Maskirovka, Deep State Style

A commenter over at Ace’s noted yesterday that Robert Ludlum wouldn’t concoct such a plot as we are seeing in the deep state, it’s too complex by far to be real. He has a point. It’s worse than a daytime soap opera. And yet it seems that it is. Either these folks are geniuses, or it is multiple people acting more or less on their own, in their own interest. Occam’s Law would suggest the latter.

But in any case, I would suggest that all of these moving parts, on multiple continents, may be why the wheels are apparently coming off, thus the desperation we are increasingly seeing, as Leavenworth stares some very powerful people in the face. Or not. We will see.

A point that Sean Hannity makes repeatedly is both valid and very important if Hillary Clinton had won we would likely never known how corrupt and self-seeking our so-called civil service had become. This is likely to be Donald Trump’s greatest service to his country.

In any case, Lee Smith in The Federalist has done some digging on why the leak campaign has switched from offensive operations to defensive. It’s interesting.

There is a huge amount of information here, and I strongly recommend reading it all. I have chosen to emphasize the section that talks about the declassifying of documents (that Trump has now ordered) and that has unhinged (or further unhinged) former DNI James Clapper. Maybe this is part of why.

Now congressional Republicans are urging the president to declassify three sets of documents — 20 pages of the final renewal of the warrant to spy on Carter Page in June 2017; records of the FBI’s 12 interviews with Bruce Ohr; and exculpatory material related to the warrant on Page. Anti-Trump officials continue to dig in, pre-emptively leaking information about CIA and FBI Russia-related operations that appears to combine classified intelligence with some degree of fiction intended to obscure wrongdoings.

Halper’s name popped up again last month in the New York Times. A veteran GOP operative, Halper collected intelligence on Trump associates. But according to unnamed officials quoted in the story, uncovering his identity has “had a chilling effect on intelligence collection” against Russian targets.

The apparent purpose of the article, say sources, is to deter Trump from declassifying documents damaging to law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

“Informants close to President Vladimir V. Putin and in the Kremlin who provided crucial details” to U.S. intelligence about the 2016 race have gone silent, the Times reported.

Washington Post article last year, co-written by Entous, made similar claims about U.S. intelligence sources close to Putin. According to the story, the Obama White House knew of “Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race” based on “a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government.”

If the 2017 Post story is true, that would explain why U.S. intelligence is blind on Russia going into the 2018 midterm elections. After American spies leaked classified intelligence regarding informants in Putin’s inner circles, Moscow would have moved quickly to shut down those channels.

But present and former intelligence officials doubt the veracity of both the Times and the Post stories. “Our sources and methods are sacred, and what we do regarding Russia is extraordinarily secret,” former CIA Moscow station chief Daniel Hoffman told RCI.

Gentlemen: place your bets. In some ways, that’s where we are right now. I’m inclined to quote the old advice, “Expect the worst and hope for the best'”.

Another recent Times story that has raised eyebrows is its Sept. 1 account of the FBI’s efforts to recruit Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch close to Putin, as an informant. Published just days after the release of documents showing that the DOJ’s Ohr was in close contact with Christopher Steele, who was employed by Deripaska’s London lawyer, the Times story reports that the FBI operation included Ohr and Steele.

According to the Times, Deripaska was one among half a dozen Putin associates that the FBI attempted to recruit for the purpose of reporting on Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. A congressional Republican source who spoke to RCI on the condition of anonymity is skeptical of the Times’ account.

“The takeaway is that in trying to flip a Putin-allied oligarch, the FBI told Putin that they’re investigating his interference in the 2016 elections. That is not a good look. It looks like the story they’re trying to bury is that in the period leading up to the FBI’s using the dossier to get a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign, a senior DOJ official whose wife [Nellie Ohr] worked on the dossier is meeting with the author of the dossier, who works for a Putin ally.”

Sources say the Ohr story is evidence that the leak campaign is continuing, even as it is being exposed. And a precedent has been established with this joining together of political operatives, law enforcement and intelligence officials to prosecute a campaign based on illegal leaks of classified intelligence. It’s not hard to imagine it happening again, regardless of who the next president is, and regardless of party.

And that, of course, is why it is so pernicious. If we don’t get it rooted out, rather like crabgrass, it will haunt us far into the future. And yet, it is going to be very hard to do when it threatens the lifestyle and even the liberty of people, who while they may be important, are even more self-important. In fact, their self-importance is greater to them than the country itself. It is something we need to get done.

The FISA Court and the Dossier

Mollie Hemingway has one of her outstanding “What You Should Know” posts up about the FISA dossier that dropped last Saturday night. As always, it was released then to avoid attention, well that no longer works. Mollie says:

Newly released documents confirm House and Senate investigators’ claims that the Department of Justice and FBI used materially false and misleading information to secure wiretaps on Carter Page, a former volunteer foreign policy advisor to President Trump. The highly redacted documents released in response to Freedom of Information Act requests show how the FBI was able to convince the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to surveil the Naval Academy graduate and energy consultant for a year of his life.

The wiretap was applied for and granted in October 2016, shortly before the end of the presidential campaign. Approved applications last for 90 days. The Department of Justice requested and received three renewals, for a total of one year of surveillance. Despite claiming to the court in 2016 that “the FBI believes that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian Government,” the government has yet to charge Page with breaking any of the serious laws it alleges he knowingly transgressed.

Here is what the highly redacted FISA applications show us thus far.

She lays out the salient points here with explanations. I’m not going to, read her article. I’m just going to bullet point it.

  • “The Dossier Provided an Essential Part Of Application
  • The Dossier Was Not Verified
  • The Applications Employed Circular Reporting
  • Cites Steele’s Credibility, Despite Overwhelming Evidence To Doubt It
  • The Applications Made Materially False Claims”

In other words, it was an amateurish, even clownish, put up job, that can’t stand the light of day.

As Sens. Graham and Grassley wrote earlier this year:

In Steele’s sworn court filings in litigation in London, he admitted that he ‘gave off the record briefings to a small number of journalists about the pre-election memoranda [i.e., the dossier] in late summer/autumn 2016.’ In another sworn filing in that case, Mr. Steele further stated that journalists from ‘the New York Times, the Washington Post, Yahoo News, the New Yorker, and CNN’ were ‘briefed at the end of September 2016 by [Steele] and Fusion at Fusion’s instruction.’ The filing further states that Mr. Steele ‘subsequently participated in further meetings at Fusion’s instruction with Fusion and the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Yahoo News, which took place mid-October 2016.’…

The first of these filings was publicly reported in the U.S. media in April of 2017, yet the FBI did not subsequently disclose to the FISC this evidence suggesting that Mr. Steele had lied to the FBI. Instead the application still relied primarily on his credibility prior to the October media incident. […]

That’s true. Donald Trump shows up in the application as Candidate #1 and Hillary Clinton shows up as Candidate #2. The Republican Party is identified as Political Party #1. So it would have been easy to note that the dossier was secretly bought and paid for by Candidate #2 and Political Party #2. Instead, a veritable word salad is deployed to hide that significant fact.

The court is told Source #1 was told “that a U.S.-based law firm had hired the identified U.S. person to conduct research regarding Candidate #1’s ties to Russia” and that Source #1 wasn’t told about the motivation behind the research. The FBI surmises that Source #1’s boss — Fusion GPS’ Glenn Simpson — wanted information to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign.

On and on and on it goes. And as it does it becomes obvious, that everything Rep Nunes and his associates have said is the truth, and everything that these government functionaries have said is a lie, designed to undercut and remove the duly elected President of the United States.

The ‘Deep State’ in action. Careless, perfectly willing to lie, to do anything, in fact, to protect bureaucrats like themselves from the legitimate wrath of the people. And mind you, if Hillary had won, we wouldn’t know any of this and by the time she left office, we would not have a chance to reclaim our government.

It’s going to be a near run race as it is, but thanks to some very brave people, we do have a chance, so let’s take it in both hands and run with it.

Outside the Philadelphia Courthouse, Ben Franklin was asked what sort of government the convention had given us, here is his answer, as relevant as ever.

A Republic, if you can keep it.

Connecting Transatlantic Dots

Forensic tent at The Maltings Salisbury

In The American Spectator yesterday, Diana West conducted an exercise in connecting dots. It’s highly interesting, and plausible, but definitely unconfirmed.

Just came across an intriguing theory about Sergei Skripal, the former Soviet/Russian military intelligence agent who spied for Britain, and, along with his daughter Yulia, was nearly killed this spring by a dose of the nerve agent Novichok in the town of Salisbury, England, where they live.

In a March 21 interview on the John Batchelor Show, Gregory R. Copley, editor and publisher of Defense & Foreign Affairs, posited that Sergei Skripal is the unnamed Russian intelligence source in the Steele dossier.

Copley further explained (or tried to explain) to Batchelor (who kept cutting him off): “The people who wished to see Skripal become quiet were people in Washington, the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton campaign, and people around Christopher Steele himself. I’m not saying necessarily that MI6 or the British government had a witting hand in it, but there are too many people who had an axe to grind to make sure that Skripal did not —”

Did not… did not what? Batchelor steps on the end of Copley’s sentence to interject a question about whether the Novichok attack on the Skripals could have been a “gangland” hit.

What Copley surely meant was to say was — to make sure Skripal did not “talk.

And that was always the thing that bothered me about the Skripal ‘hit’ – why and by whom was it ordered. Putin and the Russians is an obvious and easy answer, but Putin is unlikely to be looking to irritate the western powers over something so minor, and the reaction from the British government was rather over the top.

Copley had already explained that in Skripal’s UK “retirement,” he did plenty of freelance work, providing researchers for a price with that perfect shot of authentic, but also custom-made, “Russian intelligence.”

Copley: “He would write whatever people wanted. He would say, ‘What are you trying to achieve, let me help you,’ and he would do that. And he was apparently prepared to, if you like, to fold under pressure and admit that he had done that, and admit that what he had written about Trump in that dossier was pure fiction, written simply to provide his client with —

With…?

Batchelor steps on Copley again, this time to put in a question about legality. “… there’s nothing illegal about this, correct, Gregory?”

Copley: “Not necessarily, until you get to the part where this was not just providing intelligence services to the Clinton campaign; it was providing a document for use in political warfare operations to influence an election. There, he was basically fabricating material purporting for it to be intelligence —”

Batchelor steps on him again! He asks something about whether MI6 knew Steele was working with Skripal — a question that just might have been able to wait three more seconds.

Even so, Copley’s assessment, which he said he had based on “conversations we’ve had with people familiar with” Skripal, came through loud and clear: In Skripal’s pseudo-country-gentleman retirement, the ex-GRU-MI6 double agent was selling custom-made “Russian intelligence”; he had fabricated “material” that went into the Steele dossier; and he was prepared to say so. By Copley’s logic, this meant that Skripal’s enemies were also Trump’s enemies: “people in Washington, the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton campaign, and people around Christopher Steele himself,” along with their MI6 and British government allies.

Lots more at the link.

I find the story fascinating, but is it true? I have no idea at all. It fits with everything I know, of Clinton and her supporters, and with what we are seeing in the leadership of the FBI and CIA especially under Obama, but in large measure, still. So, it might be the whole truth, parts might be, and it could even be a false flag.

It’s damn sure something worth investigating, but I doubt anyone will. It would have to be government…

After the poisoning, it turns out that the British government issued two related “D-notices” on the story — a big, fat chill on British press coverage. What seems to have been uppermost in these censorship “requests” was to ensure that the British press protected the MI-6 connection to Sergei, which is interesting all by itself. Such protection would seem to include the name of the retired MI-6 agent who recruited Skripal, first discussed here. As has been reported outside of Britain, that retired MI6 agent’s name is Pablo Miller. It has also been reported that Miller now works with another retired MI-6 agent. His name is Christopher Steele.

There’s lots more at The Speccie. Where’s Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan when we need him?

To me, the whole thing fits. The strident resistance to Trump by much of the government, and yes, by the British bureaucracy expressed through Theresa May as late as this morning. We all suspect Hillary Clinton of being ruthless enough for this type of thing, and secret services are just that.

And that lends further point to what the FBI and the DOJ hiding that is so important that they are willing to sacrifice their leadership, and yes, their reputation built up over scores of years to prevent Congress, let alone the people, from knowing it. I think we need to find out.

This whole Russia narrative seems to be the legendary loose thread on a pretty girl’s sweater. What will come into view if we continue to pull on it? Who knows? And more to the point, it just might be important to the country.

A tangled web was indeed woven, and that usually indicates a desire to deceive.

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