Speaking to CNN’s Michael Smerconish, fomer CIA officer John Sipher who spent some of his time in service in Moscow during the 90’s stated that the kinds of methods for compromising a target described by former MI6 agent Christopher Steele in his 35 page dossier on Donald Trump’s ties to the Kremlin are exactly the type employed by Russian intelligence.
“Those of us who have lived and worked in Russia, and been under the thumb of Russian services — this isn’t just gossip, this information sounds very real to people who have been there. This is exactly how the Russians operate.”
“Where that salacious stuff about Mr. Trump is true or not — I doubt it, there is no way knowing without knowing who those sources are — but the feel of this is real. This is how the Russians operate… They are the best in the world at this kind of compromising information.”
Arguably it doesn’ t matter if any of the “salacious stuff” is or isn’t true — the bulk of the dossier actually focuses on the ability of Russian intelligence to exploit his widespread business corruption which has been well documented and reported.
It seems like each and everyday we get a little more drip, drip, drip of information about the allegations made by Christopher Steele or his credibility and the various reactions of the intel community.
We have reports that US intel has warned the Israelis not to share sensitive information with Trump, lest he leak it to the Russians and they in turn give it to their allies in Iran. And Isreali intelligence rather than blowing it off are saying that there are more allegations which go beyond the Steele dossier.
“There have been various reports about Trump’s ties to Russia,” an intelligence officer told BuzzFeed. “The dossier is one of them, but there are others, they make other allegations. Some are more specific, and some are less. You can trust me that many intelligence agencies are trying to evaluate the extent to which Trump might have ties, or a weakness of some type, to Russia.
For his part Steele apparently spent months trying to get the attention of officials in the UK and the FBI in the U.S. He now alleges that he felt there was a deliberate cover-up by the FBI, particularly those in the New York Office who had strong ties to Trump advisor Rudy Guliani, who were apparently far more interested in Hillary’s emails than Trump’s ties to the Putin.
However, say security sources, Mr Steele became increasingly frustrated that the FBI was failing to take action on the intelligence from others as well as him. He came to believe there was a cover-up, that a cabal within the Bureau blocked a thorough inquiry into Mr Trump, focusing instead on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Those chickens may now be coming home to roost as Democratic members of the House Intelligence committee stormed out of a classified briefing on Russia’s hacking and interference in our election with FBI Director Comey stating they had “lost confidence” in him.
Britain’s former Ambassador to Russia strongly supports and vouches for Steele’s credibility and in fact may have been crucial to helping him vault over the obstruction of the FBI’s New York office by arranging for his dossier through an intermediary to reach Senator John McCain who hand delivered it to Director Comey.
The Independent has learned that US Senator John McCain spoke to Sir Andrew Wood, who served in Moscow as the UK’s head of mission for five years, about claims that the US President-elect was susceptible to blackmail over alleged sexual activity and that his team had colluded with Moscow during the presidential election campaign.
Mr McCain, the chair of the Senate armed forces committee, was so concerned by what he had heard that he personally met James Comey, the director of the FBI, after returning from the Canadian conference, and passed on the information. It formed part of a report about Russian interference in the US presidential election process that was presented to Barack Obama and Mr Trump by the intelligence agencies last week.
Sir Andrew, who became an advisor to Tony Blair after serving as ambassador to Russia from 1995 to 2000 and then Yugoslavia, said: “I would like to stress that I did not pass on any dossier to Senator McCain or anyone else and I did not see a dossier at the time. I do know Christopher Steele and in my view he is very professional and thorough in what he does."
Meanwhile outgoing CIA Director John Brennan says that Trump simply “doesn’t understand Russia.”
Mr Brennan told Fox News Sunday that Mr Trump had indeed been briefed about the allegations before they were reported by CNN, despite the President-elect’s advisers saying he was not aware of them.
“What I do find outrageous is equating intelligence community with Nazi Germany,” Mr Brennan said. “I do take great umbrage at that.
“There is no basis for Mr Trump to point fingers at the intelligence community for ‘leaking’ information that was already available publicly,” he added.
When asked specifically whether the Intel community had “picked up” any information that the Trump camp had been in communication with anyone from the Kremlin discussing “hacking” Director Brennan answered by saying “If we’d picked up any such information, it would would’ve been shared with the appropriate agencies — in this case the FBI.”
Later in the interview, at 8:12 in video, in response to a question about Trump’s hints that he might if sanctions against Russia over the annexation of Crimea Brennan stated the Trump “I think he has to be mindful that he does not yet, I think, have a full understanding and appreciation of the implications of going down that road.”
Yeah, no kidding.
And Trump likely doesn’t have that understanding and appreciation because he hasn’t been having his daily briefings so he can get fully up to speed on the various elements of our international relations. Also if US Intel has told the Israelis to hold info back from Trump, why exactly would they be giving that same type of information to Trump himself?
If Trump truly has been compromised, the best tactic would be to leak that information bit by bit until even Republican Senators and committee heads start to call for hearings — which they have and Trump hasn’t even been officially
coronated — er — inaugurated yet.
WASHINGTON — The top two Republicans in Congress said on Monday that they supported investigations into possible Russian cyberattacks to influence the American election, setting up a potential confrontation with President-elect Donald J. Trump in his first days in office.
“Any foreign breach of our cybersecurity measures is disturbing, and I strongly condemn any such efforts,” said Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, adding, “The Russians are not our friends.”
Even Mitch McConnell is in support of a congressional investigation of Russia’s impact on our election. IMO that’s not good for Trump, but just might ultimately be good for America.
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