of the story is often is referred to as Strzokgate (the term introduced by Alexander Mercouris in his article Strzok-gate and the Mueller cover-up  written Dec 10, 2017). There are at five issues that are encompassed by this term, as used on this site:

  1. Corruption in performing private email server investigation by pro-Clinton wing of FBI.  Look like "the gang of three" has been not only hell-bent on "saving the country from Trump" but also saving the country from Sanders.  That's the most important part of Strzok-gate where  "the gang of three" really influenced the US Presidential election, because indictment of Hillary would result in Sanders becoming the candidate from Democratic Party.
  2. Using Steele dossier as a ram to spy on Trump and his associates to get dirt on them as "insurance".
  3. Using Steele dossier to fuel "Russia-gate" witch hunt (in close cooperation with CIA Brennan and Clapper)
  4. Trying the witch hunt resulting  from Russiagate" to blackmail some former Trump associates (Flynn removal) and implicate Trump in Russian ties.
  5. Participating is the "appointment of the special Prosecutor"  gambit. That includes criminal "Comey leaks".

Was Christopher Steele a paid asset of FBI? Will Christopher Steele Be Charged in the UK as a Spy?

We all remember that Christopher  Steele went into hiding after the release of the memo and then after just three months suddenly reemerged. So he has concerns about his life. Such behaviour suggest that there might be something is wrong with his loyalties to his native country. And it might be that during those three month some high level negotiation between Brits and FBI were held. 

The blog Sic Semper Tyrannis provided an interesting analysis of the fact that FBI was adamantly against the release of the memo and an interesting phase in the Nunes memo "Steele was suspended and then TERMINATED AS AN FBI SOURCE.":

Do you want to know why the FBI continued to insist that the Nunes' memo not be declassified and released to the public? The answer is right there on page 2, (see 1b) in the discussion about what was excluded from the application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court:

The application does not mention Steele was ultimately working on behalf of-and paid by-the DNC and Clinton campaign, or that the FBI had separately authorized payment to Steele for the same information.

I believe that the part in bold is what the FBI wanted out of the memo because it exposes the uncomfortable fact that Christopher Steele was (and had been for some time) a paid asset of the FBI. That is huge news. In other words, Steele was not a mere consultant or sub-contractor for the FBI. He was being paid to provide information/intelligence to the FBI. There are two classes of FBI "informants." One is serving as a "criminal informant" and the other is as an "intelligence asset." Information from "criminal informants" can be used in a U.S. judicial proceeding and the informant called as a witness. Getting money under that circumstance can be problematic because the source's credibility can be impeached by defense counsel, who can argue that the testimony is purloined.

You do not have to worry about that with an "intelligence asset." In that case the priority is protecting the identity of the source. The fact that Steele had been on the FBI payroll for a while sheds new light on Glen Simpson's testimony (which was leaked by Senator Feinstein) to the U.S. Senate. Simpson testified that Steele told him in late September 2016 that the FBI wanted to meet him in Rome to discuss the dossier.  That struck me initially as quite odd. If Steele was just acting as an average "foreign" citizen who was trying to help the FBI then he could easily have met with the Bureau in London. That city hosts the largest number of FBI agents in the world outside of the U.S. But Steele was asked to go meet in Rome. That's what you do when you are meeting an intelligence asset that the Brits do not know about.

Also

The application does not mention Steele was ultimately working on behalf of-and paid by-the DNC and Clinton campaign, or that the FBI had separately authorized payment to Steele for the same information.

I believe that the part in bold is what the FBI wanted out of the memo because it exposes the uncomfortable fact that Christopher Steele was (and had been for some time) a paid asset of the FBI. That is huge news. In other words, Steele was not a mere consultant or sub-contractor for the FBI. He was being paid to provide information/intelligence to the FBI. There are two classes of FBI "informants." One is serving as a "criminal informant" and the other is as an "intelligence asset." Information from "criminal informants" can be used in a U.S. judicial proceeding and the informant called as a witness. Getting money under that circumstance can be problematic because the source's credibility can be impeached by defense counsel, who can argue that the testimony is purloined.

You do not have to worry about that with an "intelligence asset." In that case the priority is protecting the identity of the source. The fact that Steele had been on the FBI payroll for a while sheds new light on Glen Simpson's testimony (which was leaked by Senator Feinstein) to the U.S. Senate. Simpson testified that Steele told him in late September 2016 that the FBI wanted to meet him in Rome to discuss the dossier. That struck me initially as quite odd. If Steele was just acting as an average "foreign" citizen who was trying to help the FBI then he could easily have met with the Bureau in London. That city hosts the largest number of FBI agents in the world outside of the U.S. But Steele was asked to go meet in Rome. That's what you do when you are meeting an intelligence asset that the Brits do not know about.

That is the problem.

The United States and Great Britain have had a long standing "understanding" or informal agreement to not recruit each others intelligence and law enforcement personnel as intelligence assets. I chatted yesterday with an old intelligence hand (a U.S. person) who was approached by British MI 6 during a TDY to London. My friend rejected the come on and reported the approach to the CIA Chief of Station (aka COS). The COS was angry with the Brits. They were not supposed to do that, nor are we. But sometimes a target is so attractive that very high level permissions to break the agreements are given.

The real irony here is that the Schiff memo is likely to compound the problem for Steele because it is likely to highlight Steele's prior activities on behalf of the Bureau that predate the 2016 election cycle (remember, Steele was hired by Fusion GPS in June 2016). This is the issue that had FBI Director Wray's panties in a knot. When you sign up a foreign source you vow to protect them. When you expose such a source you make it more difficult to recruit new sources.

There may be another twist to this. Was Steele actually operating as an FBI intel asset with the secret knowledge of the Brits? In other words, was he a double agent or an agent of influence? One way to tell will be watching the reaction of the U.K. authorities now that they know that Steele was a paid FBI informant. Imagine the outrage here if one of the former CIA or FBI talking heads that are appearing on punditry circuit was exposed as someone getting paid by the Russian version of the FBI or CIA. It would be ugly.

Several commenters offered additional thought on this complex issue:

Sylvia 1 said...

This is from an interview in Politico with Victoria Nuland. It seems Mr. Steele was accustomed to dropping by the State Department--and did so in the Summer of 2016 with news of "Russian interference" Since he was already a paid asset of the FBI wouldn't hey have also known of his "work" by then. This may be relevant to the issue of what caused the FBI to open a counter intelligence investigation in July 2016 -- Mr. Steele/Fusion GPS or a drunken Papadopolus?

"In the interview, Nuland said she was familiar with Steele’s work through regular reports he had passed on to her office over the previous several years dealing with political maneuverings in Russia and Ukraine. When presented by an intermediary with the startling information about “linkages” between Trump and Russia that summer, “what I did was say that this is about U.S. politics,” Nuland recounted, “and not the business of the State Department, and certainly not the business of a career employee who is subject to the Hatch Act, which requires that you stay out of politics. So, my advice to those who were interfacing with him was that he should get this information to the FBI, and that they could evaluate whether they thought it was credible.”"

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/02/05/global-politico-victoria-nuland-obama-216937

wisedupearly Ceo said...

If Steele has been spying on the Brits on behalf of the FBI then he's gone. If he was working his old contacts for non-Brit intel after retiring is that a crime? Hopefully Steele would not approach active assets. Not sure how the spook world sees it.

To make the dossier watertight Steele would have to select believable contacts that could have supplied the information supposedly fed to him by Clinton. Or to put it the other way round, Clinton would have to know what contacts Steele had to generate the "dirt" to match the contacts. Feasible? Likely?

Still waiting for Gowdy to state that the warrant was issued illegally.

robt willmann , 06 February 2018 at 03:33 PM
Well, the House Intel Committee memo, Republican version, says on page 2, lines 7-8:

"Steele was a longtime FBI source who was paid over $160,000 by the DNC and Clinton campaign [etc.]..."

That is pretty clear: "Steele was a longtime FBI source ...." How long, one might wonder?

Joe100,

Carter Page does appear to be a little odd. He enthusiastically shows up for multiple television interviews grinning quite a bit and seemingly without a care in the world.

The memo has obviously been edited down. The first neon sign I saw was on page 1: "The FBI and DOJ obtained one initial FISA warrant targeting Carter Page and three FISA renewals from the FISC". A FISA order must be renewed every 90 days. Four times 90 is 360 days. Day one was 21 October 2016, the memo tells us. Donald Trump was elected president on 8 November 2016. He was sworn in on 20 January 2017. Carter Page was under surveillance until October 2017, a little over three months ago. On what grounds? Who was he talking to or communicating with, other than the hosts of television shows?

The memo creates the impression that the Steele paper was used in each of the four FISA applications, but that is not completely clear.

Furthermore, the memo clearly says that James Comey signed three FISA applications in question and Andrew McCabe signed one. But when it comes to the Justice Department lawyers, the language gets vague: Sally Yates, Dana Boente, and Rod Rosenstein "each signed one or more FISA applications on behalf of DOJ". Why not say the exact number each one signed? Is the memo talking only about the four Carter Page applications or other additional applications with respect to the DOJ lawyers?

State Department role in creation of the dossier

[Feb 11, 2018] Confirmed Clinton operative Sidney Blumenthal helped spread Russia collusion fever before the election by William A. Jacobson

So State Department took part is creation and dissimilation of Steele dossier
Feb 11, 2018 | legalinsurrection.com

The Clintons created a media and law enforcement echo chamber of Russia collusion.     Earlier this week we wrote about the possible involvement of Clinton operative Sidney Blumenthal in feeding information to Christoper Steele, author of the infamous Clinton/DNC funded dossier. That dossier formed a key part of the FBI's presentation to the FISA court to obtain a warrant to surveil Carter Page.

One of the key links in the Blumenthal-Steele stories was former State Department employee Jonathan Winer :

Devin Nunes has a new target: Jonathan Winer, the Obama State Department's special envoy to Libya, and longtime Senate aide to John Kerry. Winer received a memorandum written by political activist Cody Shearer and passed it along to Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence official who had compiled his own dossier on Donald Trump.

The release of last week's House Intelligence Committee memo accusing the FBI of surveillance abuses marked the end of the first phase of Nunes's investigation into the probe of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. Now, the committee chair told Fox News on Friday, the probe is moving into "phase two," which involves the State Department. His focus is on the dossier compiled by Shearer, and passed along by Winer, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

That Blumenthal was the source of the information passed on to Winer appeared to be confirmed by Trey Gowdy in an interview with Martha McCallum, Trey Gowdy suggests Clinton operative Sidney Blumenthal fed info to Steele weeks before election:

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., strongly implied to Fox News Tuesday night that Clinton family confidant Sidney Blumenthal was a key link in a chain of information that helped create the controversial Trump-Russia dossier.

Gowdy told Fox News' "The Story" that "when you hear who one of the sources of that information is, you're going to think, 'Oh my gosh, I've heard that name somewhere before.'"

When host Martha MacCallum asked if he was referring to Blumenthal, Gowdy answered, "That'd be really warm. You're warm, yeah."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/TX3-G39GjiE?start=563&feature=oembed

Winer has published an Op-Ed at WaPo in which he confirms his involvement with Blumenthal, though he downplays its significance, Devin Nunes is investigating me. Here's the truth.

In the summer of 2016, Steele told me that he had learned of disturbing information regarding possible ties between Donald Trump, his campaign and senior Russian officials. He did not provide details but made clear the information involved "active measures," a Soviet intelligence term for propaganda and related activities to influence events in other countries.

In September 2016, Steele and I met in Washington and discussed the information now known as the "dossier." Steele's sources suggested that the Kremlin not only had been behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign but also had compromised Trump and developed ties with his associates and campaign.

I was allowed to review, but not to keep, a copy of these reports to enable me to alert the State Department. I prepared a two-page summary and shared it with Nuland, who indicated that, like me, she felt that the secretary of state needed to be made aware of this material.

In late September, I spoke with an old friend, Sidney Blumenthal, whom I met 30 years ago when I was investigating the Iran-contra affair for then-Sen. Kerry and Blumenthal was a reporter at The Post. At the time, Russian hacking was at the front and center in the 2016 presidential campaign. The emails of Blumenthal, who had a long association with Bill and Hillary Clinton, had been hacked in 2013 through a Russian server.

While talking about that hacking, Blumenthal and I discussed Steele's reports. He showed me notes gathered by a journalist I did not know, Cody Shearer, that alleged the Russians had compromising information on Trump of a sexual and financial nature.

What struck me was how some of the material echoed Steele's but appeared to involve different sources.

On my own, I shared a copy of these notes with Steele, to ask for his professional reaction. He told me it was potentially "collateral" information. I asked him what that meant. He said that it was similar but separate from the information he had gathered from his sources. I agreed to let him keep a copy of the Shearer notes.

Given that I had not worked with Shearer and knew that he was not a professional intelligence officer, I did not mention or share his notes with anyone at the State Department. I did not expect them to be shared with anyone in the U.S. government.

But I learned later that Steele did share them -- with the FBI, after the FBI asked him to provide everything he had on allegations relating to Trump, his campaign and Russian interference in U.S. elections.

The Clintons created a media and law enforcement echo chamber of Russia collusion.

Hillary's campaign and the DNC paid for the Steele dossier. Other Clinton operatives, such as Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer, were spreading similar accusations and sharing information with Steele. Steele was also feeding accusations to the media. Employees of the FBI and possibly other agencies who hated Trump used that information both before and after the election.

In assessing the threats that Hillary and Trump posed to our liberty, respectively, in October 2016 I wrote that Hillary represented the greater threat because Hillary was "a systemic threat."

I was right.

Sidney Blumenthal role in creation of the dossier

Sidney Blumenthal is the original author of so called "birther" meme, which was an instant hit as Obama  was "a person without biography":  some parts of his biography are just "clean sheets". His period connected with Columbia university is one (there are almost no people who were studying at this time who knew  Obama. His trip to Pakistan is another.  Was his mother a CIA operative is yet another. 

In any case  Sidney Blumenthal is very skilled and nasty creator of political disinformation and dirty hits on Clinton rivals.

During Bill Clinton’s impeachment crisis, as one of Clinton’s special advisers, he spread rumors that one of independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s prosecutors abused young boys at a Christian summer camp and that Monica Lewinsky was stalking the president, according to the Observer. He also spread rumors that Colin Powell’s wife suffered from clinical depression and was unfit to be a first lady, according to publication.

The writing was outsourced to Clinton "hatchet man" Cody Shearer, who gave it to Jonathan Winer, the Obama State Department's special envoy to Libya, who routed it to Christopher Steele.

According to the referral, Steele wrote the additional memo based on anti-Trump information that originated with a foreign source. In a convoluted scheme outlined in the referral, the foreign source gave the information to an unnamed associate of Hillary and Bill Clinton, who then gave the information to an unnamed official in the Obama State Department, who then gave the information to Steele. Steele wrote a report based on the information, but the redacted version of the referral does not say what Steele did with the report after that.

Published accounts in the Guardian and the Washington Post have indicated that Clinton associate Cody Shearer was in contact with Steele about anti-Trump research, and Obama State Department official Jonathan Winer was a connection between Steele and the State Department during the 2016 campaign. – Washington Examiner

Shearer's brother served as an ambassador during the Clinton administration, and his late sister was married to Strobe Talbott, the chief authority on Russia in President Bill Clinton's State Department, according to ProPublica. They played fast and loose convinced that Hillary win will allow to swipe all the dirt under the carpet.

Recalling that the dossier was published by Buzzfeed after the election, we're sure that much like the rest of the swamp; Clinton, Obama, Comey, McCabe, Mueller, Rosenstein, Strzok, Page, and the rest of the gang – Christopher Steele thought Hillary would win, and none of this would have ever come to light – Zerohedge

Sidney Blumenthal also has some connections to iether USA of foreign intelligence  agencies as was revealed by Gussifer hack of his email account.  Some of his emails to her about Libya events looks like disguised intelligence reports (from Mossad or other intelligence  agency)

All-in-all Blumenthal, Shearer and Winer  are thee new figured that emerged in February 2018 and who likely played important role in creation of Steele dossier feeding Steele with his disinformation via Winer, who was a State Department official:

Clinton confidant Sidney Blumenthal’s name is cropping up again, but this time, as a potential key figure involved with the Trump dossier and the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign.
Republican congressional investigators appear to be zeroing in on Blumenthal, and the role he may have played in feeding information that Trump dossier author Christopher Steele later presented to the FBI in its investigation of the Trump campaign.

The prospect of Blumenthal — a long-time Clinton operative — feeding information for an FBI investigation on the Trump campaign has caused alarm among Republican lawmakers in charge of oversight of the FBI and the Justice Department.

The Washington Post on Tuesday reported that Steele gave the FBI a report in October 2016 that he received from a State Department employee about Trump and Russia.

According to the Post, the report was written by Cody Shearer, a former journalist with close ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton, who gave it to Blumenthal, who gave it to State Department official Jonathan Winer, who gave it to Steele, who then gave it to the FBI.

Shearer’s report claimed a source inside the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) spy agency alleged that Trump had financial ties to influential Russians and that the FSB had evidence of him engaging in compromising personal behavior.

A lawyer for Winer, Lee Wolosky, told the Post his client told the Post his client’s actions were “grounded” in concerns that a candidate for the presidency may have been compromised by a hostile foreign power. Wolosky did not say why Winer gave the report to Steele instead of the FBI.

The Guardian, which has ties to ex-British spy Steele, also reported recently that Shearer wrote a report that was given to Steele. Shearer had also shared his report with “select media organizations before the election,” according to the British paper.

Blumenthal and Shearer’s names were first tied to the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign in a letter sent last month by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to the Democratic National Committee.

Grassley and Graham wanted the DNC to disclose any communications with Blumenthal and Shearer from March 2016 to January 2017. Earlier this week, the two GOP senators released a redacted memo that described the transmission of a report from a Clinton friend to Steele:

“One memorandum by Mr. Steele that was not published by Buzzfeed is dated October 19, 2016. The report alleges [redacted], as well as [redacted]. Mr. Steele’s memorandum states that his company “received this report from [redacted] U.S. State Department,” that the report was the second in a series, and that the report was information that came from a foreign sub-source who ‘is in touch with [redacted], a contact of [redacted], a friend of the Clintons, who passed it to [redacted].”

They added, “It is troubling enough that the Clinton Campaign funded Mr. Steele’s work, but that these Clinton associates were contemporaneously feeding Mr. Steele allegations raises additional concerns about his credibility.”

Since the names are redacted by the FBI, they cannot be disclosed publicly by those who have seen them. Lawmakers who have seen the unredacted versions have danced around who they are.

When asked on FOX News’s The Story, House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) told anchor Martha MacCallum that she was “really warm” if she believed that Blumenthal was part of the chain of information to Steele described by Grassley and Graham.

“I’m trying to think how Secretary Clinton defined him. I think she said he was an old friend who emailed her from time to time,” he said on Tuesday.

MacCallum then asked, “Sidney Blumenthal?” Gowdy responded, “That’d be really warm. You’re warm. Yeah.”

House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) also mentioned Blumenthal and Shearer’s role on Fox & Friends on Tuesday.

“What it looks like is, they paid Steele to put together the dossier and told him what to put in,” he said.

Micah Morin, chief investigative reporter at Judicial Watch, questioned whether Shearer and Blumenthal were also behind the dossier’s sources. He wrote:

According to the Guardian, Steele provided ‘a copy [of the Shearer report] because it corresponded with what he had separately heard from his own independent sources.’ If the reporting here is accurate, that’s quite a coincidence—that Cody Shearer and Christopher Steele were hearing the same things from different sources at pretty much the same time. A closer look at timelines and sources might be revealing. If Sid and Cody are behind the original Russian dossier sources, that would be big news indeed.

“It’s an astonishing, convoluted and somewhat circular chain of custody in which a Clinton source, that is Shearer and Blumenthal, gives it to the former, to the State Department where she used to be Secretary of State, who gives it to Christopher Steele, who’s being paid by the Clinton campaign, who then gives it to the FBI,” the Washington Examiner‘s Chief Political Correspondent Byron York said on the Hugh Hewitt radio show Wednesday.

Blumenthal has a known history of smearing opponents of the Clintons.

During Bill Clinton’s impeachment crisis, as one of Clinton’s special advisers, he spread rumors that one of independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s prosecutors abused young boys at a Christian summer camp and that Monica Lewinsky was stalking the president, according to the Observer. He also spread rumors that Colin Powell’s wife suffered from clinical depression and was unfit to be a first lady, according to publication.

As a former journalist, Blumenthal also used his media contacts to give the Clintons a heads up about forthcoming stories, and advised the Clinton campaign in 2008 to target then-candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) ties to Reverend Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan.

After Obama White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel refused to allow Blumenthal to join the Clinton State Department, he became a Clinton Foundation consultant, earning at least $120,000 a year. He continued to advise her in a number of areas, according to emails released by the State Department.

Less is known about Shearer. According to a recent article in the Washington Times, he was dubbed “Mr. Fixer” for Bill and Hillary Clinton and was a “workmate” of Blumenthal.

Shearer went from a journalist decades ago to foreign policy freelancer – once trying to broker some sort of peace deal in Bosnia, although he was not a U.S. official, – and working with Blumenthal to supply intelligence on Libya to Clinton when she was secretary of state. According to investigative journalist Sara Carter, Shearer worked in the 1990s for President Bill Clinton.

Nonprofit investigative journalism outlet ProPublica described Shearer as “a longtime Clinton family operative — his brother was an ambassador under Bill Clinton and his now-deceased sister was married to Clinton State Department official Strobe Talbott — who was in close contact with Blumenthal.”

According to Judicial Watch’s Morin, Shearer “has a long history of dirty tricks.” “He’s been linked to Whitewater-era efforts to dirty up Bill Clinton critics; to shakedown politics involving the Cheyenne-Arapaho Indian tribe; and to fronting for Bosnian Serb butcher Radovan Karadzic,” he wrote.

As the Times has noted, for whom Shearer produced his anti-Trump report is unclear.

Even less known about Jonathan Winer. Winer served as the State Department’s Special Envoy for Libya and Senior Advisor for MEK resettlement, according to the State Department website. According to CNN, Winer worked with Steele from 2014 through 2016. Steele reportedly provided Winer with reports related to the conflict in Ukraine and Russia as a courtesy.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), who led efforts to show that senior FBI and DOJ officials relied on the dossier to get a surveillance warrant on a former Trump campaign adviser, has said there will be a forthcoming memo on the State Department’s role in the FBI’s investigation of Trump, but has not said when that might be released.

 

 

This is a classic Machiavellian trick

First let's put Steele dossier (see  Trump Intelligence Allegations_ into historical perspective. This is a classic Machiavellian trick:

"The casual way in which Machiavelli discusses the need to kill opponents was necessary to those who wished to be princes 500 years ago. Today, of course, "killing" is translated as rendering less powerful, or taking an opponent out of the game."

In him Amazon review of Prince Wayne A. Smith wrote:

There are two good reasons to read Machiavelli's classic, "The Prince."

First, so you'll know what everyone is referring to when you come across the adjective "Machiavellian" in news stories or other media. This adjective has become so commonplace (and overused) it is almost a cliché. Also, most who use it have never read this letter from Machiavelli, a Renaissance courtier to his Prince (written from prison), but they insist on peppering writings with this noun turned adjective so much that as a matter of clearly understanding what is meant by the term, famiality with this brief treatise is helpful.

Second, this book does describe most (not all) power situations very well. From politics to corporations to most settings where advancement, influence and control exist, Machiavelli's observations and rules apply.

You will also discover that Machiavelli was not as evil as he is understood to be in popular thought. What he was doing was describing the rules of the game that have existed and always will exist for many situations involving selfish humans in competition. Machiavelli's rules are neither good nor bad in themselves -- they describe a process. What is good or bad is how those who master Machiavelli's rules use their power and position, in a society that tempers actions according to law and basic Judeo-Christian principals. When those [Christian] principles are abandoned (as in Nazi Germany, the Middle Ages or under Communism, or by those who refuse to live by these constraints), Machiavelli's rules take on their demonic and evil cloak; usually because they serve demonic and evil ends. In societies where positive constraints exist, for example the U.S. political system, Machiavellian behavior can produce excellent results.

A good example involves Abraham Lincoln, whose ambition led him to use every legitimate trick and strategy to master (and remove) political opponents. His mastery of Machiavellian behavior constrained by the US political system allowed him to save the Union and end slavery.

To fully appreciate the modern lessons that can be taken from this writing, one must translate Medieval sensibilities to their contemporary counterparts. The casual way in which Machiavelli discusses the need to kill opponents was necessary to those who wished to be princes 500 years ago. Today, of course, "killing" is translated as rendering less powerful, or taking an opponent out of the game.

From Mayberry Machiavellians point of view, limitation of the power of intelligence  agencies is bad, tolerance a luxury, fairness is another word for weakness, and the rule of law is unnecessary.

The "putsch" that intelligence agencies organized after Trump election as well as gambit to appointed the special prosecutor were not unprecedented (JFK assassination is probably one close instance, Nixon removal is another).  We have several signs typical for color revolution here:

I realize that Clinton wing of Democratic Party (soft neoliberals) and their supporters which include a part of Wall Street, large part of Silicon valley and most MSM progressives hate Donald Trump so much that they believe that any pretext is justified in taking him down. So they joined efforts with the neoconservatives. That's why war-mongering against Russia is now OK for them and Democratic party now is just another War Party (as was evident from Hillary campaign).

Many people who detest Trump view Russiagate as the most effective path to achieve Trump’s impeachment, so this desirable end justifies whatever means. that makes them very similar to supported of Ukrainian Maydan, which removed Yanukovich and installed far right junta with a lot of unsavory characters. But to me it look like Trump surrendered after just 100 of anti-Russian smear campaign launched by neocons. So why they still  want to finish him?  So it must be more  to it; there might be some skeletons in the closet revealing of which previous administration and their factions in intelligence  services the are afraid to death . Because their action is as close to sedition as one  can get. In other words they went va bank  by unleashing on Trump Steele dossier (va bank is a common expression among Russian and German speakers. which means to put everything at risk in order to win.

In any case now two third of US population now is brainwashed into adamantly anti-Russian mindset, increasing the risk of the major war

The key in understanding Stele dossier is to view it as in integral part of Russiagate plot to remove trump, the  part of "American Maydan" story.  Ukrainian Maydan  was about  Yanukovich removal. Yanukovich  who was a neoliberal wanted to bargain more before signing EU memorandum and postponed its signing despite pressure.  At this point EU and the USA decided that he crosses the line  and decided to remove him by force.

Similarly Trump wanted to reach some level of detente  with Russia rightly considering the level of hostility achieved under Obama dangerous and counterproductive (to the extent that Obama might be controlled by Brennan it might be not Obama personal decision).  In this sense Trump also crossed the line (with the only difference that he did it during he election campaign) and at this point all power of neocons and neolib including their factions in intelligence agencies was unleashed for his removal. That's why Steele dossier was created and advertized: as part of anti-Trump coup d'état by the neocons, Clinton neoliberals and parts of the US intelligence services.  In both case the interests of the USA and national security suffers. In a way both neocons and neoliberals  are elements of foreign influence that do not care much about ordinary Americans.

Among the players that promoted Steele dossier and used it for "color revolution" against Trump Davis Stockman mentioned (The Russiagate Witch-Hunt Stockman Names Names In The Deep State's Insurance Policy )

One of best summaries of Steele dossier can be found  in Business Insider  article Mueller interviewed Steele Dossier on Trump comes into focus . It is clear from the text that Steele could not write such a document all by himself. Even if it is completely fake he would need some help from MI6 or CIA. And it does  contain a lot of juicy staff.

As of December 2017 we know that Peter Strzok played a very important role in using Steele dossier as a ram against Trump and his team. It was deployed in dual role: 

James Rosen suggests Peter Strzok has strong CIA connections. That's actually natural taking into account his position description and I would be surprised if he has none. Probably he has connection to the highest levels officials in CIA including Brennan.

Brennan is a very interesting figure (the person that looks like Muslim Brotherhood lobbyist within the USA government) activities of whom came in a new lights during Strzok-gate:

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asked Wray exactly about possibility that Strzok was essentially doing Brennan bidding at FBI  (House committee grills FBI director Did Trump–Russia dossier back a FISA warrant — RT US News)

FBI Director Christopher Wray has declined to tell the House Judiciary Committee if he was prohibited from sharing documents that would show whether the notorious Steele dossier was used to obtain a FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asked Wray about the FBI’s possible use of the Trump–Russia dossier, also known as the Steele dossier, named after its author ex-British spy Christopher Steele. It was a document paid for by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton campaign to be used as opposition research against Trump in 2016. It contained allegations that Trump colluded with the Russian government in the 2016 US presidential election and engaged in lewd acts. The veracity of the salacious claims in the dossier were further undermined by the revelation that Steele paid Russian sources for information pointing to collusion.

... ... ...

Jordan alleged that Strzok used the Steele dossier to obtain a FISA warrant for spying on members of the Trump team.

“My hunch is it has something to do with the dossier,” Jordan said. “Did Peter Strzok help produce and present the application to the FISA court to secure a warrant to spy on Americans associated with the Trump campaign?”

... ... ...

Jordan then made his case that the FISA warrant was obtained based on false information contained in the Steele dossier, calling it “fake news National Enquirer garbage.”

“I think Peter Strzok, head of counterintelligence at the FBI... Peter Strzok, the guy who ran the FBI's Clinton investigation, did all the interviews... Peter Strzok, the guy who was running the Russia investigation at the FBI... Peter Strzok, Mr. Super Agent at the FBI, I think he is the guy that took the application to the FISA court.

“And if this happened, if you have the FBI working with the Democrats' campaign, to take opposition research, dress it all up and turning it into an intelligence document to take it to a FISA court so they can spy on another campaign, if that happened, that is as wrong as it gets...

“You could clear it all up, we sent you a letter two days ago. Just release the application, tell us what was in it. Tell us if I'm wrong. But I don't think I am. I think that is exactly what happened, and people who did that need to be held accountable.”

Most probable he was just a hired gun who received certain "recommendations" as this was part of the efforts of Obama administration to find dirt on Trump and derail his election campaign ( see also Did Obama order wiretaps of Trump conversations? ):

Chronology

The basic chronology might be as following (partially based on Stefan Molyneux YouTube  presentation):

  1. [Aug 01, 2014]:  Brennan caught spying on Senate torture probe. John Brennan Faces Calls to Resign After CIA Admits to Spying on Senate Torture Probe - Democracy Now!
  2. [Mar 02, 2015]: Hillary Clinton emailgate scandal broke lose. NYT reports that "Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record. Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act"
  3. [Jun 13, 2015]: CrowdStrike was financed to the tune of $100 million by Google Capital. Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Alphabet, has been a staunch and active supporter of Hillary Clinton and is a longtime donor to the Democratic Party. (Stefan Molyneux)
  4. [Oct ?? 2015]: Fusion GPS became key anti-Trump player -- the dirt digger.  During the Republican primary campaign, The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website primarily funded by Republican donor Paul Singer, hired the American research firm Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research on Trump and other Republican presidential candidates.[1] Please note that  Christopher Steele at this time is not yet in the picture. This will happen six months later when the investigation became funded by Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC. For months, Fusion GPS gathered information about Trump, focusing on his business and entertainment activities. When Trump became the presumptive nominee on May 3, 2016, The Free Beacon stopped funding research on him.[21][22][23]
  5. [Mar ??, 2016]: Fusion GPS supposedly approached the Hillary Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee through the law firm Perkins Coie offering to continue their opposition research into Donald Trump in return for payment.[Wikipedia]
  6. [Apr ??, 2016]: The Hillary Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee used lawyer Marc E. Elias to retain and fund Fusion GPS. At this time Christopher Steele came into picture, may be via his ties with McCabe and FBI activities to derail Trump.   In April 2016, the investigation contract and funding were taken over by Marc Elias, a partner in the large Seattle-based law firm Perkins Coie and head of its Political Law practice. Elias was the attorney of record for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Clinton presidential campaign.[6] In total, Perkins Coie paid Fusion GPS $1.02 million in fees and expenses, $168,000 of which was paid to Orbis Business Intelligence, a private British intelligence firm, and used by them to produce the dossier.[24] Glenn R. Simpson of Fusion GPS has stated that Steele did not pay to any of his sources.[25][Wikipedia]
  7. [Apr-Jun, 2016]: Wikileaks obtains something like 53,000 [DNC] emails and 17,000 attachments
  8. [Jun ??, 2016]:  After Wikileaks possession of leaked emails became known, a cover-up operation was started by DNC and Clinton campaign. The decision was made to used Russia as a scapegoat for the leak accusing  them in hacking. False flag operation using Crowdstrike was staged to make this plausible.  Dirty former MI6 officer Christopher Steele (who was expelled from Moscow for espionage more then 20 years ago and as such is a "person non grata" in Moscow) and his company Orbis Business Intelligence are hired by Fusion GPS to investigate Trump’s possible connections to Russia. This company previously was used to Statement from Christopher Steele: “Between June and early November 2016 Orbis was engaged by Fusion to prepare a series of confidential memoranda based on intelligence concerning Russian efforts to influence the US Presidential election process and links between Russia and Donald Trump.”
  9. [Jun 9, 2016]: Entrapment plot against Trump Jr. Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort attended a meeting arranged by publicist Rob Goldstone with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya (the client of Fusion FPS) supposedly for opposition research on Hillary Clinton, but Veselnitskaya instead focused on the opposition to the Magnitsky Act. President Trump's Outside Counsel Mark Corallo later remarked “Specifically, we have learned that the person who sought the meeting is associated with Fusion GPS, a firm which according to public reports, was retained by Democratic operatives to develop opposition research on the president and which commissioned the phony Steele dossier.”
  10. Crowdstrike investigates DNC leaks and promptly attributes it to Russians.  FBI is deprived of any access to factual information and uses Crowdstrike findings. After very damaging for Hillary DNC leak (iether  by Seth Rich or some other disgruntled DNC staffer) which proved corruption of DNC and the plot to deny Sanders any changed to become Democratic Party candidate, as well as the level of control of DNC by Clintons,  the decision was made to blame Russia for the lean (using Crowdstrike which has connections both with CIA and FBI as well as Clinton team) and use Trump connection with Russia to undermine the prospect of his election. The CrowdStrike attribution are not independently verified as the DNC refused to turn over its equipment to the FBI. . The connection between CrowdStrike and Perkins Coie should raise additional questions. (Stefan Molyneux)
  11. [Jun 14, 2016]: Russiagate smear campaign against Trump was launched in by major US MSM. The Washington Post published an article entitled “Russian government hackers penetrated DNC, stole opposition research on Trump" which reported: “DNC leaders were tipped to the hack in late April. Chief executive Amy Dacey got a call from her operations chief saying that their information technology team had noticed some unusual network activity.” “That evening, she spoke with Michael Sussmann, a DNC lawyer who is a partner with Perkins Coie in Washington. Soon after, Sussmann, a former federal prosecutor who handled computer crime cases, called [CrowdStrike President Shawn Henry], whom he has known for many years. "Within 24 hours, Crowdstrike had installed software on the DNC’s computers so that it could analyze data that could indicate who had gained access, when and how. " Charging good money after the horse has left the barn; it's funny that clearly political action of  "attribution" (qualified cyber adversary like CIA leaves zero traces in such cases or deliberately leaves false traces ) is hidden under tech jargon -- my God, a "super sophisticated" system was installed that now, when intruders are long gone will truck them ;-). From presentations available on YouTube Crowdstrike are typical security snake oil salesmen promising  a lot but delivering very little (much like ISS in the past).   It is impossible fully compensate for architectural flaws of Windows without imposing "military base" regime which is unacceptable for organizations like DNC. Moreover good adversary would use Crowdstrike software for perpetration much like CIA used Kaspersky software in the past. 
  12. [Jun 15, 2016]: Crowdstike  published its finding on thier site. Dmitry Alpherovidh blames Russians in his article Bears in the Midst Intrusion into the Democratic National Committee »
  13. [Jun 15, 2016]: A blog post to a WordPress site authored by an individual using the moniker Guccifer 2.0 claimed credit for breaching the Democratic National Committee. This blog post presents documents alleged to have originated from the DNC.
  14. [Jun 26, 2016] Bill Clinton has a 30 min meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch at Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport. The encounter took place ahead of the public release Tuesday morning of the House Benghazi Committee's report on the 2012 attack on a US consulate in Libya.  the meeting looks like a quid pro quo of "protect Hillary and you'll get a new great job Loretta under Hillary administration"...
  15. [Jun 30, 2016] The new about the meeting reached MSM. Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said on The Mike Gallagher Show that the meeting was “so terrible” and “one of the big stories of this week, of this month, of this year.” Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas tweeted: “Lynch & Clinton: Conflict of interest? An attorney, cannot represent two parties in a dispute and must avoid even the appearance of conflict.” LA Times. Later it became known that Loretta Lunch instructed Comey to call Hillary email scandal "a matter".  During May 2017 testimony  James Comey, that it marking the moment he decided that the Department of Justice was not capable of an independent investigation into Hillary Clinton. The moment Comey lost faith in DOJ's Clinton probe - CNNPolitics
  16. [Jul 02, 2016]:  Hillary Clinton was interviewed by Peter Strzok, who gave her special "HQ treatment". The interview lasted approximately three and a half hours and was not conducted under oath. No transcripts of the  meeting exist.  Later Hillary Clinton claimed that she gave a "voluntary interview" to the FBI today regarding her email arrangements while she was secretary of state. James Comey admitted: Loretta Lynch's tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton was the turning point in the email investigation.  Business Insider Director Comey claimed that she did not lied to FBI during this interview. Director Comey admitted that he did not participate himself in the FBI’s interview of Hillary Clinton, nor did he talk to all of the agents who were present at the interview. While there was no recording or full transcript of the interview, there is an analysis which may or may not be provided to Congress.
  17. [Jul 05, 2016]: Comey hijacks the role of Justice Department role and exonerate Hillary. At this point  email scandal was swiped under the carpet. No criminal changes were filed. Statement by FBI Director James B. Comey on the Investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Use of a Personal E-Mail System
  18. [Jul 06, 2016]: Attorney General Loretta Lynch closed the case based on the FBI’s recommendation. Justice Department formally closes Clinton email investigation with no charges - LA Times. Atty. Gen Loretta Lynch said she had met late Wednesday with Comey and career prosecutors and agents who conducted the investigation.
  19. [Jul 10, 2016]: Seth Rich was killed.
  20. [Jul 22, 2016]: Wikipeak published leaks emails and  attachments. A cache of more than 19,000 e-mails was leaked on July 22, 2016.
  21. [Jul 22, 2016]: Another false flag operation to implicate Russians ? Major MSM report about previous unknown hacker going by the moniker "Guccifer 2.0" who claimed on a WordPress-hosted blog to have been acting alone in hacking the DNC. Might be a false flag operation by rogue elements of the US intelligence services, a part of effort to implicate Russians in DNC leak. 
  22. [Jul 24, 2016]: It became clear the DNC has thrown Sanders under the bus, but the role of FBI is depriving him from being Democratic Party candidate still remains hidden. Sanders urged Wasserman Schultz to resign following the leaks and stated that he was "disappointed" by the DNC email leaks, but said that he was "not shocked. In reality he was robbed in daylight. But not only by  Wasserman Schultz but also by the "gang of three at FBI who essentially prevented his nomination by swiping the dirt about Hillary Clinton handing of classified emails on the private email server under the carpet. Peter Strzok supposedly played outside role in this fateful decision. But that became known only in December 2017.
  23. [Jul 25, 2016]: Democratic Convention 2016 opens in at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia  Hillary became the  Democratic  party nominee. Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to reside due to her role in derailing Sanders candidacy. Sanders switched  camps and endorsed Hillary Clinton instead of fighting her nomination.  As Trump sarcastically commented  about Sanders endorsement of Hillary: 'Bernie is now officially part of the rigged system': Trump unloads on Sanders for 'selling out,' says it's like Occupy Wall Street endorsing Goldman Sachs  Donald Trump unloads on Bernie Sanders for 'selling out' Daily Mail Online
  24. [Jul 25, 2016]: The FBI announced that it would investigate the DNC hack.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11] The same day, the DNC issued a formal apology to Bernie Sanders and his supporters, stating, "On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email," and that the emails did not reflect the DNC's "steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process."[12] (Wikipedia aka Ciapedia ;-)
  25. [Jul ??, 2016] Steele dossier reaches FBI. Steele, on his own initiative, supplied a report he had written to an FBI agent in Rome.[23] His contact at the FBI was the same senior agent with whom he had worked when investigating the FIFA scandal.[11] By early October 2016, he had grown frustrated at the slow rate of progress by the FBI investigation, and cut off further contact with the FBI.[21]  At this point Steele dossier got to the desk of Peter Strzok, adamantly anti-Trump FBI official with strong links to CIA and probably personally Brennan. 
  26. [July ??, 2016] Crowdstrike attribution is used for increasing the scope of vicious anti-Russian campaign was launched in the media with the full support and encouragement of Obama administration to swipe the dirt about DNC pushing Sanders under the bus and Clinton emailgate scandal as well as the problem with Hillary health.
  27. [Aug 25, 2016]: Brennan  makes the "all in" move adopting a highly political role and endorsing Steele dossier: according to NYT reports, CIA Director John Brennan briefed Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid on , and alleged that “unnamed advisers to Mr. Trump might be working with the Russians to interfere in the election.” (Stefan Molyneux)
  28. [Aug ??, 2016]: Reid had written to Comey and demanded an investigation of the “connections between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign,” and in that letter he indirectly referred to Carter Page, an American businessman cited by Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers, who had financial ties to Russia and had recently visited Moscow. 
  29. [Sep ??, 2016]: Steele, following instructions from Fusion GPs briefed several MSM. On Sep 23, 2016 Yahoo News published an article about possibilities of ties between Carter Page and Kremlin.
  30. [Sep ??, 2016] Following a report from the Daily Mail in September 2016, Weiner was investigated by the FBI for sexting with a 15-year-old girl. His laptop was seized and emails related to the Hillary Clinton email scandal were found on it, causing a controversy late in the presidential election. On May 19, 2017, Weiner pled guilty to one count of transferring obscene material to a minor. His wife, Huma Abedin, filed for divorce prior to Weiner's guilty plea. In September, he was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison. On November 6, 2017, Weiner began his sentence. (Wikipedia)
  31. [Sep ?? 2016]: FBI applied to FISA court to establish  surveillance on unknown number of members of Trump team (at least Carter Page) possibly using Steele dossier as a pretext.  Looks like rogue elements in FBI used "Steele Dossier" to obtain court order for wiretapping  some members of Trump team such as Carter Page (Strzokgate). With the dirt explicitly planned to be used as "insurance" in case of Trump victory.
  32. [Sep ??, 2016]: FISA warrant was authorized against Page, just after he left the Trump campaign (WaPo).
  33. [Oct 7, 2016]: Damaging for Trump "17 agencies memo" surfaced. This "17 agencies memo" was cooked by Brennan (with possible support of Clapper) by using small pre-selected team of "analysts" (in which probably Peter Strzok played the leading role) and presented as the view of the whole US intelligence community. On October 7, 2016 . On Oct. 7, the Department of Homeland Security and Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement on behalf of the U.S. Intelligence Community. The USIC is made up of 16 agencies, in addition to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (Yes, 17 intelligence agencies really did say Russia was behind hacking )
  34. The 17 agencies memo was used for amplification of the anti-Russian campaign in MSM. Neo-McCarthyism campaign in the USA reached high pitch.
  35. [Oct ??, 2016]: The FBI reached an agreement with Steele to pay him to continue his work. Looks like  the agreement never materialized as Steele was unable to provide the necessary verification for his claims.
  36. [Oct ?? 2016]: [Wikipedia propagates questionable info about how David Corn got the dossier, in view of role of Top FBI Lawyer Who Was Demoted Now Linked To Leaking Bogus Trump Dossier to MSM] On instructions from Fusion PGS Steele personally compiled 33 pages and passed on what he discovered so far to the anti-Trump reporter David Corn from Mother Jones magazine.[26][Wikipedia].  On Dec 22, 2017 it became known that another possible source was not Steele but FBI Lawyer  James Baker  who communicated with David Corn at this time and was demoted later for the leak.
  37. [Oct 28, 2016]: Due to the pressure from NYC FBI office who uncovered Comey announced that the investigation into Hillary "bathroom" email server is resumed based on new emails uncovered in probe into Anthony Wiener sexing scandal (which actually were available to FBI since September, so "why now"? ). FBI reopening investigation into Hillary private email server - Business Insider.  Strzok was assigned to conduct the investigation with predictable results. But the problem with this announcement is that it was made just a 10 days before the elections and violates the notion of "quite period" before election where such news should not be released.  Looks like Comey has second thoughts after throwing Sanders  under the bus.
  38. [Oct 31, 2016]: In the clear attempt to prevent election on Trump rabid Hillary Clinton supported David Corn, a Mother Jones reporter, leaked the existence of the Steele dossier A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump – Mother Jones. This leak can be viewed as a countermove on the Comey announcement, which damaged Clinton campaign:

    Mother Jones has reviewed that report and other memos this former spy wrote. The first memo, based on the former intelligence officer’s conversations with Russian sources, noted, “Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance.” It maintained that Trump “and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals.” It claimed that Russian intelligence had “compromised” Trump during his visits to Moscow and could “blackmail him.” It also reported that Russian intelligence had compiled a dossier on Hillary Clinton based on “bugged conversations she had on various visits to Russia and intercepted phone calls.”

    The former intelligence officer says the response from the FBI was “shock and horror.” The FBI, after receiving the first memo, did not immediately request additional material, according to the former intelligence officer and his American associates. Yet in August, they say, the FBI asked him for all information in his possession and for him to explain how the material had been gathered and to identify his sources. The former spy forwarded to the bureau several memos—some of which referred to members of Trump’s inner circle. After that point, he continued to share information with the FBI. “It’s quite clear there was or is a pretty substantial inquiry going on,” he says.

    “This is something of huge significance, way above party politics,” the former intelligence officer comments. “I think [Trump’s] own party should be aware of this stuff as well.”

    The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment regarding the memos. In the past, Trump has declared, “I have nothing to do with Russia.”

  39. [Nov 06, 2016]: WikiLeaks released a second batch of DNC emails, adding 8,263 emails to its collection.[13] (Wikipedia), This was another deliberate attempt to influence an election as this should be a "quite" period" for such things.
  40. [Nov 06, 2016]:  FBI closes the investigation of "Wiener's laptop copy of Hillary Clinton emails". FBI chief James Comey told leaders in Congress hours earlier that a review of 650,000 emails discovered on a laptop belonging to Anthony Weiner had reinforced his July 5 decision to let her off the hook. FBI will not change decision regarding Hillary Clinton's emails Daily Mail Online
  41. [Nov 09, 2016]: Trump was elected in a surprise victory over Hillary Clinton in a stunning repudiation of the establishemnt .  United States elections, 2016 - Wikipedia
  42. [Nov 10, 2017]: After Trump election massive NeoMcCartyism was launched. Any contact with Russian officials were deemed criminal and the betrayal of the country.  
  43. [Nov 17, 2016]:  Retired general Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was appointed as the national security adviser. Trump appoints Michael Flynn as national security adviser report - NY Daily News.

    Like Trump, Flynn sees a military ally in controversial Russian President Vladimir Putin, who he was seated next to at a banquet in Moscow last year. Flynn has also appeared several times on the state-owned TV station, Russia Today, which the U.S. State Department has accused of being a mouthpiece for Putin.

    ... ... ...

    Flynn's convention appearance puzzled many generals he had served with, as it broke their unofficial code of not picking sides in presidential races.

    Flynn gained further notoriety when he retweeted an anti-Semitic tweet that said, "Not anymore, Jews. Not anymore." He later apologized for the retweet, claiming it was a "mistake."

  44. Obama administration engaged in fierce campaign of "unmasking" the result of surveillance of Trump team in which several members of its administration participated (Susan Rice in primary role).  With the goal of discrediting Trump team and specifically removal of Flynn from the team.

    However, there are 20 high-ranking officials within the U.S. government who have to power to approve requests to reveal those identities if they deem that information is necessary to understanding the value of the intelligence. That process is called "unmasking," and Rice had the authority to do so while serving as national security adviser.

  45. [Nov 18, 2016]:  Sir Andrew Wood, British ambassador to Moscow from 1995 to 2000, met with U.S. Senator John McCain at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, and told McCain about the existence of the collected materials about Trump.[28] Wood vouched for Steele’s professionalism and integrity.[29] In early December, McCain obtained a copy of the dossier from David J. Kramer, a former U.S. State Department official working at Arizona State University.[27] On 9 December 2016 McCain met personally with FBI Director James Comey to pass on the information.[28]
  46. [Nov ??, 2016]: McCain got the dossier and spread it within Washington circles. 
  47. [Dec 09, 2016]: President Obama ordered the entire United States Intelligence Community to conduct an investigation into Russia's attempts to influence the 2016 U.S. election — and provide a report before he leaves office on January 20, 2017
  48. [Dec 29, 2016]: Obama makes his last New Year present to Russia a fuels Russiagate hysteria. He expelled 35 Russian diplomats and seized Russian property in the USA under the pretext of Russia  influencing the US Presidential elections. Along with 17 agencies memo that fueled further neo-McCarthyism campaign again Russia and damaged Trump team. [46][47][48] (Wikipedia)
  49. Another entrapment plot -- this  time against Flynn: Attempt of Flynn to limit the damage of the this move later were used for Flynn removal from the Trump team.  All his conversation were wiretapped and later leaked. In a way this was entrapment  as the conversations were recorded. later the recoding were used first to oust Flynn from Trump team and later by Mueller to  indict  him on technical charge of lying to FBI to get additional dirt of Trump.
  50. [Early January 2017]: a two-page summary of the Trump dossier was presented to President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump in meetings with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers. Christopher Steele - Wikipedia
  51. [Jan 10, 2017]: Steele goes into hiding.
  52. [Jan 10, 2017]: Just  before inauguration, Steele dossier was published by Buzzfeed.  Clinton claimed to be unaware and unconnected to the event.  [Wikipedia]

    On January 10, 2017, CNN reported that classified documents presented to Obama and Trump the previous week included allegations that Russian operatives possess "compromising personal and financial information" about Trump. CNN stated that it would not publish specific details on the memos because it had not "independently corroborated the specific allegations".[32][33] Following the CNN report,[34] BuzzFeed published a 35-page dossier that it said was the basis of the briefing, including unverified claims that Russian operatives had collected "embarrassing material" involving Trump that could be used to blackmail him.[35][36][33][37] NBC reported that a senior U.S. intelligence official said that Trump had not been previously briefed on the contents of the memos,[38] although a CNN report said that a statement released by James Clapper in early January confirmed that the synopsis existed and had been compiled for Trump.[39]

  53. [Jan 12, 2017]: Obama's EO12333 expansion made sure that whatever anti-Trump information got picked up by the intelligence community could be spread widely, and would be hard to trace it back to an individual source .  See also Obama Expands Surveillance Powers on His Way Out Electronic Frontier Foundation
  54. [Jan 20, 2017]: Trump inauguration was accompanied some protests like is common in color revolution scenarios, but is atypical for the US inauguration. They did failed to achieve the necessary scale in order to serve as a "trigger for further disturbances" nessesary to trigger further color revolution protests. There were no charges of policy brutality.  Only 217 protesters were arrested.  Trump inauguration protest damages parts of downtown Washington - CBS News

    The bulk of the criminal acts happened at 10:30 a.m. when 400 to 500 people on 13th Street destroyed property, Interim Police Chief Peter Newsham said. The protesters were armed with crowbars and threw objects at people and businesses, destroying storefronts and damaging vehicles. Police used pepper spray to diffuse the situation.

  55. [Jan 21, 2017]: Campaign for Flynn removal from Trump team started. After inauguration dirt of several member  of Trump team was surfaced  and first of all on general Flynn (who was important link to intelligence agencies in Trump administration) General Flynn served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from July 2012 to his retirement from the military in August 2014. The fact the Flynn lobbied Russians to take more consolatory stance on Israel actions and not to retaliate for expulsion of 35 diplomats will become known much later. At this time his meetings are presented by MSM as a clear collision with the direct goal to discredit him and remove him from the team.
  56. [Jan 23, 2017]: Was this connected with Trump team wiretapping? Robert Hannigan, the director of GCHQ, has resigned from his job as head of one of the three Government intelligence agencies after just two years. GCHQ would only say that Mr Hannigan had left his post for "personal reasons" and that he was not sacked or subject to disciplinary proceedings. He had been director general of defense and intelligence at the Foreign Office before that. At the time he took on the job, GCHQ had been forced onto the defensive following the leak of information about mass surveillance by Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee. GCHQ boss Robert Hannigan quits for 'personal reasons' after just two years
  57. [Feb 13, 2017]: The first victim of Russiagate -- former general Flynn was forced to resign from Trump administration.
  58. [Mar 04, 2017]: Trump complains  about British MI6 surveillance on him and members of his team. White House does not know if alleged surveillance of Trump was by wiretap US news The Guardian
  59. [Mar 07, 2017]: Steele suddenly and unexpectedly emerged form hiding. Former MI6 agent behind Trump dossier returns to work UK news The Guardian
  60. [Mar 22, 2017]: Politico published an article entitled "Nunes claims some Trump transition messages were intercepted" reporting: "House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes declared Wednesday that members of Donald Trump’s transition team, possibly including Trump himself, were under inadvertent surveillance following November’s presidential election." Immediately Nunes get under fire and gets investigated.
  61. [Apr 2, 2017]: Mike Cernovich claimed that Susan Rice was identified as the person who unmasked members of Trump transition team.
  62. [Apr 5, 2017]: Susan Rice unmasking frenzy was confirmed. What you need to know about Susan Rice and the unmasking controversy - ABC News
  63. [May 8, 2017]: Comey was fired by Trump.  Mr. Trump explained the firing by citing Mr. Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, even though the president was widely seen to have benefited politically from that inquiry and had once praised Mr. Comey for his “guts” in his pursuit of Mrs. Clinton during the campaign
  64. [May 9-May 17, 2017]: The "appointment  of the special prosecutor" gambit was launched.   After the success with the removal of Flynn (who might still have good connections with Military intelligence as as such  was especially dangerous for plotters appointment of the special prosecutor gambit was engineered. The included usage of Comey as sacrificed pawn and was supported by the atmosphere of  NeoMcCartyism already created in the country and rogue elements in the  Department of justice.
  65. [May 16, 2017]: Comey leaks information was published by NYT. Which was a deliberate criminal act on his part as such memos belong to the government. the idea was to trigger the appointment of the Special prosecutor and it worked. Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation - The New York Times

    Mr. Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the president immediately after the meeting, which took place the day after Mr. Flynn resigned, according to two people who read the memo. It was part of a paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation. An F.B.I. agent’s contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations.

  66. [May 17, 2017]: Rosenstein appoints Mueller as the Special Prosecutor to investigate Trump-Russia connections and possible Russia influence on the elections.  With the indirect goal for force Trump resignation: shortly before Mueller was interviews by  Trump for the position of the director of FBI and was rejected.  Now Comey destiny as a leaker of government information hinged on the results on Mueller investigation. And they are long  time friends.  Mr. Comey revealed for the first time that he turned over memos about his conversations with Mr. Trump to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.
  67. [May ??, 2017]: Mueller took his task to provide a pretext to depose Trump seriously  and hired rabid anti-Trump prosecutors including Peter Strzok and Andrew Weissmann  (whom NYT called Mueller’s Legal Pit Bull) creating witch-hunt that paralyzed Trump administration.  As if it is difficult to find less biased competent  prosecutors in this country. In other words Mueller cards were revealed. 
  68. [Jun 8, 2017]: During his testimony Comey before before the Senate Intelligence Committee Comey admitted to be the source of leaks to media which triggered the appointment of the Special Prosecutor by Rosenstein, but  refused to answer question about FBI role in propagating and financing Steele dossier. Mr. Comey acknowledged for the first time that the FBI. was investigating Trump team but personally Mr. Trump. .    Comey Testimony The 8 Big Questions James Comey Refused to Answer
  69. [July ??, 2017]: Arrest of Imran Awan and possible role of Debbie Wasserman Schultz in organizing private spying on the members of Congress for the benefits of DNC and Democratic Party. 
  70. [July 20, 2017] FBI finally produced text messages from Strzok to Lisa Page that Horowitz office requested. Those texts uncovered by Inspector General provided ample information about the level of his bias against Trump
  71. [July ?? 2017]: Peter Strzok his illicit lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page leaves Mueller team
  72. [July 27, 2017]: Mueller and Rosenstein were informed about Peter Strzok text messages to Lisa Page
  73. [Aug ??, 2017]: Peter Strzok was quietly removed from the Mueller investigation and demoted in FBI.  Neither Rosenstein, no Congress were informed.
  74. [Oct 18, 2017]: Three Fusion GPS partners plead the Fifth in response to subpoenas to testify before the House Intelligence Committee dailycaller.com

     "In August, Simpson, the point-man on the dossier project, met with the Senate Judiciary Committee for 10 hours. That meeting was held after Simpson and Fusion threatened to plead the Fifth in response to a subpoena threat from the Judiciary panel."

  75. [Oct 21, 2017]:  Fusion GPS that financed Steele dossier asks court to stop lawmakers from seeing financial records
  76. [Oct 25, 2017]: It was revealed that Steele dossier was funded by Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC via Fusion GPS. Hillary Camp Paid For Fusion GPS Steele Dossier – FBI Covered Steele’s Travel Expenses, The WaPo article claims the 2016 presidential campaign of Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee paid for the Fusion GPS dossier alleging Russian ties with the presidential campaign of Republican Donald Trump and sordid phony personal smears of Trump. The Post reported that Clinton campaign and DNC lawyer Marc Elias and his law firm Perkins Coie paid Fusion GPS $168K to continue researching Trump after a Republican donor who originally funded the research pulled out in April 2016.The Clinton campaign and the DNC continued to fund Steele’s research through the end of October. The Dirty Truth About the Steele Dossier Vanity Fair
  77. [Nov 6, 2017]: Flynn was indicted by Mueller team along with another hapless staffer. Business Insider  The indictment of Michael Flynn seems to have been partly intended to shield Mueller from dismissal and to keep his Russiagate investigation alive.
  78. [Dec 1, 2017]: Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI. He was previously entrapeed by Peter Strzok and charged with lying to FBI. This move by-and-large was viewed as a desperate attempt of Mueller to survive under the barrage of revelations about Peter Strzok. And it suceccededed. Mueller probe survives althouth he personally from this point was discredited as a partisan hack (which he was since 9/11). 
  79. [Dec 2, 2017]: Information about Peter Strzok removal comes to light and the texts between him and Lisa Page were disclosed. FBI Agent Kicked-Off Mueller Team for Anti-Trump Messages - Breitbart
  80. [Dec 7, 2017]: Bruce Ohr, Top DOJ Official, Demoted for Ties to Fusion GPS, Trump Dossier. Information that Steele was also directly in touch with high level Obama’s Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and that brse Ohr wife worked for Fusion GPs in anti-Trump research comes to light.
  81. [Dec 10, 2017]: Suspicions about the anti-trump plot within Justice Department and several intelligence agencies including FBI were openly voiced during Congressional hearings. The "insurance policy" email suggested the existence of a conspiracy within the FBI to rig the Presidential Election. During the exchanges between Wray and Jordan at the hearing in the House Judiciary Committee Jordan also had this to say:

    Here’s what I think — I think Peter Strozk (sic)… Mr. Super Agent at the FBI, I think he’s the guy who took the application to the FISA court and if that happened, if this happened, if you have the FBI working with a campaign, the Democrats’ campaign, taking opposition research, dressing it all up and turning it into an intelligence document so they can take it to the FISA court so they can spy on the other campaign, if that happened, that is as wrong as it gets

  82. [Dec 11, 2017]: During his interview Michael Morell  admitted the existence of the plot to remove Trump within intelligence agencies. Conservative Daily Post
  83. [Dec 17, 2017]: BBC became really alarmed at the perspective of appointing a special prosecutor to investigate FBI and/or reopening the probe about Hillary Clinton email server which can expose the role of British government in Steele dossier saga (Trump-Russia inquiry- Why attacks on Robert Mueller are mounting by Anthony Zurcher ) :

    All of it could be setting the ground for new investigations into the FBI or Democrat Hillary Clinton's actions while secretary of state - something Mr Trump himself has suggested - or perhaps even for the president to order the end of Mr Mueller's probe.

    Such an action would provoke a major political crisis and could have unpredictable consequences. For Mr Trump's defenders, it may be enough simply to mire Mr Mueller's investigation in a partisan morass. Here are some are some of the ways they're trying to do that.

  84. [Dec 19, 2017]: One of the central figures in "anti-Trump putsch" within Justice Department and intelligence agencies Andrew McCabe was  grilled for seven and a half hours by House Republicans in Russia meddling probe - Washington Times “I’ll be a little bit surprised if [Mr. McCabe‘s] still an employee of the FBI this time next week,” Mr. Gowdy told Fox News in a separate interview. Washington Times. Now it looks like there is investigation of Mueller collision with the "FBI gang of three" along with Mueller investigation of Trump. this became rteally convoluted but the  degrees of freedom for Mueller were severy cut now.
  85. [Dec 20, 2017]: Several other key figures connected with "insurance policy" email  are expected to testify under oath to House intelligence committee.  The list include Ohr, his wide, Lisa Page and Peter Strzok.
  86. [Dec 22, 2017] More than 170 House Democrats signed a letter supporting Mueller this week, and Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, took to the floor of the Senate on Wednesday to warn that ousting the special counsel could spark a constitutional crisis.
  87. [Dec 22, 2017]: Top FBI Lawyer James Baker who was recently demoted was linked to leaking bogus Steele Dossier to MSM. The GOP sources said the documents — made available recently to lawmakers by the Department of Justice — revealed that James Baker, the FBI’s general counsel, communicated with Mother Jones reporter David Corn in the weeks leading up to the November 2016 election. Corn was the first to report the existence of the dossier on Oct. 31. Top FBI Lawyer Who Was Demoted Now Linked To Leaking Bogus Trump Dossier to MSM – True PunditTrue Pundit
  88. [Dec 23, 2017]:  Andrew McCabe announced his intention to resign from FBI in 90 days (when he can get full pension). Trump sarcastically commented on this decision in a twit.
  89. [Dec 26, 2017]: Damage control efforts and attempt to regroup and save Mueller skin in view of Peter Strzok role in the Hillary email server investigation and pushing Steele dossier started. NYT tried to lower the expectations about year and half "Russiagate" investigation by rabidly anti-Trump team does not provide enough information to change President with "collision" (BTW there is no such rime in Us criminal codex). Now NYT pleads "give me  dirt, any dirt on Trump" The End of Trump and the End of Days - The New York Times:

    Fury isn’t strategy, and there’s no need to extrapolate beyond the facts already in our possession. Take the inquiries into the Trump campaign’s dealings with Russia. They could screech to a halt tomorrow and we’d be left with more than enough evidence of corrupt business dealings, conflicts of interest, shady back channels, awful judgment and outright lies among Trump’s intimates to present voters with a powerful case against his fitness for office.

    But by obsessing over clear “collusion” and insisting on visible puppet strings by which Vladimir Putin controlled Trump, we have set the bar dangerously high. Mueller’s ultimate findings could be plenty ugly and still be deemed underwhelming.

Strzok role in Steele dossier saga and placing Trump team under surveillance

  I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office - that there's no way he gets elected - but I'm afraid we can't take that risk. It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you're 40...

Peter Strzok, AUG 15,2016

Recent hearings does not inspire any confidence in John Brennan and methods that he used. Looks like he might be at the center of events connected to Steele dossier (including, but not  limited to  "Seventeen agencies" memo about Russian influence on elections ) and, especially, to Strzok role in FBI in opening  investigation about Trump Russian connections (John Brennan, Obama loyalist and CIA director, drove FBI to investigate Trump associates - Washington Times): 

It was then-CIA Director John O. Brennan, a close confidant of Mr. Obama’s, who provided the information — what he termed the “basis” — for the FBI to start the counterintelligence investigation last summer. Mr. Brennan served on the former president’s 2008 presidential campaign and in his White House.

Mr. Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee on May 23 that the intelligence community was picking up tidbits on Trump associates making contacts with Russians. Mr. Brennan did not name either the Russians or the Trump people. He indicated he did not know what was said.

... ... ...

Mr. Brennan, who has not hidden his dislike for Mr. Trump, testified he briefed the investigation’s progress to Mr. Obama, who at the time was trying to aid Hillary Clinton in her campaign against the Republican nominee.

... ... ...

But Mr. Brennan’s May 23 testimony shows that it was his actions that drove the FBI probe.

The dossier was financed by a Clinton backer and written by British ex-spy Christopher Steele. He was hired by Democratic-tied Fusion GPS in Washington.

Mr. Steele’s 35 pages of memos were first circulated in late June. In mid-July Fusion passed around another memo that made the most sensational charges. “Further Indications of Extensive Conspiracy Between Trump’s Campaign and the Kremlin” was the headline.

Strzok played important role in using Steele dossier as a pretext to wiretapping of Trump team during the elections.  James Rosen suggests he has CIA connections as well. Which would be  natural for anybody in his position.  So here there might be a link to Brennan's efforts to derail Trump

Most probable he was just a hired gun who received certain "recommendations" as this was part of the efforts of Obama administration to find dirt on Trump and derail his election bid.  Now we know that :

And likely there were others. It is unclear who performed wiretapping. It can be well "outsourced" to MI6 as Trump alleged in March 2017. 

Steele dossier which was created by former MI6 agent probably with the approval and support of MI6. It was a hatchet job to discredit  Trump and ensure Hillary Clinton victory (in which GB government was very interested).  When the dossier was created it found its way to Strzok desk:

As deputy FBI director for counterintelligence, Strzok also enjoyed liaison with various agencies in the intelligence community, including the CIA, then led by Director John Brennan.

House investigators told Fox News they have long regarded Strzok as a key figure in the chain of events when the bureau, in 2016, received the infamous anti-Trump "dossier" and launched a counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the election that ultimately came to encompass FISA surveillance of a Trump campaign associate.

The "dossier" was a compendium of salacious and largely unverified allegations about then-candidate Trump and others around him that was compiled by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS. The firm's bank records, obtained by House investigators, revealed that the project was funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, D-Calif., has sought documents and witnesses from the Department of Justice and FBI to determine what role, if any, the dossier played in the move to place a Trump campaign associate under foreign surveillance.

Strzok himself briefed the committee on Dec. 5, 2016, the sources said, but within months of that session House Intelligence Committee investigators were contacted by an informant suggesting that there was "documentary evidence" that Strzok was purportedly obstructing the House probe into the dossier.

In early October, Nunes personally asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein – who has overseen the Trump-Russia probe since the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions – to make Strzok available to the committee for questioning, sources said.

While Strzok's removal from the Mueller team had been publicly reported in August, the Justice Department never disclosed the anti-Trump texts to the House investigators. The denial of access to Strzok was instead predicated, sources said, on broad "personnel" grounds.

When a month had elapsed, House investigators – having issued three subpoenas for various witnesses and documents – formally recommended to Nunes that DOJ and FBI be held in contempt of Congress. Nunes continued pressing DOJ, including a conversation with Rosenstein as recently as last Wednesday.

Did FBI paid Steele additional money for the dossier is currently unclear.  But negotiations about such payments were under way.

Cui Bono?

Clearly both pro-Clinton and neocon/imperial factions in the US intelligence agencies were most to benefit from the election of Clinton. They also have skeletons  in the closet to hide. For them Hillary Clinton was the only suitable candidate,  and both Trump and Sanders -- a mortal danger.  Previous history of agencies influencing the USA election, such as Herbert Hoover collection dirt on politicians (which saved his from dismissal during Kennedy administration),  Allen Dulles machinations and  the whole JFK assassination sage (which up to this day remain unresolved with Warren commission seen as an instrument of swiping the dirt under the carpet),  as well as CIA role in Nixon Watergate operation suggest that any large US intelligence  agency but especially FBI and CIA have means, motive and opportunity. 

It might be a time for the news Church commission investigating their role in 2016 Presidential election.

Civic control of large intelligence agencies is exceedingly difficult, if impossible, so at some point tail tried to wag the dog.  Both Rockefeller Commission (United States President's Commission on CIA Activities within the United States - Wikipedia) and Church committee provide ample evidence that once the process of polarization of agencies started it difficult or impossible to stop. The boost given to intelligence  agencies after 9/11 (Patriot Act) also played an important role. 

The behavior of Brennan, Clapper and Morell after elections does not inspire any confidence that they stayed  politically neutral in such important for them political fight.

It might be  helpful to see who is defending the dossier to answer the Cui Bob question Some "former CIA agents" jumped in with attempt to increase the credibility of Stele dossier. among  them:

And now there were a couple of former British diplomatic services officials and "journalists" closely connected with MI6 who also tried to defend  the dossier:  

People closely connected to Clinton campaign including Hillary Clinton herself (suppose, surprise) were also quite loud in defending the dossier as were close to Clinton campaign NYT and CNN.

Why Steele was assigned to do this hit job: possible collision between CIA and MI6

According  to Washington Times  it was Brennan who provide FBI information necessary to start the  "Russiagate" and put Trump team under surveillance:

It was then-CIA Director John O. Brennan, a close confidant of Mr. Obama’s, who provided the information — what he termed the “basis” — for the FBI to start the counterintelligence investigation last summer. Mr. Brennan served on the former president’s 2008 presidential campaign and in his White House.

BTW Strzok, the person  instrumental in swiping the Hillary "emailgate" dirt under the carpet,  probably has  multiple and close contacts with CIA due to the nature of his position at FBI. Strzok was the Chief of the Counterespionage Section during the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email server.[4][5] (Wikipedia).

As of December 2017 it looks plausible that the dirt included into Steele dossier was at least tacitly approved by MI6 (as this influences British-Russia relations, which were already at a very low point at this time).  It is also difficult to assume that all those lurid details were the product of Steele imagination. And Steele does not have money to pay his sources and he was a "persona non grata" in Russia so he can't travel to the country; he does not know the language. Typically such  thing are projection: they just attribute to Trump incident  that occurred or rumored to be occurred with a different person. So his  sources might be tales within Russian emigrant community in London, not in Russia. 

The primary hypothesis is that he was just was patsy in a bigger game and can pay for this role a high price being undesired witness of machinations of powerful intelligence agencies.  After he realized that he was scared to death (and probably not only about Russians). That's why after his identity was revealed, he fled his home and went into hiding. Interestingly enough he did it before the publication, not after. Another possibility was that this was a shrewd PR move that implicitly increase plausibility of his "findings" and allow is to avoid unpleasant questions unless the noise around the dossier subside.  

Another the secondary factor might be that Steele services were cheap and he was pretty malleable character who quickly understood what is needed from him (his FIFA work). He also hold a grudge against Russians as Steele career was ruined by Russians who caught him and expelled from the country for espionage in 1993. As you can expect no Russian with any significant standing in government or business would talk to him and/or take bribes from such a person (to begin with the fact that to bribe a Russian official without British Government financial help  he simply is incapable ;-). This simply would be viewed as a setup.  Money he was paid for dossier are too small, really tiny,  to bribe even a couple of Russian university professors who are poor as church rats in comparison with government officials, or businessman. Moreover he is ostracized in Russia and lost all his contacts.  He definitely could bribe Ukrainians instead to provide some real or fake information from their channels for cheap.

According to the Telegraph he specialized on commercializing his knowledge of Russia, but in rather small, pedestrian areas, such as "soccer officials corruption" and similar efforts to derail Moscow bid for world championship (Former MI6 officer Christopher Steele, who produced Donald Trump Russian dossier, 'terrified for his safety' and went to ground): 

Christopher Steele, who wrote reports on compromising material Russian operatives allegedly had collected on US President-elect Donald Trump, is a former officer in Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, according to people familiar with his career.

Former British intelligence officials said Steele spent years under diplomatic cover working for the agency, also known as MI6, in Russia and Paris and at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.

After he left the spy service, Steele supplied the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with information on corruption at FIFA, international soccer’s governing body.

It was his work on corruption in international soccer that lent credence to his reporting on Trump’s entanglements in Russia, US officials said on Wednesday.

Emails seen by Reuters indicate that, in the summer of 2010, members of a New York-based FBI squad assigned to investigate “Eurasian Organized Crime” met Steele in London to discuss allegations of possible corruption in FIFA, the Swiss-based body that also organizes the World Cup tournament.

People familiar with Steele’s activities said his British-based company, Orbis Business Intelligence, was hired by the Football Association, Britain’s domestic soccer governing body, to investigate FIFA. At the time, the Football Association was hoping to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cups. British corporate records show that Orbis was formed in March 2009.

Amid a swirl of corruption allegations, the 2018 World Cup was awarded to Moscow and Qatar was chosen to host the 2022 competition.

The FBI squad whose members met Steele subsequently opened a major investigation into alleged soccer corruption that led to dozens of US indictments, including those of prominent international soccer officials.

Senior FIFA officials, including long-time president Sepp Blatter, were forced to resign.

Steele was initially hired by FusionGPS, a Washington, DC-based political research firm, to investigate Trump on behalf of unidentified Republicans who wanted to stop Trump's bid for the GOP nomination. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported that Steele was initially hired by Jeb Bush, one of Trump’s 16 opponents in the 2016 Republican primary. It was not immediately possible to verify the BBC’s report.

He was kept on assignment by FusionGPS after Trump won the nomination and his information was circulated to Democratic Party figures and members of the media.

Steele’s dealings with the FBI on Trump, initially with the senior agent who had started the FIFA probe and then moved to a post in Europe, began in July. However, Steele cut off contact with the FBI about a month before the Nov. 8 election because he was frustrated by the bureau’s slow progress.

The FBI opened preliminary investigations into Trump and his entourage’s dealings with Russians that were based in part on Steele’s reports, according to people familiar with the inquiries.

However, they said the Bureau shifted into low gear in the weeks before the election to avoid interfering in the vote. They said Steele grew frustrated and stopped dealing with the FBI after concluding it was not seriously investigating the material he had provided.

Steele’s reports circulated for months among major media outlets, including Reuters, but neither the news organizations nor US law enforcement and intelligence agencies have been able to corroborate them.

BuzzFeed published some of Steele’s reports about Trump on its website on Tuesday but the President-elect and his aides later said the reports were false. Russian authorities also dismissed them.

Associates of Steele said on Wednesday he was unavailable for comment. Christopher Burrows, a director and co-founder of Orbis with Steele, told The Wall Street Journal, which first published Steele’s name, that he could not confirm or deny that Steele’s company had produced the reports on Trump.

The Guardian, being is 100% neoliberal publication (which means strongly pro-Clinton) of course tried to present him not as a sleazy patsy, who worked for money,  but as a person meeting some higher moral standards ;-). See for example  Christopher Steele believes his dossier on Trump-Russia is 70-90% accurate US news The Guardian

Between 2014 and 2016, he authored more than a hundred reports on Russia and Ukraine, which were commissioned by private clients but shared widely within the state department and passed across the desks of the secretary of state, John Kerry, and the assistant secretary Victoria Nuland, who led the US response to the annexation of Crimea and the covert invasion of eastern Ukraine.

I like this range (70-90%). Lower bound means that one out of three allegation is provably  false and two other can't be verified ;-)

Now we know that it was DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign who financed the creation of dossier. (MSN, Oct 25,2017)

Yes, the dossier was funded by Democrats

Some of the pushback on the left has focused on the fact that a still-unidentified Republican client retained Fusion GPS to do research on Trump before the Clinton campaign and the DNC. Thus, they argue, it's wrong to say the dossier was just funded by Democrats.

But the dossier's author, Steele, wasn't brought into the mix until after Democrats retained Fusion GPS. So while both sides paid Fusion GPS, Steele was only funded by Democrats.

A Tory MP said last night the fresh outbreak of Cold War hostilities comes at a time when relations between Britain and Russia were the ‘worst they could get in peace-time’.

Russians blame MI6 for Steele dossier

Russians claimed they knew of ‘an impending official anti-Russian witch-hunt, involving the British special services’.

After publication of the dossier, Russia's London embassy posted the dark message addressing former MI6 officer Steele as the diplomatic crisis deepened. The post, headed 'Christopher Steele story', also claimed that British spies had been 'briefing both ways' against both Moscow and the US. In a tweet from its official account the Russian embassy said "MI6 officers are never ex". It was posted on the Russian embassy's official Twitter feed, and was published after the first picture emerged of former British spy Christopher Steele  went into hiding.

Theresa May rejected Russian claim MI6 was behind 'dirty dossier' about President elect Donald Trump  The Independent

Theresa May has rejected Russian allegations that MI6 was to blame for the ‘dirty dossier’ of explosive claims about Donald Trump. Former British spy Christopher Steele – the dossier's alleged author – has not worked for British intelligence “for years”, the Prime Minister said.

The Russian embassy in London had alleged that Mr. Steele was still working for MI6 and “briefing both ways” against Mr. Trump and Moscow, in a Twitter post.

... ... ...

Ms May spoke for the first time about the controversy at a press conference following talks with her New Zealand counterpart in Downing Street. She was asked whether the UK Government had any involvement in the creation of the dossier, a summary of which was handed to the FBI and to President Obama.

“It's a long-standing position that we don't comment on such matters, but I think from everything that you will have seen it is absolutely clear that the individual who produced this dossier has not worked for the UK Government for years,” the Prime Minister replied.

The late-night allegation by the Russian embassy appeared to signal another worsening of Anglo-Russian relations, after many frosty years. An embassy spokesman said the tweet – which said “MI6 officers are never ex” – “reflected the mood in Russia”, prompting talk of a fresh Cold War. American newspapers named Mr. Steele as the author of the 35-page dossier, thought to have been commissioned by a wealthy Republican donor who opposed Mr. Trump's bid for the White House. It alleged Mr. Trump had been cozying up to Vladimir Putin and cavorting with Russian prostitutes. The President-elect has dismissed it as “fake news”, “phoney stuff” and “crap”.

Why Steele went into hiding in January 2017 and then emerged from hiding in March

  Part of the document, allegedly compiled by former British intelligence agent Mr. Steele, is seen above. Click here to see the full document first published by BuzzFeed

All signs are that Steele was not an independent player. He was iether a fraud happy to make a buck, but a patsy of more powerful and sinister forces including parts of MI6 and CIA.  while I think that  'disappearance" was a PR move, Steele probably has reasons  to fear for his life. And it is fair to say that his elimination would be very useful for PR purposes for his handlers. there might be also other  reasons: "One must wonder what's happened to MI6, now that one it's former agents is advertising his former employer. Couldn't they kill him, or something ? ;-)" As one commenter to Daily Caller suggested:

It is so obvious that these idiots had NO IDEA that Trump might actually win the election. They believed their own rigged polls! If they even suspected that Trump might win, and get the keys to the kingdom, they never would have been so bold or at least they would have used what they had sooner to steal it. Once Trump won, they had to go "all in" and try to discredit him quick, but Trump doesn't fold. Once Sessions took over DOJ, the jig was up.

Daily Mail Online  in the article Christopher Steele in hiding over Trump dirty dossier made £1m in two years Daily Mail Online published on Jan 12, 2017 suggested that both Russian government and Trump assumed that this was a MI6 operation against them and that means British government was involved. The relation between Russia and Great Britain slide to the  such a low level that one Tory MP  called them "worst they could get in peace-time."

Christopher Steele in hiding over Trump dirty dossier made £1m in two years

Russia's relations with Britain went into the deep freeze last night as Moscow blamed MI6 for the dossier of sordid claims about Donald Trump.

In an alarming Twitter post, the Russian embassy in London suggested the dossier’s alleged author, former British spy Christopher Steele, was still working for MI6 and ‘briefing both ways’ against Mr. Trump and Moscow.

Mr. Steele, who spied in Moscow in the 1990s, was last night in hiding after vanishing shortly before the damning dossier made headlines around the world. Neighbours said he had asked them to look after his three cats, and there were claims last night he was in an MI6 safe house.

A Russian embassy spokesman said the tweet – which said ‘MI6 officers are never ex’ – ‘reflected the mood in Russia’.

A Tory MP said last night the fresh outbreak of Cold War hostilities comes at a time when relations between Britain and Russia were the ‘worst they could get in peace-time’.

Just days ago the Russians claimed they knew of ‘an impending official anti-Russian witch-hunt, involving the British special services’.

Russia's London embassy posted the dark message addressing former MI6 officer Steele as the diplomatic crisis deepened. The post, headed 'Christopher Steele story', also claimed that British spies had been 'briefing both ways' against both Moscow and the US. It was posted on the Russian embassy's official Twitter feed, and was published after the first picture emerged of former British spy Christopher Steele  -- who has fled his £1.5million Surrey mansion in fear.

When approached for a comment by MailOnline, a spokesman for the Russian embassy said: 'We have obvious questions". 'We don't raise them with HM Government given the frozen state of our official relationship. The tweet reflects the mood in Russia and speaks for itself.'

Following the tweet, Tory MP Crispin Blunt, who is conducting an inquiry into Russia, said it was a sign UK-Russian relations were the 'worst they could get in peace time'. Mr. Blunt, an ex-army officer and foreign affairs select committee chair, said: 'For a peace time political relationship, it is about as bad as it could get.'

Steele, 52, described as a 'confirmed socialist' as a Cambridge student, apparently packed his bags and fled his home in fear yesterday telling his neighbour: 'Look after my cats.'  Steele, a father-of-three and widower, may have gone abroad after being sensationally revealed as the author of a dossier on Donald Trump’s alleged outlandish sexual perversions with prostitutes in a Russian presidential suite.

... ... ...

Mr. Trump called the dossier 'fake' and 'phony', even suggesting that US secret services had leaked it to damage his reputation before his inauguration.  He debunked the 'golden shower' claim by saying: 'Does anyone believe that? I'm a germophobe'.

Senator John McCain was allegedly handed the incendiary Trump file by a former British Ambassador to Moscow, who has not yet been named.

Yesterday it was revealed Sir Tim Barrow, a former British Ambassador to Moscow who is now the UK's top EU diplomat in charge of Brexit regotiations, worked in the same office as Steele when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Sir Tim is understood to have told bosses he had 'nothing to do with' leaking Steele's Trump memos, a Foreign Office source told MailOnline.

Sir Andrew Wood - British ambassador to Moscow between 1995 and 2000 - has confirmed he met McCain, an outspoken critic of the President Elect, at a security conference in Canada in November.

The two discussed Trump's vulnerability to blackmail amid allegations contained in the discredited dossier. But he denied being the source of the document, which McCain was handed by an unnamed diplomat. Sir Andrew told The Independent he knew the alleged author of the dossier, former MI6 spy Christopher Steele, describing him as 'professional and thorough'.

He suddenly emerged from hiding on March 7, 2017 Just in  time as the buzz around the dossier subsided. (Trump Dossier Author Comes Out Of Hiding The Daily Caller ):

But the ex-spy declined to comment on his work on the 35-page Trump dossier, which was published by BuzzFeed in January. “I’m really pleased to be back here working again at the Orbis’s offices in London today,” he said in a video statement outside of Orbis’ offices in London.

He thanked supporters but said “I won’t be making any further statements or comments at this time.”

... ... ...

The retired spook began his work on the dossier in June after being hired by Fusion GPS, a Washington, D.C.-based opposition research firm. Fusion GPS had been hired by a pro-Clinton group to dig up dirt on Trump.

Steele produced a series of memos dated between June 20 and Dec. 13. The memos, which were gleaned from a variety of sources, alleged that the Kremlin has blackmail material on Trump. Another Steele source claimed that the Trump campaign and Kremlin were in secret talks to help Trump win the election.

Was British government involved in color revolution against Trump?

On Jan 23, 2017 the head of British GCHQ spy agency resigned for "family reasons." That might  be connected with British government wiretapping of Trump team to which Trump alleged later the same year:

British spy chief Robert Hannigan said on Monday he was stepping down as head of Britain’s intelligence eavesdropping service GCHQ for family reasons. Hannigan, GCHQ director since 2014, said the job had demanded “a great deal” from his family.

In   NYT published an article Trump Offers No Apology for Claim on British Spying  which now sounds pretty funny in view of subsequent events and discoveries and now can be viewed as a part of whitewashing efforts:

The angry response from Britain stemmed from Mr. Trump’s persistence in accusing Mr. Obama of tapping his phones last year despite the lack of evidence and across-the-board denials. At a briefing on Thursday, Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, read from a sheaf of news clippings that he suggested bolstered the president’s claim.

Among them was an assertion by Andrew Napolitano, a Fox News commentator, that Mr. Obama had used Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, the agency known as the GCHQ, to spy on Mr. Trump. In response to Mr. Spicer, the agency quickly denied it as “nonsense” and “utterly ridiculous,” while British officials contacted American counterparts to complain.

Also British government staunchly supported Hillary Clinton after former PM David Cameron reached an agreement with her about Brexit. Those facts were not yet reflected in Wikipedia article. Among journalists, Bob Woodward called the dossier a "garbage document". A devastating assessment of this "unconvincing forgery" was done by  Craig Murray  in his article  Unconvincing Forgery, The Alleged Donald Trump “Manchurian Candidate” The Steele Dossier or the Hitler Diaries Mark II  Fusion GPS threatening to plead the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination also raised eyebrows last week. The Clinton campaign has also, notably, denied working with the Ukrainian government to dig up dirt on Trump.

Looking on treatment of Steele dossier in Guardian a strong suspicion arise that a part of British establishment  was involved in this dirty peace of work too.

Did FBI or Justice Department pay Steele?

There were also information of FBI payment to Steele, but so far it is unverified.  If true that implicates Comey in criminal activity ( FBI Dir. James Comey testified on Russian 'The Steel Dossier' - YouTube, his testimony  30:00 ). After Hillary Clinton "emailgate" case was reopened James Comey asked for immunity.  See also Trey Gowdy’s STUNNING Move Left Robert Mueller & James Comey SPEECHLESS! - YouTube

The Daily Caller article suggest that the deal fall apart when Steele was unable to verify allegations:

It emerged last week that the FBI made an informal agreement with Steele in October to pay the retired spook for his services. According to The Washington Post, the FBI never paid Steele, though it is unclear why their deal fell apart. (RELATED: FBI Pressed On Agreement With Trump Dossier Author)

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley is now asking the FBI to provide details of that agreement and other correspondence with Steele.

“The idea that the FBI and associates of the Clinton campaign would pay Mr. Steele to investigate the Republican nominee for President in the run-up to the election raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics,” Grassley wrote in the letter to Comey.

Steele has also been sued over his work on the dossier. A Russian tech executive named in the dossier as a Kremlin asset who was helping wage the email hacking campaign is suing Steele and BuzzFeed for defamation. BuzzFeed redacted the executive’s name and apologized for not doing so when it first published Steele’s memos.

As NPR reported Andrew McCabe, FBI Deputy Director, Faces Closed-Door Grilling From Lawmakers NPR

Lawmakers on Tuesday also likely grilled McCabe on the so-called Trump dossier, which was compiled by a former British intelligence officer at the behest of a Washington-based strategic research firm called Fusion GPS. Hillary Clinton's campaign helped pay for the dossier as opposition research on Trump.

Republicans want to know whether the FBI used the dossier to launch its investigation into Russian interference in last year's election. Mueller took over that probe when he was named special counsel in May.

Republicans allege that if the Russia investigation is founded upon a Democratic-funded dossier, then the whole inquiry is politically motivated.

Then-FBI Director James Comey told Congress earlier this year that the bureau's counterintelligence investigation into the Trump camp began in July of 2016, but he did not detail what spurred it.

Comey also was a supporter of McCabe, who began his career at the FBI in 1996 in the New York Field Office, where he investigated organized crime. He later shifted to counterterrorism and held senior positions in the FBI's National Security Branch and Washington Field Office. In January 2016, Comey named McCabe as the bureau's deputy director, which gave him an oversight role in all of the FBI's domestic and international investigations and intelligence operations. McCabe briefly served as acting director after Trump fired Comey in May.

After Andrew McCabe who was involved in those negotiations was grilled by House Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election he rushed to retire (announced Dec 23, 2017) Andrew McCabe, F.B.I.’s Embattled Deputy, Is Expected to Retire - The New York Times

What was in the dossier?

Donald Trump–Russia dossier - Wikipedia (please note that Wikipedia clearly takes pro-Steele stance, which is not surprising taking into account that one nickname of Wikipedia is CIApedia)

The Donald Trump–Russia dossier is a private intelligence dossier that was written by Christopher Steele, a former British MI6 intelligence officer. It contains unverified allegations of misconduct and collusion between Donald Trump and his campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the period preceding the election. The contents of the dossier were published in full by BuzzFeed on January 10, 2017.[1] BuzzFeed's decision to publish the dossier was met with criticism from some mainstream media outlets.[2][3][4]

The dossier primarily discusses possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The media and the intelligence community have stressed that accusations in the dossier have not been verified. Most experts have treated the dossier with caution, but in February, it was reported that some details related to conversations between foreign nationals had been independently corroborated, giving U.S. intelligence and law enforcement greater confidence in some aspects of the dossier as investigations continued. Trump himself has denounced the report, calling it "fake news" and "phony".

The dossier was produced as part of opposition research during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The research was initially funded by an unnamed Republican during the Republican Party presidential primaries. After Trump won the primaries, the Democratic lawyer Marc Elias took over the funding on behalf of the DNC and Clinton presidential campaign,[5] and, following Trump's election, Steele continued working on the report, with financing from Glenn R. Simpson of Fusion GPS,[6] and passed on the information to British and American intelligence services.

The 35-page dossier claims that Russia is in possession of damaging or embarrassing information about Trump which could be used for purposes of blackmail to get Trump to cooperate with the Russian government.[7] The material includes allegations about Trump's sexual and financial dealings in Russia.[8] The dossier further alleges that Trump has been cultivated and supported by Russia for at least five years, with Putin's endorsement, with the overall aim of creating divisions between Western alliances; that Trump has extensive ties to Russia; and that there had been multiple contacts between Russian officials and people working for Trump during the campaign.[7][9]

The report alleged that the Russian government had cultivated Trump for years:

The "Russian regime has been cultivating, supporting and assisting TRUMP for at least 5 years. Aim, endorsed by PUTIN, has been to encourage splits and divisions in western alliance". It maintained that Trump "and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin, including on his Democratic and other political rivals". It claimed that Russian intelligence had "compromised" Trump during his visits to Moscow and could "blackmail him".

— Mother Jones, October 31, 2016[10]

The report further alleged that there were multiple in-person meetings between Russian government officials and individuals established as working for Trump.[11][12] The former intelligence officer continued to share information with the FBI, and said in October 2016 that "there was or is a pretty substantial inquiry going on".[10]

... ... ...

Russian press secretary Dmitry Peskov insisted in an interview that the document is a fraud, saying "I can assure you that the allegations in this funny paper, in this so-called report, they are untrue. They are all fake."[70] The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, called the people who leaked the document "worse than prostitutes"[71] and referred to the dossier itself as "rubbish".[72] Putin went on to state he believed that the dossier was "clearly fake",[73] fabricated as a plot against the legitimacy of President-elect Donald Trump.[74]

...Among journalists, Bob Woodward called the dossier a "garbage document,"

...Aleksej Gubarev, chief of technology company XBT and a figure mentioned in the dossier, sued BuzzFeed for defamation on February 3, 2017. The suit, filed in a Broward County, Florida court,[80] centers on allegations from the dossier that XBT had been "using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct 'altering operations' against the Democratic Party leadership".[81] In the High Court of Justice, Steele's lawyers said that their client did not intend for the memos to be released, and that one of the memos "needed to be analyzed and further investigated/verified".[82]

On March 2, 2017, media began reporting that the Senate may call Steele to testify about the Trump dossier.[83]

On March 27, 2017, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley asked the Department of Justice to initiate an inquiry into Fusion GPS, who initially retained Steele to write the dossier.[84] Fusion GPS was previously associated with pro-Russia lobbying activities due to sanctions imposed by the Magnitsky Act.[85]

On August 22, 2017, media reported that Christopher Steele had met with the FBI and had provided them with the names of his sources for the allegations made in the dossier.[86]

 HLet's here consideration of of the opposite party: The Russia Explainer. The main point is that "If the dossier were true, it means Steele’s contacts are not only supernaturally well-connected, having access to unreported information from various parts of the Russian state apparatus (and from inside the Trump campaign) on intelligence matters and criminal conspiracies, but are willing to take incredible risks in order to help Steele prepare his reports.". The most typical punishment in Russia for treason is life sensence without parole. Even for extremely greedy and unscuplious person, that exclude possibility of taking such  a risk for small amount of money that  Steele might be to pay, if any. 

These are the general impressions a Russia-knowledgeable person gets from the dossier (I’ll expand on these as we go through the points of the dossier):
  • With about 10 minutes of Googling in Russian (which I then confirmed with English-language sources linked to below) I was able to debunk one of the allegations in this supposedly “unverifiable” dossier: that longtime Kremlin insider Oleg Govorun supposedly was a “bag carrier” for Alfa Group in the early ’90s who delivered cash to Vladimir Putin while he was deputy mayor of St. Petersburg. I was able to establish that Govorun didn’t go to work for Alfa until 1997, leaving Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s holding Rosprom together with Vladislav Surkov (who joined Alfa in March 1997), 8 months after Putin had moved from St. Petersburg to Moscow to work for Yeltsin after Putin’s boss, St. Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak, had lost the 1996 election. At the time Putin left office (his boss having been voted out), Govorun was working for Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a rival of Alfa’s owners. And no, he didn’t work for Alfa before that. I was also able to see how Steele’s sources made this mistake: Govorun’s Wikipedia page leaves out his time working for Khodorkovsky, and makes it look like Govorun worked at Alfa-Bank from 1993 to 2000. Ah, the perils of doing your research on Wikipedia!
  • The person who actually organized the reports in the dossier (as opposed to the sources) is not very familiar with Russian business or politics (particularly the personalities involved) in 2016, probably doesn’t speak Russian or know what’s being reported in the Russian media, and there are a number of clear or easily checkable errors.
  • If the dossier were true, it means Steele’s contacts are not only supernaturally well-connected, having access to unreported information from various parts of the Russian state apparatus (and from inside the Trump campaign) on intelligence matters and criminal conspiracies, but are willing to take incredible risks in order to help Steele prepare his reports.
  • Some of the information that Steele’s contacts provide would only make sense if (1) the Russian government works completely different from how even Russians close to the government believe it works, (2) the personalities involved are completely different from how they appear to close observers, and (3) all of the prevailing wisdom about how the Putin team works behind-the-scenes is wrong.
  • There’s a strange juxtaposition of on the one hand, information that, if true, would be ultra-insider, completely surprising, mind-blowing revelations about the inner workings of the Russian ruling clique, and on the other hand, basically cut-and-paste jobs from whatever was in the headlines in the weeks before any given report in the dossier. Steele does not seem to be concerned that his client will simply Google the names and incidents in his reports and find out that this information had already been in the news for days, or sometimes weeks or months – in the case of Steele’s “scoop” about the relationship between Aras Agalarov and Trump, the “intel” had been in Donald Trump’s own Twitter feed for almost 3 years.
  • The dossier doesn’t seem to have had much intelligence value: if you go by the dates on the individual reports that make up the dossier, all of the verifiable information refers to things that had already been reported or speculated on in the Russian and/or Western media by that time. The unverifiable information is presented in the form of unfounded allegations. There isn’t any “actionable” intelligence – accurate predictions of future events and people’s plans, or “dirt” for which there is at least some evidence.
  • There are also glaring omissions given later developments in the Trump/Russia story. Why no mention of Cozy Bear, Fancy Bear or the GRU? Why no mention of internet troll armies or fake news? Why no mention of the role of RT or Sputnik in the overall influence operation? The most logical explanation is that Steele’s sources were riffing off of media reports, and the omitted narratives didn’t get traction in the press until the US intelligence community issued its declassified report on Russia’s election interference in January 2017, after the dossier was already out in the wild. But if the dossier was really based on knowledgable insiders’ reports and not on a bunch of rumors peddled in response to the news of the day, you’d expect it would have foreshadowed many of the revelations in that report (assuming the intel agencies’ report has merit).

 

Frantic efforts to spread lies after the election to fuel neo-McCarthyism campaign

Neo-McCarthyism campaign launched after the election has multiple purposes. It allow to shift blame for Hillary Clinton fiasco, which was important for neoliberal wing of Democratic Party. And specifically swipe under that carpet the dirty game DNC played against Sanders.

It also distracts public from the fundamental problem -- the crisis of neoliberalism in the USA. The crisis that led to the Trump election.

John McCain played some role in this effort, or may was used as a patsy by exploiting his pre-existent anti-Russian bias to further goals of other players.  During this period US MSM throw away any pretence in objectivity and lied and distort information with impunity.  Paradoxically this restored some  trust in fox News which was only partially infected by this neo-McCarthyism witch-hunt. But NYT, WaPo, CNN, MSNBC and other  neoliberal channels fall into such depth of depravity that they even Soviet media looks like a paragon of objectivity in comparison with them.

It could well be that the role of Steele dossier might be create a pretext of using total surveillance on Trump team on the part of FBI. Which was a pretty devious plot, indeed.  And they are real specialists in this area due to their track record of implementing color revolutions in various parts of the globe, and, especially, in former Soviet Union and its former satellites. 

It was also an opening move in the  appointment of the Special Prosecutor gambit, which culminated in May 2017 with the appointment of Mueller. 

 


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[Oct 15, 2019] The incredible luck of Comey is he was not arraigned after the IG report.

Oct 15, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , October 12, 2019 at 03:49 AM

James Comey Would Like to Help
https://nyti.ms/3298iut
NYT - Matt Flegenheimer - October 12

James Comey slumps strategically in restaurants -- all 6-foot-8 of him, drooping faux-furtively with his back to the room -- and daydreams about deleting the civic-minded Twitter feed where a bipartisan coalition pronounces him a national disgrace.

He sleeps soundly -- nine hours a night, he ballparks -- and organizes the self-described "unemployed celebrity" chapter of his life around a series of workaday goals. "One of my goals has been to get to 10 consecutive pull-ups," Mr. Comey said in an interview, legs crossed on the back porch of his stately Virginia home. "I'm at nine now. So, I've been doing a lot of pull-ups."

He writes and thinks and reads and worries from a tidy downstairs office surrounded by the trinkets of his past: the White House place card from the night President Trump asked for his "loyalty" as F.B.I. director; a book by Nate Silver, the political data whiz who believes Mr. Comey's explosively ambiguous letter in October 2016 about the Hillary Clinton email investigation probably handed Mr. Trump the election; a page from a quote-of-the-day calendar, saved for its resonance: "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

"It reminds me so much of the F.B.I.," Mr. Comey said.

But then, a lot of things have lately. Another Trump-branded election interference scandal is upon us. Institutions are wobbling. And Mr. Comey, as ever, cannot fight a nagging conviction about it all: James Comey can help. He must help.

"I feel stuck," he said. "Like I can't do something else. And I couldn't look myself in the mirror if I went and did something easy."

What he is doing, exactly, is not entirely clear even to him. Rather than proceed with the standard arc of an erstwhile intelligence leader -- think tanks, corporate boards, studied political silence -- Mr. Comey has pledged to spend the next 13 months working to drive Mr. Trump from power.

The former F.B.I. director, a lover of order, sees little of it in a norm-smashing president spiraling toward impeachment, riffing on "sick and deranged" Democrats at a recent rally and playacting the dialogue of F.B.I. officials like an insult comic. In this concern, Mr. Comey has ample company. In this company, he carries a kind of customized psychic baggage.

Who can know how it feels to wonder, to have everyone you meet wonder, if the president is standing behind that seal because of you?

"Thanks for giving us Donald Trump," an older woman heckled recently, adding an expletive as Mr. Comey strolled through a Yale Law School building, where he had come for a talk that focused largely on his fateful 2016 decisions and attendant personal anguish.

"Thank you for the feedback," he told her.

Divorced from its singular context, Mr. Comey's condition is somewhat typical of the wandering urgency with which many presidential critics are approaching the 2020 election. Last year's season of midterm activism has given way to a long electoral winter of Democratic primary skirmishes and an emphasis on just a few early-voting states, leaving Trump opponents to wrestle with how to contribute amid a gush of executive outrages they feel powerless to counteract.

Lawmakers can impeach. Whistle-blowers whistle-blow. What of the private citizen, determined to live publicly?

"It's hard for people who've had a lot of power to come to terms with the fact that there's actually very little you can do when you're not a candidate," said Jennifer Palmieri, a former top aide to Mrs. Clinton. "Or the F.B.I. director."

While short on formal authority, Mr. Comey has suffered no deficiency of platforms. He says he has signed a contract to write opinion pieces for The Washington Post. He is the subject of an upcoming mini-series, starring Jeff Daniels as Mr. Comey, based on his best-selling memoir. He travels the country giving speeches on ethical leadership, mixing pro bono appearances on college campuses with paid bookings that command a six-figure fee. ("It's a lot!" Mr. Comey enthused, while declining to name his precise rate. "Seriously, it's crazy.")

Over nearly two hours last month at his Northern Virginia home, whose coordinates he prefers not to publicize given the president's affection for lathering up supporters with tales of "Leakin' Lyin' James Comey," the former F.B.I. director could register as a spindly contradiction. He is at once a just-the-facts lawman and a prodigious feeler of feelings, introspective about the size of his ego and incapable of suppressing it entirely.

He says he is "not that important in the great sweep of American history" but believes his firsthand view into the president's psyche can offer uncommon value to the anti-Trump movement. He can hold forth in one breath on the humbling task of bird-feeder maintenance and in another invoke the teachings of the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. He says "dude" a lot.

At times, Mr. Comey can sound as if he is suggesting that the Twitter account from which he slings grave warnings and measured hope ("This country is so much better than this president") is yoked to the health of the nation.

"I have a fantasy about on January 21, 2021, deleting my Twitter and moving on to something else," he said. "But until then, I can't."

Closure has eluded some of his audiences, too. They lard Mr. Comey's public events with skeptical questions about his choices in 2016. The Justice Department's inspector general has lashed Mr. Comey for "insubordinate" conduct during that period, accusing him of breaking with longstanding policy by publicly discussing an investigation into Mrs. Clinton's use of a private email server, including in a letter to Congress less than two weeks before the election.

Mr. Comey has conceded that he may have allowed himself to be influenced subconsciously by the political consensus that Mrs. Clinton would win. But he has betrayed no major regrets, defending his chosen course as the best among bad options. "I wish like hell we hadn't been involved," he said. He predicted that history would judge him kindly for prizing disclosure over concealment (not, as some Clinton allies see it, opting for spectacle over discretion).

Asked if he cared about how he would be remembered for the ages, Mr. Comey, 58, said, "I was going to say I don't care. I'm sure I care a little," adding, "It frustrates me in general that millions of people have a false impression of me. I wish they knew I was funnier." ...

ilsm -> Fred C. Dobbs... , October 12, 2019 at 07:01 AM
The incredible feature of Comey is he was not arraigned after the IG report.

Maybe he goes down with the Mueller fish Durham fries!

How does Comey not go all in with the next phase of the coup?

[Oct 09, 2019] As long as a majority of the House is willing to vote for a special rule, there is little that the Rules Committee cannot do

Oct 09, 2019 | theconservativetreehouse.com

Lburg , October 8, 2019 at 6:09 pm

This may be a LollaPalosi wrap-up smear tactic.

Called the House Rules Committee office this morning. In order for House Rules to change after they pass at the start of the session – in this case January 2019 – there would have to be a vote taken. In looking at the House Resolution ( https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-resolution/6/all-actions ) all actions occurred in Jan. this year so no vote to amend has been taken. That doesn't mean that Nan won't use this wonk's paper to bolster her position OR that a particular committee didn't change their rules. But according to the person I spoke with, the standing House Rules can not be changed without a vote.

The gentleman also said that Congressional Research Service papers are just that – interpretations/research on a particular subject that do not hold any legislative weight. They are requested anonymously so there probably isn't a way to trace who requested this particular paper or how it ended up being authored by Rybicki (one of seven she's written this year). Additional little tidbit is that the papers can be requested by members of Congress or their staff members.

While trying to figure it out on my own found this chilling little factoid from the Rules Committee page re: bills considered under a "special rules" scenerio ( https://rules.house.gov/about archived here: http://archive.fo/VIK1C ):
"The Committee has the authority to do virtually anything during the course of consideration of a measure, including deeming it passed. The Committee can also include a self-executed amendment which could rewrite just parts of a bill, or the entire measure. In essence, so long as a majority of the House is willing to vote for a special rule, there is little that the Rules Committee cannot do. " (emphasis mine)

That makes the House Rules Committee more powerful that the full house voting on "special rules" bills. Well doesn't that just sound .wrong.

[Oct 03, 2019] Judicial Watch: DOJ Docs Show Rosenstein Advising Mueller 'the Boss' Doesn't Know About Their Communications.

Oct 03, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

milo_hoffman , 1 hour ago link

BREAKING: Judicial Watch: DOJ Docs Show Rosenstein Advising Mueller 'the Boss' Doesn't Know About Their Communications. Shows massive collusion and plotting by Rosenstein and Muller, behind administrations back, and collusion with democrats and press.

"These astonishing emails further confirm the dishonest corruption behind Rosenstein's appointment of Robert Mueller," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "The emails also show a shockingly cozy relationship between Mr. Rosenstein and anti-Trump media reporters."

https://www.judicialwatch.org/press-releases/judicial-watch-doj-docs-show-rosenstein-advising-mueller-the-boss-doesnt-know-about-their-communications/

[Oct 01, 2019] IG Horowitz - A Democrat Donor - Feared Pulling Punches To Protect Establishment Operatives

Notable quotes:
"... During his 17-month probe into the FBI's investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails, which he touted as "thorough" and "comprehensive," Horowitz repeatedly declined to use his subpoena power - allowing key players to provide their own evidence. ..."
"... He also allowed two lead FBI officials, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page , to sort through which of their electronic communications were "personal" vs. "work related" ..."
"... Horowitz subsequently learned through interviews that Strzok drafted classified investigative documents and communicated with Page about them on their private email in violation of department rules, which require officials to communicate through government channels -- the same basis for the Clinton email probe. Yet neither was compelled to turn over the emails . ..."
"... Horowitz never referred Strzok for criminal sanctions for maintaining court-sealed documents on an unsecure computer. Strzok was nonetheless fired last year by the bureau for misconduct. He is now suing the department for unlawful termination. ..."
"... The IG also failed to demand access to Comey's private Gmail account , even though he, too, used it for official FBI business. - RealClear Investigations ..."
"... "Undeniably, there was bias against Trump [at headquarters]," according to former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, adding "Clinton was not going to be charged no matter how much evidence there was." ..."
Oct 01, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

... ... ...

Horowitz gave former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe special treatment - accepting his explanation for why he failed to recuse himself from the Clinton email case until November 2016, while also accepting McCabe's claim that he had nothing to do with his wife's Senate campaign, even though he:
  • personally met with her sponsor and fundraiser McAuliffe;
  • drove her to campaign stops;
  • attended one of her candidate debates;
  • discussed the campaign with her on FBI equipment;
  • appeared in a family photo used in a campaign mailer; and,
  • posed with her wearing her official campaign T-shirt for a photo distributed on social media to promote her candidacy.

As Sperry notes, " Were such actions violations of the Hatch Act , a federal law that prohibits federal employees from engaging "in political activity in an official capacity at any time"? If so, the topic didn't interest Horowitz, who accepted on face value the FBI's argument in a letter to the Senate that he played no formal role in his wife's campaign and that his activities were permissible under the law."

Former inspectors general found this questionable, especially in the wake of a Justice Department memo issued in 2014, and again in early 2016, warning department and FBI employees to "be particularly mindful of these rules in an election year." - RealClear Investigations

" Everybody and their mother knew he was engaged in political activities, " said former Pentagon IG General Joseph E. Schmitz. "Horowitz could have easily seen to it that he was branded unfit for office and banned from the federal payroll for up to five years."

Protecting Clinton, Strzok and Page

During his 17-month probe into the FBI's investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails, which he touted as "thorough" and "comprehensive," Horowitz repeatedly declined to use his subpoena power - allowing key players to provide their own evidence.

He also allowed two lead FBI officials, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page , to sort through which of their electronic communications were "personal" vs. "work related" according to the report.

Horowitz subsequently learned through interviews that Strzok drafted classified investigative documents and communicated with Page about them on their private email in violation of department rules, which require officials to communicate through government channels -- the same basis for the Clinton email probe. Yet neither was compelled to turn over the emails .

"The inspector general and I arranged an agreement where I would go through my personal accounts and identify any material that was relevant to FBI business and turn it over," Strzok said in testifying before Congress. "It was reviewed. There was none. My understanding is the inspector general was satisfied with that action. "

Horowitz never referred Strzok for criminal sanctions for maintaining court-sealed documents on an unsecure computer. Strzok was nonetheless fired last year by the bureau for misconduct. He is now suing the department for unlawful termination.

The IG also failed to demand access to Comey's private Gmail account , even though he, too, used it for official FBI business. - RealClear Investigations

And while Horowitz is widely credited with having uncovered anti-Trump / pro-Clinton text messages between Strzok and Page while they were in the middle of investigating Trump and Clinton, he only 'found' them after pressure from congressional Republicans - and has apparently given up trying to find still-missing text messages blamed on a tech error.

Horowitz did admonish Strzok and Page for their obvious "political bias," however he concluded that their clear preference for Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump did not influence their investigations, and that they only exercised "extremely poor judgement" despite the fact that an August 2016 text from Strzok to Page strongly suggests they were actively working against Trump.

"[Trump's] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!" Page asked Strzok, to which he replied "No. No he won't. We'll stop it ."

In a report echoing the FBI's determination that Hillary Clinton had been "extremely careless" but not "grossly negligent" in her use of email, Horowitz essentially cleared the FBI agents of fixing the case for Clinton while still acknowledging several irregularities in the email probe. For example, the FBI did not push for a grand jury to compel testimony and obtain the vast majority of evidence, choosing instead to offer unusually generous immunity deals to Clinton aides. Comey drafted a statement exonerating Clinton months before agents interviewed her. - RealClear Investigations

"Undeniably, there was bias against Trump [at headquarters]," according to former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, adding "Clinton was not going to be charged no matter how much evidence there was."

"The inspector general was wrong to conclude that this bias could not be deemed causative of any particular investigative decision in the Clinton emails case," added McCarthy.

Read the rest of the report here .

Then read Sperry's report on how Horowitz cut the Clintons some major slack over the infamous 'tarmac' meeting here .

[Sep 28, 2019] Christopher Steele's connection to Ukraine

Sep 28, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

JohnH -> JohnH... , September 26, 2019 at 01:02 PM

Christopher Steele's connection to Ukraine:

"During the Ukraine cries in 2014-15, Chris Steele had a number of commercial clients who were asking him for reports on what was going on in Russia, what was going on in Ukraine, what was going on between them." --Victoria Nuland.
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/02/04/former_assistant_secretary_of_state_victoria_nuland_christopher_steele_also_shared_information_with_state_department.html

By commercial clients, you should read oligarchs who were still in business because they had sworn fealty to the US owned regime.

JohnH -> JohnH... , September 26, 2019 at 07:09 PM
More information on Hunter Biden. He served on the President's Advisory Council of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a subsidiary of the National Endowment for Democracy, which was set up after Congress banned the CIA from pursuing regime change. A lot of the coordination and assistance for the Ukraine coup probably passed through that 'non-profit.' Joe Biden was Obama's point person, and Hunter Biden was probably Joe's eyes, ears, and gopher at NDI.

Immediately after the coup, Hunter was appointed to the board of the strategically critical Burisma energy company, Ukraine's largest producer of natural gas. From what I have seen, the US likes to have its assets sit on the Board of strategically critically energy companies.

And is Ukraine ever strategically important!!! Apart from the fact the Russian pipelines pass through the country, "Ukraine has an estimated 42 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of technically recoverable shale gas reserves, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), ranking its deposits as the fourth largest in Europe."
https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Ukraine_and_fracking

Again, Hunter Biden's appointment would not have been by chance. He would have been put there to once again to be Joe Biden's eyes, ears, and gopher.

As a side benefit, Hunter Biden would have been in an excellent position, both from his work at NDI and at Burisma, to meet the movers and shakers in post-coup Ukraine and coordinate disinformation campaigns as needed. The Ukrainians would have been eager to help as the solvency of the country depended on US loans.

So are we about to witness the first color revolution on US soil? Could be

[Sep 27, 2019] Christopher Steele's connection to Ukraine

Notable quotes:
"... "During the Ukraine cries in 2014-15, Chris Steele had a number of commercial clients who were asking him for reports on what was going on in Russia, what was going on in Ukraine, what was going on between them." --Victoria Nuland. ..."
"... More information on Hunter Biden. He served on the President's Advisory Council of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a subsidiary of the National Endowment for Democracy, which was set up after Congress banned the CIA from pursuing regime change. A lot of the coordination and assistance for the Ukraine coup probably passed through that 'non-profit.' Joe Biden was Obama's point person, and Hunter Biden was probably Joe's eyes, ears, and gopher at NDI. ..."
"... As a side benefit, Hunter Biden would have been in an excellent position, both from his work at NDI and at Burisma, to meet the movers and shakers in post-coup Ukraine and coordinate disinformation campaigns as needed. The Ukrainians would have been eager to help as the solvency of the country depended on US loans. ..."
Sep 27, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

JohnH -> JohnH... , September 26, 2019 at 01:02 PM

Christopher Steele's connection to Ukraine:

"During the Ukraine cries in 2014-15, Chris Steele had a number of commercial clients who were asking him for reports on what was going on in Russia, what was going on in Ukraine, what was going on between them." --Victoria Nuland.

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/02/04/former_assistant_secretary_of_state_victoria_nuland_christopher_steele_also_shared_information_with_state_department.html

By commercial clients, you should read oligarchs who were still in business because they had sworn fealty to the US owned regime.

JohnH -> JohnH... , September 26, 2019 at 07:09 PM
More information on Hunter Biden. He served on the President's Advisory Council of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a subsidiary of the National Endowment for Democracy, which was set up after Congress banned the CIA from pursuing regime change. A lot of the coordination and assistance for the Ukraine coup probably passed through that 'non-profit.' Joe Biden was Obama's point person, and Hunter Biden was probably Joe's eyes, ears, and gopher at NDI.

Immediately after the coup, Hunter was appointed to the board of the strategically critical Burisma energy company, Ukraine's largest producer of natural gas. From what I have seen, the US likes to have its assets sit on the Board of strategically critically energy companies.

And is Ukraine ever strategically important!!! Apart from the fact the Russian pipelines pass through the country, "Ukraine has an estimated 42 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of technically recoverable shale gas reserves, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), ranking its deposits as the fourth largest in Europe."
https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Ukraine_and_fracking

Again, Hunter Biden's appointment would not have been by chance. He would have been put there to once again to be Joe Biden's eyes, ears, and gopher.

As a side benefit, Hunter Biden would have been in an excellent position, both from his work at NDI and at Burisma, to meet the movers and shakers in post-coup Ukraine and coordinate disinformation campaigns as needed. The Ukrainians would have been eager to help as the solvency of the country depended on US loans.

So are we about to witness the first color revolution on US soil? Could be

[Sep 24, 2019] The Plan to Trip Up Trump Consortiumnews

Notable quotes:
"... "I don't know what the fuck you're talking about," Papadopoulos replied according to his recent book , "Deep State Target." But what if he had instead chuckled or said something stupid in order to puff himself up? Based on previous FBI entrapment cases , the answer seems clear: after threatening him with prosecution, the bureau would have outfitted him with a wire so that he could bring down other campaign officials. It wouldn't have stopped until it snared the ultimate prize –Trump himself. ..."
"... Trump told reporters in May he wanted Australia's role to be investigated by the Justice Department. Comey's Trump Tower meeting was important because it led directly to the publication of the notorious dossier that would generate endless headlines and cripple the incoming Trump administration even though it was full of baloney. ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... Instead of electing presidents, Americans would merely submit them to the FBI for review. ..."
"... With the Electoral College and the Supreme Court already overturning the popular vote in two of the last five presidential elections, voters would have a fourth branch to contend with – the intelligence community. ..."
"... As Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer told MSNBC'S Rachel Maddow at the height of the Russiagate madness: "Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community – they have six ways from Sunday of getting back at you." Had Comey succeeded in bringing down Trump, they may have had a seventh. ..."
"... Le Monde Diplomatique ..."
Sep 24, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Before the Trump Tower visit, Comey sat down with top FBI brass – Chief of Staff James Rybicki, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, General Counsel James Baker, and others involved with the Russiagate investigation – to strategize about the upcoming meeting.

Page 17 of the OIG report tells of what they were up to:

"Baker and McCabe said that they agreed that the briefing needed to be one-on-one, so that Comey could present the 'salacious' information in the most discreet and least embarrassing way. At the same time, we were told, they did not want the President-elect to perceive the one-on-one briefing as an effort to hold information over him like a 'Hoover-esque type of plot.' Witnesses interviewed by the OIG also said that they discussed Trump's potential responses to being told about the 'salacious' information, including that Trump might make statements about, or provide information of value to, the pending Russian interference investigation."

As the final sentence shows, Comey's job was to confront Trump about the alleged 2013 Moscow incident and see whether he would give the FBI reason to advance its Russiagate investigation to a whole new level, that of the presidency itself.

This was the same approach the FBI would employ a couple of weeks later after listening in on a telephone conversation between Mike Flynn and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and not liking what it heard about plans to bolster U.S.-Russian relations. The solution was to send a couple of agents to quiz the newly-appointed national security adviser and see how he would respond. After telling Flynn not to bother bringing along a lawyer because it was just a friendly chat and "they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport" – as a follow-up memo noted – the agents caught the ever-voluble Flynn fudging various details. Three weeks later, he found himself out of office and in disgrace. Ten months after that, he was in federal court pleading guilty to making false and misleading statements.

Another Set-Up

Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department's inspector general. (Wikimedia Commons)

Now we know from the OIG report that this was apparently the goal with regard to Trump.

Russiagate began nine months earlier with a smallarmy of intelligence agents buzzing around a naïve young Trump adviser named George Papadopoulos. [See " Spooks Spooking Themselves ," May 31, 2018.] An Anglo-Maltese academic named Joseph Mifsud, an individual with strong Anglo-American intelligence connections, wined and dined him and told him that Russia had "dirt" on Hillary Clinton in the form of "thousands of emails."

An Australian diplomat, former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer , who was similarly connected, invited him out for drinks and then passed along the fruits of the conversation to Canberra, which related them to Washington. A Belorussian-American businessman who worked for Steele offered Papadopoulos $30,000 a month under the table. A U.S. intelligence asset named Charles Tawil presented him with $10,000 in cash. A long-time CIA informant named Stefan Halper flew Papadopoulos to London and barraged him with questions:

"It's great that Russia is helping you and the campaign, right, George? George, you and your campaign are involved in hacking and working with Russia, right? It seems like you are a middleman for Trump and Russia, right? I know you know about the emails."

"I don't know what the fuck you're talking about," Papadopoulos replied according to his recent book , "Deep State Target." But what if he had instead chuckled or said something stupid in order to puff himself up? Based on previous FBI entrapment cases , the answer seems clear: after threatening him with prosecution, the bureau would have outfitted him with a wire so that he could bring down other campaign officials. It wouldn't have stopped until it snared the ultimate prize –Trump himself.

Trump told reporters in May he wanted Australia's role to be investigated by the Justice Department. Comey's Trump Tower meeting was important because it led directly to the publication of the notorious dossier that would generate endless headlines and cripple the incoming Trump administration even though it was full of baloney.

Most of what we know about that meeting in the early days of the Trump administration comes from a memo that Comeydashed off minutes later and then lightly revised the next morning.

According to his memo, Comey met one-on-one with Trump to tell him about the Steele dossier because

"the content [was] known at IC [intelligence community] senior level and I didn't want him caught cold by some of the detail . I said I wasn't saying this was true, only that I wanted him to know both that it had been reported and that the reports were in many hands. I said media like CNN had them and were looking for a news hook. I said it was important that we not give them the excuse to write that the FBI has the material and that we were keeping it very close-hold."

But Comey's memo was disingenuous, starting with his line about not wanting to give the media "the excuse to write that the FBI has the material." Leaks are an integral part of Washington, as an insider and a leaker like Comey knows.

As Comey must have also known, his very decision to brief Trump on the dossier wound up triggering press attention to it.

Four days later, Buzzfeed posted the dossier on its website. The source remains anonymous but it's easy to imagine that either Director of National Intelligence James Clapper or CIA Director John Brennan spilled the beans. They both accompanied Comey to the meeting and were appalled by Trump's call for a rapprochement with Russia.

Comey's memo also rings false where it says he "wasn't saying this was true, only that I wanted him to know both that it had been reported and that the reports were in many hands."

Glenn Simpson, the ex- Wall Street Journal reporter whose private Washington intelligence firm, Fusion GPS, commissioned the dossier on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the DNC, told the House intelligence committee that Steele began sharing his findings with the FBI "in July or late June" of 2016. (See p. 60 of testimony transcript ).

That means that the bureau had the Moscow Ritz-Carlton report in hand six months prior to the Trump Tower meeting. Surely, this is enough time to reach some conclusion as to its veracity.

'Might Make Statements'

Had Trump fallen into Comey's trap, millions of Americans would no doubt have cheered – and given Trump's dismal record in office, who can blame them? But the implications are chilling, and not just for rightwing dissidents. Instead of electing presidents, Americans would merely submit them to the FBI for review.

With the Electoral College and the Supreme Court already overturning the popular vote in two of the last five presidential elections, voters would have a fourth branch to contend with – the intelligence community.

As Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer told MSNBC'S Rachel Maddow at the height of the Russiagate madness: "Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community – they have six ways from Sunday of getting back at you." Had Comey succeeded in bringing down Trump, they may have had a seventh.

Daniel Lazare is the author of "The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy" (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics. He has written for a wide variety of publications from The Nation to Le Monde Diplomatique and blogs about the Constitution and related matters at D aniellazare.com .


Richard A. , September 24, 2019 at 15:13

I think Russiagate is more than just smearing Trump, it's also about smearing Russia. The war lobby here in the US and the UK are trying to manipulate public opinion in to hating Russia.

R Zarate , September 24, 2019 at 05:02

And now there are calls to impeach Trump for asking for an investigation into Biden! It speaks volumes about the MSM that there was no uproar when H.B. took the job at Bursima, I remember the White House putting out a release at the time saying they could see no conflict of interest, I guess the lack of conflict was it was par for the course to enrich family members.

By the bye. So Trump gets impeached, then what? Didn't do Clinton any harm.

CitizenOne , September 23, 2019 at 23:26

It is an interesting history filled with plots within plots to destroy Trump for the audacity to win the presidential election. True he won the election with a lot of help from Cambridge Analytica and his election team which included Roger Stone, George Papadopoulos (the nube) Paul Manafort (the former partner in the Black, Stone, Manafort and Kelly lobby firm) , Rick Gates and Michael Flynn.

All these people were indicted under the Mueller probe but yet Trump escaped without a scratch on his record. To pull this off Trump abandoned all of them in turn claiming he hardly knew them and had no involvement. How Trump escaped from the Mueller investigation has nothing to do with his innocence and everything to do with the lack of evidence tying him to the crimes his associates admitted to under intense scrutiny by the Mueller Special Council Investigation into the alleged Russian Hacks which supposedly threw the election toward Trump. Michael Cohen, Trump's long time lawyer was also convicted of paying off two women that alleged Trump arranged for sex with the women and later paid them off handsomely allegedly by orders from Trump.

It is like Trump won his freedom because there was no evidence to convict him despite the many people who were closely associated with himwho fell as victims to the special prosecutors zeal for indictments of Trump's inner guard.

In the end the Mueller report all but exonerated Trump with Mueller claiming Trump had committed impeachable evidence but that Mueller could do nothing about that leaving his conclusions up to the court of popular appeal as to whether or not Trump was guilty of obstruction of justice in the entire Russia Gate story.

Trump accurately called out the testimony of Comey before Congress into what he knew about the Russian attempt to hack the election as fake news. Trump banked on what the intelligence community would share about the election result and he won big time when the Mueller investigation into Russian hacking of the election produced no tangible connection between Trump and the alleged hackers. The Steel dossier was also l shown to be just more fake news paid for by the democrats.

The longer Trump remains in charge the less likely that he will be implicated in a scandal although the new allegations that he attempted to get the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden has the potential to raise a new round of fake news decrying that the president has engaged in yet more impeachable offenses.

robert e williamson jr , September 23, 2019 at 21:23

Beware of the Department of Justice, mad dogs and dogs of war.

Appears to be FBI disruption of the domestic governmental tranquility for the unique purpose of disrupting a duly elected president.

I mean the FBI bill themselves as the domestic counter intelligence apparatus and CIA apparently agrees. Maybe CIA is actually running another of their counter intelligence covert mission that involves the undoing of Ole Donny J. .

No I didn't say it, no mention of the dreaded "executive action" my me.

My assumption is that this may be simply collateral damage from the investigation into the Russia meddling in the 2016 elec . . . . .

. . . and the beat goes on, la da da dee . . . !

That far away look in the eyes of the old democratic leaders is the look of "the fear" (H.S.T.). They watch as the repugs, their partners in crime get skewered , by the same DOJ that will skewer them in a New York second given a chance.

DOJ and the USAG leading the shock troops of the National Socialists take over.

Sandra Thompson , September 23, 2019 at 20:58

One of your best lines: "Instead of electing presidents, Americans would merely submit them to the FBI for review." Liked last couple of paragraphs too. Thank you

Abby , September 23, 2019 at 19:43

So Comey knowingly and blatantly lied to the incoming president and it was that incoming president that got investigated? How the hell does that make sense to the Russia Gaters? And then they elevated Comey after he got fired? This makes as much sense as people thinking that Robert Mueller was going to save the country.

After reading Parry's essay on Joe ByeDone from 2014 after the Obama coup in Ukraine that showed how corrupt the powerful people in our government are I don't even know why people bother to vote anymore. The country is run by people behind the scenes who use congress critters to do their dirty work and give them cover. And with our corrupt military industrial complex setting the world on fire I think it's time for the empire to burn.

Ray McGovern , September 23, 2019 at 18:46

VERY GOOD PIECE, DAN. THANKS. Ray McGovern

Martin , September 23, 2019 at 15:27

I read somewhere early on that someone was peddling the steele-dossier to many different outlets weeks or even months before trump's briefing, but they wouldn't bite (too fantastic) until the feds legitimized it. The people should be informed about these mechanics.

Dan Anderson , September 23, 2019 at 15:09

Here's the warning before being sworn in:
January 3, 2017 – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: "Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday to get back at you. So, even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he is being really dumb to do this."
Rachel Maddow: "What do you think the intelligence community would do if they were motivated to?"
Schumer: "I don't know, but from what I am told, they are very upset with how he has treated them and talked about them," -- The Rachel Maddow Show Jan 3, 2017

[Sep 22, 2019] Was Smolenkov just money obsessed forger, who supplied fake information knowing that this is what his USA handlers want to hear?

Sep 22, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman September 16, 2019 at 12:03 pm

The Beeb continues to blather on about Smolenkov being an absolutely top-hole high-level aide to Vladimir Putin, practically running the place, Darling, probably called each other 'Vladdy' and 'Smoky' when the peasants weren't around.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-49651576

Includes the mandatory reference to Putin verifiably having ordered the election-meddling that put Trump in the White House. I have to wonder if this isn't an American dodge so they can say they were tricked by this fake spy into believing a nonsense story. Not much in the way of interest from Russia, mostly mockery about the American fondness for pulp fiction, but I notice the 'our American partners' line fell by the wayside some time ago.

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J.T. September 21, 2019 at 5:32 pm
How contrived.
What will they claim next? That Putin and Smolenkov were lovers?

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Mark Chapman September 21, 2019 at 6:57 pm
I should not be at all surprised.

Say; speaking of that – I don't know how I forgot to mention this. I saw in the paper the other day that the Palins are divorcing.

https://news.yahoo.com/sarah-palin-hires-big-shot-142811239.html

What are the chances Todd Palin will be approached to do a tell-all book?

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J.T. September 22, 2019 at 6:16 am
Are political tell-alls a popular subgenre now? Everyone's in on it! Rachel Maddow, Samantha Power, Andrei Kovalev, Vladimir Yakunin, some Lebedev banker guy whose upcoming title I forgot to bookmark

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[Sep 22, 2019] The Beeb continues to blather on about Smolenkov being an absolutely top-hole high-level aide to Vladimir Putin, practically running the place, Darling, probably called each other 'Vladdy' and 'Smoky' when the peasants weren't around.

Sep 22, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

J.T. September 21, 2019 at 5:32 pm

How contrived.

What will they claim next? That Putin and Smolenkov were lovers?

[Sep 21, 2019] Spy vs Spy vs Spy The Mysterious Mr. Smolenkov

Notable quotes:
"... Or alternatively, Smolenkov might have been someone who was turned after recruitment or a genuine agent who was trying to respond to urgent demands from his controller in Washington, who was de facto ..."
"... Scott also believes, as do I, that the story was leaked because John Brennan and his associates knew that they were deliberately marketing phony intelligence on Russia to undermine Trump and are trying to preempt any investigation by Attorney General William Barr on the provenance of the Russiagate story. ..."
"... The reality is that spying is a highly creative profession, with operational twists and turns limited only by one's imagination. In this case, unless someone actually succeeds in interviewing Oleg Smolenkov and he decides to tell the complete truth as he sees it, the American public might never know the reality behind the latest spy story. ..."
Sep 21, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

The account that appeared in the mainstream media went something like this: A midlevel Russian official named Oleg Smolenkov was recruited decades ago by the CIA. He eventually wound up in an important office in the Kremlin that gave him access to President Vladimir Putin. Smolenkov was the principal source of information confirming that Russia, acting on Putin's instructions, was trying to interfere in the 2016 presidential election to defeat Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump. It was claimed that Smolenkov was actually able to photograph documents in Putin's desk. CIA concerns that a mole hunt in the Kremlin resulting from the media revelations concerning Russian interference in the election might lead to Smolenkov resulted in a 2016 offer to extract him and his family from Russia. This was successfully executed during a Smolenkov family vacation trip to Montenegro in 2017. The family now resides in Virginia.

The CNN story and other mainstream media that picked up on the tale embroidered it somewhat, suggesting that although Smolenkov was the CIA's crown jewel, the US has a number of "high level" spies in Moscow. It was also claimed that the timetable for the exfiltration was pushed forward by CIA in 2017 after it was noted that Donald Trump was particularly careless with classified information and might inadvertently reveal the existence of the source. The allegation about Trump carelessness came, according to CNN, after a May 2017 meeting between Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in which the president reportedly shared sensitive information on Syria and ISIS that had been provided by Israel.

Variants of the CNN story appeared subsequently in the New York Times headlined C.I.A. Informant Extracted From Russia Had Sent Secrets to US for Decades , which confirmed that the extraction took place in 2017 though it also asserts that the decision to make the move came in 2016 when Barack Obama was still president.

Taibbi observes, correctly, that CNN and the other mainstream elements reporting the story elaborated on it through commentary coming from anonymous "former senior intelligence officials." As the networks have all hired ex-spooks, it raises the interesting possibility that employees of the media are themselves providing comments on intelligence operations that they were personally involved in, meaning that they might deliberately promote a narrative that does not cast them in a bad light.

Next morning's Washington Post story US got key asset out of Russia following election hacking touched all bases and also tried hard to implicate Trump. It confirmed 2016 as the time frame for the decision to carry out the exfiltration and also mentioned the president's talk with Lavrov in May 2017, though the meeting itself was not cited as the reason for the move. As Taibbi observes, "So why mention it?"

The Russians have denied that Smolenkov was an important official and have insisted that the whole story might be something of a fabrication. And the alleged CIA handling of the claimed top-level defector somewhat bears out that conclusion. Normally, a former top spy is resettled in the US or somewhere overseas in a fake name to protect him or her from any possible attempt at revenge by their former countrymen. In Smolenkov's case, easily public accessible online county real estate records indicate that he bought a $1 million house in Stafford Virginia in 2018 using his own true name .

If the Russians were truly conducting a mole hunt that endangered Smolenkov it may have been because the US media and their anonymous intelligence sources have been bragging about how they have "penetrated the Kremlin." A Washington Post June 2017 articled called " Obama's Secret Struggle to Punish Russia for Putin's Election Assault is typical. In that article , the author describes how CIA Director John Brennan secured a "feat of espionage" by running spies "deep within the Russian government" that revealed Russia's electoral interference.

So, the Smolenkov story has inconsistencies and one has to question why it was deliberately leaked at this time. The only constant in the media coverage is the repeated but completely evidence-free suggestion that the mole was endangered and had to be removed because of Donald Trump's inability to keep a secret. One has to consider the possibility that the story has been leaked at least in part due to the continuing effort by the national security state to "get Trump."

Highly recommended is former weapons inspector Scott Ritter's fascinating detailed dissection of Smolenkov's career as well as a history of the evolution of CIA spying against Russia . Scott speculates on why the leak of the story took place at all, examining a number of scenarios along the way. Smolenkov, who, according to former CIA officer Larry Johnson, has oddly never been polygraphed to establish his bona fides , might have been a double agent from the start, possibly a low level functionary allowed to work for the Americans so the Russian FSB intelligence service could feed low level information and control the narrative. It is a "dirty secret" within the Agency that many agents are recruited by case officers for no other reason than to enhance one's career. Such agents normally have no real access and provide little reporting.

Or alternatively, Smolenkov might have been someone who was turned after recruitment or a genuine agent who was trying to respond to urgent demands from his controller in Washington, who was de facto John Brennan, by producing a dramatic report that was basically fabricated. Or the story itself might be completely false, an attempt by some former and current officials at CIA to demonstrate a great success at a time when the intelligence community is under considerable pressure.

Scott also believes, as do I, that the story was leaked because John Brennan and his associates knew that they were deliberately marketing phony intelligence on Russia to undermine Trump and are trying to preempt any investigation by Attorney General William Barr on the provenance of the Russiagate story. If it can be demonstrated somehow that the claims of Kremlin interference came from a highly regarded credible Russian source then Brennan and company can claim that they acted in good faith. Of course, that tale might break down if anyone bothers to interview Smolenkov.

Another theory that I tend to like is that the CIA might be making public the Smolenkov case in an attempt to lower the heat on another actual high-level source still operating in Moscow. If Russia can be convinced that Smolenkov was the only significant spy working in the Kremlin it might ratchet down efforts to find another mole. It is an interesting theory worthy of spy vs. spy, but one can be pretty sure that Russian counterintelligence has already thought of that possibility and will not be fooled.

The reality is that spying is a highly creative profession, with operational twists and turns limited only by one's imagination. In this case, unless someone actually succeeds in interviewing Oleg Smolenkov and he decides to tell the complete truth as he sees it, the American public might never know the reality behind the latest spy story.

[Sep 18, 2019] DOJ Sued For Records Of FBI Agent Who Helped Circulate Steele Dossier

Looks like Cheney protégé Victoria Nuland played an important role in Steele dossier saga.
I wonder why female neocons are so nasty. Is this this suppressed "Inferiority complex" or what ?
Notable quotes:
"... A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit was filed against the US Justice Department on Wednesday by legal watchdog group Judicial Watch , ..."
"... According to August 2018 testimony by the DOJ's former #4 official Bruce Ohr, dossier author Christopher Steele gave two memos from his salacious, Clinton-funded opposition research to Gaeta. ..."
"... According to the Epoch Times ..."
"... For this visit, the FBI sought permission from the office of Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. Nuland, who had been the recipient of many of Steele's reports, gave permission for the more formal meeting. On July 5, 2016, Gaeta traveled to London and met with Steele at the offices of Steele's firm, Orbis. ..."
"... Victoria Nuland???? Oh, waits, that Nuland. The qwm who orchestrated the Ukraine mess. Now I've got it, whew, thought I was losing my memory there for a bit. ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit was filed against the US Justice Department on Wednesday by legal watchdog group Judicial Watch , seeking records concerning FBI Special Agent Michael Gaeta - an agency Legal Attaché in Rome who helped circulate the infamous Steele Dossier.

George Papadopoulos @GeorgePapa19

Expect the name Michael Gaeta to become a household name very soon regarding spygate.

The JW lawsuit seeks:
  • All records of communications, including emails (using [his or her] own name or aliases), text messages, instant chats and encrypted messages, sent to and from former FBI Legal Attaché in Rome, Special Agent Michael Gaeta, mentioning the terms "Trump", "Clinton", "Republican", "Democrat", and/or "conservatives."
  • All SF50s and SF52s of SA Michael Gaeta.
  • All expense reports and travel vouchers submitted for SA Michael Gaeta.

According to August 2018 testimony by the DOJ's former #4 official Bruce Ohr, dossier author Christopher Steele gave two memos from his salacious, Clinton-funded opposition research to Gaeta.

In the July 30 meeting, Chris Steele also mentioned something about the doping -- you know, one of the doping scandals. And he also mentioned, I believe -- and, again, this is based on my review of my notes -- that he had provided Mr. Gaeta with two reports "

The only thing I recall him mentioning is that he had provided two of his reports to Special Agent Gaeta.

According to the Epoch Times , Gaeta was authorized by former Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland to meet with Steele at his London office in order to obtain dossier materials.

The purpose of the London visit was clear. Steele was personally handing the first memo in his dossier to Gaeta for ultimate transmission back to the FBI and the State Department.

For this visit, the FBI sought permission from the office of Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. Nuland, who had been the recipient of many of Steele's reports, gave permission for the more formal meeting. On July 5, 2016, Gaeta traveled to London and met with Steele at the offices of Steele's firm, Orbis.

The FBI's scramble to vet the dossier's claims are well known. According to an April, 2017 NYT report , the FBI agreed to pay Steele $50,000 for "solid corroboration" of his claims . Steele was apparently unable to produce satisfactory evidence - and was not paid for his efforts :

Mr. Steele met his F.B.I. contact in Rome in early October, bringing a stack of new intelligence reports. One, dated Sept. 14, said that Mr. Putin was facing "fallout" over his apparent involvement in the D.N.C. hack and was receiving "conflicting advice" on what to do.

The agent said that if Mr. Steele could get solid corroboration of his reports, the F.B.I. would pay him $50,000 for his efforts, according to two people familiar with the offer. Ultimately, he was not paid . - NYT

Still, the FBI used the dossier to obtain the FISA warrant on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page - while the document itself was heavily shopped around to various media outlets . The late Sen. John McCain provided a copy to Former FBI Director James Comey, who already had a version, and briefed President Trump on the salacious document. Comey's briefing to Trump was then used by CNN and BuzzFeed to justify reporting on and publishing the dossier following the election.

" The FBI is covering up its role in the Russiagate hoax ," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "Judicial Watch has had to fight the FBI 'tooth and nail' for every scrap of information about the illicit targeting of President Trump."


Herp and Derp , 1 minute ago link

Great news that Ted is finally (after 30+ years of discussion) introducing a term limits amendment.

Along with term limits for legislature, we need to kill the deep state as well. The government needs to be reduced significantly. I say we go back to spoils. If a federal role is needed, then it must be hired/re-hired by the whitehouse. Every FBI agent, etc. Trump has proven that most current direct appointments are waste of money and unnecessary.

Limits restricting ex-politicians and military from lobbying, but also partners and nepotism need to be codified and restricted for politician families.

LEEPERMAX , 2 minutes ago link

Whether it's MARK MEADOWS, DOUG COLLINS, JIM JORDAN, LINDSEY GRAHAM or any of the others, I've come to the conclusion that the ONLY PERSON seriously taking on those who were involved in THE ATTEMPTED COUP TO TAKE DOWN TRUMP is TOM FITTON of JUDICIAL WATCH.

The U.S. is a Captured Operation

tunetopper , 5 minutes ago link

Misfud was in Rome too. The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital St John - present sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II. Was he a bailiff or a knight, question...?

Swamidon , 8 minutes ago link

Talk talk talk, its cheap, and boring with the same criminals appearing over and over, but no action ever taken and the Traitors don't look very nervous. Why doesn't Trump issue an Executive Order to direct employees of the DOJ and the FBI etc., to fully cooperate with investigators?

I am Groot , 15 minutes ago link

Time to fire Director Deep State Wray and dismantle the FBI, President Trump ! They are 100% corrupt !

CheapBastard , 13 minutes ago link

He's a huge disappointment.

NoDebt , 6 minutes ago link

Agreed. This guy Wray has been slow-walking and standing in the way of anything happening at every turn. I am convinced he is absolutely there to protect the FBI and nothing else. He is definitely acting like a "company man".

And, I'm not gonna give Trump any more free passes for what seems to be a lot of BAD picks in his appointments. In this respect I think it's where Trump has been the most disappointing.

White Nat , 21 minutes ago link

Hope Judicial Watch files a FOIA request for weiner's laptop.

gilhgvc , 23 minutes ago link

correction: BARR,TRUMP and the REPUBLICANS are ALLOWING the FBI to cover up

New_Meat , 24 minutes ago link

Nuland?

Victoria Nuland???? Oh, waits, that Nuland. The qwm who orchestrated the Ukraine mess. Now I've got it, whew, thought I was losing my memory there for a bit.

but who is Evelyn Farkas? Gotta' think on that one.

f'noldbastard , 43 minutes ago link

They may respond sometime in 2025

Gringo Viejo , 44 minutes ago link

The FBI was founded by a cross dressing, closet homosexual with a gambling "jones" who was blackmailed by the Mafia.

And it was expected to improve with age?

JoeTurner , 45 minutes ago link

Is Steele still alive? He seems like a major liability

chunga , 33 minutes ago link

Christopher Wray is another beauty right up there with Stiff Sessions.

Secret Weapon , 46 minutes ago link

The FBI has become America's Gestapo.

chunga , 43 minutes ago link

Their top experts have been studying the malfunctioning Epstein cameras for about three weeks now.

Demologos , 26 minutes ago link

The FBI has their TOP men studying it, TOP men!

chunga , 10 minutes ago link

When NYPD busted Weiner Comey sent his black hats to seize the laptop.

While under an international spotlight Barr recused himself from the Epstein matter and Wray did nothing.

[Sep 17, 2019] The Spy Who Failed by Scott Ritter

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The source was said to be responsible for the reporting used by the former director of the CIA, John Brennan, in making the case that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered Russian intelligence services to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election for the purpose of tipping the scales in favor of then-candidate Donald Trump. ..."
"... On closer scrutiny, however, this aspect of the story falls apart, as does just about everything CNN, The New York Times ..."
"... "And Ye Shall Know the Truth and the Truth Shall Make You Free," John 8:32, is etched into the wall of the main lobby of the Old CIA Headquarters Building. ..."
"... Every Russian diplomat assigned to the United States is screened to ascertain his or her susceptibility for recruitment. The FBI does this from a counterintelligence perspective, looking for Russian spies. The CIA does the same, but with the objective of recruiting a Russian source who can remain in the employ of the Russian government, and thereby provide the CIA with intelligence information commensurate to their standing and access. Turning a senior Russian diplomat is difficult; recruiting a junior Russian diplomat like Oleg Smolenkov less so. Someone like Smolenkov would be viewed not so much by the limited access he provided at the time of recruitment, but rather his potential for promotion and the increased opportunity for more essential access provided by such. ..."
"... The reality is, however, that the CIA and the FBI have different goals and objectives when it comes to the Russians they recruit. As such, Smolenkov's recruitment was most likely a CIA-only affair, run by NR but closely monitored by the Russian Operations Group of the Agency's Central Eurasia Division, who would have responsibility for managing Smolenkov upon his return to Moscow. ..."
"... But his job as foreman of the Rossotrudnichestvo coop was not the kind of job a Maurive Thorez graduate gets; Smolenkov had to have felt slighted. He allegedly turned to drink, and his marriage was on the rocks; his colleagues spoke of a man who believed his salary was too low. ..."
"... The enticements of money and future opportunity -- the CIA's principle recruitment ploys -- more than likely were a factor in convincing this dissatisfied diplomat to defect. ..."
"... the fact is, sometime in 2007-2008, Smolenkov was recruited by the CIA. ..."
"... He was granted a "second-level" security clearance, which allowed him to handle top secret information. ..."
"... Moscow Station, however, was having trouble carrying out its clandestine tasks. In the fall of 2011, the CIA's chief of station in Moscow, Steven Hall, had been approached by his counterpart in the Russian Federal Security Service (the FSB, Russia's equivalent of the FBI) and warned that the CIA should stop trying to recruit agents from within the FSB ranks; the FSB had detected several of these attempts, which it deemed inappropriate given the ongoing cooperation between the intelligence services of the two countries regarding the war on terrorism. ..."
"... The loss of Hall at this very sensitive time created a problem for both the CIA and Smolenkov. Smolenkov's new assignment was a dream come true for the CIA -- never before had the agency managed to place a controlled agent into the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation. ..."
"... With communications down, and the chief of station evicted, Smolenkov was left in a state of limbo while the CIA trained up new case officers capable of operating in Moscow and sought a replacement for Hall. ..."
"... "To put it mildly," Ushakov said, "it is surprising that this extremely crude, clumsy attempt at recruitment took place in a situation where both President Obama and President Putin have clearly stated the importance of more active cooperation and contacts between the special services of the two countries." ..."
"... As a senior aide to Ushakov, Smolenkov was ideally positioned to gather intelligence about the Russian response. If he was able to communicate this information to the CIA, it would have provided Obama and his advisers time to prepare a response to the Russian letter. The situation meant that Smolenkov may have been reporting on events related to the expulsion of Hall, one of the CIA officers specifically trained to manage his reporting. ..."
"... Smolenkov's success was directly linked to the work of his boss, Ushakov. In June 2015, Ushakov was put in charge of establishing a high-level working group in the fuel and energy sector for the purpose of improving bilateral cooperation with Azerbaijan. The reporting Smolenkov would have been able to provide on the work of this group would have been of tremendous assistance to those in the Obama administration working on U.S. energy policy, especially as it related to countering Russian moves in the former Soviet Republics. ..."
"... Ushakov's 10-year tenure as Russia's ambassador to the U.S. gave him unprecedented insight into U.S. decision making, experience and expertise Putin increasingly relied upon as he formulated and implemented responses to U.S. efforts to contain and punish Russia on the international stage. ..."
"... While Ushakov's meetings with Putin were conducted either in private, or in small groups of senior advisers, meaning Smolenkov was not present, Smolenkov was able to collect intelligence on the periphery by photographing itineraries and working papers, as well as overhearing comments made by Ushakov, that collectively would provide U.S. policymakers with important insight into Putin's thinking. ..."
"... According to the FSB, the Russians were adept at identifying CIA officers working under State Department cover and would subject these individuals to extensive surveillance. ..."
"... In addition to the decimation of its staff, Moscow Station was experiencing an alarming number of its agents being discovered by the FSB and arrested. While the Russians were circumspect about most of these cases, on several occasions they indicated that they had uncovered a spy by intercepting the electronic communications between him and the CIA. This meant that the Russians were aware of, and actively pursuing, the Google-based internet-based system used by the CIA to communicate with its agents in Russia. ..."
"... Sometime in early August 2016, a courier from the CIA arrived at the White House carrying a plain, unmarked white envelope. Inside was an intelligence report from Smolenkov that CIA Director Brennan considered to be so sensitive that he kept it out of the President's Daily Brief, concerned that even that restrictive process was too inclusive to adequately protect the source. The intelligence was to be read by four people only -- Obama, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Deputy National Security Advisor Avril Haines and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. The document was to be returned to the courier once it had been read. ..."
"... The contents of the report were alarming -- Putin had personally ordered the cyber attack on the Democratic National Committee for the purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential election in favor of the Republican candidate, Donald Trump. ..."
"... The White House found the Smolenkov report so convincing that in September 2016, during a meeting of the G-20 in China, Obama pulled Putin aside and told him to stop meddling in the U.S. election. Putin was reportedly nonplussed by Obama's intervention. ..."
"... It is not publicly known what prompted the report from Smolenkov which Brennan found so alarming. Was it received out of the blue, a target of opportunity which Smolenkov exploited? Was it based upon a specific tasking submitted by Smolenkov's CIA handlers in response to a tasking from above? Or was it a result of the intervention of the CIA director, who tasked Smolenkov outside normal channels? In any event, once Brennan created his special analytical unit, Smolenkov became his dedicated source. If Smolenko was in this for the money, as appears to be the case, he would have been motivated to come up with the "correct" answer to Brennan's tasking for information on Putin's role. By late 2016, Western media had made quite clear what kind of answer Brennan wanted. ..."
"... Brennan took the extraordinary measure of sequestering the source from the rest of the Intelligence Community. He also confronted the head of the Russian FSB, Alexander Bortnikov, about the risks involved in interfering in U.S. elections. ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Smolenkov's firing occurred right before the Intelligence Community released its much-anticipated assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 election ..."
"... Brennan had sold the Smolenkov reporting to both President Obama and President-elect Trump, along with the rest of the intelligence community, as "high-quality information." It was, at best, nothing more than uncorroborated rumor or, at worst, simple disinformation. This reporting, which was parroted by an unquestioning mainstream media that accepted it as fact, created an impression amongst the American public that Vladimir Putin had personally ordered and directed a Russian interference campaign during the 2016 election designed "to help President-elect Trump's election chances when possible," according to the ICA. ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... Concerned that Smolenkov could be arrested by the Russians and, in doing so, have control over the narrative of Russian interference transfer to Moscow, the CIA once again approached Smolenkov to defect to the United States. This time the Russian agent agreed. ..."
"... Sometime in June 2018, Smolenkov and his wife bought a home worth nearly $1 million in northern Virginia. The couple used their real names. They were not afraid. ..."
"... I can only speculate as to the circumstances that led to Smolenkov's firing by secret decree. Normally, Russians charged with transmitting classified material to the intelligence services of a foreign state are arrested, placed on trial and given lengthy prison sentences, or worse. This did not happen to Smolenkov. ..."
"... In any case, the Smolenkov report in the white envelope represented a level of access that would have significantly deviated from what one could expect from a person in his position and which suggests he may have been telling the CIA what he knew Brennan wanted to hear. ..."
"... The third scenario is that Smolenkov, a low-level failure of a diplomat with drinking issues, marital problems and monetary frustrations, was recruited by the CIA, but only with the complicity of the Russian security services. ..."
"... The same red flags that the CIA looks for when recruiting agents are also looked at by Russian counterintelligence. At what point in the recruitment process the Russians stepped in is unknown (if they did at all.) ..."
"... Moreover, this muddling diplomat whose questionable behavioral practices scream "recruit me" is, within three years of returning to Moscow, given a significant promotion that enables him to follow Ushakov into the Presidential Administration–a posting which would require extensive vetting by the Russian security services. Smolenkov's promotion pattern is enough, in and of itself, to raise red flags within the counterintelligence offices tasked with monitoring such things. The fact that it did not indicates that the quality and quantity of reporting being provided by Smolenkov was deemed by the Americans too important to interfere with. ..."
"... In this scenario, Smolenkov would have been playing to a script written by the Russian security services. Since he, technically, had broken no laws by serving as a double agent, he would not be subjected to arrest and trial. But once his existence became the fodder of the U.S. media via inference and speculation, his services as a double agent were no longer needed. He was fired from his position, via a secret Presidential proclamation, and set free to live his life as he saw fit. ..."
"... In my view, if one assumes that the Smolenkov July 2016 report at the center of this drama was not a result of serendipity, but rather a product derived from a specific request from his CIA managers to find out how high up in the Russian decision-making chain the authorization went for what U.S. intelligence agencies were already publicly pushing as an alleged DNC cyber attack, then the answer I believe becomes clear–the Russians knew the U.S. had an intelligence deficit. ..."
"... In my view, the CIA, Russia and Smolenkov were happy to maintain the status quo, with Smolenkov living in comfortable retirement with his family, the CIA continuing to accuse Russia of interfering in the 2016 presidential election, and Russia denying it. ..."
"... Trump's instructions to Barr are linked to a desire on the part of the president to hold to account those responsible for creating the narrative of possible collusion. Reports indicate that Barr is particularly interested in finding out how and why the CIA concluded that Putin personally ordered the Russian intelligence services to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. ..."
"... Seen in this light, the timing of the CNN and New York Times reports about the "exfiltration" of the CIA's "sensitive source" seems to be little more than a blatant effort by Brennan and his allies in the media to shape a narrative before Barr uncovers the truth. ..."
"... A few days following Smolenkov's "outing" by the U.S. media, the Russian government filed a request with Interpol for an investigation into how someone who had gone missing in Montenegro was now living in the United States. ..."
"... The only person at risk from this entire sordid affair is Brennan, whose reputation and potential livelihood is on the line. At best, Brennan is guilty of extremely poor judgement; at worst, he actively conspired to use the office of Director of the CIA to interfere in the outcome of a U.S. presidential election. Neither option speaks well of the U.S. Intelligence Community and those in Congress charged with oversight of its operations. ..."
"... Watch Scott Ritter discussing this article on ..."
"... Consortium News does not necessarily endorse the views of its authors. ..."
"... If you value this original article, please consider ..."
"... making a donation ..."
"... to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one. ..."
"... Before commenting please read Robert Parry's ..."
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"... And under the third scenario, with Smolenkov a double agent all along, Ritter writes: "But once his existence became the fodder of the U.S. media via inference and speculation, his services as a double agent were no longer needed. He was fired from his position, via a secret Presidential proclamation, and set free to live his life as he saw fit." ..."
"... That doesn't make sense to me. In fact I see the opposite: if he had been a successfully run double agent all that time, then when his usefulness had ended he would have been decently pensioned off – not simply cut loose to fend for himself – but *not* allowed to travel abroad unimpeded (with his whole family, no less) where he would have the opportunity to cause mischief. ..."
"... In the extremely sophisticated world of high grade intelligence I have repeatedly said that the Brennan, Clapper, Comey trio were lead-footed imbeciles ..."
"... Read The CIA as Organized Crime and Strength of the Wolf and Strength of the Pack by Douglas Valentine. ..."
"... "Kiriakou also notes that the way Smolenkov's intelligence was handled raises echoes of the CIA's manipulation of intelligence to help justify the Iraq war. The information from Smolenkov was handled personally by then-CIA Director John Brennan. Brennan reportedly sidelined other CIA analysts and kept the Smolenkov information out of the Presidential Daily Briefing – instead delivering it personally to President Obama and a small group of officials." ..."
"... More like a Le Carre' film. The CIA was originally sold as an intelligence gathering and analysis organization, and was not supposed to be involved in operations. Thus, it was founded on lies and the lies have only grown since. ..."
"... Even the former communist state governments in Europe and the Soviet Union rued the day that they unleashed their secret police from accountability, and thereby became subservient to their power. ..."
"... I suspect Scott was provided a great deal of the reporting in this fascinating article from a disgruntled insider, or former insider. Knowledge of Brennan's break with protocol to form a select 'stand alone fusion cell' that reported only to him is something that I haven't seen reported before. In any case this story adds another red flag to the entire Russiagate hoax. ..."
"... Just as Mueller failed to interview Julian Assange or Christopher Steele for his report -- obvious red flags -- we should now watch the conduct of Barr's investigation. Will Barr's investigators interview Smolenkov? ..."
"... ( ) the timing of the CNN and New York Times reports about the "exfiltration" of the CIA's "sensitive source" seems to be little more than a blatant effort by Brennan and his allies in the media to shape a narrative before Barr uncovers the truth. ..."
"... "If Smolenkov was a spy, he could have delivered important insights about Russia's foreign policy thinking and planning to U.S. intelligence. But if he was the source for the U.S. intelligence community's certainty that Putin personally orchestrated a covert interference campaign, that certainty rests on a weak foundation. Smolenkov served the wrong boss in the Kremlin to get reliable information about such ventures." ..."
Sep 14, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

56 Comments

OPINION: Scott Ritter probes Oleg Smolenkov's role as a CIA asset and the use of his data by the director of the CIA to cast doubt over the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

By Scott Ritter
Special to Consortium News

Reports that the CIA conducted an emergency exfiltration of a long-time human intelligence source who was highly placed within the Russian Presidential Administration sent shock waves throughout Washington, D.C.

The source was said to be responsible for the reporting used by the former director of the CIA, John Brennan, in making the case that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered Russian intelligence services to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election for the purpose of tipping the scales in favor of then-candidate Donald Trump.

According to CNN's Jim Sciutto, the decision to exfiltrate the source was driven in part by concerns within the CIA over President Trump's cavalier approach toward handling classified information, including his willingness to share highly classified intelligence with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a controversial visit to the White House in May 2017.

On closer scrutiny, however, this aspect of the story falls apart, as does just about everything CNN, The New York Times and other mainstream media outlets have reported. There was a Russian spy whose information was used to push a narrative of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election; this much appears to be true. Everything else that has been reported is either a mischaracterization of fact or an outright fabrication designed to hide one of the greatest intelligence failures in U.S. history -- the use by a CIA director of intelligence data specifically manipulated to interfere in the election of an American president.

The consequences of this interference has deleteriously impacted U.S. democratic institutions in ways the American people remain ignorant of -- in large part because of the complicity of the U.S. media when it comes to reporting this story.

This article attempts to set the record straight by connecting the dots presented by available information and creating a narrative shaped by a combination of derivative analysis and informed speculation. At best, this article brings the reader closer to the truth about Oleg Smolenkov's role as a CIA asset; at worst, it raises issues and questions that will help in determining the truth.

"And Ye Shall Know the Truth and the Truth Shall Make You Free," John 8:32, is etched into the wall of the main lobby of the Old CIA Headquarters Building.

The Recruit

Oleg Smolenkov

In 2007, Oleg Smolenkov was living the life of a Russian diplomat abroad, serving in the Russian embassy in Washington. At 33 years of age, married with a 1-year old son, Smolenkov was the picture of a young diplomat on the rise. A protégé of Russian Ambassador Yuri Ushakov, Smolenkov worked as a second secretary assigned to the Russian Cultural Center, a combined museum and exhibition hall operated by the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation (better known by its common Russian name, Rossotrudnichestvo), an autonomous government agency operating under the auspices of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In addition to hosting Russian artists and musicians, Rossotrudnichestvo oversaw a program where it organized all-expense paid cultural exchanges for young Americans to travel to Russia, where they were accommodated in luxury hotels and met with Russian officials. Smolenkov's boss, Yegeny Zvedre, would also tour the United States, speaking at public forums where he addressed U.S.-Russian cooperation. As for Smolenkov himself, life was much more mundane -- he served as a purchasing agent for Rossotrudnichestvo, managing procurement and contract issues for a store operating out of the Rossotrudnichestvo building, which stood separate from the main embassy compound.

Rossotrudnichestvo had a darker side: the FBI long suspected that it operated as a front to recruit Americans to spy for Russia, and as such every Russian employee was viewed as a potential officer in the Russian intelligence service. This suspicion brought with it a level of scrutiny which revealed much about the character of the individual being surveilled, including information of a potentially compromising nature that could be used by the American intelligence services as the basis of a recruitment effort.

Every Russian diplomat assigned to the United States is screened to ascertain his or her susceptibility for recruitment. The FBI does this from a counterintelligence perspective, looking for Russian spies. The CIA does the same, but with the objective of recruiting a Russian source who can remain in the employ of the Russian government, and thereby provide the CIA with intelligence information commensurate to their standing and access. Turning a senior Russian diplomat is difficult; recruiting a junior Russian diplomat like Oleg Smolenkov less so. Someone like Smolenkov would be viewed not so much by the limited access he provided at the time of recruitment, but rather his potential for promotion and the increased opportunity for more essential access provided by such.

The responsibility within the CIA for recruiting Russian diplomats living in the United States falls to the National Resources Division, or NR, part of the Directorate of Operations, or DO -- the clandestine arm of the CIA. In a perfect world, the CIA domestic station in Washington, D.C., would coordinate with the local FBI field office and develop a joint approach for recruiting a Russian diplomat such as Smolenkov.

The reality is, however, that the CIA and the FBI have different goals and objectives when it comes to the Russians they recruit. As such, Smolenkov's recruitment was most likely a CIA-only affair, run by NR but closely monitored by the Russian Operations Group of the Agency's Central Eurasia Division, who would have responsibility for managing Smolenkov upon his return to Moscow.

The precise motive for Smolenkov to take up the CIA's offer of recruitment remains unknown. He graduated from one of the premier universities in Russia, the Maurice Thorez Moscow State Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages, and he married his English language instructor. Normally a graduate from an elite university such as Maurice Thorez has his or her pick of jobs in the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Defense or the security services. Smolenkov was hired by the Foreign Ministry as a junior linguist, assigned to the Second European Department, which focuses on Great Britain, Scandinavia and the Baltics, before getting assigned to the embassy in Washington.

Felt Underpaid

But his job as foreman of the Rossotrudnichestvo coop was not the kind of job a Maurive Thorez graduate gets; Smolenkov had to have felt slighted. He allegedly turned to drink, and his marriage was on the rocks; his colleagues spoke of a man who believed his salary was too low.

The enticements of money and future opportunity -- the CIA's principle recruitment ploys -- more than likely were a factor in convincing this dissatisfied diplomat to defect. Did the CIA compromise him by dangling the temptation of contract-based embezzlement? Or did the FBI uncover some sort of personal or financial impropriety that made the Russian diplomat vulnerable to recruitment? Only the CIA and Smolenkov know the precise circumstances behind the Russian's decision to betray his country. But the fact is, sometime in 2007-2008, Smolenkov was recruited by the CIA.

After Smolenkov accepted the CIA's offer, there was much work to be done -- the new agent had to be polygraphed to ascertain his reliability, trained on covert means of intelligence collection, including covert photography, as well as on how to securely communicate with the CIA in order to transmit information and receive instructions. Smolenkov was also introduced to his "handler," a CIA case officer who would be responsible for managing the work of Smolenkov, including overseeing the bank account where Smolenkov's CIA "salary" would be deposited. Various contingencies would be prepared for, including procedures for reestablishing communications should the existing means become unavailable, emergency contact procedures and emergency exfiltration plans in case Smolenkov became compromised.

Took Away His Name, and Gave Him a Code

The recruitment of a diplomat willing to return to Moscow and be run in place is a rare accomplishment, and Smolenkov's identity would become a closely guarded secret within the ranks of the CIA. Smolenkov's true identity would be known to only a few select individuals; to everyone else who had access to his reporting, he was simply a codename, comprised of a two-letter digraph representing Russia (this code changed over time), followed by a word chosen at random by a CIA algorithm (for example, Adolf Tolkachev, the so-called "billion dollar spy," was known by the codename CKSPHERE, with CK being the digraph in use for the Soviet Union at the time of his recruitment.) Because the specific details from the information provided by Smolenkov could compromise him as the source, the Russian Operations Group would "blend" his reporting in with other sources in an effort to disguise it before disseminating it to a wider audience.

Smolenkov followed Ambassador Ushakov when the latter departed the United States for Moscow in the summer of 2008; soon after arriving back in Moscow, Smolenkov and his wife divorced. Ushakov took a position as the deputy chief of the Government Staff of the Russian Federation responsible for international relations and foreign policy support. Part of the Executive Office of the Government of the Russian Federation, Ushakov coordinated the international work of the prime minister, deputy prime ministers and senior officials of the Government Executive Office. Smolenkov took up a position working for Ushakov, and soon found himself moving up the ranks of the Russian Civil Service, being promoted in 2010 to the rank of state advisor to the Russian Federation of the Third Class, a second-tier rank that put him on the cusp of joining the upper levels of the Russian government bureaucracy. He was granted a "second-level" security clearance, which allowed him to handle top secret information.

Moscow Station

Ukashov, r. with Putin (Kremlin photo)

In 2013 Ushakov received a new assignment, this time to serve in the Presidential Executive Office as the aide for international relations. Smolenkov joined Ushakov as his staff manager. Vladimir Putin was one year into his second stint as president and brought Ushakov, who had advised him on foreign relations while Putin was prime minister, to continue that service. Ushakov maintained an office at the Boyarsky Dvor (Courtyard of the Boyars), on 8 Staraya Square.

The Boyarsky Dvor was physically separate from the Kremlin, meaning neither Ushakov nor Smolenkov had direct access to the Russian president. Nevertheless, Smolenkov's new job had to have pleased his CIA masters. In the five years Smolenkov worked at the Executive Office of the Government, he was not privy to particularly sensitive information. His communications with CIA would most likely have been administrative in nature, with the CIA more interested in Smolenkov's growth potential than immediate value of any intelligence he could produce.

Smolenkov's arrival in the Presidential Administration coincided with a period of operational difficulty for the CIA in Moscow. First, the CIA's internet-based covert communications system, which used Google's email platform as the foundation for accessing various web pages where information was exchanged between the agent and his CIA handlers, had been globally compromised. Smolenkov had been trained on this system, and it provided his lifeline to the CIA. The compromise first occurred in Iran, and then spread to China; in both countries, entire networks of CIA agents were rounded up, with many being subsequently executed . China is believed to have shared the information on how to detect the covert communication-linked web pages with Russia; fortunately for Moscow Station, they were able to make the appropriate changes in the system to safeguard the security and identity of its agents. In the meantime, communications between the CIA and Smolenkov were cut off until the CIA could make contact using back-up protocols and re-train Smolenkov on the new communications procedures.

Moscow Station, however, was having trouble carrying out its clandestine tasks. In the fall of 2011, the CIA's chief of station in Moscow, Steven Hall, had been approached by his counterpart in the Russian Federal Security Service (the FSB, Russia's equivalent of the FBI) and warned that the CIA should stop trying to recruit agents from within the FSB ranks; the FSB had detected several of these attempts, which it deemed inappropriate given the ongoing cooperation between the intelligence services of the two countries regarding the war on terrorism.

But Hall had his orders, and after a year-long pause to review its operating procedures, Moscow Station resumed its targeting of FSB officers. Things went real bad real fast. In January 2013, a CIA officer named Benjamin Dillon was arrested by the FSB as he tried to recruit a Russian agent, declared persona non grata, and expelled from Russia. Then in May 2013 the FSB arrested another CIA officer, Ryan Fogle. Fogle was paraded before television cameras together with his spy paraphernalia, and like Dillon before him, expelled from the country. Moreover, the Russians, in condemning the CIA actions, revealed the identity of the CIA's Moscow chief of station (Hall), who because of the public disclosure was compelled to depart Russia.

A CIA Dream

Steve Hall (CNN/YouTube)

The loss of Dillon and Fogle was a serious blow to Moscow Station, but one from which the CIA could recover. But the near simultaneous loss of two case officers and the chief of station was a different matter altogether. Hall was one of the few people in the CIA who had been "read in" on the recruitment of Smolenkov, and as such was involved in the overall management of the Russian agent. The loss of Hall at this very sensitive time created a problem for both the CIA and Smolenkov. Smolenkov's new assignment was a dream come true for the CIA -- never before had the agency managed to place a controlled agent into the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation.

But while Smolenkov had been able to provide evidence of access, by way of photographs of presidential documents, the CIA needed to confirm that Smolenkov hadn't been turned by the Russians and was not being used to pass on disinformation designed to mislead those who used Smolenkov's reporting. Normally this was done by subjecting the agent to a polygraph examination -- a "swirl," in CIA parlance. This examination could take place at an improvised covert location in Russia, or in a more controlled environment outside of Russia, if Smolenkov was able to exit on work or during vacation. But arranging the examination required close coordination between the CIA and its agent, as well as a healthy degree of trust between the agent and those directing him. With communications down, and the chief of station evicted, Smolenkov was left in a state of limbo while the CIA trained up new case officers capable of operating in Moscow and sought a replacement for Hall.

One of the ironies surrounding the arrest and expulsion of CIA officer Fogle, and the subsequent outing and eviction of Hall, was that Smolenkov was ideally positioned to provide an inside perspective on how the Russian leadership reacted to the incident. Smolenkov's boss, Ushakov, was tasked with overseeing Russia's diplomatic response. In a statement given to the Russian media, Ushakov expressed surprise at the timing of the incident. "To put it mildly," Ushakov said, "it is surprising that this extremely crude, clumsy attempt at recruitment took place in a situation where both President Obama and President Putin have clearly stated the importance of more active cooperation and contacts between the special services of the two countries."

Ushakov coordinated closely with the head of Putin's Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, regarding the content of a letter Putin was planning to send in response to a previous communication from Obama. While the original text focused on missile defense issues, Ushakov and Patrushev inserted language about the Fogle incident. As a senior aide to Ushakov, Smolenkov was ideally positioned to gather intelligence about the Russian response. If he was able to communicate this information to the CIA, it would have provided Obama and his advisers time to prepare a response to the Russian letter. The situation meant that Smolenkov may have been reporting on events related to the expulsion of Hall, one of the CIA officers specifically trained to manage his reporting.

The Center

Amid the operational challenges and opportunity provided by Smolenkov's new position within the Russian Presidential Administration, the CIA underwent a radical reorganization which impacted how human agents, and the intelligence they produced, would be managed. The past practice of having intelligence operations controlled by insular regional divisions, which promoted both a physical and philosophical divide between the collectors and their analytical counterparts in the respective regional division within the Directorate of Intelligence, or DI, was discontinued by Brennan, who had taken over as director of the CIA in May 2013.

To replace what he viewed as an antiquated organizational structure, Brennan created what he called "Mission Centers," which combined analytical, operational, technical and support expertise under a single roof. For Moscow Station and Smolenkov, this meant that the Russia and Eurasia Division, with its Russian Operations Group, no longer existed. Instead, Moscow Station would take its orders from a new Europe and Eurasia Mission Center headed by an experienced CIA Russia analyst named Peter Clement.

Clement, who had earned a PhD in Russian history from Michigan State University, had a diverse resumé with the CIA which included service as the director for Russia on the National Security Council and as the CIA representative to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Clement served as the director of the Office of Russian and Eurasian Analysis and as the CIA's Russia issue manager from 1997 to 2003; as the President's Daily Brief (PDB) briefer for Vice President Dick Cheney from 2003-2004, and from 2005-2013, as the deputy director for intelligence for analytic programs. In 2015 Brennan appointed Clement to serve as the deputy assistant director of CIA for Europe and Eurasia, where he directed the activities of the newly created Europe and Eurasia Mission Center. If one was looking for the perfect candidate to manage the fusion of operational, analytical and technical experience into a singular, mission-focused entity, Peter Clement was it.

Peter Clement (C-Span)

As Clement got on with the business of whipping the Europe and Eurasia Mission Center into shape, Smolenkov was busy establishing himself as an intelligence source of some value. Smolenkov's success was directly linked to the work of his boss, Ushakov. In June 2015, Ushakov was put in charge of establishing a high-level working group in the fuel and energy sector for the purpose of improving bilateral cooperation with Azerbaijan. The reporting Smolenkov would have been able to provide on the work of this group would have been of tremendous assistance to those in the Obama administration working on U.S. energy policy, especially as it related to countering Russian moves in the former Soviet Republics.

Another project of interest was Russia's sale of advanced Mi-35 helicopters to Pakistan in support of their counterterrorism efforts. Coming at a time when U.S.-Pakistani relations were floundering, the Russian sale of advanced helicopters was viewed with concern by both the Department of State and the Department of Defense. Again, Smolenkov's reporting on this issue would have been well received by critical policymakers in both departments.

But the most critical role played by Ushakov was advising Putin on the uncertain state of relations between the U.S. and Russia in the aftermath of the 2014 crisis in Ukraine, and Russia's annexation of Crimea. Ushakov's 10-year tenure as Russia's ambassador to the U.S. gave him unprecedented insight into U.S. decision making, experience and expertise Putin increasingly relied upon as he formulated and implemented responses to U.S. efforts to contain and punish Russia on the international stage.

While Ushakov's meetings with Putin were conducted either in private, or in small groups of senior advisers, meaning Smolenkov was not present, Smolenkov was able to collect intelligence on the periphery by photographing itineraries and working papers, as well as overhearing comments made by Ushakov, that collectively would provide U.S. policymakers with important insight into Putin's thinking.

Managing an important resource like Smolenkov was one of the critical challenges faced by Clement and the Europe and Eurasia Mission Center. Smolenkov's reporting continued to be handled using special HUMINT procedures designed to protect the source. However, within the Center knowledge of Smolenkov's work would have been shared with analysts who worked side by side with their operational colleagues deciding how the intelligence could best be used, as well as coming up with follow-up questions for Smolenkov regarding specific issues of interest.

Given the unique insight Smolenkov's reporting provided into Putin's thinking, it would be logical that intelligence sourced from Smolenkov would frequently find itself briefed to the president and his inner circle via the PDB process, which was exacting in terms of vetting the accuracy and reliability of any intelligence reporting that made it onto its pages. As a long-time Russia expert with extensive experience in virtually every aspect of how the CIA turned raw reporting into finished intelligence, Clement was ideally suited to making sure his Center handled the Smolenkov product responsibly, and in a manner which maximized its value.

Meanwhile, Moscow Station continued to exhibit operational problems. By 2015 the CIA had managed to rebuild its stable of case officers operating from the U.S. embassy. But the FSB always seemed to be one step ahead. According to the FSB, the Russians were adept at identifying CIA officers working under State Department cover and would subject these individuals to extensive surveillance. As if to prove the Russian's point, in short order the FSB rounded up the newly assigned case officers, along with the deputy chief of station, declared them persona non grata, and expelled them from Russia. To make matters worse, the FSB released surveillance video of all these officers, who in some cases were joined by their spouses, as they engaged in elaborate ruses to evade Russian surveillance in order to carry out their covert assignments.

Moscow Station's string of bad luck continued into 2016, when one of its officers, having been detected by the FSB during a meeting, fled via taxi to the U.S. embassy, only to be tackled by a uniformed FSB officer as he tried to enter the compound. In the scuffle that followed, the CIA officer managed to make entry into the embassy building, compelling the FSB guard to release him once jurisdiction was lost. The CIA officer, who suffered a separated shoulder during the incident, left Russia shortly thereafter, together with a female colleague who had also been detected by the FSB while engaged in clandestine activities and subsequently declared persona non grata.

FSB Headquarters in the Lubyanka Building, Moscow.

The FSB indicated, at the time these two officers were being expelled, that it had evicted three other CIA officers during the year. In addition to the decimation of its staff, Moscow Station was experiencing an alarming number of its agents being discovered by the FSB and arrested. While the Russians were circumspect about most of these cases, on several occasions they indicated that they had uncovered a spy by intercepting the electronic communications between him and the CIA. This meant that the Russians were aware of, and actively pursuing, the Google-based internet-based system used by the CIA to communicate with its agents in Russia.

Meanwhile, Smolenkov continued to send his reports to his CIA handlers unabated, using the same internet-based system. Under normal circumstances, an exception to compromise would raise red flags within the counterintelligence staff that evaluated an agent's reporting and activity. But by the summer of 2016, nothing about the work of the CIA, and in particular the Europe and Eurasia Mission Center could be considered "normal" when it came to the Russian target.

Little White Envelope

Sometime in early August 2016, a courier from the CIA arrived at the White House carrying a plain, unmarked white envelope. Inside was an intelligence report from Smolenkov that CIA Director Brennan considered to be so sensitive that he kept it out of the President's Daily Brief, concerned that even that restrictive process was too inclusive to adequately protect the source. The intelligence was to be read by four people only -- Obama, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Deputy National Security Advisor Avril Haines and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. The document was to be returned to the courier once it had been read.

Brennan in Oval Office where he had envelope delivered. (White House photo/Pete Souza)

The contents of the report were alarming -- Putin had personally ordered the cyber attack on the Democratic National Committee for the purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential election in favor of the Republican candidate, Donald Trump.

The intelligence report was not a product of Clement's Europe and Eurasia Mission Center, but rather a special unit of handpicked analysts from the CIA, NSA and FBI who were brought together under great secrecy in late July and reported directly to Brennan. These analysts were made to sign non-disclosure agreements protecting their work from their colleagues.

This new analytical unit focused on three new sensitive sources of information -- the Smolenkov report, additional reporting provided by a former MI6 officer named Christopher Steele, and a signals intelligence report provided by a Baltic nation neighboring Russia. The Steele information was of questionable provenance, so much so that FBI Director James Comey could not, or would not, vouch for its credibility. The same held true for the NSA's assessment of the Baltic SIGINT report. By themselves, the Steele reporting and Baltic SIGINT report were of little intelligence value. But when viewed together, they were used to corroborate the explosive contents of the Smolenkov intelligence. The White House found the Smolenkov report so convincing that in September 2016, during a meeting of the G-20 in China, Obama pulled Putin aside and told him to stop meddling in the U.S. election. Putin was reportedly nonplussed by Obama's intervention.

It is extraordinarily difficult for a piece of intelligence to be deemed important and reliable enough to be briefed to the president of the United States. The principal forum for such a briefing is the Presidential Daily Brief, which prior to 2004 was a product produced exclusively by the CIA. When the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act was signed into law in 2004, the responsibility for the PDB was transferred to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), a newly created entity responsible for oversight and coordination of the entire Intelligence Community, or IC. The PDB is considered to be an IC product, the production of which is coordinated by ODNI's PDB staff in partnership with the CIA Directorate of Intelligence (DI)'s President's Analytic Support Staff.

Since he began reporting about his work in the Russian Presidential Administration in 2013, Smolenkov had, on numerous occasions, produced intelligence whose content and relevance was such that it would readily warrant inclusion in the PDB. After 2015, the decision to submit a Smolenkov-sourced report for inclusion in the PDB would be made by Clement and his staff. For a report to be nominated, it would have to pass an exacting quality control review process which evaluated it for accuracy, relevance and reliability.

U.S. Embassy Moscow ( Wikimedia Commons)

Sometime in the leadup to August 2016, this process was halted. Oleg Smolenkov was a controlled asset of the CIA. While he was given certain latitude on what information he could collect, generally speaking Smolenkov worked from an operations order sent to him by his CIA controllers which established priorities for intelligence collection based upon information provided by Smolenkov about what he could reasonably access. Before tasking Smolenkov, his CIA handlers would screen the request from an operational and counterintelligence perspective, conducting a risk-reward analysis that weighed the value of the intelligence being sought with the possibility of compromise. Only then would Smolenkov be cleared to collect the requested information.

It is not publicly known what prompted the report from Smolenkov which Brennan found so alarming. Was it received out of the blue, a target of opportunity which Smolenkov exploited? Was it based upon a specific tasking submitted by Smolenkov's CIA handlers in response to a tasking from above? Or was it a result of the intervention of the CIA director, who tasked Smolenkov outside normal channels? In any event, once Brennan created his special analytical unit, Smolenkov became his dedicated source. If Smolenko was in this for the money, as appears to be the case, he would have been motivated to come up with the "correct" answer to Brennan's tasking for information on Putin's role. By late 2016, Western media had made quite clear what kind of answer Brennan wanted.

Every intelligence report produced by a controlled asset is subjected to a counterintelligence review where it is examined for any evidence of red flags that could be indicative of compromise. One red flag is the issue of abnormal access. Smolenkov did not normally have direct contact with Putin, if ever. His intelligence reports would have been written from the perspective of the distant observer. His report about Putin's role in interfering in the 2016 election, however, represented a whole new level of access and trust. Under normal circumstances, a report exhibiting such tendency would be pulled aside for additional scrutiny; if the report was alarming enough, the CIA might order the agent to be subjected to a polygraph to ensure he had not been compromised.

This did not happen. Instead, Brennan took the extraordinary measure of sequestering the source from the rest of the Intelligence Community. He also confronted the head of the Russian FSB, Alexander Bortnikov, about the risks involved in interfering in U.S. elections.

Whether Brennan further tasked Smolenkov to collect on Putin is not known. Nor is it known whether Smolenkov produced more than that single report about Putin's alleged direct role in ordering the Russian intelligence services to intervene in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.

Despite Brennan's extraordinary effort to keep the existence of a human source within the Russian Presidential Administration a closely-held secret, by December 2016 both The Washington Post and The New York Times began quoting their sources about the existence of a sensitive intelligence source close to the Russian president. The timing of these press leaks coincided with Smolensky being fired from his job working for the Presidential Administration; the method of firing came in the form of a secret decree. When the CIA found out, they desperately tried to convince Smolenkov to agree to extraction, fearing for his safety should he remain in Moscow. This Smolenkov allegedly refused to do, prompting the counterintelligence-minded within the CIA to become concerned that Brennan and his coterie of analysts had been taken for a ride by a Russian double agent.

Trump and Barr on Feb. 14, 2019. (Wikimedia Commons)

Smolenkov's firing occurred right before the Intelligence Community released its much-anticipated assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 election . Like the special analytical unit created by Brennan to handle the intelligence about Putin ordering the Russian intelligence services to intervene in favor of Trump in the 2016 election, Brennan opted to produce the Russian interference assessment outside the normal channels. Usually, when the IC opts to produce an assessment, there is a formal process which has a national intelligence officer (NIO) from within the National Intelligence Council take the lead on coordinating the collection and assessment of all relevant intelligence. The NIO usually coordinates closely with the relevant Mission Centers to ensure no analytical stone was left unturned in the pursuit of the truth.

The 2016 Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) was produced differently -- no Mission Center involvement, no NIO assigned, no peer review. Just Brennan's little band of sequestered analysts.

Smolenkov's information took top billing in the ICA, "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections," published on Jan. 6, 2017. "We assess," the unclassified document stated, "Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump." Smolenkov's reporting appears to be the sole source for this finding.

The ICA went on to note, "We have high confidence in these judgments." According to the Intelligence Community's own definition, "high confidence'" generally indicates judgments based on high-quality information, and/or the nature of the issue makes it possible to render a solid judgment. A "high confidence" judgment is not a fact or a certainty, however, and still carries a risk of being wrong.

The same day the ICA was published, Brennan, accompanied by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, met with President-elect Trump in Trump Tower, where he was briefed on the classified information behind the Russian ICA. Included in this briefing was the intelligence from "a top-secret source" close to Putin which sustained the finding of Putin's direct involvement.

Brennan had sold the Smolenkov reporting to both President Obama and President-elect Trump, along with the rest of the intelligence community, as "high-quality information." It was, at best, nothing more than uncorroborated rumor or, at worst, simple disinformation. This reporting, which was parroted by an unquestioning mainstream media that accepted it as fact, created an impression amongst the American public that Vladimir Putin had personally ordered and directed a Russian interference campaign during the 2016 election designed "to help President-elect Trump's election chances when possible," according to the ICA.

As CIA director, Brennan understood very well the role played by intelligence in shaping the decisions of key policy makers, and the absolute need for those who brief the president and his key advisers to ensure only the highest quality information and derived assessments are briefed. In this, Brennan failed.

Coming in From the Cold

Tivat, Montenegro

After being fired from his position within the Presidential Administration, Smolenkov continued to live in Moscow, very much a free man. By this time he was the father of three children, his new wife having given birth to two daughters. Following Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017, Brennan resigned as CIA director. By May, Brennan was testifying before Congress about the issue of Russian interference. Increasingly, attention was being drawn to the existence of a highly-placed source near Putin, with both The New York Times and The Washington Post publishing surprisingly detailed reports.

Concerned that Smolenkov could be arrested by the Russians and, in doing so, have control over the narrative of Russian interference transfer to Moscow, the CIA once again approached Smolenkov to defect to the United States. This time the Russian agent agreed.

In July 2017, Smolenkov, accompanied by his wife and three children, travelled to Montenegro on vacation. They arrived in the resort city of Tivat, flying on a commercial air flight from Moscow. The CIA took control of the family a few days later, spiriting them away aboard a yacht that had been moored at the Tivat marina. Upon his arrival in the U.S., Smolenkov and his family were placed under the control of the CIA's resettlement unit.

According to the Russian media, Smolenkov's disappearance was discovered in September 2017. The FSB opened an investigation into the matter, initially suspecting foul play. Soon, however, the FSB reached a different conclusion -- that Smolenkov and his family had defected to the United States.

Normally a defector would be subjected to a debriefing, inclusive of a polygraph, to confirm that he or she had not been turned into a double agent. Smolenkov had, over the course of a decade of spying, accumulated a considerable amount of money which the CIA was holding in escrow. This money would be released to Smolenkov upon the successful completion of his debriefing. In the case of Smolenkov, however, there doesn't seem to have been a detailed, lengthy debriefing. His money was turned over to him. Sometime in June 2018, Smolenkov and his wife bought a home worth nearly $1 million in northern Virginia. The couple used their real names. They were not afraid.

I can only speculate as to the circumstances that led to Smolenkov's firing by secret decree. Normally, Russians charged with transmitting classified material to the intelligence services of a foreign state are arrested, placed on trial and given lengthy prison sentences, or worse. This did not happen to Smolenkov.

But this does not mean the Russian authorities were ignorant of his activities. This raises another possibility, that Smolenkov could have been turned by the Russian security services before he had compromised any classified information, and that he operated as a double agent his entire CIA career. Since the only classified information he transferred would, in this case, be approved for release by the Russian security services, he would not have technically committed a crime. If Smolenkov was working both sides, it could have been a Russian vehicle to create distrust between the U.S. intelligence community and Trump.

Smolenkov was fired, and left to his own devices, once his utility to Russia had expired. Having escaped being arrested as a spy, Smolenkov believed he might be able to live a normal life in Moscow. But when the potential for compromise arose due to leaks to the press, I assess that it was in the CIA's interest to bring Smolenkov in, if for no other reason than to control the narrative of Russian interference.

Three Scenarios

Old CIA building in Langely, Virginia.

There are three scenarios that could be at play regarding Smolenkov's bone fides as a human intelligence source for the CIA. First, that this was a solid recruitment, that Smolenkov was the high-level asset the CIA and Brennan claim he was, and the information he provided regarding the involvement of Putin was unimpeachable. Mitigating against this is the fact that when Smolenkov was fired from his position in late 2016, he was not arrested and put on trial for spying.

Russia is fully capable of conducting secret trials, and controlling the information that is made available about such a trial. Moreover, Russia is a vindictive state–persons who commit treason are not tolerated. As Putin himself noted in comments made in March 2018, "Traitors will kick the bucket. Trust me. These people betrayed their friends, their brothers in arms. Whatever they got in exchange for it, those thirty pieces silver they were given, they will choke on them." The odds of Smolenkov being fired for committing treason, and then being allowed to voluntarily exit Russia with his family and passports, are virtually nil.

The second scenario is a variation of the first, where Smolenkov starts as a solid recruitment, with his reporting commensurate with his known level of access–peripheral contact with documents and information pertaining to the work of the aide to President Putin on international relations. Sometime in July 2016 Smolenkov produces a report that catches the attention of DCI Brennan, who flags it and pulls Smolenkov out of the normal operational channels for CIA-controlled human sources, and instead creating a new, highly-compartmentalized fusion cell to handle this report, and possibly others.

Three questions emerge from the second scenario. First, was Smolenkov responding to an urgent tasking from Brennan to find out how high up the Russian chain of command went the knowledge of the alleged DNC cyber attack, or did Smolenkov produce this report on his own volition? Was Brennan arranging evidence to show that there was indeed a Russian hack. After all, all the FBI had to go by was a draft of a report by the virulently anti-Russian private security firm CrowdStrike. The FBI never examined the DNC server itself.

In any case, the Smolenkov report in the white envelope represented a level of access that would have significantly deviated from what one could expect from a person in his position and which suggests he may have been telling the CIA what he knew Brennan wanted to hear. As such, normal counterintelligence procedures should have mandated an operational pause while the intelligence report in question was scrubbed to ensure viability. Under no circumstances would a report so flagged be allowed to be put into the Presidential Daily Brief. However, by pulling the report from the control of the Europe and Eurasian Mission Center, turning it over to a stand-alone fusion cell, and bypassing the PDB process to brief the president and a handful of advisors, there would be no counterintelligence concerns raised. This implies that Brennan had a role in the tasking of Smolenkov, and was waiting for the report to come in, which Brennan then took control of to preclude any counter-intelligence red flags being raised.

The third scenario is that Smolenkov, a low-level failure of a diplomat with drinking issues, marital problems and monetary frustrations, was recruited by the CIA, but only with the complicity of the Russian security services.

The same red flags that the CIA looks for when recruiting agents are also looked at by Russian counterintelligence. At what point in the recruitment process the Russians stepped in is unknown (if they did at all.) But it is curious that this professional failure was suddenly transferred from running a co-op to being the right hand man of one of the most influential foreign policy experts in Russia–Yuri Ushakov.

Moreover, this muddling diplomat whose questionable behavioral practices scream "recruit me" is, within three years of returning to Moscow, given a significant promotion that enables him to follow Ushakov into the Presidential Administration–a posting which would require extensive vetting by the Russian security services. Smolenkov's promotion pattern is enough, in and of itself, to raise red flags within the counterintelligence offices tasked with monitoring such things. The fact that it did not indicates that the quality and quantity of reporting being provided by Smolenkov was deemed by the Americans too important to interfere with.

In this scenario, Smolenkov would have been playing to a script written by the Russian security services. Since he, technically, had broken no laws by serving as a double agent, he would not be subjected to arrest and trial. But once his existence became the fodder of the U.S. media via inference and speculation, his services as a double agent were no longer needed. He was fired from his position, via a secret Presidential proclamation, and set free to live his life as he saw fit.

The most pressing question that emerges from this possibility is why? Why would the Russian security services want to cook the books, so to speak, in a manner which made the Russians look guilty of the very thing they were publicly denying?

In my view, if one assumes that the Smolenkov July 2016 report at the center of this drama was not a result of serendipity, but rather a product derived from a specific request from his CIA managers to find out how high up in the Russian decision-making chain the authorization went for what U.S. intelligence agencies were already publicly pushing as an alleged DNC cyber attack, then the answer I believe becomes clear–the Russians knew the U.S. had an intelligence deficit.

I am speculating here, but if the Russians provided an answer guaranteed to attract attention at a critical time in the U.S. presidential election process, it would inject the CIA and its reporting into the democratic processes of the United States, and thereby politicize the CIA and the entire intelligence community by default. This would suppose, however, that the agencies did not have their own motives for wanting to stop Trump.

Rogers, Comey, Clapper and Brennan all in a row.

In this scenario, the Russians would have been in control of when to expose the CIA's activities–all they had to do was fire Smolenkov, which in the end they did, right as Smolenkov's report was front and center in the post-election finger-pointing that was taking place regarding the allegation of Russian interference. The best acts of political sabotage are done subtlety, where the culprit remains in the shadows while the victims proceed, unaware that they have been played.

For the Russians, it didn't matter who won the election, even if they may have favored Trump; simply getting President Obama to commit to the bait by confronting Putin at the G20 meeting in September 2016 would have been a victory, because I assess that at that point the Russians knew that they were driving the American narrative. When the President of the United States acts on intelligence that later turns out to be false, it is an embarrassment that drives a wedge between the intelligence community and the Executive Branch of government. I have no solid evidence for this. But in my speculation on what may have happened, this was the Russian objective–to drive that wedge.

An Idyllic Truce

In my view, the CIA, Russia and Smolenkov were happy to maintain the status quo, with Smolenkov living in comfortable retirement with his family, the CIA continuing to accuse Russia of interfering in the 2016 presidential election, and Russia denying it. As well, Russia seems to have brushed off the sanctions that resulted from this alleged "interference." This idyllic truce started to unravel in May 2019, when Trump ordered Attorney General William Barr to "get to the bottom" of what role the CIA played in initiating the investigation into allegations of collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russians that led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller's investigation concluded earlier this year, with a 400-plus page report being published which did not find any evidence of active collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Trump's instructions to Barr are linked to a desire on the part of the president to hold to account those responsible for creating the narrative of possible collusion. Reports indicate that Barr is particularly interested in finding out how and why the CIA concluded that Putin personally ordered the Russian intelligence services to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Barr's investigation will inevitably lead him to the intelligence report that was hand couriered to the White House in early August 2016, which would in turn lead to Smolenkov, and in doing so open up the can of worms of Smolenkov's entire history of cooperation with the CIA. Not only could the entire foundation upon which the intelligence community has based its assessment of Russian interference collapse, it could also open the door for potential charges of criminal misconduct by Brennan and anyone else who helped him bypass normal vetting procedures and, in doing so, allowed a possible Russian double agent to influence the decisions of the president of the United States.

Seen in this light, the timing of the CNN and New York Times reports about the "exfiltration" of the CIA's "sensitive source" seems to be little more than a blatant effort by Brennan and his allies in the media to shape a narrative before Barr uncovers the truth.

At the end of the day, Smolenkov and his family are not at risk. If the Russian government wanted to exact revenge for his actions, it would have done so after firing him in late 2016. In any event, Smolenkov and his family would never have been allowed to leave Russia had he been suspected or accused of committing crimes against the state. A few days following Smolenkov's "outing" by the U.S. media, the Russian government filed a request with Interpol for an investigation into how someone who had gone missing in Montenegro was now living in the United States.

The only person at risk from this entire sordid affair is Brennan, whose reputation and potential livelihood is on the line. At best, Brennan is guilty of extremely poor judgement; at worst, he actively conspired to use the office of Director of the CIA to interfere in the outcome of a U.S. presidential election. Neither option speaks well of the U.S. Intelligence Community and those in Congress charged with oversight of its operations.

Watch Scott Ritter discussing this article on CN Live! Episode 9 .

Consortium News does not necessarily endorse the views of its authors.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD.

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Linda Wood , September 17, 2019 at 00:34

Brennan may have written the white envelope report and attributed it to Smolenkov, who may or may not have been a double agent. The Russian interference story is not just something Brennan wanted to hear, it's what the military industrial complex needs us to believe.

Dan Anderson , September 16, 2019 at 22:09

I trust Scott Ritter. Had we listened to him, the USA would not have invaded Iraq over WMDs. Reading the piece added to my distrust of our intelligence community, remembering this haunting exchange on live TV.

  • January 3, 2017 – Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: "Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday to get back at you. So, even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he is being really dumb to do this."
  • Rachel Maddow: "What do you think the intelligence community would do if they were motivated to?"
  • Schumer: "I don't know, but from what I am told, they are very upset with how he has treated them and talked about them," -- The Rachel Maddow Show Jan 3, 2017

David G , September 16, 2019 at 18:32

I'm surprised Scott Ritter thinks it likely that Russia engineered the "Putin meddled" narrative – that just seems unbelievable to me. There are enough moving parts here that one doesn't have to commit to one of Ritter's three scenarios: numerous variations are possible. For instance, Smolenkov may have been fired for some mundane mix of reasons going to performance and reliability. He may have been considered dubious without Russian counterintelligence having fingered him as a U.S. agent.

And under the third scenario, with Smolenkov a double agent all along, Ritter writes: "But once his existence became the fodder of the U.S. media via inference and speculation, his services as a double agent were no longer needed. He was fired from his position, via a secret Presidential proclamation, and set free to live his life as he saw fit."

That doesn't make sense to me. In fact I see the opposite: if he had been a successfully run double agent all that time, then when his usefulness had ended he would have been decently pensioned off – not simply cut loose to fend for himself – but *not* allowed to travel abroad unimpeded (with his whole family, no less) where he would have the opportunity to cause mischief.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , September 16, 2019 at 15:26

Were it not so powerful militarily and financially, the United States would be the laughingstock of the world. This entire business is just another avenue travelled in America's nonstop Russophobia lunatic wanderings. The DNC material was not hacked as a number of true experts have told us, including the key one now languishing in a British prison. Putin had no plan because nothing ever happened.

Nothing. And I think we've all seen that when Putin plans something, it happens. The article is interesting for its laying out of elaborate security procedures – kind of a high-level almost academic "police procedural" – but I do feel in the end it is not that helpful, much as I respect Mr Ritter.

When nothing has happened, it does seem a bit odd to scrutinize every piece of fiber and bit of dust and to construct a massive scenario of "what ifs."

Meanwhile, the murder of Seth Rich, a genuine and meaningful event, goes virtually uninvestigated.

No wonder you are in so much trouble, America, and no wonder you make so much trouble for others.

Anonymot , September 16, 2019 at 15:16

In the extremely sophisticated world of high grade intelligence I have repeatedly said that the Brennan, Clapper, Comey trio were lead-footed imbeciles. That has been the CIA tradition since Dulles left. All of those in our intelligence racket have led us to the trough of poisoned water and all of our Presidents drank. They have all become very rich, but not from book sales nor from consulting fees.

It says a lot about the entire echelon of those who decide our fates. There is no way to know whether it stems from ignorance or incompetence, but those with the Deep State mindset like each other, hire each other, and have been in some sort of daisy chain since university. We not only need to describe How it happens as this article does very well, but even more importantly Why. Only then can we start to do something about it, although it is probably far too late – it would be like taking the shell off of an egg and leaving that delicate interior membrane just inside the shell intact.

Clods like these (add the Clintons) should have their post-employment millions confiscated and put on trial.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , September 16, 2019 at 15:39

Sorry, but "Big Intelligence" is always a failure, and on many levels. It is not a matter of any "clods." It is a matter of the very nature of the institution and the nature of the people who use its output. The CIA only has a good record at doing bad things. I refer to its operations side and the havoc and violence they have released through the decades. It is an army of richly-equipped thugs without uniforms interfering in the business of others, "lying, cheating, and stealing."

The true intelligence side of things fails and always has to a great extent. https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/05/31/why-the-cia-always-will-be-a-costly-flop/

jessika , September 16, 2019 at 15:11

I find it maddening that we "puppet proles" are treated like stupid fools, lied to constantly, and nothing happens to stop the mad lying/false flag garbage that keeps on. Now, today, after Bolton departure, out of the weirdness comes Pompous Pompeo spewing even worse madness that could tip "us" into attacking Iran! Saudis are insane, Netanyahu faces his electorate tomorrow, and we should believe MbS and cronies? Trump is nothing but a stooge!

Maricata , September 16, 2019 at 19:28

Read The CIA as Organized Crime and Strength of the Wolf and Strength of the Pack by Douglas Valentine.

Please, CN, have Mr. Valentine on your livc broadcast

Jeff Harrison , September 16, 2019 at 14:36

It occurs to me that this may have an inappropriate title. Plausibly Mr. Ritter has pegged what Smolenkov was eventually – a double agent. In which case I would probably call him pretty successful.

hetro , September 16, 2019 at 13:06

Also published yesterday, this Aaron Mate interview with John Kiriakou on Smolenkov:

"Kiriakou also notes that the way Smolenkov's intelligence was handled raises echoes of the CIA's manipulation of intelligence to help justify the Iraq war. The information from Smolenkov was handled personally by then-CIA Director John Brennan. Brennan reportedly sidelined other CIA analysts and kept the Smolenkov information out of the Presidential Daily Briefing – instead delivering it personally to President Obama and a small group of officials."

"That is a highly highly unusual thing to do, but I think [Brennan] did it because he knew that the source wasn't well placed, he knew that the source was lying about his access to Putin -- or information coming from Putin -- and I think that for whatever reason John Brennan really wanted the president to run with this narrative that the Russians were trying to somehow impact the 2016 election, when the intelligence just simply wasn't there," Kiriakou says.

https://thegrayzone.com/2019/09/15/outing-of-cias-kremlin-mole-echoes-iraq-wmd-hoax/

dean 1000 , September 16, 2019 at 11:53

When Trump campaigned against the bloody foreign policies of the duopoly he was also campaigning against an out of control, coup making, drug running, blackmailing, imperial CIA. my comment to The Brennan wanted to 'get' Trump to save his own hide, the CIA, and the duopoly from further embarrassment.

If Smolenkov is missing from his Virginia home (Chancellor below at 9.15.19 at 23:40) hopefully he is in hiding to assure he can tell a Grand Jury about any instructions or suggestions he may have received from Brennan, or others regarding the election of Donald Trump.

Zhu , September 16, 2019 at 05:25

Re John 8:32, people forget Pilate's remark, "what is truth"?

Igor Bundy , September 16, 2019 at 04:29

The next report from the CIA will be from hogwarts and how the measter is concatenating a secret potion on how to turn dykes into donkeys.. This is especially impotent to the CIA and such.. to hide in plain sight..

Imagine them trying to make a bond movie from this. Or more of Bourne.. But now it makes sense of all the shows that show the CIA as protector of humanity and the good guys.. There are no righteous intelligence agencies anywhere, only how evil and their limits.. Why their powers should be limited and their actions also limited to a small sphere. Because where does it stop? Once given the power to shape reality, then the entire world is shaped according to a few with psychopathic tendencies. Which normal person would want to control everyone according to their own reality? When you cant control your very own family, you have to be one heck of a control freak to do it globally and to force everyone to do as told. But these are the dreams and aspirations of an ape.. To remake the world in his own image.. and the prize is the banana..

John Wright , September 16, 2019 at 15:11

More like a Le Carre' film. The CIA was originally sold as an intelligence gathering and analysis organization, and was not supposed to be involved in operations. Thus, it was founded on lies and the lies have only grown since.

Neither the CIA nor the FBI are salvageable at this point. They need to be abolished, their functions reconsidered and new institutions which adhere to the Constitution created. Of course, the entire military intelligence complex needs to be dismantled, starting with the DHS, but that will require a revolution in this country.

Perhaps after the crash

junaid , September 16, 2019 at 03:12

US President Donald Trump dismissed another official – National Security Advisor John Bolton. what threatens relations between the US and Russia What threatens relations between the US and Russia

Fran Macadam , September 16, 2019 at 01:49

Even the former communist state governments in Europe and the Soviet Union rued the day that they unleashed their secret police from accountability, and thereby became subservient to their power.

Chancellor , September 15, 2019 at 23:40

"But his job as foreman of the Rossotrudnichestvo coop was not the kind of job a Maurive (sic) Thorez graduate gets;"

Of course it isn't, because that was never really his job. My guess is that his real job all along was to be recruited by the CIA, when, in fact, he was always a double agent. The rumors that he drank too much, was dissatisfied with his pay, and so on, strike me as too obvious a come-on to an over-confident CIA. If Mr. Ritter knows that this is the type of individual the CIA looks for, then the Russian security services know this as well. After all, they tagged every American on the Moscow Station. Clearly, they have excellent tradecraft.

The final coup by the Russian security services was to create a situation where Smolenkov would have to be extracted by the CIA, although the Russians probably didn't think it would take so long. Now it appears that Smolenkov is missing from the Virginia home that he purchased openly under his own name. I wouldn't be surprised if he is living comfortably somewhere back in Russia–this time having been "extracted" by the Russians, since his cover as a CIA asset was finally blown.

Clearly this is speculation, but no more so than the scenarios Mr. Ritter posits.

Fabrizio Zambuto , September 16, 2019 at 14:11

Third scenario seems possible. He starts to drink, he shows how unsatisfied he is, knows Americans will target him.
Meanwhile he gets spoonfed the intel he will have to share with the CIA.

According to Lavrov, he was a employee with little access to the echelons.

Last but not least: Putin said traitors will be punished but they don't get killed, they're sent to Prison and handed years like Skripal which managed to go to UK thanks to a swap.

Overall I like the article but too much Hollywood in the story. Why was he fired?

John Wright , September 15, 2019 at 23:38

[The Chinese play Go, the Russians Chess and the Americans Poker (badly)]

I think it's pretty clear that Mr. Ritter's third scenario is the correct interpretation of the facts. I wouldn't even be surprised if the Russians surreptitiously got the U.S. media to out their double agent. Timing is everything, after all, and now he's Langley's problem to deal with.

The Russians know that the corrupt Anglo-American Deep State will work against any relationship which is beneficial to Russia, so they have absolutely nothing to lose by feeding the Deep State a narrative that can potentially wreak havoc within it.

Having Smolenkov feed this narrative into the bowels of the CIA clearly helped advance the Deep State's rather obvious operation to create the appearance of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, all the more reason for Brennan and company to swallow it hook, line and sinker.

So Deep State tool Obama bites on the interference narrative, confronts Putin and takes illegal actions that, if exposed, have the potential to seriously damage his legacy and the presidency. This plausible result would cause Americans to lose even more faith in their increasingly corrupt and dysfunctional government and affect world opinion.

We now see that if Barr actually does his job as mandated by the Constitution, then this becomes a very distinct possibility.

Had the rabid neocon Clinton won, her administration would've undoubtedly buried Obama's unconstitutional indiscretion, but fingerprints would've lingered for a future Republican to possibly uncover and cause chaos with. It's even possible that Smolenkov would've remained in place and continued to feed even more poisonous disinformation to the U.S. intelligence morass, setting Clinton up for who knows what.

However, the unstable, narcissistic and easily played Trump miraculously wins. He's immediately and continuously hit with RussiaGate. Trump reacts predictably by fanning the flames of distraction when he calls out the Deep State and keeps punching back. The Executive Branch is divided against itself, Congress and the electorate are further polarized and a significant amount of energy is tied up with unproductive domestic political machinations.

Almost three years of noise and crisis worked to increase Trump's natural dysfunction while the Russians and Chinese quietly manage their coordinated effort to transform the global power structure in their favor.

Will this Russian gift keep on giving?

Will Barr, or someone else if Trump fires him, dig into the entire RussiaGate mess and expose all the lies and blatant illegality potentially causing a serious national crisis, further damaging the reputation and credit worthiness of the U.S. ?

Or will Barr remain a faithful Deep State fixer, convince Trump that taking down Obama would not be good for the economic health of the country (and his re-election), and carefully steer everything he can down the memory hole?

Are those vodka glasses I hear clinking in Beijing?

[I'm just left wondering who will produce the deliciously embarrassing (to the U.S.) film that this would make.]

Taras77 , September 15, 2019 at 19:42

Remarkable detail on the recruitment and control of agents by the CIA. In this case, it would appear that Brennan has been played big time. IMO, to see Smolenkov walk away with his loot in the bank, there can not be any other conclusion.

Hence, the obvious panic by brennan to use the likely suspects, NYT and wapo, to cast more haze on the story. If there were treason, I doubt Smolenkov would be walking because the Russians do not take that lightly. Actually, they have acted and are acting with competence and confidence in the face of the bumbling, fumbling bombast and threats of the group around trump which passes themselves off as diplomats and security advisors.

Brennan in his obsession to interfere with the political process prob contributed to his malfeasance and a possible crime-I am no legal expert but it certainly seems that he committed crimes.

Of course, this raises the question as to whether barr et al will act accordingly and bring him to justice-I have strong doubts about barr taking on the cia as they will certainly close ranks to protect him. My doubts about barr, however, go well beyond this particular issue vis-a-vis the cia.

SilentPartner , September 15, 2019 at 18:58

I suspect Scott was provided a great deal of the reporting in this fascinating article from a disgruntled insider, or former insider. Knowledge of Brennan's break with protocol to form a select 'stand alone fusion cell' that reported only to him is something that I haven't seen reported before. In any case this story adds another red flag to the entire Russiagate hoax.

Just as Mueller failed to interview Julian Assange or Christopher Steele for his report -- obvious red flags -- we should now watch the conduct of Barr's investigation. Will Barr's investigators interview Smolenkov? This should be an important metric to determine how serious his investigation is. Another metric for Barr will be whether Ghislaine Maxwell is indicted and arrested in the Jefferey Epstein affair. If not, we will soon know just how deep goes the corruption of the ruling class.

Sam F , September 15, 2019 at 18:28

Many thanks to Scott Ritter for this information and cogent argument.

However it is not clear how Russia would expect to benefit by allowing Smolenkov to deceive the CIA that Putin directly ordered interference in the US election. While later discrediting of the US "Russia-gate" nonsense would make the US IC look bad, it is unclear that this could be done, and it would have been done by now to reduce political tensions, but still has not been done. Putin himself denied the accusations as nonsense.

So something is missing: if that was not the plan, Smolenkov was not asked to do that, and he would not have been viewed as harmless when fired for that. If he had other incriminating info on decision makers there, he would not have been allowed to leave, and having escaped, he would have concealed his new location. Perhaps his superiors ill-advisedly asked him to make false statements, for which he was not blamed.

Anon , September 16, 2019 at 07:09

I agree. The logic of "embarrassing" the CIA and dividing them from the president by passing inflammatory information seems a stretch. On the other hand, I agree there do appear a number of "red flags."

I'm wondering about the merit of the idea that this guy cooked up the story himself, though I'm not sure that works either. It just seems to me something is missing.

Ojkelly , September 16, 2019 at 12:00

I thought the idea was that a Brennan minion planted or asked for the "Putin is interfering " report, or even made it up and attributed it to a minor asset.

Brendan , September 15, 2019 at 15:00

( ) the timing of the CNN and New York Times reports about the "exfiltration" of the CIA's "sensitive source" seems to be little more than a blatant effort by Brennan and his allies in the media to shape a narrative before Barr uncovers the truth.

That's very likely to be true, but I think there's more to it than just getting Brennan's version of events published before anyone elses. If you want to implant your narrative in the public's mind it certainly does help to get your story out first, but in this case there's an additional motive for leaking the spy story.

One effect of the leak was that Smolenko suddenly disappeared. His family apparently fled their house in a hurry, leaving belongings lying around according to media reports.

Normally the CIA would never 'out' a valued asset, even a used one, because that would discourage potential informers. And CNN and the NYT would not reveal details that would identify a Russian defector – as happened in this case when Russian Kommersant identified Smolenkov. American mainstream media would first check that it was OK to publish those details.

This looks far too unusual to be simply a result of incompetence by Americans. A much better explanation is that some powerful people were really desperate to make Smolenko disappear. And the reason is that he knew too much. And now he has gone into hiding, supposedly to escape vengeance from Putin. What is most significant is that he does not face as many questions about his role in Russiagate.

Abe , September 15, 2019 at 14:31

As far as spying is concerned, "a different set of calculations" prevails under Trump
https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/12/israel-white-house-spying-devices-1491351

The Blue Fairy , September 16, 2019 at 00:57

A general search for Intel on google doesn't yield an abundance of articles that mention its move to Israel in 1974, but I discovered it when the Spectre/Meltdown (intentional Israeli processor security flaws, I mean "features") became known in 2018. "Nothing is ever impossible, in this life" except for a computer that's not infested with the US-Israeli partnership. We are also not surprised that Intel was not on Donald Trump's list of American companies to bring back to the US.

Mike from Jersey , September 15, 2019 at 14:23

Good article. This is the kind of analysis you will not find in the New York Times or the Washington Post. This is why I come to the Consortium News.

hetro , September 15, 2019 at 13:46

If I'm following properly, the white paper from Smolenkov is at the heart of the January 6, 2017, "assessments" that the case would be made–Trump as dupe of Putin.

Recall, too, that these "assessments" differed. Brennan's and Comey's were "high"; Clapper's was "moderate."

And, as Scott Ritter points out, they were "estimates" not based on hard proof; they were essentially "guesses."

Why the discrepancy? (Related: William Binney says this "moderate" from Clapper means the NSA knows Russia did not hack the DNC.)

I think this discrepancy question is important. How could a (supposedly) verifiable report via white paper from a verifiable double agent Smolenkov be anything but a slam dunk (unanimous) "high" for the major intelligence agencies?

The other question is Scott's WHY the Russian intelligence apparatus, with Putin complicit, would set out to embarrass the US intelligence agencies with a cooked up story–that made Putin look bad?

Of course, they could not know back at that time how the story would cook and proliferate across US mainstream media with all the glee of Russia-bashing run amok and its TDS.

This view would also suggest a belief that somewhere in the US justice system was the integrity to dig everything out and expose the fraud.

nwwoods , September 15, 2019 at 17:56

I believe that it was NSA which declared "moderate confidence", so no, not Clapper. Clapper, in my opinion, was in on the gambit, a witting confederate of ringleader Brennan.

hetro , September 16, 2019 at 11:30

Yes. Technically Clapper resigned as head of the NSA in 2016, and it was Mike Rogers, the new head in 2017 who declared the assessment "moderate." Clapper had been involved with Brennan and Comey in forming the January 6, 2017 assessment.

https://www.conservativereview.com/news/trump-is-right-to-doubt-the-obama-intelligence-communitys-claims/

The question still remains: why the discrepancy in this "assessment" at the very beginning of Trump's presidency, with its powerful impact.

JP McEvoy , September 15, 2019 at 12:33

One thing is for sure, if anything bad happens to the mole, it's won't be the Russians who did it. Watch your back Mr. Skrip – er – I mean Smolenkov.

Robert Emmett , September 15, 2019 at 11:25

Damn! Please allow me to toss the "curveball" too. What's that? The real one or the fake, you say? Ha ha. Yes, exactly! O, Vaunted sacred screed of PDB where the truth shall set you free to prime the pump with lies. (hint: to spare your soul don't look into their eyes)

I haven't exactly been able to figure out what's wrong with Brennan's face, 'til I just got it. He's been double-yoked! His own plus Barrack's (truer sp.). Egg that just won't wash off! So you have to wear it everywhere, every day. Talk about serviceable villains hiding in plain sight. Hey, Clapper! Don't get any on ya! Haha. Too late!

Carroll Price , September 15, 2019 at 10:43

Another example of checker champions competing with chess masters.

CortesKid , September 15, 2019 at 10:33

Brilliant and thorough. As I was reading Mr. Ritter's analysis, an overwhelming impression was building, analogous to the third scenario, that Smolenkov , indeed, was a lure perfectly placed to catch an intelligence agency or three. As I've watched and read many Russian official's communications, especially their diplomatic efforts, it has become obvious to me that, on average, they are some of the few "adults in the room." In broadstrokes, they are playing chess, while the whole of the West, with its increasingly senile elites, is at the Checkers table.

And in even broader strokes, I believe that at the heart of all of these shenanigans, is a foundational turning away from a matured-and-deflating West, to an energized and expanding Eurasia (Brezhinki's nightmare). As you know, changes on the scale of hegemon are never easy. "Dying empires don't lay down, they double-down."

And I don't necessarily think Smolenkov and family are safe–from, for instance, "Novichok" delivered via some American ally's secret service–as a pretense for further demonization of Russia.

Brendan , September 15, 2019 at 07:51

Sorry but the theory that's proposed above is a bit too convoluted to be believable – that Russia manipulated the CIA with the fake hacking story from Smolenkov and then the CIA chief Brennan used it to manipulate Obama who then unwittingly revealed to Putin that the USA was fooled by the story.

I'd rather follow Occam's razor and go for a simpler scenario. Brennan and the CIA persuaded Smolenkov to invent the story (that he had inside knowledge that Putin ordered the hacking of the DNC).

Not only that, but Obama suspected that the story was fake, since it was passed on to him outside the normal channels and was investigated in a similar unconventional way. It's hard to believe that Obama was easily hoodwinked and simply accepted the story as fact without any convincing evidence.

The Democratic Party's fingerprints are all over the Russiagate story. The DNC commissioned the Steele dossier and Steele met officials in the Obama administration's State Department before the 2016 election. We're expected to believe that this all went on behind President Obama's back.

We're also expected to believe that Obama innocently believed Smolenkov's report, as if the CIA and FBI would never tell a lie. He's not completely stupid – at the very least he must have had serious doubts about the allegations, or he could even have been in on the Russiagate fabrication himself.

Maricata , September 16, 2019 at 19:34

It is more and more difficult to ascertain reality from fantasy, certainty from assumptions. And this all plays into the hands of the ruling elites and their international and national pratorean guards.

Americans do not ask questions. They prefer to believe than to know and thus the {swirl} will yield nothing.

F. G. Sanford , September 15, 2019 at 07:05

Putin must surely have smirked. The little white envelope worked.
The debate made it plain he had pulled Brennan's chain,
And behind the scene subterfuge lurked!

Only four people went to the meeting. Connections might prove rather fleeting.
The "puppet" rebuke at the time seemed a fluke,
No one dared claim that Clinton was cheating!

Brennan's confidence level was high. He had sources and methods to spy.
He had top secret stuff that he claimed was enough,
But no evidence he'd specify!

Then Clinton claimed Russian subversion. In retrospect, not a diversion.
She must have been tipped by somebody loose lipped,
And she ran with the Putin incursion!

Strzok and Page were kept out of the loop. They didn't get insider poop.
They found no 'there' there, Comey's cupboard looked bare,
Brennan's spy had not yet flown the coop.

The durable lie picked up traction. Their spook would require extraction.
How could Clinton be sure that the blame would endure,
And the Steele Dossier would get action?

The 'Agent in Place' was a double. He didn't get in any trouble.
Hillary's pride had some hubris to hide,
In the end it would burst Brennan's bubble!

The big secret meeting was leaked. On the stage, "He's a puppet!" she shrieked.
Perhaps Susan Rice was inclined to be nice,
And her duty to Hillary peaked!

So now, they blame Trump for the outing. But it's over except for the shouting.
The 'insurance' is void, the illusion destroyed,
And poor Hillary just keeps on pouting!

David Otness , September 14, 2019 at 23:41

Scott -- so glad I got the head's-up on this via the CN Live show. I just now finished it and am putting it into perspective. Well-researched, and well-written -- it's truly a web so very reminiscent of what should have remained Cold War 1.0 finis.

And Episode Nine of CN Live is showing us where this internet platform can go with the assembled experience and talent exhibited. The tech glitches were too bad, but the audio was quite good enough.

Thanks for this travel guide to the heart of the labyrinth. Hopefully good things come of it. I do worry about Barr's too many allegiances to his CIA incubator though, especially with all of the ongoing coverups of the Epstein fiasco (engineered or not,) that complicate and obfuscate the twin scandals that both end up under Barr's purview.

Ya done good, nonetheless. Thank you.

Abe , September 14, 2019 at 22:07

"After the U.S. reports came out, an anonymous, well-informed Russian Telegram channel, The Ruthless PR Guy, reported that the asset was Kremlin official Oleg Smolenkov. On Tuesday (10 September 2019] morning, the Moscow daily Kommersant published a story confirming that it was him based on anonymous sources and some pretty convincing circumstantial evidence. [ ]

"If Smolenkov was a spy, he could have delivered important insights about Russia's foreign policy thinking and planning to U.S. intelligence. But if he was the source for the U.S. intelligence community's certainty that Putin personally orchestrated a covert interference campaign, that certainty rests on a weak foundation. Smolenkov served the wrong boss in the Kremlin to get reliable information about such ventures."

Was this man the prized US asset in the Kremlin? By Leonid Bershidsky http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0919/bershidsky091119.php3#Asy3R8hJ2mAQPm1y.99

Ojkelly , September 14, 2019 at 22:01

Mr Ritter, Very lightly done. " Curveball made me do it" is the defense.
Brennan, well,I am not knowledgeable , but tight with Barry, unprofessional to my view, has an issue. He made the most outrageous statements, Commander believing his own BS, NYT magazine. Imagine going around saying that Trump was a Russian agent . Did incomparable harm.And Morrell endorsing Hillary Clinton :beyond the pale , Professional members of the agency must've been? Shocked appalled, whatever.

Jeff Harrison , September 14, 2019 at 21:52

Whooof! Obviously the MSM won't touch any of this stuff. I also don't have a lot of confidence in the US government's ability to clean up the mess it has made. Amusingly, I've watched the US's ham handed operations around the world and wondered when somebody would return the complement. If Mr. Ritter is to be believed, it seems the Russians have started. As Mr. Lawrence pointed out on CN live, Americans need to dispense with the notion that we are exceptional. That's a weakness as it leads to complacency. How many more bricks of trust in our government will we have to see broken before the entire edifice collapses? I would also like to point out that we wouldn't be having these kind of problems if we weren't hell bent on being the global hegemon.

Clark M Shanahan , September 14, 2019 at 22:54

"If Mr. Ritter is to be believed"
Jeffrey, I've followed Mr Ritter.
You can believe what he is stating, he's a good man.

he follows soon, here w/G. Galloway:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NutNHIj2nU8

Clark M Shanahan , September 15, 2019 at 08:46

my bad: Ritter starts at 48 minutes, before Nixon & Maupin

Jeff Harrison , September 15, 2019 at 17:43

I'm hip, Clark. I said that simply because I have no other collaborating commentary. Ritter had my vote when he stood up to Shrub over Iraq's WMDs. But you do have to keep the realization that you could be wrong so if Mr. Ritter is to be believed. I think that the odds that Ritter is wrong are in the general vicinity of the odds that the US will start acting like a normal nation.

[Sep 17, 2019] Explaining CIA's 'Agent Smolenkov'

Notable quotes:
"... This damage to supposed bastions of US journalism cannot be overstated. More than two years of spinning speculation-cum-reporting about Russian collusion with Trump and/or interference in US politics has produced not a crumb of substantive fact. ..."
"... So when they got the chance to seemingly resurrect their buried "Russiagate" yarn with this latest fable about agent Oleg Smolenkov being exfiltrated from Russia to the US, they leapt at it because their equally buried reputations are also at stake. ..."
"... As far as we can tell, an anonymous intelligence source started the ball rolling. The source is likely to be former CIA chief John Brennan or former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Both are hangouts for the anti-Trump media since they lost their intel jobs at the beginning of 2017, and both are believed to have seeded the "Russiagate" narrative in 2016 from before Trump was elected. ..."
"... Thus, if Smolenkov is peddling fiction to his former handlers in the CIA, that means he has no credibility as a "top mole". ..."
"... Again, opportunism is the key. Somebody came up with a lurid story about "Russian interference" in US democracy and "collusion" with Trump. Maybe it was Smolenkov who saw an opportunity to win a big pay day from his CIA patrons by flogging them a blockbuster. ..."
"... CNN, NY Times, Washington Post, Brennan and Clapper are so much damaged goods from past failure of "Russiagate" fabrications, they find an opportunity to salvage their disgraced names by outing the hapless Smolenkov at this juncture. ..."
"... There is a sinister similarity here to the Sergei Skripal case in England. Is Smolenkov being set up for hit which can then be conveniently blamed on Russia as "revenge" by the Russophobic, anti-Trump, deep state US media? ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

The saga of daring escape by a supposed Russian CIA agent from the Kremlin's clutches and then the added twist of a security-risk American president putting the agent's life in danger does indeed sound like a pulp fiction novel, as Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov put it.

How to explain this sensational story? "Opportunism" is one word that comes to mind.

The news media who pushed the story, CNN, the New York Times and Washington Post, are vehemently "anti-Trump". Any chance to damage this president and they grab it.

Also, perhaps more importantly, these media are desperate to salvage their shot-through journalistic credibility since the "Russiagate" narrative they had earnestly propagated died a death, after the two-year Mueller circus finally left town empty-handed.

This damage to supposed bastions of US journalism cannot be overstated. More than two years of spinning speculation-cum-reporting about Russian collusion with Trump and/or interference in US politics has produced not a crumb of substantive fact. That means those media responsible for the "Russiagate" nonsense have forfeited that precious quality – credibility. They no longer deserve to be categorized as news services, and are more appropriately now listed as fiction peddlers.

So when they got the chance to seemingly resurrect their buried "Russiagate" yarn with this latest fable about agent Oleg Smolenkov being exfiltrated from Russia to the US, they leapt at it because their equally buried reputations are also at stake.

As far as we can tell, an anonymous intelligence source started the ball rolling. The source is likely to be former CIA chief John Brennan or former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Both are hangouts for the anti-Trump media since they lost their intel jobs at the beginning of 2017, and both are believed to have seeded the "Russiagate" narrative in 2016 from before Trump was elected.

Notably, the current CIA assessment of the latest US media reporting on the exfiltrated spy is that the reporting is "false" and "misguided". In particular, the CNN spin that the agent (Smolenkov) had to be extricated from Russia in 2017 because Langley feared that Trump may have endangered the supposed Kremlin mole when he hosted Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in the White House in May 2017.

Also of note is the dismissive response from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who rubbished the reports. He was head of the CIA during 2017. (Admittedly, Pompeo is a self-confessed liar.)

According to CNN, NY Times and Washington Post, the former spy in the Kremlin, named as Oleg Smolenkov by subsequent Russian media reporting, was a top mole with direct access to President Vladimir Putin. It is claimed that Smolenkov confirmed allegations about a Putin-directed plot to interfere in US presidential elections. The agent is said to have also confirmed that Putin (allegedly) ordered the hacking of the Democratic party's central database to obtain scandalous material on Hillary Clinton which was then fed to the Wikileaks whistleblower site for the purpose of scuttling her bid for the presidency in November 2016, thus favoring Trump.

Smolenkov was allegedly providing this information on a purported Kremlin interference campaign in 2016.

The US media claim Smolenkov was exfiltrated from Russia by the CIA in June 2017 – out of concern for his safety, which CNN reported was being jeopardized by President Trump due to his implied compromised relations with Putin. Smolenkov and his family disappeared while on a holiday in Montenegro in June 2017.

After the story broke earlier this week about the exfiltrated Kremlin mole, subsequent media reporting tracked down Oleg Smolenkov and his wife living in a $1-million-dollar mansion in Stafford, Virginia. Curiously, public records showed the house purchase was in their names, which seems odds for a supposed top-level spy, who had apparently committed extreme betrayal against the Kremlin, to be living openly. The family apparently fled the house to unknown whereabouts on September 9 after the story about his alleged spy role broke this week.

Who is Oleg Smolenkov? The Kremlin said this week that he previously worked in the presidential administration, but he was sacked "several years ago". He did not have direct access to President Putin's office, according to the Kremlin. For his part, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov says he never heard of the man before, never mind ever having met him.

It is understood that Smolenkov previously worked in the Russian embassy in Washington under ambassador Yuri Ushakov (1999-2008). Smolenkov reportedly continued working for Ushakov when the diplomat returned to Moscow after his ambassadorial tenure in the US.

Here is where we may speculate that Smolenkov was recruited by the CIA during his diplomatic assignment in the US. But we assume that the Kremlin's assessment is correct; he did not have a senior position or access to Putin's office. By contrast, the US media are claiming Smolenkov was "one of the CIA's most valuable assets" in the Kremlin and that he was providing confirmatory information that Putin was (allegedly) running an interference campaign to subvert the US presidential elections.

The discerning detail as to the truth of the imbroglio is revealed by the US media claims that Smolenkov corroborated the alleged hacking into the Democratic party database in 2016. However, that specific allegation has been disproven by several top hacker experts, notably William Binney who was formerly technical head at the US National Security Agency. There was no hacking. The damaging information on Hillary Clinton was leaked by a Democratic party insider, possibly Seth Rich, who soon after was shot dead by an unknown attacker. In short, the entire narrative about the Kremlin hacking into the Democratic party is a fiction. The premise to "Russiagate" is baseless.

Thus, if Smolenkov is peddling fiction to his former handlers in the CIA, that means he has no credibility as a "top mole".

Again, opportunism is the key. Somebody came up with a lurid story about "Russian interference" in US democracy and "collusion" with Trump. Maybe it was Smolenkov who saw an opportunity to win a big pay day from his CIA patrons by flogging them a blockbuster. Or maybe, Brennan and Clapper (known liars in the public record) dreamt up a scheme of Kremlin malignancy to benefit Trump, and if that could be tied to Trump then his election would be discredited and nullified. But what they needed was a "Kremlin source" to "corroborate" their readymade story of "Russian interference". Step forward Oleg Smolenkov – fired and out of work – to do the needful "corroboration" and in return he gets a new life for himself and family with a mansion in a leafy Virginian suburb.

CNN, NY Times, Washington Post, Brennan and Clapper are so much damaged goods from past failure of "Russiagate" fabrications, they find an opportunity to salvage their disgraced names by outing the hapless Smolenkov at this juncture.

That then raises the grave question of why he was permitted to live openly in his own name?

There is a sinister similarity here to the Sergei Skripal case in England. Is Smolenkov being set up for hit which can then be conveniently blamed on Russia as "revenge" by the Russophobic, anti-Trump, deep state US media?

[Sep 15, 2019] My reading of the evidence presented by Ritter is that the Smolenkov report sent by Brennan to Obama was essentially a total fabrication by Brennan, produced for political reasons - to manipulate the interpretation of the election results and to fabricate grounds for Russiagate and surveillance of Trump

Sep 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sunny Runny Burger , Sep 15 2019 16:30 utc | 6

- The Spy Who Failed - Scott Ritter / Consortiumnews - Recommended

BM , Sep 15 2019 16:48 utc | 7

The Scott Ritter link (like anything written by the man) is good.

My reading of the evidence presented by Ritter is that the Smolenkov report sent by Brennan to Obama was essentially a total fabrication by Brennan, produced for political reasons - to manipulate the interpretation of the election results and to fabricate grounds for Russiagate and surveillance of Trump. That is why he pulled everything out from normal vetting procedures and made the custom-analysts sign confidentiality agreements - because the interpretation he wanted was fabricated. According to this scenario Brennan knew the Smolenkov reports were worthless from an intelligence perspective, and wilfully covered up that fact for political reasons. (What was actually in the Smolenkov reports is irrelevant, according to this scenario).

In my opinion this would be totally consistent with what we know about Brennan.

It is also possible that the fabrication was with the full knowledge of Obama, with the intention to protect the secret extra-administration power structures set up by Obama (which they thought they could continue anyway, as they didn't expect to lose the election) and have them continue to operate illegally undermining the Trump administration.

[Sep 15, 2019] How the UK Security Services neutralised the country s leading liberal newspaper by Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis

Highly recommended!
Essentially neoliberal MSM were hijacked. Which was easy to do. The current anti-Russian campaign is conducted under the direct guidance of MI6 and similar agencies
Notable quotes:
"... committee minutes note the secretary saying: "The Guardian was obliged to seek advice under the terms of the DA notice code." The minutes add: "This failure to seek advice was a key source of concern and considerable efforts had been made to address it." ..."
"... These "considerable efforts" included a D-Notice sent out by the committee on 7 June 2013 – the day after The Guardian published the first documents – to all major UK media editors, saying they should refrain from publishing information that would "jeopardise both national security and possibly UK personnel". It was marked "private and confidential: not for publication, broadcast or use on social media". ..."
"... "The FT [Financial Times] and The Times did not mention it [the initial Snowden revelations] and the Telegraph published only a short". It continued by noting that only The Independent "followed up the substantive allegations". It added, "The BBC has also chosen to largely ignore the story." ..."
"... The British security services had carried out more than a "symbolic act". It was both a show of strength and a clear threat. The Guardian was then the only major newspaper that could be relied upon by whistleblowers in the US and British security bodies to receive and cover their exposures, a situation which posed a challenge to security agencies. ..."
"... The increasingly aggressive overtures made to The Guardian worked. The committee chair noted that after GCHQ had overseen the smashing up of the newspaper's laptops "engagement with The Guardian had continued to strengthen". ..."
"... But the most important part of this charm and threat offensive was getting The Guardian to agree to take a seat on the D-Notice Committee itself. The committee minutes are explicit on this, noting that "the process had culminated by [sic] the appointment of Paul Johnson (deputy editor Guardian News and Media) as a DPBAC [i.e. D-Notice Committee] member". ..."
"... The Guardian's deputy editor went directly from the corporation's basement with an angle-grinder to sitting on the D-Notice Committee alongside the security service officials who had tried to stop his paper publishing. ..."
"... In November 2016, The Guardian published an unprecedented "exclusive" with Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, Britain's domestic security service. The article noted that this was the "first newspaper interview given by an incumbent MI5 chief in the service's 107-year history". It was co-written by deputy editor Paul Johnson, who had never written about the security services before and who was still sitting on the D-Notice Committee. This was not mentioned in the article. ..."
"... The MI5 chief was given copious space to make claims about the national security threat posed by an "increasingly aggressive" Russia. Johnson and his co-author noted, "Parker said he was talking to The Guardian rather than any other newspaper despite the publication of the Snowden files." ..."
"... Just two weeks before the interview with MI6's chief was published, The Guardian itself reported on the high court stating that it would "hear an application for a judicial review of the Crown Prosecution Service's decision not to charge MI6's former counterterrorism director, Sir Mark Allen, over the abduction of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his pregnant wife who were transferred to Libya in a joint CIA-MI6 operation in 2004". ..."
"... The security services were probably feeding The Guardian these "exclusives" as part of the process of bringing it onside and neutralising the only independent newspaper with the resources to receive and cover a leak such as Snowden's. They were possibly acting to prevent any revelations of this kind happening again. ..."
"... The Guardian's coverage of anti-Semitism in Labour has been suspiciously extensive, compared to the known extent of the problem in the party, and its focus on Corbyn personally suggests that the issue is being used politically. While anti-Semitism does exist in the Labour Party, evidence suggests it is at relatively low levels. Since September 2015, when Corbyn became Labour leader, 0.06% of the Labour membership has been investigated for anti-Semitic comments or posts. In 2016, an independent inquiry commissioned by Labour concluded that the party "is not overrun by anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or other forms of racism. Further, it is the party that initiated every single United Kingdom race equality law." ..."
"... A former Guardian journalist similarly told us: "It is significant that exclusive stories recently about British collusion in torture and policy towards the interrogation of terror suspects and other detainees have been passed to other papers including The Times rather than The Guardian." ..."
"... The Guardian had gone in six short years from being the natural outlet to place stories exposing wrongdoing by the security state to a platform trusted by the security state to amplify its information operations. A once relatively independent media platform has been largely neutralised by UK security services fearful of being exposed further. Which begs the question: where does the next Snowden go? DM ..."
Jan 01, 2019 | dailymaverick.co.za

The Guardian, Britain's leading liberal newspaper with a global reputation for independent and critical journalism, has been successfully targeted by security agencies to neutralise its adversarial reporting of the 'security state', according to newly released documents and evidence from former and current Guardian journalists.

The UK security services targeted The Guardian after the newspaper started publishing the contents of secret US government documents leaked by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in June 2013.

Snowden's bombshell revelations continued for months and were the largest-ever leak of classified material covering the NSA and its UK equivalent, the Government Communications Headquarters. They revealed programmes of mass surveillance operated by both agencies.

According to minutes of meetings of the UK's Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee, the revelations caused alarm in the British security services and Ministry of Defence.

" This event was very concerning because at the outset The Guardian avoided engaging with the [committee] before publishing the first tranche of information," state minutes of a 7 November 2013 meeting at the MOD.

The DSMA Committee, more commonly known as the D-Notice Committee, is run by the MOD, where it meets every six months. A small number of journalists are also invited to sit on the committee. Its stated purpose is to "prevent inadvertent public disclosure of information that would compromise UK military and intelligence operations". It can issue "notices" to the media to encourage them not to publish certain information.

The committee is currently chaired by the MOD's director-general of security policy Dominic Wilson, who was previously director of security and intelligence in the British Cabinet Office. Its secretary is Brigadier Geoffrey Dodds OBE, who describes himself as an "accomplished, senior ex-military commander with extensive experience of operational level leadership".

The D-Notice system describes itself as voluntary , placing no obligations on the media to comply with any notice issued. This means there should have been no need for the Guardian to consult the MOD before publishing the Snowden documents.

Yet committee minutes note the secretary saying: "The Guardian was obliged to seek advice under the terms of the DA notice code." The minutes add: "This failure to seek advice was a key source of concern and considerable efforts had been made to address it."

' Considerable efforts'

These "considerable efforts" included a D-Notice sent out by the committee on 7 June 2013 – the day after The Guardian published the first documents – to all major UK media editors, saying they should refrain from publishing information that would "jeopardise both national security and possibly UK personnel". It was marked "private and confidential: not for publication, broadcast or use on social media".

Clearly the committee did not want its issuing of the notice to be publicised, and it was nearly successful. Only the right-wing blog Guido Fawkes made it public.

At the time, according to the committee minutes , the "intelligence agencies in particular had continued to ask for more advisories [i.e. D-Notices] to be sent out". Such D-Notices were clearly seen by the intelligence services not so much as a tool to advise the media but rather a way to threaten it not to publish further Snowden revelations.

One night, amidst the first Snowden stories being published, the D-Notice Committee's then-secretary Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Vallance personally called Alan Rusbridger, then editor of The Guardian. Vallance "made clear his concern that The Guardian had failed to consult him in advance before telling the world", according to a Guardian journalist who interviewed Rusbridger.

Later in the year, Prime Minister David Cameron again used the D-Notice system as a threat to the media.

" I don't want to have to use injunctions or D-Notices or the other tougher measures," he said in a statement to MPs. "I think it's much better to appeal to newspapers' sense of social responsibility. But if they don't demonstrate some social responsibility it would be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act."

The threats worked. The Press Gazette reported at the time that "The FT [Financial Times] and The Times did not mention it [the initial Snowden revelations] and the Telegraph published only a short". It continued by noting that only The Independent "followed up the substantive allegations". It added, "The BBC has also chosen to largely ignore the story."

The Guardian, however, remained uncowed.

According to the committee minutes , the fact The Guardian would not stop publishing "undoubtedly raised questions in some minds about the system's future usefulness". If the D-Notice system could not prevent The Guardian publishing GCHQ's most sensitive secrets, what was it good for?

It was time to rein in The Guardian and make sure this never happened again.

GCHQ and laptops

The security services ratcheted up their "considerable efforts" to deal with the exposures. On 20 July 2013, GCHQ officials entered The Guardian's offices at King's Cross in London, six weeks after the first Snowden-related article had been published. At the request of the government and security services, Guardian deputy editor Paul Johnson, along with two others, spent three hours destroying the laptops containing the Snowden documents.

The Guardian staffers, according to one of the newspaper's reporters, brought "angle-grinders, dremels – drills with revolving bits – and masks". The reporter added, "The spy agency provided one piece of hi-tech equipment, a 'degausser', which destroys magnetic fields and erases data."

Johnson claims that the destruction of the computers was "purely a symbolic act", adding that "the government and GCHQ knew, because we had told them, that the material had been taken to the US to be shared with the New York Times. The reporting would go on. The episode hadn't changed anything."

Yet the episode did change something. As the D-Notice Committee minutes for November 2013 outlined: "Towards the end of July [as the computers were being destroyed], The Guardian had begun to seek and accept D-Notice advice not to publish certain highly sensitive details and since then the dialogue [with the committee] had been reasonable and improving."

The British security services had carried out more than a "symbolic act". It was both a show of strength and a clear threat. The Guardian was then the only major newspaper that could be relied upon by whistleblowers in the US and British security bodies to receive and cover their exposures, a situation which posed a challenge to security agencies.

The increasingly aggressive overtures made to The Guardian worked. The committee chair noted that after GCHQ had overseen the smashing up of the newspaper's laptops "engagement with The Guardian had continued to strengthen".

Moreover, he added , there were now "regular dialogues between the secretary and deputy secretaries and Guardian journalists". Rusbridger later testified to the Home Affairs Committee that Air Vice-Marshal Vallance of the D-Notice committee and himself "collaborated" in the aftermath of the Snowden affair and that Vallance had even "been at The Guardian offices to talk to all our reporters".

But the most important part of this charm and threat offensive was getting The Guardian to agree to take a seat on the D-Notice Committee itself. The committee minutes are explicit on this, noting that "the process had culminated by [sic] the appointment of Paul Johnson (deputy editor Guardian News and Media) as a DPBAC [i.e. D-Notice Committee] member".

At some point in 2013 or early 2014, Johnson – the same deputy editor who had smashed up his newspaper's computers under the watchful gaze of British intelligence agents – was approached to take up a seat on the committee. Johnson attended his first meeting in May 2014 and was to remain on it until October 2018 .

The Guardian's deputy editor went directly from the corporation's basement with an angle-grinder to sitting on the D-Notice Committee alongside the security service officials who had tried to stop his paper publishing.

A new editor

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger withstood intense pressure not to publish some of the Snowden revelations but agreed to Johnson taking a seat on the D-Notice Committee as a tactical sop to the security services. Throughout his tenure, The Guardian continued to publish some stories critical of the security services.

But in March 2015, the situation changed when the Guardian appointed a new editor, Katharine Viner, who had less experience than Rusbridger of dealing with the security services. Viner had started out on fashion and entertainment magazine Cosmopolitan and had no history in national security reporting. According to insiders, she showed much less leadership during the Snowden affair than Janine Gibson in the US (Gibson was another candidate to be Rusbridger's successor).

Viner was then editor-in-chief of Guardian Australia, which was launched just two weeks before the first Snowden revelations were published. Australia and New Zealand comprise two-fifths of the so-called "Five Eyes" surveillance alliance exposed by Snowden.

This was an opportunity for the security services. It appears that their seduction began the following year.

In November 2016, The Guardian published an unprecedented "exclusive" with Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, Britain's domestic security service. The article noted that this was the "first newspaper interview given by an incumbent MI5 chief in the service's 107-year history". It was co-written by deputy editor Paul Johnson, who had never written about the security services before and who was still sitting on the D-Notice Committee. This was not mentioned in the article.

The MI5 chief was given copious space to make claims about the national security threat posed by an "increasingly aggressive" Russia. Johnson and his co-author noted, "Parker said he was talking to The Guardian rather than any other newspaper despite the publication of the Snowden files."

Parker told the two reporters, "We recognise that in a changing world we have to change too. We have a responsibility to talk about our work and explain it."

Four months after the MI5 interview, in March 2017, the Guardian published another unprecedented "exclusive", this time with Alex Younger, the sitting chief of MI6, Britain's external intelligence agency. This exclusive was awarded by the Secret Intelligence Service to The Guardian's investigations editor, Nick Hopkins, who had been appointed 14 months previously.

The interview was the first Younger had given to a national newspaper and was again softball. Titled "MI6 returns to 'tapping up' in an effort to recruit black and Asian officers", it focused almost entirely on the intelligence service's stated desire to recruit from ethnic minority communities.

" Simply, we have to attract the best of modern Britain," Younger told Hopkins. "Every community from every part of Britain should feel they have what it takes, no matter what their background or status."

Just two weeks before the interview with MI6's chief was published, The Guardian itself reported on the high court stating that it would "hear an application for a judicial review of the Crown Prosecution Service's decision not to charge MI6's former counterterrorism director, Sir Mark Allen, over the abduction of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his pregnant wife who were transferred to Libya in a joint CIA-MI6 operation in 2004".

None of this featured in The Guardian article, which did, however, cover discussions of whether the James Bond actor Daniel Craig would qualify for the intelligence service. "He would not get into MI6," Younger told Hopkins.

More recently, in August 2019, The Guardian was awarded yet another exclusive, this time with Metropolitan police assistant commissioner Neil Basu, Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer. This was Basu's " first major interview since taking up his post" the previous year and resulted in a three-part series of articles, one of which was entitled "Met police examine Vladimir Putin's role in Salisbury attack".

The security services were probably feeding The Guardian these "exclusives" as part of the process of bringing it onside and neutralising the only independent newspaper with the resources to receive and cover a leak such as Snowden's. They were possibly acting to prevent any revelations of this kind happening again.

What, if any, private conversations have taken place between Viner and the security services during her tenure as editor are not known. But in 2018, when Paul Johnson eventually left the D-Notice Committee, its chair, the MOD's Dominic Wilson, praised Johnson who, he said, had been "instrumental in re-establishing links with The Guardian".

Decline in critical reporting

Amidst these spoon-fed intelligence exclusives, Viner also oversaw the breakup of The Guardian's celebrated investigative team, whose muck-racking journalists were told to apply for other jobs outside of investigations.

One well-placed source told the Press Gazette at the time that journalists on the investigations team "have not felt backed by senior editors over the last year", and that "some also feel the company has become more risk-averse in the same period".

In the period since Snowden, The Guardian has lost many of its top investigative reporters who had covered national security issues, notably Shiv Malik, Nick Davies, David Leigh, Richard Norton-Taylor, Ewen MacAskill and Ian Cobain. The few journalists who were replaced were succeeded by less experienced reporters with apparently less commitment to exposing the security state. The current defence and security editor, Dan Sabbagh, started at The Guardian as head of media and technology and has no history of covering national security.

" It seems they've got rid of everyone who seemed to cover the security services and military in an adversarial way," one current Guardian journalist told us.

Indeed, during the last two years of Rusbridger's editorship, The Guardian published about 110 articles per year tagged as MI6 on its website. Since Viner took over, the average per year has halved and is decreasing year by year.

" Effective scrutiny of the security and intelligence agencies -- epitomised by the Snowden scoops but also many other stories -- appears to have been abandoned," a former Guardian journalist told us. The former reporter added that, in recent years, it "sometimes seems The Guardian is worried about upsetting the spooks."

A second former Guardian journalist added: "The Guardian no longer seems to have such a challenging relationship with the intelligence services, and is perhaps seeking to mend fences since Snowden. This is concerning, because spooks are always manipulative and not always to be trusted."

While some articles critical of the security services still do appear in the paper, its "scoops" increasingly focus on issues more acceptable to them. Since the Snowden affair, The Guardian does not appear to have published any articles based on an intelligence or security services source that was not officially sanctioned to speak.

The Guardian has, by contrast, published a steady stream of exclusives on the major official enemy of the security services, Russia, exposing Putin, his friends and the work of its intelligence services and military.

In the Panama Papers leak in April 2016, which revealed how companies and individuals around the world were using an offshore law firm to avoid paying tax, The Guardian's front-page launch scoop was authored by Luke Harding, who has received many security service tips focused on the "Russia threat", and was titled "Revealed: the $2bn offshore trail that leads to Vladimir Putin".

Three sentences into the piece, however, Harding notes that "the president's name does not appear in any of the records" although he insists that "the data reveals a pattern – his friends have earned millions from deals that seemingly could not have been secured without his patronage".

There was a much bigger story in the Panama Papers which The Guardian chose to downplay by leaving it to the following day. This concerned the father of the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, who "ran an offshore fund that avoided ever having to pay tax in Britain by hiring a small army of Bahamas residents – including a part-time bishop – to sign its paperwork".

We understand there was some argument between journalists about not leading with the Cameron story as the launch splash. Putin's friends were eventually deemed more important than the Prime Minister of the country where the paper published.

Getting Julian Assange

The Guardian also appears to have been engaged in a campaign against the WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who had been a collaborator during the early WikiLeaks revelations in 2010.

One 2017 story came from investigative reporter Carole Cadwalladr, who writes for The Guardian's sister paper The Observer, titled "When Nigel Farage met Julian Assange". This concerned the visit of former UKIP leader Nigel Farage to the Ecuadorian embassy in March 2017, organised by the radio station LBC, for whom Farage worked as a presenter. Farage's producer at LBC accompanied Farage at the meeting, but this was not mentioned by Cadwalladr.

Rather, she posited that this meeting was "potentially a channel of communication" between WikiLeaks, Farage and Donald Trump, who were all said to be closely linked to Russia, adding that these actors were in a "political alignment" and that " WikiLeaks is, in many ways, the swirling vortex at the centre of everything".

Yet Cadwalladr's one official on-the-record source for this speculation was a "highly placed contact with links to US intelligence", who told her, "When the heat is turned up and all electronic communication, you have to assume, is being intensely monitored, then those are the times when intelligence communication falls back on human couriers. Where you have individuals passing information in ways and places that cannot be monitored."

It seems likely this was innuendo being fed to The Observer by an intelligence-linked individual to promote disinformation to undermine Assange.

In 2018, however, The Guardian's attempted vilification of Assange was significantly stepped up. A new string of articles began on 18 May 2018 with one alleging Assange's "long-standing relationship with RT", the Russian state broadcaster. The series, which has been closely documented elsewhere, lasted for several months, consistently alleging with little or the most minimal circumstantial evidence that Assange had ties to Russia or the Kremlin.

One story, co-authored again by Luke Harding, claimed that "Russian diplomats held secret talks in London with people close to Julian Assange to assess whether they could help him flee the UK, The Guardian has learned". The former consul in the Ecuadorian embassy in London at this time, Fidel Narvaez, vigorously denies the existence of any such "escape plot" involving Russia and is involved in a complaint process with The Guardian for insinuating he coordinated such a plot.

This apparent mini-campaign ran until November 2018, culminating in a front-page splash , based on anonymous sources, claiming that Assange had three secret meetings at the Ecuadorian embassy with Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

This "scoop" failed all tests of journalistic credibility since it would have been impossible for anyone to have entered the highly secured Ecuadorian embassy three times with no proof. WikiLeaks and others have strongly argued that the story was manufactured and it is telling that The Guardian has since failed to refer to it in its subsequent articles on the Assange case. The Guardian, however, has still not retracted or apologised for the story which remains on its website.

The "exclusive" appeared just two weeks after Paul Johnson had been congratulated for "re-establishing links" between The Guardian and the security services.

The string of Guardian articles, along with the vilification and smear stories about Assange elsewhere in the British media, helped create the conditions for a deal between Ecuador, the UK and the US to expel Assange from the embassy in April. Assange now sits in Belmarsh maximum-security prison where he faces extradition to the US, and life in prison there, on charges under the Espionage Act.

Acting for the establishment

Another major focus of The Guardian's energies under Viner's editorship has been to attack the leader of the UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn.

The context is that Corbyn appears to have recently been a target of the security services. In 2015, soon after he was elected Labour leader, the Sunday Times reported a serving general warning that "there would be a direct challenge from the army and mass resignations if Corbyn became prime minister". The source told the newspaper: "The Army just wouldn't stand for it. The general staff would not allow a prime minister to jeopardise the security of this country and I think people would use whatever means possible, fair or foul, to prevent that."

On 20 May 2017, a little over two weeks before the 2017 General Election, the Daily Telegraph was fed the story that "MI5 opened a file on Jeremy Corbyn amid concerns over his links to the IRA". It formed part of a Telegraph investigation claiming to reveal "Mr Corbyn's full links to the IRA" and was sourced to an individual "close to" the MI5 investigation, who said "a file had been opened on him by the early nineties".

The Metropolitan Police Special Branch was also said to be monitoring Corbyn in the same period.

Then, on the very eve of the General Election, the Telegraph gave space to an article from Sir Richard Dearlove, the former director of MI6, under a headline: "Jeremy Corbyn is a danger to this nation. At MI6, which I once led, he wouldn't clear the security vetting."

Further, in September 2018, two anonymous senior government sources told The Times that Corbyn had been "summoned" for a "'facts of life' talk on terror" by MI5 chief Andrew Parker.

Just two weeks after news of this private meeting was leaked by the government, the Daily Mail reported another leak, this time revealing that "Jeremy Corbyn's most influential House of Commons adviser has been barred from entering Ukraine on the grounds that he is a national security threat because of his alleged links to Vladimir Putin's 'global propaganda network'."

The article concerned Andrew Murray, who had been working in Corbyn's office for a year but had still not received a security pass to enter the UK parliament. The Mail reported, based on what it called "a senior parliamentary source", that Murray's application had encountered "vetting problems".

Murray later heavily suggested that the security services had leaked the story to the Mail. "Call me sceptical if you must, but I do not see journalistic enterprise behind the Mail's sudden capacity to tease obscure information out of the [Ukrainian security service]," he wrote in the New Statesman. He added, "Someone else is doing the hard work – possibly someone being paid by the taxpayer. I doubt if their job description is preventing the election of a Corbyn government, but who knows?"

Murray told us he was approached by the New Statesman after the story about him being banned from Ukraine was leaked. "However," he added, "I wouldn't dream of suggesting anything like that to The Guardian, since I do not know any journalists still working there who I could trust."

The Guardian itself has run a remarkable number of news and comment articles criticising Corbyn since he was elected in 2015 and the paper's clearly hostile stance has been widely noted .

Given its appeal to traditional Labour supporters, the paper has probably done more to undermine Corbyn than any other. In particular, its massive coverage of alleged widespread anti-Semitism in the Labour Party has helped to disparage Corbyn more than other smears carried in the media.

The Guardian and The Observer have published hundreds of articles on "Labour anti-Semitism" and, since the beginning of this year, carried over 50 such articles with headlines clearly negative to Corbyn. Typical headlines have included " The Observer view: Labour leadership is complicit in anti-Semitism ", " Jeremy Corbyn is either blind to anti-Semitism – or he just doesn't care ", and " Labour's anti-Semitism problem is institutional. It needs investigation ".

The Guardian's coverage of anti-Semitism in Labour has been suspiciously extensive, compared to the known extent of the problem in the party, and its focus on Corbyn personally suggests that the issue is being used politically. While anti-Semitism does exist in the Labour Party, evidence suggests it is at relatively low levels. Since September 2015, when Corbyn became Labour leader, 0.06% of the Labour membership has been investigated for anti-Semitic comments or posts. In 2016, an independent inquiry commissioned by Labour concluded that the party "is not overrun by anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or other forms of racism. Further, it is the party that initiated every single United Kingdom race equality law."

Analysis of two YouGov surveys, conducted in 2015 and 2017, shows that anti-Semitic views held by Labour voters declined substantially in the first two years of Corbyn's tenure and that such views were significantly more common among Conservative voters.

Despite this, since January 2016, The Guardian has published 1,215 stories mentioning Labour and anti-Semitism, an average of around one per day, according to a search on Factiva, the database of newspaper articles. In the same period, The Guardian published just 194 articles mentioning the Conservative Party's much more serious problem with Islamophobia. A YouGov poll in 2019, for example, found that nearly half of the Tory Party membership would prefer not to have a Muslim prime minister.

At the same time, some stories which paint Corbyn's critics in a negative light have been suppressed by The Guardian. According to someone with knowledge of the matter, The Guardian declined to publish the results of a months-long critical investigation by one of its reporters into a prominent anti-Corbyn Labour MP, citing only vague legal issues.

In July 2016, one of this article's authors emailed a Guardian editor asking if he could pitch an investigation about the first attempt by the right-wing of the Labour Party to remove Corbyn, informing The Guardian of very good inside sources on those behind the attempt and their real plans. The approach was rejected as being of no interest before a pitch was even sent.

A reliable publication?

On 20 May 2019, The Times newspaper reported on a Freedom of Information request made by the Rendition Project, a group of academic experts working on torture and rendition issues, which showed that the MOD had been "developing a secret policy on torture that allows ministers to sign off intelligence-sharing that could lead to the abuse of detainees".

This might traditionally have been a Guardian story, not something for the Rupert Murdoch-owned Times. According to one civil society source, however, many groups working in this field no longer trust The Guardian.

A former Guardian journalist similarly told us: "It is significant that exclusive stories recently about British collusion in torture and policy towards the interrogation of terror suspects and other detainees have been passed to other papers including The Times rather than The Guardian."

The Times published its scoop under a strong headline , "Torture: Britain breaks law in Ministry of Defence secret policy". However, before the article was published, the MOD fed The Guardian the same documents The Times were about to splash with, believing it could soften the impact of the revelations by telling its side of the story.

The Guardian posted its own article just before The Times, with a headline that would have pleased the government: "MoD says revised torture guidance does not lower standards".

Its lead paragraph was a simple summary of the MOD's position: "The Ministry of Defence has insisted that newly emerged departmental guidance on the sharing of intelligence derived from torture with allies, remains in line with practices agreed in the aftermath of a series of scandals following the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq." However, an inspection of the documents showed this was clearly disinformation.

The Guardian had gone in six short years from being the natural outlet to place stories exposing wrongdoing by the security state to a platform trusted by the security state to amplify its information operations. A once relatively independent media platform has been largely neutralised by UK security services fearful of being exposed further. Which begs the question: where does the next Snowden go? DM

The Guardian did not respond to a request for comment.

Daily Maverick will formally launch Declassified – a new UK-focused investigation and analysis organisation run by the authors of this article – in November 2019.

Matt Kennard is an investigative journalist and co-founder of Declassified . He was previously director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London, and before that a reporter for the Financial Times in the US and UK. He is the author of two books, Irregular Army and The Racket .

Mark Curtis is a leading UK foreign policy analyst, journalist and the author of six books including Web of Deceit: Britain's Real Role in the World and Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam .

[Sep 11, 2019] John Brennan's and Jim Clappers' Last Gasp by Larry C Johnson

Highly recommended!
The fact that Smolenkov purchased house on his name excludes his "extraction" to the USA. He probably legally emigrated amazing some serious money in Russia
Notable quotes:
"... [Smolenkov] follows Ushakov back to Moscow, where he is a mid-level paper pusher doing administrative support for Ushakov. The CIA gets copies of Putin's itineraries that Smolenkov photographs. He is a big hit, but ultimately produces nothing of vital importance because all truly sensitive information is hand carried by principles, and never seen by administrative staff. Moreover Ushakov advises on international relations, and would not be privy to anything dealing with intelligence. Ushakov, as a long-serving Ambassador to the US, would be asked by Putin to opine on US politics. Smolenkov has access to Ushakov's post-meeting verbal comments, which he turns over to the CIA. ..."
"... The initial reports of the Steele Dossier appeared in June 2016. This coincided with John Brennan ordering Moscow Station to turn up the heat on Smolenkov to gain access to what Putin is thinking. But Smolenkov has no real direct access. Instead, he starts fabricating and/or exaggerating his access to convince his CIA handler that he is on the job and worth every penny he is being paid by US taxpayers. ..."
"... The information Smolenkov creates is passed to his CIA handler via the secure communications channel set up when he was signed up as a spy. But these reports are not handled in the normal way that sensitive human intelligence is treated at CIA Headquarters. Instead, the material is accepted at face value and not vetted to confirm its accuracy. My intel friend, citing a knowledgeable source, indicates that Smolenkov was not polygraphed. ..."
"... This raised red flags in the CIA Counterintelligence staff, especially when Brennan starts briefing the President using the information provided by Smolenkov. Brennan responds by locking most of the CIA's Russian experts out of the loop. Later, Brennan does the same thing with the National Intelligence Council, locking out the National Intelligence Officers who would normally oversee the production of a National Intelligence Assessment. In short, Brennan cooked the books using Smolenkov's intelligence, which had it been subjected to normal checks and balances would never have passed muster. It's Brennan's leaks to the press that eventually prompt the CIA to pull the plug on Smolenkov. ..."
"... The dossier attributed to Steele, it has seemed to me, showed every sign of being the proverbial 'camel produced by a committee.' ..."
"... Although I know that fabricating evidence and corrupting judicial proceedings is part of its supposed author's 'stock in trade', I think it is unclear whether he contributed all that much to the dossier. ..."
"... His prime role, I think, was to contribute a veneer of intelligence respectability to a farrago the actual origins of which could not be acknowledged, so it could be used in support of FISA applications and in briefings to journalists. ..."
"... Although it had started much earlier, the moving into 'high gear' of the conspiracy behind 'Russiagate, of which the dossier was one manifestation, and the phone 'digital forensics' produced by 'Crowdstrike' and the former GCHQ person Matt Tait another, were I think essentially panicky 'firefighting' operations. ..."
"... Part of this involved turning the conspiracy to prevent Trump being elected into a conspiracy to destabilise his Presidency and ensure he did not carry through on any of his 'anti-Borgist' agenda. ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

A flood of news in the last 24 hours regarding Russiagate. I am referring specifically to reports that the CIA ex-filtrated Oleg Smolenkov, a mid-level Russian Foreign Ministry bureaucrat who reportedly hooked himself on the coat-tails of Yuri Ushakov, who was Ambassador to the US from 1999 through 2008. He was recruited by the CIA (i.e., asked to collect information and pass it to the U.S. Government via his or her case officer) at sometime during this period. Smolenkov is being portrayed as a supposedly "sensitive" source. But if you read either the Washington Post or New York Times accounts of this event there is not a lot of meat on this hamburger.

Regardless of the quality of his reporting, Smolenkov is the kind of recruited source that looks good on paper and helps a CIA case officer get promoted but adds little to actual U.S. intelligence on Russia. If you understood the CIA culture you would immediately recognize that a case officer (CIA terminology for the operations officer tasked with identifying and recruiting human sources) gets rewarded by recruiting persons who ostensibly will have access to information the CIA has identified as a priority target. In this case, we're talking about possible access to Vladimir Putin.

If you take time to read both articles you will quickly see that the real purpose of this "information operation" is to paint Donald Trump as a security threat that must be stopped. This is conveniently timed to assist Jerry Nadler's mission impossible to secure Trump's impeachment. But I think there is another dynamic at play--these competing explanations for what prompted the exfiltration of this CIA asset say more about the incompetence of Barack Obama and his intel chiefs. John Brennan and Jim Clapper in particular.

A former intelligence officer and friend summarized the various press accounts as the follows and offered his own insights in a note I received this morning:

[Smolenkov] follows Ushakov back to Moscow, where he is a mid-level paper pusher doing administrative support for Ushakov. The CIA gets copies of Putin's itineraries that Smolenkov photographs. He is a big hit, but ultimately produces nothing of vital importance because all truly sensitive information is hand carried by principles, and never seen by administrative staff. Moreover Ushakov advises on international relations, and would not be privy to anything dealing with intelligence. Ushakov, as a long-serving Ambassador to the US, would be asked by Putin to opine on US politics. Smolenkov has access to Ushakov's post-meeting verbal comments, which he turns over to the CIA.

The initial reports of the Steele Dossier appeared in June 2016. This coincided with John Brennan ordering Moscow Station to turn up the heat on Smolenkov to gain access to what Putin is thinking. But Smolenkov has no real direct access. Instead, he starts fabricating and/or exaggerating his access to convince his CIA handler that he is on the job and worth every penny he is being paid by US taxpayers.

The information Smolenkov creates is passed to his CIA handler via the secure communications channel set up when he was signed up as a spy. But these reports are not handled in the normal way that sensitive human intelligence is treated at CIA Headquarters. Instead, the material is accepted at face value and not vetted to confirm its accuracy. My intel friend, citing a knowledgeable source, indicates that Smolenkov was not polygraphed.

This raised red flags in the CIA Counterintelligence staff, especially when Brennan starts briefing the President using the information provided by Smolenkov. Brennan responds by locking most of the CIA's Russian experts out of the loop. Later, Brennan does the same thing with the National Intelligence Council, locking out the National Intelligence Officers who would normally oversee the production of a National Intelligence Assessment. In short, Brennan cooked the books using Smolenkov's intelligence, which had it been subjected to normal checks and balances would never have passed muster. It's Brennan's leaks to the press that eventually prompt the CIA to pull the plug on Smolenkov.

There is public evidence that Brennan not only cooked the books but that the leaks of this supposedly "sensitive" intelligence occurred when he was Director and lying Jim Clapper was Director of National Intelligence. If Oleg Smolenkov was really such a terrific source of intel, then where are the reports? It is one thing to keep such reports close hold when the source is still in place. But he has been out of danger for more than two years. Those reports should have been shared with the Senate and House Intelligence committees. If there was actual solid intelligence in those reports that corroborated the Steele Dossier, then that information would have been leaked and widely circulated. This is Sherlock Holmes dog that did not bark.Then we have the odd fact that this guy's name is all over the press and he is buying real estate in true name. What the hell!! If the CIA genuinely believed that Mr. Smolenkov was in danger he would not be walking around doing real estate deals in true name. In fact, the sources for both the Washington Post and NY Times pieces push the propaganda that Smolenkov is a sure fire target for a Russian retaliatory hit. Really? Then why publish his name and confirm his location.

That leaves me with the alternative explanation--Smolenkov is a propaganda prop and is being trotted out by Brennan to try to provide public pressure to prevent the disclosure of intelligence that will show that the CIA and the NSA were coordinating and operating with British intelligence to entrap and smear Donald Trump and members of his campaign.

I want you to take a close look at the two pieces on this exfiltration (i.e., Washington Post and NY Times) and note the significant differences

REASON FOR THE EXFILTRATION :

Let's start with the Washington Post:

The exfiltration took place sometime after an Oval Office meeting in May 2017, when President Trump revealed highly classified counterterrorism information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador, said the current and former officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive operation.

What was the information that Trump revealed? He was discussing intel that Israel passed regarding ISIS in Syria. (See the Washington Post story here .) Why would he talk to the Russians about that? Because every day, at least once a day, U.S. and Russian military authorities are sharing intelligence with one another in a phone call that originates from the U.S. Combined Air Operations Center (aka CAOC) at the Al Udeid Air Force Base in Qatar. Trump's conversation not only was appropriate but fully within his right to do so as Commander-in-Chief.

What the hell does this have to do with a sensitive source in Moscow? NOTHING!! Red Herring.

The NY Times account is more detailed and damning of Obama instead of Trump:

But when intelligence officials revealed the severity of Russia's election interference with unusual detail later that year, the news media picked up on details about the C.I.A.'s Kremlin sources.

C.I.A. officials worried about safety made the arduous decision in late 2016 to offer to extract the source from Russia. The situation grew more tense when the informant at first refused, citing family concerns -- prompting consternation at C.I.A. headquarters and sowing doubts among some American counterintelligence officials about the informant's trustworthiness. But the C.I.A. pressed again months later after more media inquiries. This time, the informant agreed. . . .

The decision to extract the informant was driven "in part" because of concerns that Mr. Trump and his administration had mishandled delicate intelligence, CNN reported. But former intelligence officials said there was no public evidence that Mr. Trump directly endangered the source, and other current American officials insisted that media scrutiny of the agency's sources alone was the impetus for the extraction. . . .

But the government had indicated that the source existed long before Mr. Trump took office, first in formally accusing Russia of interference in October 2016 and then when intelligence officials declassified parts of their assessment about the interference campaign for public release in January 2017. News agencies, including NBC, began reporting around that time about Mr. Putin's involvement in the election sabotage and on the C.I.A.'s possible sources for the assessment.

Trump played no role whatsoever in releasing information that allegedly compromised this so-called "golden boy" of Russian intelligence. The NY Times account makes it very clear that the release of information while Obama was President, not Trump, is what put the source in danger. Who leaked that information?

WHAT DID THE SOURCE KNOW AND WHAT DID HE TELL US?

But how valuable was this source really? What did he provide that was so enlightening? On this point the New York Times and Washington Post are more in sync.

First the NY Times:

The Moscow informant was instrumental to the C.I.A.'s most explosive conclusion about Russia's interference campaign: that President Vladimir V. Putin ordered and orchestrated it himself . As the American government's best insight into the thinking of and orders from Mr. Putin, the source was also key to the C.I.A.'s assessment that he affirmatively favored Donald J. Trump's election and personally ordered the hacking of the Democratic National Committee .

The Washington Post provides a more fulsome account:

U.S. officials had been concerned that Russian sources could be at risk of exposure as early as the fall of 2016, when the Obama administration first confirmed that Russia had stolen and publicly disclosed emails from the Democratic National Committee and the account of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta.

In October 2016, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a joint statement that intelligence agencies were "confident that the Russian Government directed" the hacking campaign. . . .

In January 2017, the Obama administration published a detailed assessment that unambiguously laid the blame on the Kremlin, concluding that "Putin ordered an influence campaign" and that Russia's goal was to undermine faith in the U.S. democratic process and harm Clinton's chances of winning.

"That's a pretty remarkable intelligence community product -- much more specific than what you normally see," one U.S. official said. "It's very expected that potential U.S. intelligence assets in Russia would be under a higher level of scrutiny by their own intelligence services."

Sounds official. But there is no actual forensic or documentary evidence (by that I mean actual corroborating intelligence reports) to back up these claims by our oxymoronically christened intelligence community.

Vladimir Putin ordered the hack? Where is the report? It is either in a piece of intercepted electronics communication and/or in a report derived from information provided by Mr. Smolenkov. Where is it? Why has that not been shared in public? Don't have to worry about exposing the source now. He is already in the open. What did he report? Answer--no direct evidence.

Then there is the lie that the Russians hacked the DNC. They did not. Bill Binney, a former Technical Director of the NSA, and I have written on this subject previously ( see here ) and there is no truth to this claim. Let me put it simply--if the DNC had been hacked by the Russians using spearphising (this is claimed in the Robert Mueller report) then the NSA would have collected those messages and would be able to show they were transferred to the Russians. That did not happen.

This kind of chaotic leaking about an old intel op is symptomatic of panic. CIA is already officially denying key parts of the story. My money is on John Brennan and Jim Clapper as the likely impetus for these reports. They are hoping to paint Trump as a national security threat and distract from the upcoming revelations from the DOJ Inspector General report on the FISA warrants and, more threatening, the decisions that Prosecutor John Durham will take in deciding to indict those who attempted to launch a coup against Donald Trump, a legitimately elected President of the United States.


blue peacock , 10 September 2019 at 02:34 PM

I'm always skeptical of NY Times and WaPo and CNN reporting on anything national security related. It seems there is always an axe to grind.

I don't know why folks believe these media outlets have any credibility.

Larry Johnson -> blue peacock... , 10 September 2019 at 03:16 PM
Important to focus on the fact they are telling different and even contradictory stories. That's confusion on the part of the deep state.
Ana said in reply to Larry Johnson ... , 11 September 2019 at 10:00 AM
... And what helps us to decode the plot!
turcopolier -> blue peacock... , 11 September 2019 at 09:47 AM
BP

As I told LJ yesterday while he was writing this piece I have a slightly different theory of this matter. It is true that CIA suffered for a long time from a dearth of talent in the business of recruiting and running foreign clandestine HUMINT assets. This was caused by a focus by several CIA Directors on technical collection means rather than espionage. This policy drove many skilled case officers into retirement but the situation has much improved in the last decade and it must be remembered that an agency only needs a few skilled case officers with the right access to human targets to acquire some very fine and useful well placed foreign agents (spies). IMO it is likely that CIA has/had several well placed Russian assets in Moscow of whom Smolenkov was probably the least useful and the most expendable. It may well be that Brennan was using the chicken feed provided by Smolenkov to fuel the conspiracy run by him and Clapper against Trump's campaign and presidency, but Brennan left office and then the CIA under other management was faced with the problem of a Russian government which was told in the US press by implication that either the US had deep penetrations of Russian diplomatic and intelligence communications or that there were deep penetration moles in Moscow. that being the case it seems likely to me that the Russians would have been beating the bushes looking for the moles. In that situation the CIA may have decided to exfiltrate Smolenkov and his wife while leaving enough clues along the way that would have indicated that he might have been THE MOLE. People do not need a lot of encouragement to accept thoughts that they want to believe. A point in favor of this theory is that once CIA had him in the States they quickly lost interest in him, terminated their relationship with him and paid him his back pay and showed him the door. No new identity, no resettlement, he was given none of that. Finding himself alone in a strange land, Smolenkov then bought a house in the suburbs of Washington in HIS OWN NAME. Say what? That would not have happened if CIA had maintained some sort of relationship with him. And then... someone in CIA leaked the story of the exfiltration as movie plot to "a former senior intelligence officer" who gives sit to Sciutto at CNN. Why would they do that? IMO they would have though that having the story appear in the media would reinfocer Smolenkov's importance in Russian minds. Well, pilgrims, Clapper fits the bill as the "former blah, blah". He is an employee of CNN. CNN hates Trump and they quickly broadcast the story far and away. Unfortunately for CNN the story immediately began to disintegrate even in the eyes of the NY Times. The Smolenkov/Brennan affair will undoubtedly be part of the road that leads to doom for Brennan and Clapper but the possible CIA story is equally interesting.

ambrit , 10 September 2019 at 03:51 PM
Sir;
The fact that Mr. Smolenkov is out and about in his new home in the West shows that he is a small fish. As you say, if he was really in danger, he would be living somewhere in the West now under a new name and maybe a new face. The fact that his 'handlers' allow this lax security to happen is a sign of how unimportant he is. Unless, my inner cynic prompts, he is destined to become one of the "honoured dead," perhaps by a false flag 'liquidation.'
How low will Clapper and Brennan et. al. go?
Thanks for keeping this matter front and centre.
Fred , 10 September 2019 at 04:22 PM
So the son of Our Man in Havana went to Moscow. It would make a decent movies if it weren't for the damage Brennan and company have done to us. Obama, of course, knew nothing......
Diana C , 10 September 2019 at 04:49 PM
I have lost hope that anyone--especially Brennan and Clapper--will be held accountable for their attempt to "launch a coup" (as you put it).

Since their coup attempt ultimately failed, most people will be wanting just to move on.

As an unimportant citizen liveing in a fly-over state, I feel very angry that my tax dollars were wasted on these many government hearings and enormously expensive investigations rather than on actually on governing and improving the governing of our country.

The least we should be able to expect is that people who live off our tax dollars should be held accountable for all that wasted expense and for the lack of actual governing going on in The House and The Senate. So many problems that need the attention of our elected representative and Senators were ignored while elected representatives and representatives got to capture the spotlight and try to become "media stars" while accomplishing nothing.

I also feel terrible that men have been sent to prison for seemingly nothing and have their lives ruined for nothing but the chance of some to grand stand and claim they are really doing the jobs they were sent to do. So many people with no real sense of honor or of what is right and what is wrong.

Thanks, Larry. You have been consistently one of the good guys. (And I bet you are happy now that Yosemite Sam Bolton is no longer advising the POTUS.)

fredw , 10 September 2019 at 06:09 PM
"The fact that his 'handlers' allow this lax security to happen is a sign of how unimportant he is."

It indicates to me that he and any handlers believe that the Russians are OK with it. That could be for various reasons. But relying on Russian tolerance because he is a "small fish" seems incredibly trusting. Neither fled agents nor their handlers are known for their trusting natures. They have had some reasons stronger than that for their unconcern. Whether those reasons will survive publicity remains to be seen.

Oscar , 10 September 2019 at 06:31 PM
Are those CIA agents as stupid, naive & incompetent as you paint them to be?
If that's the case our country is in real danger! You are. Pro Trump
and, you are basically defending him, but Putin do own Donald Trump,whether you like it or not!
turcopolier -> Oscar ... , 11 September 2019 at 08:56 AM
Oscar
What is the evidence for "Putin do own Trump?"Is it Trump's attempts to conduct foreign policy relationships with Russia? That is his job.
JohnH , 10 September 2019 at 08:16 PM
My question is: why did they push this report now? Any way you cut it, the Times and Post are just providing some trivia and drivel. Without substance, they can accomplish nothing and substance has been what's been missing all along.

I doubt that Democrats, having been burned once, are eager to explore Brennan's smoke and mirrors again. It's never been a big concern to voters. And unless Brennan & Co. can do better than this superficial stuff, voters are never going to be concerned.

Maybe the Times and Post just felt sorry for Brennan, who's been off barking at the moon for years now.

Factotum , 10 September 2019 at 08:40 PM
Have a cup of Ovomaltine.
Rhondda , 10 September 2019 at 08:48 PM
...Smolenkov is a propaganda prop and is being trotted out by Brennan to try to provide public pressure to prevent the disclosure of intelligence that will show that the CIA and the NSA were coordinating and operating with British intelligence to entrap and smear Donald Trump and members of his campaign...

Well said. Thank you for following this closely and shining the light! You are an amazing American patriot, Mr. Larry C. Johnson. A glass in your honor!

plantman , 10 September 2019 at 09:13 PM
I think AG Barr might have cut these guys (Brennan and Clapper) some slack and let them off the hook, but NOW, what can he do but prosecute??

Brennan has shown that he is going to persevere with his fallacious attacks on Trump come hell or high water.

He needs to be stopped and brought to justice...

johnklis56@gmail.com -> plantman... , 11 September 2019 at 08:51 AM
Haha! Dream on. Barr IS CIA...remember his role back in the Slick WIlly days in Mena Arkansas?
Roy G , 10 September 2019 at 11:27 PM
IMO this scenario is the most plausible, Thanks for the sanity check. That said, given the desperation by these Sorcerer's Apprentices, I would be on the lookout for Mr. Smolenkov lest he be 'Skirpal-ed' in the coming weeks.
anon , 10 September 2019 at 11:36 PM
This whole story convinces now more than ever before that there is a high level spy/mole in the us administration and intelligence community.The only question is it spying for russia or china or both.Just a beautiful thing to watch.Those knickers,must surely be in a knot by now.
Even rocketman had a giggle.
Jim Ticehurst , 10 September 2019 at 11:52 PM
How many CIA Assets have been exposed..Tortured and Murdered During The Barrack Obama Reign...In May..2014 HE Paid a Surprise Visit to Afghanastan..His White House Bureau Chief Sent out an email to Reporters with a List of Who would meet With President Obama..It Contained the NAME of the CIA...Chief of Station in Kabul...Now that is REAL MESSY..
turcopolier , 11 September 2019 at 08:59 AM
johnklis56@gmail.com

Is there any basis for any of your assertions or are you just running your mouth?

David Habakkuk , 11 September 2019 at 10:37 AM
Larry,

Having been away from base, I have not been able to comment on some very fascinating recent posts.

Both your recent pieces, and Robert Willman's most helpful update on the state of play relating to the unraveling of the frame-up against Michael Flynn, have provided a lot to chew over.

Among other things, they have made me think further about the 302s recording the interviews with Bruce Ohr produced by Joseph Pientka – a character about whom I think we need to know more.

On reflection, I think that the picture that emerges of Ohr as an incurious and gullible nitwit, swallowing whole bucket loads of 'horse manure' fed him by Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson, may be a carefully – indeed maybe cunningly – crafted fiction.

The interpretation your former intelligence officer friend puts on the Smolenkov affair, and also some of what Sidney Powell has to say in the ''Motion to Compel' on behalf of Flynn, both 'mesh' with what I have long suspected.

The dossier attributed to Steele, it has seemed to me, showed every sign of being the proverbial 'camel produced by a committee.'

Although I know that fabricating evidence and corrupting judicial proceedings is part of its supposed author's 'stock in trade', I think it is unclear whether he contributed all that much to the dossier.

His prime role, I think, was to contribute a veneer of intelligence respectability to a farrago the actual origins of which could not be acknowledged, so it could be used in support of FISA applications and in briefings to journalists.

Although it had started much earlier, the moving into 'high gear' of the conspiracy behind 'Russiagate, of which the dossier was one manifestation, and the phone 'digital forensics' produced by 'Crowdstrike' and the former GCHQ person Matt Tait another, were I think essentially panicky 'firefighting' operations.

They are likely to have been responses, first, to the realisation that material leaked from the DNC was going to be published by WikiLeaks, and then the discovery, probably significantly later, that the source was Seth Rich, and his subsequent murder.

Although the operation to divert responsibility to the Russians which then became necessary was strikingly successful, it did not have the expected result of saving Hillary Clinton from defeat.

What I then think may have emerged was a two-pronged strategy.

Part of this involved turning the conspiracy to prevent Trump being elected into a conspiracy to destabilise his Presidency and ensure he did not carry through on any of his 'anti-Borgist' agenda.

In different ways, both the framing of Flynn, and the final memorandum in the dossier, dated 13 December 2016, were part of this strategy.

Also required however was another 'insurance policy' – which was what the Bruce Ohr 302s were intended to provide.

The purpose of this was to have 'evidence' in place, should the first prong of the strategy run into problems, to sustain the case that people in the FBI and DOJ, and Bruce and Nellie Ohr in particular, were not co-conspirators with Steele and Simpson, but their gullible dupes.

This brings me to an irony. Some people have tried to replace the 'narrative' in which Steele was an heroic exposer of a Russian plot to destroy American democracy by an alternative in which he was the gullible 'patsy' of just such a plot.

In fact there is one strand, and one strand only, in the dossier which smells strongly to me of FSB-orchestrated disinformation.

Some of the material on Russian cyber operations, including critically the suggestions about the involvement of Aleksej Gubarev and his company XBT which provoked legal action by these against BuzzFeed and Steele, look to me as though they could come from sources in the FSB.

But, if this is so, the likely conduit is not through Steele, but from FSB to FBI cyber people.

How precisely this worked is unclear, but I cannot quite get rid of the suspicion that Major Dmitri Dokuchaev just might be serving out his sentence for treason in a comfortable flat somewhere above the Black Sea. Indeed, I can imagine a lecture to FSB trainees on how to make 'patsies' of people like the Ohrs.

If this is so, however, it mat also be the case that these are attempting to make 'patsies' of Steele and Simpson.

[Sep 11, 2019] There is the possibility that CIA extracted a minor source to divert attention from someone or someones who remain(s) in place.

Notable quotes:
"... So, this fully-spun story, apparently a mix of fact and fiction, arises at this moment to prop up the Russia-leaked-email hoax? ..."
"... If that's the case, does that mean this story's "authors" release it now to keep at least part of the Russia hoax alive as the Flynn case plods toward charges being dropped or because the Concord case is turning into a cluster f*k? Maybe someone is worried about the DNC-insider-leaked-email story breaking out? We need to talk about Rich? ..."
"... if I am wrong in supposing that a senior Chekist would never, as a question of policy, have been allowed a passport for foreign travel for him and his family. ..."
"... If Oleg Smolenkov reported allegedly "valuable" insider information about Russia's interference in US elections, as they say first hand, then why did Mueller's investigation fail? ..."
"... The New York Times story resurrects the Russia collusion hoax. This time the proof comes from Oleg Smolenkov. The story is identical to what the Steele dossier claimed: Putin personally directed a campaign to interfere in the US presidential elections. ..."
"... Every part of Steele narrative has already been shown to be a hoax and a fabrication. What proves that the Steele dossier is a work of fiction is that it is written from a fly-on-the-wall point of view. Only a person who was sitting in the same room with Putin when he had secret meetings could have written it. So how many moles did the West have sitting on Putin's desk? It seems like the CIA mole and Steele's secret source are one and the same source. But if Oleg Smolenkov was CIA's most tightly guarded secret, how did the information end up in Steele's dossier? ..."
"... Larry Johnson just posted about this on SST, and his take seems much more plausible: Desperation on the part of Clapper and his cabal as the chickens are coming home to roost. This story is chock full of holes, and the media hackery is disintegrating under its own weight. ..."
"... Perhaps someone should advise Smolenskov to stay away from park benches after eating seafood and to not touch doorknob's etc. ..."
"... "For those curious about what's going on with this bizarre Russia 'spy' story: Burr/Durham know Steele was fed obvious disinformation, they know who originated it, they know who peddled it, and it's just a matter of rounding up the whole network." ..."
"... In his third entry, he poses the following question: "So the only two unanswered questions about this particular pre-emptive leak campaign from the usual Russia hoax suspects are 1) why now, and 2) what specific event or official revelation are they trying to get ahead of?" ..."
"... Why the CIA would allow such a spy, once extradited, to live under his real name is beyond me. ..."
"... Because this man has nothing to do with "spies", "secrets" and "special services". He is an ordinary civilian, a former official from Russia. Many Russian ex- lives in abroad, including high-ranking persons. Smolenkov of course had no access to any "secrets", and had no access to entourage of the Russian president. ..."
"... That's the end of Smolenkov's anonymous quiet comfortable lifesyle. It doesn't send out a very reassuring message - that the CIA can publicly expose someone it considers a very useful asset. There must be a good reason why they threw Smolenkov under the bus in that way. ..."
"... It must be a very nice house. A 3-ish acre lot in that neighborhood has an assessment of $140k for the land. But the assessment for improvements for this house is over $900k while others in the neighborhood are more in the $600k range. I was looking at the aerial photos and trying to pick out what seem to be other nice houses, including ones with swimming pools which this one lacks, and which also have big garages (this one has 4 car garage apparently), but couldn't find a neighbor above an assessment in the $600k's. ..."
"... The only way that he's the 'source' of the Steele fiction is if the whole thing was in the style of LeCarre's "The Tailor of Panama" where everyone is lying and inflating what they know and people at the top are paying out good money for this because it suits their little power games. But any Moscow tailor with a couple of important customers would be positioned to run that scam as well as an aide to an aide to a foreign minister. ..."
"... My personal guess, he made his money by the more typical corruption in Russia, which means he was working for an oligarch. He lost his job, possibly during one of Putin's anti-corruption cleanup campaigns. He decided to move to DC with his oligarch money because he'd served 10 years in the embassy there and he liked the area. He is buying property in his own name because he's not part of any sort of witness/spy protection program and nobody in the USG is setting him up with a fake identity. ..."
"... Sergei Skripal was not just an turncoat for UK he also worked for Estonian intelligence. It seems to me the poisoning fits better as an Estonian job, to keep relations in Europe with Russia in very bad shape. It's easy to say that the Russians wouldn't be so incompetent, also goes for the UK, which could have come up with something more compelling if they pre planned it as false flag. ..."
"... Joe Mifsud and Claire Smith of MI6, Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, especially FBI special agent Joseph Pientka plus that BIG shot FBI agent (who's name I forget) are the names to remember. Why aren't Misud and Smith extradited to face inquiry? ..."
"... So what is emerging? is Mueller due in court to prosecute the Russian ad agency that has fully shirt fronted him? Is Flynn business about to upend a steaming pot of turds over Mueller and other heads. Is Seth Rich about to be posthumously knighted by some New York monarch for his role in smashing the HRC cart in public? Or is Julian Assange about to be put through more torture for being a journalist and publisher? ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

b , Sep 10 2019 18:01 utc | 2

Pat Lang has this interesting take :
All

And then there is the possibility that CIA extracted a minor source to divert attention from someone or someones who remain(s) in place. The open purchase of a house in the outer suburbs of Washington by the extracted would seem to support the possibility that this is all a diversion. The narrative continues that "a former senior intelligence official" told Sciutto, an Obama man, at CNN of all this. Clapper is "a former senior intelligence official" and a CNN "contributor" (employee) is he not? He is dumb enough to have had this story planted on him.

Double games, triple games ... Spies are so confusing ...

james , Sep 10 2019 18:14 utc | 3

thanks b... i agree about your comment on pls comment - double / triple and etc games can be played with spies... what seems clear to me is that some in the cia-msm want to frame trump.. this one feel apart fairly quickly... the frame up of russia over skripal has never been addressed by the usa.. in fact, most folks - using ew as an example - are still drinking the russia done it koolaid 24/7..
james , Sep 10 2019 18:14 utc | 3 casey , Sep 10 2019 18:18 utc | 4
So, this fully-spun story, apparently a mix of fact and fiction, arises at this moment to prop up the Russia-leaked-email hoax?

If that's the case, does that mean this story's "authors" release it now to keep at least part of the Russia hoax alive as the Flynn case plods toward charges being dropped or because the Concord case is turning into a cluster f*k? Maybe someone is worried about the DNC-insider-leaked-email story breaking out? We need to talk about Rich?

Funny about Lang and his crew. So much practical experience and yet they would make an interesting case study of extreme psychological compartmentalization as a means of denial.

Hoarsewhisperer , Sep 10 2019 18:19 utc | 5
Lucky Oleg & Antonina. In Oz a 760 square metre house used be known as having an area of 81 squares (8,172 square feet. In well-maintained condition such a 3-storey house anywhere in Oz would cost between A$2.5 million and A$3.5 million. Being in AmeriKKA Oleg's house probably has a basement too. That's another $150,000 minimum if it's damp-proof and ventilated.
karlof1 , Sep 10 2019 18:24 utc | 6
Nice networking by 4 BigLie Media outlets to make certain Russia knows where this man and his family reside. Maybe it's for an Outlaw US Empire sequel to MI-6's Novochock BigLie to be sprung as the election heats up. If I were the Smolenskovs, I'd demand an immediate identity change, sell ASAP and move to Idaho.
Michael Droy , Sep 10 2019 18:31 utc | 7
If Skripal could live safely under his own name I guess this guy could too. It just makes it easier for the US to get him in their own time. I don't really see this guy served any purpose until he was outed. Just a late effort to pretend that Russiagate had any credibility.
Montreal , Sep 10 2019 18:32 utc | 8
I wish that there was a resident Russian on this site, as there is on Craig Murray's.

That person could then tell me if I am wrong in supposing that a senior Chekist would never, as a question of policy, have been allowed a passport for foreign travel for him and his family.

Sergei , Sep 10 2019 18:33 utc | 9
If Oleg Smolenkov reported allegedly "valuable" insider information about Russia's interference in US elections, as they say first hand, then why did Mueller's investigation fail?
Petri Krohn , Sep 10 2019 18:57 utc | 10
WAS SMOLENKOV A SOURCE FOR THE STEELE DOSSIER?

The New York Times story resurrects the Russia collusion hoax. This time the proof comes from Oleg Smolenkov. The story is identical to what the Steele dossier claimed: Putin personally directed a campaign to interfere in the US presidential elections.

Every part of Steele narrative has already been shown to be a hoax and a fabrication. What proves that the Steele dossier is a work of fiction is that it is written from a fly-on-the-wall point of view. Only a person who was sitting in the same room with Putin when he had secret meetings could have written it. So how many moles did the West have sitting on Putin's desk? It seems like the CIA mole and Steele's secret source are one and the same source. But if Oleg Smolenkov was CIA's most tightly guarded secret, how did the information end up in Steele's dossier?

Roy G , Sep 10 2019 19:10 utc | 11
Larry Johnson just posted about this on SST, and his take seems much more plausible: Desperation on the part of Clapper and his cabal as the chickens are coming home to roost. This story is chock full of holes, and the media hackery is disintegrating under its own weight.
Arioch , Sep 10 2019 19:19 utc | 12
> Obama administration .... Russia had stolen .... Democratic National Committee and ..... John Podesta.

So we have to allege that Podesta's laptop between naked underage girls photos had list of CIA secret agents in Russian government? What else rid it contain and where did Podesta stole those lists?

Same question about Paki-managed DNC server. Was managing CIA agents in foreign governments outsourced to DNC or what?

"Once in the lifetime of yer townfolk! F..en circus! Imbecile clowns! Degenerate tamers! Deformed strongmen! Dysfunctional acrobats! Don't miss out!"

Qua , Sep 10 2019 19:21 utc | 13
Perhaps someone should advise Smolenskov to stay away from park benches after eating seafood and to not touch doorknob's etc.
Uncle $cam , Sep 10 2019 19:24 utc | 14
Speaking of outed Spy's..."Undercover" -- Valerie Plame for Congress "When elephants fight, it's the grass that suffers"
Gigi , Sep 10 2019 19:26 utc | 15
@2
Diversion is one of the three possibilities that I can think of:

1) clan wars within US special services, particularly in view of the 2020 elections.

2) diversion (as suggested by col. Pat Lang)

3) preparation of the ground to make this guy a "sacrificial lamb" like Scripal, to avoid any new rapprochement between the US and Russia after the end of the Muller report.

(comment originally posted at http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2019/09/he-was-never-qualified-to-start-with.html#disqus_thread )

james , Sep 10 2019 19:35 utc | 16
@11 roy g.. this is what i said @3 "what seems clear to me is that some in the cia-msm want to frame trump.. this one feel apart fairly quickly..." for others who want to read larry johnsons latest at sst here...

@4 casey - last line.. ditto my thoughts..

karlof1 , Sep 10 2019 19:39 utc | 17
Interesting Tweet thread by a Sean M Davis has 5 entries and almost 1000 retweets beginning with this:

"For those curious about what's going on with this bizarre Russia 'spy' story: Burr/Durham know Steele was fed obvious disinformation, they know who originated it, they know who peddled it, and it's just a matter of rounding up the whole network."

In his third entry, he poses the following question: "So the only two unanswered questions about this particular pre-emptive leak campaign from the usual Russia hoax suspects are 1) why now, and 2) what specific event or official revelation are they trying to get ahead of?"

The easy answer is the story itself is enough of a distraction as the 1000 retweets show.

Clueless Joe , Sep 10 2019 19:44 utc | 18
I tend to agree with Larry Johnson (at Pat Lang's) that this guy wasn't that useful back then. He might have become more useful, had he stayed at the Kremlin and rose further up the ladder, granted; or Obama's top guys assumed he wouldn't and it wasn't an issue to risk to burn him.
Clueless Joe , Sep 10 2019 19:44 utc | 18
I tend to agree with Larry Johnson (at Pat Lang's) that this guy wasn't that useful back then. He might have become more useful, had he stayed at the Kremlin and rose further up the ladder, granted; or Obama's top guys assumed he wouldn't and it wasn't an issue to risk to burn him.
librul , Sep 10 2019 19:54 utc | 19
Is someone brewing up some fresh Novichok nerve agent as we speak?

Don't touch those doorknobs, Oleg!

for future reference: this post was for amusement purposes only

alaff , Sep 10 2019 19:57 utc | 20
This whole story is entirely in the spirit of Hollywood comics. I had a good laugh when I saw the news about the "valuable spy successfully extracted from Russia".

Here are some reasons why this is fake/disinformation:

1) The news was published by CNN. I think there's no need to explain whether it is worth taking seriously the "sensations" published by news outlets with a reputation like CNN.

2) Sorry, but you must be a complete idiot (in the medical sense) to openly declare in the media that you had a "very valuable spy" in the immediate circle of the president of the Russian Federation (or any other country). Just because in this way you, by your own hands, are giving your opponent the reason to "strengthen control", conduct checks and identify those [other] people who might be able to work for you for a long time and be useful. When this really takes place in real life (the presence of a spy of the highest rank, close to the head of state), then this becomes public only after many years/decades, when the 'Top Secret' stamp is removed from the documents, you know.

3) V.Putin is a former intelligence officer. To put it mildly, it is very naive to assume that the presence of an "American spy" (close to Putin) would not be known to a person with Putin's experience/knowledge/capacity.

4) To be a spy, a member of the inner circle of the President of Russia (or any other country) and not to be exposed, one need to have extraordinary abilities and competencies. This is the highest class. In recent years, it seems only the lazy one did not notice and did not note the monstrous degradation of the American political class. These people do not know how to behave in a civilized society, do not have the traditions and culture of diplomacy and communication. The situation is similar in the American defense industry. With this level of decline in the competence of the American elite (political, military, etc.), to assume that they have such a ultra-high-class spy is at least very strange.

5) The fact that the "valuable spy" in the inner circle of the Russian president is pure CNN fiction is confirmed in practice. What I mean:

  • - If Smolenkov is really a "very valuable spy" and had access to "secrets," it's rather strange that he didn't tell the CIA, for example, about the Crimean operation of the Russian Federation in 2014. Russia's actions then began for the United States (and not only for the United States, by the way) a complete surprise. This is some really strange "valuable spy" who did not know anything about the intentions and actions of the Russian leadership in the spring of 2014.
  • - If Smolenkov is really a "very valuable spy," and had access to "secrets," the fact that he knew nothing and did not tell the CIA about Russia's plans to launch the Syrian campaign in September 2015 looks unusually strange. Just to remind that the actions of Russia then became a complete surprise for the United States. They did not know anything about this and did not expect such a development of events. Within a month before the official start of the Syrian campaign, Russia transferred equipment and weapons to Syria. This remained a secret for all intelligence services in the world, no one noticed anything. Even Israel, located in close proximity to Syria, made a "discovery" about the presence of the Russian military there only 2 days before the start of Russia's actions in the SAR. A rather strange "valuable spy" who was completely ignorant of Russia's plans/actions in the Syrian direction.
  • - If Smolenkov is really a "very valuable spy" and had access to "secrets", it is very strange that he did not know anything and did not inform the CIA about the development by Russia of the latest weapons presented by President Putin in the spring of 2018. The presentation of the latest models of Russian weapons was a real shock for the United States, and I remember that at first the Americans, smiling, called all this "cartoons." Now they no longer laugh. The development of these weapons was carried out for many years. It's somehow strange that a "very valuable spy" never found out about it.

6) Serious Russian experts unequivocally spoke out that all this was fake and that Smolenkov certainly could not be a spy. In particular, Armen Gasparyan, one of the leading Russian political scientists, historian, writer (incidentally, who wrote several books on intelligence), spoke quite fully about this in his recent commentary .

Why the CIA would allow such a spy, once extradited, to live under his real name is beyond me.

Because this man has nothing to do with "spies", "secrets" and "special services". He is an ordinary civilian, a former official from Russia. Many Russian ex- lives in abroad, including high-ranking persons. Smolenkov of course had no access to any "secrets", and had no access to entourage of the Russian president.

An attempt to present Smolenkov as a "valuable spy" from exactly the same series as the clumsy attempt by the British government to introduce two Russian civilians (Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov) as "GRU agents". It is hardly reasonable to take this seriously.

However, all this is just my personal opinion.

Brendan , Sep 10 2019 20:05 utc | 21
That's the end of Smolenkov's anonymous quiet comfortable lifesyle. It doesn't send out a very reassuring message - that the CIA can publicly expose someone it considers a very useful asset. There must be a good reason why they threw Smolenkov under the bus in that way.
Mao Cheng Ji , Sep 10 2019 20:33 utc | 22
$925K for a 8k sqft house on 1.2 hectares? Sounds like a bargain. Not a very nice neighborhood, perhaps?
Sorghum , Sep 10 2019 20:52 utc | 23
This guy could not possibly be what the CIS and media are presenting to be. Living under his own name in Virginia? Could it be any simpler to find him? The Russians do have search engines, too.

B may be right that this is a double or triple play, but find it hard to see the benefits to pretending to have had a deep mole in the Kremlin. I also find it implausible that any Russsian diplomat who has been stationed in DC would not be viewed as potentially compromised. It would be relatively simple to feed him bullshit and see what filters into DC.

Margaret , Sep 10 2019 20:59 utc | 24
Many thoughtful comments here. My take, as a fan of Le Carre and Mad Magazine's Spy vs Spy cartoon, is that USA's spy was discovered and turned. He was dismissed, employed somewhere close by, and fed chicken feed for his CIA masters. When they realized he was a failure, the CIA got him and his family out with the possible object of turning him into a propaganda subject. Of course he would have to die first, but CIA could make it look like the Russians did it.
Smiley , Sep 10 2019 21:05 utc | 25
I'm generally interested in how spies are referred to in corporate media stories.

For instance, we were told constantly that Skirpal was a 'Russian Spy'. This ran contrary to the normal usage, which would have referred to a British Spy within the Russian government as a 'British Spy'. If that signaled a general change in language, then Solemenkov, would also be referred to as a Russian Spy and not as an American Spy. He shares with Skirpal having a Russian nationality, while he was spying for the Americans. Of course, when the propagandists are going for an emotional reaction, they can be relied on to use whichever helps tilt the story in their direction.

Smiley , Sep 10 2019 21:07 utc | 26
Historically, spy agencies aren't really known for their great humanity in pulling out a spy who is in a useful position just because they fear for that spy's safety. The more common course of action for Spy Bosses is to keep the spy in place, keep pushing for more, more, more information from the spy, before perhaps holding a brief moment of silence over their spy ending up in prison.
S , Sep 10 2019 21:18 utc | 27
@karlof1 #6:
Maybe it's for an Outlaw US Empire sequel to MI-6's Novochock BigLie to be sprung as the election heats up.

That's what I thought as well. Why would the MSM hype a spy other than establishing his persona in the public eye, to be followed by some event later? Either he's a double agent and they will kill him and blame it on Russia, or he is not a double agent and they will use him to announce some "strong evidence" of Trump–Russia connection.

Sabine , Sep 10 2019 21:57 utc | 28
so when can we expect the US / Russia to finally save us all from ourselfs?

fuck are you guys not tired of this bullshit kabuki theatre that you get fed daily in order to keep you amused and busy?

William Gruff , Sep 10 2019 22:09 utc | 29
Part of the intention of this farce is to give the CIA and the CIA News Network (CNN) the opportunity to pretend that they are not knotted together like mating dogs (I leave it up to the reader to guess which one is the bitch).
Madeira , Sep 10 2019 22:11 utc | 30
A theory:

1. Smolenkov was the source of the Steele Report, in other words he received a substantial payment to come up with fictional "dirt" on Trump.

2. With all the publicity about the Steele report, Brennan/Obama/etc. were scared (and with good reason) that the Russians would figure out that Smolenkov was the source and would then make a grand show of his confessing to how he had made everything up at the request of US/UK intelligence agencies.

3. Therefore he was extricated for a very good reason (if you are Obama/Brennan, that is).

4. His extrication is now being used as an anti-Trump weapon, but also as a pre-emptive measure to reduce the fallout if (or when) reports emerge that Smolenkov was the source for Steele.

Peter AU 1 , Sep 10 2019 22:33 utc | 31
Be interesting to know what was occurring if Smolenkov was the source for the Steele report. Whatever information he was sending, that he just left on holidays makes me think Russian intel were on the ball and had started feeding him a bit of disinformation.
karlof1 , Sep 10 2019 22:35 utc | 32
Sabine @28--

I don't expect the US--and by US I mean the Current Oligarchy--to save anyone, while Russia is very busy trying to save its current and future populace--the differences being quite extreme. Since the US isn't intent on saving anyone, it wants to ensure its populace thinks other governments act the same way toward their populaces so the US populace doesn't get any ideas about saving itself from its own viscous government. Busting that narrative is what keeps us busy--There IS an alternative.

Smiley , Sep 10 2019 22:41 utc | 33
From digging around on the property site (from the link).

It must be a very nice house. A 3-ish acre lot in that neighborhood has an assessment of $140k for the land. But the assessment for improvements for this house is over $900k while others in the neighborhood are more in the $600k range. I was looking at the aerial photos and trying to pick out what seem to be other nice houses, including ones with swimming pools which this one lacks, and which also have big garages (this one has 4 car garage apparently), but couldn't find a neighbor above an assessment in the $600k's.

The neighborhood as a whole has had its valuations decline in the 2018 biannual assessment. Not sure why, but maybe the neighborhood of 20 year old mansions isn't as hot as some newer developments. The last previous lowering of assessment values occurred during the Great-Not-A-Depression in the 2008 revaluations. Note, the land is not considered to have lower values, but all of the homes on the street have had the assessments of the improvements on the property lowered in the last reassessments.

Hard to tell much about the selling price from neighboring properties. Many of the neighbors bought their homes direct from the construction company back in the early years of the century. So not too many direct compares for homes bought in 2018.

Smiley , Sep 10 2019 22:54 utc | 34
A point that appears to have missed by several is that an aide to an aide to the foreign minister is not likely to have access to Putin's super-top-secret plans to use a few thousand dollars worth of utube and twit ads to change the course of multi-billion dollar American election, nor would he have access to information that might be used to blackmail a potential foreign leader. Both would be closely held secrets and apparently way above his pay grade. Often the FM wouldn't know of either, and both operations would be compartmentalized into a close team Putin can trust.

The only way that he's the 'source' of the Steele fiction is if the whole thing was in the style of LeCarre's "The Tailor of Panama" where everyone is lying and inflating what they know and people at the top are paying out good money for this because it suits their little power games. But any Moscow tailor with a couple of important customers would be positioned to run that scam as well as an aide to an aide to a foreign minister.

My personal guess, he made his money by the more typical corruption in Russia, which means he was working for an oligarch. He lost his job, possibly during one of Putin's anti-corruption cleanup campaigns. He decided to move to DC with his oligarch money because he'd served 10 years in the embassy there and he liked the area. He is buying property in his own name because he's not part of any sort of witness/spy protection program and nobody in the USG is setting him up with a fake identity.

Turner , Sep 10 2019 23:02 utc | 35
Does anyone really believe that the Kremlin takes as the truth what they hear on CNN?
karlof1 , Sep 10 2019 23:11 utc | 36
Smiley @33&34--

House likely bought by CIA and annual upkeep--taxes etc.--also paid by them.

MoA's investigators have fairly well established that Skripal was the most likely contributor to the Steele Dossier given the overall web of established connections--that was most certainly an MI-6 operation in league with DNC/HRC officials, not CIA, although CIA was involved in Russiagate Cover-up.

In examining Russia's foreign policy, where were the compromises generated by this alleged spy? Aside from the UNSC vote debacle on Libya, I see nothing but a string of successes, although the Ukraine Coup wasn't debauched. IMO, Outlaw US Empire policy toward Russia has failed spectacularly, and it is within the US government where I'd expect to find well placed spies.

james , Sep 10 2019 23:15 utc | 37
@35 turner.. no.. and no one here at moa believes anything out of the western msm either... see @ 29 william gruff comment for more meaningful lingo on the set up..
Uncle $cam , Sep 10 2019 23:21 utc | 38
Does anyone really believe that the Kremlin takes as the truth what they hear on CNN?

ha! Emphatically, Yes, most Mericans, think they think that.. Because most Mericans think everyone but Merican's are stupid.

Smiley , Sep 10 2019 23:21 utc | 39
Here's a tough problem for a counter-intelligence agent. Find the source of info for a fictional report.

Normally, after a link, one avenue of investigation would be to check who had access to the leaked information. But, if the report is completely fictional, then there is no list of people who had access to information that didn't exist. Everyone or no one had equal access to the non-existent information. The Tailor of Moscow had the same access to the non-existent information as did Putin's closest personal aide. Who done it?

willie , Sep 10 2019 23:30 utc | 40
Headline in le Figaro:

Ingérence russe :la CIA disposait d'une source haut-placée au Kremlin.
Russian collusion: CIA had high placed source at the Kremlin.

A lot of commentators see the incongruence of this title and make jokes about it. Really, when a superpower becomes a source of jokes and ridicule, than the end might be nigh.

Jackrabbit , Sep 11 2019 0:30 utc | 41
Evidence-free accusations of Russian meddling. Now with extra sauce.

<> <> <> <> <> <>

We don't really know WHY this spy was extracted. Anyone that believes that Russiagate was deliberately planned as part of the new Cold War is not surprised at yet another attempt to strengthen the nonexistent case for Russian meddling.

JasonT , Sep 11 2019 0:44 utc | 42
smiley @34 seems to have the most logical take on this.
GoldmanKropotkin , Sep 11 2019 0:47 utc | 43
The first report in US Press about Putin personally involved was on Dec 14 2016.
Two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.

Putin's objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a "vendetta" against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to "split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn't depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore," the official said.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/u-s-officials-putin-personally-involved-u-s-election-hack-n696146

Notice the source is spies working for US Allies. Remember that the NSA did not sign off on the Russian interference/hacking because they were concerned that too much critical info rested on intelligence from a single foreign country.

Sergei Skripal was not just an turncoat for UK he also worked for Estonian intelligence. It seems to me the poisoning fits better as an Estonian job, to keep relations in Europe with Russia in very bad shape. It's easy to say that the Russians wouldn't be so incompetent, also goes for the UK, which could have come up with something more compelling if they pre planned it as false flag.

Notice how we have some sources saying concern grew after the Trump Putin meeting, where supposedly Trump gave Israeli intelligence to Putin on Syria, I think they were concerned Trump would have no problem revealing a spy for another government, much like he was free with foreign intelligence.

I don't think the exfiltration was the real source but someone to sacrifice, to protect the real source, who is working for Estonian intelligence. To me this seems like it is possibly Anton Vaino, Chief of Staff of the Kremlin since August 2016, Deputy Chief of Staff of Kremlin before that. This is not to say his info is accurate, but is in line with the foreign policy of Estonia to alienate everyone with Russia.

Yeah, Right , Sep 11 2019 0:57 utc | 44
Just out of curiousity, if what has been reported is true then what reason would Mueller have to exclude this from his report? The dude is proof of the Russia-did-it!! narrative. Check.The dude has already been extracted. Check. The Russians must have already noticed that he has done a runner. Check.

What would stop Mueller from producing a one-paragraph report that starts with: "we know the following to be true because for the last decade everything that Putin did was being relayed to us by an aide to the foreign policy advisor to the Kremlin, since extracted and now living in the USA".

I mean, bit of a slam-dunk, don't you think?

uncle tungsten , Sep 11 2019 3:00 utc | 45
I call it a red herring, and I bet this sucker has been fully set up. Publicly listed address and all the indicators are that he is held in reserve to throw to the dogs whenever the action gets too close to the mongrel perpetrators.

Joe Mifsud and Claire Smith of MI6, Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, especially FBI special agent Joseph Pientka plus that BIG shot FBI agent (who's name I forget) are the names to remember. Why aren't Misud and Smith extradited to face inquiry?

So what is emerging? is Mueller due in court to prosecute the Russian ad agency that has fully shirt fronted him? Is Flynn business about to upend a steaming pot of turds over Mueller and other heads. Is Seth Rich about to be posthumously knighted by some New York monarch for his role in smashing the HRC cart in public? Or is Julian Assange about to be put through more torture for being a journalist and publisher?

This poor Russian sod is a patsy for the vicious deep state game that now needs to prey on him and deliver his carcass to the howling mob and so distract them again. This Friday's quiet press releases might hold a clue.

snake , Sep 11 2019 3:47 utc | 46
plausible

maybe

where is the diversion.. lots of activity in Afghanistan and Golan today.. Turkey is moving into N. Syria.. Venezuela.. where is the diversion/

dltravers , Sep 11 2019 3:51 utc | 47
This guy will probably be making the rounds on CNN and cable news promoting the Steele dossier and the Russian collusion hoax as its complete disintegration is now fully evident. Offer up some turds on a plate, dress it up with a pinch a parsley and the truth will be avoided.

The whole 2 year media storm of lies on Russian collusion will be avoided by offering up another turd on a plate. This guy will pull down a few million and the media will never admit their false reporting.

Jen , Sep 11 2019 4:54 utc | 48
It would seem that a great deal has certainly changed at the CIA since 2003 when Valerie Plame was revealed as a spy by a newspaper journalist who was given the information about her during a phone conversation with someone close to the White House at the time, apparently to punish her ambassador husband Joseph Wilson for going to Niger to verify if that country had exported uranium to Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Then there was shock and anger at the time that the cover of a CIA operative had been blown.

Now the CIA doesn't even bother to give Smolenkov and his family new identities and biographies to explain their living in Washington DC, and even co-operates with the outgoing Obama administration in 2016 in risking the exposure of one of its own to try to stop Donald Trump from ensconcing himself in the White House.

Something certainly has changed in the culture of the CIA: while it was always a political animal, it is becoming an extremely ideological one as well.

Sunny Runny Burger , Sep 11 2019 5:40 utc | 49
The idea that this could be a fake spy is interesting.

Sabine wrote:

fuck are you guys not tired of this bullshit kabuki theatre that you get fed daily in order to keep you amused and busy?

Only speaking for myself I ignore almost all of it (and actively treat it as propaganda, deception, and manipulation) and take a lot of breaks. I test the waters (or sewage) from time to time but I don't expect much and have no right to expect anything either.

However despite such sentiments the last decade seems like it has been an improvement although too many people (and probably me as well) are searching for "replacements" to failures when maybe there shouldn't be any: any false choice requires at least two wrong answers but there could be any number .

az , Sep 11 2019 9:16 utc | 51
In Bulgaria is a spy scandal too.
Reschetnikov is banned for ten years to visit Bulgaria. A reporter from NYT has tried to interview him before steps are take in Bulgaria to investigate the case. The officials say the Russians wanted to divert Bulgaria to the asia-project and that money-laundering was used to finance subversive activities. The case started on 9.09 2019. Today the parliament heard the statements of the agencies. Nothing new they sayed
az , Sep 11 2019 9:20 utc | 52
I think the Nato-gang want to have a military war in the black sea. Turkey did not close the Bosporus for the Russians, so they lost the war in Syria.
Josh , Sep 11 2019 10:53 utc | 53
Sounds fishy, the whole thing. Of course, when everyone is lying about everything while they are pretending to fight with each other, it may well get a bit convoluted. CIA outing thrir own dude on their own propaganda outlet is quite strange though. Also, their dude just trotting about using his real name (in a publicly listed mansion no less),... ehh... Who knows...
Josh , Sep 11 2019 11:05 utc | 54
Of course, they could be trying to 'put him on the spot' to use him for yet another propaganda push (whether he wants to play along, or not). But, again, the whole thing seems a bit strange.
milomilo , Sep 11 2019 11:30 utc | 55
i would caution people here on patrick lang's views on this issue. remember he is an existensialist american "patriot" who stop at nothing and will approve of any warcrime to held up the mighty american empire. Look at patrick lang's history , he is ex intelligence and thus never left the "services" even when he is "retired".

Pat lang's hate toward those who criticize american empire is legendary.. just look at his own comments on SST.

another one to watch is patrick lang's friend called TTG which also US intelligence and it is not unknown for this guy to post or inject nonsense narrative on SST especially on intelligence matters concerning russia.

The posts that seems clean of US narrative lies seem to come from Publius Tacitus and Walrus. But then again never take off your mandatory antipropaganda shield especially on SST owned by ex spook who love the american empire and military trashing of the world

Sunny Runny Burger , Sep 11 2019 12:34 utc | 56
The following rumor (through sputniknews.com) is sort of educational even if it should turn out to not be true (its Boolean value is essentially irrelevant which is interesting as a separate matter as well): Trump mistrusts spies etc .
donkeytale , Sep 11 2019 12:41 utc | 57
Sabine - are you guys not tired of this bullshit kabuli theatre

No, we are tirelessly...chasing our own tails...endlessly drinking one exclusive flavour of koolaid...The Infotainment Sickness Unto Death...

cirsium , Sep 11 2019 14:25 utc | 58
@Jen, 48

It wasn't just shock. Scooter Libby, Cheney's (?) Chief of Staff, broke a federal law when he exposed Valerie Palme as a CIA operative. He served part of a prison sentence for this. Joseph Wilson verified that Saddam Hussein did not buy yellow cake. After his report was ignored, he wrote an article about his findings. I remember reading it in the International Herald Tribune. It put the WMD narrative in doubt.

[Sep 11, 2019] CIA Spy Extracted From Russia Sent Information 'For Decades,' New York Times Claims

Sep 11, 2019 | sputniknews.com

The extraction of an alleged source in the Kremlin left the CIA blind regarding Moscow's intentions and made recruiting new spies much harder – all thanks to the US mainstream media's unrestrained attention in 2016. A CIA source whom the US intelligence service allegedly extracted from Russia in 2017 was recruited decades ago, The New York Times reported Monday. The man was recruited while he was still a "midlevel official," the report says .

Shortly after recruitment, the man began to "rapidly" advance in the ranks until he landed an "influential position" with "access to the highest level of the Kremlin."

The source came into the spotlight, however, after mainstream media in the US began digging into Russia's alleged meddling with the US 2016 presidential elections. Craving dirt on Trump, the media began "picking up on details about CIA's Kremlin sources."

It was The Washington Post who reported in 2017 that the CIA's conclusions were based on "sourcing deep inside the Russian government," while The New York Times later published details on the source.

The media attention allegedly forced the CIA to conduct an extraction . At first, the source allegedly denied the offer initially made in 2016, citing family concerns. The CIA did not accept the reasoning and suspected the man of being a double agent. This, in turn, sparked a double check of all information he sent back to Langley. In 2017, the CIA again pressed for extraction and this time the source agreed.

According to the Times, recruiting spies in the Kremlin is extremely difficult due to Russia's effective counterintelligence. Russian President Vladimir Putin – himself a former intelligence officer – only confides in a very close circle and avoids electronic communications. The CIA source was not part of this inner circle, the report says, but he "saw [the president] regularly and had access to high-level Kremlin decision-making."

The source's information was so important, the report says, that then-CIA director John Brennan excluded the information from daily intelligence briefings for US President Barack Obama and sent it in separate sealed envelope.

The extraction inflicted a significant blow to intelligence, the Times report says. Not only did it end the man's spying career, it also rendered the intelligence blind to activities in the Kremlin while making future spy recruitment that much harder.

In its report, CNN alleged that the source was extracted over fears that US President Donald Trump's mishandling of classified information would reveal his identity. However, The New York Times report says, citing former intelligence officials and current unnamed administration sources, that there was no evidence for such allegations and that media scrutiny was the sole reason for the extraction.

The alleged source's name and current location is a closely-guarded secret, sending social media into investigations of their own.

A CIA spokesman dismissed the CNN report as "inaccurate" due to "misguided speculation that the president's handling of our nation's most sensitive intelligence - which he has access to each and every day - drove an alleged exfiltration operation."

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham dismissed the report, saying, "CNN's reporting is not only incorrect, it has the potential to put lives in danger."

Russian lawmaker Frants Klintsevich, a member of the Russian upper house's defence and security committee, called the CNN report "clumsy", and asserted that it was created with the intention of discrediting Trump.

"Certainly, that is a clear fake, concocted in a quite clumsy manner. The era of Stierlitzes [a lead character in a popular Soviet novel and film about a Soviet spy] has irreversibly passed, if it ever existed at all, and there cannot be in principle any US informant who could work 'inside the Russian government,'" Klintsevich, a member of the Russian upper house's defence and security committee, posted to Facebook.

As Klintsevich explains, the report is "another attempt to discredit US President Donald Trump by presenting him as a bungler capable of virtually destroying by his clumsy actions the entire US intelligence network."

[Sep 11, 2019] NYT tries to save Russiagate narrative using Smolenkov defection

Sep 11, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

Some former intelligence officials said the president's closed-door meetings with Mr. Putin and other Russian officials , along with Twitter posts about delicate intelligence matters , have sown concern among overseas sources.

"We have a president who, unlike any other president in modern history, is willing to use sensitive, classified intelligence however he sees fit," said Steven L. Hall, a former C.I.A. official who led the agency's Russia operations. "He does it in front of our adversaries. He does it by tweet. We are in uncharted waters."

But the government had indicated that the source existed long before Mr. Trump took office, first in formally accusing Russia of interference in October 2016 and then when intelligence officials declassified parts of their assessment about the interference campaign for public release in January 2017. News agencies, including NBC , began reporting around that time about Mr. Putin's involvement in the election sabotage and on the C.I.A.'s possible sources for the assessment.

The following month, The Washington Post reported that the C.I.A.'s conclusions relied on "sourcing deep inside the Russian government." And The New York Times later published articles disclosing details about the source .

The news reporting in the spring and summer of 2017 convinced United States government officials that they had to update and revive their extraction plan, according to people familiar the matter.

The extraction ensured the informant was in a safer position and rewarded for a long career in service to the United States. But it came at a great cost: It left the C.I.A. struggling to understand what was going on inside the highest ranks of the Kremlin.

The agency has long struggled to recruit sources close to Mr. Putin, a former intelligence officer himself wary of C.I.A. operations. He confides in only a small group of people and has rigorous operational security, eschewing electronic communications.

James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence who left office at the end of the Obama administration, said he had no knowledge of the decision to conduct an extraction. But, he said, there was little doubt that revelations about the extraction were "going to make recruiting assets in Russia even more difficult than it already is." Correction : Sept. 10, 2019

An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to the timing of the initial reporting on the C.I.A.'s 2016 exfiltration offer to a Russian informant. An offer that appears to be the same one that The New York Times described was reported in 2018 in Bob Woodward's book "Fear."

[Sep 11, 2019] Family of Alleged US Spy Smolenkov Vacates Virginia Home Neighbours

Sep 11, 2019 | sputniknews.com

Within less than a minute after spotting the Daily Beast journalist , the "Russian family" left in two cars, the man said.

A Sputnik correspondent tried to talk to some other neighbors, particularly those who were questioned by the Daily Beast journalist earlier, but nobody opened their door to respond.

On Monday, the broadcaster CNN reported that the United States allegedly extracted an informant working in Russia, who was close to the government, in 2017.

According to some media reports, the person in question might have been Oleg Smolenkov, a Kremlin staff employee who went missing while on a family vacation in Montenegro in 2017.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that Smolenkov had worked in the Kremlin administration but was fired several years ago.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that media reports about the United States having to extract a top covert source from inside Russia were factually wrong and inaccurate.

[Sep 11, 2019] Dmitry Peskov: It is true that Smolenkov worked in the presidential administration but he was fired several years ago. His job was not at a senior official level.

Notable quotes:
"... Law enforcement sources told Kommersant that Moscow had investigated whether Mr Smolenkov had been killed in Montenegro, but concluded he was now living abroad. ..."
"... Without naming the alleged agent at the request of US officials, NBC News said one of its reporters had visited the Virginia home on Monday and found the man was "living openly under his true name". The reporter was tracked by two men in an SUV when he rang the doorbell, NBC said. ..."
"... A former colleague told RIA Novosti that Mr Smolenkov handled administrative affairs such as purchases for the embassy. ..."
"... Mr Lavrov said he did not know Mr Smolenkov. "I have never seen him, I have never met him, and I have neither kept track of his career nor his movements," the foreign minister said. ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | www.bbc.com

Russian media named him as Oleg Smolenkov, who worked for a key aide to President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Smolenkov was not senior, had been fired years ago and the extraction reports were fiction, the Kremlin said.

A CNN report said the CIA had feared President Trump's "mishandling" of intelligence could put the spy at risk.

CNN said the extraction came after the president met senior Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in the White House in May 2017 and had unexpectedly shared classified US intelligence.

The CIA said CNN's reporting of the extraction was "misguided" and "simply false".

Later US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the report as "materially inaccurate".

What was alleged in the US media reports?

CNN released the initial report on Monday, citing "multiple Trump administration officials with direct knowledge" of the extraction operation.

The alleged agent was not named by US media but it was claimed the intelligence asset was the highest-level US source inside Russia, with regular access to President Putin.

Why did Trump give information to the Russians? The reporter who broke the story explains.

The reports said the source had spied for the US for more than a decade. The New York Times said the agent was instrumental in the conclusion by US intelligence agencies in 2016 that Mr Putin had personally orchestrated Russia's interference in the US presidential election. However, its report said the CIA had wanted to extract the agent before Mr Trump took office because investigations by media were putting the asset at risk. There was no suggestion President Trump had directly compromised the source, it said.

On Tuesday, CNN quoted sources who had served under Mr Trump as saying the president had repeatedly expressed his opposition to using overseas spies because it damaged relations with other nations.

How has Russia responded?

Russian media quickly came up with the name of Oleg Smolenkov. The Kommersant newspaper said he had gone on holiday with his family to Montenegro in 2017 and disappeared, before a man with the same name and a woman with the same name as Mr Smolenkov's wife purchased a house in the US state of Virginia, near Washington DC.

Law enforcement sources told Kommersant that Moscow had investigated whether Mr Smolenkov had been killed in Montenegro, but concluded he was now living abroad.

Without naming the alleged agent at the request of US officials, NBC News said one of its reporters had visited the Virginia home on Monday and found the man was "living openly under his true name". The reporter was tracked by two men in an SUV when he rang the doorbell, NBC said.

Russian reports said Mr Smolenkov had worked for Yury Ushakov, a senior foreign policy aide to President Putin and a former Russian ambassador to the US.

Mr Smolenkov was with Mr Ushakov in the US for a number of years until the latter was recalled in 2008. A former colleague told RIA Novosti that Mr Smolenkov handled administrative affairs such as purchases for the embassy.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov: "This is more the genre of pulp fiction, crime reading"

Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said: "It is true that Smolenkov worked in the presidential administration but he was fired several years ago. His job was not at a senior official level."

He could not confirm whether Mr Smolenkov was a spy nor why he had been sacked, but added: "All this US media speculation about who urgently extracted who and saved who from who and so on - this is more the genre of pulp fiction, crime reading, so let's leave it up to them."

Mr Lavrov said he did not know Mr Smolenkov. "I have never seen him, I have never met him, and I have neither kept track of his career nor his movements," the foreign minister said.

He added that no state secrets had been divulged at the White House meeting with Mr Trump.

... It sounds like the makings of a John le Carré espionage novel. A high-level intelligence asset - one who provided key information about an attempt to sabotage a US presidential election - is extracted from Russia in the face of potentially grave danger.

... ... ...

[Sep 11, 2019] Oleg Smolenkov

Notable quotes:
"... NBC News earlier reported that the informant was living in the Washington DC area under his true name. When a correspondent from the channel went to the man's house and rang the doorbell, two young men, possibly government agents, raced up in an SUV and asked what the reporter was doing. ..."
"... A Russian website reported in 2017 that the Smolenkovs and three children had travelled to Montenegro in June that year and disappeared, prompting a murder investigation to be opened in September. Mr Smolenkov had worked in the Russian embassy in Washington and with Yury Ushakov, one of Mr Putin's top foreign policy advisers. His wife was also a state employee. ..."
"... Do we believe that assistant to a nations ambassador abroad, could come home and just wander around the office of the head of state and that there would be papers lying openly stating do something ?. ..."
"... It requires a view that somehow the security services guarding the Head of State are letting people wander around offices. ..."
"... It appears there is a lot more added to somehow make person credible where proof isn't required. ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | www.pprune.org

His name will and reputation will, perhaps, exceed that of Penkovsky.....

Top CIA Kremlin spy 'had access to papers crossing Putin's desk' (Times, London, Sep 10, 2019)

A CIA super-spy at the heart of the Kremlin was identified today as a staffer in President Putin's administration who fled to the US via the Balkans.

Oleg Smolenkov, thought to be about 45, went missing in June 2017 when he, his wife Antonina and three children disappeared without trace after travelling to Montenegro, ostensibly for a holiday. He is said to have had access to papers on the Russian president's desk and to have been instrumental in confirming to American intelligence that Vladimir Putin personally ordered interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

US media reported yesterday that an unnamed CIA informant in the Russian government was "exfiltrated" to the US in 2017 over fears the source could be exposed. The mole was Mr Smolenkov, whose disappearance at the time prompted a murder investigation, said Russia's Kommersant newspaper today, citing a US state department source. The daily also noted a property listing in The Washington Post showing that an Oleg Smokenkov [sic] and Antonina Smolenkov bought a six-bedroom house in Stafford, Virginia, in June 2018.

NBC News earlier reported that the informant was living in the Washington DC area under his true name. When a correspondent from the channel went to the man's house and rang the doorbell, two young men, possibly government agents, raced up in an SUV and asked what the reporter was doing.

CNN, which initially reported that the US had successfully extracted from Russia one of its highest-level covert sources inside the Russian government, said the removal of the Russian was driven in part by concerns that President Trump mishandled classified intelligence and could expose the covert source as a spy. This was denied by the CIA.

The New York Times said the source was "one of the CIA's most important -- and highly protected -- assets" and had been removed after US media picked up on details about the agency's Kremlin sources. Present and former intelligence officials told the paper that, in the light of the poisoning of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal in the Wiltshire city of Salisbury last year, the mole's life remains in danger.

A Russian website reported in 2017 that the Smolenkovs and three children had travelled to Montenegro in June that year and disappeared, prompting a murder investigation to be opened in September. Mr Smolenkov had worked in the Russian embassy in Washington and with Yury Ushakov, one of Mr Putin's top foreign policy advisers. His wife was also a state employee.

A source "informed about the case" speculated to Russia's Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper today that Mr Smolenkov and his family may have been taken across the border from Montenegro to Kosovo and then flown to the US from the American Camp Bondsteel army base.

The Russian presidential administration said that nobody by the name of Oleg Smolenkov had worked there.

racedo 11th Sep 2019, 16:58 # 5 ( permalink )

Join Date: Nov 2008 Location: Darkest Surrey Posts: 5,833

Do we believe that assistant to a nations ambassador abroad, could come home and just wander around the office of the head of state and that there would be papers lying openly stating do something ?.

Security would notice anything suspicious or question why someone who hasn't a right to be there could just go wandering about.

It requires a view that somehow the security services guarding the Head of State are letting people wander around offices.

It appears there is a lot more added to somehow make person credible where proof isn't required.

[Sep 11, 2019] I call it a red herring, and I bet this sucker has been fully set up. Publicly listed address and all the indicators are that he is held in reserve to throw to the dogs whenever the action gets too close to the mongrel perpetrators

Based on the fact that presented information is non-verifiable, most probably this is yet another false flag operation by Brennan and his cycle. But it will definitely hurt USA-Russia relations and will help to sustain Russiagate campaign. May be this was the plan.
The question "Why CIA doesn't even bother to give Smolenkov and his family new identities and biographies to explain their living in Washington DC" is also an interesting one.
Notable quotes:
"... Joe Mifsud and Claire Smith of MI6, Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, especially FBI special agent Joseph Pientka plus that BIG shot FBI agent (who's name I forget) are the names to remember. Why aren't Misud and Smith extradited to face inquiry? ..."
"... So what is emerging? is Mueller due in court to prosecute the Russian ad agency that has fully shirt fronted him? Is Flynn business about to upend a steaming pot of turds over Mueller and other heads. Is Seth Rich about to be posthumously knighted by some New York monarch for his role in smashing the HRC cart in public? Or is Julian Assange about to be put through more torture for being a journalist and publisher? ..."
"... This poor Russian sod is a patsy for the vicious deep state game that now needs to prey on him and deliver his carcass to the howling mob and so distract them again. This Friday's quiet press releases might hold a clue. ..."
"... Now the CIA doesn't even bother to give Smolenkov and his family new identities and biographies to explain their living in Washington DC, and even co-operates with the outgoing Obama administration in 2016 in risking the exposure of one of its own to try to stop Donald Trump from ensconcing himself in the White House. ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Sep 11 2019 3:00 utc | 45

I call it a red herring, and I bet this sucker has been fully set up. Publicly listed address and all the indicators are that he is held in reserve to throw to the dogs whenever the action gets too close to the mongrel perpetrators.

Joe Mifsud and Claire Smith of MI6, Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, especially FBI special agent Joseph Pientka plus that BIG shot FBI agent (who's name I forget) are the names to remember. Why aren't Misud and Smith extradited to face inquiry?

So what is emerging? is Mueller due in court to prosecute the Russian ad agency that has fully shirt fronted him? Is Flynn business about to upend a steaming pot of turds over Mueller and other heads. Is Seth Rich about to be posthumously knighted by some New York monarch for his role in smashing the HRC cart in public? Or is Julian Assange about to be put through more torture for being a journalist and publisher?

This poor Russian sod is a patsy for the vicious deep state game that now needs to prey on him and deliver his carcass to the howling mob and so distract them again. This Friday's quiet press releases might hold a clue.

dltravers , Sep 11 2019 3:51 utc | 47
This guy will probably be making the rounds on CNN and cable news promoting the Steele dossier and the Russian collusion hoax as its complete disintegration is now fully evident. Offer up some turds on a plate, dress it up with a pinch a parsley and the truth will be avoided.

The whole 2 year media storm of lies on Russian collusion will be avoided by offering up another turd on a plate. This guy will pull down a few million and the media will never admit their false reporting.

Jen , Sep 11 2019 4:54 utc | 48
It would seem that a great deal has certainly changed at the CIA since 2003 when Valerie Plame was revealed as a spy by a newspaper journalist who was given the information about her during a phone conversation with someone close to the White House at the time, apparently to punish her ambassador husband Joseph Wilson for going to Niger to verify if that country had exported uranium to Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Then there was shock and anger at the time that the cover of a CIA operative had been blown.

Now the CIA doesn't even bother to give Smolenkov and his family new identities and biographies to explain their living in Washington DC, and even co-operates with the outgoing Obama administration in 2016 in risking the exposure of one of its own to try to stop Donald Trump from ensconcing himself in the White House.

Something certainly has changed in the culture of the CIA: while it was always a political animal, it is becoming an extremely ideological one as well.

Sunny Runny Burger , Sep 11 2019 5:40 utc | 49
The idea that this could be a fake spy is interesting.

Sabine wrote:

fuck are you guys not tired of this bullshit kabuki theatre that you get fed daily in order to keep you amused and busy?

Only speaking for myself I ignore almost all of it (and actively treat it as propaganda, deception, and manipulation) and take a lot of breaks. I test the waters (or sewage) from time to time but I don't expect much and have no right to expect anything either.

However despite such sentiments the last decade seems like it has been an improvement although too many people (and probably me as well) are searching for "replacements" to failures when maybe there shouldn't be any: any false choice requires at least two wrong answers but there could be any number .

Josh , Sep 11 2019 10:53 utc | 52
Sounds fishy, the whole thing. Of course, when everyone is lying about everything while they are pretending to fight with each other, it may well get a bit convoluted. CIA outing thrir own dude on their own propaganda outlet is quite strange though. Also, their dude just trotting about using his real name (in a publicly listed mansion no less),... ehh... Who knows...

[Sep 11, 2019] We don't really know WHY this spy was extracted. Anyone that believes that Russiagate was deliberately planned as part of the new Cold War is not surprised at yet another attempt to strengthen the nonexistent case for Russian meddling.

OK, lets' assume that neoliberal MSM are not lying. Then why Mueller did not include him in his report? He was already in the USA since June 2017. It is unclear when he was fired by russians.
Also as Smolenkov for a long time lived in the USA he knew very well what the USA wants and could lie with impunity trying to earn more money. In a way similar personality as Skripal.
Is the idea to create the second Skripals-style false poisoning hysteria to help to sustain RussiaGate?
Notable quotes:
"... The only way that he's the 'source' of the Steele fiction is if the whole thing was in the style of LeCarre's "The Tailor of Panama" where everyone is lying and inflating what they know and people at the top are paying out good money for this because it suits their little power games. But any Moscow tailor with a couple of important customers would be positioned to run that scam as well as an aide to an aide to a foreign minister. ..."
"... My personal guess, he made his money by the more typical corruption in Russia, which means he was working for an oligarch. He lost his job, possibly during one of Putin's anti-corruption cleanup campaigns. He decided to move to DC with his oligarch money because he'd served 10 years in the embassy there and he liked the area. He is buying property in his own name because he's not part of any sort of witness/spy protection program and nobody in the USG is setting him up with a fake identity. ..."
"... MoA's investigators have fairly well established that Skripal was the most likely contributor to the Steele Dossier given the overall web of established connections--that was most certainly an MI-6 operation in league with DNC/HRC officials, not CIA, although CIA was involved in Russiagate Cover-up. ..."
"... In examining Russia's foreign policy, where were the compromises generated by this alleged spy? Aside from the UNSC vote debacle on Libya ..."
"... A lot of commentators see the incongruence of this title and make jokes about it. Really,when a superpower becomes a source of jokes and ridicule, than the end might be nigh. ..."
"... We don't really know WHY this spy was extracted. Anyone that believes that Russiagate was deliberately planned as part of the new Cold War is not surprised at yet another attempt to strengthen the nonexistent case for Russian meddling. ..."
"... The first report in US Press about Putin personally involved was on Dec 14 2016 ..."
"... I don't think the exfiltration was the real source but someone to sacrifice, to protect the real source, who is working for Estonian intelligence. To me this seems like it is possibly Anton Vaino, Chief of Staff of the Kremlin since August 2016, Deputy Chief of Staff of Kremlin before that. This is not to say his info is accurate, but is in line with the foreign policy of Estonia to alienate everyone with Russia. ..."
"... Just out of curiosity, if what has been reported is true then what reason would Mueller have to exclude this from his report? The dude is proof of the Russia-did-it!! narrative. Check. The dude has already been extracted. Check. The Russians must have already noticed that he has done a runner. Check. ..."
"... What would stop Mueller from producing a one-paragraph report that starts with: "we know the following to be true because for the last decade everything that Putin did was being relayed to us by an aide to the foreign policy advisor to the Kremlin, since extracted and now living in the USA". ..."
"... Well, I just think Putin had more important things to think about than the charade that is now the US electoral process. Probably he felt (I'm guessing of course) that the whole Russiagate scenario was a desperate move to throw a curtain over the demise of American democracy that served his, Putin's, purposes very well because it kept the idiots busy while he shored up the badly leaking ship of his own state. ..."
"... And I go with Smiley@34 - no spy of even mediocre caliber would agree to being placed in such an exposed position under his own name, for crying out loud! ..."
"... It doesn't make sense that he would leave himself exposed if either in Russia or in the US he had undercover connections of this sort. Just doesn't make sense. But that he was the best the US operatives could come up with right now simply speaks to further deterioration of US ability to field persuasive stories. ..."
"... Putin hasn't had to worry about vendettas or showing corruption in American politics. Take a reliable poll. Who in the US thinks our politics ISN'T corrupt? ..."
"... We didn't need Putin, mastermind though he is, to 'create an image' of American unreliability. Was it Putin who reneged on so many treaties? Was it Putin who antagonized the Koreas? Was it Putin who set up the trade war with China? Was it Putin who threatened and sanctioned Russia, Iran, Venezuela? ..."
"... What can the Russians do to get ahead of the narrative on the likely impending demise of Smolenkov by novichok or polonium poisoning? ..."
"... The concern is about the three hundred million other Americans who are at least partially captured by the false narratives pumped out non-stop from their Plato's Cave displays. Is there anything that the Russians can do now to inoculate some Americans against the hard sell they will be facing when the corporate mass media ( Mighty Wurlitzer ) cranks up the multi-channel marketing campaign for the United States' own Skripal farce? ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Smiley , Sep 10 2019 22:54 utc | 34

A point that appears to have missed by several is that an aide to an aide to the foreign minister is not likely to have access to Putin's super-top-secret plans to use a few thousand dollars worth of utube and twit ads to change the course of multi-billion dollar American election, nor would he have access to information that might be used to blackmail a potential foreign leader.

Both would be closely held secrets and apparently way above his pay grade. Often the FM wouldn't know of either, and both operations would be compartmentalized into a close team Putin can trust.

The only way that he's the 'source' of the Steele fiction is if the whole thing was in the style of LeCarre's "The Tailor of Panama" where everyone is lying and inflating what they know and people at the top are paying out good money for this because it suits their little power games. But any Moscow tailor with a couple of important customers would be positioned to run that scam as well as an aide to an aide to a foreign minister.

My personal guess, he made his money by the more typical corruption in Russia, which means he was working for an oligarch. He lost his job, possibly during one of Putin's anti-corruption cleanup campaigns. He decided to move to DC with his oligarch money because he'd served 10 years in the embassy there and he liked the area. He is buying property in his own name because he's not part of any sort of witness/spy protection program and nobody in the USG is setting him up with a fake identity.


karlof1 , Sep 10 2019 23:11 utc | 36

Smiley @33&34--

House likely bought by CIA and annual upkeep--taxes etc.--also paid by them.

MoA's investigators have fairly well established that Skripal was the most likely contributor to the Steele Dossier given the overall web of established connections--that was most certainly an MI-6 operation in league with DNC/HRC officials, not CIA, although CIA was involved in Russiagate Cover-up.

In examining Russia's foreign policy, where were the compromises generated by this alleged spy? Aside from the UNSC vote debacle on Libya, I see nothing but a string of successes, although the Ukraine Coup wasn't debauched. IMO, Outlaw US Empire policy toward Russia has failed spectacularly, and it is within the US government where I'd expect to find well placed spies.

Smiley , Sep 10 2019 23:21 utc | 39
Here's a tough problem for a counter-intelligence agent. Find the source of info for a fictional report.

Normally, after a link, one avenue of investigation would be to check who had access to the leaked information. But, if the report is completely fictional, then there is no list of people who had access to information that didn't exist. Everyone or no one had equal access to the non-existent information.

The Tailor of Moscow had the same access to the non-existent information as did Putin's closest personal aide. Who done it?

willie , Sep 10 2019 23:30 utc | 40
Headline in le Figaro: Ingérence russe :la CIA disposait d'une source haut-placée au Kremlin (Russian collusion: CIA had high placed source at the Kremlin.)

A lot of commentators see the incongruence of this title and make jokes about it. Really,when a superpower becomes a source of jokes and ridicule, than the end might be nigh.

Jackrabbit , Sep 11 2019 0:30 utc | 41
Evidence-free accusations of Russian meddling. Now with extra sauce.

<> <> <> <> <> <>

We don't really know WHY this spy was extracted. Anyone that believes that Russiagate was deliberately planned as part of the new Cold War is not surprised at yet another attempt to strengthen the nonexistent case for Russian meddling.

GoldmanKropotkin , Sep 11 2019 0:47 utc | 43
The first report in US Press about Putin personally involved was on Dec 14 2016.
Two senior officials with direct access to the information say new intelligence shows that Putin personally directed how hacked material from Democrats was leaked and otherwise used. The intelligence came from diplomatic sources and spies working for U.S. allies, the officials said.

Putin's objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a "vendetta" against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to "split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn't depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore," the official said.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/u-s-officials-putin-personally-involved-u-s-election-hack-n696146

Notice the source is spies working for US Allies. Remember that the NSA did not sign off on the Russian interference/hacking because they were concerned that too much critical info rested on intelligence from a single foreign country.

Sergei Skripal was not just an turncoat for UK he also worked for Estonian intelligence. It seems to me the poisoning fits better as an Estonian job, to keep relations in Europe with Russia in very bad shape. It's easy to say that the Russians wouldn't be so incompetent, also goes for the UK, which could have come up with something more compelling if they pre planned it as false flag.

Notice how we have some sources saying concern grew after the Trump Putin meeting, where supposedly Trump gave Isreali intelligence to Putin on Syria, I think they were concerned Trump would have no problem revealing a spy for another government, much like he was free with foreign intelligence.

I don't think the exfiltration was the real source but someone to sacrifice, to protect the real source, who is working for Estonian intelligence. To me this seems like it is possibly Anton Vaino, Chief of Staff of the Kremlin since August 2016, Deputy Chief of Staff of Kremlin before that. This is not to say his info is accurate, but is in line with the foreign policy of Estonia to alienate everyone with Russia.

Yeah, Right , Sep 11 2019 0:57 utc | 44
Just out of curiosity, if what has been reported is true then what reason would Mueller have to exclude this from his report? The dude is proof of the Russia-did-it!! narrative. Check. The dude has already been extracted. Check. The Russians must have already noticed that he has done a runner. Check.

What would stop Mueller from producing a one-paragraph report that starts with: "we know the following to be true because for the last decade everything that Putin did was being relayed to us by an aide to the foreign policy advisor to the Kremlin, since extracted and now living in the USA".

I mean, bit of a slam-dunk, don't you think?

juliania , Sep 11 2019 14:57 utc | 58

Well, I just think Putin had more important things to think about than the charade that is now the US electoral process. Probably he felt (I'm guessing of course) that the whole Russiagate scenario was a desperate move to throw a curtain over the demise of American democracy that served his, Putin's, purposes very well because it kept the idiots busy while he shored up the badly leaking ship of his own state.

And I go with Smiley@34 - no spy of even mediocre caliber would agree to being placed in such an exposed position under his own name, for crying out loud!

This was a guy who had big money stashed away, wanted to be in a place where rich guys are held in high esteem, planned his exit from a no-longer-friendly-to-rich-folk environment (if you had money in Russia these days, you should use it for the good of the country).

It doesn't make sense that he would leave himself exposed if either in Russia or in the US he had undercover connections of this sort. Just doesn't make sense. But that he was the best the US operatives could come up with right now simply speaks to further deterioration of US ability to field persuasive stories.

And this gave me some amusement:

Putin's objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News. What began as a "vendetta" against Hillary Clinton morphed into an effort to show corruption in American politics and to "split off key American allies by creating the image that [other countries] couldn't depend on the U.S. to be a credible global leader anymore," the official said. [Quote from Goldman Kropotkin@43]

Putin hasn't had to worry about vendettas or showing corruption in American politics. Take a reliable poll. Who in the US thinks our politics ISN'T corrupt?

juliania , Sep 11 2019 15:11 utc | 59
We didn't need Putin, mastermind though he is, to 'create an image' of American unreliability. Was it Putin who reneged on so many treaties? Was it Putin who antagonized the Koreas? Was it Putin who set up the trade war with China? Was it Putin who threatened and sanctioned Russia, Iran, Venezuela?

We, our leaders, masterminded it all. Sorry, Mr. Putin - you lose that enviable title. We own it.

William Gruff , Sep 11 2019 15:50 utc | 60

What can the Russians do to get ahead of the narrative on the likely impending demise of Smolenkov by novichok or polonium poisoning?

I know some here might say "Everyone would know it is a false flag if Smolenkov gets assassinated!" and that is certainly true if by "everyone" one means the regular readers here and at a few other analysis sites that are not controlled by the empire.

The concern is about the three hundred million other Americans who are at least partially captured by the false narratives pumped out non-stop from their Plato's Cave displays. Is there anything that the Russians can do now to inoculate some Americans against the hard sell they will be facing when the corporate mass media ( Mighty Wurlitzer ) cranks up the multi-channel marketing campaign for the United States' own Skripal farce?

[Sep 11, 2019] Russian diplomatic cycles: Smolekov can not inflict serious damage to Russian foreign policy

Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied. ~Otto von Bismarck
Smolenkov had been in Ushakov's inner circle for at least fifteen years.
Sep 11, 2019 | www.kp.ru

...Of course, he had access to information, but not of a military -- strategic nature, - said "KP" a source in diplomatic circles. -- As a rule, such employees are engaged in paper work: prepare analytical notes (on the basis of PUBLIC, unclassified data), which lie on the table to the first persons.

But people at this level never make decisions based on just one source. For example, paper comes from the AP, paper from the foreign Ministry, intelligence reports (already really secret)-and the first person analyzes them.

That is, even if the hypothetical "agent Oleg" told the Americans what papers he was working on, it does not mean anything: he was too low to see the entire "strategic pattern" of our foreign policy.

Although some things -- for example, the dates and agenda of meetings with leaders of other countries-could know. But, again, in isolation from the strategy of such information is worthless.

... ... ...

Translate inGoogleBingThen, in 2017, some American elites sincerely believed their own nonsense that" trump is an agent of the Kremlin", and a high -- ranking defector wanted to use in a game against the tycoon. But it didn't work (most likely, actually he did not know anything of substance).

That's why now he was exposed. That was done in order to present Russian "recruitment" as Brennan great victory and at the same time again to hit Trump: the neoliberal media openly states that he was exfiltrated, because they were afraid that the owner of the White House might expose the agent to Russians ... ..

....Strictly speaking, there is no any direct evidence that the" Kremlin spy " really existed (and that it is indeed mysteriously missing Smolenkov). Both the US, and in Russian officials deny everything.

But in the USA and in Western Europe there are many people who seriously believe in "Russian aggression" and wants to torpedo any attempts to thaw relations between the two the USA and Russia. In this sense there is no coincidence that the "Kremlin agent" uncovered right now: this is a serious blow to the confidence between the leaders of the two countries, which is so hard to restore, says analyst Michael Frieben.

[Sep 11, 2019] What can the Russians do to get ahead of the narrative on the likely impending demise of Smolenkov by novichok or polonium poisoning?

Sep 11, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , Sep 11 2019 15:50 utc | 60

What can the Russians do to get ahead of the narrative on the likely impending demise of Smolenkov by novichok or polonium poisoning?

I know some here might say "Everyone would know it is a false flag if Smolenkov gets assassinated!" and that is certainly true if by "everyone" one means the regular readers here and at a few other analysis sites that are not controlled by the empire.

The concern is about the three hundred million other Americans who are at least partially captured by the false narratives pumped out non-stop from their Plato's Cave displays. Is there anything that the Russians can do now to inoculate some Americans against the hard sell they will be facing when the corporate mass media ( Mighty Wurlitzer ) cranks up the multi-channel marketing campaign for the United States' own Skripal farce?

[Sep 11, 2019] Smolenkov complained about low salary

Sep 11, 2019 | www.kp.ru

...His function at the Embassy was, so to speak, that of a lackey, ... said a source in diplomatic circles who had crossed paths with a possible spy while he was in Washington. - Meet the Ambassador, meet the Ambassador's wife, bring the car to the right entrance, write the chief to a good dentist...

According to the interlocutor of KP, in Smolenkov it was struck by a combination of such obsequiousness-and at the same time rigid, "Jackal" expression on his face.

- Thus Oleg Borisovich was the good professional, - recognizes a source "KP". -- I understadn very well how here in the USA everything works, but set me a task: to organize, for example, private flight from Moscow to Los Angeles -- and I don't know whom to address. He knew.

In General, functions Smolenkova at the Embassy was a minor, with not access to any secret information -- but he could well collect one indirectly.

- The Embassy spends a lot of time servicing working (and sometimes private) visits of Ministers, deputies, heads of regions and state corporations and other bigwigs. For those in the state and we have to keep "Malenkovich". Position private, bring-give, tell me where the nearest store with branded clothes... But there are contacts with those highest officials. I think one of them could give him protection for the transfer to Moscow, -- says the source .

Indeed, in the future Smolenkov went uphill -- he was engaged in foreign policy issues in The presidential Administration. And his motives for working more closely with "Western partners" could be ... banal: money.

I remember an interview with me Oleg Borisovich once complained that he didn't see prospects, the salary of the foreign Ministry, where he was listed, a small (it was 15 years ago), concludes the source KP from the diplomatic community.

[Sep 11, 2019] On possible Oleg Smolenkov connection to Steele dossier

Sep 10, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

librul , Sep 10 2019 19:54 utc | 19

Is someone brewing up some fresh Novichok nerve agent as we speak?

Don't touch those doorknobs, Oleg!

for future reference: this post was for amusement purposes only

[Sep 11, 2019] DOJ Inspector General Expected To Conclude Carter Page FISA Warrants Illegally Obtained Jim Jordan

Notable quotes:
"... Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz will likely find that all four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against 2016 Trump campaign aide Carter Page were obtained illegally , according to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee. ..."
"... " I am reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around all the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted during the summer of 2016, " said Barr. ..."
"... Jordan also noted that he wants Horowitz to testify about his reports on former FBI Director James Comey, and asked "When is somebody going to jail for wrongdoing that took place in the Trump-Russia investigation or even the Clinton investigation?" ..."
Sep 11, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz will likely find that all four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against 2016 Trump campaign aide Carter Page were obtained illegally , according to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

" I think he will ," said Jordan during an discussion with Fox News 's Sean Hannity and Gregg Jarrett Monday night. In April , Attorney General William Barr assembled a team of DOJ investigators to review controversial counterintelligence decisions made by DOJ and FBI officials made during the 2016 US election.

" I am reviewing the conduct of the investigation and trying to get my arms around all the aspects of the counterintelligence investigation that was conducted during the summer of 2016, " said Barr.

"That's great news he's looking into how this whole thing started back in 2016," said Rep. Jordan at the time. " That's something that has been really important to us. It's what we've been calling for. "

The investigation into alleged FISA abuse against the Trump campaign by DOJ and FBI officials has reportedly been completed. After a declassification period, the report could be released sometime in September. The contents of the report have not been confirmed.

Attorney General William Barr, who is overseeing U.S. Attorney John Durham's investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation, said he is working closely with Horowitz, and they will take up any criminal referrals Horowitz might make.

Former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova said he has heard the initial FISA warrant against Page and the three renewals at three-month intervals were illegally obtained . He told the Washington Examiner 's Examining Politics podcast late last month that he got his insider information because the report is "being circulated inside and outside of the department for comment by interested parties." - Washington Examiner

Jordan also noted that he wants Horowitz to testify about his reports on former FBI Director James Comey, and asked "When is somebody going to jail for wrongdoing that took place in the Trump-Russia investigation or even the Clinton investigation?"


New_Meat , 7 minutes ago link

The FISA Court is under the supervision of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Does John Roberts have zero resources to figure out what happened internally? Is there no Judicial oversight for this Star Chamber?

Or is his "judicial temperament" so calm that he can't see how his Branch has been corrupted?

847328_3527 , 6 minutes ago link

((( Roberts )))

Probably an accomplice to the entire RussiaGate Hoax.

TruthAbsolute , 9 minutes ago link

is there any doubt that the USA has a two tiered justice sytem...people in the Washinton swamp are all covered if they capitulate to the Deep State! Comey is nothing but a Traitor but the left wing party do not care cause he is just like them they hate... Trump! And the Patriot all just stand down!

Ruler , 14 minutes ago link

The Clintons and Bush's have been the worst things to ever have happened to this country.

booboo , 13 minutes ago link

and the kardashians

e-man , 12 minutes ago link

...and Obama. All the espionage and Deep State manipulation (that we know of) were done under his watch.

NukeChinaNow , 6 minutes ago link

What did you expect... when you let one of the monkeys try to turn America into a zoo?

romanmoment , 15 minutes ago link

This is all a ****-show of theater. Nobody is going to be held accountable for anything and, if by chance, some low level schlep gets thrown in the clink he'll hang himself with one-ply toilet paper and nobody will have seen a thing....

[Sep 10, 2019] Being called a narcissist by Jim Comey is akin to being accused of having sex with underage girls by the late Jeffrey Epstein by Larry C Johnsons

Highly recommended!
Sep 04, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Diana C ,

"Being called a narcissist by Jim Comey is akin to being accused of having sex with underage girls by the late Jeffrey Epstein."

As usual, your analogy here is spot on. I'm still giggling.

[Sep 10, 2019] Justice declined to pursue Comey leaks as a criminal case

Notable quotes:
"... The most alarming aspect of the Trump–Russia investigation, and of the stark difference between the aggression with which it was pursued and the see-no-evil passivity of the Clinton emails caper, is the way the investigative process was used to influence political outcomes. ..."
"... Ardent Trump supporters are growling over news that the FBI's former director, James Comey, will not be prosecuted by the Justice Department for the mishandling of memoranda he wrote about his contacts with the president. The news has been reported by The Hill 's John Solomon and the Washington Post 's Devlin Barrett , among others. ..."
"... Indications are that Horowitz referred the memos issue to the Justice Department for possible prosecution and that, after reviewing the IG's findings, Justice declined to pursue the matter as a criminal case. ..."
Sep 10, 2019 | www.nationalreview.com

A free society cannot stay free for long if the criminal-justice system becomes a political weapon, if that becomes our norm.

The most alarming aspect of the Trump–Russia investigation, and of the stark difference between the aggression with which it was pursued and the see-no-evil passivity of the Clinton emails caper, is the way the investigative process was used to influence political outcomes.

The way to right that wrong is to prevent it from becoming the new normal, not to turn the tables of abuse when power shifts from one side to the other. We can only make things worse by losing the distinction between rebuking errors in judgment and criminalizing them.

Ardent Trump supporters are growling over news that the FBI's former director, James Comey, will not be prosecuted by the Justice Department for the mishandling of memoranda he wrote about his contacts with the president. The news has been reported by The Hill 's John Solomon and the Washington Post 's Devlin Barrett , among others.

Comey's handling of his memos is one aspect of probes related to investigations attendant to the 2016 election, which are being conducted by Justice Department independent counsel Michael Horowitz. Indications are that Horowitz referred the memos issue to the Justice Department for possible prosecution and that, after reviewing the IG's findings, Justice declined to pursue the matter as a criminal case.

[Sep 09, 2019] Robert Mueller was "special counsel" in name only. The real boss was Andrew Weissman

Notable quotes:
"... The "report" was his work. Mueller never looked for anything, never found anything and never wrote anything. ..."
"... The entire charade was part of the "resistance" to straight jacket Trump until the mid term elections, a strategy put in motion by Comey and Brennan, which achieved the desired result: Republicans lost the House. ..."
"... Of course there was "little Russia in Russiagate." The narrative was all disinformation set loose by Crowdstrike and Fusion GPS, paid for by Hillary and the DNC with the blessing of President Obama. Welcome to the tin foil hat brigade as contributor. ..."
Sep 09, 2019 | www.unz.com

Officially, at least in the FBI's version, its operation "Crossfire Hurricane," the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign that began in mid-2016 was due to suspicious remarks made to visitors by a young and lowly Trump aide, George Papadopoulos. This too is not believable, as I pointed out previously . Most of those visitors themselves had ties to Western intelligence agencies. That is, the young Trump aide was being enticed, possibly entrapped, as part of a larger intelligence operation against Trump. (Papadopoulos wasn't the only Trump associate targeted, Carter Page being another.)

But the question remains: Why did Western intelligence agencies, prompted, it seems clear, by US ones, seek to undermine Trump's presidential campaign? A reflexive answer might be because candidate Trump promised to "cooperate with Russia," to pursue a pro-détente foreign policy, but this was hardly a startling, still less subversive, advocacy by a would-be Republican president. All of the major pro-détente episodes in the 20th century had been initiated by Republican presidents: Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan.

So, again, what was it about Trump that so spooked the spooks so far off their rightful reservation and so intrusively into American presidential politics? Investigations being overseen by Attorney General William Barr may provide answers -- or not.

... ... ...

It is true, of course, that Barr and Durham, as Trump appointees, are not the ideal investigators of Intel misdeeds in the Russiagate saga. Much better would be a truly bipartisan, independent investigation based in the Senate, as was the Church Committee of the mid-1970s, which exposed and reformed (it thought at the time) serious abuses by US intelligence agencies. That would require, however, a sizable core of nonpartisan, honorable, and courageous senators of both parties, who thus far seem to be lacking.

There are also, however, the ongoing and upcoming Democratic presidential debates. First and foremost, Russiagate is about the present and future of the American political system, not about Russia. (Indeed, as I have repeatedly argued, there is very little, if any, Russia in Russiagate.) At every "debate" or comparable forum, all of the Democratic candidates should be asked about this grave threat to American democracy -- what they think about what happened and would do about it if elected president. Consider it health care for our democracy.

Anon [421] • Disclaimer says:

September 9, 2019 at 5:24 pm GMT • 100 Words

"former special counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of "collusion."

Let me unpack that for you, esteemed professor: RM was "special counsel" in name only. The real boss was Andrew Weissman. The "report" was his work. Mueller never looked for anything, never found anything and never wrote anything.

The entire charade was part of the "resistance" to straight jacket Trump until the mid term elections, a strategy put in motion by Comey and Brennan, which achieved the desired result: Republicans lost the House.

Of course there was "little Russia in Russiagate." The narrative was all disinformation set loose by Crowdstrike and Fusion GPS, paid for by Hillary and the DNC with the blessing of President Obama. Welcome to the tin foil hat brigade as contributor.

Kolya Krassotkin , says: September 9, 2019 at 5:02 pm GMT

Given the impunity with which Israel nakedly interferes in American elections, worrying about Russian interference is laugh-out-loud funny.

But I forgot. Israel is our best "friend."

[Sep 06, 2019] The CIA Bull in Glenn Simpson's Russia Shop naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... Few in the NC commentariat, at least from what I saw, had any problem accepting that the DNC and the Clinton campaign funded the dossier, so I’m wondering why it’s that much of a stretch to believe that the CIA might have engineered the whole thing. ..."
Sep 06, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

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https://c.deployads.com/sync?f=html&s=2343&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nakedcapitalism.com%2F2018%2F01%2Fcia-bull-glenn-simpsons-russia-shop.html <img src="http://b.scorecardresearch.com/p?c1=2&c2=16807273&cv=2.0&cj=1" /> The CIA Bull in Glenn Simpson's Russia Shop Posted on January 22, 2018 by Jerri-Lynn Scofield By John Helmer , the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears

In criminal trials the rule for prosecuting and defending lawyers is the same. Never ask a witness a question unless you already know the answer. The corollary rule for defending lawyers is – if the answer to your question will incriminate your client, don't ask it, and hope the prosecutor fails to do his job.

Glenn Simpson, a former employee of the Wall Street Journal in New York, is currently on trial in the US for having fabricated a dossier of allegations of Russian misconduct (bribes, sex, blackmail, hacking) involving President Donald Trump and circulating them to the press; the objective was to damage Trump's candidacy before the election of November 8, 2016. Simpson was called to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on August 22, 2017; then the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on November 8 and again on November 14, 2017. So far, Simpson's veracity and business conduct face nothing more than the court of public opinion. He has not yet been charged with criminal or civil offences. That will happen if the evidence materializes that Simpson has been lying.

Simpson's collaborator in the dossier and his business partner, Christopher Steele, is facing trial in the London High Court, charged with libels he and Simpson published in their dossier. Together, they are material witnesses in two federal US court trials for defamation, one in Miami and one in New York. If they perjure themselves giving evidence in those cases, they are likely to face criminal indictments. If they tell the truth, they are likely to face fresh defamation proceedings; perhaps a civil racketeering suit for fraud; maybe a false statement prosecution under the US criminal code.

One question for them is as obvious as its answer. Who do an American ex-journalist on US national security and an ex-British intelligence agent go to for sources on Russian undercover operations outside Russia in general, the US in particular? Answer -- first, their friends and contacts from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); second, their friends and contacts from the Secret Intelligence Service or MI6, as the UK counterpart is known.

Why then did the twenty-two congressmen, the members of the House Intelligence Committee who subpoenaed Simpson for interview, fail to pursue what information he and Steele received either directly from the CIA or indirectly through British intelligence?

The answer noone in the US wants to say aloud is the possibility that it was the CIA which provided Simpson and Steele with names and source materials for their dossier, creating the evidence of a Russian plot against the US election, and generating evidence of Russian operations. If that is what happened, then Simpson and Steele were participants in a false-flag CIA operation in US politics.

This isn't idle speculation. It has been under investigation at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) since Simpson and Steele decided in mid-2016 to go to the FBI to request an investigation, and then told American press to get the FBI to confirm it was investigating. At the fresh request this month from the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the FBI is still investigating .

Simpson's appearance at the House Intelligence Committee was the sequel to his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee; for that story, read this .

Simpson's three lawyers from the Washington, DC, firm of Cunningham Levy Muse, who appeared with him at the Senate and House committee hearings. From left to right, Robert Muse; Joshua Levy, and Rachel Clattenburg.  
The firm's other name partner, Bryan Cunningham, was a CIA officer specializingin cyber operations.

The transcripts of the House Intelligence Committee were released last Thursday. Simpson's first appearance was on November 8, and can be read in full here .

Simpson's lawyers did all the talking; Simpson said nothing, pleading the US Constitution's Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.

Although his lawyers repeatedly claimed during the earlier Senate Committee hearing that Simpson was testifying voluntarily, the House Committee recorded that Simpson was compelled to testify. "Our record today," the November 8 transcript begins, "will reflect that you have been compelled to appear today pursuant to a subpoena issued on October 4th, 2017." Simpson then told the Committee through his lawyers that he would plead the Fifth Amendment and not answer any questions. The first transcript is a record of debate between Republican and Democratic members of the Committee.

This resulted in an agreement for Simpson to testify under the subpoena but on terms his lawyers said would limit the scope of the questions which he would agree to answer.

Steele, according to the November 8 transcript, was also summoned to testify. A British citizen with home in Berkshire and office in London, he refused and the Committee recorded his "noncooperation and nontestimony."

Republicans outnumber Democrats on the House Committee, 13 to 9. Just 5 Republican members were at Simpson's November 14 appearance; 7 Democrats. The Republican committee chairman, Devin Nunes, was absent. Release of Simpson's transcript was an initiative of the Democrats. In a statement by their leader on the committee, Adam Schiff, the Democrats claimed last week "thus far, Committee Republicans have refused to look into this key area and we hope the release of this transcript will reinforce the importance of these critical questions to our investigation."

Read the November 14 testimony here .

Members of the House Intelligence Committee on the podium at an open hearing inNovember 2017.    From left to right: Adam Schiff (D), Michael Conaway (R),and Thomas Rooney (R).

Search the 165 pages of the transcript for the CIA, and you will find many references to the letters, C, I and A – spe cia lize, so cia l, commer cia l, espe cia lly, asso cia tion, finan cia l and politi cia n. There were 44 mentions of the Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI); 4 mentions of "British Intelligence" – the spy agency to which Steele belonged ten years ago – one mention each of the Israeli Mossad, the Chinese and Indian intelligence services.

According to Simpson, "foreign intelligence services hacking American political operations is not that unusual, actually, and there's a lot of foreign intelligence services that play in American elections." He mentioned the Chinese and the Indians, not the Israelis. The Mossad, Simpson did tell the Committee, was his source for his belief that Russian intelligence has been operating through the Jewish Orthodox Chabad movement, and the Russian Orthodox Church. "The Orthodox church is also an arm of the Russian State now the Mossad guys used to tell me about how the Russians were laundering money through the Orthodox church in Israel, and that it was intelligence operations."

There are just two references in the Committee transcript to the CIA. One was a passing remark to imply the Russians cannot "break[ing] into the CIA, [so instead] you are breaking into, you know, places where, you know, an open society leaves open."

The second was a bombshell. It dropped during questioning by Congressman Thomas Rooney (right),
a 3-term Republican representative from Florida with a career as an army lawyer. Rooney asked Simpson: "Do you or anyone else independently verify or corroborate any information in the dossier?"

Simpson replied by saying, "Yes. Well, numerous things in the dossier have been verified. You know, I don't have access to the intelligence or law enforcement information that I see made reference to, but, you know, things like, you know, the Russian Government has been investigating Hillary Clinton and has a lot of information about her."

Then Simpson contradicted himself, disclosing what he had just denied. "When the original memos came in saying that the Kremlin was mounting a specific operation to get Donald Trump elected President , that was not what the Intelligence Community was saying. The Intelligence Community was saying they are just seeking to disrupt our election and our political process, and that this is sort of kind of just a generally nihilistic, you know, trouble-making operation. And, you know, Chris turned out to be right, it was specifically designed to elect Donald Trump President."

How did Simpson know with such confidence what the "Intelligence Community" was "saying", and who were Simpson's and Steele's sources in the "Intelligence Community"? Rooney failed to inquire. Instead, he and Simpson exchanged question and answer regarding the approach Simpson and Steele made to the FBI when they delivered their dossier. In the details of that, Simpson repeated what he had already told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Rooney then asked what contact had been made with the CIA or "any other intelligence officials". Simpson claimed he didn't understand the question at first, then he stumbled.

Source: http://docs.house.gov/meetings/IG/IG00/20180118/106796/HMTG-115-IG00-20180118-SD002.pdf -- page 61 .

What Simpson was concealing in the two pauses, reported in the transcript as hyphens, Rooney did not realize. Simpson was implying that noone from Fusion GPS, his consulting company, had been in contact with the CIA, nor him personally. But Simpson left open that Steele had been in contact with the CIA. Rooney followed with a question about "anyone", but that was so imprecise, Simpson recovered his confidence to say "No". That was a cover-up – and the House Intelligence Committee let it drop noiselessly.

Intelligence community sources and colleagues who know Simpson and Steele say Simpson was notorious at the Wall Street Journal for coming up with conspiracy theories for which the evidence was missing or unreliable. He told the Committee that disbelief on the part of his editors and management had been one of his reasons for leaving the newspaper. "One of the reasons why I left the Wall Street Journal was because I wanted to write more stories about Russian influence in Washington, D.C., on both the Democrats and the Republicans eventually the Journal lost interest in that subject. And I was frustrated that was where I left my journalism career."

Left: Glenn Simpson reporter for the Wall Street Journal in 1996, promoting his book, Dirty Little Secrets: The Persistence of Corruption in American Politics.  Right: Simpson in Washington in August 2017.

When Simpson was asked "do you – did you find anything to -- that you verified as false in the dossier, since or during?" Simpson replied: "I have not seen anything – ". Note the hypthen, the stenographer's signal that Simpson was pausing.

"[Question]. So everything in that dossier, as far as you're concerned, is true or could be true?"

"MR. SIMPSON: I didn't say that. What I said was it was credible at the time it came in. We were able to corroborate various things that supported its credibility."

Sources in London are divided on the question of where Steele's sources came from – CIA, MI6, or elsewhere. What has been clear for the year in which the dossier's contents have been in public circulation is that the sources the dossier referred to as "Russian" were not. For details of the sourcing . The subsequent identification of the Maltese source Joseph Mifsud, and the Greek-American George Papadopoulos, corroborates their lack of direct Russian sources. Instead, the sources identified in the dossier were either Americans, Americans of Russian ethnic origin, or Russians with no direct knowledge repeating hearsay three or four times removed from source.

So were the allegations of the dossier manufactured by a CIA disinformation unit, and fed back to the US through the British agent, Steele? Or were they a Simpson conspiracy theory of the type that failed to pass veracity testing when Simpson was at the Wall Street Journal? The House Intelligence Committee failed to inquire.

One independent clue is what financial and other links Simpson and Steele and their consulting firms, Fusion GPS and Orbis Business Intelligence, have had with US Government agencies other than the FBI, and what US Government contracts they were paid for, before the Republican and Democratic Party organizations commissioned the anti-Trump job?

The House Committee has subpoenaed business records from Fusion, but Simpson's lawyers say they will refuse to hand them over. The financial records of Steele's firm are openly accessible through the UK government company registry, Companies House. Click to read here .

Because the Trump dossier work ran from the second half of 2015 to November 2016, the financial reports of Orbis for the financial years ending March 31, 2016, and March 31, 2017, are the primary sources. For FY 2016 and FY 2017, open this link to read.

The papers reveal that Orbis was a small firm with no more than 7 employees. Steele's business partner and co-shareholder, Christopher Burrows, is another former MI6 spy. They had been hoping for MI6 support of their private business, but it failed to materialize, says an London intelligence source. "Chris Burrows is another from the same background. They all hope to be Hakluyt [a leading commercial intelligence operation in London] but didn't get the nod on departure."

Left: Christopher Steele; right, Christopher Burrows.

They do not report the Orbis income. Instead, for 2016 the company filings indicate £155,171 in cash at the bank, and income of £245,017 owed by clients and contractors. Offsetting that figure, Orbis owed £317,848 – to whom and for what purposes is not reported. The unaudited accounts show Orbis's profit jumped from £121,046 in 2015 to £199,223 in 2016, and £441,089 in 2017.

The financial data are complicated by the operation by Steele and Burrows of a second company, Orbis Business Intelligence International, a subsidiary they created in 2010, a year after the parent company was formed. Follow its affairs here .

According to British press reports , Orbis and Steele were paid £200,000 for the dossier. Simpson told the House Intelligence Committee the sum was much less -- $160,000 (about £114,000). Simpson's firm, he also testified, was being paid at a rate of about $50,000 per month for a total of about $320,000. If the British sources are more accurate than Simpson's testimony, Steele's takings from the dossier represented roughly half the profit on the Orbis balance-sheet.

British sources also report that a US Government agency paid for Orbis to work on evidence and allegations of corruption at the world soccer federation, Fédération Internationale de Football (FIFA). Indictments in this case were issued by the US Department of Justice in May 2015 , and the following December . What role the two-partner British consultancy played in the complex investigations by teams from the Justice Department, the FBI and also the Internal Revenue Service is unclear. That Steele, Burrows and Orbis depended on US government sources for their financial well-being appears to be certain.

Another reported version of the FIFA contract is that Steele, Burrows and Orbis were hired by the British Football Association to collect materials on FIFA corruption, and provide them to the FBI and other US investigators, and then to the press. The scheme's objective was reportedly to advance the British bidding for the World Cup in 2018 or 2022 by discrediting the rival bids from Russia and Qatar. Click to read . Were MI6 and CIA sources mobilized by Orbis to feed the FBI with evidence the US investigators were unable to turn up, or was Orbis the conduit through which disinformation targeting Russia was fed to make it appear more credible to the FBI, and to the media?

US Congressional investigators have so far failed to notice the similarities between the FIFA and the Trump dossier operations. Early this month two Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced that they have called for a Justice Department and FBI investigation of Steele for providing false information to the FBI. The provision of the US code making lying a federal crime requires the falsehoods occur "within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States." Simpson has testified that when Steele briefed the FBI on the dossier, he did so at meetings in Rome, Italy.

Now then, Part I and this sequel of the Simpson-Steele story having been read and thoroughly mulled over, what can the meaning be?

In the short run, this case was a black job assigned by Republican Party candidates for president, then the Democratic National Committee, for the purpose of discrediting Trump in favour of Hillary Clinton. It failed on Election Day in 2016; the Democrats are still trying.

In the long run, the case is a measurement of the life, or the half-life, of truth. Giuseppe di Lampedusa wrote once that nowhere has truth so short a life as in Sicily. On his clock, that was five minutes. He didn't know the United States, or shall we say the stretch from Washington through New York to the North End of Boston. There, truth has an even shorter life. Scarcely a second.

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Rhondda , January 22, 2018 at 3:57 pm

I pay pretty close attention to this topic and I must say I sometimes wonder if the Russians haven’t sold the rope to the American political elite. I read all 311 pages of Simpson’s testimony. I was struck that much of what he was “fed” by Steele confirmed his “OMG Russia corruption” biases.

And I say “fed to him” when I’m in a generous mood, giving him the benefit of the doubt, because usually I am of the opinion that he’s either a really crappy CIA agent posing as a journalist or just a garden variety rat f*!@er. A black job political operative, stitching together a few almost-believable “facts” and out-and-out fabrications with squishy words like “collusion” and “ties.”

From the embedded link in Helmer’s text above:
http://johnhelmer.net/glenn-simpson-chases-his-shadow-into-a-black-hole/

London due diligence firms say the record of Simpson’s firm Fusion GPS and Steele’s Orbis Business Intelligence operations in the US has discredited them in the due diligence market. The London experts believe the Senate Committee transcript shows Simpson and Steele were hired for the black job of discrediting the target of their research, Trump; did a poor job; failed in 2016; and now are engaged in bitter recriminations against each other to avoid multi-million dollar court penalties.

A source at a London firm which is larger and better known than Steele’s Orbis says “standard due diligence means getting to the truth. It’s confidential to the client, and not leaked. There are also black jobs, white jobs, and red jobs. Black means the client wants you to dig up dirt on the target, and make it look credible for publishing in the press. White means the client wants you to clear him of the wrongdoing which he’s being accused of in the media or the marketplace; it’s also leaked to the press. A red job is where the client pays the due diligence firm to hire a journalist to find out what he knows and what he’s likely to publish, in order to bribe or stop him. The Steele dossier on Trump is an obvious black job. Too obvious.”

Emphasis mine.

3.14e-9 , January 22, 2018 at 6:49 pm

Rhondaa writes:

I read all 311 pages of Simpson’s testimony. I was struck that much of what he was “fed” by Steele confirmed his “OMG Russia corruption” biases.

Same here, but not just about what he was fed by Steele. Simpson claimed to have done some of his own research and said it was consistent with what he got from Steele.

I’m about three-quarters of the way through the transcript of Simpson’s interrogation by the House Intelligence Committee, and I’ve read all 312 pages of the Senate Judiciary Committee transcript, which bears little resemblance to what was reported in the major media – shocking, I know.

Among the “bombshells” the mainstream reported was “proof” that it wasn’t the dossier that launched the FBI’s investigation of Trump, and therefore the dossier couldn’t have been used as justification for a FISA warrant. A bigger bombshell, which of course none of them mentioned, is that Simpson, with his client’s consent, was secretly briefing Clinton-friendly reporters on information from Steele’s memos, and they used it to write stories based on “unnamed sources.” He even admitted that he didn’t verify the information before feeding it to the media, said he didn’t feel he needed to, because it came from a trustworthy source. Where have we heard that before?

Few in the NC commentariat, at least from what I saw, had any problem accepting that the DNC and the Clinton campaign funded the dossier, so I’m wondering why it’s that much of a stretch to believe that the CIA might have engineered the whole thing. It’s well-established that the State Department often acts as a cover for the CIA, and the agency under Secretary Clinton had a strong anti-Russia faction that’s on the record as meddling in Ukraine’s presidential election. And how much doubt could there be that both Clintons kept the CIA connections they made while in office?

Then there was the whole “Grizzly Steppe” report just before Trump’s inauguration, presented as a consensus among “17 intelligence agencies” that the Russians “hacked the election” to help Trump win.

I’m not 100-percent convinced that U.S. intelligence was behind the dossier, but it’s enough of a possibility that I’m not writing it off as some nutty “conspiracy theory.”

integer , January 23, 2018 at 4:16 am

Few in the NC commentariat, at least from what I saw, had any problem accepting that the DNC and the Clinton campaign funded the dossier, so I’m wondering why it’s that much of a stretch to believe that the CIA might have engineered the whole thing.

FWIW this NC commenter has never had any problem believing that this may be the case. In fact I am fairly certain that it is the case, although from what I understand the FBI and MI6 were also involved.

Adding: Heh. I posted this before looking at Rev Kev’s link to the Raimondo article, which comes to the same conclusions. Interesting times!

Scott1 , January 22, 2018 at 4:37 pm

I believe that Seth Abramson or someone put photographs to the Steele dossier showing people in the places & at the times delineated in the Steele dossier.
From the very first Steele said he would not & could not reveal his sources. It was from the first indicated that it would be to the FBI & CIA to discover.
He said he believed that his sources were credible.
When I was studying Intelligence services the CIA was said to be the private army of the CIA. These days I don’t know exactly who the CIA works for, or answers to.
I certainly don’t think well of the CIA believing they are wrapped up working for their Front businesses more than focusing on the mission of spying in the interests of the American people.
Of private intelligence companies I get what I can from IHS Jane’s.
That the CIA lost 20 assets, human beings, in China for incompetent secret communications methods would lead professionals to withhold as much of identities as possible.
For awhile there I believe Steele was worried about his own health.
David Corn at Mother Jones was reticent to break the story.
So now what I see to look for is what Steele said needed to be done, & that being what Mueller is doing at the behest of the DOJ.
The US has been at war, albeit Hybrid war since the imposition of sanctions for their violations of international law as regarded the annexation of Crimea & the attack on the Ukraine.
Sanctions are Economic Warfare.
That the US feels the right to engage in warfare of any kind Economic or Hot over violations of International Law leads me to believe that the UN will fail to prevent the apocalyptic riot.
But that as regards Trump becomes neither here nor there, correct?

The Rev Kev , January 23, 2018 at 12:29 am

Justin Raimondo has weighed in on this story at https://original.antiwar.com/justin/2018/01/22/russsia-gate-implodes/ and he does not sound like a happy camper.

John Gilberts , January 24, 2018 at 12:25 am

William Binney, former NSA technical official and whistleblower, comments on the FISA memo, that has apparently just been released. Obviously, a major development in ‘Russia-gate’.

William Binney Exposes Secret FISA Memo
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48650.htm

[Sep 04, 2019] Jim Comey, Have the Grace to Shut Up!! by Larry C Johnson

Sep 04, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

You think that a guy who has been repeatedly rebuked by the Department of Justice Inspector General for violating DOJ and FBI policies and procedures would have the grace to be silent. You would be wrong. Jim Comey has anointed himself as the Jesus Christ of America. Only Jim is wise and good. Only Jimmy can save us from that anti-Christ, Donald Trump.

And Comey's latest? Trump's a narcissist. Being called a narcissist by Jim Comey is akin to being accused of having sex with underage girls by the late Jeffrey Epstein. Jim Comey tweeted out the following today (Sunday):

James Comey ‏ Verified account @ Comey 4h 4 hours ago

It's Sunday morning. A devastating hurricane is approaching. A gunman just slaughtered innocents in Texas. But the President of the United States is wasting time airing personal grievances and live-Tweeting Fox. Narcissism is not leadership. America deserves better. Could not agree more. Except the narcissist in Chief is not Trump. It is you, Jimmy Comey. It was not Donald Trump who overstepped his authority and read out a detailed list of charges against Hillary Clinton. It was not Donald Trump that sat on the news that Anthony "Little Dick" Weiner's laptop contained more classified Hillary emails. It was not Donald Trump who then belatedly announced the discovery of said emails.

Jimmy Comey has achieved new lows in smug sanctimony. His self-righteous bullshit has passed the point of tiresome. It is just annoying. I spoke with a retired FBI buddy today. He was one of the first ones detailed to CIA Headquarters in the late 1990s in an effort to improve inter-agency coordination (and that mission failed in large measure because of the behavior of another narcissist, the CIA Chief of Alec Station). He was beyond sad and embarrassed at the spectacle and conduct of Jim Comey. My friend told me that he used to happily introduce himself as a "retired FBI agent." No longer. He simply says that he worked for the Government and tries to avoid saying anything about having served with the FBI. The big hammer is still to drop and Comey is not likely to walk away a free man. He lied to a Federal Court. He needs to be held accountable.

Posted at 08:52 AM in Larry Johnson , Russiagate | Permalink


Factotum , 03 September 2019 at 11:22 AM

Trey Gowdy also long warned us about the self-annointed Saint James Comey. I sense a trend among knowledgable pundits.
Rob Naardin , 04 September 2019 at 11:00 AM
I can't wait to see the dark forces of the deep state in bright orange prison jumpsuits.

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/kudos-andy-for-ball-of-collusion/

Diana C , 04 September 2019 at 11:40 AM
"Being called a narcissist by Jim Comey is akin to being accused of having sex with underage girls by the late Jeffrey Epstein."

As usual, your analogy here is spot on. I'm still giggling.

My literary analogy would have been that Comey is the very inept Walter Mitty of today's America. He does imagine himself as the "voice crying in the wilderness."

It sounds, however like a braying donkey wanting some attention. He was one of the Democrats' "useful idiots." Too bad they didn't realize that they might actually get a certified idiot.

[Sep 04, 2019] Are General Flynn s Prosecutors Panicking by Larry C Johnson

Notable quotes:
"... Last Friday, August 30th, Sidney Powell filed a brief with the District Court in the District of Columbia laying out in exquisite detail the misconduct of the Mueller prosecutors, who have withheld exculpatory evidence. The document is still behind a pay wall (Pacer). But let me share with you some of the salient points of this filing: ..."
"... Likewise, the prosecutors did not produce evidence of Weissmann's and Ahmad's relationship and work with Bruce Ohr on transmitting the corrupt information to the FBI, and the numerous 302s resulting from the interviews of Bruce Ohr by the second agent. ..."
"... This case, involving Adam Lovinger, is related to issues involving Mr. Flynn, as Mr. Lovinger was wrongly charged (and secretly cleared) after blowing the whistle on the fraudulent payments to FBI/CIA/DOD operative Stefan Halper -- a central figure in the government's targeting and intelligence abuses of the last several years -- including against Mr. Flynn. ..."
"... Got that? The Mueller prosecutors lied about what the investigation of Mr. Lovinger concluded. He did NOT, repeat NOT, "yield any classified or sensitive information. " But Mueller's team of hacks, disgraceful pieces of excrement, took out the word, "NOT". ..."
"... How in the hell does Goldman know what is in those "transcripts"? He was told. ..."
"... But there is a broader, more important point--Michael Flynn's conversation with the Russian Ambassador was not illegal. It was not improper. He could discuss whatever he wanted to discuss as the incoming National Security Advisor for Donald Trump. This was a false claim by the Mueller Prosecutors. ..."
"... If the Mueller team, what is left of it, was confident of their position, they would not have leaked this story to the New York Times hack, Goldman. This is a sign of desperation and panic. ..."
"... Knowing what we know about Judge Sullivan, who is in charge of the Michael Flynn case, he is likely to be furious by this bald lying by Mueller's hacks. ..."
"... On another front of the Russiagate affair, per a Monsieur America Twitter thread, Loretta Lynch in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee has absolved herself of any involvement in the FISA warrant on Carter Page. https://twitter.com/MonsieurAmerica/status/1168885394269564928 ..."
"... Now the rats are throwing their subordinates under the sinking ship. Good to know the grandma AG had time to meet Hillary's husband on the tarmac but no time to be briefed about "foreign interference" in our election. I can't wait to hear Obama's excuse. ..."
"... Flynn may have been set up and lied to right and left, BUT... how did he get three stars? He comes across in this as a victim and a dummy. ..."
Sep 04, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The short answer to the title of this article--YES!!

Michael Flynn's new lawyer, Sidney Powell, is a honey badger. If you do not know anything about honey badgers I encourage you to watch the documentary, Honey Badgers, Master's of Mayhem . They tear the testicles off of lions. And it sure looks like Ms. Powell is emasculating prosecutor Andrew Weisman.

Last Friday, August 30th, Sidney Powell filed a brief with the District Court in the District of Columbia laying out in exquisite detail the misconduct of the Mueller prosecutors, who have withheld exculpatory evidence. The document is still behind a pay wall (Pacer). But let me share with you some of the salient points of this filing:

The government's most stunning suppression of evidence is perhaps the text messages of Peter Srzok and Lisa Page. In July of 2017, (now over two years ago), the Inspector General of the Department of Justice advised Special Counsel of the extreme bias in the now infamous text messages of these two FBI employees. Mr. Van Grack did not produce a single text messages to the defense until March 13, 2018, when he gave them a link to then-publicly available messages.14

Mr. Van Grack and Ms. Ahmad, among other things, did not disclose that FBI Agent Strzok had been fired from the Special Counsel team as its lead agent almost six months earlier because of his relationship with Deputy Director McCabe's Counsel -- who had also been on the Special Counsel team -- and because of their text messages and conduct. One would think that more than a significant subset of those messages had to have been shared by the Inspector General of the Department of Justice with Special Counsel to warrant such a high-level and immediate personnel change.

Indeed, Ms. Page left the Department of Justice because of her conduct, and Agent Strzok was terminated from the FBI because of it.

Likewise, the prosecutors did not produce evidence of Weissmann's and Ahmad's relationship and work with Bruce Ohr on transmitting the corrupt information to the FBI, and the numerous 302s resulting from the interviews of Bruce Ohr by the second agent.

The Government's misconduct was not limited to General Flynn. Ms. Powell describes in detail how the Government lied in another case related to General Flynn:

In yet another recent demonstration of egregious government misconduct, the government completely changed the meaning of exculpatory information in a declassified version of a report -- by omitting the word "not." This case, involving Adam Lovinger, is related to issues involving Mr. Flynn, as Mr. Lovinger was wrongly charged (and secretly cleared) after blowing the whistle on the fraudulent payments to FBI/CIA/DOD operative Stefan Halper -- a central figure in the government's targeting and intelligence abuses of the last several years -- including against Mr. Flynn.

Mr. Lovinger had been an analyst at the Pentagon for more than ten years when he was detailed to the White House at then-National Security Advisor Flynn's request. Mr. Lovinger voiced concerns internally regarding the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment for prioritizing academic reports (one of which was written by Stefan Halper) at the expense of real threat assessments. He was recalled to the Pentagon, accused of mishandling sensitive information, stripped of his security clearance, and suspended. As it turned out, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service conducted a thorough examination of his electronic devices, but "[a]gents found no evidence he leaked to the press, as charged, or that he was a counterintelligence risk.

Even though the investigation exonerated Mr. Lovinger of these charges a full month before Mr. Lovinger's hearing, the government did not reveal to Mr. Lovinger's attorneys that this investigation occurred.17 Even worse, the declassified version of the NCIS left out a crucial "not". It read that the investigation "did yield any classified or sensitive information,"18 when the truth was the investigation "did not yield any classified or sensitive information."19 The declassified version omitted the word "not."

Got that? The Mueller prosecutors lied about what the investigation of Mr. Lovinger concluded. He did NOT, repeat NOT, "yield any classified or sensitive information. " But Mueller's team of hacks, disgraceful pieces of excrement, took out the word, "NOT".

Now here is where it gets interesting. Sidney Powell filed her document on Friday night (30 August). She also submitted a sealed portion detailing how the Mueller team has lied about the evidence. I have seen one of the affidavits she filed. I will not say who or what it contained other than to expose specific details how Michael Flynn's Fourth Amendment rights were violated. But the prosecutors ran immediately to Adam Goldman of the New York Times as leaked this sealed information.

Adam wrote an article the same day and "reported" the following:

Lawyers for Michael T. Flynn, the president's first national security adviser, escalated their attacks on prosecutors on Friday, recycling unfounded conspiratorial accusations in a last-ditch bid to delay his sentencing in a case in which he has twice admitted guilt.

The move could anger Emmet G. Sullivan, the federal judge who will sentence Mr. Flynn. The filings could magnify any doubts by Judge Sullivan about whether Mr. Flynn truly accepts responsibility for his crime of lying to the F.B.I. and whether he fulfilled his cooperation agreement with the government in one of the lingering cases brought by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

In a pair of filings, Mr. Flynn's lawyers made clear that they view him as a victim of prosecutorial misconduct, amplifying right-wing theories about a so-called deep state of government bureaucrats working to undermine President Trump. The defense lawyers accused prosecutors of engaging in "pernicious" conduct in Mr. Flynn's case, saying they had been "manipulating or controlling the press to their advantage to extort that plea."

Yet, when you read the full filing by Ms. Powell, not a single "unfounded conspiratorial accusation" is discussed. The prosecutors gave that protected information to Goldman.

Worse, the prosecutors gave Goldman information from the NSA intercepts of Michael Flynn's conversation with the Russian Ambassador. So far, the Mueller team of miscreants have refused to turn over this material to Michael Flynn's lawyer. But they shared it with Goldman, who wrote:

"We must have access to that information to represent our client consistently with his constitutional rights and our ethical obligations," Mr. Flynn's lawyers wrote.

The classified transcripts of the calls make clear that the two men discussed sanctions at length and that Mr. Flynn was highly unlikely to have forgotten those details when questioned by the F.B.I., several former United States officials familiar with the documents have said. It was clear, the officials said, that sanctions were the only thing Mr. Flynn wanted to talk about with Mr. Kislyak.

Mr. Flynn's lawyers also suggested in the filing that the government had exculpatory material, but it is not clear if they consider the transcripts to be that material. Some conservatives have embraced a theory that Mr. Flynn's nonchalance in the F.B.I. interview, which agents documented because it seemed at odds with how blatantly he was lying, was exonerating.

How in the hell does Goldman know what is in those "transcripts"? He was told.

But there is a broader, more important point--Michael Flynn's conversation with the Russian Ambassador was not illegal. It was not improper. He could discuss whatever he wanted to discuss as the incoming National Security Advisor for Donald Trump. This was a false claim by the Mueller Prosecutors.

If the Mueller team, what is left of it, was confident of their position, they would not have leaked this story to the New York Times hack, Goldman. This is a sign of desperation and panic.

Knowing what we know about Judge Sullivan, who is in charge of the Michael Flynn case, he is likely to be furious by this bald lying by Mueller's hacks.

Should be an interesting week ahead. Sidney Powell will probably be feasting on a heaping plate of prosecutor balls. Like the Honey Badger, she is ripping them a new one.

Posted at 10:27 PM in Larry Johnson , Russiagate | Permalink


Factotum , 03 September 2019 at 11:24 AM

Year of the Woman finally finds the right woman. I'm with her.
Jack , 03 September 2019 at 12:05 PM
What were Flynn's previous attorneys doing? They got him to cop the plea deal.
Larry Johnson -> Jack... , 03 September 2019 at 12:34 PM
They were incompetents. They should be sued for malpractice and disbarred. They helped serve up General Flynn and he trusted them. That's now water under the bridge. Sidney Powell is a force to be reckoned with.
Don Schmeling said in reply to Jack... , 03 September 2019 at 06:40 PM
They might have been too scared of what Mueller would do to them if they put up a good case for Flynn.

I think the same thing happened to George Popadopoulos who had his lawyers roll over and play dead before Mueller.
You need to find Lawyers who are not afraid of the system, or are in bed with the system.

Factotum said in reply to Don Schmeling... , 03 September 2019 at 09:22 PM
The "confession" they got Papadopolus to sign made no sense and almost looked like it had been altered after Papadopolus had already signed his name. There were a series of very disjointed and irrelevant statements of facts, to which Papadopolus agreed they were factual.

Then pow at the very end was basically a confession he had violated the Logan Act.

None of the prior statements supported this conclusion, but as the cherry on top of his "confession" was the claim he engaged in policy level discussions with the very highest Russian higher ups while Obama was still President. (Was he ever in this role - hard to remember?).

That always struck me as a very weird "confession - but there is was with Papadolopus's signature on it, and accepted by the deep state investigating authorities.

This "confession" deserves a re-read in light of what we are learning now about the set-up and ambush mentality of the deep state "investigators.

jd hawkins said in reply to Factotum... , 04 September 2019 at 04:15 AM
I'm in your 'Amen' corner on this.
ex PFC Chuck , 03 September 2019 at 05:38 PM
On another front of the Russiagate affair, per a Monsieur America Twitter thread, Loretta Lynch in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee has absolved herself of any involvement in the FISA warrant on Carter Page. https://twitter.com/MonsieurAmerica/status/1168885394269564928
Fred -> ex PFC Chuck ... , 03 September 2019 at 06:54 PM
Now the rats are throwing their subordinates under the sinking ship. Good to know the grandma AG had time to meet Hillary's husband on the tarmac but no time to be briefed about "foreign interference" in our election. I can't wait to hear Obama's excuse.
Ghost Ship , 03 September 2019 at 07:30 PM
did yield any classified or sensitive information
Logically just doesn't make sense - it's almost as if the person editing the NCIS report decided he didn't like doing what he asked to do and produced a piece of text that only really made sense with a "not" in it. Either that, or he was actually an idiot.
JamesT -> Ghost Ship... , 04 September 2019 at 12:35 AM
Or the mangled language was used to let them claim it was accidental ... "gosh, we just made an honest mistake".
MP98 , 04 September 2019 at 12:01 AM
Flynn may have been set up and lied to right and left, BUT... how did he get three stars? He comes across in this as a victim and a dummy.

He should have known that the FBI NEVER interviews people honestly. The agents told him that he didn't need a lawyer so he didn't call one. That's just massive stupid.

Cops I know have told me to NEVER talk to police without a lawyer present. How come the former head of the DIA didn't know that?

[Sep 04, 2019] What We Still Do Not Know About Russiagate by Stephen F. Cohen's

Notable quotes:
"... It must again be emphasized: It is hard, if not impossible, to think of a more toxic allegation in American presidential history than the one leveled against candidate, and then president, Donald Trump that he "colluded" with the Kremlin in order to win the 2016 presidential election -- and, still more, that Vladimir Putin's regime, "America's No. 1 threat," had compromising material on Trump that made him its "puppet." Or a more fraudulent accusation. ..."
"... Was it plausible, for example, that Trump, a longtime owner and operator of international hotels, would commit an indiscreet act in a Moscow hotel that he did not own or control? Or that, as Steele also claimed, high-level Kremlin sources had fed him damning anti-Trump information even though their vigilant boss, Putin, wanted Trump to win the election? ..."
"... Nor was Russian "meddling" in the election anything akin to a "digital Pearl Harbor," as widely asserted, and it was certainly far less and less intrusive than President Bill Clinton's political and financial "interference" undertaken to assure the reelection of Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1996. ..."
"... Nonetheless, Russiagate's core allegation persists, like a legend, in American political life -- in media commentary, in financial solicitations by some Democratic candidates for Congress, and, as is clear from my own discussions, in the minds of otherwise well-informed people. The only way to dispel, to excoriate, such a legend is to learn and expose how it began -- by whom, when, and why. ..."
"... Why did Western intelligence agencies, prompted, it seems clear, by US ones, seek to undermine Trump's presidential campaign? ..."
"... the repeatedly hapless Comey seems incapable of having initiated such an audacious operation against a presidential candidate, still less a president-elect. As I have long suggested, John Brennan and James Clapper, head of the CIA and Office of National Intelligence under Obama respectively, are the more likely culprits. ..."
"... First and foremost, Russiagate is about the present and future of the American political system, not about Russia. (Indeed, as I have repeatedly argued, there is very little, if any, Russia in Russiagate.) ..."
"... At every "debate" or comparable forum, all of the Democratic candidates should be asked about this grave threat to American democracy -- what they think about what happened and would do about it if elected president. Consider it health care for our democracy. ..."
Sep 04, 2019 | www.thenation.com

It must again be emphasized: It is hard, if not impossible, to think of a more toxic allegation in American presidential history than the one leveled against candidate, and then president, Donald Trump that he "colluded" with the Kremlin in order to win the 2016 presidential election -- and, still more, that Vladimir Putin's regime, "America's No. 1 threat," had compromising material on Trump that made him its "puppet." Or a more fraudulent accusation.

Even leaving aside the misperception that Russia is the primary threat to America in world affairs, no aspect of this allegation has turned out to be true, as should have been evident from the outset. Major aspects of the now infamous Steele Dossier, on which much of the allegation was based, were themselves not merely "unverified" but plainly implausible.

Was it plausible, for example, that Trump, a longtime owner and operator of international hotels, would commit an indiscreet act in a Moscow hotel that he did not own or control? Or that, as Steele also claimed, high-level Kremlin sources had fed him damning anti-Trump information even though their vigilant boss, Putin, wanted Trump to win the election? Nonetheless, the American mainstream media and other important elements of the US political establishment relied on Steele's allegations for nearly three years, even heroizing him -- and some still do, explicitly or implicitly.

Not surprisingly, former special counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of "collusion" between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. No credible evidence has been produced that Russia's "interference" affected the result of the 2016 presidential election in any significant way. Nor was Russian "meddling" in the election anything akin to a "digital Pearl Harbor," as widely asserted, and it was certainly far less and less intrusive than President Bill Clinton's political and financial "interference" undertaken to assure the reelection of Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1996.

Nonetheless, Russiagate's core allegation persists, like a legend, in American political life -- in media commentary, in financial solicitations by some Democratic candidates for Congress, and, as is clear from my own discussions, in the minds of otherwise well-informed people. The only way to dispel, to excoriate, such a legend is to learn and expose how it began -- by whom, when, and why.

Officially, at least in the FBI's version, its operation "Crossfire Hurricane," the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign that began in mid-2016 was due to suspicious remarks made to visitors by a young and lowly Trump aide, George Papadopoulos. This too is not believable, as I pointed out previously . Most of those visitors themselves had ties to Western intelligence agencies. That is, the young Trump aide was being enticed, possibly entrapped, as part of a larger intelligence operation against Trump. (Papadopoulos wasn't the only Trump associate targeted, Carter Page being another.)

But the question remains: Why did Western intelligence agencies, prompted, it seems clear, by US ones, seek to undermine Trump's presidential campaign? A reflexive answer might be because candidate Trump promised to "cooperate with Russia," to pursue a pro-détente foreign policy, but this was hardly a startling, still less subversive, advocacy by a would-be Republican president. All of the major pro-détente episodes in the 20th century had been initiated by Republican presidents: Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan.

So, again, what was it about Trump that so spooked the spooks so far off their rightful reservation and so intrusively into American presidential politics? Investigations being overseen by Attorney General William Barr may provide answers -- or not. Barr has already leveled procedural charges against James Comey, head of the FBI under President Obama and briefly under President Trump, but the repeatedly hapless Comey seems incapable of having initiated such an audacious operation against a presidential candidate, still less a president-elect. As I have long suggested, John Brennan and James Clapper, head of the CIA and Office of National Intelligence under Obama respectively, are the more likely culprits.

The FBI is no longer the fearsome organization it once was and thus not hard to investigate, as Barr has already shown. The others, particularly the CIA, are a different matter, and Barr has suggested they are resisting. To investigate them, particularly the CIA, it seems, he has brought in a veteran prosecutor-investigator, John Durham.

Which raises other questions. Are Barr and Durham, whose own careers include associations with US intelligence agencies, determined to uncover the truth about the origins of Russiagate? And can they really do so fully, given the resistance already apparent? Even if so, will Barr make public their findings, however damning of the intelligence agencies they may be, or will he classify them? And if the latter, will President Trump use his authority to declassify the findings as the 2020 presidential election approaches in order to discredit the role of Obama's presidency and its would-be heirs?

Equally important perhaps, how will mainstream media treat the Barr-Durham investigation and its findings? Having driven the Russiagate narrative for so long and so misleadingly -- and with liberals perhaps finding themselves in the incongruous position of defending rogue intelligence agencies -- will they credit or seek to discredit the findings?

It is true, of course, that Barr and Durham, as Trump appointees, are not the ideal investigators of Intel misdeeds in the Russiagate saga. Much better would be a truly bipartisan, independent investigation based in the Senate, as was the Church Committee of the mid-1970s, which exposed and reformed (it thought at the time) serious abuses by US intelligence agencies. That would require, however, a sizable core of nonpartisan, honorable, and courageous senators of both parties, who thus far seem to be lacking.

There are also, however, the ongoing and upcoming Democratic presidential debates. First and foremost, Russiagate is about the present and future of the American political system, not about Russia. (Indeed, as I have repeatedly argued, there is very little, if any, Russia in Russiagate.)

At every "debate" or comparable forum, all of the Democratic candidates should be asked about this grave threat to American democracy -- what they think about what happened and would do about it if elected president. Consider it health care for our democracy.

This commentary is based on Stephen F. Cohen's most recent weekly discussion with the host of The John Batchelor Show . Now in their sixth year, previous installments are at TheNation.com .

Stephen F. Cohen Stephen F. Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University. A Nation contributing editor, his most recent book War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate is available in paperback and in an ebook edition. His weekly conversations with the host of The John Batchelor Show, now in their sixth year, are available at www.thenation.com .

[Aug 31, 2019] No sympathy for McCabe or the other law breaking FBI apparatchiks. Looks like Lady Justice is a pervert

Aug 31, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

play_arrow Reply Report


Pro_sanity , 24 minutes ago link

Cogent people know they'll be no justice for McCabe. While I'm at, has anybody heard anything further on Epstein aftermath? Haven't heard a peep myself. Comey? Oh yeah, he's cleared. Brennan, Clapper, Strozk? Hmm. Let's go down the food chain a little, anybody follow up on the college admission scandal? News was that people were going to get fucked bad on that. Dead calm now. What's up with Lori Loughlin? Anything come of that? Hmm ...

Well one thing's for sure, if I jaywalk, I'm fucked.

newworldorder , 27 minutes ago link

No sympathy for McCabe or the other law breaking FBI apparatchiks.

They knew their jobs, they were highly educated and knew the complexity of US criminal laws. They should rot in jail, doing the maximum penalties under US laws. Bread and water is all he deserves.

THEY and thousands like them throughout history have put the average citizen of their countries through hell and in many cases war and human destruction.

Bounder , 1 hour ago link

This whole issue of the FBI and AG using the phrase "they didn't intend to cause harm, or there was no intent to break the law" Is the most atrocious thing I have ever heard - until Hillary that was NEVER used to let someone go - Now they use the same phrase with Comey - He didn't "intend" to violate protocol. What a load of crap.

Try that defense the next time your pulled over "officer I didn't intend to speed" Im sure it will work.

The charge of Manslaughter is when some unintentionally kills some one - I guess this is no longer a crime now?

The very fact that the elites can be judged and let loose because of their "intent", and the rest of us are jailed and fined regardless of our intent, pretty much tells you all you need to know. And the fact that the MSM openly glorify's in this disparity of treatment makes it that much worse.

DirtySanchez , 1 hour ago link

The fbi comes for some political foes in the middle of the night, dressed in SWAT gear, armed with automatic weapons, kicking down doors, alerting fake news to set up cameras for impending raid, and takes 70+ year old non violent offenders into custody with handcuffs.

Other times, the fbi decides that any reasonable prosecutor would never take a particular case.....

But one never ever sees the fbi investigate and arrest one of their own.

The complicit and dirty cousin, the doj, is equally corrupt, criminal in nature, and should no longer be seen as credible.

The judiciary is a collection of corrupt, compromised, politicized, and untrustworthy tyrants.

Equal Justice Under Law is a great line, a nice story, so to speak.

Lady Justice is weeping at what the fbi, doj, and the entirety of the jewdiciary did to her reputation.

FUBAR

Harry Lightning , 45 minutes ago link

"Jewdiciary"

hahahahaha...whether its true or not, its still a good laugh !

ComeAndTakeIt , 2 hours ago link

I don't pretend to be a McCabe fan. Nevertheless, I have sympathy for him. The 2016 election will define his career, but it does not fairly reflect his long years of service defending the rule of law and American national security.

Is that some kind of joke?

You think this guy was on the straight and narrow his whole career, and then in 2016 all of the sudden for some strange reason does a complete 180 and participates in a presidential coup, and a whole bunch of other extremely dirty stuff?

Harry Lightning , 1 hour ago link

You're exactly right. No reason to believe that this was a patriot who made an error. No way. This is the pinnacle of a corrupt career characterized by a desire for advancement and power regardless of what he had to do. Even entrapping people he knew to be innocent in false testimony traps just to increase his arrest record.

Zebras don't change their stripes and neither did this pig. He tried to implement a coup against the rightfully elected President of the United States, there is no question about what he did, its on the pages of the text transcripts written by the two whores, Stzrock and Page.

This sunuvabitch needs to be punished, or everyone sitting in a Federal prison now for fraud or forgery needs to be released, and the charges against anyone accused of making false statements to the FBI have to be dropped. Your move Mr. Attorney General, a whole nation and world is watching. Is the American government ready to prosecute one of its own, or will they allow the hypocrisy of two sets of laws - one for the insiders and the other for the rest of us - to continue corrupting the alleged "nation of laws" ?

Anunnaki , 2 hours ago link

I think many on Zerohedge need an intervention. No indictment for Comey on leaking is also going to mean no indictment on FISA. Many of you keep backing up and surrendering ground expecting justice "next time".

Comey is a Brahmin, he won't be indicted. None of them will be: Obama, The Clinton's, Rice, Jarrett, Clapper, Brennan, McCabe, Strzok, Page, Ohr

they murdered or evacuated Epstein in plain daylight. They have all the power. Trump knows this too. All he can do is bitch Tweet.

it's not ever going to happen. These people are all friends with each other. You don't send your friends to jail

Dont live in denial like the Dems and Russia. There is no Q

ConanTheContrarian1 , 2 hours ago link

Good analysis, EXCEPT for referring to "his long years of service defending the rule of law and American national security". Let's not be naive. If he did what he did, it was because of longstanding habit of doing whatever dirty tricks were requested by his controllers, and his service was a fraud the whole time. He was a Deep State operative who worked in the FBI.

[Aug 31, 2019] What Is Justice For McCabe

Aug 31, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Andrew McCarthy via NationalReview.com,

The former deputy director's FBI coddled Clinton and addled Trump. Now he seeks clemency... even as he sues the Justice Department...

Hillary Clinton checked every box for a violation of the Espionage Act. So much so that, in giving her a pass, the FBI figured it better couch her conduct as "extremely careless," rather than "grossly negligent." The latter description was stricken from an earlier draft of then-director James Comey's remarks because it is, verbatim, the mental state the statute requires for a felony conviction. It wouldn't do to have an "exoneration" statement read like a felony indictment.

In point of fact, the careless/negligent semantic game was a sideshow. Mrs. Clinton's unlawful storage and transmission of classified information had been patently willful. In contemptuous violation of government standards, which she was bound not only to honor but to enforce as secretary of state, she systematically conducted her government business by private email, via a laughably unsecure homebrew server set-up. Her Obama administration allies stress that it was not her purpose to harm national security, but that was beside the point. The crime was mishandling classified information, and she committed it. And even if motive had mattered (it didn't), her purpose was to conceal the interplay between her State Department and the Clinton Foundation, and to avoid generating a paper trail as she prepared to run for president. No, that's not as bad as trying to do national-security harm, but it's condemnable all the same.

While Clinton's mishandling of classified information got all the attention, it was just the tip of the felony iceberg. Thousands of the 33,000 emails she withheld and undertook to "bleach bit" into oblivion related to State Department business. It is a felony to misappropriate even a single government record. The destruction of the emails, moreover, occurred after a House Committee investigating the Benghazi massacre issued subpoenas and preservation directives to Clinton's State Department and Clinton herself. If Andrew Weissmann and the rest of the Mueller probe pit-bulls had half as solid an obstruction case against Donald Trump, the president would by now have been impeached, removed, and indicted.

And that dichotomy is the point, isn't it?

In the Obama Justice Department -- as extended by the Mueller investigation, staffed by Obama Justice Department officials and other Clinton-friendly Democrats -- justice was dispensed with a partisan eye. If you were Hillary Clinton, you skated. If you were Donald Trump, they were determined to dig until they found something -- and, even when they failed to make a case, the digging never stopped . . . it just shifted to Capitol Hill.

No one knows the skewed lay of the land better than Andrew McCabe.

The FBI's former deputy director is in the Justice Department's crosshairs. His lawyers are reportedly pleading with top officials not to indict him for lying to FBI agents who were probing a leak of investigative information, orchestrated by none other than McCabe.

McCabe is feeling the heat because the evidence that he made false statements is daunting. So daunting, in fact, that even he concedes he did not tell the truth to investigators. Listen carefully to what he says about the case -- there being no shortage of public commentary on it from the newly minted CNN analyst. He never "deliberately misled anyone," he insists. Sure, he grudgingly admits, some of his statements "were not fully accurate," or perhaps were "misunderstood" by his interrogators. But "at worst," you see, "I was not clear in my responses, and because of what was going on around me may well have been confused and distracted."

Uh-huh.

Seems to me that General Michael Flynn "may well have been confused and distracted," too. After all, it was on Flynn's insanely busy first full day on the job as the new president's national-security adviser that McCabe and Comey dispatched two agents -- Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka -- to brace him for an interview.

As our Rich Lowry recounts, Comey later bragged to an audience of like-minded anti-Trumpers at the 92nd Street Y that he knew this was a breach of protocol. Because seeking to interview a member of the president's staff in a criminal investigation is a big deal, the Bureau is supposed to go through the attorney general, who alerts the White House counsel. That ensures that the administration is aware of the situation, and that the suspected staffer is advised of the reason for the interview and given an opportunity to consult with a lawyer.

Of course, if protocol had been followed, McCabe would not have been able to have Flynn grilled without preparation and without counsel. That put Flynn in a very different posture from Hillary Clinton.

She got every courtesy. The FBI not only scheduled her interview well in advance; before she showed up, before they asked her a single question, they had already finished drafting Comey's statement exonerating her. Not just that. Clinton was permitted to bring along -- among her phalanx of lawyers -- her State Department aides Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, key witnesses who had gotten immunity from prosecution. (In a real investigation, they'd have been considered subjects, not witnesses.) Allowing witnesses to sit in as lawyers was not just a violation of Justice Department practice (to say nothing of common sense). Federal criminal law prohibits former officials from lobbying the government on behalf of another person in a matter in which the former official was heavily involved while working for the government.

Recall that when he decided against an indictment of Clinton, Comey famously pronounced that "no reasonable prosecutor" would charge her. Even though Clinton's conduct technically transgressed the law, the then-director rationalized that he could find no prior Espionage Act prosecution for gross negligence on facts analogous to Clinton's case.

Where exactly would we expect find analogous facts? Not much precedent about secretaries of state sedulously setting up non-government communications systems for years of correspondence involving thousands of classified communications. But let's put this historical anomaly aside. Let's even ignore that military officials have been prosecuted for less-egregious classified-information violations. Here's the point: In giving Clinton a pass, Comey explained that "responsible" prosecutorial decisions "consider the context of a person's actions, and how similar situations have been handled in the past."

Okay . . . then how is it that General Flynn gets investigated and charged?

Flynn, as a member of Trump's transition team and incoming national-security adviser, had been consulting with the Russian ambassador, among other foreign counterparts. Context? There was nothing illegal or illegitimate about such communications. And even if it had been appropriate for the FBI and the Justice Department to inquire into the foreign policy of the incoming president elected by the American people, the Bureau did not need to interview Flynn. They had recordings of the conversations. What reason could there have been to question Flynn about them -- without playing the recordings for him -- except to lay the groundwork for a false-statements prosecution?

Moreover, how have similar situations been handled in the past? In investigating Flynn, the Obama Justice Department and the FBI theorized that he might have violated the Logan Act, a dubious law that purports to criminalize foreign policy freelancing by private citizens. Despite being on the books for over two centuries, the Logan Act has never resulted in a successful prosecution. Not once. In fact, it has not even been used to indict anyone in the last 170 years. Indeed, but for its desuetude, the Logan Act would certainly have been held unconstitutional; because the Justice Department never invokes it, no one has had the opportunity to challenge it. Yet, the Logan Act was used to justify investigating Flynn -- a transition official whose very job entailed consultation with foreign officials.

As we noted a few days ago , the FBI and Mueller's investigators prosecuted George Papadopoulos for lying about the date of a meeting. Though the lie was inconsequential to the probe, they made the then-28-year-old eat a felony charge. And while they could easily have had his lawyer surrender him for processing on the charge and quick release on bail, they instead choreographed an utterly unnecessary nighttime arrest that forced him to spend a night in jail.

Suffice it to say that Paul Combetta did not get the Papadopoulos brass-knuckles treatment.

Combetta was not prosecuted even though he brazenly lied to the FBI about the circumstances of his destruction of Clinton's private emails. He was the key witness who had been in communication with Clinton confederates before and after his bleach-bit blitz through Clinton's emails. In a normal case, prosecutors would charge him with obstruction and false statements to pressure him into cooperating. In the Clinton caper, though, he was given immunity . . . and duly clammed up.

No false-statements charges against Combetta. No false-statements charges against Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, intimate Clinton aides who claimed not to know about Clinton's private server while they worked for her at the State Department -- even though emails show them involved in discussions about the server.

In the Clinton investigation, if you were a lawyer, such as Mills and Samuelson, the Obama Justice Department said "pretty please" and gave you immunity -- rather than a subpoena -- to induce you to surrender private laptop computers containing classified Clinton emails. And then the Justice Department, in consultation with the Clinton camp's lawyers, imposed restrictions on what the FBI could look at and what its agents could ask. After all, we wouldn't want to imperil the attorney-client privilege, right?

Well, at least as long as you were not a lawyer in the Trump-Russia investigation. If you were, as was Melissa Laurenza, an attorney who worked for Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, prosecutors and the FBI compelled you to testify about client communications. If you were Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, the FBI executed search warrants at your home and office, and you were prosecuted. So was Alex van der Zwaan, an attorney who worked with Manafort and Gates in representing Ukrainian interests. He was induced to plead guilty to a false-statements charge in the Mueller probe.

And needless to say, if you were Manafort, there was no act-of-production immunity for you. And no one asked "pretty please" for you to turn over evidence. Under the Mueller team's direction, the FBI got search warrants allowing them to break into Manafort's home before dawn and at gunpoint to seize documents. Of course, this seems like kid-gloves treatment compared to what was done to Manafort's friend and fellow Trump adviser, Roger Stone. The S.W.A.T.-style raid on Stone's home included helicopter surveillance, an amphibious team (apparently to guard against escape by sea), and so many FBI vehicles that the CNN crew that just happened to be on scene almost couldn't find a parking space! Was that show of force really necessary for a 66-year-old man charged with nonviolent process crimes whom the court released on bail a few hours later?

Mueller spent nearly two years trying to make an obstruction case against Trump for endeavoring to influence the Russia investigation. Congressional Democrats are still trying to breathe impeachment life into this effort. By contrast, the media-Democrat complex was unperturbed when Obama publicly announced in April 2016 that he did not think Clinton should be indicted. Far from accusing the 44th president of endeavoring to influence an investigation, the prosecutors and the press amplified Obama's narrative that Clinton had not intended to harm the country -- and dutifully looked the other way when the FBI airbrushed Obama's name out of Comey's Clinton exoneration speech (the president having knowingly communicated with Clinton through her unsecure server when she emailed him from a hostile foreign country).

The goal was to make Clinton's crimes disappear, while suspicions about Trump were was blazoned on the public consciousness. Even though the Trump-Russia probe was a counterintelligence investigation, then-director Comey went public about it in March 2017 congressional testimony.

That was stunning. It is not enough to say that the Justice Department and the FBI customarily neither confirm nor deny the existence of any investigation, no matter how comparatively trivial. Counterintelligence investigations are classified. They are never spoken of. Yet, Comey both revealed the investigation and identified the Trump campaign as a subject, suspected of "coordinating" in Russia's cyberespionage. For good measure, he gratuitously added that an assessment would be made about whether crimes had been committed. As any sensible person would have foreseen, the FBI director's proclamation was taken by the media and the public as a signal that President Trump was the prime suspect in one of the most heinous crimes in American history.

To say the least, a different tune was sung in the Clinton emails probe. There, Comey acceded to the instructions of Obama's attorney general, Loretta Lynch, that he not publicly speak of it as an investigation. Just call it "a matter," he was told. Funny thing about that: it sounded exactly like what the Clinton campaign was saying at the time.

I don't pretend to be a McCabe fan. Nevertheless, I have sympathy for him. The 2016 election will define his career, but it does not fairly reflect his long years of service defending the rule of law and American national security. If we could consider his case in a vacuum, and I had my druthers, I would not want to charge him. He was fired for cause in disgrace and is slated to lose at least some of his pension. These are significant penalties. I'd like to be able to say, "Enough is enough, no need to pile on with an indictment."

But there's more to it than that. A lot more.

For one thing, McCabe is suing the government for wrongful termination, arguing that he was fired due to a political vendetta carried on by President Trump. I certainly agree that the president should not have commented on McCabe's case or status. As I've repeatedly argued, the president's often-unhinged commentary makes investigations and prosecutions much more difficult to execute. It has already resulted in slap-on-the-wrist treatment for deserter Bowe Bergdahl, who should have received a stiff sentence.

That said, though, it is an audacious strategy on McCabe's part to (a) ask the Justice Department to exercise clemency by declining to charge an eminently prosecutable false-statements case against him, while (b) simultaneously hauling the Justice Department into court on an accusation of bad faith in a case in which McCabe leaked and then provided explanations that weren't true. If I were the attorney general, my inclination would be to say, "If he's going to make us go to war, let's go to war on offense -- indict him."

More significantly, we are now living in a law-enforcement world of McCabe's making.

Again, in a better world, I'd prefer to take account of the considerable positive side of McCabe's ledger and what he's already suffered, especially if he exhibited some contrition. That is, I'd ordinarily be open to declining prosecution. But then, how about the positive side of General Flynn's ledger? And why, if it would be overkill to charge McCabe was it not overkill to charge Papadopoulos? Why do Clinton, Mills, Abedin, and Combetta get a pass in a criminal investigation triggered by actual crimes, but Flynn, Papadopoulos, van der Zwaan, and Stone get hammered in an investigation predicated by no crime -- just a fever dream of Trump-Russia cyberespionage conspiracy?

FBI and Justice Department officials keep telling us they grasp that there must be one standard of justice applicable to everyone, not a two-tiered system. So, here's the question: If Andrew McCabe's name were Michael Flynn, how much mercy could he expect from, say, Andrew Weissmann?

[Aug 29, 2019] Comey Is A Proven Liar And Leaker White House Slams Former FBI Director After IG Report Zero Hedge

Aug 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Update (1455ET) : The White House has issued an extremely strong statement on the Inspector General's report:

Statement from the Press Secretory

James Comey is a proven liar and leaker. The Inspector General's report shows Comey violated the most basic obligations of confidentiality that he owed to the United States Government and to the American people, "in order to achieve a personally desired outcome."

Because Comey shamefully leaked information to the press - in blatant violation of FBI policies - the Nation was forced to endure the baseless politically-motivated, two-year witch hunt.

Comey disgraced himself and his office to further a personal political agenda, and this report further confirms that fact.

* * *

Update (1405ET) : President Trump has taken a momentary break from helping Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis batten down the hatches ahead of Hurricane Dorian's weekend landfall - and from doing everything he can to pump the market - by taking a shot at disgraced former FBI director James Comey following the Thursday publication of the DoJ's IG report, which confirmed that Comey violated both DoJ policy and the law, by leaking the contents of his memos to the press.

"Perhaps never in the history of our Country has someone been more thoroughly disgraced and excoriated than James Comey in the just-released Inspector General's Report," Trump tweeted. "He should be ashamed of himself!"

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Of course, as we mentioned below, Comey doesn't see it that way. But maybe, someday, he'll at least acknowledge that he acted rashly - and put his subordinates in a very awkward position - by deciding to leak the memos as an unabashed strategy to try and undermine the newly inaugurated president of the country he claims to love so dearly.

* * *

In a long-awaited report released Thursday morning, the DOJ's inspector general revealed that former FBI Director James Comey's handling of the memos he took from meetings with President Trump before he was unceremoniously fired in early 2017 violated department policy and the law when he shared them with a longtime confidant, who then leaked their contents to the press.

"We conclude that Comey's retention, handling, and dissemination of certain Memos violated Department and FBI policies, and his FBI Employment Agreement," the Justice Department inspector general report states.

Fox News Host Sean Hannity warned that Comey should be worried about facing the repercussions for his decision to leak the contents of the memos.

"Without a doubt... [Comey] should be sweating a lot tonight about what might be in those reports. This report is expected to be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Jim Comey."

The IG's office had referred Comey for potential prosecution earlier this summer based on his handling of the memos, CNN reported. But the DoJ declined to bring a case, in part because prosecutors didn't believe there was evidence to show Comey knew and intended to violate laws pertaining to the handling of classified information.

Still, as Hannity said, things are "not looking good...for Mr. Super Patriot , a guy that knows better than us...we are told that the report will strongly rebuke the disgraced former FBI director, document his utter lack of candor. That means lying, " Hannity said.

As an earlier media report reminded us, the Comey report is separate from a larger report about how the DoJ handled the Russia investigation, though it's still not clear why the separate report is needed.

Comey infamously took created the memos after meetings with President Trump where Trump purportedly asked him to go easy on former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Comey then leaked the contents of these memos to a friend through a trusted confidant, helping to spur the launch of the Russia probe.

In a series of tweets replying to the report, Comey tried to spin the report's findings, highlighting a section of the report that was favorable to his narrative.

Here are some highlights from the report, starting with the conclusion:

Congress has provided the FBI with substantial powers and authorities to gather evidence as part of the FBI's criminal and counterintelligence mission. The FBI uses these authorities every day in its many investigations into allegations of drug trafficking, terrorism, fraud, organized crime, public corruption, espionage, and a host of other threats to national security and public safety. In the process, the FBI lawfully gains access to a significant amount of sensitive information about individuals, many of whom have not been charged, may never be charged, or may not even be a subject of the investigation. For this reason, the civil liberties of every individual who may fall within the scope of the FBI's investigative authorities depend on the FBI's ability to protect sensitive information from unauthorized disclosure.

As Comey himself explained in his March 20, 2017 testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, he was unable to provide details about the nature or scope of the FBI's ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election because the FBI is very careful in how we handle information about our cases and about the people we are investigating . Our ability to share details with the Congress and the American people is limited when those investigations are still open, which I hope makes sense. We need to protect people's privacy . We just cannot do our work well or fairly if we start talking about it while we're doing it.

However, after his removal as FBI Director two months later, Comey provided a copy of Memo 4, which Comey had kept without authorization, to Richman with instructions to share the contents with a reporter for The New York Times. Memo 4 included information that was related to both the FBI's ongoing investigation of Flynn and, by Comey's own account, information that he believed and alleged constituted evidence of an attempt to obstruct the ongoing Flynn investigation; later that same day, The New York Times published an article about Memo 4 entitled, "Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation."

The responsibility to protect sensitive law enforcement information falls in large part to the employees of the FBI who have access to it through their daily duties. On occasion, some of these employees may disagree with decisions by prosecutors, judges, or higher ranking FBI and Department officials about the actions to take or not take in criminal and counterintelligence matters. They may even, in some situations, distrust the legitimacy of those supervisory, prosecutorial, or judicial decisions. But even when these employees believe that their most strongly-held personal convictions might be served by an unauthorized disclosure, the FBI depends on them not to disclose sensitive information.

Former Director Comey failed to live up to this responsibility. By not safeguarding sensitive information obtained during the course of his FBI employment, and by using it to create public pressure for official action, Comey set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees -- and the many thousands more former FBI employees -- who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information. Comey said he was compelled to take these actions "if I love this country and I love the Department of Justice, and I love the FBI." However, were current or former FBI employees to follow the former Director's example and disclose sensitive information in service of their own strongly held personal convictions, the FBI would be unable to dispatch its law enforcement duties properly, as Comey himself noted in his March 20, 2017 congressional testimony. Comey expressed a similar concern to President Trump, according to Memo 4, in discussing leaks of FBI information, telling Trump that the FBI's ability to conduct its work is compromised "if people run around telling the press what we do." This is no doubt part of the reason why Comey's closest advisors used the words "surprised," "stunned," "shocked," and "disappointment" to describe their reactions to learning what Comey had done.

We have previously faulted Comey for acting unilaterally and inconsistent with Department policy.103 Comey's unauthorized disclosure of sensitive law enforcement information about the Flynn investigation merits similar criticism. In a country built on the rule of law, it is of utmost importance that all FBI employees adhere to Department and FBI policies, particularly when confronted by what appear to be extraordinary circumstances or compelling personal convictions. Comey had several other lawful options available to him to advocate for the appointment of a Special Counsel, which he told us was his goal in making the disclosure. What was not permitted was the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive investigative information, obtained during the course of FBI employment, in order to achieve a personally desired outcome.

* * *

If he wanted to force the appointment of a special counsel, the report found that Comey had other lawful options besides leaking to the press, yet, he chose to ignore them.

Comey's unauthorized disclosure of sensitive law enforcement information about the Flynn investigation merits similar criticism. In a country built on the rule of law, it is of utmost importance that all FBI employees adhere to Department and FBI policies, particularly when confronted by what appear to be extraordinary circumstances or compelling personal convictions. Comey had several other lawful options available to him to advocate for the appointment of a Special Counsel, which he told us was his goal in making the disclosure. What was not permitted was the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive investigative information, obtained during the course of FBI employment, in order to achieve a personally desired outcome. The OIG has provided this report to the FBI and to the Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility for action they deem appropriate.

Even members of Comey's leadership team were "shocked" by the then-director's actions.

IG: Members of Comey's senior leadership team used the adjectives "surprised," "stunned," "shocked," and "disappointment" to describe their reactions to learning that Comey acted on his own to provide the contents of Memo 4, through Richman, to a reporter

As Ryan Saavedra pointed out, the IG found that Comey set a "dangerous example" for the tens of thousands of FBI employees working under him...

...And the "bottom line", as one reporter put it:

Even CNN conceded that the report was "damning" for Comey.

Several Twitter wits sifted through the reports findings pertaining to Comey memos 1 through 7.

Read the full report released on Thursday morning bellow.

o1902 by Zerohedge on Scribd

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/423675889/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-uDafDhGIwmWhJXW0r6gm&show_recommendations=true


Questan1913 , 10 minutes ago link

Toothless Trump. Pity him. THEY let him play deal maker.......and nothing more. From a citizens point of view this is a lawless, unconstitutional, rogue government. The assassination of Epstein by this criminal government while incarcerated in the most hi-tech federal prison in NYC which incidentally is ATTACHED to the New York office of the Justice Department speaks for itself.

Lord Raglan , 3 minutes ago link

and the video cameras being "under repair"............what a crock............that's a nice touch........

Aubiekong , 13 minutes ago link

Comey was directed by president Obama to obstruct justice and destroy evidence all to protect Hillary Clinton.

hooligan2009 , 10 minutes ago link

bingo! so was brennan, yates, lynch, rice, mills, samuelson etc etc

navy62802 , 15 minutes ago link

Without an indictment, this is all meaningless. Nothing more than sound and fury.

Indelible Scars , 36 minutes ago link

If this doesn't tell you that our intelligence services are politically biased from the top down, nothing will. It is disgusting that a person like him and frankly, most FBI/CIA tops, can make it into such a dangerous and powerful positions.

Lord Raglan , 36 minutes ago link

Comey and McCabe have such big balls and feel so protected by the Deep State that I wouldn't be surprised if they both run for President on the Dem ticket when a few more of them get washed out.

Lord Raglan , 5 minutes ago link

Oligarchs = Deep State ..............semantics...............

lakecity55 , 37 minutes ago link

I'll bet this ********** is never prosecuted; in fact, the (((people))) he works for will likely enrich him with even more cash. He will live out his life untouched with every convenience money can buy in a huge home within a wealthy enclave.

The US is finished. People like Cummie helped kill the United States. I hope this ******* **** is happy with his money.

Real Estate Guru , 55 minutes ago link
Giant Meteor , 55 minutes ago link

Look you mugs, no prosecution of high level players post " global financial crisis" ever occurred. As the official story went, sure, there was some perhaps bad, tsk, tsk, judgement by high level players, and corrupt revolving door " government enforcers", but no crimes were ever committed, the verdict.

Except some very smart folks, that most citizens never heard of, and never will hear of, whom received absolutely zero play in the mainstream, whom diligentlly, methodically, laid out their ironclad case for prosecution, law, and procedure, on a variety of ummm, inconsistencies, and existing law, pointing to this thing known as control fraud, top among the provable crimes of the nations top men,

Clear as a ******* bell ..

Then there was John Corzine. Anyone remember him?

Nope, the departnent of just us, under the Obama regime simply wouldn't hear of such heresy .. nor his own justice head, Eric the place holder, and thus, systemically important, to big too fail " entities" , their execs, and a bevy of non prosecution agreement, no admissions of guilt, were born again .. free to continue hold on to their assets, free to continue new crime waves ..

The point is .. this matter before you now, being another scale, another aspect, but drawing water from the same poisoned chalice if government service , is how should one say, business as usual. Now tell me again about all those differences, between red team and blue team.

Follow the fiat, the bribes, the control fraud, the control files, which of course all draws ALL power through, and from the money changers, and their system.

Roger Rabbit , 34 minutes ago link

Because, if you actually read the ******* article, the memos weren't classified. So there's not much to go after him with. HOWEVER, he signed off on a FISA warrant which Horowitz determined was illegal. He will be in trouble further down the line..

Real Estate Guru , 59 minutes ago link

DOJ declines to prosecute James Comey on inspector general referral for leaking classified info

by Daniel Chaitin

& Jerry Dunleavy

| July 31, 2019 09:33 PM

The Justice Department declined to prosecute former FBI Director James Comey following a criminal referral from the agency's independent watchdog, which concluded that Comey had leaked classified information and showed a lack of candor with investigators.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz reached out to prosecutors about one of the memos Comey leaked to a friend, which detailed a conversation he had with President Trump, after he was fired by President Trump in May 2017.

Although prosecutors found the watchdog's findings compelling, they decided against prosecution under classified information protection laws because of there being too much uncertainty surrounding Comey's intent, according to the Hill . A month after he was fired, Comey testified to Congress he had leaked his notes to a friend to give to the media, hoping that it would spark a special counsel investigation.

Then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert