“When spies get angry, they call reporters and arrange discreet chats in parking garages. The last president who entered the Oval Office with this much dislike and distrust of the IC was Richard Nixon—and we know how that worked out for him.”
John R. Schindler — Former NSA and professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College
“I can tell you right now Brennan is an asshole. I have known all these people for years. Clapper is — sort of — a better guy but not a rocket scientist. The NSA guys are fucking morons. You know the trouble with all of those guys is that the only way they are going to make it to a board, or two, and get hired (…) to deliver some fat cat contracts is if Hillary stayed in.”
Seymour Hersh [Phone interview]
January 12 2017 — A classified document presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
RELATED POST: Intel Report Suspiciously Anachronistic
RELATED POST: The ‘Trump Dossier’: A Clever Fabrication?
UPDATE (January 12 2019) — Last Thursday marks two years since the so-called Steele dossier, an explosive collection of memos alleging collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, was published by BuzzFeed News for public consumption.
The Steele dossier specifically claims that US President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen and his three associates visited Prague in August 2016 to meet Kremlin officials to discuss how to make deniable cash payments to hackers in order to cover up Moscow’s secret liaison with the Trump team.
So, where do we stand on Russiagate today? As NPR Philip Ewing just wrote, Mueller’s investigation has so far found nothing that would tie Trump’s campaign in with Russia’s active measures in 2016.
There is still no smoking gun, and the Russia case also appears to have been weakening, not strengthening.
Greg Miller — a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning reporter from The Washington Post — said that The Washington Post had worked hard to investigate Steele’s allegations, with the newspaper’s reporters “literally spending weeks and months” in a bid to obtain more information on the matter.
“We sent reporters through every hotel in Prague, through all over the place, just to try to figure out if he [Cohen] was ever there, and came away empty”, Miller noted.
Sources at the FBI and the CIA told Miller that they don’t believe that the “Prague meeting” ever happened.
Last month, radio host John Ziegler interviewed Michael Isikoff, one of the biggest proponents of the Russia-gate story.
In April 2017, Isikoff and his co-writer, journalist David Corn published “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump.”
Ziegler began with what he apparently thought was a soft-ball question.
“Would you agree that a lot of what is in the Steele Dossier has been at least somewhat vindicated?”
“No,” said Isikoff flatly.
In their analysis of the Steele dossier published on January 10 2019, Business Insider journalists describe the dossier as a “largely unverified document.”
At the centre of the dossier firestorm is the document’s most salacious allegation against the president.
The dossier said Trump rented the presidential suite at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow during a trip to Russia in 2013.
While staying at the hotel, the document says, Trump hired Russian prostitutes to perform sexual acts in front of him which involved urination.
There is no evidence that the allegation is true.
I guess it is fair to describe the Steele dossier as a Rorschach test where anyone will see whatever he wants to see.
What do I see, will the readers ask? Fair enough…
In June 2013, Trump had dinner with the Agalarovs brothers, Michael Cohen and Ike Kaveladze, an associate of the Agalarovs.
After the dinner, the men visited a Las Vegas strip club called The Act whose employees were known to perform similar sexual acts to those outlined in the dossier.
Here is what I know as a student of Intelligence. When the spooks build a piece of disinformation, they do not lie like a six years old.
They patch up together a bunch of true stories, some verifiable while some are hidden behind the veil of national security. Then they plant a few pieces of disinformation which can not be disproved.
The Steele dossier sounds very much like such a disinformation operation. As a good friend from Scotland once told me: “He who pays the piper calls the tune.”
END of UPDATE
Who is the source of these ‘Memos’?
The memos were provided by a former British intelligence officer — MI6 — who is rumored to have spent years of his career in Russia during the 90’s.
The former British intelligence officer is believed to be Mr Christopher Steele, the co-founder of London-based Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd, located in Grosvenor Gardens, close to London’s upmarket Belgravia area .
Mr Steele founded Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd with his business partner Christopher Burrows in 2009.
Mr Steele left his home earlier this week, before he was publicly named, and is now “in hiding”.
What does the Memos claim to ‘reveal’?
Trump aides were involved with the alleged Russian hack of the Democratic Party of his rival Hillary Clinton.
Moscow has damaging information about the president-elect’s business interests
The RIS have taped a salacious video of trump’s private life.
Why were these Memos written?
An independent organisation — located in Washington DC and opposed to Mr Trump — contracted the Private Investigator to collect dirt in order to derail Mr Trump’s candidacy.
Some media allege that Jeb Bush requested the investigation regarding Trump’s interests in Russia.
After Trump’s nomination, Steele offered its services to Democrats.
No Presidential campaign has reported payments to Orbis. I guess someone forgot?
When did the US IC become aware of these documents?
Several Media saw the documents in October 2016. It seems that the IC and top US officials were aware of it already during the summer 2016.
FBI agents are reported to have met with Steele in August 2016 and again in mid-October 2016, after Clapper had released a public statement accusing Russia of interfering in the election.
Although most of the sources are Russian living in Moscow, a key meeting between Trump’s team and the ‘RIS’ is alleged to have occurred in Prague during the end of the Summer 2016.
In FY2016, the NIP budget was 53.0 billion USD, and the MIP budget 17.7 billion USD, amounting to a total of 70.7 billion USD. [United States intelligence budget]
One of the Memo alleges that Michael Cohen — a lawyer to Mr Trump — went to Prague in August or September 2016 to meet Kremlin representatives to talk about the DNC hacking. Cohen has this to say about the allegation:
“I’ve never been to Prague in my life. #fakenews,” he tweeted.
The first question is this: How long would it take for the US IC to figure out whether or not Michael Cohen was in Prague in August or September 2016 where he allegedly discussed the DNC hacking?
Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer has already addressed the issue:
“Michael Cohen, who was said to have visited Prague in August and September, did not leave or enter the United States during this time.
We asked him to produce his passport to confirm his whereabouts on the dates in question and there is no doubt that he was not in Prague. In fact, Mr Cohen has never been in Prague.”
I understand that the FBI found no evidence that Michael Cohen visited Prague in August or September 2016. In fact, none of the content of these Memos has been substantiated by US intelligence.
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. said in a statement issued late Wednesday that he told Trump that:
The allegations had come from a “private security company,” that U.S. spy agencies had “not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable.”
“However, part of our obligation is to ensure that policymakers are provided with the fullest possible picture of any matters that might affect national security.”
A second question is: How could Steele have access to all these high level sources evolving in Putin’s inner circle? And why would they talk to him? [Steele – of course – is unwilling to divulge his sources.]
“How did this former British intelligence officer talk to all these Russian officials and not get arrested for espionage?”
Are we really willing to believe that a single private investigator could uncover all these extraordinary findings that the US IC – with a 70 billion budget — could not discover and can not even confirm. When a story is too good to be true, it usually is.
Finally, ask yourself why is the CIA even talking about such a document? For once, Mike Morell — a former acting Director of the CIA — is saying — accidentally — something intelligent:
“It would be extraordinary if not unprecedented to bring to the attention of a president and president-elect a private document for which you had no reason to believe the allegations made in it.”
Intel chiefs inform Trump of Russian claims — CNN
Donald Trump’s Soft Spot for Russia Could Be His Political Undoing — The XX Committee
From Watergate to… GoldenGate?
Two Years Ago — From Watergate to… GoldenGate?