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May 02, 2018

Lee Smith: Are NBC and CNN Paying Off Spies Who Leaked Classified Information With High-Paid Jobs?

Cozy.

The White House Correspondent’s Dinner Saturday night was a platform for the media to push back against the most powerful man in the world, the president of the United States. While Donald Trump constantly derides the top brands in American journalism as Fake News, the WHCA's prize committee presented the Merriman Smith Award for broadcast journalism to CNN's Evan Perez, Jim Sciutto, Jake Tapper, and Carl Bernstein for their Jan. 10, 2017 story reporting that Barack Obama's four intelligence chiefs briefed Donald Trump that Russia had compromising information on the President-elect.

The compromising information--ranging from allegations of the Trump team's criminal activities to the sexual depravities of Trump himself--was sourced to a 35-page-long opposition research file allegedly authored by the ex-British spy Christopher Steele. The so-called Steele dossier was funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, which hired the Washington, D.C. opposition research firm Fusion GPS to produce and disseminate it to the press. As the award citation explains: "Thanks to this CNN investigation, 'the dossier' is now part of the lexicon."

CNN has never disclosed the close relationship between Evan Perez, one of the reporters on the Jan. 10, 2017 story, and his former Wall Street Journal colleagues who went on to start Fusion GPS, including the company's founder Glenn Simpson. Nor did the Merriman Smith prize committee acknowledge how the dossier on which the leading lights of the news business have again staked their institutional credibility was disseminated to the public.

That story is now coming into focus with the recent release of seven government documents that together detail a working partnership between spy agencies and the press that helped a political attack meme go viral, even though the evidence on which it was based was demonstrably false. While this type of relationship--let's call it collusion--may be routine in Third World countries, it does not bode well for the health of the American press, or our democratic institutions.

Smith turns the breathlessly report that the Russian lawyer Veselnitskya is an informant for the Kremlin -- but he notes this has been reported, including by his own magazine, Tablet, for a year. So this isn't breaking a story; it's re-breaking a story, to try to push it again.

And he notes the New York Times then gets very crafty about what it's willing to say about Veselnitskaya -- and who her American partners are.

More detail in the Times story would show that one of Veselnitskaya's partners in the anti-Magnitsky campaign was Fusion GPS. Glenn Simpson's opposition research shop had been brought on to run a smear campaign against Browder [the financier who lobbied for the Magnitsky Act after the Russian government murdered his whistleblower friend] in the press. The talking points on Magnitsky and Browder that Veselnitskaya recited in the Trump Tower meeting, talking points that she previously shared with Russia's prosecutor general, were quite literally written by Fusion GPS.

But wait. Fusion GPS--that's the same firm that was hired by the Clinton campaign and the DNC to produce the Steele dossier. So Fusion GPS disseminated reports of the Trump team’s ties to Russia in order to warn America of a possible criminal conspiracy that would sell out U.S. interests in exchange for help securing the presidency--while it also worked on a campaign defending Kremlin interests by undermining an American law. How, you ask, is that possible? And why didn’t the Times report that salient fact?

Because the Times was in bed with Fusion GPS too. William Browder told me that when he was trying to get various journalists to report on Fusion GPS’ role in the campaign against him and the Magnitsky Act, he found that the company’s founder Glenn Simpson "was so deeply embedded as a source for different stories, no one wanted to write a story about him."

He quotes Simpson's testimony to Congress, claiming that the dossier has been substantiated by way of his Russian P-I-C Veselnitskaya meeting with Trump, Jr. on a pretext of offering up Hillary dirt (but really there to carry out the joint Russian Government/Fusion GPS project of lobbying against the Magnitsky Act).

...

So, according to Simpson, the Trump Tower meeting proved the part of the Steele dossier that claimed the Trump team was taking the Kremlin’s dirt is true--meaning that Simpson is virtually admitting that the meeting between Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya, his business partner, was a set up.

Read the whole thing.

The thing is, if Trump really was colluding with Russia, Fusion GPS would be running ops in his favor, not ops against him.


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posted by Ace of Spades at 01:43 PM

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