burned intelligence asset

September 14, 2019 – Opinion: Scott Ritter probes Russian informant, Oleg Smolenkov’s role as a CIA asset and the use of his data by Brennan

Reports that the CIA conducted an emergency exfiltration of a long-time human intelligence source who was highly placed within the Russian Presidential Administration sent shock waves throughout Washington, D.C. The source was said to be responsible for the reporting used by the former director of the CIA, John Brennan, in making the case that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered Russian intelligence services to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election for the purpose of tipping the scales in favor of then-candidate Donald Trump. According to CNN’s Jim Sciutto, the decision to exfiltrate the source was driven in part by concerns within the CIA over President Trump’s cavalier approach toward handling classified information, including his willingness to share highly classified intelligence with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a controversial visit to the White House in May 2017.

On closer scrutiny, however, this aspect of the story falls apart, as does just about everything CNN, The New York Times and other mainstream media outlets have reported. There was a Russian spy whose information was used to push a narrative of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election; this much appears to be true. Everything else that has been reported is either a mischaracterization of fact or an outright fabrication designed to hide one of the greatest intelligence failures in U.S. history — the use by a CIA director of intelligence data specifically manipulated to interfere in the election of an American president.

The consequences of this interference has deleteriously impacted U.S. democratic institutions in ways the American people remain ignorant of — in large part because of the complicity of the U.S. media when it comes to reporting this story.

Oleg Smolenkov (Credit: public domain)

This article attempts to set the record straight by connecting the dots presented by available information and creating a narrative shaped by a combination of derivative analysis and informed speculation. At best, this article brings the reader closer to the truth about Oleg Smolenkov’s role as a CIA asset; at worst, it raises issues and questions that will help in determining the truth.

(…) Every Russian diplomat assigned to the United States is screened to ascertain his or her susceptibility for recruitment. The FBI does this from a counterintelligence perspective, looking for Russian spies. The CIA does the same, but with the objective of recruiting a Russian source who can remain in the employ of the Russian government, and thereby provide the CIA with intelligence information commensurate to their standing and access. Turning a senior Russian diplomat is difficult; recruiting a junior Russian diplomat like Oleg Smolenkov less so. Someone like Smolenkov would be viewed not so much by the limited access he provided at the time of recruitment, but rather his potential for promotion and the increased opportunity for more essential access provided by such.

The responsibility within the CIA for recruiting Russian diplomats living in the United States falls to the National Resources Division, or NR, part of the Directorate of Operations, or DO — the clandestine arm of the CIA. In a perfect world, the CIA domestic station in Washington, D.C., would coordinate with the local FBI field office and develop a joint approach for recruiting a Russian diplomat such as Smolenkov. The reality is, however, that the CIA and the FBI have different goals and objectives when it comes to the Russians they recruit. As such, Smolenkov’s recruitment was most likely a CIA-only affair, run by NR but closely monitored by the Russian Operations Group of the Agency’s Central Eurasia Division, who would have responsibility for managing Smolenkov upon his return to Moscow.

The precise motive for Smolenkov to take up the CIA’s offer of recruitment remains unknown. He graduated from one of the premier universities in Russia, the Maurice Thorez Moscow State Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages, and he married his English language instructor. Normally a graduate from an elite university such as Maurice Thorez has his or her pick of jobs in the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Defense or the security services. Smolenkov was hired by the Foreign Ministry as a junior linguist, assigned to the Second European Department, which focuses on Great Britain, Scandinavia and the Baltics, before getting assigned to the embassy in Washington.”  (Read more: Consortium News, 9/14/2019)

August 25, 2019 – Carter Page: FBI wanted me to make false testimony about Russians

Former 2016 Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page joined FNC’s Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures” for a conversation about his experience as a government witness:

CARTER PAGE: Great to be with you, Maria.

MARIA BARTIROMO: You had an esteemed career. I want to start there because our viewers know that we’ve covered this story very effectively from the get-go, poking holes in this whole idea of collusion, poking holes in the FISA court situation, but you had worked with the government for a long time before they actually turned on you. Tell me your career as a government informant after you worked at the Pentagon and after in the Navy tell us about it.

CARTER PAGE: Well I got out of the Navy in ’98 and I was on a research fellowship at a foreign policy think tank and that was actually the first time as a civilian (as you mentioned I spent a lot of time doing intelligence tasks in the military) but that was the first time when I actually did stuff as a civilian, and so one of the guys I worked closely with was Chris Stephens, [sic] who was the Iran desk officer at the State Department in ’98-99, and we had a long ongoing dialogue, and so a lot of similarities between what happened with him, and the lack of responsibility by these Democrat administrations. That was during the Clinton administration, but the loss of his life was really a continuation of that.

MARIA BARTIROMO: So the bottom line is you’ve worked as a government informant for what, two decades?

And somewhere along the line, they obviously turned on you, because they wiretapped you.

CARTER PAGE: Yeah.

MARIA BARTIROMO: And somewhere along the line, they obviously turned on you because they wiretapped you. Fast forward to 2013 or so when you are an informant for the government about a spy ring in New York, involving three Russians.

CARTER PAGE: Yeah, well listen. It was something where there was a lot, they did an indictment. I spent time with the FBI in 2013 giving them all of the information they needed.

MARIA BARTIROMO: This is under the Obama administration.

CARTER PAGE: It was under the Obama administration and then a number of top officials, Attorney General Holder, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, and [former Assistant Attorney General] John Carlin in January of 2015, a year before the start of when I joined the– I was a volunteer on the Trump campaign, they had this indictment… of the three Russians. So I was one of the main sources on “Male #1.”

MARIA BARTIROMO: That’s interesting because you were “Male #1” — we’re looking at a timeline in 2013 you’re male number one and they indict these people and the indictment comes down in January 2015 and they name you as Male #1.

CARTER PAGE: Well there’s this big thing about masks and unmasking, and I was very lightly masked and there are a lot of problems in that indictment and they really kind of put me out on a limb.

MARIA BARTIROMO: That’s what I want to ask you because then you start getting death threats your life was in danger… We’re taking a pivot looking at how the government has treated government informants…

I’m back with former Trump campaign foreign policy advisor Carter Page and you were telling us about this case that you helped the government with. Tell me what happened in 2015 after the indictment was handed down on the Russians.

CARTER PAGE: Well really, in March of 2016, they called me in to come to testify in the Southern District of New York on that case.

There were so many falsehoods and misrepresentations in their indictment the prior year. I said I am not going to lie in court. Similar to their false court filings, which the DOJ and the FBI has submitted in this case. So it was a long back and forth with them but I told them, I am a man of my word and I’m not going to, you know, provide false testimony like they’ve done. It is very similar between the false testimony which they did and that case against the Russians, and the false testimony which they did a few months later in October of 2016 with their start of the FISA abuse.

MARIA BARTIROMO: You never actually testified in the spy ring circus in terms of that, but this all goes to government informants and you could look at Patrick Byrne from Overstock.com, right?

CARTER PAGE: Well its basically, the government is taking control of people’s lives I mean, look, I’ve lost tens or hundreds of millions of dollars and he lost a couple hundred million off his market cap just based on these falsehoods.

MARIA BARTIROMO: You mean the stock lost hundreds of millions of dollars, not you?

CARTER PAGE: Well I’ve lost, you know, massive amounts of money.

(RealClearPolitics, 8/25/2019)

August 23, 2019 – Unsealed documents prove former Trump associate, Felix Sater, was an informant for the FBI, CIA and DIA

Felix Sater (Credit: Stephen Voss/Redux)

“A former Trump business associate and witness in the special counsel’s probe provided “extensive” cooperation to U.S. spy agencies in numerous terrorism and mafia-related investigations, according to a court filing unsealed Friday.

Felix Sater provided the FBI, CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency with intelligence on a broad range of topics over the course of more than a decade, Benton J. Campbell, the then-U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in an Aug. 27, 2009 court filing.

(…) Sater, an American citizen born in Russia, formally began cooperating with the U.S. government on Dec. 10, 1998, as part of an agreement that required him to plead guilty to racketeering and money laundering charges related to a $40 million stock scheme.

Over the course of the next decade, Sater obtained intelligence regarding mafia activities in New York, Russian organized crime schemes in Cyprus, and al-Qaeda activities in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Sater was credited with obtaining Osama bin Laden’s satellite phone numbers and with providing information about an assassination attempt against President George W. Bush.

Sater’s lawyers said in an Oct. 19, 2009 filing also unsealed Friday that he worked with U.S. military intelligence to covertly obtain details about a Russian anti-missile system.

The court filings, which were unsealed in response to a lawsuit media companies filed, confirm details of BuzzFeed News’ reporting in March 2018 on Sater’s expansive resume. Sater disclosed his informant work to BuzzFeed in an effort to push back on the media narrative that he was linked to Russian intelligence and Russian organized crime.” (Read more: The Daily Caller, 8/23/2019) (Wall Street Journal, 8/23/2019)