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May 30, 2018

Lee Smith: Who Is Joseph Misfud? Is He a Russian Agent -- or a CIA Agent?

This is the guy who first incepted Carter Page with the idea of Russians having Hillary's emails, which they apparently did not have or did not feel like colluding enough to release to Wikileaks.

The Maltese Phantom of Russiagate

by Lee Smith

In the shifting narratives of the Trump-Russia probe, a Maltese academic named Joseph Mifsud has remained a linchpin regarding claims of collusion. He is the professor who allegedly told Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos that the Russians had emails related to the Clinton campaign. The FBI says it opened its investigation in late July 2016 after Papadopoulos relayed that information to Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, and the Australians tipped off U.S. authorities.

While some news accounts describe Mifsud as an accomplice to Russian clandestine operations or a "cut-out" (intermediary), others contend he is a full-fledged Russian spy.

In an official report, Democrats on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence asserted that"“in their approach to Papadopoulos, the Russians used common tradecraft and employed a cut-out," a “Kremlin-linked…Maltese professor named Joseph Mifsud."

No one in the American intelligence community has publicly challenged this description.

But there is one major problem with this story: No evidence has been presented to support the claim. Although Mifsud has traveled many times to Russia and has contacts with Russian academics, his closest public ties are to Western governments, politicians, and institutions, including the CIA, FBI and British intelligence services. One of Mifsud's jobs has been to train diplomats, police officers, and intelligence officers at schools in London and Rome, where he lived and worked over the last dozen years.

...

If Mifsud truly is a Russian agent -- which is key to the collusion narrative -- he could prove to be one of the most promiscuous spies in modern history. Western intelligence agencies and European politicians would have to spend the next few decades repairing the damage he did to global security by infiltrating key institutions and personnel. As of yet, however, there is no indication that any intelligence service has begun the embarrassing, but highly important, assessment of how it was penetrated and how it can re-fortify the vulnerabilities that Mifsud may have exposed. There has been no public effort to arrest him.

While most media accounts have simply repeated official claims that Mifsud is a sketchy character whose visits to Russia and academic contacts suggest he is working for Russian intelligence, a look at the available evidence challenges that narrative. It also raises the possibility that Mifsud, whose circles are tied to the Clintons, may, like another professor recently in the news, Stefan Halper, have actually been working for Western intelligence agencies.

Painting a full picture of Mifsud is difficult because after the 58-year-old professor was first identified by name in a Washington Post article in the weeks following Papadopoulos' confession, he gave a few interviews to the international press, and then disappeared.

Rumors circulated in the press that the Kremlin-linked professor may have been recalled to Russia or was liquidated.

A new book by former colleagues of Mifsud's -- Stephan Roh, a 50-year-old Swiss-German lawyer, and Thierry Pastor, a 35-year-old French political analyst -- reports that he is alive and well. Their account includes a recent interview with him.

Their self-published book, "The Faking of Russia-gate: The Papadopoulos Case, an Investigative Analysis," includes a recent interview with Mifsud in which he denies saying anything about Clinton emails to Papadopoulos. Mifsud, they write, stated "vehemently that he never told anything like this to George Papadopoulos." Mifsud asked rhetorically: "From where should I have this [information]?"

Mifsud's account seems to be supported by Alexander Downer, the Australian diplomat who alerted authorities about Papadopoulos. As reported in the Daily Caller, Downer said Papadopoulos never mentioned emails; he spoke, instead, about the Russians possessing material that could be damaging to Clinton. This new detail raises the possibility that Mifsud, Papadopoulos' alleged source for the information, never said anything about Clinton-related emails either.

In interviews with RealClearInvestigations, Roh and Pastor said Mifsud is anything but a Russian spy. Rather, he is more likely a Western intelligence asset.

...

Pastor and Roh, who hired Mifsud as a business development consultant in 2015, write that far from being a Russian spy, Mifsud "had only one master: the Western Political, Diplomatic and Intelligence World, his only home, of which he is still deeply dependent."

There is plenty of open source material that supports their thesis.

That report is at RealClearInvestigations and not at The Weekly Standard because The Weekly Standard fired Lee Smith, possibly for offering reportage that didn't fit their house style of simply repeating claims they saw on Jake Tapper's show or heard from Bill Kristol.


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posted by Ace of Spades at 02:29 PM

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