Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Angles and facets

"Nuland pushed Obama toward a more aggressive response against "Russian hackers"".  Hilarious spinning of WWIII proponent and Khazar supremacist Nudelman-Kagan as an American patriot:  "‘The Hairs Really Went Up on the Back of Our Necks’" (Glasser).  "Revealed: The Criminal Referral for Christopher Steele" (Ace of Spades HQ):
"A possibility occurs to me: What if Steele is just the Front Man hired to put a presentable face on the detestable, dishonest mercenaries Blumenthal and Shearer? What if most of the crap in the "Steele Dossier" in fact originated with this repellent pair, with "widely-respected British spy" Christopher Steele hired just to do a very low level of checking on the claims and then slap his own much-more-credible name on the shoddy "research"?

What if Steele's involvement was mostly limited to telephoning wannabe-007 Sidney Blumenthal's dodgy contacts and talking with them for a bit?

What if Steele is really just a cut-out?"
"First we had “Clinton and Co. paid for the dossier.” Now we have…" (Neo-Neocon):
"Steele was just a useful instrument, a conduit through which information passed and who afforded plausible deniability to the Clinton campaign—which never expected any of this to come to light, anyway.

To recap: it appears that there is good evidence that the “Trump colluded with Russia” story was devised and disseminated by the Clinton campaign, which seeded the story in various ways—working through Steele, Fusion, the media, and the FISA court, not just to fund the report but to influence and supply information for its content. The actions of the Clinton operatives may have constituted collusion with Russia, as well."
"Grassley: "2nd Dossier" Fed To Christopher Steele By Obama State Dept, Routed Through Clinton Crony" (Durden). "Christopher Steele Wrote 2nd Dossier, Containing Rumors Fed to Him by Hillary's Hatchet-Men" (Ace of Spades HQ).  "Steele wrote memo based on information fed through Clinton campaign — released documents".

"The Nunes Memo Needs More Work" (Giraldi):
"Eleven months ago, shortly after Trump took office, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, speculated on how he had been “…led to believe that maybe even the Democratic Party, whatever element of it, approached John Brennan at the CIA, maybe even the former president of the United States. And John Brennan, not wanting his fingerprints to be on anything, went to his colleague in London GCHQ, MI-6 and essentially said, ‘Give me anything you’ve got.’ And he got something and he turned it over to the DNC or someone like that. And what he got was GCHQ MI-6s tapes of conversations of the Trump administration perhaps, even the President himself. It’s really kind of strange, at least to me, they let the head of that organization go, fired him about the same this was brewing up. So I’m not one to defend Trump, but in this case he might be right.”

Wilkerson is referring to the highly unusual abrupt resignation of Robert Hannigan, the Director of Britain’s version of the National Security Agency (NSA), referred to by the acronym GCHQ, which took place on January 23rd of last year. The British Official Secrets Act has meant that there was at that time little speculation in the U.K. media about the move, but some observers have wondered if it is somehow connected to possible collaboration with U.S. intelligence officers over Donald Trump. That remains an area of inquiry that has hardly been looked at, perhaps because the thought that the country’s top national security agencies were involved in a something like a grand conspiracy to subvert an election is still something that Congress would prefer not to consider."
"Were Fusion GPS' Payments to Bruce Ohr's Wife Really an Attempt to Pay a Government Employee for Government Action" (Ace of Spades HQ).

Defending Steele, incompetently:  "Even the recent Stormy Daniels saga is eerily similar to Steele’s reporting."

"Will Christopher Steele Be Charged in the UK as a Spy? by Publius Tacitus" (and good comment by Fred):
". . . Steele was not a mere consultant or sub-contractor for the FBI. He was being paid to provide information/intelligence to the FBI. There are two classes of FBI "informants." One is serving as a "criminal informant" and the other is as an "intelligence asset." Information from "criminal informants" can be used in a U.S. judicial proceeding and the informant called as a witness. Getting money under that circumstance can be problematic because the source's credibility can be impeached by defense counsel, who can argue that the testimony is purloined.

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

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

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

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