A retired FBI agent is charged with crimes along with a former Soviet diplomat, and separately after getting mixed up with men from Albania and Bosnia

Charles McGonigal

By Robert Willmann

Before retiring from the FBI in September 2018, Charles McGonigal was the Special Agent in Charge of the Counterintelligence Division of the New York Field Office, after being appointed by former Director James Comey on 4 October 2016 [1]. He is charged with crimes in separate federal courts. One indictment with five counts, plus a request for the forfeiture of property, was filed on 12 January 2023 in the Southern District of New York (Manhattan), and the other one with nine counts was filed on 18 January in Washington DC.

McGonigal is a co-defendant with a “former Soviet and Russian diplomat”, Sergey Shestakov, in the New York indictment. They are accused of violating sanctions and money laundering laws while trying to help a known Russian “oligarch”, Oleg Deripaska.

Shestakov is described as “having served as a translator and diplomat for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation from 1979 until his retirement in 1993, often in New York, New York”. And further: “After his retirement … Shestakov worked as an interpreter for the federal courts and United States attorneys’ offices in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York”.

Who the hell is in charge of hiring translators at the Department of Justice? They hire an obvious Russian intelligence operative to translate for them!

The second indictment is based on alleged false statements on financial and contact reporting forms, and is against McGonigal only. One of the accusations involves receiving more than $225,000 from “Person A”, an Albanian, and not disclosing it.

Both McGonigal and Shestakov made an initial court appearance in New York City this afternoon, 23 January, and pled not guilty. Terms for release on bail were ordered.

There are reports that McGonigal was involved in some way with the discredited Russia-Trump 2016 election investigation. Whether more information on that issue will be developed remains to be seen.


[1] http://www.fbi.gov/news/press-releases/charles-mcgonigal-named-special-agent-in-charge-of-the-counterintelligence-division-for-the-new-york-field-office

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27 Responses to A retired FBI agent is charged with crimes along with a former Soviet diplomat, and separately after getting mixed up with men from Albania and Bosnia

  1. Sam says:

    Hey Bill, how about the national security concern sitting right next to you? Did your super-sensing counter-intel skills spot the bag of cash in his pocket or did you just assume he was happy to see you?

    https://twitter.com/larry_beech/status/1617679559922704385?s=21

    The whole Russia Collusion hoax including the Mueller special counsel that got the entire counter-intelligence team wrapped up in terminating Trump’s presidency while among their midst were actual traitors. This is just another nail in the coffin of US counter-intelligence.

    Well past time that Hoover’s FBI is put to pasture.

    • Sam says:

      Sidenote: John McCain celebrated his 70th birthday on Deripaska’s yacht. The oligarchs also hired Russia hoax author @Chris_D_Steele, & disgraced FBI director (and recipient of a CNN sinecure for his role in the hoax) Andy McCabe tried to engage as an asset for the Mueller’s FBI.

      https://twitter.com/martyrmade/status/1617601202031824897?s=21

      The rot runs deep.

    • Bill Roche says:

      Maybe (?) other correspondents to the Col’s site thought I was being disrespectful when I referred to the FBI as the FIB, or the DOJ as the DOIJ. I was serious. Directly b/f assuming office Pres Trump doubted whether he could trust the intel community. He said he was being spied on. Turns out, he was right. I’ve also referred to the CIA as the CDIA. Again, I was being serious. I have great respect for any military involved in intel. It requires smart, brave, and dedicated individuals. America c/n do w/o them, but America can do without a domestic spy agency and an unregulated political police force doing the bidding of a political pawn owned by the socialist party of America. Harsh, no. Frank, yes. Who has the guts to defy them? NY Senator Schumer said you s/n mess with intel … they can get you six ways to Sunday. I wonder what he meant, “get you”, by that?

      • Fourth and Long says:

        Bill,
        You are channeling George Orwell’s Newspeak and Doublethink.
        From Wikipedia:
        To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself—that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word—doublethink—involved the use of doublethink.[2][4]: 32, 220 
        ———-

        The US has done Doublethink for decades. The War department became the Defense department – postwar. The “Peace Corps” — hilarious. A bomb which can kill millions is: a device.

        All sorts of horrors have been dubbed “Peacekeeping missions.”

        WAR IS PEACE.
        FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.
        IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

  2. Fred says:

    Russia colluders finally found, right there in the FBI. Comey of course knew/knows nothing. I’m sure Christopher Wray (knew/knows) nothing also.

    “…has been arrested on charges relating to his receipt of $225,000 in cash from an individual who had business interests in Europe and who had been an employee of a foreign intelligence service…”

    I suggest the House start investingating the cash transactions used to pay all those FBI “confidential human sources”. On a completely unrelated note I see Antifa is back in the riot business; and, of course, no one is talking about that organization whose head was the second largest donor to the Democratic Party – FTX. Nothing to see there…….

  3. TTG says:

    So the CI chief of the NY Field Office was in bed with Deripaska. Can’t tell from the indictment if this was so when McGonigal was still in the NYFO. If so that would give a different slant to the NYFO part in forcing Comey to announce the reinvestigation of Hillary’s emails. He publicly announced that only because the NYFO was threatening to leak it. Perhaps the Russians had both McGonigal and Manafort both pushing for Trump’s election. Certainly wouldn’t be the first FBI agent on the Kremlin’s payroll.

    It would also bring into question the NYFO’s leak to the press that there was no Trump-Russian connection. McGonigal was heading that investigation for the NYFO. Also the announcement that there was nothing to the unusual Trump Tower-Alfa Bank network traffic without doing an investigation is now questionable.

    • Sam says:

      TTG,

      Democratic Sen. Mark Warner texted with Russian oligarch lobbyist in effort to contact dossier author Christopher Steele

      https://www.foxnews.com/politics/democratic-sen-mark-warner-texted-with-russian-oligarch-lobbyist-in-effort-to-contact-dossier-author-christopher-steele

      Adam Waldman was Deripaska’s DC lobbyist. There’s more than meets the eye in the halls of power in DC when it comes to doing apparently legal “deals” with those considered enemies. The flow of foreign cash to the movers & shakers in DC goes on in plain sight without a question of are US national interests compromised. Money making is the prime hobby of those in power. No probes on how those in Congress amassed disproportionate wealth to their decades in service to the nation as representatives of the people on a meager salary.

    • Al says:

      TTG, Valid points you making. Also, credit FBI for making this bust.
      Some here have difficulty seeing thru the haze of their conspiracy addiction smoke.

    • Mike B says:

      August 2017 (or rather “no later than August 2017”) is when the payments from the Albanians started.
      Deripaska had a genuine reason as he did not want to be sanctioned, but what the Albanians wanted from McGonigal is unclear from the reporting so far.

    • Fred says:

      TTG,

      The integrity of the FBI is exposed again! Comey was a VICTIM forced by the NYFO to do dishonorable work. Oh, and Trump is really guilty!!!!!!

      Robby Mook testified under oath about Hilary Clinton’s approval of the Alpha Bank – Trump connection story. Why do you bring up the discredited item again here? https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/3496659-how-the-sussmann-trial-revealed-hillary-clintons-role-in-the-alfa-bank-scandal/

      On a related note concerning the Democratic Party, can you talk about Joe Biden’s son having a Need To Know about the content in all the classified information the Big Guy had (illegally) in multiple locations? By all means float some more tales about Alpha Bank and network traffic. Who is going to bother actually looking up the now concluded court case. By all means that ‘investigation’ you suggest is not like the FBI monitoring Twitter traffic and getting people banned 2016-2022.

      Walls are definitely closing in, again. Except for all that testimony under oath.

      • Fourth and Long says:

        Fred,
        Don’t deny yourself the pleasure of participating in our new board
        game which works as illustrated below using a link, photo and a simple binary choice question!

        Question: Based on appearances only, who do you trust more – the man in the photo on the left or right? (See photo at link below).

        White House shake-up as attacks mount on Biden over handling of classified documents.

        https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2023/01/24/kmbj-j24.html
        Press reports on the weekend, not denied by the White House, indicated that President Joe Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, would step down within a few weeks, to be replaced by Jeff Zients, the multi-millionaire who was formerly Biden’s coronavirus coordinator. The transition will reportedly take place soon after Biden’s State of the Union address, set for February 7. (Continues at link..)
        ——-
        A one question game is not too much fun? Worry not – it’s more laborious and requires a high school reading comprehension level (levels circa 1935-69) but our proposal for a follow-up is: After reading the article, do you still agree with your choice in Question 1 above?
        My answers were:
        1- The man on the right hand side.
        2- No.

        • Fred says:

          F&L,

          I prefer the oldies but goodies:
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twister_(game)
          The Clinton-Lorretta Lynn tarmac meeting version was great! Now we are seing the “I have classified documents too!” Otherwise known as the D.C. Chinese fire drill. (Previously known was CYA/aka Kubuki theatre)

          • Fourth and Long says:

            A game that provides frequent hair-sniffing opportunities if I am not mistaken. It’s name has inspired in me the idea for a new game to be named “Sheister!” Problem is … there are no rules.

  4. Fourth and Long says:

    My instinct is to look at the timing of this announcement of indictment. It casts aspersions on “the” or an investigative arm (f b i ) of the department of justice at a time when government agents are rifling through residences of the President of the United States. (And possibly his relatives, I certainly don’t know). In my opinion there is a serious if not historical power play afoot simultaneously with huge war decisions in areas of Eastern Europe up to the borders of Russia. (Distance by air from Donetsk to Volgograd is 211 miles, says my browser).

    In other news. It seems it may have been premature to consider the Monterey shooting case closed with the reported suicide in a “white van.”

    What with “lunar new year” featured in the Monterey story and “Half Moon Bay” in this one described in the link below, you might think someone or something is trying to get some message across. If so, I haven’t any idea what it is. I did read reports that according to some scientific modeling performed overseas, upwards of seven hundred thousand citizens of the PRC have died recently in their Covid epidemic where restrictions have been lifted. That can’t be making people particularly happy, but what could it have to do with these recent events? Nothing, I hope.
    ———
    https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2023-01-23/half-moon-bay-shooting-multiple-victims
    HALF MOON BAY, Calif. — At least seven people were killed in a pair of related shootings that have rocked the beach-side community of Half Moon Bay, an act of violence that comes just two days after 11 people were killed in another mass shooting in Monterey Park.
    A 67-year-old resident of the community is suspected of opening fire at two rural locations about a mile distant, shooting some of the victims in front of children who lived nearby and had recently been released from school.
    Deputies with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office first found four victims shot to death in the 12700 block of San Mateo Road in an unincorporated area of the county just before 2:30 p.m. A fifth victim was also found in the area and taken to Stanford Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement to The Times.

    Minutes later, in an area about a mile away, in the 2100 block of Cabrillo Highway, deputies found three more victims dead of apparent gunshot wounds.

    Corpus said the suspect was believed to have driven from one location to the next, shooting the unidentified victims at each site.

    The motive for the shootings is still unknown, sheriff’s officials said in a statement.

    The shooting suspect, identified as Chunli Zhao, was spotted sitting in his car at the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office substation in Half Moon Bay at about 4:40 p.m., officials said.
    ——–

  5. Whitewall says:

    Well, the Kremlin has security problems with Wagnerites and America has a rogue law enforcement agency whose reputation is going down hill. FBI needs to be remade or removed and its parts dispersed to other agencies. No confidence.

  6. Shako says:

    It seems Robert Hanssen is also an alumnus of this fine FBI Field Office.

  7. Al says:

    Interesting commentary in Talking Points Memo.
    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/some-of-the-big-questions-about-the-mcgonigal-case

    Subscription needed, so I will reprint here:

    “… When I first heard about the indictments, I understood them to be one (D.C.) that dealt with events while McGonigal still worked at the FBI and one (New York) that dealt with events after he worked at the FBI. But as I noted last night, it’s not that clear cut. The relationship with Oleg Deripaska and a reputed former Soviet/Russian intelligence officer, Evgeny Fokin, began when McGonigal was still at the FBI.

    The New York indictment is elusive about just what it’s suggesting about McGonigal and Fokin in 2018, when the former still worked at the FBI. It is also unclear about whether McGonigal was compromised by a foreign power or was simply building a relationship with Fokin and Deripaska for money he would make after he left the FBI.

    Was he compromised by Russia? Or was he just compromised by Deripaska? Needless to say, there’s not necessarily a bright line separating these two scenarios.

    The D.C. indictment includes a seemingly separate cast of characters. On its face, it tells the story of a foreign government (Albania) paying McGonigal to use his investigatory powers to harass a U.S. citizen that the foreign government had a beef with. It’s quite unclear whether these two alleged acts of corruption (New York and D.C.) were related to each other. On its face, or in a limited view, they suggest a senior FBI agent who wasn’t compromised by or in the pay of any one foreign power, per se, but simply dirty, ready to abuse his power for cash and seemingly ready to work with all sorts of people.

    But last night Michael Beschloss noted a few connections which may be coincidences but are hard to ignore. He noted that in 2018 the Times reported that “the C.I.A. noticed in late 2010 that its spies were disappearing.”

    “As fears of a mole grew, the government set up a secret task force,” the article continues. “A veteran F.B.I. counterintelligence agent, Charles McGonigal, was assigned to run it.” The FBI director at the time was Robert Mueller.

    On Oct. 28, 2016, James Comey wrote a letter informing Congress that he was reopening the Clinton emails probe because of emails found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop in the separate investigation of Weiner. On Oct. 31, the New York Times published its notorious headline: “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia.”

    These events, as Beschloss and I noted yesterday, came three weeks after James Comey announced he was putting McGonigal in charge of counterintelligence at the FBI New York field office. As I noted yesterday, however, the press release about McGonigal’s appointment stated he would “assume this new role at the end of October.” In other words, if we think Comey appointed McGonigal and a few weeks later these big bombs started going off, the timeline doesn’t really line up with that. It more suggests that McGonigal got started in New York right as these things were happening, and thus probably arrived too late to have been involved with them.

    Of course, that’s not the only possible interpretation. A new appointee can and often does hold sway prior to their formal takeover. And we can’t rule out the possibility that he showed up earlier than late October.

    The FBI’s New York field office has long been a source of controversy and concern. Both James Comey and then-Deputy AG Sally Yates testified that they assumed agents in New York would leak the news about the new emails whether Comey brought the news to Congress or not. Rudy Giuliani was out publicly bragging that big news was about to drop out of the investigation and out of New York before that in fact happened. Giuliani’s role in all this and his illicit access to this information has never been properly investigated or really investigated at all, despite promises going back more than six years.

    As Beschloss notes, if we assume that McGonigal was at least dirty — ready to trade with foreigners for cash — he shows up at a disquieting number of key junctures. In 2010, in 2016, possibly in 2019 when Deripaska seemed to be getting lenient sanctions relief. If we assume he was compromised in some deeper sense and for a longer period, the whole thing gets much darker.

    For now, let’s zoom back out to ask a couple questions. McGonigal was arrested after flying back from Sri Lanka. As I noted last night, McGonigal and his confederate Shastakov knew they were under active investigation at least as far back as November 2021. There was a major press report on the investigation — albeit little noticed — back in September of 2022. So far the DOJ has mostly approached this as a public corruption rather than an espionage case. But given the gravity of what McGonigal is accused of it seems extraordinary he was allowed to travel abroad freely. Yes, he hadn’t been charged with let alone convicted of a crime. But there are various lawful ways of dealing with someone who would seem be a huge, huge flight risk and someone who could do immense damage if he sought asylum abroad.

    On its face, maybe the DOJ just doesn’t think he’s a flight risk? Hard to imagine. But who knows? Perhaps they’re confident this is simply a very bad public corruption case, and not really an espionage case? Or perhaps he was wired on that last trip? There’s pretty strong circumstantial evidence in the indictments that there were plea negotiations with McGonigal in the months leading up to his arrest. Presumably those broke down and that’s what led to his arrest and indictment.

    We simply have too little information to know what we’re dealing with in this case. An egregious but largely isolated instance of public corruption? Or something deeper that reshapes our understanding of some of the most consequential events of the last decade?

    • Fred says:

      Al,

      Thanks for the copyright violation. Next time a link and summary would avoid the that, as colonel Lang pointed out at least once. Did you have any opinion on the piece, it doesn’t appear you have one, there not being any quotation marks used.

      • Al says:

        Ah, Fred, you forgot to remind Fourth and Long in his above copywrite infringe from LA newspaper.

        I bet you were one classy “hall monitor” back in Jr hi sch! Certainly carried it over in your pursuits since.

  8. SRW says:

    Best article on the FBI-Russia-Trump scandal that I have read is by Yale professor Timothy Snyder. He’s an east Europeon expert who I had the good fortune to audit his Yale Ukraine history class online. Here is his bio:
    Timothy David Snyder is an American historian specializing in the modern history of Central and Eastern Europe. He is the Richard C. Levin Professor of History at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.

    https://open.substack.com/pub/snyder/p/the-specter-of-2016?r=4gq47&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

    • TTG says:

      SRW,

      That’s a good article by Snyder. There’s been several good ones, both pre and post McGonigal arrest, offering a relook at the Russia-Trump story. They all center more on Manafort and his long, solid connections with Deripaska, Yanukovych and others rather than the tenuous at best Carter Page connections and the idea of direct Trump-Putin collusion. Snyder does a good job of explaining the finesse and elegance in this Russian IO campaign. I was thinking about posting an article here about this so everyone has a chance to comment on it. Trouble is that there are several good and long articles out there. Snyder’s article adds to the list.

      Snyder also did a semester long series of lectures on “The Making of Modern Ukraine” which I can’t recommend strongly enough.

      https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLh9mgdi4rNewfxO7LhBoz_1Mx1MaO6sw_

      • LeaNder says:

        Well, what I found especially interesting is this passage :

        Between 2010 and 2013, Russia sought to control Ukraine using the same methods which were on display in 2016 in its influence operation in the United States: social media, money, and a pliable candidate for head of state. When that failed, Russia had invaded Ukraine, under the cover of some very successful influence operations. (If you find that you do not remember the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014, it is very possibly because you were caught in the froth of Russian propaganda, spread through the internet, targeted to vulnerabilities.)

        A lot of us remember the “Russian invasion”, maybe not quite as that but instead were taken in by Russian propaganda. The”little green men” in Crimea came first to mind. They were Russian propaganda “froth”? <Not quite.

        But concerning the separatists: I seem to also remember quite a few supported the warriors in the East at the time. Not least a Russian propaganda expert. 😉

        • TTG says:

          LeaNder,

          The Russian seizure of Crimea was a well planned, well executed military operation against a Ukrainian military that was flat on its ass. It feed into the “little green men” mystique surrounding the supposedly invincible Russian armed forces. That’s the info ops portion of that phase.

          The separatists had a legitimate cause and legitimate heroes. They were facing a Ukraine where the right wingers were at their high water mark. Many here, including myself, supported their cause and actions, even with the known heavy Russian support. You can see our support in the old SST archives. As time went on, the dream of a “Novorossiya” turned into a 1930s Soviet hellhole while Ukraine was emerging from its own pre-Maidan hellhole.

          • LeaNder says:

            TTG, first, the constant darkness around makes my mood go south. I’ll desperately need light and sun. …

            As time went on, the dream of a “Novorossiya” turned into a 1930s Soviet hellhole while Ukraine was emerging from its own pre-Maidan hellhole.

            You mean, from the moment the Ukrainian prosecutor general classified Donetsk and Luhansk as terrorist and the region as Anti-Terrorist operation zone, matters went uphill? From the moment, the import of Russian books were banned? It left the CIS? …

            TTG, there is this recurring rumor I keep stumbling across. Pure-Pro-Russian-Propaganda? Instigated by the US, Ukraine planned an attack to reconquer Donetsk and Luhansk. Obviously such plans must exist, thus there might be a grain of truth to it. If so, it would explain why Russia was so closely watched (for a reaction?) by American intelligence at the time? A basic lured into a trap scenario??? Irony alert: Reason to celebrate?

            Obviously I wish Ukrainians well, in spite of the fact that I am not a fan of a lot of their national heroes, or their occasionally silly foundation myths, quite the opposite really.

            Neither am I a fan of developments in Russia, but I can understand that the common people still remember well what happened to them when the Chicago boys took over in the early 1990’s.

            I asked a young boy for the direction in a quarter of Cologne I am unfamiliar with. He didn’t understand German, he told me, but do I understand either English or Russian, he asked me?

      • Sam says:

        TTG,

        The Russia-Trump-Manafort-Ukraine-Hillary-FusionGPS-Deripaska-MarkWarner-Strzok-Steele-Comey-et al connection has many threads.

        The one that has concerned me most is the web of FBI using FISA affidavit with Steele Dossier and all the under handed machinations around the Mueller probe and the propaganda dissemination through media agents to push a narrative to obfuscate the role played by the national security apparatus. This is something that shows we have a shadow government that acts outside what would be expected in a republic – interfering in domestic political affairs. Considering what was exposed by the Church committee in the 70s, we are now much further down the rabbit hole of blatant manipulation of domestic affairs by this unelected and unaccountable national security intelligence surveillance apparatus.

        IMO, all shades of political color should unite to expunge this insidious usurpation of power.

  9. jim ticehurst.. says:

    I Dont See any thing but Phantoms And Disguises in This Opera..of
    ” Deaths Devices…of Diablos”…With a Cast of Denials…Star Wars Sauce..
    In This Last Long Chapter….

    Colonel Lang…Wishing you Good Recovery. And a Luxury Cabin on
    Starship…Your Crew Has Missed You…
    JT

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