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Jack • 3 years ago


There are many aspects to this story that don't make any sense to me if one looks at it from a rational perspective. One of course being concerns about libel litigation and the related legal discovery that you note. The second being no real contingency planning in the event Hillary loses the election. Admittedly they must have bought the media line and Nate Silver's forecast of a greater than 75% probability of a Hillary win.

The purported "arms length" relationships don't make any sense. There's Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson playing a central role. They hire Nellie Ohr, a possible CIA asset and the wife of Bruce Ohr, the 4th highest ranking official at the DOJ. Glenn Simpson also hires Christopher Steele who he knows from previous "spook" associations. Steele had numerous and continuous communications including telephone, Skype, email and personal meetings with Bruce and Nellie Ohr during all this. They even have discussions about Deripaska and about his visa application to visit the US. Bruce is a conduit to Strzok at FBI. Glenn Simpson also is part of these discussions with Steele and the Ohrs. Simpson also arranges for Steele to brief "reporters" like David Corn and others at the NY Times, WaPo, WSJ, Politico and others. Then there is Mifsud and Halper. Apparently both are CIA and FBI assets. They are communicating with Carter Page and Papadopolous, who in turn is drinking and yapping with Aussie ambassador Downer. You have Brennan ginning up concerns giving super secret and individual briefings to the Gang of 8 in Congress. There's Democratic Senator Mark Warner, the minority leader on the Senate Intelligence Committee texting and calling Adam Waldman, Deripaska's US attorney about setting up clandestine meetings with Steele. There's Sen. Harry Reid passing on the Steele "dossier" to Comey. Not to be left behind there's Sen. McCain doing the same. His top aide even travels to London to meet Steele. And then there's Strzok and his mistress Lisa Page busily spending every waking moment texting each other about every twist and turn in all the political games being played. Of course there's Admiral Rogers investigating unusual searches by FBI officials and contractors on the NSA database. And he briefs President-elect Trump at Trump Tower which promptsthe entire transition team to move to Trump's golf course in NJ. Oh, there is also Nellie Ohr setting up ham radio to avoid detection in her communications with Steele. Then we have everyone leaking and spinning to their "cohorts" in the premier media like the NY Times, CNN and WaPo. Comey even has his buddy a professor and ostensibly his legal counsel on the payroll of the FBI as a contractor with access to all the sensitive databases leaking to the media. Andy McCabe has his legal counsel Lisa Page spin stories around his wife's huge campaign contributions from Clinton consigliere McAuliffe. In fact the IG report on the Clinton "investigation" states that many at the FBI were accepting "gifts" from various media personalities for a quid pro quo. As if all this was not enough there's AG Loretta Lynch, meeting with Bill Clinton on a tarmac ostensibly to discuss their grandkids. Not to forget there were these "unmaskings" of surveillance information by Susan Rice, Samantha Power. There's Rod Rosenstein, Bruce Ohr's direct boss who testifies he knew nothing about Ohr being a conduit to Strzok for Steele. Of course he knew nothing but signed the FISA application on Carter Page. Then there are the FISC judges who never believed their mandate required them to verify the evidence before issuing sweeping surveillance warrants. Now all this is what I as an old farmer and winemaker have read. Those more in tune would easily add to these convoluted machinations.

I don't know how to make sense of all this. All I see is the extent of effort to prevent Donald Trump from being elected and after he won from governing. The most obvious observation is that the leadership in our law enforcement and intelligence agencies are so busy politicking spinning and leaking they have neither the time or the inclination let alone competence to do their real job for which they get paid a handsome wage and sterling benefits.

At this point I don't buy that Christopher Steele dug up real intelligence from his contacts at the highest levels of the Russian government, which caught Brennan, Clapper, Comey and Lynch's pants on fire, who then launched a formal investigation of Russia collusion with Trump. Many things just don't pass the smell test. Now of course I have no qualifications nor experience in spookdom.

If you have any speculative theories that connects some of the dots it would be my great pleasure to read.

Patrick Armstrong • 3 years ago

I agree that it (and Skripalmania) are almost impossible to make sense of unless you think of a bunch of highly politicised not very bright people sinking deeper and deeper into what looked like a bright idea at the time. Confident that their horse is going to win the race and that the media will cover it all up and nobody will ever hear anything about anything. Now that the unexpected happened, they're just spinning and denying faster hoping the Dems win in Nov and stop all the investigations. And, they're getting nervous wondering who's going to sell out whom next. Up and down, around and around. Gerbils -- there really isn't anything very consistent, planned or thought-out.

In this respect, this piece attempts to make sense (on a very large scale) of their panic. https://www.strategic-cultu...

English Outsider • 3 years ago

"I agree that it (and Skripalmania) are almost impossible to make sense of unless you think of a bunch of highly politicised not very bright people sinking deeper and deeper into what looked like a bright idea at the time."

I believe your summary of what's happening is more accurate than Alastair Crooke's as set out in the article linked to.

But bright or not, what are these people in the IC doing being "highly politicised"? Does that not render them considerably less efficient?

I ask because, if one tries to look at it in a non-partisan way, the Western IC seemed to be a failure when it came to predicting Russian reactions in the Donbass, the Crimea, and it seems in Syria. I link this to various comments from Colonel Lang indicating that true experts were replaced over the years by less experienced and knowledgeable people. Does being "highly politicised" mean that they're not up to much when it comes to minding the shop?

Patrick Armstrong • 3 years ago

I thought I detected a protest against the politicisation of the US int world some years ago. And we must not forget that Gen Flynn (DIA) and Adm Rogers (NSA) acted strongly against this. Flynn was the first casualty of the Trump/Russia hysteria and the Clapper claque tried to fire Rogers.


Jack • 3 years ago


Usually the incumbent party loses the mid-term election. The Democrats lost big in Obama's first mid-term. The Republicans won the House and gained six senators. While the punditry claims a Blue Wave and Nate Silver is giving the Dems the odds. I'm not so sure. I think the GOP will increase their majority in the Senate putting any conviction of Trump out of question.

I was born in the Depression and have seen vitriolic politics but never have seen such a massive opposition by the media, the pundits and the establishment of both parties. Over 500 print publications endorsed Hillary. Only some 20 endorsed Trump. Yet he confounds the pundits by winning the election. Clearly many voters are at odds with the political media class.

Patrick Armstrong • 3 years ago

Yeah. My bet is that the Repubs hold onto both. 1) the economy is getting better 2) what do the Dems have to offer other than this crazy Trump/Russia thing?

Guest • 3 years ago
Pat Lang • 3 years ago

what is the evidence for a slowdown in 2019?

blue peacock • 3 years ago

Col. Lang

With the deep financialization of our economy, financial markets likely lead the economy. Unlike the past when economic activity led financial markets now some believe we have the reverse. In that regard the reduction of liquidity each month by the Fed as it sheds assets is something to pay attention to.

David Habakkuk • 3 years ago


At a very general level, a ‘speculative theory’ which I have been mulling over for some time was rather well set out in a commentary in ‘The Hill’ on 9 August by Sharyl Attkisson, which opens:

‘Let’s begin in the realm of the fanciful.

‘Assume, for the sake of argument, that powerful, connected people in the intelligence community and in politics worried that a wildcard Trump presidency, unlike another Clinton or Bush, might expose a decade-plus of questionable practices. Disrupt long-established money channels. Reveal secret machinations that could arguably land some people in prison.

‘What exactly might an “insurance policy” against Donald Trump look like?’

And Attkisson goes on to outline precisely the developments that appear to have happened.

(See http://thehill.com/opinion/... .)

I think there is an ideological background to this, on which the piece by Alastair Crooke – himself former MI6 – to which Patrick Armstrong links, and the piece by James George Jatras to which Crooke links, are both to the point. The ‘end of history’ crowd thought they were inhabiting a realised utopia, and cannot cope with the fact that their dream is collapsing.

In relation to the millenarian undercurrents on which Crooke focuses, however, it is also worth noting that a traditional conservative suspicion has been that millenarianism is naturally linked to antinomianism: the belief that the moral law is not binding on the elect. And in turn, according to a familiar sceptical view, antinomianism can easily end up in in straightforward rascality.

On the rascality – to which Attkisson is pointing – I am working on how parts of the picture can be fleshed out. A few preliminary points raised by your remarks.

As you note, ‘There’s Rod Rosenstein, Bruce Ohr’s direct boss who testifies he knew nothing about Ohr being a conduit to Strzok for Steele.’ So, we know that Ohr and Steele were conspiring together to ensure that the latter could continue to be intimately involved in the Mueller investigation, despite the FBI termination,

It is obviously possible that Ohr did not report up the chain of command, and if so, he and his wife become pivotal figures in the conspiracy. Alternatively, it could be that Rosenstein is lying – in which case, we have large questions about who else is implicated, and specifically whether the termination of Steele by the FBI was anything more than a ruse.

If, as seems to me likely, although not certain, the second possibility is closer to the truth than the former, then before Ohr testifies on 28 August before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees he will have to consider whether he is prepared to ‘take the rap’ for his superiors, or ‘sing sweetly.’

The fact that in a report in ‘The Hill’, I think on the same day as the Attkisson piece, John Solomon was quoting from Ohr’s handwritten notes of a meeting with Glenn Simpson in December 2016 makes me wonder whether he may not already have made a decision. A key paragraph from the report:

‘Yet, Simpson allegedly acknowledged that most of the information Fusion GPS and British intelligence operative Christopher Steele developed did not come from sources inside Moscow. “Much of the collection about the Trump campaign ties to Russia comes from a former Russian intelligence officer (? not entirely clear) who lives in the U.S.,” Ohr scribbled in his notes.’

(See http://thehill.com/hilltv/r... .)

There is I think a need for caution here. There is no guarantee that Simpson was telling the literal truth to Ohr, or indeed the latter reproducing with absolute accuracy with he was told (handwritten notes can be disposed of easily, but they can also be rewritten.)

One is I think on firmer ground in relation to what it suggests was not the case – that there is any substance whatsoever in the ludicrous story of someone running a private security company in London sending out hired employees who then gain access to top Kremlin insiders, with these, of course, telling them precisely what they actually think.

And it confirms my strong suspicion that the dossier is actually a composite product, much of it assembled at Fusion, which could indeed contain material from a range of people from the former Soviet space, who could living in the United States, Britain, or elsewhere – Ukraine and the Baltics being obvious possibilities.

So Sergei Skripal and Sergei Millian, neither of whom fit the description by Simpson, have been mentioned as possible sources, and there is also the very curiously ambiguous role of Rinat Akhmetshin.

All these people, obviously, could simply have fabricated material or retailed gossip, and Steele himself was involved in fabricating material on an industrial scale to cover up what actually happened to Alexander Litvinenko.

That said, I continue to think it possible that both the second and final memoranda may incorporate some ‘glitter’, as well as ‘chickenfeed’ fed from FSB cybersecurity people to their FBI counterparts, to hark back to George Smiley says to the Minister, quite possibly included in the hope that the BS involved would be reproduced in contexts where it could provoke legal action.

All this leads me back to the suspicion that Steele’s involvement may have been less in crafting the dossier, than making it possible to conceal its actual origins while giving it an appearance of credibility. It could also be the case that Nellie Ohr’s sudden interest in radio transmissions had to do with communications inside the United States, rather than with Steele.

It could then be that Steele has been, in effect, hoist with his own petard, in that he is having to sustain the fiction that he had some kind of grounds for making the claims about Aleksej Gubarev and XBT. How far this matters, at least in relation to the action bought against ‘BuzzFeed’ in Florida, remains moot at the moment.

Apparently that organisation is doing rather well in sustaining the claiming that ‘fair report privilege’ could circumvent any requirement to prove truth – and a key question now is whether documents which the DOJ is being forced to produce will establish that the dossier was being used by officials in ways that would trigger the privilege as of 10 January 2017.

That said, what Ohr reports Simpson as telling him raises fundamental questions about how anyone could have relied upon the dossier for anything – and should push people back to actually asking hard questions about its origins.

fanto • 3 years ago

Mr Habakkuk, you mention "ambiguous role of Rinat Akhmetshin" - I am not sure if you meant Akhmetov. I am surprised and curious about you mentioning him - if you meant Akhmetov - because that is one name among all the oligarchs which has so far not been prominent. Thank you for your posts, these posts and the SST comments could and should serve as help to the congressional investigations and hearings.

blue peacock • 3 years ago


To add: Steele was on the FBI's payroll, in addition to being on Fusion GPS's payroll. And on the payroll of Her Majesty's Government. After he got caught leaking to the media he was apparently "fired" by the FBI. But he was continuing to communicate and brief through Bruce Ohr at the DOJ.

I think the circle of Glenn Simpson. Chris Steele, Bruce & Nellie Ohr, Adam Waldman. Peter Strzok, and Sen. Mark Warner will be very interesting to pursue.

The other circle that should be investigated is the Brennan, Clapper, Lynch, Comey, Yates, Susan Rice.

No investigation can exclude the active participation of key people from the media complex including people like Comey's good friend Benjamin Wittes.

Patrick Armstrong • 3 years ago

Younger isn't the brightest bulb in the box, is he?

"If you doubt the link between legitimacy and effective
counter-terrorism, then – albeit negatively – the unfolding
tragedy in Syria will, I fear, provide proof. I believe the Russian
conduct in Syria, allied with that of Asad’s discredited regime,
will, if they do not change course, provide a tragic example of the
perils of forfeiting legitimacy. In defining as a terrorist anyone
who opposes a brutal government, they alienate precisely that group
that has to be on side if the extremists are to be defeated.
Meanwhile, in Aleppo, Russia and the Syrian regime seek to make a
desert and call it peace. The human tragedy is heart-breaking"

David Habakkuk • 3 years ago


Those were indeed some of the most inane comments in an inane piece.

But then, if you read an interview given to Jay Elwes of ‘Prospect’ magazine in May last year by Younger’s predecessor Sir Richard Dearlove, who looks to have been a significant background presence in what has been going on, you will find that, although he is much more coherent than than his successor, it is almost as inane.

(See https://www.prospectmagazin.... )

As it happens, Dearlove was one of the signatories of the ‘Statement of Principles’ of something called the ‘Henry Jackson Society.’

This was founded in 2005, in Cambridge, by a group in whom acolytes of an historian called Maurice Cowling were prominent – Dearlove is himself a graduate in history from that university.

In its original version, the ‘Statement of Principles’ explained, among other things, that the Society: ‘Believes that only modern liberal democratic states are truly legitimate, and that any international organisation which admits undemocratic states on an equal basis is fundamentally flawed.’

(See https://en.wikipedia.org/wi... .)

Ironically, it was shortly after the publication of the dossier that Anatol Lieven published in the ‘National Interest’ an article entitled ‘Is America Becoming a Third World Country?’

(See https://nationalinterest.or... .)

Among other things, he harked back to the way that, in 1648, a century and a half of bloody ideological strife in Europe had been ended with a recognition that the legitimacy of different state forms had to be accepted, if a kind of ‘war of all against all’ was to be avoided.

And Lieven went on to reflect on the way that, at what was then widely seen as the end of the Cold War, the abandonment of universalisitic pretensions by Russia and China was interpreted as justifying an embrace of these by the the West.

This, he went on to argue, had actually had the paradoxical effect of relegitimising ‘régimes’ which do not conform to Western ‘democratic’ models, concluding by noting what appears to our new, quasi-Soviet, preference for not letting experience interfere with ideological dogma:

‘Finally – even after the catastrophes of Iraq and Libya – there is almost no awareness among US policymakers of the fact that US attempts to change the regimes of other countries are likely to be seen not only by the elites of those countries but also by their populations as leading to – and intended to lead to – the destruction of the state itself, leading to disaster for its society and population. When the Communist regime in the USSR collapsed (though only in part under Western pressure), it took the Soviet state with it. The Russian state came close to following suit in the years that followed, Russia was reduced to impotence on the world stage, and large parts of the Russian and other populations suffered economic and social disaster. Remembering their own past experiences with state collapse, warlordism, famine and foreign invasion, Chinese people looked at this awful spectacle and huddled closer to the Chinese state – one that they may dislike in many ways, but which they certainly trust more than anything America has to offer – especially given the apparent decay of democracy throughout the West.’

(https://nationalinterest.or... .)

I read with interest your piece back in June entitled ‘Putin Once Dreamed the American Dream’, reprinting Charles Heberle’s account of the ‘Transforming Subjects Into Citizens’ project, and the attitude of some people close to Putin to it.

(See https://patrickarmstrong.ca... .)

One of the things which struck me was that the question why the American Revolution succeeded, and so many others failed, which was concerning the intellectuals to whom Heberle talked, is one of the central questions of modern political thought, from Tocqueville on.

(Indeed, the question of the preconditions for what might be called ‘constitutional’ government, has been central to ‘republican’ thought, ever since it was revived by Italian thinkers, including prominently Machiavelli, when the ‘Renaissance’ made them reactivate and rework debates from ancient Rome and Greece.)

However, to hark back to the anxieties expressed by Lieven, nothing in the analysis of the great French thinker necessary guarantees that the success of ‘Democracy in America’ is stable and permanent, or indeed that the relatively civilised order of the post-war ‘Pax Americana’ is necessarily durable in Western Europe.

Also in June, Sergei Karaganov published a piece in ‘Russia in Global Affairs’, of which he is publisher, entitled ‘Ideology of Eastward Turn.’ A paragraph that struck me:

‘Russian society should by no means abdicate from its mostly European culture. But it should certainly stop being afraid, let alone feel ashamed, of its Asianism. It should be remembered that from the standpoint of prevailing social mentality and society’s attitude to the authorities Russia, just as China and many other Asian states, are offspring of Chengiss Khan’s Empire. This is no reason for throwing up hands in despair or for beginning to despise one’s own people, contrary to what many members of intelligencia sometimes do. It should be accepted as a fact of life and used as a strength. The more so, since amid the harsh competitive environment of the modern world the authoritarian type of government – in the context of a market economy and equitable military potentials – is certainly far more effective than modern democracy. This is what our Western partners find so worrisome. Of course, we should bear in mind that authoritarianism – just like democracy – may lead to stagnation and degradation. Russia is certainly confronted with such a risk.’

Unlike you, I cannot claim serious expertise on Russia. But, as a reasonably alert generalist television current affairs producer, I took note of the indications which were emerging in the course of 1987 that the Gorbachev ‘new thinking’ was underpinned by a realisation that Soviet institutions and ideas had become fundamentally dysfunctional, to which you have referred repeatedly over the years.

And, after long tedious months trying interest the powers that were in British broadcasting in what was happening, I ended up producing a couple of programmes for BBC Radio in February/March 1989 in which we interviewed some of the leading ‘new thinkers’, among them Karaganov’s then immediate superior at the Institute of Europe, Vitaly Zhurkin.

At the Institute for the USA and Canada, by contrast, we did not interview its head, Georgiy Arbatov, but his deputy, Andrei Kokoshin, and one of the latter’s mentors on military matters and collaborators General-Mayor Valentin Larionov, who I later realised had earlier been one of the foremost Soviet nuclear strategists. (At the Institute for World Economy and International Relations, we interviewed Arbatov’s son, Alexei.)

Talking to these people we got a sense, although it had to be fleshed out later, of the scale of the disillusion with Soviet models, and indeed – which began to frighten me not long after – of the way many of them were romanticising the West.

What Karaganov now writes is I think a hardly very surprising reaction to the way that the Western powers responded to the ‘new thinking.’ Moreover, it seems to me that the disillusionment involved is in no sense particular Russian, but rather global.

If one regards ‘democracy’ as though it were quoted on the stock exchange, before 1914 there were very many buyers, including among the Russian élite. By 1931, in very many places, including large sections of the ‘intelligentsia’ in Western countries, it was a sellers’ market, to put it mildly.

After 1945, a kind of long ‘bull market’ in ‘democracy’ started: for very good reasons.

The – largely but very far from entirely – peaceful retreat and collapse of Soviet power was to a very significant extent the product of this. The subsequent behaviour of Western élites has generated a vicious ‘bear market’, a fact they appear unable to understand.

I do not think Karaganov’s article is simply a reflection of changes in Russian attitudes. The changes, it seems to me, are global.

Patrick Armstrong • 3 years ago

I do think that we in the West really blew it. In 1990, we could have said, in all humility, that our way of life (IMO the key word is pluralism) had proven more survivable. So we should welcome the others into the tent. Instead, we were right and that was that.

PS, in light of the Henry Jackson society and all Younger's references to "values" this one rather stands out "A vital lesson I take from the Chilcot Report is the danger of group think."

Yeah. Group think, the very opposite of what I mean by pluralism.

Jack • 3 years ago


Sharyl Atkinson describes well the conspiracy. When one steps back and look at all the machinations we know now, it seems incredible.

Just as you're asking about the origins of the dossier I wonder if it was orchestrated or something that evolved organically? If it was orchestrated, then who was the mastermind? Did Brennan, Clapper and Come sit down and hatch it or was Simpson the brains?

What is astounding is the scale. So many people involved. Were they all motivated by ideology or by the need to protect their racket?

It seems there are many sub-plots. There's the Deripaska, Steele, Waldman, Mueller, Sen. Warner angle. Then there's the Simpson, Steele, Ohr, Strzok, Page, McCabe angle. There's also the Simpson, Steele, media reporters angle. Then there's the whole Mifsud, Halper, Carter Page, Papadopolous, Downer bit. There's the Comey, Rosenstein, Yates, Strzok FISA application piece. Then there's all the stuff happening in the UK including Hannigan's resignation as soon as Trump is elected. Of course the whole Mueller appointment and the obstruction of justice thread to tie Trump's hand. There are so many elements. Who initiated and coordinated? Was each element separate?

There's no doubt a political thriller movie could be made.

FB • 3 years ago

Thanks for the quote...LOL

I guess the comedy part is that there actually exist people with medically functioning brains, who are somehow able to contort such a worldview...Aleppo as peaceful 'desert' indeed...who knew that having bearded fanatics in charge is somehow 'better'...[and not 'heart-breaking']...

Michael Regan • 3 years ago

Some here may find blogpost from March of this year interesting as it speaks to the production of the Steele dossier. I have not seen it mentioned here before and a site search produced no results.
Some sections seem to have gotten David Cay Johnston's hackles up.

David Habakkuk • 3 years ago

Michael Regan,

I had seen Yaacov Apelbaum’s piece referred to by Clarice Feldman in a post on the ‘American Thinker’ site a few days back, but not looked at it properly.

It is indeed fascinating, and clearly repays a closer study than I have so far had time to give it. I was however relieved to find that what Apelbaum writes ‘meshes’ quite well with my own views of the likely authorship of the dossier.

A question I have is whether the monumental amount of labour involved in producing it can really be the work of a single IT person – however wide-ranging his abilities and interests. My suspicion is that there may be input from Russian intelligence.

This is not said in order to discredit Apelbaum's work. In matters where I have had occasion critically to examine claims from official Russian sources, I have found several unsurprising, but recurring, patterns. Sometimes, the information provided can be shown to be essentially accurate, and it is reasonably clear how it has been obtained.

At other times, claims are made which information from other sources suggests either are, or may well be, true, but the ‘sources and methods’ involved are deliberately obscured, making evaluation more difficult.

And then, there are many occasions when what one gets is quite patently a mixture of accurate information and disinformation. Analysing these can be very productive, if one can both sift out the accurate information, and attempt to see what the disinformation is designed to obscure.

One thing of which I am absolutely certain is that the networks which are outlined by Apelbaum are precisely those which Russian intelligence will have spent a great deal of time and ingenuity penetrating.

This will have been attempted by ‘SIGINT’ and surveillance methods, and also through infiltrating agents and turning people. (There are often grounds to suspect that some of those most vociferously denouncing Putin are colluding with Russian intelligence.)

Together, these methods are likely to have produced a mass of information. It is important to remember, for example, that at the time of his mysterious death on 23 March 2013 Boris Berezovsky was negotiating to return to Russia, and that his head of security, Sergei Sokolov did return, with a ‘cache’ of documents.

Some of these were used back in April 2016 in a ‘Vesti Nedeli’ edition presented by Dmitry Kiselyov, who manages Russia’s informational programming resources, and an accompanying documentary on the ‘Pervyi Kanal’ station.

The purpose was to demonstrate that Alexei Navalny was the instrument of a ‘régime change’ plot in which William Browder was acting as an agent of MI6.

There is a good discussion of this, which highlights some of the problems with the documents, by Gilbert Doctorow, and Sokolov appears to have been involved in some murky activities since.

(See https://russia-insider.com/... ; https://en.crimerussia.com/... .)

But whatever the credibility or lack of it of the material, its appearance illustrates a general pattern, where the political disintegration of the London-based opposition to Putin has meant that more and more people involved in it have been supplying information to the Russians.

If, as I strongly suspect, there is fire beneath the smoke in those Russian television programmes, and if a great part of a series of projects of a related kind orchestrated in conjunction by elements in American and British intelligence were actually large run from this side, this will be creating headaches for people in Washington, as well as London.

An important role in the Apelbaum piece is played by the private security company Hakluyt. A quick look at the entries on Wikipedia and Powerbase will make clear that, if there is a British ‘deep state’, this is likely to be at its core.

(See https://en.wikipedia.org/wi... ; http://powerbase.info/index... .)

It is against this background that on has to see a specific claim which Apelbaum makes, for which I do not think any evidence is produced, about two figures whose role in ‘Russiagate’ is clearly central. So Luke Harding is described as ‘A Guardian reporter and a Hakluyt and Orbis contractor’ (note word.) Meanwhile, Edward Baumgartner is described as ‘Co-founder of Edward Austin. Contractor at Orbis and Hakluyt.’

That Harding is corrupt, as also Sir Robert Owen’s ‘Inquiry’ into the death of the late Alexander Litvinenko, I can prove. When Owen's report was published in January 2016, a preliminary response by me was posted here on SST, which among other things listed some of the evidence establishing that the interviews supposedly recorded with Litvinenko by Detective Inspector Brent Hyatt immediately before his death were blatant forgeries.

If this is the case, then questions are raised about how much of the apparently compelling forensic evidence is forged – and close examination suggests that key parts of it are.

(See http://turcopolier.typepad.... .)

In relation to that part of the evidence discussed in my January 2016 post which exposes the fumbling attempts by Steele and his colleagues to cover up the truth about when and how Litvinenko travelled into central London on the day he was supposedly killed, most of this had been among a mass of material submitted by me to the Inquiry Team, which I have e-mails to prove was read.

Likewise, also in January 2016, I sent the key relevant evidence on this crucial matter to Harding and senior figures at the ‘Guardian’, and have reason to believe it was read.

Further study of Owen's report has confirmed my suspicion that a strong ‘prima facie case’ of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice exists against very many of those involved in it.

At the same time, materials produced on the Russian side have confirmed my suspicion that the reason why Steele and others have been able to get away with their cover-up is that the Russian intelligence services are no more enthusiastic than their British counterparts about having anything like the whole truth about how Litvinenko lived and died made public.

Given the central role which Steele has now assumed in what looks like one of the biggest political scandals in American history, and the fact that in his book ‘Collusion’ Harding was again coming out in support of him, it would be of the greatest possible interest if indeed the latter had combined being a senior ‘Guardian’ correspondent with being paid by both Orbis and – even more important – Hakluyt.

And, particularly given the peculiar ambiguities of the role both of Fusion GPS and Baumgartner in the ‘Trump Tower’ meeting, it would be of great interest if the latter could be tied not only to Fusion, but to Orbis and – again even more important – Hakluyt.

This in turn might be relevant in trying to make sense of whether the fact that he and Simpson appear to have been working against Trump and Browder at the same time was or was not part of an elaborate ploy to give credibility to ‘information operations’ against the former.

There are accordingly two possibilities. It may be that, while much else in the Apelbaum material can be shown to be accurate, such accurate information is being used to give credibility to disinformation.

Alternatively, he is being used as a conduit for accurate and really explosive information about the British end of ‘Russiagate’, which he is unlikely to have unearthed all by himself, and the actual sources of which are – for very understandable reasons – being obscured.

Michael Regan • 3 years ago

Mr Habakkuk-
Thank you for your reply. You have given me much to think about and I am very grateful that you took the time to respond in such a comprehensive manner, and that you have provided me and others here with some really compelling information and notions.
In particular, the issue of sources and methods you note seems spot on. The author(s)'s information gathering methodologies and expertise are certainly not those of the laiety. In fact in the comments below his post YA mentions intelligence work.
Additionally, the text itself displays an odd parallelism with his assertion regarding the Steele Dossier- that is, the likelihood of multiple authors, of diverse origins.
One thing that did catch my eye was a response he made to David Cay Johnston's pissy request for a retraction about Jacoby involvement. YA included a quote in Latin from Cicero's accusations against Cataline. Here is the English: What is there that you did last night, what the night before— where is it that you were—who was there that you summoned to meet you—what design was there which was adopted by you, with which you think that any one of us is unacquainted?
While this sort of riposte isn't exactly hyper-erudite, it ain't chopped liver either. What I mean to say is that exceptional cyber skills, algorithm coding (I'm guessing crawlers) are not commonly coupled with that sort of classical formation. His recourse to various biblical quotes suggests an unusual level of education as well. And no way is he younger than 38 or so.

At any rate, thank you for the article and your kind and informative reply.

David Habakkuk • 3 years ago

Michael Regan,

Thanks. I have now read both a good few of Apelbaum’s earlier posts, and also the comments on his discussion of the dossier. Given the importance of his analysis of that document closer study is clearly needed of all this material, but I have some preliminary reactions.

My curiosity about who Apelbaum might be is reinforced by the fact that the intimations he gives about his background in his responses to comments, while not incompatible with what he has said in the past, do not sit so easily with it.

In a July 2010 post, he explained that: ‘In my previous life, I was a civil engineer. I worked for a large power marine construction company doing structural design and field engineering.’ According to the account he gave then, he subsequently shifted to software development.

(See https://apelbaum.wordpress.... .)

What he now tells us is that: ‘As far as how I first started, I do have an intelligence background and have been developing OSINT/cyber/intelligence platforms for many years.’

That makes sense in terms of the analysis, which – whatever other inputs there may or may not have been – looks to me like the work of someone who has a serious background in these kinds of methodology, and moreover, is clearly not any kind of ‘Fachidiot.’

So, questions naturally arise about Apelbaum's intelligence career, in particular, who he is likely to have been employed by, and associated with, in the past, and whether he is still involved with any of those agencies which have employed him.

Even if he is not, questions would obviously rise about present connections arising from past work. This is in addition to the possibility that the logic of events may have provoked him to collaborate with those who might earlier have been his adversaries.

Reading Apelbaum's work, I am reminded of another interesting intervention in an embittered argument relating to the Middle East and the post-Soviet space, from what turned out to be an unexpected source.

In the period following the 'false flag' sarin attack at Ghouta on 21 August 2013 an incisive demolition of the conventional wisdom was provided in the ‘crowdsourced’ investigation masterminded by one ‘sasa wawa’ on a site entitled ‘Who Attacked Ghouta?’

(See http://whoghouta.blogspot.com .)

And then, in December 2016, an Israeli high technology entrepreneur called Saar Wilf, a former employee of Unit 8200, that country’s equivalent of the NSA or GCHQ, who had subsequently made a great deal of money when he and his partner sold their company to Paypal, co-founded a site called ‘Rootclaim.’

(See https://www.rootclaim.com .)

The site, it was explained, was dedicated to applying Bayesian statistics to 'current affairs' problems. This is a methodology, whose modern form owes much to work done at Bletchley Park in the war, which is invaluable in 'SIGINT' analysis and also combating online fraud.

At the outset, 'Rootclaim' posted a recycled version of some of the key material from the ‘Who Attacked Ghouta?’ investigation. So, it seems likely, if not absolutely certain, that Saar Wilf and ‘sasa wawa’ are one and the same.

Following the Salisbury incident on 4 March, a blogger using the name ‘sushi’ produced a series of eleven posts under the title ‘A Curious Incident’ on the ‘Vineyard of the Saker’ blog.

(See https://thesaker.is/tag/sushi/ .)

Again, there are some very clear resemblances to ‘sasa wawa’ and Saar Wilf, which made me wonder whether the same person may be reappearing under yet another 'moniker.'

While the ‘flavour’ of Apelbaum seems to be different, the combination of what looks like serious technical expertise in IT techniques relating to intelligence with broad general intellectual interests looks to me similar.

I was amused by the combination of his quotation of the words from John 8:32 etched into the wall of the original CIA headquarters – ‘And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free’ – and the following remarks:

‘The June 2016 start date of Steele’s contract with Fusion GPS is the start of the “billable” activity, not the beginning of the research. Steele and Simpson/Jacoby have been collaborating on Trump/Russia going back to 2009.

‘Also, there is a large Hakluyt/Orbis “commercial intelligence” network in the US that regularly services political and federal agencies and has the power to summon Nazgûls the likes of John Brennan. So Steele is not the new kid on the block, he has been doing this type of work long before 2016. This is also why he has such a cozy relationship with the brass at the DOJ and state.’

As it happens, I think that many of the collaborations involved may have started significantly earlier than this. In his response to David Cay Johnston, Apelbaum links to an April 2007' WSJ' article by Simpon and Jacoby which, among other things, deals with Semyon Mogilevich.

This is behind a paywall, but, fortunately, the fact that Ukrainian nationalists have had an obvious interest in treating it as a source of reliable information has meant that it is easily accessible.

(See www.madcowprod.com/wp-conte... )

It should I think be clear from my January 2016 post why I find this particularly interesting, in that it has to be interpreted in the context of a crucial 'key' to the mystery of the death of Alexander Litvinenko.

This is that he, the Ukrainian nationalist former KGB person Yuri Shvets, the convicted Italian disinformation peddler Mario Scaramella, and quite possibly the sometime key FBI expert on Mogilevich, Robert 'Bobby' Levinson, were involved in trying to suggest that Mogilevich was an instrument of a plot by Putin to equip Al Qaeda with a ‘mini nuclear bomb.’

So, I then come back to the question of whether this notion of a ‘large Haluyt/Orbis “commercial intelligence” network in the US’, playing the role of Sauron with Brennan, perhaps, as the ‘Witch-king of Angmar’, does or does not have substance.

If it does, there would be very good reasons for a variety of people, with a range of different attitudes to events in the post-Soviet space and the Middle East, to think that they had an interest in collaborating with Russian intelligence against a common enemy.

If it does not, then there is a real possibility that Apelbaum may be involved in using accurate intelligence to disseminate inaccurate. (It seems to me that he is much too intelligent to be a plausible candidate for the role of ‘useful idiot.’)

One further point that may, or may not, be relevant. Many of the most influential American and British Jews, for reasons which I find somewhat hard to understand, seem to have decided that the heirs of the architects of the Lvov pogrom are nice and cuddly.

So, for example, Chrystia Freeland, the unrepentant granddaughter of the notorious Nazi collaborator Michael Chomiak, has been able to end up as Canadian Foreign Minister because made a successful journalistic career on the London ‘Financial Times’, a paper with a strong Jewish presence.

That the editorial staff of such a paper thought it appropriate to have someone like Freeland as their Moscow correspondent gives you a good insight into how moronic British élites have become. This may well be relevant, in trying to evaluate claims about Hakluyt and other matters.

In relation to Apelbaum, it may be quite beside the point that other Jews from a Russian/East European background, both in Russia, Israel, and the United States, have very different views on Ukraine, Russia, and the dangers posed – not least to Israel – by jihadists. It is however a fact which needs to be born in mind, when one comes across people whose views cut across conventional dividing lines in the United States and Britain.

Beside the point in relation to Apelbaum, I am confident, but also needing to be kept in mind, is the possibility that elements in the United States ‘intelligence community’, seeing the ‘writing on the wall’, may think it appropriate to shift from trying to pass the buck by blaming the Russians to doing so by blaming the Brits.

blue peacock • 3 years ago

Thank you David. Fantastic commentary. What a tangled web has been woven. It is bound to cause increasing failures.

Michael Regan • 3 years ago

It seems apparent that Putin's reordering of the Russian economy after the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management, Republic Bank's difficulites and the death of Edmund Safra left a bitter taste in the mouths of many who had hoped to exercise rentier rights over the Russian economy and resources. Why so much US resources and energy have been committed to recovering a contested deed is a real conundrum.
I was unaware of Freeland's grandfather and his lamentable CV. Thank you. It's funny that you mentioned both the Ghouta post and the Vineyard of the Saker. I recall reading those and thinking- this is not like common fare on the intertubes.
Your last points about failings in the quality of elite decision-making is extremely important. This dynamic of the dumb (US, UK, EU) at the wheel is, for me, the most frightening feature of the current state of play. In the worst moments I fear we are all on a bus driven by a drunk monkey, careening through the Andes. It's going to hurt all the way to the bottom.
Again, I am very grateful for your replies and all the great information and thought.

David Habakkuk • 3 years ago

Michael Regan,

I think the question of why large elements in both American and British élites got so heavily invested, in essence, in supporting the oligarchs who refused Putin’s terms in what turned into a kind of ‘bare knuckles’ struggle they were always likely to lose is a very interesting one.

It has long seemed to me that, even if one looked at matters from the most self-interested and cynical point of view, this represented a quite spectacular error of judgement. And, viewing the way in which ‘international relations’ are rearranging themselves, I am reasonably confident that this was one matter on which I got things right.

An important reason for this error of judgement, I have come to think, is that Berezovsky and the ‘information operations’ people round him – Litvinenko is important, but the pivotal figure, the ‘mastermind’, if you will, was clearly Alex Goldfarb, and Yuri Shvets and Yuri Felshtinsky both played and still play important supporting roles – were telling people in the West what these wanted to hear.

It is a truth if not quite ‘universally acknowledged’, at least widely recognised by those who have acquired some ‘worldly wisdom’, that intellectually arrogant people, with limited experience of the world and a narrow education, can commonly be ‘led by the nose’ by figures who have more of the relevant kinds of intelligence and experience, and few scruples.

This rather basic fact is central to understanding the press conference on 31 May 2007 where the figure whom the Berezovsky group and Christopher Steele had framed in relation to the death of Litvinenko, Andrei Lugovoi, responded to the Crown Prosecution Service request for his extradition.

In his prepared statement, Lugovoi claimed that his supposed victim used to say that everyone in Britain were ‘‘retards’, to use the translation submitted in evidence to Owen’s Inquiry, or ‘idiots’, to use that by RT. And according to this version, the British believed in everything that ‘we’ – that is, the Berezovky group – said was happening in Russia.

(For the RT translation, see https://www.rt.com/news/and... .)

Whether or not Litvinenko expressed this cynical contempt, the credulity with which the claims of the ‘information operations’ people around Berezovsky have been accepted – well illustrated by Owen’s report and perhaps most ludicrous in Harding’s journalism – makes clear it is justified.

What moreover became very evident, when Glenn Simpson testified to the House Intelligence and Senate Judiciary Committees, was that he was once again recycling the Berezovsky’s group’s version of Putin 'sistema' as the ‘return of Karla.’

Given what has been emerging on the ways in which Fusion GPS and Steele were both integrated into networks involving top-level people in the FBI, DOJ, State Department and CIA, it seems clear that the ‘retards’/‘idiots’ label is as applicable to people on your side as to people on ours.

Perhaps then, cartoons about Trump as a puppet, with the strings pulled by another puppet representing Manafort, whose strings are in turn pulled by Putin, should be replaced by ones in which Mueller is caricatured as a puppet manipulated by the ghost of Boris Berezovsky.

But that is the irony. The relationship with Berezovsky blew up in the faces of all concerned, when in the wake of the successsful corruption of the investigation into the death of Litvinenko by him and his ‘information operations’ people, he attempted to recoup his fortunes by suing Roman Abramovich, and got taken to pieces by Lord Sumption.

As to what happened next, a recent item on ‘Russian Insider’, providing a link to and transcript of another piece presented by Dmitry Kiselyov on ‘Vesti Nedeli' is a good illustration of where accurate information and disinformation can be mixed in material from Russian sources.

(See https://russia-insider.com/... .)

The piece, which appeared in July, discusses, and quotes from, an interview given the previous month to Dmitry Gordon, who runs a Ukranian nationalist site, by Berezovsky’s daughter Elizaveta. Among other things, this deals with Berezovsky’s death.

(See https://gordonua.com/public... . A little manipulation will get you a reasonably serviceable English translation, although it becomes comic because Berezovsky is referred to as ‘pope’. I think this must be because she refers to him as 'papa.')

The ‘Vesti Nedeli’ piece uses what Elizaveta Berezovskaya says in support of the claim that Berezovsky was murdered by British ‘special forces’, because he was planning to return to Russia, and he ‘knew too much about them.’

As it happens, this is a patently tendentious reading of what she says. However, interesting features of the actual text of the interview are 1. that it does provide what to my mind is compelling evidence that her father was murdered, and 2. while she clearly suggests that this was covered up by the British, she is not suggesting that they were responsible – but also not making Putin ‘prime suspect.’

Whether the suggestion by his daughter that her father might have been murdered by people who knew that by so doing they might get control of assets he might otherwise recoup has any merit I cannot say: I doubt it but cannot simply rule the possibility out.

What remains the case is that at that point there were very many people, including but in no way limited to elements in Western intelligence agencies, who had strong interests in avoiding a return by Berezovsky to Russia.

And the same people had the strongest possible interest in avoiding his being taken to pieces at the Inquest into Litvinenko’s death by a competent barrister representing the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation in the way he had been when Lord Sumption defended Abramovich.

Ironically, it may have been partly because Lugovoi had made a dramatic announcement that he was withdrawing from the proceedings less than a fortnight before Berezovsky’s death that before this happened a lot of people were staring at an absolutely worst-case scenario.

Time and again, in Owen’s report, one finds matters where he recycles patent disinformation, which a well-briefed barrister acting for the ICRF could have easily ripped to shreds. At the same time, in this situation, the Russians could most probably have made a reasonable fist of coping with the multiple contradictions in claims made on their own side.

And, crucially, their patent weak suit – the need to obscure the actual role of Russian intelligence in the smuggling of the polonium into London, which had nothing to do with any murder plot – could have been reasonably well ‘covered.’

Precisely because of these facts, the one scenario which can very easily be completely ruled out is that which is basic to the ‘information operations’ now coming out of London and Washington. In this, Berezovsky’s death is portrayed as a key element in a systematic attempt by the Putin ‘sistema’ to eradicate the supposedly heroic opposition, much of it located in London.

That sustaining this fable is critical to defending the credibility of Steele, and therefore of the whole ‘Russiagate’ narrative, is quite evident from the ‘From Russia With Blood’ materials published by ‘BuzzFeed’ in July last year.

(See https://www.buzzfeed.com/he... .)

This, however, leads on to a paradox, which is highlighted by a piece posted by James George Jatras on the ‘Strategic Culture Foundation’ site on 18 August, entitled ‘Have You Committed Your Three Felonies Today?’

(See https://www.strategic-cultu... .)

Among the points Jatras – who I think is an Orthodox Christian – makes is that the logic of contesting the ‘Russiagate’ narrative has had some strange consequences. Among these, there is the way in which the counter-attack against it has generally involved what he describes as 'Flipping the "Russians did it" narrative.' As he in my view correctly observes:

‘Among the President’s defenders, on say Fox News, no less than among his detractors, Russia is the enemy who (altogether now!) “interfered in our elections” in order to “undermine our democracy.” Mitt Romney was right! The only argument is over who was the intended beneficiary of Muscovite mendacity, Trump or Hillary – that’s the variable. The constant is that Putin is Hitler and only a traitor would want to get along with him. All sides agree that the Christopher Steele dossier is full of “Russian dirt” – though there’s literally zero actual evidence of Kremlin involvement but a lot pointing to Britain’s MI6 and GCHQ.’

(See https://www.strategic-cultu... .)

For reasons I have already discussed, I think what while Jatras is substantially right, ‘zero evidence’ is only partially correct: It seems to me that disinformation supplied by elements in Russian intelligence could quite possibly have found its way into the second and final memoranda.

That said, Jatras has pointed to a fundamental feature of the current situation, which involves multiple ironies.

The total destruction of Steele’s credibility could easily be achieved by anyone who was interested in looking at the evidence about the life and death of the late Alexander Litvinenko seriously. However, because a central tactic of most of those who are attacking the 'Russiagate' narrative has generally been ‘Flipping the “Russians did it” narrative’, they are like people who ought to be able to see Steele's ‘Achilles’ heel’, but in practice, often end up attacking him where his armour is, without being very strong, not at its weakest.

Meanwhile, as I have already stressed, the ability of the Russian authorities to undermine the ‘narrative’ produced by the ‘information operations’ people around Berezovsky, of whom the most important are Alex Goldfarb and Yuri Shvets, is compromised by their fear of having to ‘own up to’ their actual role in the smuggling of the polonium into London in October-November 2007.

The person who had a strong interest in blowing this structure of illusion to pieces was actually Lugovoi. But it seems to me at least possible that there has been a kind of disguised covert conspiracy by elements in Western and Russian intelligence to ensure there was no risk of him doing so.

Last but not entirely least, having committed themselves to Berezovsky's 'return of Karla' narrative, the British authorities have boxed themselves in. If -- as is eminently possible -- the responsibility for the death of Berezovsky, or more recently of that of Nikolai Glushkov, or the Salisbury incident, was with opponents of Putin whom they did not control, they would have had little option but to cover up for them.

This, moreover, is the same dynamic as may well have existed with CW atrocities in Syria. If 'dogs' are stupid, they get wagged by their 'tails.'

Paul M • 3 years ago

Most of the memos were issued before October and Fusion/Simpson authorized Steele to release information to the FBI starting in July. The question is why the memos were released after the election when a release before the election would have been enough to sink Trump. Instead the FBI and presumably those paying Fusion on Hillarys behalf sat on it, and Comey comes out days before the election
Saying he was reopening the HC email investigation.

Kind of looks like they all wanted Trump in office and the disclosure was to give Trump the excuse needed to back track on his promises to improve relations with Russia and blame that on pressure from the Deep State and Russia Gate.

Looking at Trumps history with Sater (FBI/CIA asset) and his political aspirations that began following his Moscow visit in 1987 it seems likely Trump has been a Deep State asset for 30 years and fed intelligence to CIA/FBI on Russian oligarchs and mafia . Indeed he may well have duped Russians into believing he was working for them when in fact it was the CIA/FBI who had the best Kompromat with US RICO laws that could have beggared him

Richard Steven Hack • 3 years ago

One thing to remember about the FBI is Sy Hersh. Hersh claims the FBI has been sitting on a report for two years that fingers murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich as the Wikileaks DNC email leaker (or one of them, at least.)

Now can we imagine that not everyone in a senior position at the FBI knows about that report? I can't. Literally everyone from the supervisor of the Special Agent or computer forensic investigator who examined Rich's computer right up to the Director HAD to know that report exists - and covered it up.

That right there is obstruction of justice and conspiracy. Literally everyone at the FBI who can't PROVE he didn't know about that report will be going to jail. The entire top administration of the FBI is going to go down.

And how many people at the Department of Justice are aware of that report? Did Rosenstein know? Who else in the Obama administration knew?

That would be motivation for a lot of desperate maneuvering. Add to that who was really behind the Steele Dossier and even more people are likely to end up in jail.

Pat Lang • 3 years ago

What is the link for Hersh saying that?

Richard Steven Hack • 3 years ago

You haven't heard that yet? It's the infamous audio tape that Hersh was caught on discussing it. He's since obfuscated what he said, but the tape stands on its own, and he has never said that anything he said on the tape wasn't true, despite that a lot of Democrats and Trump-bashers claim he has.

Here's one source on Youtube:

Seymour Hersh discussing Wikileaks DNC leaks Seth Rich & FBI report

Pat Lang • 3 years ago

I have told you several times and I will tell you again probably hopelessly that Hersh PERSONALLY has told me that the "tape" was made without his permission or knowledge when he was aimlessly speculating on possibilities.

Richard Steven Hack • 3 years ago

I am unaware of your explicitly telling me that he personally told you that the tape was "aimless speculation." My apologies if I missed that response.

Of course the tape was made without his permission. We all know that. It's irrelevant to what he said on the tape.

What I'm saying is that despite what he may have told you, nothing on that tape sounds like "aimless speculation".

When you consider that he has four good reasons for dissembling about the tape, I view it as far more likely that everything he said was true.

1) If what he said is true, he may have compromised his FBI contact. Not good for his line of work.

2) If what he said is true, compromising that contact may well make all his other contacts wary about talking to him in the future - a bad deal for a journalist who relies on his contacts.

3) If what he said is true, he may have compromised his ability to get his "long form journalism" article published - a problem he already has had in the past.

4) If what he said is true, he's accusing the FBI of sitting on that report for two years, which might well make him a target of retaliation in some way.

If you believe that everything he said on the tape is untrue and that is what he explicitly told you, fine. I'm waiting for his "long form journalism" report to explain it. So far everything he has said publicly about it has not contradicted what he said on the tape, but merely waved his hands about it.

Pat Lang • 3 years ago

Sy Hersh talks a lot both loudly and profanely. He never intended to tell Buttowski that there was more than a possibility that the FBI held more than a rumor that this might be true. He talked to Buttowski because a mutual friend of him and me asked him to do so for no good reason. Please go talk to all the other people you pester and not on SST. You are an argumentative nuisance.

Aukuu Makule • 3 years ago

I have no stake in the debate about Rich, DNC, wikileaks.
But I do notice some loose ends. Hersh may well have engaged in speculation, but it is interesting speculation:
55. During his conversation with Butowsky, Mr. Hersh claimed that he had received information from an “FBI report.” Mr. Hersh had not seen the report himself, but explained: “I have somebody on the inside who will go and read a file for me. And I know this person is unbelievably accurate and careful. He’s a very high level guy.”

56. According to Mr. Hersh, his source told him that the FBI report states that, shortly after Seth Rich’s murder, the D.C. police obtained a warrant to search his home. When they arrived at the home, the D.C. police found Seth Rich’s computer, but were unable to access it.The computer was then provided to the D.C. police Cyber Unit, who also were unable to access the computer. At that point, the D.C. police contacted the Cyber Unit at the FBI’s Washington D.C. field office. Again, according to the supposed FBI report, the Washington D.C. field office was able to get into the computer and found that in “late spring early summer [2016], [Seth Rich][made] contact with Wikileaks.” “They found what he had done. He had submitted a series of documents, of emails. Some juicy emails from the DNC.” Mr. Hersh told Butowsky that Seth Rich “offered a sample [to WikiLeaks][,] an extensive sample, you know I’m sure dozens, of emails, and said I want money.”
. . .
“I hear gossip,” Hersh tells NPR on Monday. “[Butowsky] took two and two and made 45 out of it.”
. . .
The clip is definitely worth listening to in its entirety if you haven’t already. Hersh is heard telling Butowsky that he had a high-level insider read him an FBI file confirming that Seth Rich was known to have been in contact with WikiLeaks prior to his death, which is not even a tiny bit remotely the same as having “heard rumors”. Hersh’s statements in the audio recording and his statement to NPR cannot both be true.

blue peacock • 3 years ago


An interview of Rep. John Ratcliffe who will lead the questioning of Bruce Ohr.


Bruce & Nellie Ohr profited financially from the dossier. Bruce used his high office at the DOJ to feed the dossier contents to the FBI and repeatedly communicated with Christopher Steele on the dossier and the visa for Russian oligarch Deripaska, who funded the operation to rescue FBI agent Levinson from Iran at the behest of Bob Mueller. Rod Rosenstein has testified under oath that he knew nothing about the Ohrs profiting from the dossier and did not authorize Bruce to get involved in the Russia investigation. Congress will want to know if Sally Yates authorized Bruce. Either way it looks like it is only a matter of time before he is fired from the DOJ.

Guest • 3 years ago
David Habakkuk • 3 years ago


You may very well be right. There may be a large element of ‘amateur night out’ about this.

But then I come back to the question of who decided that the dossier be published, and who, if anyone, was consulted before the decision was made. For the reasons I gave, I am reasonably confident that those on this side who had been in one way or another complicit in its production and covert dissemination were taken aback by the publication.

It is not clear to me whether anything significant can be inferred from the publicly available evidence about whether those on your side who had been complicit were involved in the decision to publish without taking even elementary precautions, or whether the ‘Buzzfeed’ people just had a rush of blood to the head.

blue peacock • 3 years ago


I suspect the decision to publish the dossier was political. It was required to enable Clapper, Brennan, and others to opine on national media and create further media hysteria prior to the vote as well as to justify the counter-intelligence investigations underway. They were throwing the kitchen sink to sink Trump's electoral chances. I don't think a lot of thought was given about the legal ramifications.

This seems to be a pattern. Leak information. Then use the leaked story to justify actions like apply for a FISA warrant or fan the media flames.

Cynthia Anne • 3 years ago

And now they are turning on one another. Hayden just slammed Clapper for making too much of losing the security clearance the he abuse for political reasons.

Pat Lang • 3 years ago

Looks like both Clapper and Haydon made the same comment about Brennan. they said "his rhetoric was becoming a problem. Ah, the USAF intel rats are swimming for the shore. Lets see how many others (not all USAF) decide to try to save themselves.

blue peacock • 3 years ago

Col. Lang

I find it incredulous that former leaders of the intelligence and law enforcement agencies have gained paid access to powerful media platforms and they have used it to launch vicious attacks on a POTUS.

I find it amazing that McCabe and Peter Strzok are raising hundreds of thousands of dollars on social media platforms.

IMO, everyone on the list that Sarah Sanders noted, should not just lose their clearance but should be testifying to a grand jury.

NYYankeesfan • 3 years ago

Not really incredulous.
Just expected behavior from swamp creatures whose self-assumed importance and "rights" (that the rest of us peasants don't have) are coming under threat.

David Habakkuk • 3 years ago

blue peacock

It seems to me absolutely appalling, and I am also appalled that people on this side appear to have been playing a central role in all this.

One question. It seems to me that if what seems likely to be true does prove true, a range of these people must have committed very serious offences indeed.

However, I am too ignorant to know what precisely those offences might be. If you, or anyone else, had a clear understanding, I would be interested.

English Outsider • 3 years ago

"It seems to me absolutely appalling, and I am also appalled that people on this side appear to have been playing a central role in all this."

That says it all. We got the more discreditable side of the affair outsourced to us. Ugh. Is that all we're fit for now in the UK? White helmets and Khan Sheikhoun and Steele, all the scrubby stuff? Is that what the famous "Special Relationship" now consists of? We get to do the scrubby stuff because it's what we're fit for and we can be relied upon to keep it quiet?

Because at least on the American side there are people concerned about the political/PR involvement of parts of their own Intelligence Community, and seeking to have it looked into. Here - am I right? - it's dead silence.

I've been permitted to say before on SST that I don't think the Americans are going to resolve this affair satisfactorily until more light is cast on the UK side. But I also think that, for our own sakes, we should be looking at what exactly our IC does, and in particular, how much UK political involvement there was in what is now clear was a direct PR attack on an American President.

Pat Lang • 3 years ago

I strongly suspect that Steele has a future as a novelist.

blue peacock • 3 years ago


I'm not a lawyer and have no experience with the federal criminal statutes. Having said that I suspect that the following could be considered crimes:

- intentionally misleading FISC
- perjury
- leaking classified information
- launching investigations on the basis of known false information
- surveillance of US citizens on the basis of false information
- conspiracy to subvert the constitution
- sedition/treason

There may also be certain professional agreements with the government that may have been violated. The only way any of these people will face a grand jury is if Donald Trump choses to take action. Left to the natural devices of the law enforcement institutions nothing will happen and they will sweep everything under the rug. The intensity of Trump's tweets and the accusations therein are rising. If the GOP retains the House and Jim Jordan becomes speaker, then there may be a possibility that Sessions, Rosenstein and Wray may be fired and another special counsel appointed who will then convene a grand jury.

Considering what has been uncovered by Congressional investigators and the DOJ IG, I am truly surprised that Sessions has resisted the appointment of a special counsel. But of course that could go the way of the Owens inquiry in your country.