Larry Johnson–Two Important Transcripts Shedding Light on the FBI and Two of Their Informants

Larry Johnson-5x7

This piece is based on two of the transcripts that Adam Schiff was forced to release last Thursday and they are revelatory.

The first concerns Felix Sater (here's the transcript).

The second is from the FBI Agent who handled Christopher Steele (here's the transcript). The agent's name is kept confidential.

If you are the FBI and you are running a counter intelligence investigation into Trump's ties with the Russians you would want Felix Sater, who helped the FBI on several cases involving Russian spies and Russian organized crime. He was a business partner of Donald Trump's since at least 2001. And what does Sater reveal about The Donald's ties to the Russian mob and Russian spies? He exonerates Trump.

Then we have the unnamed FBI handler of Confidential Human Source Christopher Steele. He admits to knowing Sater and some of the things he did for the FBI. Any evidence of Trump cavorting with the Russians? NOPE. After you read the transcript you will appreciate why this FBI agent is not named. He did his job honestly and professionally. In fact, he's the one who terminated Steele as a source.

FELIX SATER:

I have written extensively about Felix Sater, the President/CEO of Bayrock Group, who was an informant for both the FBI and the CIA (you can read my early work on Mr. Sater here and here). His work as an FBI informant began in December of 1998 and then he started providing the CIA with good intel on Osama Bin Laden and other terrorist activities. Felix was born in Russia, speaks Russia and became friends with Michael Cohen (yeah, that Michael Cohen) when they were teenagers.

Felix Sater testified under oath to the House Intelligence Committee and confirmed the following:

  • He had been working for the FBI and the CIA since December 1998 and provided important intelligence information on terrorism and assisted the FBI in criminal investigations. (see pages 5-12 of the deposition).
  • Sater met Donald Trump for the first time in 2000/2001. It was at Sater's initiative (Sater rented space in the Trump Tower). Sater proposed they work on real estate deals. Sater was President of the Bayrock Group (see page 16).
  • Trump had not and was not conspiring with Russian intelligence, Russian politicians nor Russian mobsters.

Throughout the lengthy deposition, Sater was repeatedly asked if President Trump had ever conspired, colluded or coordinated with any Russian political leaders or mobsters. He always said "no." Here is the money quote from Mr. Sater's deposition (see page 141):

Question: Returning back to the four parameters of the committee's investigation we discussed sort of at the outset, in our time together today, do you remember the discussion we had about collusion, coordination, and conspiracy?

Answer: Yes, sir.

Question: And I asked you with respect to yourself. I asked you with respect to then-candidate Trump. I asked you with respect to folks affiliated, officially affiliated with the campaign and folks unofficially affiliated with the campaign. Has looking at the documents and all of the discussion we had today changed your answer in any way?

Answer: Absolutely not.

One critical question no one on either the Republican or Democrat side asked him was this,  "Has the FBI ever asked you to work as a Confidential Human Source to ascertain if Donald Trump was working for or with the Russians?" I bet you the answer to that would be yes. And Sater's response would be, "I never saw any such thing."

Now we come to FBI Agent John Doe. I came to like this guy the more I read his testimony. The man is a straight shooter.

He met Steele for the first time in April 2010 at the request of Bruce Ohr (see pages 9-10). In the fall of 2013 (I get this date based on some earlier comments by Mr. Doe, the actual year is blacked out–see pages 12-14).

The next big moment in the Christopher Steele saga is July 5, 2016. Following a phone call from Steele requesting an urgent meeting in London, FBI Doe flies to the UK and meets Steele in his Orbis office. Steele shares with him the first report of what we now know as the Steele Dossier. Here's the summary:

2016/080 20 June 2016
Russia cultivating, supporting and assisting Trump since at least 2011.

Trump has declined various real estate deals in Russia but he and his inner circle have accepted a regular flow of intelligence from the Kremlin on his political rivals.

FSB has compromising intel on Trump that they can use to blackmail him (e.g., coprophilia).

A dossier of compromising material on Hillary Clinton is being held by the Kremlin but has not been distributed.

John Doe asked the pertinent questions (see page 22):

Well, my first – one of the first questions I had to him was, do you have any corroboration of this? ls there any independent corroboration,information that you have? ls there a videotape? ls there an audiotape? Do you have anything else? And the answer was no.

We now know, thanks to a subsequent FBI investigation that the source for Steele disavowed these so-called facts. Let's continue.

John Doe returns to his office and subsequently notifies the Assistant Agent in Charge (i.e., ASAC) for Public Corruption in New York City. The ASAC tells him to hang on to the report and does not reconnect with Agent Doe until 28 July 2016. Two weeks passed. Mr. Doe does not know who else was briefed on his report.

The ASAC calls on the 28th and tells Doe to send him the reports. Doe complies. Two days later, according to Doe's testimony:

He contacts me again and says, that information is going to go to the CDC's office in New York,CDC, the local attorneys, FBI attorneys in the field office. They are setting up a special subfile for this information. Just send it directly to them, talk to this one CDC up there and get it to them, and then we'll go from there, okay? (see page 31)

This went right to the top of the FBI according to Agent Doe (see page 32). Here is the curious part–Agent Doe refers to "reports", yet, according to the dates on the Steele Dossier reports, only three had been written (possibly a fourth) by the end of July. Here are the reports and their dates:

1. 2016/080 20 June 2016
2. 2016/94 19 July 2016
3. 2016/086 26 July [Sic] 2016
4. 2016/095 [No Date]
5. 2016/097 30 July 2016
6. 2016/100 5 August 2016
7. 2016/101 10 August 2016
8. 2016/102 10 August 2016
9. 2016/105 22 August 2016
10. 2016/111 14 September 2016
11. 2016/112 14 September 2016
12. 2016/113 14 September 2016
13. 2016/130 12 October 2016
14. 2016/134 18 October 2016
15. 2016/135 19 October 2016
16. 2016/136 20 October 2016
17. 2016/166 13 December 2016

How did those other reports get into the FBI's hands?

Now comes even stranger developments. Listen to what Agent Doe tells HPSCI:

So I have no idea what happened down at headquarters after that.Again, my concern was getting it now to CDC office in New York. And I had spoken with CDC, sent the reports to him in New York, but at that time it was probably — now we're talking probably middle of August, I think right around that time, the CDC and another ASAC in the counterintel program in New York advised me that, hey, there is a unit in headquarters that needs to see this, some type of investigative unit that's there that you need to send this to.

I said, okay, give me the name and I will send it to them. That took probably another 3 weeks to a month to get lhe name of the person to whom I had to send this information to.

What the hell? The FBI Agent in charge of handling Christopher Steele is completely cut out of CROSSFIRE HURRICANE and given the mushroom treatment (cover with manure and keep in the dark). If CROSSFIRE HURRICANE was a legitimate investigation then why was the guy who has authorized access to Christopher Steele not brought into the circle of trust and asked to get with Steele and confirm details? This is all you need to know that the Steele Dossier was a mere pretext for launching the coup against Trump.

Who was receiving the docs from Steele? It was no longer Agent Doe. He was cut out of the loop. (see page 33).

What is not mentioned in the transcript is that CIA Director Brennan briefed Democrat Senator and Majority Leader Harry Reid on the dossier in August of 2016–weeks before Agent Doe had been given a contact at FBI Headquarters for sharing the info he had received from Steele. Further evidence that a joint CIA/FBI plot against Trump was unfolding.

By the end of September, Agent Doe is wondering what is going on. He reaches out to his FBI contact at FBI Headquarter. Doe testifies:

So I reach out to him, I said, hey, let me know, you know, what you think about the information. He emails back, and that was maybe the 23rd, 24th of September, and states that the information that – in the dossier corroborated information that they received [from Alexander Downer] that actually predicated all this investigation.

The next shoe to drop in the life and times of Christopher Steele, idiot spy, comes with the publication in Mother Jones of David Corn's contribution to the covert action against Trump–A Veteran Spy Has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump

Agent Doe was not happy. He was pissed. Doe calls Steele and tells him:

everything is going to change now. I said, you're no longer working to get information on our behalf, you're no longer to goout, a nd we are no longer tasking you. ln addition, you're not going to be paid, and the relationship is going to end. (see page 74)

Where was FBI Headquarters in this debacle? It was Agent Doe who terminated the British goof. Yet, Steele continued to generate reports and passed them on to Bruce Ohr who in turn made sure they found their way into the CROSSFIRE HURRICANE team. And let's not forget that the sanctimonious clown, Jim Comey, was pressing in late December and early January to include the Steele Dossier in the so-called Intelligence Community Assessment that was published in January 2017.

But John Doe was not through blowing holes in the Democrats attempt to manufacture a Russian conspiracy. If you take time to read pages 49-63, you will be treated to a contortionist act by lying Adam Schiff and slimey Eric Swalwell as they try desperately to prove their hair brain conspiracy that Trump was in bed with the Russian mob. In fact, they asked him repeatedly about Felix Sater (apparently Schiff and Swalwell did not understand that Sater was in the FBI's pocket). Agent Doe gave them nothing.

The following exchange with the Republican counsel and Agent Doe plants the exploding cigar directly in the nether regions of Adam Schiff's hopes:

Question: Do you have any information about any of those four individuals (i.e. Russian mobsters) during the course of your investigation that would show Donald Trump undertaking any illegal activities with those individuals or other Russians?

Answer: No.

Question: Do you have any information during the course of your investigations that any of the other Russian individuals named during the course of these proceedings had – would show that Donald Trump had any illegal activities with them or the Russian Government?

Answer: No. (see page 89)

For those of you who are impatient with the progress of John Durham and William Barr is bringing the coup plotters to justice, I hope the foregoing shows you how complicated and voluminous the task is. This is not a two week investigation. But these transcripts show you some of the ammunition that Durham and Barr are collecting and loading. These are deadly facts that Comey, Brennan and even Obama will have trouble running from.

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57 Responses to Larry Johnson–Two Important Transcripts Shedding Light on the FBI and Two of Their Informants

  1. David Habakkuk says:

    Larry,
    I was about to post this as a reply to ‘Jack’ on an earlier thread, but it seems more sensible to post it here.
    Jack,
    I have long been afraid of ‘limited hangouts.’
    If you feed journalists whose investigation are threatening to expose serious malfeasance enough ‘red meat’, which appears to help them, indeed genuinely does so, up to a point, they may very well not notice that they are being subtly diverted from lines of investigation they should be pursuing.
    Conspirators can the own up to ‘venial’ sins, such as playing fast and loose with the FISA application process, or credulously accepting duff information from Christopher Steele, while, as it were, very much less ‘venial’, or some might say, ‘mortal’, ones – like involvement in a treasonous conspiracy to subvert the Constitution – are not exposed.
    My suspicion has long been that the Horowitz Report may be just such a ‘limited hangout.’
    An analysis, which, one the one hand, suggests that Stephen Somma is a key figure in a systematic subversion of the FISA process, while also accepting apparently without question ‘evidence’ from him and his FBI colleagues about interviews in which Christopher Steele’s supposed ‘Primary Sub-Source’ rubbished him, is preposterous.
    And indeed, one cannot consistently suggest that Bruce Ohr is a pivotal figure in the conspiracy, and that one can assume that his handwritten notes of conversations, and 302s with him recorded by Joseph Pientka, are accurate. This is what many journalists did, long before Horowitz reported, and I regret to say I myself initially fell into what I now think was a trap.
    As to both Barr and Trump, I have been agnostic. I can see arguments for a ‘softly softly catchee monkee’ approach, but also reasons to suspect that the Attorney General may be unenthusiastic about the implications of having too many skeletons falling out of cupboards, as it were.
    That said, there can be moments when it becomes clear that the accumulated weight of skeletons pressing upon the door is so great that there is no realistic prospect of keeping many of them from tumbling out.
    At that point, people’s calculations may change. For purely opportunistic reasons, as well as others, it may make more sense to join those who are attempting to prise the door open, rather than risk going down in history as one of those who engaged in last ditch attempts to keep it shut.
    We may have just seen such a moment.
    As usual however, the British end of all this is very poor covered.
    Someone gave Chuck Ross of the ‘Daily Caller’ of the transcript of the cross-examination of Steele by Hugh Tomlinson QC, on behalf of the owners of the Alfa Group consortium, Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven, and German Khan, on 17-18 March.
    (I have downloaded it, and am studying it, but unfortunately do not seem able to find the link again.)
    While Ross, John Solomon and others have commented on it, there is no visible sign whatsoever that any of them has made any effort to get hold of the four – yes, four, F-O-U-R – clearly mutually contradictory witness statements referred to in the transcript.
    Despite what Mr Justice Mark Warby said at the hearing, none of these appear to have been made available on the CE-File service, where material from the case appears totally absent.
    What can be traced – and again, I cannot see any journalist who has tried to do this – are two judgements which Mr Justice Warby delivered, on 27 February and 17 March, which put the cross-examination of Steele by Tomlinson in a wholly new light.
    (See https://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/format.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2020/523.html&query=(Aven) ; https://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/format.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2020/666.html&query=(Aven) .)
    They also seem to me crucial to interpreting the newly released transcript of the House Intelligence Committee interview with Michael Sussmann, and also that with the anonymous FBI Special Agent.
    (Although I have yet to read this interview, on a casual glance it looks like Michael Gaeta, who is reported to have come to London to meet Steele on 5 July 2016. Correction if this is wrong appreciated.)
    The story one gets, if one puts the transcript of the cross-examination in the context of the judgements, is quite remarkable.
    It appears that the ineptitude of the lawyers employed by Orbis, who like those representing the Alfa owners, come from a chambers called Matrix, rivals that of Covington & Burling in their defence of Flynn (like the American company, the British has an interesting history and affiliations.)
    As Warby explains in his 27 February judgement, on defamation cases a defendant has the option of responding with a ‘non-admission’, or a denial of the case made by the claimant.
    The crucial difference is that with the former, the onus to proof the offending statements false shifted to the other side, with the latter, the defence has to set out and defend their own version of events.
    What the Matrix lawyers working for Orbis produced, as Warby brings out, was an incoherent mixture of the two.
    As a result, the Matrix lawyers working for the Alfa owners called for large parts of Steele’s original witness statement, only provided to them on 17 February, to be struck out.
    An objection, quite fairly, was that if Orbis were producing their own version, rather than simply refusing to admit the repudiation of their claims by the Alfa owners, it was preposterous to do so shortly before the scheduled hearing, as these would clearly need adequate time to assemble the further evidence needed to the version that had been provided.
    As a result of the utter incompetence of those presenting the Orbis case, the trial would have to be adjourned, if it was to be conducted fairly.
    At that point, these lawyers applied for leave to amend the defence. As part of this process, Steele filed a new witness statement, on 9 March, and then, two further ones, on 15 and 16 March – the day the hearing opened.
    It appears to have been only after the 9 March statement that he completedly changed his account of the commissioning of the research into the Alfa oligarchs.
    Originally, it had been suggested that this happened on 11 September. According to the new version, it was a meeting at Perkins Coie on 29 July that Michael Sussmann informed him of the ‘evidence’ supposed to establish a covert communication channel between the Trump campaign and Alfa. He now says Glenn Simpson commissioned his research soon after.
    At the same time, Steele appears now to be saying, on the authority of what is presented as a handwritten note from the time, that at the 5 July 2016 meeting with Gaeta:
    ‘we explained that Glenn Simpson, GPSFusion was our commissioner but the ultimate client were the leadership of the Clinton campaign and that we understood the candidate herself was aware of the reporting at least, if not us …’
    Equally important, the note appears to establish that there were two memoranda in the material he gave to Gaeta, numbered 87 and 88, which were not in the dossier as published. Questioned by Tomlinson, Steele suggests this was because they dealt with matters other than ‘Russiagate.’
    I think it is extremely likely that this statement is false, and indeed, I am not even certain that Steele wants us to believe it.
    At the moment I am still trying to put different parts of the picture together.
    A plausible interpretation, however, is that from early on, key figures in the conspiracy, on both sides of the Atlantic, were well aware that it was fragile.
    Accordingly, in addition to the first line of defence – ‘doubling down’, in particular with the framing of Flynn – contingency plans were early one made for a ‘fallback’ strategy, which involved making Steele the ‘patsy.’ And, I think it is possible that he is responding by, in a disguised way, ‘pushing back.’
    Of course, I may be wrong. However, it really would seem to me desirable that people tried to get hold, asap, of the contradictory accounts of events given by Steele, and other materials from the cases brought against him in London.
    If as I suspect memoranda 87 and 88 were related to ‘Russiagate’, and were deliberately ommitted from the dossier as published, they would be of particular interest.

  2. j says:

    When will we see Schiff and his cohorts prosecuted for their malfeasance of Congressional office? At the least Schiff needs to be kicked to the curb from the House Intelligence Committee for cause — operating without a brain one.

  3. turcopolier says:

    David Habakkuk et al
    I would ask you all to consider the possibility that the Steele Dossier was not a product of Russian government IO. Rather, that it was ginned up altogether by Steele, a professional meddler and Trump hater. Fusion GPS approached the law firm representing the DNC and the Clinton campaign with an offer to generate OPO research on Trump. The Democrats proceeded to fund that research and Steele who had been a paid informant for the FBI for several years was hired to do the job. Steele had been a significant figure in MI-6 with regard to Russia and it is entirely possible that he contacted some of his old sources, but there is no good reason IMO to think that their rumors were other than inspirational for Steele’s literary efforts. To what extent the British government’s own IO network played a role in encouraging Steele is not yet known.

  4. Dare I wonder if there is a certain cunning timing to all these revelations? Having to do with causing damage and embarrassment to the Dems just in time for maximum annihilation in November?
    I know it’s a long and complicated investigation and Durham had to start cold but I made a small bet with myself 6 months ago that we would start seeing revelations in late spring 2020 building to the big stuff around Aug-Sep.

  5. Eric Newhill says:

    I don’t understand why Steele wrote fiction that was so over the top (e.g. the peeing prostitutes). Seems unprofessional. Such sensationalism calls the dossier into question. He had to know that there wasn’t going be corroboration from any women that Trump was into that kind of weirdness.

  6. David Habakkuk says:

    Patrick,
    I need to think about that.
    However, from the British end.
    Our current ‘élites’, like those in the United States, are generally rather silly.
    The discontents which led to ‘Brexit’ and Trump’s victory were clearly visible, four decades ago, if one cared to look.
    The fact that the Russian ‘deplorables’ were coming to feel that their country’s ‘liberals’ had, ‘sold them a pup’, was also clearly visible to people who anyone interested in knowing, by the time of Putin’s – rather fortuitous – accent to power.
    However, it was regarded as self-evident by people on both sides of the political ‘fence’ here that it was sensible to take for granted that Hillary Clinton would easily ‘see off’ Trump, and that it was sensible to side with Berezovsky and Khodorkovsky against Putin.
    (The embrace of ‘Brexit’ by Boris Johnson was, most probably, in the expectation that ‘Remain’ would win, but he would have ‘positioned’ himself successfully with a constituency he needed to win the leadership of his party.)
    What we are seeing in Britain, it seems to me, are people ‘going around in circles’, as they work out how find the ‘least worst’ way out of the dead ends into which their stupid bets have led them.
    Obviously, the failure to understand the strength of the forces which led to Trump’s victory is by far the most important element.
    How such people can see the utter stupidity of siding with Berezovsky and Khodorkovsky, and also the ‘Banderistas’ in Ukraine, and Ibn al-Khattab and his little friends in Chechnya, remains a moot point.

  7. Fred says:

    Patrick,
    Timing? You mean like the never ending series of ‘crisis’ concocted by Democratic operatives in government and media? The only thing not expected was Chinese biological/economic warfare after their conrona virus outbreak. I suspect these releases of declassified information would have hit in February rather than the Fauci fraud show that is destroying the ecomomy of the Republic.

  8. David. I think, and am saying so loudly, that the West has lost its competence and that COVID-19 is a very visible demonstration of that (especially coming after that survey that said the USA and UK would be the best-equipped to handle a pandemic. A lot of people painted into a lot of corners and no good idea of how to get out except lay down more paint. Fortunately Russia and China are run by rational actors

  9. Terence Gore says:

    Eric
    There has been some suggestion that there were multiple authors and Steele was the cover for using a verified source.
    The titillating nature of the report got it widespread coverage and eyes viewing it.
    “Bongino questioned Steele’s actual participation with the dossier, arguing his name may have been used because he’d previously provided credible information for the FIFA soccer corruption probe.
    “Why was his name slapped on it? The answer is very simple: because Steele had been a credible source for the FBI in the past. … In other words, in front of a judge, they could present Steele as a legitimate front for false information.”
    https://www.foxnews.com/media/dan-bongino-newly-released-fbi-documents-on-steele-dossier-fisa-applications-are-devastating

  10. Deap says:

    Fred, I agree the timing of this denouement was entirely in the hands of the Democrats.
    Here is my take: They first needed to create the CYA Mueller Report, riddled with specious “conclusions” in their efforts to sever connections between their own malfeasance during the Obama administration, now percipitated by the totally unexpected Trump election.. Mike Rogers was on to this. Michael Flynn was on to this. So that pushes the timing out a few years.
    Next we have Ukraine, then the Pelosi slow walk to impeachment. Bow the deep stater Fauci-Birx corona slow walk. Anything to keep the Horowitz revelations off the front pages too. They knew that was coming. Next challenge, how to bury the Barr-Durham criminal investigation findings. Democrats now really have their back up against the wall.
    So I will go so far to claim, yes, the Democrats would even use and/or gin up the “corona crisis” to shut everything down. My background is in health sciences – there was no justification to shut down the world over a “novel” bad flu., unless you are already in control of the media agenda and have a compelling reason to do it.
    Democrats and Corona – in pari delitcti (Not to be confused with Pierre Delecto, who also had his own dirty hands in this.)
    Democrats, and their front groups like AVAAZ with their 60 million global activist connections, had plenty of reasons to not waste this latest pending “crisis” when they could use it for political gain.
    My God, Trump has been resilient. He may stumble and bumble, but he has never blinked.

  11. LondonBob says:

    Agree Patrick, clever to for it all come out in the run up to the election, and that was my expectation too.

  12. turcopolier says:

    David Habakkuk et al
    I learn that Steele was already employed by Fusion GPS when they made their pitch to the law firm. He had been working on the previous IO project paid for by the Washington
    examiner.

  13. NotSure says:

    Well Larry, you might have been right all along saying it was a leak. I myself came to believe it was Russian hacking, but if this true, it’s explosive.
    https://www.infowars.com/nsa-has-communications-between-seth-rich-and-wikileaks-attorney-claims/

    Clevenger went on to say that several high-ranking FBI and NSA have seen the correspondence between Rich and WikiLeaks firsthand.
    “In a recorded telephone conversation with my client, famed journalist Seymour “Sy” Hersh claimed that he spoke with a high-ranking FBI official who confirmed the existence of email communications between Mr. Rich and Wikileaks. My client separately spoke with another federal official who said he had seen the emails between Mr. Rich and Wikileaks,” he wrote.
    “Now, back to the NSA. Former NSA officials Bill Binney, Ed Loomis, and Kirk Wiebe are prepared to testify that the DNC emails published by Wikileaks could not have been obtained via hacking,” he continued.
    “Markings on the published emails –including the speeds at which the email files were transmitted – exclude the possibility of hacking. Instead, someone must have downloaded the files onto a thumb drive or something similar. Furthermore, the NSA or its Five Eyes partners in London would have intercepted any communications between Mr. Rich and WikiLeaks.”

    Is this true? Did Seth Rich, the murdered DNC staffer, actually corresponded with Wikileaks? Or this lawyer blowing hot air?

  14. blue peacock says:

    Mr. Habakkuk,
    Would you have any updates based on your following the cases related to Seth Rich? It seems that attorney Ty Clevenger has been stymied as he attempts discovery.
    https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/04/newly-released-fisa-documents-deep-state-spying-george-papadopoulos-curiously-seth-richs-name-redacted-transcripts/

  15. Fred says:

    Patrick,
    “…. the West has lost its competence and that COVID-19 is a very visible demonstration of that..”
    That’s a sweeping condemnation that does not appear to be supported by the facts, though I would love to see your rationale for concluding that.
    “Fortunately Russia and China are run by rational actors”
    Fortunate for whom?

  16. blue peacock says:

    “….the West has lost its competence and that COVID-19 is a very visible demonstration of that….Fortunately Russia and China are run by rational actors”
    Patrick,
    One would have to agree with your observation that competence of western governments have long been lost at the altar of politics and internal struggles for power and the short-term financial benefits of the powerful. It would appear that western governments are following the Soviets where their primary focus is PR & propaganda. Pravda on the Potomac and Pravda on the Hudson along with their fellow travelers in both print & television media are well integrated with the media relations efforts of the various government organs.
    It seems however contrary to your belief that the CCP is rational they too demonstrated substantial incompetence and followed up their incompetence with a scale of repression that they’ve tried to obfuscate for years.
    The country that showed remarkable competence was the CCPs bête noire, Taiwan. Their intelligence remarkably caught the phenomenon of too many people in Wuhan getting hospitalized with pneumonia. Their distrust of CCP caused them to act quickly and early by scaling back travel from China drastically and monitoring those that had been to China recently. The results are remarkable. Single digit deaths in a country with over a million annual visitors from China.

  17. Jim says:

    I am aware Washington Free Beacon admitted on Oct. 27, 2017, to employing Fusions GPS.
    https://freebeacon.com/uncategorized/fusion-gps-washington-free-beacon/
    This is what the WFB claimed at the time, according to Matthew Continetti, Editor in Chief & company Chairman Michael Goldfarb
    [[[Since its launch in February of 2012, the Washington Free Beacon has retained third party firms to conduct research on many individuals and institutions of interest to us and our readers. In that capacity, during the 2016 election cycle we retained Fusion GPS to provide research on multiple candidates in the Republican presidential primary, just as we retained other firms to assist in our research into Hillary Clinton. All of the work that Fusion GPS provided to the Free Beacon was based on public sources, and none of the work product that the Free Beacon received appears in the Steele dossier. The Free Beacon had no knowledge of or connection to the Steele dossier, did not pay for the dossier, and never had contact with, knowledge of, or provided payment for any work performed by Christopher Steele. Nor did we have any knowledge of the relationship between Fusion GPS and the Democratic National Committee, Perkins Coie, and the Clinton campaign.]]]
    -30-

  18. will.271828 says:

    it’s good to be able to read the full DOJ motion to dismiss the Flynn case together with its exhibits
    https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/6936-michael-flynn-motion-to-dismiss/fa06f5e13a0ec71843b6/optimized/full.pdf
    Interestingly, Steele and Ivanka were buds at one time, go figure?
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/dec/09/christopher-steele-ivanka-trump-personal-relationship

  19. Eliot says:

    Eric,
    You write for your audience. Either Steele was so mad, that he believed such things, or he felt that the Clinton Campaign and the DNC would eat it up.
    Perhaps his investigation didn’t produce any real information, he wasn’t allowed to clear Trump, that wasn’t an option, and so he came up with the lurid stories to distract his clients. Gray financial dealings would be easier to fact check, and harder to write.
    I do think it’s telling that the Democrats, and so much of Washington, thought Moscow had purchased Trump. Because it shows how they operate. They pursue policy because someone is paying.
    – Eliot

  20. J says:

    Colonel, Larry,
    I am now very concerned for both Trump and Pence’s personal safety. When one takes 10 steps back and looks at the situation, it seems as if there is concerted effort afoot to infect those who have access to both the President and Vice-President, and in turn infect both POTUS and VP. If both Pence and Trump are removed, under our laws then Pelosi becomes the President. And she has made many snide remarks about removing Trump from office. The ‘only’ time that Pelosi has ‘protected speech’ is on the floor of the House, the same is for Senators whose only time of protected speech is on the Senate floor. Anyway back to my concerns, the SS contingent protecting POTUS appears to have the virus raging in their ranks. Also POTUS’s military contingent personnel. White House personnel there are reports of infections of those close to the President and Vice President.
    Again, I am concerned that there appears a concerted effort afoot.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/07/us/politics/coronavirus-white-house-military-aide.html
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52595700
    https://news.yahoo.com/secret-service-coronavirus-cases-white-house-concerns-221444492.html

  21. Fred says:

    J,
    “If both Pence and Trump are removed” Self quarantine isn’t going to remove either one from office; maybe the MSM can have fun with the 25th Amendment arguement- again. On a brighter note I don’t think either is going to accept an invitation to dinner at Chappaquiddick. The press want’s mask photos to share their “rejoice, we conquer!” glee and generate lots of dopamine hits on social media. That’s all any of these stories are.

  22. Jack says:

    David,
    I’m afraid that the “limited hangouts” are always the tool when skeletons find a way out of the closet.
    The usual narrative of the institution is fine and upstanding. The hardworking “by the book” rank and file. The stress of the circumstances where everything had to be done to protect the integrity of the heart of democracy, an election. The evil Putin is known to interfere and sabotage. So considering the circumstances we deem it “careless” and not rising to the standard of prosecution. Kinda what Horowitz did? And how the Clinton breach of classified information was handled?
    Was the withdrawal of the prosecution of Flynn by Barr designed to obscure even more incriminating documents that Ms. Powell was slowly getting to? Were those handwritten notes released as “red meat”? How about the transcripts of the closed door House intelligence committee hearings?
    In most countries especially those where coup attempts are routine, if there was an attempted coup the plotters would be rounded up and dealt with promptly. Erdogan in Turkey is a good example. Of course the coup here was more subtle. However, Trump never used the powers of his office nor was he single minded in getting to the bottom of the coup and eradicating the threat to his presidency. There’s some informational value in that behavior.
    Another aspect is that half this country in their hatred for Trump believes it is quite acceptable to attempt such a coup against him. They’re quite happy to go down the slippery slope towards allowing the “state security” apparatus the levers of real power with no accountability. The very antithesis of a constitutional republic and truly dangerous to the liberty of citizens.
    Then of course are those with the real power. The political duopoly. The leadership of the governmental apparat. The nexus of financial power and the big corporate establishment. They have no interest in unraveling their opaque power structure. This is what I find baffling – why this attempted takedown of Trump when if one disregards his style, his rhetoric and manner of speech he’s one of them. Most of his policies to date have largely benefited the establishment. The current funneling of largesse to Wall St is epic. Something doesn’t smell right to me.
    Is this the “red meat” you’re contemplating?
    https://twitter.com/drmartyfox/status/1259564414191222785?s=21

  23. Deap says:

    J. why would only elderly Pelosi be immune from the “novel” virus in your succession scenario? Or perhaps we might learn leaking botox deactivates the virus.

  24. Yeah, Right says:

    Eric: “I don’t understand why Steele wrote fiction that was so over the top (e.g. the peeing prostitutes).”
    Dare I suggest it might be because ol’ Sergei Skripal loved a spin tall tales, especially after a few beers with his drinking buddy Pablo Miller.

  25. Deap says:

    Jack, Trump’s 150 plus federal judiciary appointments, including more strict constructionists on the US Supreme Court, will be his most lasting and most beneficial legacy for all of us. That alone earns him four more years.
    Trump brought candor and grit to tjis task, which has shaken up the establishment. Perhaps we differ when we define the establishment. Do you t overlook the very entrenched deep state public sector employees and their unions? They in fact are the “establishment”.
    These unelected fourth branch of government employees, who see themselves as powers only unto themselves, were never contemplated by our nation’s Founders. Hence their powers exists outside of our formal checks and balances.
    These current deep state entrenched obstructionists remain Barry’s most dangerous legacy. To say Trump was initially ill-prepared to meet their force and fury is an understatement. To Trump’s lasting credit, he continues to prevail against them.
    Give this new kid some credit; and most of all give him four more years. Trump is emerging as a seasoned warrior. While Biden is battle-scarred and fading, Trump is only now getting his second wind.

  26. LondonBob says:

    Seth Rich is a Jack Ruby. He was a reliable cutout for the Israelis, in this case to pass information to Wikileaks, there is a reason his motives aren’t examined except for nonsense about he was upset for Bernie Sanders.
    Giraldi has pointed out the Israelis were monitoring Assange.
    https://ahtribune.com/world/wikileaks/3710-who-spied-on-julian-assange.html
    We know the Israelis were involved in planting intel.
    https://www.timesofisrael.com/redacted-fbi-document-hints-at-israeli-efforts-to-help-trump-in-2016-campaign/
    We know that the Israel first crowd has been pushing the Russia smokescreen as much as the Clintonites and Obamaites. Trump has relentlessly pursued Israeli goals, not Russian.

  27. Fred says:

    LondonBob,
    “Trump has relentlessly pursued Israeli goals, not Russian.”
    If only we had a president who put America first. Was it an Israeli goal to refuse a no fly zone in Syria? To refuse to send troops to Ukraine, Libya, or additional ones to Afghanistan? Was it an Israeli goal to announce we were going to leave Afghanistan? To attempt to make an agreement with North Korea, to tariff China, impose a travel ban from the MidEast, attempt to close the border with Mexico, to appoint conservative judges to federal courts? Of course, because just like Clinton and Obama he’s really doing things for Israel, because we all know how pro-Netanyahu, I mean pro-Israel, Obama was.
    Thanks for the liink to the story about ” a May 2018 affidavit by an FBI agent in support of an application for a search warrant, and relates to communication between Stone and Jerome Corsi, an American author, commentator and conspiracy theorist.”
    That sure sounds like a credible method of gaining a search warrant to gather evidence done by America’s scandal free FBI. Which is nothing like what Larry is actually writing about, criminal conduct of the FBI and of members of Robert Mueller’s investigative team being used to get a search warrant on a man linked to the newly elected President, or covering it up; I’m sure there wasn’t any criminal conduct by the FBI in the Roger Stone case, the FBI is scandal free, and so are the jury pools in South Florida……Nice of you to link Seth Rich to the guy who shot JFK’s assasin and then both to Isreal. Neither are mentioned in either article you link to, nor have I ever heard that particular theory. Good work with inuendo, congrats.

  28. David Habakkuk says:

    blue peacock,
    There is another major strand in the attempts by Ed Butowsky’s lawyers to break down the wall of obfuscation shielding the truth about the life and death of Seth Rich.
    In a ‘tweet’ on 28 April, Clevenger posted a link to a letter on ‘outstanding discovery’ written on 27 March by Eden Quainton, who is acting for Butowsky in the case brought against him by Aaron Rich, to the judge presiding in the case.
    (See http://lawflog.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/2020.04.28-Eden-letter-to-court.pdf .)
    Unfortunately, as far as I can see, the comprehensive listing of documentation about the case one frequently finds on the ‘Courtlistener’ site is not available.
    However, I did manage to find a ‘Defendants’ Motion to Extend or Stay Discovery’ from 6 January.
    (See https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.dcd.194794/gov.uscourts.dcd.194794.97.0.pdf .)
    It has not helped, I think, that Butowsky appears to have been very seriously ill.
    However, comparing the January and March documents, it seems that the various lawyers representing him have made a good deal of progress.
    The recent document gives, I think, some very useful pointers to what Butowsky and his legal team think actually happened, in relation to the involvement of both Rich brothers in the exfiltration of material from the DNC to ‘WikiLeaks’, the murder of Seth, and the subsequent cover-up.
    To my mind, this is an indispensable part of the background to the way that the conspiracy, as it were, spiralled into ‘high gear’ in May/June 2016.

  29. LondonBob says:

    Just trying to tie together certain anomalies with my hypothesis Fred. The Roger Stone revelations have, unsurprisingly, been met with the usual wall of silence. Personally it was what I have been expecting for a while.

  30. walrus says:

    Zerohedge is reporting that Sidney Powell has apparently accused Obama of ordering the framing of Flynn.
    https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/obama-participated-plot-frame-flynn-sidney-powell

  31. David Habakkuk says:

    Terence Gore,
    I was interested to see that Dan Bongino was expressing scepticism about the notion that Steele actually authored the dossier.
    A seminal statement of the sceptics’ view was the March 2018 post ‘The Mechanics of Deception’ by Yaacov Apelbaum.
    (See https://apelbaum.wordpress.com/2018/03/17/the-mechanics-of-deception/ .)
    Of course, one should not simply take this on trust, particularly as a good deal of the sourcing is unclear, and I am, obviously, conscious of the dangers of fitting new evidence into theories one finds congenial.
    That said, there is something interestingly paradoxical about what emerged in the cross-examination of Steele by Hugh Tomlinson. It was conducted on the basis that it could be taken as self-evident that he was author of the dossier, but much of what emerged actually ‘meshed’ much better with Apelbaum’s reading.
    So, for instance, Hugh Tomlinson raised the long-standing puzzle that the memorandum which provoked the action from the Alfa Group owners spelt them ‘Alpha.’ (See page 49 of the transcript.)
    As Steele quite fairly said, ‘ph’ is a perfectly normal transliteration of the relevant Russian letter – which is actually derived from the Greek ‘phi.’
    (Indeed, the Russian ‘spetnaz’ unit which has the same name, in Russian, is conventionally transliterated ‘Alpha.’)
    However, someone whose native language was English would naturally, in both cases, follow the transliteration used by the group and found in all English-language discussion I can recollect seeing, apart from the memo which provoked the lawsuit.
    The use of a different transliteration in my view suggests quite strongly, although not decisively, that the actual author of the relevant passage in the memorandum was more used to reading, and writing, in Russian and/or Ukrainian.
    Moreover, if a native English speaker ‘copy edited’ the document, they were probably less familiar with Alfa than I think Steele is likely to be.
    And then, the puzzles about the peculiar numbering of the memoranda in the dossier were raised by Tomlinson.
    The memorandum which provoked the lawsuit was listed as 2016/112. It was one of 16 in the dossier as published, numbered 2016/080 to 2016/166. So, when the dossier was published, people quite fairly asked if there were many more documents related to ‘Russiagate.’
    A likely answer to the puzzle came with the release to ‘Judicial Watch’ last July of redacted versions of the memoranda from Orbis which were circulated in the State Department.
    (See https://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/JW-DCNF-v-State-Steele-prod-9-00968.pdf .)
    These use precisely the method of listing found in the dossier: ‘2015/191’ is just one of a number of examples.
    Asked about the missing reports by Tomlinson (page 67 of the transcript), Steele responded:
    ‘Within Orbis every report, no matter which project it is being produced on, is given a consecutive number. So there is no significance in the numbers that are missing, if you like, the numbers that refer to reports that were going into other project work.’
    This is patent nonsense. No company would send out material intended exclusively for one client with a numbering which included those sent out to all its other clients.
    As used in the reports circulated in the State Department, this looks like a system which one could very well employ for a service sent out to a range of clients – as it were, a kind of ‘newsletter.’
    Precisely what one would on no account expect was that such reports contained ‘secret intelligence’ intended for a specific client. The wider the dissemination, the more chance of them falling into the hands of counter-intelligence agencies with an interest in identifying the sources.
    And of course, nobody in their right mind would discuss any report containing genuine material attributed to ‘secret sources’ with journalists, as Steele did, given that the risks of ‘blowing’ any genuine ones would then be very great.
    My SWAG about this is that, in the conditions of panic in which the initial memoranda were produced – note the complete confusion of the dating – people at Fusion produced an incompetent imitation of the actual style used in Orbis memoranda which had been circulated to them as well as through the State Department.
    Also interesting is what Steele said at the hearing about the supposed communications link between the Trump campaign and Alfa.
    In addition to completely changing the ‘timeline’, so that he was now saying that the – supposed – commission to investigate the group came soon after Michael Sussman mentioned this link to him on 29 July, rather than on 11 September, as he earlier claimed, Steele had interesting things to say at the hearing about his meeting at the State Department on 11 October.
    The notes taken by Kathleen Kavalec record him as telling her:
    ‘Petr Aven of Alfa Bank has been the conduit for secret communications between the Kremlin and Manafort; messages are encrypted via Tor software and run between a hidden server managed by Alfa Bank (see separate paper on this channel).’
    According to Steele, what he had actually said was that this ‘was the reporting that we had from, I believe, Mr Simpson at the time.’
    What I think may well have happened is that, in a characteristically slapdash interpretation of the intercepts obtained from the NSA, some of the ‘contractors’ who had had access to material which did establish the server link jumped to the conclusion that it was incriminating.
    They then, probably with the aid of their Ukrainian associates, concocted a farrago, intended to combine the notion of a link with Putin through Alfa with that of an indirect link through Manafort, and attributed it to Steele.
    A different question, obviously, is how the obviously problematic suggestion that Oleg Govorun acted as a conduit for corrupt payments by the Alfa people to Putin at a time when a quick ‘open source’ check would have revealed he had not yet gone to work for the company, entered the dossier.
    This is one of the most important unresolved puzzles about the dossier. And, I admit, it is not obvious that one of Fusion’s Ukrainian contacts in Washington would have left such an obvious ‘hostage to fortune.’
    But, in general, the material coming out in London, which has received to little attention on your side, seems to me to support Apelbaum’s reading, rather than undermine it.
    On a different matter, as to Bongino’s view of the role of the FIFA investigation in all this, it is I think material that the collaboration of Steele with elements in the DOJ, FBI and CIA is likely to have started very much earlier than is conventionally accepted.
    In one of John Solomon’s two – crucial – August 2018 pieces, he wrote:
    ‘In all, Ohr’s notes, emails and texts identify more than 60 contacts with Steele and/or Simpson, some dating to 2002 in London. But the vast majority occurred during the 2016-2017 timeframe that gave birth to one of the most controversial counterintelligence probes in American history.’
    (See https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/400810-opinion-how-a-senior-justice-official-helped-dems-on-trump-russia-case .)
    There is a lot more to be said about the links involved, which I think actually may go back a lot further than this.
    However, it might help us understand the documentation of the contacts between Steele, Simpson and Ohr in 2016-17 better, if we could actually see some some of those emails and texts dating back to 2002.
    I do not know whether Solomon has had sight of this material, but I think it might help if he made a serious attempt to make it possible for the rest of us to see it.

  32. turcopolier says:

    walrus
    Yes. I watched her do that on TeeVee. I assume that once Sullivan vacates Flynn’s conviction, Flynn will sue everyone in the room at the WH for the 5 Jan, 2017 meeting at which the plot against Flynn was revealed. He can sue them all for violation of his civil rights for costs and punitive damages. Obama, Biden, Brennan, Clapper, Comey, etc.

  33. David Habakkuk says:

    walrus,
    Pat has just provided an answer to a some questions I was raising in a response to some comments by ‘Jack.’
    However, it may be worth posting what I had written, as it may still be a useful contribution to this discussion, even though it was clearly misguided, and I was, as it were, ‘behind the times.’
    For what it is worth, although I am still absorbing recent disclosures, whether or not they adequately establish that Obama was ‘ordering’ the framing of Flynn, I cannot for the life of me see any plausible reading of the evidence according to which there 1. was not a conspiracy to frame him, and 2. at the very least, Obama was complicit in this.
    Moreover, all this ties up with some points I have been trying to make in these exchanges.
    As I have repeatedly tried to stress, not just now but over the years, it is unfortunate that people in the States do not look more closely at developments in the U.K.- and also, perhaps, Australia.
    Although I need to look further, it seems from the cross-examination of Steele by Hugh Tomlinson that 5 January 2017 was a crucial date in his destruction of evidence, and also that one of the matters at issue between the two sides is whether some crucial evidence was destroyed then or a week earlier.
    Is it a coincidence that this was also the date of the crucial meeting involving Obama?
    Maybe.
    But it is not the most obvious hypothesis.
    The comment I had drafted reads as follows:
    Jack,
    You raise a range of critical questions.
    There is a lot more to be said about all of them.
    However, for the moment, let me pick up one matter.
    I do not have a clear view on the question of whether or not the withdrawal of the case against Flynn could have been a ‘damage limitation’ exercise by AG Barr.
    A question, for you and others.
    Does the extraordinary way in which Covington & Burling handled his defence provide grounds for Flynn to take legal action against them?
    If so, what would be the prospects for success?
    Would such action, if pursued, be likely to help onward the letting of precisely those ‘skeletons’ out of various ‘cupboards’ that you suggest Barr may be trying to prevent?
    And also, if in fact suing Covington & Burling could be a way forward, is it one that Flynn is likely to take, or is he, by now, simply so exhausted – and damaged – by the appalling way in which he has been treated that he will be more inclined to let things be?

  34. LG says:

    Jack, would not Trump’s foreign policy account for the not so silent coup attempt? Despite his avowed love for Israel and the bromance with Netanyahu, his wanting to get out from never-ending middle east wars would have undone all the hard work by H Clinton to destabilize the middle east to the benefit of her Israeli handlers. No doubt, Trump, when cornered, caves in and lobs a few ineffective bombs on empty Syrian airbases, or, when at his weakest, takes out an Iranian general earn some reprieve. However, it remains, that given a chance he tries his hardest to get the US out of the ME mess, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria or Yemen. And at least he has not gotten his country into any new conflict there. All this is enough for him to earn undying hostility of the Borg. It seems to me now that as his position gets stronger, and as his detractors take cover, we will see more of this.
    As the laylatul qadr in this holy month approaches, I pray your country gets out of this mess it has helped create in the ME.

  35. blue peacock says:

    Col. Lang,
    Would there be a reasonable probability that the dossier was actually written by Fusion GPS – Glenn Simpson, his wife Mary Jacoby (who did have a meeting at the WH at an important date in this frame up) and Nellie Ohr (DoJ official Bruce Ohr’s wife)? And Steele was used to provide intelligence legitimacy due to his prior relationships with US officials?
    Jim,
    Apparently the Washington Free Beacon was a cutout for uber-zionist hedge fund manager Paul Singer of Elliott Management who funded Fusion GPS for the initial oppo research.

  36. blue peacock says:

    Deap,
    There is no threat larger to a constitutional republic than the attempted overthrow of the constitutional order especially by the intelligence and law enforcement apparatus.
    The 150 “strict constructionists” on the federal courts don’t hold a candle compared to the threat to liberty that the attempted coup would. BTW, are these judges like the FISA court judges that approved the surveillance warrants on Carter Page?
    Note that the public unions didn’t attempt the coup. They’re small fry in relative terms compared to the oligarchy. Who do you think is more powerful – Trumka or Sheldon Adelson or Larry Fink? Who do you think has more influence even on Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer? Who do you think Barak & Michelle Obama partied with immediately after they left the White House?

  37. A.I.S. says:

    I have a more “innocent” explanation for the whole Steele bullshit.
    Essentially, Russian decisionmaking is isolated from its suroundings by a veritable moat/maze of high faluting bullshitpeddlers, who are all totally connected to Putin of course! In all seriousness, several 10s of thousands of people in Moscow alone are claiming connection to Putin.
    If one such hustler is approached by an obvious unfriendly spy like Steele, he will probably fed Steele some initial bullshit, report this conversation to the FSB counterintel (and congratulate himself on his decision when FSB informs him Steele was monitored anyway). Said Russian will then reach some type of accomodation with the FSB. Krysha courtesy of teh FSB, in exchange for perhaps a percentage of Steeles bribe money. Said Russian was probably told something like “Tell Steele whatever the expletive you want as long as its bullshit”.

  38. walrus says:

    I wonder if the “golden showers” reference in the dossier was supplied to Steele as a disguised watermark? I suppose it could have been salacious journalist bait but I wonder.

  39. blue peacock says:

    “Sen. Mitch McConnell will expressly permit the FBI to warrantlessly collect records on Americans’ web browsing and search histories via an amendment to the PATRIOT Act, which will be renewed in a vote this week

    https://twitter.com/thedailybeast/status/1260026947532279809?s=20
    Note that both parties talk a big game about the Bill of Rights. But when it comes down to it they’re both authoritarian. Yet folks are so invested in the partisan kabuki they can’t see the forest from the trees.

  40. Yeah, Right says:

    A.I.S. it is my understanding that Steele has been persona non grata with the Russian Federation since at least 2009, so there is no way he can travel to Russia to “approach” anyone.
    So any salacious BS that he picked up was likely fed to him by persons that he has known for many years.
    My take is that the vast majority of the “research” that went into his dossier was conducted in some nondescript pub in Salisbury, and as Sergei Skripal, Pablo Miller and Steele took turns shouting the rounds then the made-up misadventures of Donald Trump became increasingly more ribald.

  41. David Habakkuk says:

    A.I.S.
    Insofar as you suggest that what I call ‘Wormoldism’ (as in Graham Greene’s ‘Our Man in Havana) is likely to have been at issue with the dossier – people being fed fabricated material they are predisposed to believe – I would not disagree with you.
    In relation to the initial memorandum, and most of its successors, however, their sheer preposterousness has to be given due weight.
    The notion that one sits in a private security company in London, and recruits some ‘Primary Sub-source’, who then recruits other ‘sub-sources’ who just happen to have access to people right at the heart of the Putin ‘sistema’, is patent BS.
    Quite as ludicrous is the idea that everyone in the chain of communications could be expected to be reporting honestly, and the results would turn out to ‘mesh’ rather precisely with the preferred ‘narratives’ of the Clinton people.
    Sceptical as I am of the competence of Steele and his confederates in the British, and American, bureaucracies, I cannot see them genuinely believing all the garbage found in the dossier.
    However, the second memorandum, 2016/086, dated 26 July 2015 (sic), which deals with Russian cyber operations, is not simply garbage, in my view.
    One peculiarity lies quite precisely in the fact that it appears as the second memorandum. In terms of date, it only does so because 2015 is before 2016. If one corrects what seems an obvious sloppy error, however, the second memorandum in the sequence ought to be 2016/094, dated 19 July 2016. But 19 July is before 26 July.
    It is really quite bizarre, and then there is the peculiarity that 2016/095, which one would anticipate should have a date which might help one make sense of the sequence, actually is undated.
    What however makes confusion worse confounded is that, by contrast to its companions, 2016/086 sounds as though it could be the product of people talking to real sources, whose claims are not actually totally ‘off-the-wall.’
    Set in context, however, they are still fairly bizarre. So, it is asserted that:
    ‘FSB leads on cyber within Russian apparatus. Limited success in attacking top foreign targets like G7 governments, security services and IFIs but much more on second tier ones through IT back doors, using corporate and other visitors to Russia’.
    This, it would seem, cuts the ground out from under the claims which had been made by ‘CrowdStrike’, which had first been publicised on 14 June. (The initial memorandum in the dossier is dated 20 June.)
    For one thing, the GRU, which had been placed centre-stage right at the outset, is completely omitted. For another, it is suggested that there had been only ‘limited success’ in attacking ‘top foreign targets’. If the DNC and Hillary Clinton were not ‘top foreign targets’, I do not know what would have been.
    The claim also surprised me.
    Although I am no expert in the area, the impression I have formed of the approach of Clinton and her cronies to security matters, together with the fact that Russian IT education is really rather good, had led me to think it eminently possible that all the material published by ‘WikiLeaks’ was in the hands of the Russian security services.
    (There is no contradiction between believing this and thinking that the material was supplied to the organisation by Seth and Aaron Rich, that the murder of the former resulted from this, and that the inchoate confusion visible in the dating of the memoranda was the product of the panicky cover-up that became necessary as a result.)
    Immediately following these somewhat strange claims in memorandum 166, there is the suggestion that: ‘FSB often uses coercion and blackmail to recruit most capable cyber operatives in Russia into its state-sponsored programmes.’
    This obviously raises questions. One would have thought that recruiting people by ‘coercion and blackmail’ would be a risky business, as they could hardly be regarded as reliable.
    One can however see how the suggestion might have an elliptical relation to a possible truth. Recruiting some ‘capable cyber operatives’ who had been involved in, for instance, the targeting of financial institutions, might be judged a perfectly sensible thing to do.
    And, some months later, we discovered that something of that kind appeared to have happened with a certain Major Dmitri Dokuchaev, after he and his colleagues were arrested shortly after the publication of the dossier.
    This brings us on to the puzzle of the final memorandum, 2016/166, dated 13 December 2016.
    This restates the claim about recruitment under duress:
    ‘[Redacted: 39 characters] reported that over the period March-September 2016 a company/Webzilla and its affiliates had been using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct “altering operations” against the Democratic Party leadership. Entities linked to one Aleksei GUBAROV were involved and he and another hacking expert, both recruited under duress by the FSB, Seva KAPSUGOVICH, were significant players in this operation.’
    In my view, while it would have been unsurprising if people in the FSB thought they could use someone like Dokuchaev, someone like Kapsugovich is a somewhat less likely candidate. According to a McClatchy report, he is a twice-convicted pedophile who has been imprisoned in Russia in a facility where he has no access to the internet or cellphones.
    His inclusion looks to me like a piece of black humour.
    After lengthy legal proceedings, Dokuchaev, a superior of his in the FSB, and two others were convicted on charges of treason early last year, with the precise nature of the charges remaining somewhat opaque, but apparently having to do with contacts with the FBI.
    It has long been clear that there were quite extensive, and totally legitimate, links, between people like Dokuchaev and his colleagues and their counterparts in the FBI. There is absolutely no reason to believe that Steele had any connections with FSB cybersecurity whatsoever.
    A problem with ‘double agents’, as there is every reason to believe those convicted were, is that they can turn out to be ‘triple agents.’
    So a revised version of your scenario might run something like this. One of the targets of recruitment – perhaps someone whose criminal background was judged to make him vulnerable – did indeed report what was going on to FSB counterintelligence.
    At this point, however, the ‘said person’ would not have been told to feed his contacts ‘bullshit.’
    He might rather have been told something like:
    ‘We must feed the FBI people things that are not so ludicrous that they will smell a rat, but play to their prejudices. Something about people like you being recruited under “coercion and blackmail” would help. And, of course, you must not any account say anything that would implicate us in “Russiagate”: at least not yet.’
    And then, when, months later, the increasingly desperate plotters came back looking for evidence to back up the dossier claims, the ‘said person’could have been told something along the following lines:
    ‘Now’s our chance. We need to incriminate a perfectly reputable expatriate Russian cyberperson with enough bogus “evidence” so they think he cannot sue, whatever garbage they use to embellish the tale, and add a rather disgusting “pedo” into the mix. We do not know how the situation will develop, but can see interesting possibilities.’
    Of course, the ‘said person’ might also be told that, to cover-up what had happened, it would be necessary to arrest both those who had not ‘reported the conversation to the FSB counterintel’, and those who had.
    I am speculating, but I have not – yet at least – seen anything to make me totally abandon a favourite SWAG of mine: that in ‘durance vile’ somewhere, perhaps in comfortable lodging overlooking the Black Sea, Dmitri Dokuchaev is giving lectures on how to hoodwink gullible Americans (and Brits, perhaps.)

  42. English Outsider says:

    David Habakkuk – the slow uncovering of “Russiagate” brings Mr Steele into the limelight again, as the second transcript Mr Johnson has kindly provided with his fascinating and most informative article shows.
    I’m glad Mr Johnson, as a professional, evaluated “Agent Doe” as straight. That was very much my lay impression from reading the transcript.
    But whether he’s straight or not “Agent Doe” is not simple. He’s distanced himself from any monkey business and isn’t even interested in speculating about it. As long as he’s done his work by the book and can show he did, that’s as far as he’s going.
    Privately though, he’s speculating like hell about whether or rather when he got taken for a ride, and by whom.
    Just wondering whether Mr Steele’s doing some speculating along the same lines.
    Sir Richard Dearlove is a more interesting subject. His interactions with Mr Steele were scarcely “look no hands!”, and the two references below are merely a few references that show Sir Richard was scarcely the man lurking in the the shadows throughout. If he’d hired a PR man he couldn’t have got himself more centre stage –
    https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/christopher-steele-meeting-mi6-chief-revealed-new-fusion-gps-book-99292
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/07/ex-british-spy-christopher-steele-interviewed-russia-election/
    I’m struggling when it comes to the American end of the Steele affair. Too many players, too many links, it’s not a world I know of. But it’s clear at the UK end that senior UK Intelligence Officers were in this up to their necks. For that there is no innocent explanation.
    It can no longer be said that Mr Steele was working in a private capacity and that his activities were unknown to elements within British Intelligence. Had that been the case then it would have been automatic for HMG to have disciplined Mr Steele and to have immediately disavowed his activities.
    If the whole affair was merely Sir Richard Dearlove and elements within British Intelligence working without the knowledge of HMG then again HMG would have disavowed them. I don’t believe the tail wags the dog when it comes to the relationship between British Intelligence and HMG.
    It’s probable that HMG knew of the affair before its public disclosure. Obviously it did afterwards. Yet we never disavowed.
    The Steele affair made a lot of noise in the States. It served to publicly discredit an American President as far as his personal life went and gave him severe political difficulties thereafter.
    In those circumstances HMG’s failure to disavow at any stage showed a deliberate decision by the British Government to allow an American President to be damaged.
    Why would HMG do that to an American President?

  43. turcopolier says:

    EO
    Surely personal disdain would not be an operative reason?

  44. Colonel Smithers says:

    Further to David’s question, having worked on Brexit in the City and knowing officials in London and Brussels, let me venture an answer. Out of the EU and with Trump not interested in the Atlantic alliance and other foreign entanglements, the UK, or its establishment, feared isolation and the loss of influence. In addition, many of the UK’s “securocrats” are involved with the fossil fuel industry and more interested in their pay checks than peace. Please have a look at a recent expose by Adam Curtis. Dearlove is mentioned.

  45. blue peacock says:

    EO,
    The role of HMG and the Australian and even Italian governments may be one of the things that Barr obscures. As David Habakkuk notes the “limited hangout” and “red meat” could possibly shield an international conspiracy to directly intervene in a presidential election on the side of the “sure thing” candidate from the incumbent party.
    What none of them bet on was the probability that the much vilified candidate would actually win the election. The question is will we ever know the extent of the coup attempt? Trump doesn’t want to disclose, yet anyway.

  46. David Habakkuk,
    In reference to the Steele memorandum dealing with Russian cyber operations, it is correct in saying that the bulk of Russian cyber operations reside with the FSB. Prior to this these operations along with signal operations were conducted by FAPSI, the Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information. FAPSI only came into existence in 2001. Prior to that these functions were carried out by the KGB. In 2003, FAPSI was dissolved with the bulk of its functions incorporated into the FSB. In both the FAPSI and FSB, cyber operations were focused on the internal and defensive realms. It was similar to the FBI cyber operations. As such they had a history of collaborating on cyber security and hacker cases.
    FSB did have a history of “turning” Russian cyber criminals and overly curious hackers to do their bidding. Some of us admired the FSB’s comfort with working with hackers since they often possessed excellent skills. China also has a symbiotic relationship with nongovernmental hackers in what was call patriotic hackers. These patriotic hacker groups took taskings from Chinese Intelligence and were paid for their successes. In effect, they were issued letters of marque which I think is a brilliant idea. USI never developed this level of comfort with hackers.
    What cyber intelligence functions FAPSI had were transferred to the SVR. One of the capabilities that came out of this was Cozy Bear or APT29. This was the group penetrated by the Dutch AIVD who watched as they penetrated the State Department and Pentagon networks in an uncharacteristically bold and aggressive operation. The GRU seemed to develop their cyber capability on their own. I don’t know if they actively recruited hackers or just grew them in their education system. Fancy Bear or APT28 was a GRU group.

  47. English Outsider,
    When Steele publicly told his story, it was clear that he felt that Trump was a horrible man who should never be president. He was driven to get his reporting to the highest levels of the FBI any way he could whether it be giving his reports to US politicians or seeking interviews. He may have been patient zero for TDS. What percentage of his reporting was pure shithouse rumors, Moscow gossip or Russian disinformation is a mystery to me. His inclusion of the pee pee tape report shows how much his hatred and fear of Trump clouded his judgement. I remember when the dossier first came out, the only part that was trending was that tape. It was 48 hours of outrage and jokes on twitter. The rest was lost.

  48. Fred says:

    Harry,
    He’s only the lead instigator of the coup plot. The whole framework of the institutional left and a majority of their enablers on the right is failing before the view of the world at large. There are at least two diametricly opposed theories of governance in play in additon to all the corruption and foreign interference. Trump was the manifestation of a cultural opposition to the remaking of America by the left.Trump, his bully pulpit, media antics and twitter account have done what the little boy did by telling everyone the truth about emperor “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!” .

  49. David Habakkuk says:

    blue peacock,
    ‘The role of HMG and the Australian and even Italian governments may be one of the things that Barr obscures.’
    Over the years, it has been born in on me that what our host long ago christened ‘the Borg’ is a much odder phenomenon than people common realise. It is effective, in part because it has been ‘transnational’ in organisation, and in overt ideology (though the ambiguous relationships to various ‘nationalisms’ are themselves an interesting study.)
    Resistance to the ‘Borg’ is also ‘transnational’, and also commonly a much more complex phenomenon than people realise. (One example: it has become progressively clearer to me that sections of the Israeli ‘security establishment’ have been rather less than totally ‘on board’ with some of the dottier enthusiasms of American ‘neoconservatives.’)
    A long-standing view of mine is that a lack of serious investigation of transnational links is a major reason why ‘the Borg’ has been able to get away with so much.
    And here, the case of Christopher Steele – always interesting – has just got a lot more so.
    So, it is clear that the recently declassified transcripts of House Intelligence Committee interviews repeatedly push us back to the puzzles about Steele’s role.
    As a point of basic investigative methodology, it should surely be obvious that these need to be compared with Steele’s own accounts.
    As I noted in an earlier comment, it is clear that cross-examination in London by Hugh Tomlinson QC on behalf of the owners of the ‘Alfa Group’ on 17-18 March, which has been made publicly available, was conducted on the basis of four separate witness statements, which have not been.
    And it is also clear that the production of the three new statements reflect the fact that when Steele’s version of events actually came under serious critical scrutiny, he started changing it drastically, and repeatedly.
    Why is there absolutely no visible sign that anybody, other than Bonnie Eslinger of ‘Law 360’, has made the slightest effort to get access to these witness statements?
    Earlier in these exchanges, I also harked back to the ‘Mechanics of Deception’ piece which Yaacov Apelbaum posted in March 2018.
    As well as expressing scepticism about the notion that dossier was authored by Steele, its author also suggested that the – London-based – Hakluyt/Holdingham group was a key part of this story.
    And he made a very interesting specific claim: that the ‘Guardian’ journalist Luke Harding, and also Edward Baumgartner, were ‘contractors’ of Hakluyt, as well as Orbis, as well as the former British Ambassador to Moscow, Sir Andrew Wood being a ‘contractor’ of the latter organisation.
    If true, these suggestions would have very radical implications, particularly given the publicly documented transatlantic links not only of Steele but of Baumgartner, and Wood.
    Checking some easily available material established that there was nothing inherently implausible about Apelbaum’s claims about Hakluyt – with which, of course, Alexander Downer had been closely involved – although of course that left open the possibility that, as often happens, accurate information had been used to give disinformation credibility.
    What however I also discovered was that one of the founding figures in the company, a former FCO official called Michael Maclay, had, back in the ‘Eighties, been an employee of the current affairs and features department of London Weekend Television, as I had myself, although as I never met him I think he must have joined around 1984, which was when I left.
    If one is looking for information on these matters, as they relate to Britain, the ‘Powerbase’ site is generally a good place to start.
    (See https://powerbase.info/index.php/Hakluyt .)
    Ironically, given its ‘leftist’ orientation, it turned out that the normally rather thorough people there had swallowed a good deal of disinformation put out by Maclay and the two former MI6 people with whom he founded the company.
    What I now think is that its creation was intimately involved with the coming together of some of the sometime ‘Sixties and ‘Seventies ‘student radicals’ who were instrumental in the creation of ‘New Labour’, and the key elements in the security services.
    This was, as it were, ‘consummated’ around the time of Blair’s election landslide in 1997, but its roots went back to the mid-Eighties, and what happened at Maclay’s and my old department was an important part of the background. It was involved with the history of the ‘British American Project’, as it is now called, of whose ‘Advisory Board’ Maclay is now chairman.
    It was clear from the exchanges of comments that Apelbaum was unfamiliar with this history (and, after all, why should he know anything about it?)
    One of the things which emerged, however, was that from very early on, sympathetic journalists notably from the ‘Financial Times’ were being used to make deeply suspect claims that there was a ‘Chinese Wall’ between its operations and those of Maclay’s two co-founders erstwhile employers at MI6.
    Ironically, precisely Apelbaum’s ignorance of this history made me much more inclined to take more seriously his claims about Harding and Baumgartner.
    And this is all the more so as the implicit suggestion – that one of the successes of Hakluyt has been to contribute to turning the ‘Guardian’, once a great liberal newspaper, into a kind of British equivalent of ‘Pravda’ or ‘Izvestiya’ in Brezhnev’s day – meshes with a lot of other information.
    One does not, I think, need to approach Apelbaum’s work uncritically – one should not do this with anyone’s, and emphatically not where so much of the sourcing is less than clear – to think that following up a whole series of claims he makes about transatlantic links might throw a great deal of light on ‘Russiagate.’
    Also material here is the fact that neither John Solomon, nor anybody else of whom I am aware, appears to have attempted to follow up his suggestion back in August 2018 that contacts between Bruce Ohr’s contacts with ‘Steele and/or Simpson’ go back ‘2002 in London.’
    Again, as a simple fact of investigative methodology, in making sense of the latter stages of an ongoing relationship, the context provided by earlier stages is commonly crucial.
    How on earth can we realistically expect to make full sense of the ‘vast majority’ of the exchanges between the three which apparently occurred ‘during the 2016-2017 timeframe that gave birth to one of the most controversial counterintelligence probes in recent American history’, if ‘notes, emails and texts’ going back to 2002 are not explored?
    It may not be material that 2002 takes us back to the period when the collaboration of ‘New Labour’ and the British and intelligence services was in the process of yielding interesting results. It was, for one thing, a time when the ‘loops of lies’ about Iraqi WMD were circulating at accelerating speed. And here, as in later events, not only Britain but Italy played a crucial role.
    Moreover, it was also the time when the late Boris Berezovsky was settling down in his self-appointed role of ‘king over the water’ in London – and when in Moscow the now self-styled ‘dissident’ Mikhail Khodorkovsky was heading down the course of confrontation with Putin that would lead to his arrest the following year.
    I think it would be most interesting to know more both about what Hakluyt was doing at this time, and about the communications between Ohr, Steele, and Simpson then and later.

  50. English Outsider says:

    Colonel – is it possible to guess at the motivation of people like Steele or Dearlove?
    You yourself ask a lot of Intelligence Officers. “The truth is that intelligence is an art best practiced by gifted eccentrics, people widely and deeply educated, favored by nature and training with intuition beyond the average and who care more for the truth than anything else.”
    https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2019/10/artists-versus-bureaucrats.html
    If people like that are around in British Intelligence I wouldn’t know. I hope so. But Steele and Dearlove are not such. They are bullshit artists first and foremost, possibly highly intelligent in the latter case and all the more difficult to read for that. Integrity Initiative level, if that, not the breed that “care more for the truth than anything else.”
    I don’t trust a word they say, about their motives for going for Trump, about themselves, about such as Halpern or about anything else.
    But your article above may also show that American Intelligence is still given to outsourcing- “The same kind of “thinking” has caused the clandestine services to rely far too much on “liaison” relationships with foreign intelligence services as a substitute for conducting American run espionage against difficult targets. The reason? Disclosure of foreign operations does not entail the career risk for the “managers” that the failure of an American operation would bring.”
    Such “liason” would also offer a cut-out, safe from the queries of inquisitive Congressmen, if one wished to co-ordinate an attack on a President.
    Schumer saw the folly of going up against the Intelligence Community –
    “New Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump is “being really dumb” by taking on the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia’s cyber activities.
    “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
    “So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”

    It did seem back then that Russophobia was dear to the Intelligence Community’s heart –
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2017/06/09/u-k-labor-leader-corbyn-and-trump-have-something-in-common-russia/#6e8f956056f9
    Six ways from Sunday at getting back at Trump? With Steele and Dearlove they found a seventh.
    But it still leaves the question of why HMG went along with it and, certainly after the election, tacitly supported it.

  51. David Habakkuk says:

    EO,
    I have a quite simple problem.
    It is quite clear that the ‘blame game’ going on involves people attempting to escape accusations of complicity in deception by claiming that they were credulous victims of the deceptions of others.
    Unfortunately, both interpretations have an unavoidable implication: the degree of dishonesty and/or credulity required to explain the behaviour of any of the key participants should have disqualified them from employment in either law enforcement or intelligence work.
    As to the ‘FBI Special Agent’, as I have yet to read the transcript of his interview, having been tied up with making sense of the issues raised by the transcript of the cross-examination of Steele by Hugh Tomlinson, it would obviously be premature for me to hazard a view as to whether, or how far, he was credulous or is being dishonest.
    My central point, for the moment, however, is that one cannot make a proper assessment of claims about Steele without a proper critical analysis of claims by him.
    This requires, as a matter of urgency, that at the very least the four witness statements that formed the very effective ‘demolition job’ that Tomlinson performed on him, and hopefully a great deal of other material from the case brought by the Alfa group owners in London, be put in the public domain.
    Also we really do need to see the ‘missing memoranda’, 2016/087 and 2016/088, which Steele says he provided to Michael Gaeta on 5 July 2016.
    Equally important, moreover, are the materials from the case Aleksej Gubarev has brought. In sharp contrast to what happens in the U.S., it is commonly the case that only very limited material is made public until a case is heard, and often not much even then.
    I would tend to think it likely that the hearing of that case can only start when Mr Justice Warby has delivered his judgement. I can see no indications of how soon this will be.
    From what has already emerged from the current proceedings, I think it unlikely that Steele will be able to fight off the claims made by the Alfa Group owners in London, as he successfully did in the United States. And I think he is likely to know that his prospects in the case brought by Gubarev are as bad, if not worse.
    Whether all this will increase what seems to me a clearly emerging reluctance on his part to continue to allow others to make him a ‘patsy’, by claiming they were simply credulous, is I think an interesting question.

  52. English Outsider says:

    TTG – ” – patient zero for TDS” made me laugh. Is Mr Steele the first recorded case of the TDS pandemic that still rages on the continent and here in the UK? Since your President has a wicked habit of baiting his opposition with the most outrageous tweets he can think of I don’t suppose there’s much chance of that pandemic subsiding.
    Interesting that this transcript was made public. There are Russian mobsters around who know now if they didn’t before who put the FBI on to them. Mr Steele. Presumably Mr Steele is getting round the clock protection.
    There are one or two points I don’t get. The first is that I gather Intelligence Officers who’ve retired aren’t allowed to use the networks they set up or developed when they were in service. They can’t use resources belonging to HMG for their private business when they’ve retired.
    But would you say that this exchange shows that Mr Steele did just that? –
    MR. QUIGLEY: “Did he talk about how he developed his sources? How long he had known them, for example?”
    (Answer) “Just generally, that when he was there developing his
    network, and he had remained – they had remained in touch and a part of that

    If Mr Steele did use contacts remaining from his official duties then MI6 must have known about that and approved it. The line between active and retired seems to be very blurred here.
    The second point is that I thought there was a convention that, within five eyes, Intelligence services didn’t covertly recruit retired members from other Intelligence Services.
    Does the FBI count as an Intelligence Service for the purposes of this convention? Would “Agent Doe” or his superiors have therefore had to get permission from MI6 before they recruited Mr Steele?
    Reading the transcript it seemed there was a deliberate avoidance of such questions relating to Mr Steele’s position as a former Intelligence Officer and relating to his continuing contacts with MI6. I wondered whether that was a result of a pre-hearing agreement or understanding on the part of all there that that topic was off-limits. Or did they all take it as a matter of course that an experienced senior MI6 operative, complete with skills and a range of contacts past and present, merely dropped into the FBI’s lap and that was that? No understanding at a higher level that it was OK for one of ours to moonlight for the FBI?
    If AG Barr is intent on nailing the American end of this affair without imperiling the US/UK relationship, then the fact that such questions are there waiting to be asked by any half-awake journalist must make his task considerably harder.
    I noticed on the Colonel’s site that you were out and about limbing. Felled or standing? Axe or chainsaw? There’s a reference in an old book I’ve got to workmen lopping off 6″ branches from a felled elm with a single stroke. Very handy if one could do it. Saves all the bother of getting the saw pinched if one is careless.
    That would have been with the heavy English axe, I suppose, of which I still have an example. The Australian fallers in the pre-chainsaw days, who had really tall trees to tackle, used a much lighter American made axe for their work. You still use those? Or is it chainsaw all the time.

  53. English Outsider,
    Glad you enjoyed my patient zero comment. I do remember Steele’s own account of how frantic he was to stop Trump in 2016. It went far beyond just viewing Trump as a despicable toad or a conman and bullshit artist. Funny that when I first heard the term TDS, I thought it referred to those who saw him as a savior sent from heaven to be our infallible, all knowing god-emperor. Took me a few days to realize my initial understanding was 180 degrees off. As you know, I have a touch of the bug myself. At least I don’t think he’s the devil.
    Concerning an intelligence officer’s use of his contacts after retirement, I can only speak of US policy. To contact and use a recruited source for one’s own purposes after retirement would probably initiate an investigation. On a more personal note, I would never do such a thing, even for the simple reason of renewing an old acquaintance. To do so would be putting that formal source at great risk, even if we were both out of the business.
    Recontacting or maintaining contact with those who one meets while in the business, but as part of that business may be another story. I still wouldn’t do it. For Steele to do so is a terrible choice in my opinion, especially since he was booted out of Russia as a British intelligence officer. He is endangering innocent people for personal gain.
    There are indeed serious restrictions on recruiting former intelligence officers of many friendly countries. There are also restrictions on the use of citizens of several friendly countries. I was expressly forbidden from recruiting British citizens. We were restricted from recruiting German subjects by the mid-90s. Before that, it was anything goes in Germany. However, these restrictions were on unilateral use of these foreign nationals. There were times when bilateral use of such foreign nationals was permitted.
    Steele never considered himself to be an FBI source. He thought of himself as a freely cooperating fellow professional. The FBI coded him as a source. It’s just the bureaucratic way. When I was a SMU operative/case officer, I was also coded as a USI source. I also has a coded source who never considered himself to be working for USI or the US Government. He thought of himself as working for me personally. I guess it allowed him to sleep better at night.
    Steele had a long history of contact with USI both before and after his retirement. While still in MI6 he liaised with our CIA and FBI as a normal part of his duties. After retirement, his work investigating FIFA once again brought him in contact with the FBI and DOJ. He used contacts developed during that work to get in touch with the FBI once he started his dossier work and crusade against Trump.
    Concerning my limbing activities. I was trimming dead branches from my trees using a pole saw and hatchets. I used a small electric chainsaw to cut up the branches on the ground. I particularly enjoyed the hatchet work. It’s both aesthetically and spiritually pleasing. I used a very light weight Buck hatchet and a larger carpenter’s hatchet which I modified into a semi-bearded hatchet. I do my final sharpening now with various grades of emery paper taped to a flat surface. It works for knives as well. You still using that magnificent Gransfors Bruk axe of yours?

  54. turcopolier says:

    TTG
    “a despicable toad or a conman and bullshit artist.” Ah, you mean he was a politician. There are a few exceptions. I would place Rand Paul among them. Yes. “Recruited source” is a term that can mean anything or nearly nothing
    if it is used by the uninformed. As you say, anyone who provides information and whose product must be identifiable for analytic sorting purposes is given a registration number so as to not use the name in non collection activities. OTOH some non staff human assets are virtually employees of the collection activity and are concealed and protected. They are the true “recruited sources.

  55. David Habakkuk says:

    EO,
    These crooks are congenitally incapable of organising a coherent story among themselves, and sooner or later blurt things out.
    The ‘FBI Special Agent’ could have been identified at any time as Michael Gaeta by simple searches. See, for example
    https://www.eventa.it/eventi/rome/the-challenges-of-transnational-organized-crime-today .
    In the transcript, we find a vivid account of how Bruce Ohr – supposedly – introduced Gaeta to Steele in the spring – probably April – of 2010.
    Unfortunately, he failed to coordinate this with Simpson and Peter Fritsch, who in their ‘Crime in Progress’ book provide a rather different account:
    ‘In 2011, he contacted Michael Gaeta, an FBI agent he met at a conference in Oxford in 2009, who headed the Bureau’s Joint Organized Crime Squad. Later, he would work with Gaeta on one of the FBI’s longest-running and highest-priority cases: the hunt for the fugitive Russian Mafia don Semion Mogilevich, whom Orbis eventually established was hiding out in a small village north of Moscow under Russian government protection.’
    Notice how coy Gaeta is about Mogilevich in the interview?
    And then, we have the fascinating Q& A you quote, in which Gaeta really drops Steele in it:
    ‘MR. QUIGLEY: “Did he talk about how he developed his sources? How long he had known them, for example?”
    (Answer) “Just generally, that when he was there developing his network, and he had remained – they had remained in touch and a part of that”
    One fact that appears reasonably well established about Steele is that the only time he served in Moscow was in 1990-93. Cross-examined by Hugh Tomlinson, QC, Steele claimed that his sources ‘don’t come from my time as a Crown servant.’ He also stated that he has ‘No, but I have worked as a contractor for the FBI and parts of the British government during that period.’
    Later, he describes himself as ‘a private investigator who has government clients’, and in response to a request for clarification, explains that: ‘The government clients task us on national security issues, my Lordship.’
    So, rather clearly, the notion that Orbis is simply a commercial operation is BS. Among other things, it is deploying the network of sources available to MI6 on purposes approved by that organisation.
    An obvious question then becomes who would have been the sources that Steele and others were developing in Moscow in 1990-93?
    Here, indiscreet articles by another of his ‘stenographers’, Catherine Belton, which, unlike her recent book, can be read in a few moments, are to the point.
    In May 2005, shortly before Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s conviction and sentencing, two pivotal figures in the creation of the ‘semibankirschina’ of the ‘Nineties, Christopher Samuelson and Christian Michel, who had run a company called ‘Valmet’, gave Belton, then with the ‘Moscow Times’, the benefit of remarkably candid interviews.
    (See https://mikhail_khodorkovsky_society_two.blogspot.com .)
    Some of the sourcing is highly dubious. So, for example, for a key part of the history, she relies on, as many Western journalists did, on a former GRU person called Anton Surikov.
    Whether Belton was simply too incompetent to discover that this interesting figure had a ‘second identity’ as ‘Mansour Nathoev’, a Cherkess nationalist, or knew and did not see fit to inform her readers, I do not know.
    (For his history, see http://www.justicefornorthcaucasus.com/jfnc_message_boards/circassia_adiga.php?entry_id=1279585225 .)
    That said, Belton’s articles provide valuable insights into the early stages of the ‘devil’s pact’ which people in key areas of Western intelligence, and law enforcement, made with the ‘semibankirshchina.’, and in particular with Berezovsky and Khodorkovsky.
    There is, moreover, every reason to believe that the FBI were involved in this from very early on.
    A combination of the heritages of Soviet, and Russian, history, and the utopian enthusiasms of Western ‘liberals’ and the kind of Western ‘Fachidioten’ to whom they looked for advice, meant that the attempt to turn a command economy into a market economy overnight lead to massive criminalisation.
    Ironically, another disinformation-laden recent volume, that by Heidi Blake, formerly of the ‘Sunday Times’ and now of ‘BuzzFeed’, has moments of candour about this.
    In a world where everyone needed ‘krysha’ simply to engage in business, Boris Berezovsky found his in the Chechen mafias.
    Particularly given their links to the Chechen insurgency, people in the Russian security services sided with their Slav rivals, notably, in Moscow, the ‘Solntsevskaya Bratva’, to which Mogilevich was linked, and in St Petersburg the ‘Tambov Gang.’
    So the FBI ‘investigation’ into Mogilevich, in which another FBI Special Agent, Robert Levinson was a central figure, was never a simple matter of law enforcement. It was also taking sides in internal Russian power struggles.
    And here, another involvement of Michael Gaeta, discussed extensively in the interviews, is of particular interest: the investigation into the activities of Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov, aka ‘Taiwanchik’, and the operations he conducted out of an apartment in ‘Trump Tower.’
    This, however, has to be set in context. In an earlier phase of his career, this figure was at the centre of allegations, disseminated by the FSB to intelligence agencies in the West – including the CIA – and also Israel, about links between Berezovsky and Chechen guerillas.
    Mention of this surfaced in an affidavit given by the late Alexander Litvinenko to Berezovsky’s Israeli lawyer, Michael Cotlick, in Tel Aviv in April 2006 – in which ‘Taiwanchik’ was said to be his collaborator in ‘illegally providing Chechen guerillas with arms.’
    Links to this an subsequent documents can be found, if one goes to the ‘Evidence’ page on the archived site of the Sir Robert Owen’s inquiry into the death of Litvinenko, and looks up the Lextranet references given.
    (See https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)
    The link to the Litvinenko affidavit is at INQ015669. As often, it was selectively quoted by a judge who wanted to obscure the truth.
    So also was a letter from previous December – link at INQ018922 – in which the same merry bunch of disinformation peddlers produced ‘evidence’ purporting to show that Mogilevich, while acting as an agent of the FSB and under Putin’s personal ‘krysha’, had attempted to supply a ‘mini nuclear bomb’ to Al Qaeda.
    In the fabrication of this ‘evidence’, a crucial role was played by the former KGB Major – and rabid Ukrainian nationalist – Yuri Shvets.
    Interesting light on his career was produced in an affidavit he produced in May last year – see https://www.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.nysd.500468/gov.uscourts.nysd.500468.65.0.pdf .
    In this, among other things, he explains that:
    ‘By arrangement with the U.S. Government, in 2004, I consulted the Canadian and British governments on security issues in Russia …
    ‘From 2007 to 2014 by arrangement the U.S. Government I consulted anti-terrorist squad of Scotland Yard on assassination in London of Aleksandr Litvinenko, a Russian exile and former officer of the Russian security agency (FSB).
    ‘In February 2015, I testified as a key expert witness in Royal Court of London in inquest in Aleksandr Litvinenko assassination.’
    Actually, the first occasion when Christopher Steele drafted in Yuri Shvets to spread disinformation about the life and death of Alexander Litvinenko was in a BBC Radio 4 programme on 16 December 2006, entitled ‘The Litvinenko Mystery’ – link at HMG000513 .
    In this, the ‘top supporting actor’ was Robert Levinson, who, a few weeks later, on 9 March 2007, would disappear in mysterious circumstances on the Iranian island of Kish.
    The collaboration of the FBI with Oleg Deripaska in attempts to recover him is a sub-plot of some importance in the ‘Russiagate’ saga.
    I am afraid the whole notion of Steele having distinctive ‘sources’ is likely to be BS. What we are dealing with is a pool of sources, common to figures ‘in the know’ in MI6, the FBI, and the CIA, which had its origins in the ‘devil’s pact’ with the ‘semibankirschina.’
    Unfortunately, many figures who were brought into this ‘network’ were always playing double games. And over time, the balance of advantage in this complex game has shifted further and further towards the Russian security services – as the history of ‘Taiwanchik’ may illustrate.

  56. Teakwoodkite says:

    Good read Larry
    While this unraveling evolves it is worth noting that there evidence to implicate the unmasking never occurred and that the Flynn conversation of 12-29-2017 was the product of a foreign intel tap.
    Flynn made that call while out of the country and the unmasking was not needed since Clapper and McCabe testified that the transcript “showed up” unmasked. There was no unmasking request for 12-29. McCabe also testified that “the Agency had the pen”
    Worth a watch as Dan lays out the timing that Pat was musing about
    https://youtu.be/HCo5JEQc7qc

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