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May 28, 2019

Eric Felten: As the Russia Coup Attempt Unravels, Factions Are Throwing Each Other Under the Bus

Knives out.

The whole article is interesting, and obviously I can only quote a bit, so here are some interesting bits.

Making the [media leak] game even more difficult is how much of the play is being done under cover. When so much of the frenzied blame-shifting is right out in the open, who knows how much whet work with the long knives is going on in the shadows? "If Brennan and Comey and Clapper are doing this publicly," one Senate staffer says, private-sector dossier-peddlers "[Sidney] Blumenthal, [Cody] Shearer and [Glenn] Simpson are doing it privately."

Felten then turns to the rivalry -- or barely-concealed hatred -- between the FBI and DOJ.

"The FBI and DoJ are ruthless to each other, petty to one another," one congressional staffer marvels.

...

Connoisseurs of the knife fights between Justice and the bureau keep an eye out not only for what gets reported in the press, but where it gets reported. "The Department of Justice has good relations with, and tends to leak to, the Washington Post," says a longtime Capitol Hill staffer. "The FBI leaks to the New York Times."

Felten recounts the different versions of the Rosenstein-offered-to-wear-a-wire story -- the version friendly to the FBI's McCabe was published in the post, the version friendly to the DOJ's Rosenstein ran in the Times.

Then he notes the FBI's favored leak route, the Times, being called upon to get in front of their long-time cover story that the investigation into Trump began with Carter Page and not a moment sooner.

Which was then revised to, "It began with George Papadoplous' mention of the Hillary emails to Australian diplomat Andrew Downer."

Which is now being revised yet again.

Okay, okay, maybe we were technically spying on him using undercover assets to surreptitiously question and record him before he ever met with Downer...

Given the Times's sources in and around the FBI, there is particular significance when the Times writes a revisionist history of the bureau's activities involving the 2016 election. At the end of 2017 the paper had done its best to write the dossier out of the creation myth of the Russia investigation. The Times had maintained, in an April 2017 article, that it was Carter Page's ill-advised commencement speech in Moscow in the summer of 2016 that had sparked the FBI's concerns the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia. This line came from the dossier, which had alleged that Page had secret meetings with billionaire oligarchs during his Moscow stay. But after the dossier started to be exposed as the partisan document it was, a new reason emerged to justify the launching of a counterintelligence probe into team Trump -- that George Papadopoulos had supposedly mentioned, over drinks with an Australian diplomat, that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton.


That alternate origin story remained largely unchanged until early this month, when the Times rewrote its narrative, clearly with the help of FBI sources. The new narrative included the revelation that the bureau had sent a "government investigator" to London under the false name "Azra Turk." Her undercover mission was to flirt with Papadopoulos and pump him for information about Trump and the Russians. The Times helpfully (from the FBI's point of view) portrayed this as evidence of the "level of alarm" investigators had about Trump and Russia.

The article was a classic example of a fundamental Washington PR technique, that of "getting ahead of the story." Knowing the Azra Turk business is being looked over by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, sources in, or formerly of, the bureau went to friendly reporters and fed them information that could put the events in the least unflattering light possible. Note, however, that the bureau players -- who normally wring their hands about the national security damage done by the release of unredacted information -- aren't above leaking details of covert ops if that's what it takes to soften a blow.

Chuck Ross recently reported of one such case of the Deep State leaking the name of a confidential source while simultaneously whining that we must stop this investigation lest we reveal the names of confidential sources.

The architects of the Steele dossier have claimed that protecting the identity of one of the document’s main sources was a major concern.

Despite that, a Belarus-born businessman was identified in the press as the source for some of the dossier's most salacious allegations about President Donald Trump and the campaign.

A review of press reports and government documents shows Christopher Steele and Glenn Simpson identified the alleged source, Sergei Millian, to journalists and government officials.

Former British spy Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson claimed to have concerns about the safety and security of one of the sources for the dossier, but outed him anyway by talking to journalists.

And speaking of Blumethal and Cody Shearer: This 2018 Lee Smith piece about the Blumenthal/Shearer "dossier" is worth re-reading.

Update: Christopher Steele, hired gun paid by Hillary Clinton, refuses to cooperate with Barr's investigation into the "dossier's" origins.

What was it that I heard so many times in relation to Trump or the targets of the Russia Coup...? Ah yes -- "If he doesn't have anything to hide, he shouldn't mind the investigation!!!"


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posted by Ace of Spades at 06:10 PM

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